Saturday, December 28, 2013

Hiatus and best of 2013 2014

Hi everyone,

Just a quick note that I'm going on the BEST PART OF THE WHOLE YEAR - our annual camping trip to Mexico.  I had hoped to have my best of 2013 up by now, but life happened, so it will have to happen in the New Year.  So with that quick note, I hope everyone had an awesome Christmas and have a Happy New Year!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Top Ten Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Bringing Me

Most books I buy for myself are books I have already read and loved, or are by authors that I love beyond belief *cough* Robin McKinley and Tamora Pierce *cough*.  So to not be boring and list all the books I love since I'm starting to have repeats (There will still be repeats.  I can't help myself), I've decided to split it between books I've already read and books I am 98% sure I will love, but haven't read yet.

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2)

Soo...I may have accidentally sent myself Throne of Glass instead of the person I meant to mail it to, so Merry Christmas to me!  Now all I need is CoM (and the novellas when they come out in print next year!)

Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy, #1)

 I have already bought the sequel, Untold, so now I need to get my hands on the first book!  And the novellas might be worth reading as well (but then they wouldn't make it on this part of the list anyway)

Mao's Last Dancer by Li Cunxin

This is easily one of the most beautiful books I've ever read.  Even  better?  The movie is just as fantastic as the book, so I highly recommend both!  (And want to own both)

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

This book is amazing.  It's contemplative, heart breaking, and real in a way you probably wouldn't expect a retelling of Peter Pan to be.  I will definitely be rereading this for years to come.

 Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

Bitterblue (Graceling Realm, #3)

One of my favourite authors, Kristin Cashore is now in my automatically buy anything she's written list.  I already own Graceling and Fire (also aren't these book covers AWESOME??), all I need is Bitterblue to complete my collection!

Shadows by Robin McKinley


So, I've already mentioned that Robin McKinley is an automatic buy from me, so obviously this would be on my list.  Thanks to my Secret Santa, all I need is this book, and I will own every single McKinley novel.  Isn't that crazy?? (And by crazy, I clearly mean AWESOME.)

The Story of Us by Deb Caletti

The Story of Us

 Deb Caletti is another auto buy, although I don't always keep her books.  But I usually keep about 3/4 of them and I love her, so it's worth buying a book to support her!  I've gotten a bit behind as I don't have last year's book OR this year's book, so I figure I should deal with last year's one first.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell


All I've been hearing this whole year is just how amazing Rainbow Rowell is...and I haven't managed to read any of her books!  So she is becoming the #1 priority for me to get to next year.  Out of all her books (and I imagine I'll love them all), this one sounds like the one I'd love the most.  I mean it is 100% me!  

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1)

*Waits to hear shocked silence that follows the announcement that I have not read this yet*...

Yeah so I should read this.  I've not seen a single bad review for it yet.  And you know what else?  Almost half this entire list is contemporary YA!  I'M EVOLVING MUAHAHAHA.  I'll be Blastoise, please and thank you.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1)

Aaaaand we're back to my favourite genre.  So this is a fairy tale retelling.  Did I mention I love those?  There's a reason why Robin McKinley is one of my favourite authors.  So fairy tale retelling?  Check.  Sci-fi fairy retelling?  Umm, YES PLEASE.

And that's it for my TTT!  What books made your list?  Leave a link (Or I can't find you and see your list!!) in the comments :)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Demon's Surrender (The Demon's Lexicon Trilogy #3) - Sarah Rees Brennan

The Demon's Surrender (Demon's Lexicon Trilogy, #3)


GoodreadsThe Goblin Market has always been the centre of Sin's world. She's a dancer and a performer, secure in her place. But now the Market is at war with the magicians, and Sin's place is in danger. Keeping secrets from the market she loves, struggling with a friend who has become a rival, Sin is thrown together with the Ryves brothers, Nick and Alan - whom she's always despised. But Alan has been marked by a magician, to be tortured as the magician pleases, and as Sin watches Alan struggle to protect the demon brother he loves, she begins to see both brothers in a new light. But how far will brother go to save brother - and what will it cost them all?

