In the Eye of the Storm. Storm and Silence #2. Robert Thier.


28483931

In the Eye of the Storm by Robert Thier

My rating: 4.5 stars

Many thanks to the author for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

———————————

Released August 3rd!

———————————

4.5 stars (Is it possible to make these numbers bigger?!?!)


Initial thoughts

I really wish I wrote this as soon as I finished it.
But I was on a train….
With not enough to time to write out a frenzied review….. -_________-

(Originally written in July 2016)

———————————

You know, I had my ups and down with this book. Initially I was really excited to receive the ARC from the author, since I found myself loving Storm & Silence for all the reasons I listed in my review. But with In the Eye of the Storm, it was a little different. I came at it full force, with lots and lots of expectations and also, ideas I of what I didn’t want, and yet…this…surprised me more than anything.

Like S&S, I finished this quicker than I expected.

What I love about Thier’s books so far is that they’re ALL fast paced. Every chapter has a climax (of sorts) that leaves you hanging for the next chapter. And when you pass the 50% mark, the rest is free fall. Meaning. Just hang on tight and go for the ride.

And like with S&S there’s everything from steamy kisses to being shot at to who knows what’ll happen next!

Oh yes, and did I mention the fake marriage? The Captain Lilly keeps running into? The poor Old Lady whose holiday was cut short because of Lilly’s lies? A conversation between Rick and Dick?? Oh and Mr Ambrose?


PROS – yes, the things YOU’LL DEFINITELY want to read

1) Mr Ambrose! He is my favourite character (but only because Karim didn’t get so much page time this time….) in this sequel. He was an ass a lot of the time to Lilly, but then Lilly was also being a bit of a stubborn donkey. Mr Ambrose was always relatively reasonable, and I think, despite the fact that we don’t know much about his history yet (a thing I am dying to know more of), he is still very well rounded as a character with evident likes and dislikes. Even better crafted all round than Lilly who is the main protagonist. I mean really…what kind of man would walk through a sandstorm just because it’ll waste time to camp? But it’s the fact that he’s a logical city man, that he makes his decision, which realistically, makes alot of sense. Even more so since Mr Ambrose gives orders, and takes his own advice……..including….

      He gave me a look. One of those looks. ‘Do you know the size of an average grain of sand?’
‘No,’ I had to admit.
‘It is between 0.0024803 and 0.08 inches. Now, think carefully for a moment. Do you think I am going to let myself be stopped by something smaller than the tenth of an inch?’
‘Um… no.’
‘Indeed, no.’ (Kindle Locations 5484-5489).

2) The always obedient Lilly Linton and her feminist mindset :D. I love it when she goes all out feminist, specially during the second half. Lilly’s not a girl to be left behind, nor is she is a damsel in distress! For the first half of the book though, I wanted to shake her – specially when she’s pretending to be Mr Ambrose’s wife (it was so nice to see her in a dress again!) – because she was acting so……STUBBORN. There were a lot of things she did which she could have done without well, making Mr Ambrose look like he did. But at the same time, she was just sticking to who she is!

3) Every conversation between Lilly Linton and Mr Ambrose. There wasn’t a moment where I wasn’t thinking not to laugh. Both of them have a really good dynamic with each other. As stubborn as a donkey, and yet logical and willing to compromise! Such as…a conversation about appropriate husbandly names for Rikkard Ambrose:

      I thought about it for a moment, rolling the name around my tongue. Then, suddenly, an idea came to me, and a grin spread over my face. ‘I’m sure there are other abbreviations for your lovely name. How about “Dick”?’
He gave me a glare that sent shivers down my back. But my smile only widened. Inside, I was rolling on the floor with laughter, gasping for air. Ha! Payback time!
‘It’s “Rick”, Miss Linton! No discussion!’
‘Just as you say,… Dick.’
His glare cooled another dozen degrees. ‘I’m your employer, Miss Linton! You are obligated to follow my orders!’
In return for his ferocious glare, I gave him back a cheerful smile. ‘Apparently, you’re not my employer. You’re my husband now, Dick. Haven’t you heard?’
(Kindle Locations 2858-2864).

4) THE ACTION – while the beginning contains less action, this book is filled with it. From beginning to end. There is every single moment in it worth waiting for. But my favourite part, is the end ;).

5) The little old deaf lady! While in the end the joke got a tad bit old, she was a cracker. Poor woman, being tied into Lilly’s work by accident!! And strangely, I was waiting for the moment where she says ‘I’m sorry to hear that’ and actually has all of her hearing! But then, it didn’t happen, and yet, she was still a fun character :D.

6) The setting. To some degree, it’s pretty vivid. Thier has expected social customs down to a pat, so it makes it clearly to visualise without great detail in the description of the world. So in a way, this makes his plain but humorous style of writing really engaging and quick to read. The worldbuilding is built into the conversations, into the scenes of action, and through the characters interactions with each other!

7) This sequel actually reminds me of the kind of series where in each book the characters encounter a new problem that they have to solve while still remaining their somewhat ambiguous yet high in chemistry relationship!

8) THE ENDING IS NOT FAIR. I was expecting, expecting some kind of IDK and then it ended, with Lilly returning to work, and………..where is my Mr Ambrose and Lilly Linton moment?!?! Or SOMETHING. ANYTHING.


CONS – yes, no book is free of cons!

1) The plot felt a bit scattered and a bit weak, at the same time, it was simple, with one motivation in hand. HOWEVER, because there was only one motivation, the ending thus, seemed a bit abrupt, which left me mourning :(((( and wondering what might happen to Lilly and Mr Ambrose next!

