When witches are in Tudor England: Witchstruck (The Tudor Witch Trilogy #1) by Victoria Lamb

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Witchstruck

By Victoria Lamb

Released September, 2013 by Harlequin Teen

Length: 320 pages

Genre: YA Historical, paranormal-witches

Rating: Three Stars

Acquired: by netgalley

 

A witch, Lady Elizabeth, a Spanish Priest in Training, and a Witch hunter  in Tudor England, what could go wrong?

Meg Lytton is a witch in training, serving exiled Princess Elizabeth accused of treason, living in the dilapidated castle at Woodstock. Meg wasn’t very smart covering up that she was a witch. Lady Elizabeth knows, asking her often to use her powers to predict her status and so forth. Then, there is the Spanish Catholic Priest Alejandro de Castillo who catches her but soon changes her. Then, there is the Witch Hunter, Marcus Dent,  who still wants her.

Oh, Meg, she is trouble. She can’t control her magical powers, often getting cocky with her abilities. But Lady Elizabeth’s persistence doesn’t help, either. Lady Elizabeth is portrayed as somewhat needy, immature, yet willful and strong. A tad bit whiny, too to be honest. And, Meg, fiesty, fiesty Meg. The audacity she had. Yet, she was strong. Strong, independent, and extremely willful. She claimed to always be careful while practicing, but I didn’t see much of it. She was by no means weak, but a little insolent and definitely naive. She wasn’t very lovable to me, or really likable, but definitely had character. To be honest, I was unimpressed with how any of the characters were portrayed, but I loved the Priest. I liked his personality, interaction with Meg, and how noble he behaves. He is perhaps the main reason why I gave this book three stars.

I did enjoy the this book. I found the subject intriguing with the mix of the Tudors, their history I have always enjoyed reading about, and the presence of witchcraft. As well as Meg Lytton’s family members and Lady Elizabeth’s other supporters trying to dethrone Queen Mary. At the time of the book, Queen Mary is pregnant, or having a false pregnancy. The plot was strong, just Meg and Lady Elizabeth’s characters weren’t developed as well.

Although I didn’t love this book, or believe it should be rated higher than I gave it, I would recommend this book to fans of YA books. There is something about it that makes it worth reading.

Now that’s where the dead go: Reaping Me Softly by Kate Evangelista Book Review

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Reaping Me Softly

By Kate Evangelista

Published October, 2012 by Omnific Publishing

209 Pages

Genre: YA Paranormal, ghosts

Rating: 3 Stars

 

What happens when the boy you’ve loved from afar turns out to be a reaper? And, then he takes the soul of someone dear to her?

The answer is simple: you get Kate Evangelista’s book Reaping Me Softly where seventeen year old Arianne finds out the “love of her life” is a reaper. Although she can already she dead people because of a near death experience on the cutting table, she was not prepared to see the boy she love feed on souls. Yes, apparently that’s how reapers stay so young, fit, and alive. For years, reaper Niko Clark was losing sight on what mattered to him. He was ready to fade away, quite literally, until Arianne saved him, both in actuality and figuratively. Lazy because of love, he does not look at one of the newly delivered certificates sent by Death. 

I enjoyed this book. It was definitely a light read. Nothing literary; no serious writing. I was laughing pretty much through the whole book. Why? Was it supposed to be funny? No, I don’t think so. Oh, the cheese factor. Girl loves boy from a far. Boy meets girl after THREE YEARS in the same school and immediately, ridiculously over the top in love. So over the top. He calls her Angel constantly (of course). She’s delectable. Cliche, cliche. Even still, I enjoyed this. I love the TV show Dead Like me which is based around reapers; so, I was glad to find out about this from a blogger friend of mine. There wasn’t a lot focused on the reaping itself, but my is death a funny man. The meetings were good between all the US reapers. The love story, obviously, took precedent, but I liked the side characters a lot. They weren’t as gushy and sentimental. 

If this book  taught me anything, it’ two things: you don’t mess with death, and human love is hard. Maybe I should grab myself a reaper.. Oh, the romanticism. I would consider recommending the book, but at barely with a three starred rating of I liked it, but not completely, it may not be truly a good recommendation. It was certainly a nice book to read for a read-a-thon. Short, unintentionally funny, and easy to read. If you have a reading goal and want to quickly add a finished book to it, this may be the book for you. Just don’t expect it to be life-changing. Since it is a series (everything seems to be nowadays) maybe the sequel will be better. I think I am going to sit out at that one, though. 

