Posted in Reviews

Sydney Reads and Reviews: Persuasion

2156Title: Persuasion

Author: Jane Austen

Rating: 4/5 Stars

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Summary: Twenty-seven-year old Anne Elliot is Austen’s most adult heroine. Eight years before the story proper begins, she is happily betrothed to a naval officer, Frederick Wentworth, but she precipitously breaks off the engagement when persuaded by her friend Lady Russell that such a match is unworthy. The breakup produces in Anne a deep and long-lasting regret. When later Wentworth returns from sea a rich and successful captain, he finds Anne’s family on the brink of financial ruin and his own sister a tenant in Kellynch Hall, the Elliot estate. All the tension of the novel revolves around one question: Will Anne and Wentworth be reunited in their love?

Jane Austen once compared her writing to painting on a little bit of ivory, 2 inches square. Readers of Persuasion will discover that neither her skill for delicate, ironic observations on social custom, love, and marriage nor her ability to apply a sharp focus lens to English manners and morals has deserted her in her final finished work.

My Thoughts:
Ship: 
 Anne x Wentworth
Fave Cinnamon Rolls: Anne, Mrs. Smith
Needed BROTP:  Anne & Mrs. Smith
Fave Quote: “My idea of good company…is the company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company.’

Actual Review: Persuasion is the 4th Jane Austen book i’ve read this year and I would say I definitely enjoyed it. Anne Elliot is probably the oldest main character I’ve encountered in a while. Many books I’ve read lately have had people in their late teens or maybe early 20’s, but Anne is in her 27th year and it’s refreshing because she has already lived and learned from her teenage years.

I quite liked Anne as a main character because she is thoughtful and pensive and is a quiet MC. Even though she has family that is selfish and rude and could get hit with a truck and I wouldn’t care, she doesn’t let them shape her or overly influence. The influence comes from a family friend who has been like a second mother to her ever since her own mother died when Anne was young. Lady Russell is quite fond of Anne and wants the best for her. So for most of Anne’s life she has been persuaded and pushed in certain ways by lady Russell.

The story starts off 8 years after Anne was persuaded by Lady Russell to dissolve an engagement she had with a young captain named Wentworth. So naturally we already know where this is probably going to be headed, just like all other Austen novels.

The host of characters that Austen assembles around Anne in Persuasion are all unique and original. I thought the families of Uppercross were interesting and would love to have had even more of them. Wentworth’s characterization was interesting and believable for how he acted and treated Anne when first seeing her again after all those years. Anne’s younger sister is a hoot and half and you have to think of how much patience her husband must have when dealing with her, it almost rivals Mama Bennett…almost but not quite. While i think Anne’s father and older sister can go fall off a cliff, it’s clear that Lady Russell has her best interests at heart. She just wants to ensure that Anne is taken care of and will be happy in her married life.

While the book feels a little slow, it’s more of an adjustment period that i feel many of Austen’s books must have as there really isn’t supposed to be action or jam-packed. It’s more of a reflective story that focuses on the growth of people and learning life lessons.

This book does give you quite the tour of England with Bath and Lyme making quite the appearance for these characters which is slightly refreshing as I have actually been to one of those places. It is not surprising that Austen pulled Bath in as that is where she lived and was quite acquainted with.

Overall, the book was enjoyable and so much better than Emma but I wouldn’t say that it is my favorite of Jane Austen’s. That still seems to be S&S.

Posted in 2017 Releases, Reviews

Sydney Reads and Reviews: Wintersong

24763621Title: Wintersong

Series: Wintersong #1

Publication Date: February 7th, 2017

Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books

Author: S. Jae Jones

Rating: 4/5 Stars

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Summary: Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

My Thoughts:
Ship: 
 Liesel & Mein Herr
Fave Cinnamon Rolls: Mein herr
Needed BROTP:  Leisel & Kathe
Fave Quote: “There is music in your soul. A wild and untamed sort
of music that speaks to me. It defies all the rules and laws you humans set upon it. It grows from inside you, and I have a wish to set that music free.”