Thoughts  This was weird.  It's from Sin's point of view, which I both liked and disliked - I really like her character, but I felt like because she was the narrator there were a bunch of plot tangents that weren't really necessary, but because they weren't really explored, they were also not fleshed out enough to work either.  Particularly the competition between Mae and Sin - and that's a whole other issue.  If you aren't worried about spoilers, look up the goodreads reviews and they really hit on the issue of race and culture, etc.  Also, speaking of POC - why is Alan on the cover?  It's from Sin's POV!  Why isn't she on the cover??  Oh wait.  Because she's half black.  Clearly not worthy of a cover.  (Admittedly there is ONE version of the cover with her on it.  But the other FIVE covers?  All Alan.)

I also felt like the romance was lackluster.  Once again I just didn't care.  And in some cases I was like...what??  *spoilers* Jamie and Seb?  Huh?  Where did that come from?  He was dating Jamie's sister for Pete's sake!  Not that I'm not happy for them I guess?  But we don't get to see their relationship mature at all, it's just suddenly THERE.*end spoiler*  In fact only one couple didn't seem out of the blue and that's because they've been sort dancing around the subject for at least a book.  In a way it felt like the couples were just...I don't know paired of so...neatly.  Which I feel isn't a real complaint, so I don't know what my problem is.  I don't know.  I mean I enjoyed the book, it's not that I hated it, but I wasn't really loving it either.

What did she do to my poor Jamie?!  He was unrecognizable!!  I actually would have loved a book from his POV and I feel like there was more action around him than whatever tangents we went down with Sin/Mae.  That being said, I did like the ending, and how the magical problems were solved (at least as far as Sin/Mae go).  Some people had some...issues with it, and I definitely see where they are coming from (Again, head to the goodreads reviews if you don't mind spoilers and want to see what all the race/culture hullaboo was about).  But in the end, I thought it was a good ending to the trilogy.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Wolf Princess - Cathryn Constable

The Wolf Princess


Alone in the world, Sophie dreams of being someone special, but she could never have imagined this.

On a school trip to Russia, Sophie and her two friends find themselves on the wrong train. They are rescued by the beautiful Princess Anna Volkonskaya, who takes them to her winter palace and mesmerises them with stories of lost diamonds and a tragic past. But as night falls and wolves prowl, Sophie discovers more than dreams in the crumbling palace of secrets.


Let's do something new!  We're going to make this review out of lists rather than cohesive paragraphs because I feel like this:

What I didn't like

-       The story is really predictable.  Like really.  I could tell you from the first chapter what was going to happen (more or less).   Which means no (or very few) surprises in the plot, and the same goes for the characters.  I could have forgiven the plot if the characters had something to offer, but they didn't.
-       I didn’t like the friendship between the girls.  Daphne comes off as catty and stuck-up, and Marianne isn't really with the program, and Sophie doesn't fit with the other two either.  It's like the author put the stereotypes together and made them all friends.  They do have their redeeming moments, but friendship, especially female friendship, in books is something I'm especially nitpicky about.

What I did like

-      Russia is a new twist.  I mean, I can't think of any books that set Russia as a dream place and that was refreshing.  The author made it sound so magical and beautiful!  The setting and description of the girls' surroundings was easily my favourite part of the book. 
-     In a lot of ways it reminded me of Anastasia, and I think the parallels are easy enough to draw that it was intentional.  That actually didn't bother me as I have a soft spot for the Disney version of this story and I've always enjoyed stories about Anastasia.  (I actually was secretly expecting Sophie to be Anastasia hahah)


It’s cute, and maybe younger readers will like it as it's got a sort of Chronicles of Narnia sense of wonder to it (as well as beautiful scenery), but it was too predictable and two-dimensional for my taste.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Top Ten New To Me Authors

Hosted by The Broke and Bookish

As always, in no particular order!


Author of the Throne of Glass series.  Crown of Midnight is my favourite book of 2013!

Sarah Rees Brennan

Author of The Demon's Lexicon Trilogy and The Lynburn Legacy.  Unspoken is tied with CoM for favourite book I read this year (Hint hint, I don't own either book.  Or Throne of Glass!)  If you don't want to take my word for how awesome it is, what about Tamora Pierce?  SHE SHOULD BE GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU GO READ THIS!