2) VERY romance focussed for the first half. I actually really liked the development of Mr Ambrose and Lilly’s relationship in S&S but In the Eye of the Storm, their relationship takes another level while still remaining in the same position.

3) LILLY LINTON WHAT ARE YOU DOING HALF THE TIME?! Especially the first half. Even though I understand everything you do, I still have to con you! Because sometimes I wanted to shake you so badly. It wouldn’t kill you to behave for at least one or two of your acting scenes with Mr Ambrose, would it?! But then, actually, with the way you’re written, it also makes more sense, since later on, the scene where you’re obedient is actually a little bit more touching!

4) Lilly finds excuses wayyyyy too easily to escape from her home. It makes me wonder sometimes if it’s in the 1920s instead of earlier, considering how chaperoning was more serious and her aunt really doesn’t seem to care much at all ^^”. Then again, Lilly’s family isn’t excessively rich….but well! Logically, it does all work out, I kind of look forward to the moment when her lies/secrets are exposed!


CONCLUSIONS

(Yes, lovelies, I’m awfully aware that I am not writing an essay lol.)
A lovely sequel to S&S. I loved it for the action, for the fast paced, and also for most of the Mr Ambrose and Lilly moments. Goes well with a plain cup of tea i.e. a boring day. Robert Thier is also very humourous in his writing, so there’s not really a chapter where you’re wondering if you’re going to be bored (if you followed my statuses, and wondered what I was referring to around the 50% mark, I was mostly complaining about the romance part, since it was getting a tad tedious but then the WALL exploded and BULLETS were flying and MR AMBROSE was rescuing a DEAF OLD LADY and Lilly at the same time, even though moments before they were kissing like mad – er Lilly and Mr Ambrose, not Mr Ambrose and the Old Lady lol.) If Thier writes another book, I will definitely be reading it. Oh Yes, because the ending of this one is UNSATISFACTORY. GIVE ME MORE MR AMBROSE.

And on a final note there was a lovely surprise at the end of this book with additional chapters from Mr Ambrose’s POV which I LOVED. It was sooooo nice to read from his POV. I actually would love to see chapters from his pov. Mr Ambrose has such an interesting mind after :P.

View all my reviews

Advertisements

Shadow Study. Maria V. Snyder.

23849140
Shadow Study
by Maria V. Snyder

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

(This review was actually done last year and chronicles my reading experience!)

F I R S T  I M P R E S S I O N S

Omg so it’s true, there are three more books! Well, I can’t say that I’m not excited, because I am, and because I really love the original three, but will they live up to my expectations? Yelena and Valek are my favouritest couple ever! I guess I’m excited?? But expectations…are hard to live up to sometimes.

update–16th Nov 2015 at 00:15am
loveeedddd this! missed this world so much!! Yelena, Valek, ari, Janco, everyone and everything!

more detailed review later!

U P D A T E
– 11am 16th Nov 2015

So technically it’s 4.5 stars but in this case, the rating doesn’t really matter because as a long time fan of this series, I loved this installment a lot! And my expectations weren’t disappointed (mainly because I really was soooo in the mood to read this).

Welcome back Yelena and Valek, and all the crew of the Study series. This time though, rather than simply being told from Yelena’s perspective, the story is alternated between Yelena, Valek and Janco. This was a nice change, and while I usually have reservations about one character being told in first person, and the others in third, Snyder blended it in pretty nicely. In many ways, Shadow Study is more Valek’s story than Yelena’s, as we learn so much about him than we ever had in previous books.

It never ceases to amaze me how easily I can slip into the Study series’ world. Comprised two countries: Ixia and Sitia, one North, the other South, one organised like a military with a Commander as its head, the other more relaxed and functioning with a Council and full support for the existence of magicians. Snyder doesn’t bog down the writing with long and winded, detailed and sometime painfully irritating descriptions of the world. Yet, somehow, it’s so very easy to imagine her worlds. Her details are brief yet somehow, oddly vivid. In a way, it helps that the original trilogy was written in first person, because it does, I feel, help the reader become immersed into the world a lot easier. Plus, Snyder had a nice way of providing info without the usual infodumping (in the lessons Yelena had with Valek way back in Poison Study).

This book is set across both lands. Which is great, though still, predominantly in Sitia, I was happy to see more of Ixia, since I missed seeing it in Magic Study and Fire Study.

Yelena, Valek, Janco, Ari, the Commander, the Master Magicians are all back! Along with more familiar faces! Good guys and bad guys alike!

The only difference though, is that it’s been eight years since the events of Poison Study. And it was both odd and normal to see Yelena as a 27 year old woman. It was a little strange, mainly because she didn’t sound any different or act any different to the original trilogy, yet, she is definitely older. Though, still, sometimes as immature as before (specially when she’s around her brother Leif). I liked that she was familiar, it made it all the more easier to re-engage with this series.

Valek. Oh Valek! I learnt so much about you this time. It was really nice to see your life before Yelena, and I like also, seeing your development, after all, we never really got to get to know you before not like this. Still, I really wonder how you’ll deal with all the problems you’re facing, and are coming at you next! And not to mention the cliffie at the end of this book.

Janco–I totally didn’t expect to read from his perspective, but that was interesting! But unlike Valek’s part, Janco’s is written like Yelena’s in the sense that it was action orientated rather than character building. Though, told from third pov perspective. As one of my favourite characters always simply because he has such a big mouth and is unable to ever sit still, it was nice seeing how he thought, and his attitudes to people.

Ari, more of a support than main, poor guy he didn’t get his own personal pov, but that’s alright! The little snippets of him and Janco were, like always, absolutely hilarious. They really make a great pair, and are one of my favourite comedy relief characters, such a good broship.