Actual Review: 4 Stars for a very lyrical and music filled story that carried me slowly and beautifully through it’s settings.

S. Jae Jones decided to take the movie/story of Labyrinth and make it something completely her own. Granted i have never seen the movie so i know next to nothing, tbh i think my only knowledge of Labyrinth/Goblin King is a fanfiction i read a few years ago for the Bellarke ship…so yeah.

The plot was interesting and went in ways i didn’t really expect. I thought some actions that were going to take a majority of the time ended up being only a third of the book. So the book wasn’t choppy per say but it definitely had this feeling of multiple stories within a story.

I think the writing is positively beautiful and paints so many pictures in your head of the Goblin Grove & Underground. Even though the majority of it is in the “Underground” you get this amazing scenery of where the goblins dwell.

What i found most intriguing was the Goblin King/Mein herr/ Der Erlkönig/ that dude who is the main LI and probably modeled after David Bowie. He had so many masks and facets, that were just really interesting to pull out. But what struck me was his sense of faith. He had a chapel built in the Underground that only he worships and he still prays and keeps his faith. Heck, this guy knows the LATIN prayers. It really struck me to see a sense of a modern faith in such a mythological world.

Liesel was an interesting MC. She is “plain” but talented. I wouldn’t say she’s one of those “special snowflake” MC’s but idk she is just so down on herself. She knows that she is plain and doesn’t understand why the Goblin King is in anyway interested in her. But what is interesting, is how much she identifies with her music. She feels as if it’s a large part of her identity alongside where she was born and who her family is.

Her family is interesting and I hope we get a new sense of their dynamic in the sequel that will be coming out in 2018.

I definitely liked the story but it didn’t grab me and make me want to drop everything and read it. But I will definitely be picking up the sequel next year.

Posted in 2017 Releases, Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday

28872472Title: The Savage Dawn

Series: The Girl at Midnight #3

Author: Melissa Grey

Publication Date: July 11th, 2017

Publisher: Delacorte Press

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Summary: The sides have been chosen and the battle lines drawn.

Echo awakened the Firebird. Now she is the only one with the power to face the darkness she unwittingly unleashed . . . right into the waiting hands of Tanith, the new Dragon Prince. Tanith has one goal in mind: destroy her enemies, raze their lands, and reign supreme in a new era where the Drakharin are almighty and the Avicen are nothing but a memory.

The war that has been brewing for centuries is finally imminent. But the scales are tipped. Echo might hold the power to face the darkness within the Dragon Prince, but she has far to go to master its overwhelming force. And now she’s plagued by uncertainty. With Caius no longer by her side, she doesn’t know if she can do it alone. Is she strong enough to save her home and the people she loves?

Whether Echo is ready to face this evil is not the question. The war has begun, and there is no looking back. There are only two outcomes possible: triumph or death.

Why I’m Desperately Waiting:  The Girl at Midnight series is one i truly love and can not wait to see the how it all will pan out. The Main character, Echo is one I adore because she just feels so easy to understand and she likes to make quips literally all the time.  The way that Grey portrays the prejudice hate between the two races, Avicen & Drakharian, is easy to connect with and I just love how she has characters who can easily see past the race and love whats underneath. Literally the gay peacock is my favorite and he’s an adorable idiot. I love the magic of this world and truly can’t wait to read the ending to this amazing trilogy. Sign me up!

Posted in Reviews

Sydney Reads and Reviews: Second Chance Summer

11071466Title: Second Chance Summer

Publication Date: May 8th, 2012

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing

Author: Morgan Matson

Rating: 5/5 Stars

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Summary:  From the Flying Start author of Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, a powerful novel about hope in the face of heartbreak.

Taylor Edwards’ family might not be the closest-knit—everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled—but for the most part, they get along just fine. Then Taylor’s dad gets devastating news, and her parents decide that the family will spend one last summer all together at their old lake house in the Pocono Mountains.

Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former best friend is still around, as is her first boyfriend…and he’s much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.

