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The Queen of Oz (Dorothy Must Die #0.9)

Danielle Paige

Rate: 2

The Queen of Oz tells the story of how Pete came to be. Let me save you about 80 pages of reading: Mombi is entrusted with the task of protecting and hiding baby Ozma so she decides to perform a transformation spell that goes wrong and turns Ozma into a boy, Pete. I don’t know why this detail couldn’t be added to the main story, but I guess since writing is a business, when you have the opportunity to write more and make more money, you do it, right?

The main thing I learned from The Queen of Oz isn’t even Dorothy Must Die specific: adults and teenagers need better lines of communication. Ozma wouldn’t have wound up in Glinda’s clutches if Mombi had been more open with Pete and Pete hadn’t succumbed to his “woe is me” hormones. Mombi didn’t have to immediately tell Pete his true identity, but she could have made it clear that there was danger. She also could have told him more about Oz and its political and social structure. I also think it would have been less suspicious to the general public if Mombi had let Pete out more instead of hiding him away. I think Pete would have helped the situation if instead of jumping to the conclusion that Mombi hated and resented him, he was more reasonable. There could be plenty of reasons why Mombi kept Pete isolated, but Pete figures that she wants free labor. Also, instead of trying to communicate with Mombi, Pete decides to run away, like how predictable. All over some chance encounter with a guy, how boring. This all shows that adults have to be more open with teenagers and teenagers can’t behave like the children they don’t want to be mistaken for.

Anyway, back to the novella. Unless your in the mood for an interlude of teen angst, don’t bother.

Dark Side of the Rainbow By Danielle Paige

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Dark Side of the Rainbow (Dorothy must Die #0.8)

Danielle Paige

Rate: 1.5

You’re likely to DNF this novella. I’m just being honest. I probably would have if it wasn’t for the fact that I’ve been following this series so closely and wanted to provide a more informed review of the novella. The main problem I had with Dark Side of the Rainbow is how drawn out, dry, and boring it is. The story doesn’t get interesting until the last 10-15 pages, which means the story is about 75% filler.

Dark Side of the Rainbow tells the story of Dorothy’s interaction with Polychrome and how Rainbow Falls became a hidden kingdom in the sky. Like every other novella where Dorothy tries to interact with someone, she shows up and fucks shit up. In Dark Side of the Rainbow, Dorothy travels to Rainbow Falls with the intention of learning how to use fairy magic from Polychrome, but when Polly refuses to teach Dorothy, Dorothy decides that she will not tolerate any disobedience and decides she will destroy Rainbow Falls and kill Polychrome. But Dorothy underestimates Polly and is shown the door, even though Rainbow Falls has sustained substantial damage.

I’m really making this novella sound more exciting than it actually is.

Even with the showdown between Dorothy and Polly and a sort of explanation as to why Rainbow Falls is hidden in the sky, I’m still left with some questions:

Who the hell is Bright? And where the hell did he come from?

Paige gives Polly a love interest with no background as to who he is, where his from, or what his intentions are. To make matters worse, Bright appears and disappears from Polly’s life at will, which is very suspicious. Like, where is he going? And why does he keep coming back? WHAT ARE HIS INTENTIONS?

Overall, Dark Side of the Rainbow is a strong pass. This whole series is turning out to be a strong pass.  wlEmoticon-rainbow.png

Fairy Tale Retelling: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

 

Throne of Glass book cover

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass Series #1)

Sarah J. Maas

Rate: 3

Ok, so this review isn’t going to be as good as my other reviews for two reasons:

  1. It’s been so long since I read Throne of Glass.
  2. I binge read all the books (currently) in the series so they’re kind of blurring together in my mind.

But I’m going to write this review anyway because Throne of Glass is part of my Fairy Tale Retelling series.

My Likes and Dislikes

The Main Thing I Liked About Throne of Glass

  • Celaena: Celaena is the strong, sarcastic heroine I want in a YA novel. She has her moments when she can be annoying and gets caught up in romance, but for the most part, her focus is on obtaining her freedom, at any cost. I also liked Celaena’s girly moments when she’s dressing up and building her friendship with Nehemia. Who says a person can’t be an assassin and still like shiny, girly things?

