Blogging + College = ???: New/Final Semester

(Caidyn)

So, this is going to be a new series I’m thinking of trying out. Basically, chronicling my final semester of school and maybe giving some tips on shit. I’m thinking this could be a once a month thing unless I get inspired by something once a week to knock out a post.

As you can tell from the title, I’m starting yet another semester of college. It feels like I’ve been in college forever. Three and a half years. I am a senior.

And, scarily enough, I’m fucking graduating in December. December 16th to be exact.

Image result for scared gif

Fucking trust me, man, I am terrified. It means that I will technically be a qualified adult holding a degree in higher education. It means that I could get certified and start a career. It means that I will be looking at graduate schools later this semester. (And having to apply to said graduate schools.)

Thinking about it gives me a mild panic attack sometimes because I’ll literally be doing all of those things at once. Researching schools, at least two applications per school I apply to, bugging professors to get reference letters done, contacting the schools to find out what they need, maneuvering financial aid, possible interviews, finding out when applications are done. On top of being a full-time student and working part-time, both of which are already super stressful on their own.

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This post is meant to be me saying that I’ll probably be on here less. Not a lot less since I need to read to keep myself sane. (Chantel and I are also trying to make a habit change to make us read more, yet another thing we’re going to rely on each other to keep.)

Luckily, I don’t have to do all of what I described above at once. I’ll be a full-time student and a part-time worker no matter what, but graduate school can wait. I’m going to have an appointment with a professor who knows a lot about the area of study for my master’s degree, so I’m going to ask her questions about the two programs I’m considering and to see if she can put me in contact with people who have recently graduated from or are currently in both programs. Then I can contact the school about applications and when to apply.

I just have a bad habit of looking at everything I need to do and think I need to do it all at that second rather than piecemealing it out into something more manageable. Which causes me a lot of stress and anxiety, especially when I need to focus on my first week rather than things I can’t even start doing things about yet.

That’s my life right now in a nutshell.

Any wishes of good luck or sending some sort of good vibes my way would be appreciated. And, any comments or suggestions (or even topics wanted for me to write about) would be appreciated! This is new for me, so I’m trying to sound it out. Anything you guys have to add would be great.

Wonder Woman Book-Tag

We were tagged by Emma, go check her out, in a book tag themed in honor of Leigh Bardugo’s new book. Neither of us has read anything by her (technically Caidyn DNFed the first Grisha book) or have a real interest in this, but why not? We’re always down for tags even if it takes us awhile.

This tag was created by Amber of Amber’s Books and More on her Youtube Channel.

Caidyn’s answers will be in blue.

Chantel’s answers will be in purple.


1.  Wonder Woman:  Your favorite badass female book character.

Do I have to choose? Come on. If I have to, I’m fond of Hermione Granger for many reasons. She’s pretty BA. Then, I also really love Mrs. Weasley. Okay, I’m changing my answer to Mrs. Weasley. She’s a great mom, has enough love to extend over the whole world, and can kill people when those she loves are threatened.

Daenerys Targaryen, the mother of dragons, the Khaleesi of the grass sea, the breaker of chains, blah blah blah. Does it count if I haven’t read the books? Don’t care. 

dracarys gif

Psh. Her? Mrs. Weasley would beat those dragon’s asses. I know you don’t care. Chantel don’t give a fuck about rules.

How could I not pick Dany? She is a BAMF that transcends TV and books, plus I couldn’t think of anyone else. 

2.  Fantasy Island:  A book setting you want to escape to.

That’s a hard question. My gut instinct is Hogwarts, but then my next instinct is that I’d love to go to King-verse. Aka, the world of Stephen King. Terrifying, but it’d be so interesting to spend a day there.

I would love to escape to Hogwarts too. I feel you on that, Caidyn. Also, you crazy. However, I choose Hobbiton, because I’m a hobbit. Even though I haven’t read the books. 

Also, Hogwarts when Harry was there. I’d like to just be in the background watching the shit go down. I know I’m crazy. I can admit it. AND STOP CHOOSING THINGS YOU HAVEN’T READ.

I’ll also be in my bubble with King-verse.

I don’t need to read the books if I’m a legit Hobbit. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go marry young Bilbo. 

surprised bilbo

The books suck and young Bilbo? I think older Bilbo is more your speed.

How do you think he got that way? 

fucking crazy

A+ use of gif.