As the summer progresses and the Edwards become more of a family, they’re more aware than ever that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance—with family, with friends, and with love.

My Thoughts:
Ship: 
 Taylor x Henry
Fave Cinnamon Rolls: Taylor, Elliot, Lucy
Needed BROTP:  Taylor & Lucy
Fave Quote: “A thousand moments that I had just taken for granted- mostly because I had assumed that there would be a thousand more.”

Actual Review:  Kleenex Count – 4…actually 5, maybe even 6 if this review makes me cry as well.

This Young Adult book by Morgan Matson is one that will put you through the ringer. I had to get up and give my Dad a hug & tell him I love him after this.

SCS is a summer set story revolving around a family that is taking their summer up to an old family lake house that they used to visit each year until about 5 years ago. But it all has a hidden, sad reason behind it. The dad wants the whole family to spend that summer up there because it is possibly his last summer at all. Of course, Taylor, our main character, is a little apprehensive to return since she didn’t exactly leave on good terms. She also has a strong habit of running away from her problems. She is a poor public speaker and has a tendancy that reminds me of Emma Swan, running when things get too real or confrontational.

So as you can probably guess, this summer is going to be all about Second Chances for Taylor as well as a huge growing summer for her entire family. Throw in some part time jobs, some puntastic shops, and a great host of side characters including Matson’s dog Murphy, and you have a heartwarming story that will make you laugh, smile, and cry all within a few pages of each other.

I absolutely loved every moment of this story. It’s something that will touch your heart with something warm. IT will also make you want to call up your Dad and tell him you love him. Which is not a bad thing.

Posted in 2017 Releases, Reviews

Sydney Reads and Reviews: Alex, Approximately

34927042Title: Alex, Approximately

Publication Date: April 4th, 2017

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Author: Jenn Bennett

Rating: 5/5 Stars

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Summary: The one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.

Classic movie fan Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online as Alex. Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.

Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new archnemesis. But life is whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever it is she’s starting to feel for Porter.

And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…Approximately.

My Thoughts:
Ship: 
 Bailey & Porter
Fave Cinnamon Rolls: Grace, Porter
Needed BROTP:  Bailey & Grace
Actual Review:  “The odd thing about this form of communication is that you’re more likely to talk about nothing than something. But I just want to say that all this nothing has meant more to me than so many somethings.” – Kathleen Kelly, You’ve Got Mail.

Alex, Approximately is my hearts desire of wanting a book version of YOu’ve Got Mail combined with a love of YA Contemporaries all rolled into one. Of course with the 20 year difference between this beloved movie & it’s inspiration, The Shop Around the Corner, times have changed as has technology. No longer is it the AOL tones of You’ve Got Mail , now it’s private chat messages through a Film Website.

We have Bailey & Porter, who are some of the most real characters that also fit my beauitul YGM story. Bailey is so real, between her anxiety & “Artful Dodger” side/wall that she knows she retreats behind. She has such a great character arc throughout the story that you just love it.Her anxiety is believable as are her walls and her slowly letting them down for Grace & Porter.

Porter is everything you want in a sassy but caring Main Beau. Plus he’s a surfer,so you already know he’s in shape and probably Too Hot Hot Damn, which he knows because he even owns a ‘Hot Stuff’ Jacket.

Their love of movies is great, but it would have been over the moon if the inspiration had been referenced at all in the story. You see them grow and become closer even besides their love of movies.

Alex, Approximately is the perfect summer movie for those who love YA Contemporaries. IT has such a great story that is believable and is just up my alley. I would recommend this story to anyone who loves either The Shop Around the Corner or You’ve Got Mail, or surfers, or old timey movies.

Posted in 2017 Releases, Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday

32075662Title: Our Dark Duet

Series:  Monsters of Verity #2

Author: Victoria E. Schwab

Publication Date: June 13th, 2017

Publisher: Greenwilllow Books

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Summary: Kate Harker is a girl who isn’t afraid of the dark. She’s a girl who hunts monsters. And she’s good at it. August Flynn is a monster who can never be human, no matter how much he once yearned for it. He’s a monster with a part to play. And he will play it, no matter the cost.