Author of The Dresden Files.  It may have taken me ages, but I finally started this series and I love it!

Author of Kushiel's Legacy (a series).  I have never been so surprised by a book in my life!  Marketed as an erotica, it's actually a crazy detailed high-fantasy!  Seriously this is some of the best world building I've EVER read and I seriously recommend this to all fantasy lovers (but especially one who enjoys a few naughty bits).

Author of Peaches, the May Bird series, and most importantly Tiger Lily, which was one of the most beautifully written novels I've read (and made my heart all smooshed)

Author of Ship Breaker, one of the most dystopian dystopias I've had the pleasure to read.  (Also it's terrifyingly realistic and has a sequel I can't wait to read!)


Author of The Slayer Chronicles, The Chronicles of Vladmir Too, and Soulbound which features my favourite heroine since Katsa (and lasted until I met Celaena much later in the year, also breaking my streak of favourite heroines whose name started with Ka)

Author of Linked and the sequel's coming out next year!

Author of A Cat Called Dog which is the CUTEST most ADORABLE and FUNNIEST book I have ever read and you need to read it!  Go buy this asap for all your family and friends and support this author because I want more cat books like this!!!!

 Cinda Williams Chima

Portrait of Cinda

 Author of The Heir Chronicles (which I have yet to read and need to get to ASAP) and The Seven Realms.  I can't believe I only discovered her this year, her writing is awesome!

Author of Sure Signs of Crazy.  Were you a To Kill A Mockingbird nerd?  Read this.  Love thought-provoking, heart breaking, well-written middle grade fiction?  Read this.  Just read this!

Scott Lynch

Author of a series that has me shipping a couple so much I might go crazy waiting for the next book.  I haven't shipped anyone this much since Buffy met Angel.  Since I started the series backwards, I highly recommend you start with the first book in The Gentleman Bastard series, The Lies of Locke Lamora.

Award winning author of Mockingbird and Seeing Red.  Pretty much any of the criteria I put for Sure Signs of Crazy applies here as well.  Added plus?  I'm quoted on her blog!  *fangirl squeal*!!

There are so many more authors I could add to this list I'm sure!  But technically I'm already over ten, so I'll stop while I've realized I can't count.  This has been such a great year for introducing me to new authors!  Any of these authors new to you as well?  Leave me a comment (AND A LINK TO YOUR BLOG) so I can see who made your list!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Demon's Covenant (The Demon's Lexicon #2) - Sarah Rees Brennan

The Demon's Covenant (The Demon's Lexicon, #2)


GoodreadsMae Crawford's always thought of herself as in control, but in the last few weeks her life has changed. Her younger brother, Jamie, suddenly has magical powers, and she's even more unsettled when she realizes that Gerald, the new leader of the Obsidian Circle, is trying to persuade Jamie to join the magicians. Even worse? Jamie hasn't told Mae a thing about any of it. Mae turns to brothers Nick and Alan to help her rescue Jamie, but they are in danger from Gerald themselves because he wants to steal Nick's powers. Will Mae be able to find a way to save everyone she cares about from the power-hungry magician's carefully laid trap?


It's weird because in some ways I loved this more than The Demon's Lexicon, and in other ways I definitely didn't.  I felt like the tone was much more like SRB's Unspoken actually - lots of humour in this one (maybe because we were following Mae's narration this time?)  We get lots of Jamie who I love and he was as quippy as usual!

I really am not a huge fan of romance tangles in my book, and I think I'm going through a definite anti-romance thing, because I really wasn't into the romance in this book even slightly.  Not even a small part of me was interested in ANY of the love...combinations?  I won't go into details because of spoilers, but there's basically this huge love tangle and it's confusing and dumb and I was bored.  Unfortunately, it was a rather large portion of the book as well.  I would like to give the disclaimer that if I wasn't feeling so anti-romance in books right now, I might take that statement back - the romance wasn't bad, I just wasn't interested.