3.  London:  A hyped book that let you down.

So many. A Darker Shade of Magic, And Then I Darken, Strange the Dreamer. Most books that get hyped end up letting me down.

A Darker Shade of Magic, hands down. I was so stoked for this book and everyone was raving about it, but I was really disappointed. 

4.  Steve Trevor:  A book that has a beautiful cover and a great story.

The Book Thief. There are many covers for the book, but this is my favorite:

The Book Thief

Most people know the story, so why get into it? But, beautiful cover and story.

I agree. I almost chose that cover for my post, but I went with the version of the book I own. 

For me, I have to go with Release by Patrick Ness. The UK Cover. The US cover made me want to slap someone. 

Release book cover

I mean it’s gorgeous. Why change it?? Also, this is my choice because of the cover. The story is good, but there are elements that kept it from being great in my opinion. Still, I’d recommend anything by Patrick Ness. 

That one is a pretty cover.

Wait, we actually agree on something? 

Donna.Doctor surprised gif

Now, the real question, who is Donna and who is Meta-Crisis Tenth Doctor?

I’m Donna, duh. 

So I get Rose and you forget everything and turn into a dick.

Oi, watch it space man!

5.  Lasso of Truth:  A book you hated.

Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession by Alison Weir. Fuck that book. There are so many things wrong with that book, but I have a feeling that no one wants to hear me rant about.

I feel like I don’t have a new answer for this so I’m going to go with Adam by Ariel Schrag. I’ve never been so angry at a book. 

That’s the name of the book about the guy who faked being a transman to sleep with a lesbian, right? Which makes sense on zero levels.

Yes, and the fact that it WORKED makes it a shit book. I personally have nothing wrong with someone exploring their sexuality, but the female character in this book was just a love interest for Adam. Even though she was said to be a lesbian. I rarely get offended by a book, but this book managed just that. 

6.  Wonder Woman’s Shield:  A book so sad you need a shield.

The Book Thief or A Monster Calls. Those books are super sad and have made me bawl in the past.

Damn, Caidyn. You didn’t have to take both good answers. I would’ve said The Book Thief since I thought I could make it through without crying, but nope. Instead, I’ll go with Room by Emma Donoghue. I will likely never read this book again because it was really hard to get through the first time.  

I’ve never read that book and probably never will. It doesn’t seem my speed.

I wouldn’t recommend it to you. It’s good, but hard to read. 

7.  Ares:  A villain that is scary but you can’t seem to hate.

Jorg Arancrath. He’s terrifying and I hate him for who he is, but I just love him. I found myself rooting for him throughout The Broken Empire series.

Goddamn it, stop taking my answers! You know I don’t like villains, Caidyn! 

Sucks, doesn’t it? You did it the last time.

Pick Bellatrix or Smaug or someone off GoT.

Bellatrix sucks. I already picked a character from The Hobbit and GoT. Even if I hadn’t I couldn’t choose anyone. I just don’t root for bad guys. Unless they are Jorg. 

BELLATRIX IS THE BEST BITCH IN THE WORLD HOW DARE YOU.

Image result for bellatrix gif

go home

i am home excuse you

8.  The Amazons:  A book that you wish had more / better LGBT+ representation.

(I have a feeling that Chantel’s going to have more opinions with this, but here are my two cents.) Anything by Laini Taylor. I’ve read four books by her now and I can’t remember any LGBT+ characters in them.

The whole Harry Potter series, hands down. For me, saying Dumbledore is gay after the series has been completed isn’t enough. If you wanted an LGBT+ character in your book, make it one of the thousands of children who attend Hogwarts, jeez. 

Great point. (I’ve heard your argument against Dumbledore many times.) Luna will always be genderfluid and Ginny will be probably trans to me. And Fred will be gay. Harry bisexual.

I know, right? I’m also totally down with those headcanons. I also see Luna as ace. Just me? 

I don’t know. Maybe demi, which is technically a part of the ace spectrum. I always saw her as gay for Ginny. (But still could be an ace.)

Come on J.K. we shouldn’t have to write this for you. 

Justice League:  What superhero book friends do you tag?

As for tags, we’re going to tag everyone who hasn’t done this yet! If you want to answer these questions, go right ahead. (We know that basically everyone we follow has been tagged, so yeah.)