Nearly six months after Kate and August were first thrown together, the war between the monsters and the humans is terrifying reality. In Verity, August has become the leader he never wished to be, and in Prosperity, Kate has become the ruthless hunter she knew she could be. When a new monster emerges from the shadows—one who feeds on chaos and brings out its victim’s inner demons—it lures Kate home, where she finds more than she bargained for. She’ll face a monster she thought she killed, a boy she thought she knew, and a demon all her own.

Why I’m Desperately Waiting:  This Savage Song was one of the most unique and interesting books I read in 2016 and of course it was written by the queen of high fantasy, Ms. Victoria Schwab herself. So there’s no doubt that the sequel to TSS is going to be one amazing thrill ride as well. August and Kate had such an interesting dynamic and i can’t wait to see how it is 6 months later. Sign me up!

Posted in 2016 Releases, Reviews

Sydney Reads and Reviews: Timekeeper

25760792Title: Timekeeper

Series: Timekeeper #1

Publication Date: November 8th, 2016

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Author: Tara Sim

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

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Summary: Two o’clock was missing.

In an alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely.

It’s a truth that seventeen-year-old clock mechanic Danny Hart knows all too well; his father has been trapped in a Stopped town east of London for three years. Though Danny is a prodigy who can repair not only clockwork, but the very fabric of time, his fixation with staging a rescue is quickly becoming a concern to his superiors.

And so they assign him to Enfield, a town where the tower seems to be forever plagued with problems. Danny’s new apprentice both annoys and intrigues him, and though the boy is eager to work, he maintains a secretive distance. Danny soon discovers why: he is the tower’s clock spirit, a mythical being that oversees Enfield’s time. Though the boys are drawn together by their loneliness, Danny knows falling in love with a clock spirit is forbidden, and means risking everything he’s fought to achieve.

But when a series of bombings at nearby towers threaten to Stop more cities, Danny must race to prevent Enfield from becoming the next target or he’ll not only lose his father, but the boy he loves, forever.

My Thoughts:
Ship: 
 Danny x Colton
Fave Cinnamon Rolls: Colton, Cass
Needed BROTP:  Colton & Evaline
Fave Quote: “There comes a moment when time seems to slip faster, running long then short, shadows shrinking as the sun climbs. It’s the moment, he decided, when you’re no longer a child. When the concept of time and the need for more of it come together and make you powerless. Make you yearn for the longer days, the lazy days, before you knew what time passing actually meant.”

Actual Review: 
While I would rate the overall story only 3.5 stars, Tara Sim’s writing is positively out of this world beautiful. She takes the concept of time and just throws what we know out the window and paints her own definition, and then some, with her words throughout the story.

We are given an alteration of Greek Mythology to accompany this steampunk, slightly advance technology, but in 1800’s time frame London. There are little mini chapters sprinkled without that even tell the tale of Aetas and the Gaian Gods that I would love more of. I’m a giant Mythology nut so there’s that.

The story revolves around a young teenager that is a skilled Clock Mechanic and the small town Enfield that has a moody teenager of a Clock. Literally, Colton was getting ‘hurt’ for attention. But Colton’s teenagerness is nothing compared to Danny’s. Danny Hart has major idiotic teenage moments that just make you want to pull your hair out and scream “Stop Being Stupid!”.

Their Love story is great but at times made the story drag just a tad. There were points where you felt like it was a little too much, but maybe it’s a metaphor for how love can be. All encompassing that you forget everything else around you….. where did that philisophical shit come from.

I really liked the whole mechanics side of this story and plot. I would love to get so much more depth in the workings of Clock Spirits & time and i have high hopes for the next two of this series.

While Timekeeper does not end on a cliffhanger, it is open ended enough you want to continue with Chainbreaker, which i will definitely be doing. Hopefully Danny can do some growing up throughout the stories.