Luckily there's plenty of action complete with Nick's badassery and Jamie's hilarity, so overall the book is balanced.

Sorry this is so short, I've been feeling rather uninspired about reviewing :-/ (so unfortunately I think short reviews are in both of our futures, assuming you read the ones I write).  Hopefully I snap out of it soon!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A White Room - Stephanie Carroll

A White Room


GoodreadsAt the close of the Victorian Era, society still expected middle-class women to be “the angels of the house,” even as a select few strived to become something more. In this time of change, Emeline Evans dreamed of becoming a nurse. But when her father dies unexpectedly, Emeline sacrifices her ambitions and rescues her family from destitution by marrying John Dorr, a reserved lawyer who can provide for her family.

John moves Emeline to the remote Missouri town of Labellum and into an unusual house where her sorrow and uneasiness edge toward madness. Furniture twists and turns before her eyes, people stare out at her from empty rooms, and the house itself conspires against her. The doctor diagnoses hysteria, but the treatment merely reinforces the house’s grip on her mind.

Emeline only finds solace after pursuing an opportunity to serve the poor as an unlicensed nurse. Yet in order to bring comfort to the needy she must secretly defy her husband, whose employer viciously hunts down and prosecutes unlicensed practitioners. Although women are no longer burned at the stake in 1900, disobedience is a symptom of psychological defect, and hysterical women must be controlled.

A novel of madness and secrets, A White Room presents a fantastical glimpse into the forgotten cult of domesticity, where one’s own home could become a prison and a woman has to be willing to risk everything to be free.


I definitely enjoyed this book, but I think it's one of those books that you are totally absorbed in when you read it...but if you think too hard about certain aspects it requires you to suspend quite a bit of belief in a lot of things.

The pacing in the beginning was sooooo slow!  It was beautifully written (My copy wouldn't allow bookmarks in it or I would have an example quote for you.  Everything is quite descriptive), but it definitely dragged.  Once you get past all the creepy house descriptions though, it's utterly gripping!  The suspense is crazy!!  Whatever complaints I have about the characters being a bit two-dimensional or the weird crazy house stuff, I completely put aside as I got sucked into this story.  I don't want to say too much because a lot of the suspense is built on coming to the book not knowing much more than what is written on the back cover, but trust me.  If you read this and are finding yourself stuck WAIT.  As I said, once you get past the house bits, the story takes you for a rollercoaster ride.  (I'm pretty sure I just made that saying up.  YOU ALL MUST USE IT NOW.)    Beyond the suspense, the plot itself is very interesting.  I know very little about the history of medicine which is a big part of this book and it was fascinating!  Not only in relation to women, but in general.  This is set right around the time that germs were becoming common knowledge.  While there is a big focus on medicine and techniques of the time, it doesn't weigh the story down.  In fact it makes the story even more interesting. 

Unfortunately, a book can't thrive on plot and suspense alone.  While I feel like Emeline was very well written, I didn't get a good feel for any of the other characters.  The villains are villainish, and the good guys are...sometimes villainish.   It adds to the suspense that you don't know who's on Emeline's side, but I feel like character development was sacrificed for this (and we all know characters are #1 for me, so this might not bother most other people).  I was especially unconvinced by the romance and the ending seemed rather too convenient.  But that being said, I am glad it ended the way it did.

In a few ways this reminds me of a historical fiction adult version of the Mara Dyer series.  If you're at all interested in any combination of those things, I'd check this out.  Part of this is how well the suspense is played out (and we all know that the suspense in Mara Dyer about did me in it was so crazy).  Another part of this was Emeline's madness.  I personally didn't really understand why she was seeing things really, but it adds to the suspense as I wasn't sure if she really was crazy.  (Starting to sound familiar?)