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

The Heart's Invisible Furies

(Caidyn)

5/5

“I remember a friend of mine once telling me that we hate what we fear in ourselves.”

Thank you to Netgalley for letting me have an advanced copy for an honest review. All opinions are mine and mine alone. And also any quotes given are liable to change by publication.

I think that this is the easiest five stars I’ve given this year. Or close to the easiest. I’ve read five previous John Boyne books, which have ranged from finding it iffy at best to loving everything about it. Even in this book, at the back with the About the Author section, they called this “his most ambitious novel yet.” And I wholeheartedly agree.

What strikes me as amazing about this book is that it’s a family drama… yet not. It spans from 1945 to 2015, beginning with the birth of Cyril Avery to his unwed teenage mother in post-World War II Ireland. Then, it begins down his life as he discovers who he is and what the world is. It tackles prejudices back then to now in Ireland, at times reading like an Irish history of people who were like Cyril who had the world against them from the start.

Yet, it was also a comedy. There were times where I was laughing so hard I thought I was going to wake my whole house up. The characters had so much humor to them when it could have been such a dark story, lending it to be almost a black comedy since there were so many sad parts mixed in with the hilarity. It read like life does. Happy moments, sad moments, and the moments in between.

All of the characters were amazingly flawed. Boyne never backed down from showing them in certain lights or from having characters make comments, even about Cyril. He let this be honest, something that I appreciate. I’m pretty sure that I cried over every single character in this book at least once and, trust me, there were a lot of characters given how many decades this book covers.

This book definitely takes the place of my favorite John Boyne book. It was exactly what I needed without knowing I needed it. Admittedly, the only reason I requested this was because I generally like John Boyne. I already know I’m going to buy it. Usually, I just keep the digital copies of ARCs in case I want to reread it, but I know that I need a beautiful hardcover to display in my room.

The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz

The House of Silk (Sherlock Holmes, #1)

(Caidyn)

3/5

This book reminded me a lot of BBC’s Sherlock. At first, it was good. It was amazing and had great plots that were so damn clever that I didn’t get them and thought about how amazing they wound up being. The characters were fantastic, just perfect and so deep. Everything about it was fantastic. Until it became a clusterfuck. Moriarty was in everything to the point that it didn’t work whatsoever. All the villains were like him. The Eurus Mess (I’m thinking of patenting that phrase) where it was so obvious that no one did research on the mental illnesses they were incorporating in.

The plots became absolutely contrived with no cleverness, just using paradoxes or simple fixes because they came up with things too difficult to solve. The deep characters are literally all men and the women are used to further men’s causes. (There was only one unique female character in that show and she was reduced to “bitch”.)

And this book was like that.

The characters were spot on… until they weren’t. Sherlock was odd and secretive, yet became extremely moralistic in a way that wasn’t ever in the books. John was smart and the writing style Horowitz affected was wonderful, yet he too got too moralistic and almost anachronistic at times. Minor characters stopped ringing true from the beginning to the end.

The plot was super interesting… until it got unrealistic. This had two mysteries in one that made me ponder and question things. The Flat Cap and the mystery of Ross. I was kept on edge, waiting for the grand reveal. Yet I was just left with questions. Why did a certain character show up except to set up the next book? Why was there a certain plot without any hints given? (Which was the chapter I had to listen to three times to make sure I got straight.) Actually, why did both of the mysteries have resolutions that had no hints?

Sorry, Sherlock, but no. I felt like I was reading something Moffat and Gatiss came up with at 3AM on AO3 or FF.net and published without getting any beta readers. I was left feeling meh. I’m going to give the second book a go to see if the set-up actually pays off, but I don’t know if I’ll trust it.

First Lines Friday

We’re back!

Did you miss me gif

First Lines Friday (as the various things tell us) is a weekly meme hosted by Wandering Words. The rules are pretty simple. Pick a book, a current read or TBR, and open the first page. Then, copy the first few lines without giving anything away. Finally, reveal the book.

Caidyn’s text will be in blue. (And he also tried to spell it the French way, so good on his lessons.)

Chantel’s text will probably be in purple since that seems to be her thing.


Long before we discovered that he had fathered two children by two different women, one in Drimoleague and one in Clonakilty, Father James Monroe stood on the altar of the Church of Our Lady, Star of the Sea, in the parish of Goleen, West Cork, and denounced my mother as a whore.

