Archive for September, 2013


Goodreads on Life Support

I am not quite sure how to start this post because I’m so upset and disappointed. Goodreads has taken the first firm step toward preferential treatment of authors and telling readers to fuck off. Let me start at the beginning.

I discovered Goodreads in June 2011. Previously I had used Shelfari for all of my book logging. Once Shelfari got taken over by Amazon I got sick and tired of having Amazon shoved down my throat 50 times per site visit. When they started requiring that you use your Amazon log in to use the site I was finished. I started looking for something new and heard people talk about this site called Goodreads. I started looking around and I was stunned at what I saw. A whole community of readers and authors who discuss books and communicate and have the freedom to do that in any way they liked. I loved that Goodreads told me that my content was MINE, and would always be mine. They told me that I could curse if I felt like it, that I could put in my review what I wanted to put and no one would censor me. I thought it was too good to be true and for 2 whole years it wasn’t.

Now Goodreads has decided to side with bullies. Bullies who have been banned from Goodreads because of their atrocious behavior, who have accused GR of promoting pedophilia and child pornography, who have issued death threats against reviewers, who are putting together a site SOLELY for the purpose of doxxing and stalking reviewers in real life.  Because GR has decided to take the sissy way out.  They have now decreed that any review, shelf, list, or group that focuses on an author or that author’s behavior will be deleted. Not only that but they decided to just mass delete BEFORE making this announcement and then running out of the office on a Friday to ignore the mass rage that was inevitably going to follow. But they seem to only be deleting things that negatively talk about the author…anything positive stays. Huh, weird double standard there.  Oh, and those authors who continue to spam, harass, and threaten reviewers?  They’ll still get a slap on the wrist and “maybe” get their account put under review. Well hello there Amazon and your authors only focus!

I used to think that Goodreads was a safe place, but if my content isn’t going to be safe there then I don’t know why I would keep putting it there. I mean, I’m spending my time and energy creating content that they use to make money when they aren’t going to respect it, protect it, and give me a safe place to say it. I think I might have to be one of those reviewers that puts the first paragraph of their review on GR with a link to this blog for the rest. I didn’t want to be THAT person because I loved GR, but I can’t trust them with my content anymore.

Maybe I’ll  open up spots for other reviewers on the blog. If anyone would be interested, use the contact page to get in touch with me. I will leave comments open on this post but please be aware of a few things. 1. If you haven’t posted on my blog before I have to approve your comment, after that you will be fine but that first comment might take awhile. 2. If your comment is personally insulting, doxxes anyone, or is in support of You Know Who it will be deleted.

Review: Fragments by Dan Wells

fragmentsFragments by Dan Wells

Published February 26th, 2013 by Balzer & Bray

Buy this book at: B&N / Amazon / Books A Million / Book Depository

 

Synopsis:

Kira Walker has found the cure for RM, but the battle for the survival of humans and Partials is just beginning. Kira has left East Meadow in a desperate search for clues to who she is. That the Partials themselves hold the cure for RM in their blood cannot be a coincidence—it must be part of a larger plan, a plan that involves Kira, a plan that could save both races. Her companions are Afa Demoux, an unhinged drifter and former employee of ParaGen, and Samm and Heron, the Partials who betrayed her and saved her life, the only ones who know her secret. But can she trust them?

Meanwhile, back on Long Island, what’s left of humanity is gearing up for war with the Partials, and Marcus knows his only hope is to delay them until Kira returns. But Kira’s journey will take her deep into the overgrown wasteland of postapocalyptic America, and Kira and Marcus both will discover that their greatest enemy may be one they didn’t even know existed.

The second installment in the pulse-pounding Partials saga is the story of the eleventh hour of humanity’s time on Earth, a journey deep into places unknown to discover the means—and even more important, a reason—for our survival.

 

Rating: 4 star

 

Review:

I cannot guarantee that this review won’t contain spoilers for book 1, but should be free of spoilers for this book.. So if you don’t want to read spoilers only read this first paragraph please. I loved this book. I was kid of lukewarm on the first book but was interested enough to continue, and boy am I glad I did. If you get nothing else out of this review, read this series. Now stop reading or else it’s your own damn fault if you get spoiled.

