Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh Review

Hyperbole and a half

Synopsis(from Amazon):

This is a book I wrote. Because I wrote it, I had to figure out what to put on the back cover to explain what it is. I tried to write a long, third-person summary that would imply how great the book is and also sound vaguely authoritative—like maybe someone who isn’t me wrote it—but I soon discovered that I’m not sneaky enough to pull it off convincingly. So I decided to just make a list of things that are in the book:

Pictures
Words
Stories about things that happened to me
Stories about things that happened to other people because of me
Eight billion dollars*
Stories about dogs
The secret to eternal happiness*

*These are lies. Perhaps I have underestimated my sneakiness!

Allie Brosh is a phenomenal writer and web artist whose stories are laugh out loud funny, touching and introspective. When she talks about depression it is the most honest account of depression I’ve ever found. Something anyone who suffers from depression can relate to. She also talks about getting lost in the woods and when she and her significant other get trapped in their house by a goose. (She even provides real photographic evidence in case you doubted her comics)

All told through the comics you have undoubtedly seen before as her artwork has been memed many times.

clean

All in all it’s just a fun compilation of stories that you can read as you want to.  I used to read it at work when I worked nights between calls.

I just love this book and, if you love smart, thoughtful humor, I think you will as well

-M-

Allie Brosh’s Website

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Scarlet by Marissa Meyer Book Review

Scarlet

Synopsis (from Amazon):

Cinder is back and trying to break out of prison–even though she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive if she does–in this second installment from Marissa Meyer.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother, or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana.

My rating: 3.5/5

Scarlet continues where the Lunar Chronicles left off but it adds a new character. In addition to Cinder we have Scarlet. Continuing with Meyer’s fairy tale theme, Scarlet’s storyline parallels that of The Little Red Riding Hood.

Some of the ways Meyer tries to draw those parallels feel shoehorned-far less natural than how she incorporated the Cinderella myth into Cinder.

The romance between Scarlet and Wolf (yup) also feels far less natural than the romance between Cinder and Prince Kai.

What kept me reading, however, is we are still following Cinder as she discovers the origins that have been a mystery to her for years. How she became a Cyborg and who she was before she was the mechanic in new Beijing with the wicked stepmother.

The world continues to grow and characters who previously had nothing to do with each other manage to collide into one another. Two plots become one and the race is on.

Scarlet suffers from second book syndrome.  Cinder was so strong of an entry for Meyer but Scarlet, unfortunately, fails to keep up. In the grand scheme of the series, though it may be a weak point, but it serves to give us a lot of important information about Cinder, the Lunars, Prince Kai and Queen Levana that we need to continue into the next installment: Cress.

-M-

If you are an author and would like your book reviewed please send me an email at ekuinbox@gmail.com with an introduction and a brief synopsis of your book and I will get back to you. 🙂

Cinder by Marissa Meyer review

Cinder

Synopsis (From Amazon):

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

My rating: 5/5

Cinder is the first book in Marissa Meyer’s “Lunar Chronicles” series, all of which are retellings of classic fairy tales set against a steampunk future background.

Cinder is a retelling of Cinderella(never would have guessed that, huh?) where Cinder is a part Cyborg living where Cyborgs are hated and feared. How she became a cyborg is a mystery to her. She woke up with no memory in the life she now lives as a renowned mechanic when the prince of New Beijing comes in to her shop looking for help repairing his damaged personal servant robot which is what starts her on a path filled with treason, secrets and danger.

Cinder has all the classic moments you would want. Her shoe(leg) that comes off. The running down the stairs at the ball. Prince Charming and the wicked step mother. It does all this while also managing to be completely unique. The plague running rampant through the streets feels dangerous as do the secrets and history Cinder uncovers as she works to fix the robot for the Prince.

It’s a great read with amazing mythos attached but be prepared to get hooked and read the whole trilogy currently available in a weekend.(the 4th is due out November 10th and there is also a prequel out) The world, though alien from our own feels real and tangible.

It’s a great deal of fun both as a YA novel and as fan of classic fantasy and I have nothing but high praise for Cinder and the Lunar Chronicles series.

