Review: Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agena

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (Creekwood, #1)Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As always my review will have spoilers so stop reading now if that bothers you.

I literally went “awww” out loud on more than one occasion reading this book. It was such a sweet tale! I’m happy I saw the movie first it helped me visualize everything that was happening while I read it.

Though it had it’s cute moments it sometimes, well, I don’t know what to say. I just couldn’t give it a five star rating. I really wanted to, I think if I’m pressed I’ll give it a 4.5.

It was sometimes static like nothing was really going on. It sort of had a conflict with the blackmail but that felt way more intense in the movie than in the book like up until the moment Martin outed Simon it just felt minor, then after he outed him I mean—I don’t know I know this is probably a very real account of the stresses of coming out, it just—-at times it felt so neat and done up like the conflict never escalated to a dangerous point we were always brought back to safety on the same (or very next) page.

It felt like the books timeline was going to be through the play but then it went through the talent show, which just sort of popped up out of nowhere I mean the band didn’t pop up out of nowhere but the talent show certainly did.

I also could not stand Leah and I felt bad because I want to like her but ugh!!!! Lol I loved the book and I loved how real all the characters were.

I honestly will probably reread this book it was really good. Yeah that’s all I have to say I guess.

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Review: A Gathering of Shadows

A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic, #2)A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As always my review contains spoilers:

This wasn’t quite a 4 star book but I’m rounding up to 4 instead of down to 3.

The first book was easily 4 stars, maybe a little higher. This book was tasked with the very important duty of creating the world. While the first book introduced us to the four Londons we only saw the London cities. In A Gathering of Shadows, we begin to see just how vast the red world is, while getting glimpses of the recovery in White London.

While this book did a phenomenal​ job with world building it was not nearly as engaging as the first. The plot was–well there really wasn’t a plot. It felt like it existed to show us how powerful Lila was and to introduce the big bad guy for the epic series finale. Again, this is obviously important, but that doesn’t mean it warrants as high of a review as the first book.

It’s a necessary bridge novel setting up what I assume will be an unbelievable third novel. I enjoyed the introduction of new characters, the expansion of the world, and the establishment of the main villain. I wished the tournament was a bigger deal, we only got to see it in the final 30% of the book and even then it was underwhelming (except when Lila was the participant). As usual she stole every scene she was in and was by far the most interesting character. Alucard Emery was second.

Yeah, I think that’s all I have to say about this one. It was a bridge novel, but it didn’t feel like it was filler. Everything was necessary; it just felt more like part 1 of the final book and not the 2nd book in a trilogy.

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Review: Third Life

Third LifeThird Life by R.K. Gold

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If me giving a star rating for my own book bothers people I will clear the stars, but I love writing reviews because it feels like a second author note right there on the book’s goodreads page.

There were no big announcements for this release or anything I usually do in the lead up to a book publication. This is an incredibly short (82 page) novella I wrote towards the end of my semester and wanted to publish. It’s one of those books that just stuck with me for a while; I couldnt shake the idea from my head, so when a friend of mine offered to do a writing sprint, I decided to finally give this plot the focus it deserved.

What makes this book unique for me is it wasn’t born out of a usual plot idea, or the dire need to create a certain character; I wrote it because these questions of free will vs predestination have been playing in my head so I wanted to write about a character who had no say over their life.

I kept it short, even though it probably could’ve been at least another couple hundred pages, because I didn’t want to bore anyone with these questions I just wanted to illustrate them.

If anyone wants to have conversations on these topics feel free to send me a friend request or a message on here, I am always up for a philosophical discussion.

As always, thanks for reading.

-R.K. Gold

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Review: Darker Shade of Magic

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1)A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As usual, there will be some spoilers in this so don’t read if that bothers you.

Well, that was fantastic! I was shocked at how quickly I read this book. The chapters weren’t that long so I fell into the “just one more chapter” syndrome and next thing I knew I said “just one more chapter” six or seven times. I am really happy this is a series because, though the plot was AMAZING I really wanted to dive more into the characters themselves.

Like Kell was cool, and the book did a great job at the beginning establishing what his responsibilities were and how he has strayed from them for some time. I just, I wanted more! And obviously Schwab wanted to give us more since it’s a series, but, I don’t know maybe I’m just rambling, I just really wanted to see more brotherly moments in the kingdom, actually see the king and queen a bit, hear more about the revolutions in white London, I guess I just loved the world so much I never wanted to leave.

Obviously, Delilah stole the show. Every scene she was in she made it hers. It was impossible not to pay more attention to her than everyone else and I liked how Schwab blatantly wrote how much she changed at the end when she was fighting the Queen in White London.

I thought Rhy had SO much potential and I really hope to see him more in the next books cause that dynamic between him and Kell is fantastic. He is loved by his people and doesn’t realize how strong he is because he’s constantly comparing himself to Kell’s magic.