I know, a short thing for this First Lines Friday. But, if I went further, it would be a bit boring and I’d have to write tons to get to a more interesting part.

Any guesses for what it is?

Well, since I can’t hear the shouts in the back, I’ll give it away

THE HEART’S INVISIBLE FURIES BY JOHN BOYNE

The Heart's Invisible Furies

Technically, the line that I gave was from an ARC. The first sentence is liable to change. I’ve read quite a few of Boyne’s books; The Boy in the Striped Pajama, The Absolutist, The House of Special Purpose, and This House is Haunted. While I don’t count John Boyne as a favorite author, I think he’s a good one who has talent.

This book follows the life of Cyril Avery, a boy born to a 16-year-old in Ireland in 1945. He gets adopted by a well to-do family… which isn’t that great. But, it’s so damn entertaining. I keep laughing my ass off over the characters and, literally, they’re all horrifically amazing. I’m loving it.

So far (and I’m a little over halfway done as of right now), this is probably his best book yet. I highly suggest you guys check it out when it’s published and expected a more detailed review to come!


Even a perfect machine wasn’t built to go this fast. Knox knew it, but still he pressed harder on the accelerator. Ripples of heat blurred the air around the car and the girl in the passenger seat squealed. Terror? Delight? Did it matter? He took a turn too sharply, felt the stabilizer engine straining. His windshield lit up with warnings: lane markers flashing red, speed indicators blinking. Sweat beaded on his upper lip, but the car held the road. 

If that quote doesn’t have you on the edge of your seat waiting for what happens next…well that’s totally fine. This was a book I read last year, I believe, and I really enjoyed it. It took me by surprise and I ended up enjoying it far more than I thought I would. Plus it features a gay main character. How could I not like it?!

You wanna know what it is? No JLaw gifs this time, promise. 

Benedict Cumberbatch wink

Okay, I couldn’t resist. 

Of course, you couldn’t. Chantel is on a Sherlock related gif kick, it seems. And I have to give my attribution, in which Chantel is Leslie Jones:

Image result for benedict cumberbatch snl gif

Yeah…I can’t deny this. 

ANYWAY, without further ado, I present…

 

Proxy by Alex London

Proxy Book Cover

Now, this is a dystopian novel. WAIT DON’T RUN AWAY! IT’S GOOD I SWEAR! 

Well, if you are still here, I think this is a good dystopian novel partly because the main character is gay. It’s only barely mentioned in the book and there is no romance in this first book because, you know, they are running for their lives.

I also really enjoyed the setting of the book and the technology that was incorporated into this world. I don’t have a formal review on this because I read it before I started blogging and one day I will read it again, but for now I’d say give it a chance. I don’t hear many people talking about it and it’s got little under a 4 star average on Goodreads. If you don’t like it, feel free to DNF it and then throw the book at my head…okay please don’t throw the book at me. I have a sensitive head. 

Ohhhh. This is the book that you recommended to me, right? Maybe throw it at her right hand or something. She doesn’t use that too often. (I have to say that because I just found out she’s left-handed after knowing her for a full year.)

Probably. It’s good. I know you have an aversion to YA (or anything good), but I think you might like it. Also, yes, I am a leftie. I feel like this week is: reveal Chantel’s secrets to the world. Not that being left handed is a secret to anyone who watches me write anything. 

Well, you feel free to reveal something about me at a later date.

1066 & The Battle of Hastings by Charlie Fenton

1066 & The Battle of Hastings in a Nutshell

(Caidyn)

5/5

First thing’s first, I’ve got to be honest with you guys. I was approached by the publisher, MadeGlobal, to read this book. They said that the author, Charlie Fenton, recommended me to them because I would be sure to write a detailed review of the book. So, a huge thank you to MadeGlobal and Charlie! I’m really appreciative to have this chance. None of that impeded me in writing an honest review of this book.

The next thing I have to say is for all that I am as a history nerd, I have no clue about this sort of history. I’ve only read a few books about this era and, most of them, I rarely understood anything since they threw names at me and they were basically all the same for me.

However, this book was very succinctly given. In the beginning, only names that I needed for the full story were given. I appreciate that. It let me know people I needed to so, whenever I read more about this era, I’ll actually have a background of people to pick out from however many names there are. Everyone was easy to keep straight. The timeline was super helpful in the front so I could at least have a rough idea of what was coming. There wasn’t extraneous information given.