-M-

 

If you are an author and would like your book reviewed please send me an email at ekuinbox@gmail.com with an introduction and a brief synopsis of your book and I will get back to you. 🙂

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson book review

Elantris

Synopsis (from Amazon):

Elantris was the capital of Arelon: gigantic, beautiful, literally radiant, filled with benevolent beings who used their powerful magical abilities for the benefit of all. Yet each of these demigods was once an ordinary person until touched by the mysterious transforming power of the Shaod. Ten years ago, without warning, the magic failed. Elantrians became wizened, leper-like, powerless creatures, and Elantris itself dark, filthy, and crumbling.

Arelon’s new capital, Kae, crouches in the shadow of Elantris. Princess Sarene of Teod arrives for a marriage of state with Crown Prince Raoden, hoping — based on their correspondence — to also find love. She finds instead that Raoden has died and she is considered his widow. Both Teod and Arelon are under threat as the last remaining holdouts against the imperial ambitions of the ruthless religious fanatics of Fjordell. So Sarene decides to use her new status to counter the machinations of Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest who has come to Kae to convert Arelon and claim it for his emperor and his god.

But neither Sarene nor Hrathen suspect the truth about Prince Raoden. Stricken by the same curse that ruined Elantris, Raoden was secretly exiled by his father to the dark city. His struggle to help the wretches trapped there begins a series of events that will bring hope to Arelon, and perhaps reveal the secret of Elantris itself.

My rating: 4.5/5

Elantris is one of my favorite Sanderson books. It’s a great stand alone Fantasy if you are looking for a break in reading series. (He does have more books planned in this world when he gets around to it but Elantris stands on it’s own and no ends are left untied) It also has what Sanderson is famous for: a unique and intricate magic system.

It’s also the only book I’ve ever read where the magic system is broken.

Once upon a time, people were randomly chosen to become, basically, Gods. They would wake up and have glowing skin and be able to make things out of nothing, or heal with just their hands. And then, it seems, the magic turned on them. They became gray, their hair falling out and they were unable to sate their hunger.  They were condemned to the city they had made-Elantris-and the people of the city below them-Arelon-tried to ignore them. But people still wake up as “Elantrians” But now that is a curse rather than a blessing.

Which is where the story opens. With our hero, Raoden, prince of Arelon,  awaking to find that his skin has turned gray and rotting. But, this is Sanderson, so it gets much more complicated than that very quickly.

Of all the story lines, Raoden is my favorite. Watching as he copes with being an Elantrian, forsaken by the people he was going to save.  In his story line you can see a lot of Kaladin from the Stormlight Archives being developed. Especially in how he deals with his fellow Elantrians.  Having read Way of Kings first, it was fun to see a similar character. He is slightly cliche (the kind hearted prince who was going to save his people from his father, the evil king, but something gets in his way) but as he unites the previously divided and warring Elantrians (and how he does it) he shows a strength and subtle wit which was delightful to read.

But we also follow a few other characters.

The Princess Sarene from across the Ocean who comes to marry Raoden as part of a peace treaty only to find he has “died” and she is a widow as well as the High Priest Hrathen who has been given 3 months to convert all of Arelon to his religion or his God is going to destroy it.

Sarene has to adjust to a whole new land while finding herself widowed to a man she had never met but thought she might be able to love.

Hrathen is the character who shows the most growth, to me, throughout the story. He isn’t a bad guy, necessarily. He is, in his heart, doing what he thinks is best. He wants to save a continent of people from total destruction. No matter what that means. He may go about things in a bad way and it’s hard to condone all of his actions, but he is doing what is best. Which is a fascinating trait to have in a character. Normally I think other authors may have had him as a villain. Which he kind of is in Elantris but it also goes deeper than that.  Sanderson once again proves his writing prowess with the detail he has put into the characters he has written.

The three stories start out separate. You hardly think they would touch at all (especially Raoden) but as the story goes on, the web is weaved and the three character arcs start to merge into one. Lines start connecting, holes start getting filled and the mystery of the broken magic starts to come alive.