All in all I loved this book and cannot wait to continue the series.

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Review: The Fire Queen

The Fire Queen (The Hundredth Queen, #2)The Fire Queen by Emily R. King

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This review will contain spoilers, if that bothers you stop reading here.

I liked this book a lot more than the first. The first was all insta-love and angst between Kalinda and Deven, wanting to be together but unable to because of Raja Tarek. The tournament added drama but it felt secondary to their love and fighting tournaments have become such a staple in YA it just wasn’t exciting because it wasn’t anything new.

What made this book better was the love between Deven and Kalinda took a backseat and it was much more about Kalinda fighting for her kingdom and her throne. The tournament itself was a more interesting concept as well, though I thought all the challenges were a little rushed, I didn’t feel much tension build. Each had a moment that Kalinda was on the brink of failure then she of course turned it around and won, however the near defeat and the turnaround all happened pretty quickly.

All in all this was an interesting enough second book to make me continue on to the third, and as long as the fourth is available on KU I will most likely finish this series.

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Review: Killman Creek

Killman Creek (Stillhouse Lake, #2)Killman Creek by Rachel Caine

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was back and forth with my review for this book while I was reading it. At times I thought it could even be a 4 and at its worst I thought giving it a 1 might be too generous. Obviously the good outweighed the bad and entertained me enough to give it a solid three.

This review will contain some spoilers so if those bug you I suggest you stop reading here.

I’m not sure if this review will have any rhyme or reason. I doubt it will have any order. I just finished this book not even two minutes ago and already I’m writing this review. What I enjoyed most about this book was the expansion of the criminal network. It was no longer a cat and mouse game with Gina/Gwen and her husband. It was an entire criminal organization standing between her and revenge. Caine handled the webs connecting those in the organization, those on the outskirts of it, those ignorant of it, and those tortured by it with delicate care. She was patient in building it up and created something terrifying. In the end she did give the means to be the boogeyman Gwen thought it to be.

What I didn’t like about this book was–well for one–okay I’m trying to word this right. Diversity in fiction is important, but it’s also important that it’s not just a checklist. Caine wrote a book where all the characters with depth, purpose, and every other synonym for real was white and straight. She then filled all these, what felt like quotas, with not even secondary characters, but the equivalent of film extras. Just little details on skin color or gender that let the reader know she included diversity in the book but that it didn’t matter. These characters were either plot devices (and not real humans) or posters. For example off the top of my head I can think of two black characters in this book. Mike, who we know served in the military, served in the FBI, and is Sam’s friend (nothing else) and a nameless paramedic who I don’t even think has a line but Caine made sure to tell us he’s black. There’s an Indian family that owns a nice bed and breakfast. There’s the transwoman who worked for Absalom, her daughter turns out to be gay, and then there’s Javier (who is by far the deepest, but even he only serves as a gun to protect Gina’s kids in this book).

If that paragraph is too bulky, the tl;dr is diversity is important and this book may have treated it like a checklist.

The other thing I wasn’t too big of a fan of were the multiple points of view. I know people have different opinions on this, but it held the story back, and made it longer than it had to be. Again, as I mentioned earlier this will contain spoilers so take this as a second warning. Gwen got caught by Absalom later on in a hotel room. Gina spent the whole book convinced law enforcement couldn’t help her but all she did was make the situation worse. The only thing she did to help catch Melvin was get caught so Sam and Mike could save the day (but she killed her husband to make it seem like she was proactive protagonist we were led to believe she is).

Okay, I feel like I’m rambling. I’ll try and sum it up all at once right here. Despite a lot of action, the protagonist was still reactionary and ultimately got lucky. What saves this book is the writing in some sections, the engaging twists, and the thoguhtfulness of the criminal enterprise.

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Review: Zenith

Zenith (The Androma Saga, #1)Zenith by Sasha Alsberg

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

DNF 52%

I just don’t see myself finishing this book, at least not any time soon and I would rather focus on books I want to read. This was starting to put me into a bit of a reading slump; reading it felt more like a chore than something to do for pleasure. Once I started skimming massive amounts of text I knew there was no point in continuing.

As for my thoughts on specific aspects of this book. I don’t have much to say that hasn’t been said already. I wasn’t a fan of all the points of view because they just felt unnecessary. The world building and the character development were underwhelming and relied on tropes. I didn’t feel much chemistry between Dex and Andi, but it was clear they were on a romantic collision course. Even the technology felt rushed, and the descriptions of characters didn’t serve much a purpose other than to make them sound cooler.

Alright, I guess I do have one thing to say. I don’t know how something could be so saturated with descriptions and still leave me feeling lost. It was clear the authors had a vivid imagination for the galaxy and wanted to share it with me, but they spent so much time describing inconsequential settings, physical character traits, and dialogue tone, that some of the more necessary descriptions (and for that matter world building) was overlooked.

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