 

For the Love of Karaoke! Turn Around Bright Eyes: The Rituals of Love and Karaoke by Rob Sheffield

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Turn Around Bright Eyes: The Rituals of Love and Karaoke

By Rob Sheffield

Published August, 2013 by !t An imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

Genre: Memoir, Music

288 Pages

Advanced copy courtesy of BEA

Three Stars

Meet Rob Sheffield, lover of all things music. Growing up, I used to love VH1’s I Love series. In five days, they would do countdowns of the top 100 best moments of the decades. Rob Sheffield was often a contributor, and a funny one from what I remember. It has been a long time since they have been on and since I watched him. He is still a writer at Rolling Stone, but within the last six years he has gone to be a published author, Turn Around Bright Eyes his third memoir. I read his first memoir about his love of music and the role it had in his first marriage. Called Love is a Mixtape, he talks about every mix him and his now deceased wife made;he lists each song on the tape at the start of each section. I remember loving the book when it came out. As a big music fan, and a bigger fan of making mixes for the ones I love and random playlists constantly, the way he presented the significance and role the songs had in his life and marriage was nicely written. I have wanted to read his second memoir, Talking to Girls About Duran Duran, but never had the chance. I was very excited about his third book because it is an nontraditional sequel to Love is a Mixtape instead of another memoir.

Turn Around Bright Eyes takes place three years after his wife died suddenly. He is in New York now, living in a new city with no memories of his dead wife. He now has a new start, but still he struggles. He stays in his apartment; watches Lifetime movie after Lifetime movie. It isn’t until his first night out late, singing karaoke for the first time, that he remembers how to live, stay up late; and he never wants to forget it again. He writes “There are times when we have to remember what they are. If we get lucky, something reminds us to move.”  I am definitely guilty of getting stuck (not watching Lifetime movies, but close). Sometimes a reminder, a simple remembrance of what it feels like to do something you used to do. Make sense? It’s just a quote I really connect to.

And, that is what the book really has done for me–connect me. It isn’t four stars worthy, but it is definitely a good, fun read. I loved a lot of aspects of the novel, especially the introspective ones. The book is well written, funny where it should be, and touching and sweet. It makes me really want to sing karaoke now. And the place is not too far from me. It was fun to read. The chapters were nicely divided with titles of songs and a time (which I am thinking is when he wrote it? not too sure).  What my nit picky thing is how the chapters jump around constantly. Sometimes he brings it all together. Other times (like when he want to Rock n Roll camp) don’t seem to fit with the narrative. It doesn’t mean the chapter or chapters were bad, but if the whole point was to show how he has grown and found his now wife through, because of music and karaoke, why were there chapters that didn’t truly focus on that? Yes, too much loveydovey would be bad. It does work, what he does. But, not completely.

It is a good book. I love the music references. The feelings songs have on him. I love the title, since I like the song eclipse of the heart (and the band bright eyes where the song lyrics inspired the name).  As Sheffield said,

“If all music did was bring the past alive, that would be fine. You can hide away in music and let it recapture memories of things that used to be. But music is greedy and it wants more of your heart than that. It demands the future, your future. Music wants the rest of your life…at any moment, a song can come out of nowhere to shake you up, jump-start your emotions, ruin your life….But, ultimately, that’s what karaoke is there to remind us. It’s never too late to let a song ruin your life.” And, it isn’t. Rob Sheffield, I bow down to your music-Buddhist sage advice.

Two worlds to every story; The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (audio)Book Review

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City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

By Cassandra Clare Read by Ari Graynor

Published in 2007 by Simon and Schuester

15 Hours (485 Pages)

Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal

Three Stars

(Now a major Motion Picture)