Other supporting characters: Opal and Devlen return, they were great to see! Opal is so mature and nice, I’d forgotten that. Devlen is still growing on me. Leif was the best! I mean someone really needs to figure out how to plug his stomach up. The Master Magicians, helpful but had a really small role. And the Commander. Oh, the Commander, what are you planning?

This was actually quite straightforward, and a little predictable, but it has that classic Snyder flavour of twists and turns, and sudden surprises. All the study books have a focus on mystery, so I’m not surprised that the majority of this book was also focussed on a problem that’s affecting both Ixia and Sitia.

Valek’s job, while he has always cherished it, since meeting Yelena, has thought about retiring. And while he’s always been challenged, there hasn’t been a challenger quite like this one. So while he’s worried about Yelena, he must also figure out the challenger, the Commander, and figure out what’s going on behind the smuggling operation.

Yelena’s magic is suddenly blocked, why? She doesn’t know, but for the book, she’s vulnerable. This plot development early on actually gave me the chance to see a side of Yelena I hadn’t seen before. It’s funny because the last time she had no magic was back in Poison Study, and for her to revisit that feeling, it’s such a scary thing for her. Yet she remains strong, even though for the most of this book, she feels lost. So while she’s trying to figure out what secret is lurking behind the recent breakout of a notorious prisoner, and trying to figure out what happened to her powers, she’s vulnerable to anything.

Very easy to read. Colloquial and not dense at all. Descriptive without being overly so! And Snyder has a nice way of leaving each chapter ending with a hook to make you keep reading! It’s also high fantasy. Definitely YA even though the main characters are beyond YA ages, however the writing and storyline is very YA. Complex enough for the genre, but not as complex and in depth like an adult novel.


Really enjoyed this installment–my opinion ladies and gents is unfortunately very biased based on the fact that I’ve loved this series for ages! If I was’t so biased, I might have rated this lower, maybe 4 stars, maybe 3.8 because although there was a lot going on, and although Snyder does a brilliant job with switching povs, there felt like something missing. But it was only such a slight small thing (I don’t know what it is), that I guess it doesn’t matter to me!

It’s a great YA high fantasy splashed with mystery. It has one of my favourite OTPs too. And it’s got a nice mix of serious characters and humorous ones so it doesn’t feel so heavy.

View all my reviews

Star Wars: The Lost Stars. Claudia Gray.


25067046

Lost Stars by Claudia Gray

My rating:

 

So actually I finished this on Saturday (a week ago), but I just didn’t have to time remove it from my status lol. (It also took so much longer to read because well, just been so ridiculously busy 😦 )

I am a MASSIVE fan of Star Wars – I love all the films to pieces, and have been in a totally Star wars mad phase since the most recent movie came out. Reading this took me back to this world. I really love this world. So much, yet, I am not exactly versed in the universe, which is why I totally want to read more of the expanded universe.

Lost Stars though was really interesting in the sense that, I was expecting – well, I don’t know what I was expecting, but I was expecting something like the movies, only this wasn’t like that. Not really. And truthfully, I don’t know how I feel about it. I know I’m not overwhelmed but it, but I’m also not underwhelmed.

lost stars
W H A T   I   T H O U G H T

Romance
This was the main focal point of the whole story. The romance between two Imperial officers (in a manner of speaking, their statuses change throughout the story). A romance that defies any loyalty to any side of the war. It was cute, sweet, and very strong, I’ll give it that. So that’s the pro. The con, is that it overtook most of the plot. The events that took place didn’t matter as much. It was how Thane and Ciena overcame any obstacle that got in the way – in particular, their changing alliances, their loyalty to their causes, and also to each other – and still managed to love each other.

The Story & Time Period
Set a little before Star Wars Episode 4, all the way through those first three movies, through to a short period after Episode 6. Firstly, I really loved seeing those original movies, being told from a different perspective. Thane and Ciena both, since they were young, admired and dreamed of piloting the biggest ships in the galaxy by being part of the Imperial military. And so the story follows their journey, follows Ciena’s supreme oath to the Empire, and Thane’s somewhat fluctuating alliances. They age throughout the book. So the pro here is, that I really enjoyed seeing it from the Imperial side. The con is, there were too many events. There didn’t seem to be any focus in the story except the romance to give the book much focus. So I didn’t really enjoy it as much. I really wanted more of the action.

But I will say, I really liked the way Gray worked in the themes of loyalty, allegiance, politics, idealism – and in particular, I love the ending, you can really see the lead up to Star Wars Episode 7.

The Action
Plenty of it happening! But strangely, is it just me or did it feel like it dragged a little? Each major scene – like the destruction of the first Death Star, the Battle of Yavin, and the destruction of the second Death Star – was great! Plenty of things happening, and yet…it was as though extreme excitement was never achieved? There were other significant events, like when both Ciena and Thane were tested for their loyalty to each other, and to the Empire. Those were great. I like that it wasn’t just a story of the original three movies, retold. Ciena and Thane have their own stories outside of those movies. I just wished that there was less focus on the romance. I will say though, that my favourite, absolute favourite scene in the whole book was at the end, involving Ciena and a Star Destroyer – that was GREAT, I love how her character really shines in that moment, up until it’s a little spoilt by the arrival of Thane (but actually, that was also mostly okay with me too).

The Characters
Ciena and Thane were both pretty well fleshed out. Though I think a first person pov would have been better for this story, because the third person shift didn’t really do their feelings much justice. At the same time, it wasn’t really a story killer. I really love how Gray emphasised on Ciena’s loyalty. I feel the conflict that swirls inside of Ciena as she questions the Empire – though her doubts aren’t as pronounced as Thane’s. We do catch and hear glimpses of old favourites – Princess Leia, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and Orlando (Was it Orlando, I’ve blanked on his name) Calrissian – so that was fun! But there are only a handful of other characters that stand out. Most of them die.