The Main Thing I Disliked About Throne of Glass

  • Romance: I’ll be honest here; after reading the other books in the Throne of Glass series, I can barely remember Celaena and Dorian’s relationship. All I know is that deep in my gut I didn’t like the two of them together. I can’t remember if I didn’t like it because it felt forced or the whole romance was unnecessary, but I didn’t like it. And if Maas had to include a romance, shouldn’t the assassin be with someone better than the weak prince?

Connection to Cinderella

Similar to previous retelling posts, Throne of Glass will be compared to the Disney version of the fairy tale.

Disney's Cinderella book cover

However, Throne of Glass was a bust as a fairy tale retelling, especially Cinderella. There was no evil stepmother, no evil stepsisters, no identifying the girl with a piece of clothing, and no happily ever after with the prince. The closest Throne of Glass got to Cinderella was when Celaena’s handmaid helped her get ready for the ball and said she felt like a fairy god mother. If you have to explicitly state your connection to a fairy tale, then you’re doing something wrong? If you’re looking for a Cinderella retelling, then you should skip this series because it’s not going to satisfy you. Try Gilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodge instead. However, if you’re looking for a fantasy story, then try Throne of Glass. The first book (this one I’m reviewing) isn’t great, but the series definitely picks up.

Add to your Goodreads | Buy on Amazon

 

The Infinite Sea – Rick Yancey

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The Infinite Sea (The 5th Wave #2)

Rick Yancey

Rate: 2.5

I didn’t enjoy the Infinite Sea like I did the 5th Wave. The writing was still great, but the story did not grip me and engage me like the first book did. I think the main thing I did not like was the point of views. I don’t mind stories with various POVs; I just didn’t like the perspectives I received in the Infinite Wave.

**Warning: Minor Spoilers Ahead**

POVs

  • Poundcake: Unless Yancey intended to kill off both Poundcake and Evan, there was no reason to provide Poundcake’s POV. Yancey could have left the story of the hotel explosion unknown until Evan rejoined Cassie and the others and told them what happened. Yes, it wouldn’t have been as detailed as Poundcake’s POV, but it would’ve been better than inserting a perspective just to take it away. The perspective added details, but it didn’t further the story.
  • Ringer: Majority, like 90%, of the story was told in Ringer’s POV. Again, the writing was good so her perspective wasn’t dull, but it didn’t entertain me like Cassie and Ben’s perspectives in the first book. Plus, Ringer’s story didn’t seem to be going anywhere. She spent the whole time trying to find the answer to a question I can’t even remember, but never finding it. It felt like she spent the whole book thinking in circles and never coming close to an answer, or at least a way to escape.

Romance

What was Yancey trying to create between Razor and Ringer? Their “romance” didn’t make sense and went against Ringer’s established personality. Ringer is supposed to be cold and stoic, but she falls for a guy whose grandma had a yippie dog? Sorry, does not compute.

Overall, the writing of the Infinite Sea was good, but the content was lacking. Yancey could have explored the 5th Wave universe more than having Ringer attempt to find out if the Others are really aliens and not coming to a definitive conclusion. For the most part, it felt like Yancey wrote the Infinite Sea in hopes that it would be adapted into a movie and so that he could develop the 5th Wave universe more. For example, some of the scenes seemed more action-movie-like than how a regular person would react in that situation. I think that took away from the quality of the story.

Side note: Can we stop having characters use the phrase “the/an infinite sea”? It’s annoying and redundant. I get that it is the title of the book, and I see what you did there, but after the second time, it’s annoying.

The 5th Wave – Rick Yancey

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The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave #1)

Rick Yancey

Rate: 4

First of all, the 5th wave is the first audiobook I’ve ever listened to. I don’t think I could have picked a better first book. Phoebe Strole and Brandon Espinoza did an amazing job narrating and bringing the story to life. I liked and enjoyed the telling of the 5th wave more than I liked the movie.