 But on to the parts of the story that I loved and have very little to do with the mechanics of writing.
The subject for this novel is near and dear to my heart.  I see how far we have come (and how far we haven't) as women in society now, compared to a century ago - when midwives considered criminals, hysteria was a diagnosis and had...unpleasant solutions (They thought the uterus wandered into your head!  What?!), when abortion was a crime, when disobedience in a woman was diagnosed as a mental disorder.  Literally.  They could put you in the madhouse if you disobeyed your husband or parents.  No questions asked.  In a lot of ways this paralleled an earlier version of The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, one of my all time favourite books.  I always love books like these because I think more needs to be written about this time period and women's rights (or really women's rights throughout the 20th century).  The awareness needs to be there.  It hasn't been so long since we've had the rights we do now, and it's still a battle.  A lot of people have started to dislike the word feminist and the sort of people it stands for.  You should definitely read that article - it's an interesting look at feminism and what it means to people (and also Joss Whedon).  Feminism for me still stands simply for equal rights between genders.  I think a lot of us take for granted what our predecessors lived through and what they have done to make our life the way it is now.  We shouldn't lay back and think "that's just the way it is" - we have to keep fighting for equality not only in our laws but in the way society views us.  We have to keep improving for all the generations that follow us.


Despite the flaws I listed, I would definitely recommend this book.  It is utterly readable and it accurately (to my knowledge - the book seems well-researched) depicts a time in our history that is extremely important to know as a woman.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Top Ten Books I Plan to Read This Winter

This week's TTT asks us what's on our winter TBR list!  I honestly am not very good about planning what I'm going to do, but somehow magically I have a bunch of books that I HAVE to read in December!  (Well have to as in ARC's and library books I don't really want to have to take across the country with me for Christmas).  Also look!  I can make banners! (Well cheating, banners, but still whatever)

In the Age of Love and Chocolate (Birthright, #3) 

I'm a huge fan of Gabrielle Zevin's and have loved this series so far.  I've been so excited for this ending to the trilogy I'm amazed it's taken me this long to get my hands on it!

2.  Moby Clique (Bard Academy #3) - Cara Lockwood

Moby Clique (Bard Academy, #3)

I mentioned on another TTT that this series, featuring famous authors who committed suicide and are punished by serving out their Purgatory as teachers at a boarding school for troubled teens, was one of my favourite guilty pleasures, and I FINALLY got my hands on the third book (even if the library doesn't have the fourth.  Boooo)

3.  The Book Thief - Markus Zusak

The Book Thief

I know, I know don't yell at me!  I'm reading it ASAP and maybe I'll be able to find the movie somewhere (they never showed it at my tiny theater)

4.  Battle Magic (Circle Reforged #3) - Tamora Pierce

Battle Magic (Circle Reforged, #3)

Agh!  I am STILL waiting for my copy of the first book in the quartet to come in!  You've got 78 WHOLE COPIES CPL  why is it taking over a week to get me my book?!  *grumble grumble* and this book expires on the 12!  TIME TO PANIC.

5.  Bellman & Black - Diana Setterfield

Bellman & Black: A Ghost Story

New book from this author after ages of waiting!  I can't wait to get to it :)

6.  Feed (The Newsflesh Trilogy #1) - Mira Grant

Feed (Newsflesh Trilogy, #1)

Thanks to my awesome Secret Santa Meg I have the whole trilogy to look forward to!

7.  Pegasus - Robin McKinley

Pegasus (Pegasus, #1)

I bought this a few months ago and have been too scared to read it because there's apparently a really big cliffhanger and the next book isn't out yet.  But I figure I should read this before I read Chalice, another gift from my awesome secret santa!

8.  The Forgotten Garden - Kate Morton

The Forgotten Garden

I left this at home halfway through reading it so my mom could finish it and she sent it back to me a few weeks ago, so I'm hoping to finish it sometime soon.  (And then it won't look like I've left my Goodreads in limbo since that's been listed as currently reading for MONTHS haha)

9.  The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard #1) - Scott Lynch

The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard, #1)

This was a BIG mistake I need to remedy ASAP!  (And also so that Yash and I can finish the series around the same time even if we're coming to it from different ends)

10.   Divergent (Divergent #1) - Veronica Roth

Divergent (Divergent, #1)

I know, I know ANOTHER book everyone else has already read!  I'm planning on remedying it as soon as I am no longer #144 on the list for the book (and this is after a month already)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Color Master - Aimee Bender

The Color Master: Stories 


GoodreadsThe bestselling author of "The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake" returns with a wondrous collection of dreamy, strange, and magical stories. 