Like I mentioned a moment ago, I was pretty lukewarm on Partials (book 1). I thought it was decent but nothing out of this world. But the ending piqued my interest and so I wanted to see what happened. That brings us to Fragments. From the beginning of this book you know the stakes are high. Kira has discovered a cure for RM but apart from that one child they haven’t been able to replicate it. Samm is off to parts unknown and Kira has run off to find answers that Nandita sent her after at ParaGen. And this is where our second story begins.

Kira was still such a good character. I found her to be tough, real, gritty, and has a real soft spot to her as well. At times she got on my nerves a little bit with her whole, “OMG I’m a Partial, but I love the humans!’ routine but overall I had few complaints with her. I will just say that I loved the interaction with her and Vale. I won’t say anything else about that because it would ruin it, but it was fantastic! I felt just as confused and conflicted as Kira did just reading that part.

Samm and Marcus are officially my book boyfriends. I love them both so much I can’t even put it into words. They are so different but both so awesome at the same time. I think if I was forced to choose who I like more it would have to be Samm because he made me cry in this book, but that doesn’t diminish my love for Marcus. Although Marcus did get a bit reckless in this book, but it was all for the right reasons and that was important.

The plot moved along rapidly but it was well structured so it wasn’t too hard to follow. I really liked the introduction of Afa, he was a much needed and useful character. I really liked how many answers we got in this book. But at the same time those answers created more questions so it was a good balance. I LOVED the descriptions of this world so much in this book. It felt real and raw and I could see it in my head as we went along.

And the ending…whoa, is all I have to say. Even though I finished the book hours ago I can’t get over the ending. It took me by complete surprise and made me cry. I ended up putting the book down and just sat there with my mouth hanging open for a few minutes before I could wrap my head around what happened. I am already salivating over the idea of the final book and it causes me physical pain that it isn’t coming out until 2014. I am sold on this series, completely and utterly sold.

Not very often do I do movie reviews, I leave that to my husband who does plenty of them at the dinner table. But we got both of these movies as RedBox the other night and the contrast between the two was astounding so I had to comment. And let’s just get one thing straight right out front, Side Effects was my pick. Oblivion was my husband’s pick, I am not a fan of Tom Cruise and made quite the face when he suggested it. Oh and there will probably be spoilers, so walk away now if you don’t want to be spoiled. Anyway, onward!

 

Side Effects

Side Effects is a psychological thriller released earlier this year. It stars Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Catherina Zeta-Jones, and Channing Tatum. The film centered around a young woman who was prescribed a brand new, and fictional, drug for her depresion called Albixa. She experiences some rather intense side effects from the drug and ends up murdering her husband while sleepwalking. If you are like me and not a fan of Channing Tatum you’ll be happy to hear that he plays the husband, so he’s not around for long. This movie did a great job in making me feel sorry for poor Emily. She had everything and it was all ripped away from her. She miscarried a baby, her husband is imprisoned for insider trading, then he gets back out and she can’t bear to tell him how depressed she is because she wants to start fresh with him. She drives her car into a brick wall in what appears to be a suicide attempt and thus our story begins. This starts her on a rocky path to find the right medication with minimal side effects and she insists on continuing to take Ablixa even after she starts sleepwalking. Unfortunately for everyone it is in one of those sleepwalking episodes that she stabs her husband to death and is put on trial for his murder. But everything is not as it seems in this world.

This was a very devious little plot. Admittedly I found myself getting a bit bored in the beginning because it seemed like not a lot was going on. But once the story got started, holy crap did it get started. After that, the plot twists and turns were thrown at you quicker than you can process. Even though part of the plot was a teensy bit predictable I think it was meant that way. We were supposed to be yelling at Jude Law that she’s a lying sack of garbage and not to listen to her. That kind of predictable little plot point made it so that the real twist was totally unexpected. At a certain point in the film my husband and I just turned to each other and raised our eyebrows in unison as if to say “well that was different!”.  It didn’t even end there either. It got weirder and darker after that turning point too.

This has a current score of 84% fresh on Rotten Tomatos and I think that it is richly deserved. This was a delightfully dark little film.