Despite this book being over the whole context of the battle, I found the sections about what happened after the most interesting. I didn’t really know anything that happened after. For the before stuff, I sort of figured that there were two people who thought they should have the throne, but I didn’t know that William the Conqueror literally destroyed everything. It was so interesting to read that, the uprising and how they tried to get someone else on the throne.

Then, there were the various changes that stemmed from the Battle of Hastings. I literally thought that I could read a full book on that. (And I’m sure that there are books on that, so please recommend if you know any.) Language, culture, architecture, religion, social hierarchy all changed from this one battle. It was fascinating to read even those few pages.

Another section of this book was about the Bayreux Tapestry. I loved reading about how it was a piece of the truth, but largely propaganda. For something that big, it’s a pretty huge undertaking for propaganda. But, I just really found it fascinating as a way to create Edward the Confessor as a saint or giving acceptance to William the Conqueror or destroying Harold’s reputation.

In other words, I really liked this book. MadeGlobal’s History in a Nutshell is really great. I’ve read multiple of their books and they’re always succinct and just super easy to understand. I’d highly recommend any of them, but this one was especially interesting about a subject I don’t know tons about.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue

(Caidyn)

3/5

For me, hype can be a good and a bad thing for me. Usually, I dislike books who get a lot of hype. Especially YA. I thought that would be the case with this book, but, in the end, it was a solid book with things that I really didn’t like and things that I did.

Monty was my biggest issue. I absolutely hated him at first. He was all about sex and booze and angst. I hate all of those things. (Well, not booze, but not drunkenness.) I literally hate books that have too much sex. That’s usually why I DNF a book and I was so close to it with this one all because of Monty. Cocky, drunken, and seemed to just draw angst to him when he had a pretty damn good life when you look at it.

However, he grew on me. Once he went through the realities of life and faced his problems — alcoholism and promiscuity that were meant to cover up his real issues — I understood him. And I thought that the author did a great job by not shying away from mental illness and the things people do to try and get away from it.

For most of the book, Percy was the book’s saving grace. I absolutely loved him. He was kind and sweet, the exact opposite of Monty. I really attached to him and I would have continued on with the book just to find out about him and his story arch. Even if angst was slowly going into his story as well. The biggest thing I loved was about Percy was, yet again, how the author didn’t shy away from the gritty realities of Percy’s life since he is a black man in a very racist time period. Nothing got glossed over, even when it involved Monty.

Finally, there’s Felicity. In my first outline of this, when I still thought that I was going to DNF, I only had one sentence under her name: “I want more.” And, I got it. Her aspirations were great and, I think, probably reflected what some women did want. She completely off-set both of the boys. Strong where they were weak. Focused where they were distracted. Annoyed where they were passive. She worked, bringing out things with both of the boys as well as accenting her own character. I’m excited about the second book, to see where she goes and how much more she’ll develop.

As for the plot, the beginning worried me. It was all angst of many sorts, mainly with Monty against everyone and then the whole will-they-won’t-they thing between Monty and Percy. Sex, drinking, angst. The perfect recipe to get me to stop reading a book since I thought it was going to be just that. For a little over 500 pages.

Then there were suddenly pirates and capture and highway men and alchemy. It got way more interesting and there was suddenly much more than a will-they-won’t-they plot. Admittedly, the supernatural aspects were really trying for me. I couldn’t suspend my disbelief enough when it had been such a realistic book so far and then, suddenly, there were, more or less, supernatural themes coming into the story that stuck around.

Now we arrive at something that was inevitable and everyone will hate me for. Historical stuff. First, the time period. I still don’t even know what year it was or even what decade. I literally had to look up when the Grand Tour started and ended, so I had to make an educated that it was in the early- to mid-1700s. There was still a French king, a sick one at that, so it couldn’t have been past the 1770s. For me, it would have added something to the story to know at least what decade they were in. What was going on around the world and those things.

Second, racism. It was accurate, for sure. I thought that the author was great with it, showing both hostile and benevolent racism. There were things that I recognized and still things that you can hear if you listen closely. However, I found it really hard to believe that Monty would never have noticed some of the things that he was ignorant to. Now, I get it. He was privileged and people aren’t inherently racist, but when the whole world around you believes certain things, you’ll notice that your ideas don’t quite line up.