I also enjoyed the multiple perspectives. I don’t think all of them were necessary, but I did like Cassie’s and Ben’s POVs. Through Cassie’s POV, I was able to learn about both the physical and emotional devastation of each wave. Each wave killed millions to billions of people, but each time it also took away a bit of emotional stability and safety. Cassie had to go through life questioning who she could trust, and if life was worth living, if she was all alone, and if keeping a promise was worth all the physical and emotional obstacles she had to face. Through Ben’s POV, I was able to see what it was like to be molded and manipulated by the others and slowly come to the realization that you aren’t on the side of the war you thought you were on. Ben tried his hardest to be Zombie, but he couldn’t kill off all of his Ben mannerisms. I think this is what made it so hard for Ben to accept he had been manipulated by the others: Zombie was an obedient soldier who didn’t want to see fault in his commanding officers, Ben was a teenager who couldn’t deny that things didn’t add up – the technology, the base, the kids – unless they were being controlled by the others.

I could have done without the Cassie-Evan romance. Yes, I fell for parts of it, but I couldn’t get past the predator-prey dynamic of the relationship. You have to be a special type of woman to swoon at being compared to and called a mayfly. Sorry, but I prefer guys to view me as an equal, as human, not some bug to be crushed. But I guess if a woman can fall for and marry a guy who admits to being addicted to her blood and wanting to kill her, a gal can enjoy being the bug to his boot. I guess I’m just weird for wanting something different.

All in all, I enjoyed the 5th wave. However, I think this is, in part, due to the narration; it really brought the story to life. I don’t know if I’d have liked the book as much in my own mental voice. I don’t know if I would have appreciated the different perspectives if I had read the text. Though I can say this experience has made me more open to trying more audiobooks. They won’t replace the pleasure of reading, but I won’t actively avoid them either.

That’s What S/He Said Thursday #47

“I spent centuries wandering the world, from empires to kingdoms to wastelands, never settling, never stopping – not for one moment. I was always looking toward the horizon, always wondering what waited across the next ocean, over the next mountain. But I think… I think the whole time, all those centuries, I was just looking for you.”

~Rowan from Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

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Order of the Wicked – Danielle Paige

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Order of the Wicked (Dorothy Must Die #0.7)

Danielle Paige

Rate: 2

This novella might have been more interesting if it hadn’t been so long since I read a Dorothy Must Die novella or novel. Coming into the story fresh, it was hard for me to decipher who was important and who was not. Namely, I couldn’t figure out if there was a point to me reading Lanadel’s POV – I don’t remember her from the other books. Nox, Mombi, Gert, and Glamora are present, but no new information is given about them to say their stories are fleshed out. No new information is given about the Order either since everything “has to be” shrouded in mystery and secrecy to ensure nothing can be revealed if Dorothy happens to capture and torture an Order member.

If this sounds like a waste of a novella, it is.

Even if Lanadel is an important character, we don’t learn much about her: She joins the Order to avenge her family – Dorothy’s army murdered her parents and her two brothers – but she’s lying to herself as much as the Order is lying to her. Lanadel refuses to admit that her family is dead because, once peaceful, Ozians are turning on one another without being poisoned by Dorothy’s magic. Also, Lanadel refuses to see that she responds to Nox so negatively because he receives affection from the girl she has a thing for. (Lanadel may be gay, but I can’t be 100% sure because she never allows herself to explore her feelings.)

The whole novella becomes moot at the end when Lanadel states that she’s grateful for the training she’s received, but she’s no longer going to work for the Order. This makes all her whining needless because she’s not even going to work with the people she’s been bitching about the whole book. Lanadel claims she’s leaving because of the Order’s secrets, but really she’s leaving because Melindra is being sent to spy on Dorothy’s palace, where her death is almost certain, and Lanadel doesn’t have the courage to tell Melindra how she really feels.