This was interesting. Loved diving into the world again. Loved seeing it from another pov. Gawd, now I’m craving Star Wars again, even though this wasn’t exactly the most interesting expanded novel story I’ve read. But it was alright! I think I do really like Ciena and Thane even though I think the whole story felt like it took a bit too long (then again, I took so long reading it because I have been so busy!!)

View all my reviews

Night Circus. Erin Morgenstern.


13611052

by Erin Morgenstern

MY RATING: 3 | 3.5 | 3.8. Depending on how I want to look at this story. (And this time, I’m writing three mini reviews based on how I felt, and why I would have rated it 3, 3.5, or 3.8. Since depending on the kind of reader or the shoes I decide to put on, I could have found this book mediocre, or I could have really loved it.)

Buddy read with Woolfie! for the Quarterly Book Club!

In all honesty, I am so utterly conflicted about how I feel about this book! It took me longer to read, simply because I had to put it down for a moment, and read something else. Of course, when I went to read something else, I kind of understand now the difference between this book and others. And also, what separated other more exciting books with this one.

What I do love across all my conflicted rating choices is the ‘circus’. I love the Circus in this story, and to me, it was the highlight of the story.

What I absolutely hated across all three ratings is the very fact that the alternating POVs sucked. I didn’t like it at all. Morgenstern definitely doesn’t write it well enough, nor in a way in which I could appreciate it fully.


I rated this book 3 stars on one level simply because asides from one factor, this book loses its appeal. You get dragged into this 400 something paged book with promises of a dual between two really promising ‘illusionists’ who battle it out in a circus venue. It’s a very promising start, and I must say The Prestige flickered through my mind initially. Of course, thankfully I don’t remember much about the Prestige, but one thing’s for sure, The Night Circus does not read anything like the Prestige. It’s a very disappointing comparison. Asides from a similar sounding premise, The Night Circus and The Prestige are nothing alike! At this rating I can safely say this book is very boring. It coasts for one, does not have enough highs and lows. And You are distanced from the characters, giving you very little space to actually care about them. It also doesn’t help that the style is third person and it’s written with alternating point of views. I honestly ended the story without caring much for Celia or Marco or Bailey. Didn’t really care about any of them!

The Promise of an epic contest, is actually very mild. There’s no intensity to the challenge placed on Celia and Marco. The game itself is merely enchanting etc…the details of which you won’t find out until the last 100 pages. Although it’s the most promoted part of the book, it pretty much plays the smallest role in the book. Which is a shame. I wanted someone to epically fail! (Well I won’t tell you what happens at the end, but if you’re after a plot orientated story, this isn’t it. If you’re after a epic battle, this isn’t it either.)

 Remember how I said there was a factor that stood out the most? Well, if I am a reader who is simply after beautiful writing, then this was the book that I wanted. When I say beautiful, I don’t mean loquaciously elegant, utterly stuffed and dense with metaphoric meaning – that’s writing that can and may not always be beautiful if the meaning is obscured by the overuse of language at its finest – I mean that the writing is simple yet wonderfully adorning the pages of my book with some whimsical beauty. It reminds me a little of Lauren Oliver’s (Delirium, Before I Fall) writing (of course with the different styles). Even though I felt close to nothing for the non-existent-yet-supposed-to-be-there romance between Celia and Marco, I found something sparkly and enticing in the writing style. I would definitely read another piece of writing from Erin Morgenstern just for the writing!

But of course, under this writing, my feelings about other aspects of the book don’t stray far from my 3 star rating. I still can’t tell myself that there was chemistry between Celia and Marco. I still feel the duel/battle/challenge between Celia and Marco was over promoted or at the very least wasn’t described accurately enough. The emotions just weren’t really there in the book. And I really, really, really, hated the alternating POVs. Normally I’m alright with it. But this time, I just couldn’t handle it. It infuriated me, irritated me, and seriously, I had an urge to stab the book simply because it was so jarring and choppy and didn’t really help the flow of the story at all. SURE, I loved some parts of the alternating POVs, but most of the time, I found the pov switch happened at the worst possible moments.

 This isn’t the most perfect book in the world. Yet, I can see why it’s loved. I can also understand why others have given it positive 4 or 5 ratings. This book has the potential! If I looked at this with a critical literary eye, I would say, in a way, it’s an intriguing piece of ingenuity. What this book is, is not a love story, or a romance, or an epic, or an antihero story, or a magician story. What it is, is a book about a circus, about the people in the circus, about how it became to be. It is a magical thing, full of mystery, and like the way the story is written, it is filled with many tents, not half of them possibly discovered all at once, but instead must be discovered one by one when the time is right for each one.

This is how the Night Circus unfolded.

Morgenstern weaves her story, one chapter at a time. She does not aim to shock or startle her reader with a hook at the end of each chapter. Instead, she just weaves her story, and I’m reminded of Dickens, a little, or Wuthering Heights, those old classics that are always so dense and leave me holding on somehow for weeks simply because I want to finish it. But of course, the writing of the Night Circus is simpler. The tale this book holds is something precious, and shouldn’t be read as a romance or action filled novel.

It should be read as a history of the circus, or something similar. Because that’s how it unfolds, and to me, I found that the main character in the whole book is the circus itself. In a way, there was a flavour of One Hundred Years of Solitude – not in the magical realism sense, or that Morgenstern had the same way with words as Marquez has, or that the fates of the characters are even remotely similar. What they have similar is this winding tale that lasts for a few decades. Time is and isn’t of the essence in this book, so the flow of time in the story is jumpy, choppy, and a pain to deal with.