Lastly, Monty’s sexuality. I’m going to say this first: I know that people were bisexual back then (although that wasn’t a term given since it wasn’t a label until recently). Just like with the racism, the author was great about showing people reacting as they would have back then. Using religion as a justification for why it’s wrong. Being horrified. Mocking. Just, I found it hard to believe that Monty wouldn’t have internalized some of those things. It felt a touch anachronistic, but not to a point where it detracted from the story.

What I’m left with is thinking that this was a solid book. I loved some parts. I hated some. I’m probably going to read the second book since, by the end, I did like it.

The Black Witch by Laurie Forest

The Black Witch (The Black Witch Chronicles, #1)

(Caidyn)

DNF at 10%

1/5

I’m from the Kansas City area. By Kansas’ standards, this is the most liberal part of Kansas that you can get to. “Liberal Kansas”. To me, that’s an oxymoron. Kansas is a red state, the strongest red state that you can really be in. Kansas has only voted Democrat six times in its whole history as a state. Almost every day, I can see Confederate flags on cars. I can see Trump stickers all around on different cars. During the 2016 election, there were Trump signs proudly put in yards to proclaim allegiance to him.

Governor Sam Brownback is also one of the most homophobic and transphobic person I’ve ever had the displeasure to see voted into office over and over again. When SCOTUS ruled in favor of marriage equality, he made a statement telling people that they can go ahead and discriminate. He tried to pass a religious freedom act. Hell, now he’s the nominee for ambassador of international religious freedom in Trump’s presidency.

The high school I attended literally had someone hang a Confederate flag up in the cafeteria for everyone to see. No clue if they got in trouble. The only reason people found out about it was because a former black student found out and told the media. The high school was happy to hush it up so no one would know.

So, I know racism. I know homophobia. I’m a transman, so, I know transphobia.

The allegations of racism in this book are utterly unfounded. Sure, there are racist characters and ideas in this book. But, it rings true. Most societies are based on racism. America is racist. England is racist. Russia is racist. I could go on and on. There’s racism all around in practically every single society.

It’s not right. It’s the truth. It’s a fact of life. It’s something that people should discuss openly and make commentaries on in science fiction and fantasy books. That’s been the point of those books for decades. So, now, it’s not okay to discuss triggering topics? To make them mirror our own to call us out on our shit?

I feel so bad for what happened to Laurie Forest. It was undeserved, the blast that happened. And how dare any of you just rate a book without reading it or to call for others to get away from it. I dislike authors and books. The most I ask for is that people recognize why they’re wrong and don’t take them as the truth. If this book triggered you, your opinion is valid. If you just took the word of a few people without doing your own research, your opinion lacks sincerity. That’s not thinking for yourself.

Laurie Forester, you are an amazing woman for staying above all of this shit that was reigned down upon you. I am sincerely sorry for readers (or not readers) who did this.

My issue was with the writing. It was just bad. I could tell she was a first-time author and it frustrated me to know end. Everything was so heavy handed. She wanted to rush her story (a 600-page book, mind you) and I get that. It just wasn’t for me and I couldn’t bother.

I wish I could give a better rating to bolster this after the serious hate that was given to this book on an unfounded thing. But, it was just a bad book for a completely different reason.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1)

(Caidyn)

2.5/5

Before finishing this book, I had an outline written down about how I would start this book and what I would talk about. It was going to be rather glowing with some things that I noticed or didn’t like included in it. An honest review, like I usually do. Probably would have been about 3.5 stars since the cons didn’t exactly detract from my experience.

I would have discussed a weird dream I had while reading this book late into the night. Probably would have started with that, actually. A fun little anecdote to kick off my review, something that I enjoy starting with. A quote probably would have kicked it off, too. I had highlighted a few that I liked.

However, I’m left frustrated with more cons than pros. I’m sitting here, trying to figure out what to say about this book and what to even think. I liked it up until almost 70%. Then, I got bored and frustrated and it went downhill to the point that I was even contemplating giving it 1.5 or 2 stars instead of 2.5.

I guess I’ll start with the characters.

Lazlo was, by far, my favorite. I really connected with him because he’s so much like me. Living his life in a library, not bothering to stick his head out in the world. His story, his person, his everything connected with me. Until about 70% into the book when he started meeting Sarai.