 

 

OblivionOblivion is a sci-fi post-apocalypse flick starring Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman. It occurs in the year 2077 where the earth has been attacked by people/creatures they have dubbed “Scavengers”. The “Scavs” blew up the moon which sent the Earth into chaos with flood and earthquakes destroying half the planet within hours. After those initial hours it turned into all out war with the world eventually turning to the only logical solution…nuke the hell out of the other half of the world. All remaining humans have evacuated Earth to Titan, one of Saturn’s moons. Tom Cruise stars as Jack Harper who is a technician (Tech-49 to be exact) that is tasked with repairing the drones that are protecting the ocean borne fusion power generators before he and his partner will finally be evacuated to Titan as well. At least that’s what I thought the plot was. Then I read a synopsis and apparently the people of Earth have evacuated to the Tet, a space station orbiting Earth, and the generators are only to be used until they have enough power to make the trip to Titan. I honestly don’t know which is correct, the story was so convoluted that my husband had a completely different third idea of what the plot was. So this one might have to remain a mystery.

I hated this movie, it was SO BORING! Tom Cruise’s characters is a whiny bitch through most of the movie. Seriously, stop reminiscing! I get it, you miss old Earth but it ain’t coming back pal so get over it already. I was immediately suspicious that things were not as they seemed when Jack Harper says it had been 60 years since the end of the war….yet he remembers Earth from before the war and doesn’t appear to be older than say 40. Yeah, something was not right about that. But the movie was so horrendously boring that I quickly forgot about that bit of dialogue until I thought about it after the movie had ended. Here’s the things that bug me about this movie:

1. Jack Harper is a clone, yes a clone. There is no colony of human beings and there are no attacking Scavs. What attacked the Earth was the Tet, which appears to be some kind of artificial intelligence complex. They captured Jack Harper and his partner (the red head, can’t remember her character’s name) and cloned them. The Scavs are actually the only remaining human beings on the planet who are trying to bring down the Tet. Okay, with me so far?  Apparently Jack Harper was recreated as thousands of clones and those clones are the ones who launched and won the war on Earth.  Now they have new clones of Jack and what’s her name to keep everything in order and try to exterminate the rest of the humans. Still with me? Don’t get too cocky, it gets worse.

2. If they have thousands of clones of Jack who were, and I quote, “mindless killing machines”…why did they not continue to use those clones? They were apparently perfect mindless soldiers. Where did they go? Humans lost the war so they couldn’t have killed them all, where are those clones now? And since they were so effective at taking over Earth there would be no reason to deactivate them or kill them so I repeat, where did all these clones go?

3. The Tet tells Jack that he and his clones have a “history of insubordinanation”. Okay, that explains why he goes rogue all of a sudden but why didn’t he before? Some might argue it was because in this case his old wife from Earth was back and it prompted him…well then what history of insubordination could there have been? And if Jack keeps rebelling, why is the Tet, which was smart enough to annihilate Earth, not smart enough to alter the clone so that this doesn’t keep happening? If Jack keeps tapping into the original Jack’s  memories then why not make the next Jack clone a “mindless killing machine” like the old ones?

4. At the end of the movie we see that Jack has impregnated his wife before he killed himself for the greater good of humanity so they have a daughter. Why do clones need to reproduce? He was created to maintain the drones, and we know he was screwing the red headed clone so how were there not more little clonelets running around? Why did the Tet create the clones with the ability to reproduce? Why is that necessary?!

5. Oh hell, I don’t even know what five is because I’ve gotten so pissed off about numbers one through four.

6. If the Tet can create clones and had thousands of drones that are not in use, wouldn’t it be more logical to just replace the drones that are getting attacked? Why do you even need the clones to repair them? Just make more drones and then you don’t have to worry about Jackclone and his “history of insubordination”! Complete and epic logic fail.

7. This movie borrows 95% of it’s plot from sci-fi movies that are much better than this one was. I suggest watching Tron: Legacy, Blade Runner and Planet of the Apes instead of this crap..just to start.

In closing, the 54% rotten rating from Rotten Tomatoes is all you need to know. Believe the 54% they are not lying.

Review: Dualed by Elsie Chapman

dueledDualed by Elsie Chapmen

Published February 26th 2013 by Random House

Buy this book at: B&N / Amazon / Book Depository / Books A Million

 

Synopsis:

Two of you exist.