In my other ratings, I complained a little about the style. The choppiness, etc. Well, under this rating, I can say that the style isn’t entirely worthless. A little spoiler. By the end of the book you learn that the story is actually a recount by Wdget (who he is, you’ll find out if you go read the book!). Thus, it makes sense that there’s a distance placed between him and the other characters of the story since he hasn’t been around long enough to know all the history (which also knows at the same because of his abilities). Still. For someone who was so intimately knowledgeable about characters in the book, it is a little unbelievable that there isn’t as much connection between the reader and the characters.

In saying that, even at the 3.8 rating, there are cons I can’t run away from.
– The story is a coasty. (But then, this can be a pro too if you’re after a beautiful story about life.)
– Half the flipping time, I kept getting caught up by the introduction of one character, then the sudden use of ‘he’ or ‘she’ ONLY to find that it wasn’t referring to the character I’d just been introduced too.
– Choppy alternating POVs.


Late 1800s, early 1900s. Originally set in London, but moves from city to city. The Circus is also the main setting too.


Look. This book is pretty relative. You’ll either love it. Or hate it. I liked it. But had my problems with it. The ABOVE is a very sketchy right-this-moment reflection of how I feel after finishing. BUT actually, I’m still not sure how I REALLY feel about this. I like it. But I don’t love everything about it. If anything of the above appeals to you, relates to you, interests you, then give this a go?

View all my reviews

Storm and Silence. Robert Thier.


24035804

Storm and Silence by Robert Thier

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Category: YA Historical Fiction

Thank you to the author for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This was a hit on wattpad, and now, it’s being published as an ebook on the 19th of March!

Quick Review. 4.5 Stars

Gawdbloodyhell, if you love cold but secretly sweet though not bipolar male love interests, pick this up! If you love a female protagonist who’s kickass all the way through even in the toughest of moments (though she acts even when scared) and won’t let a man tell her she can’t do anything. Then pick this up! If you love Historical Romance, a female character who’s a feminist, suffragette (but not extremely hardcore feminist/suffragette, but rather, values the principles of feminism and acts on it), then YES you got it! If you’re a bit of a fan of gender bendering, humorous interactions between female protagonist and love interest, you got it. And most importantly, if you like action, this has plenty of it!

Highlights of the book (quick and briefly)

– Miss Lilly Linton and Mr Ambrose. They kept me up until the early hours of Saturday morning because I just wanted so much more of them!
– Pure/clean romance (but there is kissing! Actually quite a lot of kissing at one questionable moment, but it doesn’t go any further than that.)

If you want to know more, keep reading below (because although my quick review is gushing over it, there were several things that nagged at me. BUT definitely not enough for me to rate this down tooo much.)

 

Initial Thoughts Before Reading

I want to point out that, although I was intrigued by the premise. (Although even the premise is very brief and says little). And that cover! You know, I love a beautiful cover, and this one, is just, well, so very intriguing and simple! Though, it did make me frown. Why? Because the 19th century, in particularly the beginning of, is one of my favourite time periods ever. Storm and Silence is set about 20 years later than the Regency, located in the Victorian Era – another era I do love reading about, because hell yes, Queen! on the throne – and the cover just looks like a guy in a suit. Then again, because you can’t see the back of, and I’m not expert on clothes unless I’m looking at the actual thing, my head debated for a bit, before settling down on, OKAY it still passes as being somewhat accurate! And since my brain clearly agreed on that, we moved onto the next thing. Intrigued by premise and cover, I did in fact check out some of the previous reviews, reviews given by people who loved the book on Wattpad.

-.-

I won’t lie. Those reviews made me so gawdawfully suspicious. Everyone loved it! PRAISES FOR ALL. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. THREE CHEERS.

Ugh. I hate books that have too many praises, and though I love reading people’s reviews (both positive and negative), sometimes it’s just so hard for me to believe them! (Hence why I go out and read the book for myself. Though usually, the higher the praise a book gets, the longer it takes for me to read it. But sometimes, I might just jump right in.)

And so YES. I started this book with all intentions of hating it. THAT and also, I started it because I’d already finished the book in my bag on my morning trip to uni, and had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO READ on my way home. And when one has absolutely nothing to read they’ll read anything.

It was really good that my first impression was low. Because if it was high, then I might have found it harder to like.

Or maybe, this book really is just that likeable :P? Because I know, by the end of the book, I was crying for more. Craving, dying, wanting. So glad Thier is an author on Wattpad, and that I have Wattpad, and I can follow and read the sequel!

First Impressions Comparison

– I was reminded of A Spy in the House – the Agency series with the whole mystery angle.
– I was also reminded a little of A School for Unusual Girls, with the whole smart girl thing. Though Lilly is smart in her own little way.
– And Newt’s Emerald, for the gender bending, cross dressing! And also, the mystery aspect again, and the desperate need to recover something.
– Andddd A Matter of Magic, again, for a bit of the crossdressing, but also, the older, more authoritative figure, and the younger, assistant relationship (but mind, the age difference is around 5-ish/6-ish years).
– AND it has all the intense chemistry of any good slow burn romance book.
– OH I had like a Pride & Prejudice feel here, only less classic! Rather simply the values that each character has reminds me of P+P. But other than it’s nothing like the classic!

P L O T

The premise is a bit short in details about the plot. But yes, it does highlight one important aspect of the book. Lilly Linton wants freedom. And in a time when women’s rights are somewhat oppressed, Lilly and her small band of friends take part in small protests for women’s rights. Since this is set in the late 1830s of the Victorian Era, and before any serious suffrage movements take place. At the very beginning of the book, we see Lilly dressed up as a guy heading towards the polling booth. On the way, she helps out a gentleman businessman, who then offers her a job. If it weren’t for her tiny mistake at the polling booths, well, her potential new Employer, according to his card, Mr Ambrose, wouldn’t have found out she was a girl.