Truly beloved by readers and critics alike, Aimee Bender has become known as something of an enchantress whose lush prose is "moving, fanciful, and gorgeously strange" ("People"), "richly imagined and bittersweet" ("Vanity Fair"), and "full of provocative ideas" ("The Boston Globe"). In her deft hands, "relationships and mundane activities take on mythic qualities" ("The Wall Street Journal"). 

In this collection, Bender's unique talents sparkle brilliantly in stories about people searching for connection through love, sex, and family--while navigating the often painful realities of their lives. A traumatic event unfolds when a girl with flowing hair of golden wheat appears in an apple orchard, where a group of people await her. A woman plays out a prostitution fantasy with her husband and finds she cannot go back to her old sex life. An ugly woman marries an ogre and struggles to decide if she should stay with him after he mistakenly eats their children. Two sisters travel deep into Malaysia, where one learns the art of mending tigers who have been ripped to shreds. 

In these deeply resonant stories--evocative, funny, beautiful, and sad--we see ourselves reflected as if in a funhouse mirror. Aimee Bender has once again proven herself to be among the most imaginative, exciting, and intelligent writers of our time.

Notable quote:   

"He could feel it, just feel it, the glimmer of something that he did not understand. But he would never call it God. He would not call it prayer. But just beyond his sandwich, and the four TV shows he watched back to back, and his teeth brushing, and his face washing, and his nighttime reading of a magazine, and his light switching off, just the faint realization that there were many ways to live a life and that some people were living a life that was very different than his, and the way they lived was beyond him and also didn't interest him and yet he could sense it. Comfort and fear rose together inside him. Like standing in the middle of a meadow, where no one had his back." 

"The Doctor and the Rabbi" (probably my second favourite story in the lot after "The Devourings")


It's always hard for me to think of a way to review short stories (which is why I haven't so far), but I thought now would be as good as a time as any to start trying.  The Color Master is divided into three parts that all seem to be centered around a sort of theme.

  The very first story in the entire book titled "Appless" featured from what I can tell *spoilers* a gang rape.*spoilers*   I thought it was offensive, unnecessary, and it made it hard for me to have much patience for the other stories in Part I, which featured women who explore power/equality/other things like that with their sexuality.  I thought most of them were interesting, but none really stood out and captured me the way I had been expecting them to. 

Fortunately, Aimee Bender worked her magic and there were plenty of other stories to enjoy!  I thought "Bad Return" which featured a college student who wanders into a stranger's home pretty enjoyable, and "Origin Class" was thought provoking in a different way than many of Bender's other stories were.  "Wordkeepers" was more realistic than her usual works (no hint of magic realism or even just strange things).  In fact it describes me in pretty much every conversation.  What does it mean for us that we can't remember words?  That we're constantly replacing names with "stuff" or "thingie"?  It wasn't something I'd thought of before, but it struck a chord with me.  Because it is a new thing that we're forgetting words, and it affects all generations.  It might come off as a bit pedantic to some, but I enjoyed the questions it posed.

As someone who is madly in love with faerie tale retellings, I obviously loved "The Color Master" - a retelling of Donkeyskin which is one of my all time favourite fairy tales, as well as "The Devourings".  "The Devourings" is the very last story in the book and it follows the perspective of the troll's wife (or giant if you're thinking Jack in the Beanstalk) whose husband accidentally eats his own children.  It follows her past her death and the death of all civilization when all that is left is a magical self-replenishing cake.  If I hated the opening to this collection of stories, "The Devourings" couldn't have been a more perfect ending to it.  Easily my favourite short story of the lot, the writing is just magical in a way I've come to love and appreciate from Aimee Bender.  Even when I don't necessarily understand everything at play, there's this feeling of rightness to a lot of her writing.

If you're looking for a little more background on the individual stories, this review does a really great job of giving a brief summary of each story and how the reviewer felt about them.  I don't necessarily agree with all the ratings, but I've spotlighted the stories that I enjoyed the most here.