Only one will survive.

The city of Kersh is a safe haven, but the price of safety is high. Everyone has a genetic Alternate—a twin raised by another family—and citizens must prove their worth by eliminating their Alts before their twentieth birthday. Survival means advanced schooling, a good job, marriage—life.

Fifteen-year-old West Grayer has trained as a fighter, preparing for the day when her assignment arrives and she will have one month to hunt down and kill her Alt. But then a tragic misstep shakes West’s confidence. Stricken with grief and guilt, she’s no longer certain that she’s the best version of herself, the version worthy of a future. If she is to have any chance of winning, she must stop running not only from her Alt, but also from love . . . though both have the power to destroy her.

 

Rating: 4 star

 

Review:

This has to be one of my most highly anticipated book in months. I fell in love with the cover, I’m still in love with the cover. It is spectacular. I also loved the synopsis. The idea behind this book is one that I recognized could be either amazing or terrible, it all depended on execution. This was executed well. Some things probably could have been better but overall as a story I loved it.

The good:

West- She was a fantastic heroine. I found her to be smart, brave, loving, and normal. Unlike a lot of YA heroines, she believes herself to be subpar but isn’t perfect at everything in reality. We all know the heroines I meant. “Man I suck so bad, except for my perfect looks, perfect boyfriend, perfect hair, and inability to do anything that isn’t perfect.” West doubts herself but she’s reasonable in her doubt. She is a normal girl, good at some things and not so good at others. She neither believes she’s amazing or believes she’s terrible at everything. I found her very likely for that reason. I didn’t always understand her motivations but she always made me believe that she was a very girl who was trying her best to do the right thing.

Ending- I will be the first to admit it, I didn’t see the ending coming. Not even a little bit. Of course most of these kinds of books end in one way. The hero/heroine realized how wrong the system is and tries to subvert it in any way possible. That is what I was expecting but it’s not what I got. At this point I am at a loss for how the series will progress but I will be thrilled to find out. I am in for the long haul on this series and I think the ending played a large part in that. Best of all, the ending could serve as the perfect ending for a stand alone story. It was a satisfying end to that story that I wouldn’t mind if it ended right here but there’s still enough of a story to keep going with it too.

Narrative/World Building- West was a good narrator for the book, I liked her thoughts and didn’t mind being inside her head. Sometimes I thought she was being something of an idiot, but still didn’t mind her narration. The world building was good enough that I didn’t have any trouble at all picturing it in my head. I couldn’t quite get a grasp on the rules for the world but it was well put together for the purposes of the book.

 

The not so good:

Alts- Obviously the Alts were being presented as the protagonists of the book, but I felt that this limited the book in a lot of ways. The Alts are not necessarily the bad guys, we only perceive them that way because our character, West, is being pursued by hers. So since we’re supposed to be on her side then her Alt is automatically the bad guy. But if you honestly look at it then her Alt is going through exactly the same thing as West is. She also has to fight her Alt to the death and leave her family to do so. She also doesn’t know if she’ll be alive or dead in 30 days time. So ultimately they have the same path. I would have liked to see both West and her Alt and get sympathy for both of them. It would have made it less about us versus them and more about us being pitted against them unwillingly.

West as a Striker – I didn’t understand that decision at all. It seemed to come out of left field. Why did she want to do that? Why did she think that would help? And even if she thought it would help, why did she continue after being declared active? It puzzled me all the way through the book. It was an interesting part of the story but since it seemed to have so little effect on the character or the final outcome then I have to wonder, what was the point? Maybe this will be explained later on in the series but I didn’t get what the author was trying to go for.

It used the two most cliched phrases ever- “His eyes darkened briefly.” and “I released a breath I hadn’t realized I was holding.” Authors, please please please I beg you, stop writing these things! It makes me cringe every time I see them. Really it does. Enough is enough. I am banning those phrases from the English language forever.

Much more positive than negative and I can honestly say that I couldn’t put it down. I sat on my couch and ignored the world for the entire last 130 pages, with no break. I just had to see how it would end. If nothing else tells you whether I’d recommend this book, that should.