Poetry: The Last Time I’ll Write About You

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The Last Time I’ll Write About You

Dawn Lanuza

Rate: 3

The Last Time I’ll Write About You follows the rise and fall of a relationship from the perspective of a person who has already reached the end of the relationship so even from the very beginning the poems foreshadow the relationship’s demise. Like with any poetry collection, you can’t expect to like every poem in the collection. This is true when it comes to The Last Time I’ll Write About You. There were lines I liked here and there and some poems were better than others, but, for me, the collection wasn’t great poem after great poem. The following are a few lines I enjoyed from The Last Time I’ll Write About You:

“And you ask the world,

Why doesn’t it happen

To someone like you? …

You knew the answer:

It’s because you don’t let it.”

 

“When we parted

I’ve always wondered

How everyone else

Reminded me of you”

 

“Was I a secret not worth sharing

Or

Was I fact not worth telling?”

My Adult Life in Comics (Review)

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Adulthood is a Myth

Sarah Andersen

Rate: 5

I loved these comics. I laughed from the first one to the last one. They were so relatable. Yes, all my clothes have a use limit except my bras. And yes, I hate everyone at school. And yes, my conditioner always runs out faster than my shampoo. And these statements only hint at the very relatable comics in this book.

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The only con to this book is that not everyone can relate to it, which is OK. I’m the introverted, awkward, trying to adult but failing, young adult woman this book is targeting so everything feels like finally meeting a kindred spirit to me. But this book of comics won’t appeal to men and it won’t appeal to women who have their shit together or aren’t as awkward or are extroverted and love people.  And that’s OK. Andersen couldn’t possibly include everyone’s adult experiences in one book. But it was still a hilarious, quick read for me.

2016 Blog Goals Check-In & 2017 Blog Goals

If you’re interested in viewing my full 2016 Blog Goal post and not just the concise, updated version below, it can be found here.

2016 Blog Goals

Read 75 books.

In 2016, I set my Goodreads Reading Challenge at 75 books. I completed 60% of this goal; I read 45 books. Honestly, this is more than I expected because I had some serious reading droughts in 2016.

Finish my Fairytale Retellings series.

This series is supposed to be 17 books long. I only needed to read 13 books in 2016. I read 3 and reviewed 2; I’ll get around to posting the review for the third book. I don’t know why it’s taking me so long to finish this series.

Publish 5 discussion pieces.

I published one. *sigh* You can check it out here.

Create a Facebook page for this blog.

I never got around to this. I got as far as brainstorming what my cover graphic might look before this task was put on the backburner.

Interact with the blog community more.

My intention was to make at least one comment on a blog each month. However, I think I only made it 3 or 4 months before my login on WordPress became sporadic making it less likely I would comment on someone’s post.

Now on to the goals I hope to accomplish this year.

2017 Blog Goals

Read 50 books.

This year I set my Goodreads Reading Challenge at 50 books. While it is lower than my 2016 reading goal, it is higher than the number of books I read last year, which, to me, is a good equilibrium. It is also about a book a week with a little wiggle room so I think I may be able to accomplish it if I keep reminding myself a book a week.

Continue to work on my Fairytale Retellings series.

I think it’s highly doubtful that I’ll finish this series this year seeing as it is taking me so long to finish it anyway, but I think trying to tackle some of it, instead of all of it, is more manageable. I think I’ll try to read another 3 books this year.

Publish 1 discussion piece.

This way if I only post 1 piece, then I accomplished a goal, but if I post two pieces, then I get to feel awesome about overachieving. 🙂

Publish 25 reviews.

So, I actually took the time out and counted and last year I posted 18 reviews. This time I going to try to write 25 reviews, which is half of the books I hope to read this year. However, the number of reviews I post isn’t as important to me as making sure there aren’t as many droughts on this blog as last year. I just don’t want my posts, reviews and otherwise, to be few and far between.

There you have it: my four blog goals for 2017, one less than 2016, but hopefully more manageable or easier to accomplish or both.

Side note: I would have loved to roll expanding my brand and interacting with the community forward to 2017, but I’m going into my final semester of college and don’t know how much time I’ll be able to dedicate to this blog. It’s better to leave the two goals off than to add them knowing it’s highly unlikely I’ll get to them.

Did you create any reading/blog goals/resolutions? Are you not even bothering with the goal/resolution trend? Let me know in the comment section.