The collection was a bit of a mixed bag.  Part I didn't do much for me, whereas I enjoyed almost all the stories in Part II  and III immensely, and "The Devourings" is one now one of my favourite short stories of all time.  I definitely recommend looking into this if you are a fan of Aimee Bender at all (or even Neil Gaiman - there's some resemblances there even if I can't articulate exactly what they are) or enjoy short stories.  This isn't usually my scene as I rarely read short story collections, but I don't regret it for a minute.  Aimee Bender's stories are always refreshing and often take a turn for the completely unexpected.

Bechdel Test

I was silly enough to return this to the library without marking any quotes at all which is a shame.  It's no surprise to me that Aimee Bender's work passes the Bechdel Test with flying colors.  Off the top of my head, I can think of at least two of the short stories that pass the test - Lemonade and Tiger Mending - simply because they only have women in the stories.  Other works like Americca, The Color Master, Bad Return, and The Red Ribbon pass the test in some form or another (I think, I can't guarantee as I don't have the book to check against).  It's amazing that in a book full of short stories, about half pass the test, whereas most full length novels can't manage it.  Something to ponder over...

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Emerald Green (Ruby Red Trilogy #3) - Kerstin Gier

 Emerald Green (Precious Stone Trilogy, #3)


GoodreadsGwen has a destiny to fulfill, but no one will tell her what it is.

She’s only recently learned that she is the Ruby, the final member of the time-traveling Circle of Twelve, and since then nothing has been going right. She suspects the founder of the Circle, Count Saint-German, is up to something nefarious, but nobody will believe her. And she’s just learned that her charming time-traveling partner, Gideon, has probably been using her all along.

This stunning conclusion picks up where Sapphire Blue left off, reaching new heights of intrigue and romance as Gwen finally uncovers the secrets of the time-traveling society and learns her fate.


*Shrugs* well it's about what I was expecting.  There was less Gideon angst, so yay for that?  I figured out some mysteries in the first book, and pretty much all the others about half way through this one.  I mean it's fine I guess, I wasn't bored and it didn't frustrate me that I already knew (probably because I had other question, but more on that later).  It's not giving me much to fangirl over though.  Basically everything I loved in previous books I loved here.  Gwyneth and Lesley continue to be a delight, and the other side characters are just as awesome.  Great- Aunt Maddie is hilarious, her siblings are cute.  Everything I didn't love, I still didn't love.  I need more background on everyone!  I need the mysteries that were left off half-heartedly to be explained, and the mysteries that were explained a little less obvious.  And I would really, really have loved explanations on how things worked.   Like for example:  (Only read this next paragraph if you don't care about spoilers!)

- Jack White is never explained!  Why does he suddenly have a personality change and like Gwyneth?  Why does he let her fake sick?  What's up with his son?  WILL HE EVER KNOW THE GHOST OF HIS SON FOLLOWS HIM AROUND?
- Why does Gwyneth's grandmother become such a heartless...being, particularly towards Gwyneth?  I mean I guess the grandfather dying is part of that, but still.  She doesn't have enough reason for me.
- Why did there need to be twelve people?  How were the chronothingies built?  Did time travel really start with the Count?  Why did he kill his ancestor?  How did the Count get the vial that got him into the present time?  I mean, ok so he probably blackmailed someone, as that was the going theory, but how?  Who? Basically none of the concepts behind how everything works is explained.  And I really,  really wanted that.
- So what's the point in Gwyneth's ghosts other than our entertainment?
- Are they going to live forever?  Do they age?  HOW DOES THIS ALL WORK??  Also *gags* sickly sweet and urggghhhh Gideon.  I may like you more than I did before, but that tolerance is still pretty low.

So to basically sum that up, nothing about the Count or the workings of the time travel itself was ever explained, and that's what I wanted the most from this book.


Do I regret reading this series?  No.  Would I do it again?  Probably not.  I think the trilogy was a lot of fun, and I wouldn't steer people away from the books, but I also would only recommend the books to a certain type of reader.  The characters (most of them.  The good guys, basically) were hilarious and really awesome to experience, but everything else I could take or leave.