On the other hand, Sarai is meh. She didn’t feel fleshed out, which made sense by the end. As I read more about her, I just got bored and tired. I don’t want to hear about her angst with not connecting with people and being unhappy and forced to do things that she doesn’t want to. I get it completely, why she was like that. However, that’s not a character I typically want to read about. Then, I found her feeling pointless by the very end of the book.

All of the minor characters were more fleshed out — yes, even more so than Lazlo — and had more depth to them. Take Minya, for instance. She, at six years old, watched everyone she loved died and was left trying to save a few infants. And her guilt and pain and anger radiated through her and the one single chapter that had her as a POV was amazing. However, when through the eyes of Lazlo or Sarai, Minya was reduced to a poor caricature. Eril-Fane was another character like that. I would have rather read about his conflict and feelings over what he did and what happened to him. Eril-Fane’s mother, who was barely there, had more to her.

As for the plot, it was pretty good. I mean that it was good and interesting until the insta-lust came in. I call it insta-lust because it’s not love. It’s two people sexually attracted to one another who don’t know one another. That’s why so many relationships end when you start learning more about the other person. You lust after them. Love comes with knowing their flaws and accepting them, even though you don’t agree. The insta-lust between Lazlo and Sarai, while realistic, was just annoying. It distracted from the plot… which was sort of negated by the end of the book. This book was just set up for the next book. Every single page of the nearly 600-page thing was setting the stage rather than being something of its own.

My next issue was going to be included in my original review. I just have to talk about the similarities between Laini’s first series and this book/new series. It’s almost exactly like it. Things have been changed, but it’s almost alike. SPOILERS ABOUT THIS BOOK AND THE SERIES BEGINNING NOW.

SPOILERS ABOUT THIS BOOK AND THE SERIES BEGINNING NOW.

I’ll say when it’s cool to look back.

Monsters v. normals trope. Both books had it. The monsters, in this, were godspawn. In the other series, it depended on what side you were on. And, I’m okay with that trope. Just not when it’s almost exactly the same. Burgeoning genocide. Hatred. Etc. It reminded me too much and I half expected to find out it was a continuation in the same world as her last series.

Someone normal is really a monster. Seriously??? I guessed that Lazlo was really godspawn about 15% into the book. No joke. I sort of had a thought like: “lol wouldn’t it be funny if Lazlo was really one of them?” And then, to my horror, I was right. It’s just like her other series. The twist gets boring when it’s in the same book.

Also, insta-lust in both books that was so stupid. Need I say more?

SPOILERS ARE ENDING NOW.

So, what am I left with after this book? Honestly, I don’t know. I really feel like the cons outweigh the pros since all of my cons just impacted everything I found a pro. Will I read the next book? I don’t know, but probably not. Lazlo was the only thing pushing me forward and I really started to dislike him for my various reasons by the end.

 

We Have No Idea: A Guide to the Unknown Universe by Jorge Chom and Daniel Whiteson

We Have No Idea: A Guide to the Unknown Universe

(Caidyn)

2.5/5

The reason I picked this book up was because it reminded me of A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. That book was about the known universe and the scientists behind it. Literally, chock full of hilarious anecdotes about the scientists who created/discovered things that was presented in an easy and humorous way. However, this book is about what we don’t know. About how the more answers we have, the more questions crop up and the more that we realize we have no clue. The authors of this repeatedly emphasized that we know, about, 5% of the universe. That’s it.

So, as I said, this book is meant to be humorous. Well, it is. Definitely is. There were times that I smiled or snorted about something that they said. It was brilliantly adapted, too. Since I listened to this book, I can review only that. But, I know that this book was highly visual and probably completely full of comics. It brought some of those aspects into it with sound effects.

However (shouldn’t you expect that from me?) I found it grating after a while. The jokes were all the same, one of the things that I dislike most about books categorized as humor. I get tired of the same jokes over and over again. Usually, I try putting those books down for a bit then trying again only to find the humor still annoys me. That was the problem with this book for me. It expected itself to be funny when I simply didn’t find it to be after a while.

As for the content, it was super interesting. Black holes, dark matter, energy, gravity. Typically, I always sign myself up for books like that. But, the humor distracted me. When the authors really buckled down and didn’t explain things with humor, I paid so much attention to it. If there was humor, I just spaced out.

This book definitely has a good premise, but a bad carry out.