Even so, she turns up at his office as he had requested, and even though she’s dressed as a woman, she makes her way to meet him (to the surprise of everyone in the office). Of course, Mr Ambrose, a man of his time, and averse to the idea of a woman working, yet true and honourable to his word as a businessman, he allows Lilly to accept the job, on the condition that she dresses as a man – just like she had been when they first met.

But Mr Ambrose, thinking he knew better, didn’t expect her to return as such, finds himself a crossdressing female as his private secretary.

Throughout the whole book, Lilly fights him constantly about her right to work, and since she does her job impeccably, Mr Ambrose, true to his word as a businessman, cannot make her go. So, in turn, he does everything he can to get rid of her.

In the process, an important file goes missing, and Lilly finds herself unable to keep out of Mr Ambrose’s business, proving herself to be very resourceful and useful in the process, which of course, makes it harder and harder for Mr Ambrose to get rid of her. A lot of this plot focusses on this file and leads to the major cliffhanger at the end.

Action is a significant portion of the novel, and so is the romance between Lilly and Mr Ambrose. Though, mind you, it’s slow burn (my favourite type!) yet with plenty of chemistry and humorous encounters. This book, while categorized as historical romance, does not simply focus on these two people. Lilly does have her own problems, and must deal with it, in a dress, and with a fan, and must also be at work on time.

Some parts of this story lag a bit, specially when Lilly comes across her younger sister and her secret assignation with her lover. These scenes to me, felt a bit like a parody, like a caricature of forbidden loves, but at the same time, no less sweet. Admittedly, I just kept rolling my eyes at their interactions, mostly because the conversations were so silly! Bordering on satirical (which is also something I think this whole book does about that time period, but here’s why I also compare it to Heyer, since she wrote serious but humorous romances so the characters fall in love and yet do it humourously along the way). My favourite parts of this subplot however, was the ball scene towards the end.

C H A R A C T E R S

Lilly Linton, one of six daughters who are left with their aunt when her parents died. She’s nineteen, and couldn’t care less about balls, dances, and chauvinistic males. She’s more interested in wearing pants, fighting for rights as a woman, and a way out of her Aunt’s good gracious, to lift the burden, but also, so that she doesn’t ever have to marry anyone!What I love about her. She has a really interesting personality. Lots of humorous thoughts in her head, and doesn’t know how to really be a girl either. Even though in the company of men, she’s pretty feminine, except when she’s in full guy mode and allowed to swear up a storm and act like a guy. She’s clever, and resourceful, and refuses to give up her principles. She’s not invincible though. She doesn’t mind pushing her aunt to her limits, but so long as she plays towards her aunt’s desires (for her to go out and throw herself at gentleman to get married to), then she can be as free as a bird (well sort of free). When she’s in a dangerous situation, she gets scared and angry, but knows how to keep her head and follow orders (well not orders that tell her to stay away, but orders during the most intense moments). ON THE DOWNSIDE, Lilly’s stubbornness and inability to stay away from danger, throwing herself into tough situations might be dislikeable to some. However, I liked her enough because her character was justified and when she made a decision she stuck with it and acted as brave as possible, and not at all like a stupid-damsel-in-distress.

Mr Ambrose. His interactions with Lilly are the highlight of this book! I LOVE him. Well, rather, what I love, is how he was created. Indeed, he is somewhat your romantic love interest, the broody kind I mean. BUT BETTER. Broody typical love interests are always like, well, cavemen, broody and somewhat depressing. Mr Ambrose, is a sensible, logical, non-joking male, who knows how to use sarcasm (or rather he tells truths in a sarcastic way), likes to order people around, a miser who loves threatening Lilly by telling her that all the expenses are coming out of her wage, dresses well but plainly, is considered the richest man in all of England, has a somewhat shady background everyone is always speculating on, and though he acts like he only cares about Lilly because he needs a well working secretary, he does actually care about her, even though he never explicitly shows it because he’s always putting work first. You’ll understand what I mean when you read it! And work, as a man in his line of business, gets dangerous. Usually when it gets dangerous, he sends Lilly home, but she always manages to end up right at his side in the midst of danger, simply because she’s not the kind who takes well to be being ordered away simply because ‘she’s a girl’. Mr Ambrose though, usually after trying his best to send her away, allows her to stay. He does, respect her enough to let her stay, simply because he knows she won’t go away anyway.

Supporting characters mention: KARIM. YES. This guy who is Mr Ambrose bodyguard. HE IS AWESOME. Every time he pops up, he’s nearly the comic relief, even when Lilly and Mr Ambrose are at each other’s next in the most humourous way as possible without downgrading the importance of their arguments. I give Karim a special mention, because he plays an important throughout the book as Mr Ambrose’s bodyguard and trusted person. He does, after all, give Lilly the nickname that Mr Ambrose calls her rarely when he’s in a good mood. AND He’s terrified of Lilly simply because she’s a firecracker female!

S E T T I N G

1830s England, about the time when Victoria is crowned Queen, and the industrial revolution is blooming. My knowledge of this era is scattered, though I knew enough to be pleased with the accuracies. (Except I frowned a bit in confusion about the women suffrage movement, but after some research, I realized that the details in the book were still pretty accurate, since the proper movement didn’t begin until around the 1870s for the UK, but before that, there were smaller, little protests from the middle to upper class. And the notes that Thier added helped sort out the confusion in my head.)