Fifteen year old Clary (Clarissa) Fray was your typical teenager. She lived with her single, artist, mother in Brooklyn, NY. Her best friend from childhood, Simon, was a musician as they often tend to be. She was a moody teen aged girl, until one night at her favorite goth club Pandemonium, she witnesses a murder no one else can see. And, I mean really see. Simon cannot see the three strange people their age with weird markings on their bodies and weirder weapons kill a guy that turns into a not so human remain. Angry, Clary tries to take these people on, but knowing it will all be for naught. Reeling, Clary never thought she would see these people again; especially the boy who did the killing. The boy who intrigued her the most. But, as it often goes, of course she does. Because, as much as she doesn’t understand them, she needs them more than any of them realize. Why, because her ordinary mother gets kidnapped by not so ordinary captors, but by strong demonic forces. Clary, now a motherless girl who fought off something a mundane, as she later gets called-a human that can’t see there are other world beings out there like the demon she saw the three people kill and the thing that tried to kill her; there is not one world now she must try to navigate, but two. The down world where the downworlders try to live in the human world: Vampires, Demons, Werewolves, and the shadow hunters who are after them to protect the human race (the mundanes they say condescendingly. Oh, we owe you so much! Thanks for being rude about it).

Clary, shaken and confused, turns out to be one of the three teenagers, a shadow hunter. Her mother, one of the most skilled her left that life violently behind until it caught up to her. Clary has too much on her plate already, so why not throw in a love triangle (or two while Cassandra Clare is at it?)

Meet the three strangers: the most gorgeous boy alive (of course) Jace and brother and sister duo Alec and Isabelle. They are some badass shadow hunters that Clary never wanted to meet. Oh, but she did. As did she meet the silent brothers, mutilating shadow hunters who can read minds and travel through them all while talking INSIDE your mind. Yes, inside, because they sewed their mothers shut. Their eyes, gone. They are some cold, strange people that constantly wear hoods and travel in glamorized carriages. Yup, I said glamorized. Jace, Isabelle, Alec, all these people glamour themselves to hide what really goes on. Hello True Blood and fantasy books I don’t really read. You all sound so familiar.

I listened to this book on audio, so maybe it is a different experience reading the book. Maybe the hidden worlds read better than being listened to (even though Ari Graynor was a great narrator). I just couldn’t stand Clary. I won’t say the novel was totally predictable, but as I have discovered with a lot of YA Fantasy/paranormal books there is a formula of sorts. Not entirely a bad thing. Just not really a good thing either. True Blood and witches are really all that I go for. But, the trailer to the movie looked so good. Now, after reading the book, I am turned off by the movie. The casting = epic fail in my book. Jace is not attractive in the movie, in my opinion.  Isabelle doesn’t look as hot or tough as in the book. If the guy who plays Alec in the movie was blond, he might be a better Jace.

                                                                                                              THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS CITY OF BONES Final Poster

                                (Lily Collins (Clary), Jamie Campbell Bower (Jace),  Kevin Zegers (Alec) Jemima West (Isabelle), and Robert Sheehan as Simon)

Just seems all wrong to me. The special features, though still look good and up to par with my visions so I will still try to check it out.

I am going to rate this book three stars because there were many aspects I enjoyed. Clary’s whining, not so much. The love triangle between Clary, Jace, and Simon got a little pathetic mostly because of the master of drooling and possible unrequited love, Simon. He was a little much, in a whiny love scorned way. (You are only FIFTEEN, Simon. Relax). I know there are always love interests. I am still a sucker for it. YA authors, though, please. Most of your characters, if real, would not end up together twenty or even five years down the line. So, stop throwing it at us. Oh, he is the one. My only. You are too young! OK, I may be a little cynical after reading soo many of these soul mate novels. I still love YA novels, though. I do. Don’t ever change! (maybe a little).

And, Cassandra Clare, I liked your novel. It was good. Not without its faults. Not every book is a five star worthy book. Three stars is a good rating. If I based it on the characters alone, it might have been two to two and a half stars. I liked the adventure aspect, and the shocker at the end. The BIG shocker of an ending. That pushed your book forward, Clare. However, even with an average B rating, I will not read the other five books in the series. Nor, the two spin-off series (why stop with one successful series and beat it to death with multiple spin-offs with similar action taking place in different years/locations?). I may read or listen to book number four. I won’t spoil it with the reason why. And, yes, I may have wikipedia-ed the other books to know I am set, pretty much, to not read the lengthy sequels.

I would recommend this book to those of you that like YA paranormal books, but know as much action, and deception there is, and how badly I wanted the mom rescued so Clary would stop throwing a pity party for herself (I would, too, though. Maybe not as whiny though) love, true love, takes center stage at would be, should be, big moments. Take your chance on this, but don’t put it on top of your shelf. Maybe number 5-10 or so. Still read it, if it’s your thing. Isn’t really mine, yet I did like it.

Happy Reading!

-indiereadergirl

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