Elantris is a great ride from the first page to the last and is one I know I will be re-reading a few times in the future.

 

-m-

 

If you are an author and would like your book reviewed please send me an email at ekuinbox@gmail.com with a brief synopsis of your book.

Review: Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson

Rithmatist

Synopsis(from Amazon):

More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings. Having nearly overrun the territory of Nebrask, the Wild Chalklings now threaten all of the American Isles.

As the son of a lowly chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students learn the magical art that he would do anything to practice. Then students start disappearing–kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood. Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery–one that will change Rithmatics–and their world–forever.

My rating: 4/5 stars

Brandon Sanderson is one of my favorite authors who rarely fails to deliver in his books. They are fast paced, enough character and world building to entrance you and leave you wanting more each time you are forced to put down the book for pesky reality like food and laundry without ever being overwhelming or overly wordy.

‘The Rithmatist’ is no exception.

As per usual with Sanderson the magic system is impeccable and unique, based in chalk that can move and, with the right spells, become three dimensional. It’s hard for me to write reviews of Brandon Sanderson books without going on and on and on about the magic systems (notice I haven’t put up a video review yet? That’s because every time I film this review and the review of Elantris it’s 10 minutes long and all about the magic system) so let me just leave it at: Once again Sanderson delivers a unique and refreshing magic system that is fully flushed out and stunning in it’s intricacy.

In a day where there are so many Fantasy books being published all the time, I find myself getting bored with the magic systems and the villains as they get repetitive very quickly. But what other book can you name that has 3 dimensional chalk as the villains and chalk runes as the main form of magic while a war is waged between human and killer chalkings?(It may not sound like it works but trust me: it does.)

The only critique I have for The Rithmatist is the same problem I have with many of Sanderson’s books. He doesn’t write women well. He has one woman character that appears over and over in all of his books and it’s just a bad “strong woman” trope. If you are new to Sanderson it may not be overtly obvious because he hides it better than many authors but once you read a couple of his books it kind of screams at you.

Also, in this book, women are just now allowed to become Rithmatists. This struck me as out of place because the Rithmatist takes place seemingly in the future in America. In the “Epic Fantasy” or “High Fantasy” novels it kind of comes with the territory that women will not be treated very well or, at the very least, will be looked down on.  But it felt wrong in the setting of ‘The Rithmatist.

But that is my only problem with The Rithmatist and it isn’t enough to keep me from recommending this book. I love everything else about it and went through the book in under a day.

I loved the world and Joel is very believable as the hero thrown into a world he has studied and longed for but never been a part of. It’s a lot of fun if you are looking for a quick read or something a little different than your average, every day YA Fantasy novel. With how it ended I really can’t wait for the next installment.

-M-

If you are an author and would like your book reviewed please send me an email at ekuinbox@gmail.com with a brief  introduction and synopsis of your book and I will get back to you.

Books vs. Time

My TBR Jar
My TBR Jar

Yesterday, on Pinterest, I found an idea to make a To Be Read jar for those times when you just can’t decide what to read. That has definitely been a problem for me lately. Not too long ago my boyfriends daughter mocked me for my leaning tower of books. It had about 100 books in it (it was multiple piles) that I was trying to go through to pick what I would read after I finish Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan.

I went out to my local store, found the biggest jar I could (and it was only 5.00!) 400 post it notes and I started my project. I went through my library and my kindle and found all the books I own but have yet to read.

There are 226 post it notes in that jar.

226 books I own that I haven’t read. And there are so many more that I don’t own that I want to read. And I’m discovering more all the time and more books are coming out all the time that I want to read.

Which sends me into a little bit of a panic.

I’m never going to have time to read all the books I want to read. Not between work and a social life(meager though it may be) There is always going to be another book I want to read. Always.

That jar doesn’t even include short story books or compilations (Like ‘Rogues’ edited by GRRM) It doesn’t include the Annotated Sandman’s that I want to go through at some point.

There’s always another book. But there isn’t always more time.

Quite the conundrum.