W R I T I N G

Witty. It has it’s personal flair – Robert Thier flair. And by god. I can’t believe it. He can actually write from a female perspective EXCELLENTLY. Generally I don’t like genders writing for the opposite gender mainly because the guys come out extra whiny, or not convincingly enough male. And the females become overly obsessed with shoes and dresses and all, mainly over over exaggerated female stereotypes. However, Thier doesn’t do that. He gives Lilly’s principles, values, morals, habits, likes and dislikes, and writes a very convincing female tomboy without sounding like a man writing a female. Loved it. (And while Lilly freaks out over her feelings for Mr Ambrose, she usually has her head on straight and focussed on the task.)

Also, written in first person, and definitely all through the book a very characteristic YA style. More colloquial than historical in terms of language BUT there is enough era sensitive language used for the book to feel like it is set during the time it is supposed to!

He doesn’t waste too much time on description, but thankfully there is enough detail to give a full picture.
But the best part, is that he interweaves plenty of wittiness to love, and I find it absolutely humorous. Although the review copy I received had a few spelling errors and (of which will probably be filtered out before it’s actually published), I found the writing style likeable. There’s a cliffhanger at the end of nearly every chapter (hence why I ended up staying up to the ridiculous hour of 4am simply because I wanted to finish this AND STILL COULDN’T; if I wasn’t so rational, I would have kept going until 9am and forgoed sleep, but unfortunately, my eyes were just inadequately falling asleep on me!)

OH BUT WARNING. As much as I love scenes where the guy shoves a girl up against a wall (whether to intimidate, make a point, or just be a brute – I usually don’t really like the last option), this does happen a little too often in Storm & Silence, and while it’s not annoying (okay maybe a little) since it is a pretty intense scene each time, even though it’s absolutely pure each time! it does become a little bit repetitive. I think I counted 4 scenes? But well, like I said, the scenes are intense, and so much sparkly, steamy, clean & pure chemistry sparking between Lilly and Mr Ambrose, and it’s usually when they’re arguing! (And also another warning, depending on how you like your historicals, this one borders a bit onto the types where there’s more physical touching (for now I can only think of the Her Fair Assassin trilogy by Robin LaFevers and The Luxe series by Anna Godbersen as examples of such and less of the distant intense chemistry of Heyer’s historical romances.)

O V E R A L L

I really enjoyed this. I did. Reading it, I was somewhat reminded of Georgette Heyer’s regencies (yes I know, I say this often, but if you follow my reviews, then y’all know well enough how much I love her books, and how they’re like my ultimate historicals) with outrageous scenarios (well in Heyer’s novels, this doesn’t always happen but still), a headstrong, somewhat feisty female protagonist, and a swoony busy love interest. (Still, Silence and Storm cannot really be compared to Heyer, because Heyer is a gem from another century, and her uniqueness makes her Queen Overlord of Historical Regency Romances. But what Thier has in common is his ability to thread his own flair and style into his story.) Either I was really craving a romance like this at this moment, and this just came by a the right time, or this book really is as good as its ratings, whichever, I think this is a pretty good book and I would definitely suggest it!

You know after finishing the review, I feel like I didn’t put in enough cons….but there were some, it’s just that my enjoyment overrode any negative feelings I might have had about the cons! I suppose if I were to pick some cons, it would be that although Silence and Storm felt like a whole and complete novel, sometimes I felt like it could be revisited and edited a bit more, and yet…while I wouldn’t say it’s perfect, it sure as hell is an interesting story (the highlight, the slowly blooming romance of Lilly and Mr Ambrose).

So if anything above catches your eye, give this book a chance. I can’t guarantee you’ll love it, but I sure as did. So maybe you won’t like, but hopefully you will since I do and don’t know how I read through this YA historical romance all at once and wanted more. Sometimes I think, wow there was a lot of silliness happening but then my brain morphs and justifies the scenes with the seriousness of the situation!

P.s. have I mentioned somewhere, this is one of the first ebooks I don’t have a problem with reading on the kindle phone app? I usually don’t like ebooks because I always feel like I’m reading some kind of draft, but well, this time, it didn’t feel like that at all! (except for the typos of course.)

View all my reviews

Mortal Heart. Robin Lafevers.


20522640Mortal Heart
by Robin LaFevers

My rating: 4.5 stars

Finally finished this!! Wanted to finish earlier but didn’t have much time! (Back on Dec 6th 2015)

Buddy Read with Samantha for the Quarterly Book Club.

Initial thoughts for the night I finished it 

Really enjoyed it though I still love Dark Triumph the best. This one was almost more supernatural/paranormal than the others. There was a lot more unravelling of myths and true stories. There wasn’t much I didn’t like, but it lost half a star for being more paranormal/supernatural than I was hoping for and there was a lot of running around when Annith was supposed to be going somewhere but didn’t get there for ages. This was mostly because each step was a little bit more mystery about the gods, another piece of their stories. But I wasn’t disappointed at all, Annith turned out to be a tougher goody two shoes than she had been previously portrayed. I thought I wouldn’t like her, but actually, loved her!

More thorough review later!


M Y   R E C O M M E N D A T I O N

What I loved

— Annith and Balthazaar. I loved them together, and I loved them as individual characters. I don’t know if I would say that LaFevers has upped her game come the romance to this trilogy, but I did really fly through the whole book, half waiting for these two to really give in to each other. Although I did really enjoy reading their story, if I didn’t love it so much, didn’t fly through this book so quickly, didn’t appreciate how easily it read, I might have picked on a number of things related to their relationship. I mean Annith, for such a saintly girl did make the jump on Balthazaar a lot quicker than I expected. But I guess that’s part of why I liked Annith. She was bold and daring, and not half as saintly as Ismae and Sybella portrayed her in the previous books. At the same time though, she was very devoted to Mortmain. Her love for him was very bright.

Balthazaar as a love interest was great. I loved him. He has some great scenes hehe. I.e.

“Have you ever seen Mortmain?”
His scowl deepens, and I cannot help but wonder what fault he finds with this question. “Yes. I have seen Him, but He is the god of Death, not some knight to be swooned over.”

I thought he was the perfect love interest for Annith, even though I don’t overly love the other aspect of him. He’s your dark, broody, handsome, but dangerous kind of love interest. And while usually these guys are swoony and unrealistic, with Balthazaar, he was more human and real than I expected (though what I expected, I don’t even know!)

— The mythology. I do love what LaFevers does here with the Gods. It was interesting, and fun to read. I liked the narration and unravelling of the myth surrounding the gods depicted in this book. I liked it. Then again, I’ve always loved stories where a major part of the narration is the story of a legend, or a myth, which, as the novel goes on, is retold a number of times until the ‘true’ story is revealed. Do you know how much I love that kind of plot device? A LOT.

We also get to see more of the other convents/worshippers in this book than the other books.

— Quick read. Despite the size of this book, it was DEFINITELY a quick read. I flew through it. Loved the writing style enough that it practically screamed at me to read on until my eyes bleed with exhaustion. Unfortunately I had to read this in installments because I was busy. But man, I wanted to gobble it up.

— Learning about Annith’s connection to Arduinna was actually not that unpleasant to me. I think I was expecting it once I got used to the other elements of this novel. Learning her history in the convent and more about the Abbess was fascinating too.

The Not So Great Parts, but of course By No Means Hinders The Enjoyability (probably)

— Supernaturality and paranormality. This book was A LOT more supernatural than the other book. The introduction of the hellequin, at first, I thought were not supernatural because well, the previous installments were minimal on the supernatural aspects, but actually, they were pretty supernatural. Not to mention a lot of other godly intervention taking place. It wasn’t so bad, but if it wasn’t because I really enjoyed Dark Triumph and was definitely flying through Mortal Heart, I might have disliked it more. The thing is, Mortal Heart is the odd one out in the trilogy being more supernatural. Whereas Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph had minimal elements of supernaturality in terms of the gifts that the daughter of Mortmain received, Mortal Heart exceeds that by miles. And since I wasn’t expecting it, I was a bit surprised!

— Less Politics and History. Related to the previous point. Annith’s personal story is a bit more stronger than the political historical plot.

— The Ending. The ending fell a little flat for me (hence the lost of one star), even if I still really enjoyed the book. It fell flat because of the way LaFevers decided to deal with the Duchesses fate. I know I definitely wasn’t a fan of that ending. I felt like it was a bit of a cop out even though it was written excitingly, it just felt like LaFevers wanted a method that would work with the real history? (Yes I did go and wiki this a little lol.) I’ll give LaFevers points for being creative, but I was just not a fan of it. Now, the other part of the ending, related to the Abbess, I liked that! I thought that was fun and satisfying to read!

OVERALL

I probably have a lot more to say but I can’t think of it right now! I do know though that I want to read it again. And again, just for the fun of it, and seeing Annith and Balthazaar get together. But I would read Dark Triumph for the intensity of the plot on all fronts. I would suggest this as a great book with strong female characters, historical fiction fans, and a quick read!

THE OTHER HIS FAIR ASSASSIN BOOKS

View all my reviews

These Broken Stars. Amie Kaufman & Megan Spooner


These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1)

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5/idk it’s good enough to be 5 stars yet I don’t know why I’m holding back!

Really enjoyed this, eyes glued to the pages at that dangerous level of engagement (do not touch or I’ll explode kind of intensity).

I can’t even explain how I feel right now but this book is a little bit more than just a romance. It’s not even really a romance! nor love focussed yet THAT plays such a big role and the fact that there’s just two of them. Really….I think I just need to read next book and the last book to really really understand how deep this trilogy will go.

Shucks I can’t explain this right now–but I TOTALLY get what Sam’s review over at A History of Books refers to now! and I get it. I totally agree with her.

Okay a more coherent examination later. But note: while in the beginning I was reading this out of curiosity and as a recommended book, and expected more love/romance, but by the end, I was in this for the meaning. I was in this for the mystery. I wasn’t in it for Lilac and Tarver only anymore (I think if I was, I’d have rated it lower), I was in this for the ending. (Well near the ending part).

U P D A T E

From the above you can see that I ended this book really enjoying it. Hard not to when the climax of the whole novel had me in chills and goosebumps. It was creepy yet it wasn’t so creepy that it would keep you up with nightmares. Rather, it was creepy because of the implications. I mean, sure this book is sci-fi fantasy. It’s not real. But it doesn’t mean it can’t be real in the future. Scientists are always wondering and searching the world for the existence of life other than Earth after all.

P L O T

So this book begins with a scene and disaster parallel to that of the titanic. Lilac LaRoux is the daughter of the richest man in the universe and she’s on the Icarus, one of her father’s biggest luxury spaceliners, for her birthday. Tarver Merendson is a decorated war hero,a guest on the Icarus. There’s a little of instalove here, but trust me, it’s not really instalove. Anyway, so he meets her for the first time, and unaware of her identity, he shows an interest in her. Just like she shows him (though she knows exactly who he is). But it doesn’t take long before she draws a line between them, and makes it clear that he was just a game.

And then disaster strikes. The Icarus is yanked out of hyperspace, and plummets into the nearest planet–Lilac and Tarver just manage to escape in their escape pod which neither had wanted to share if survival hadn’t been at the forefront of their minds.

They are the only ones to survive. And yet they hope for rescue. So together they travel across the terrain of the terraformed planet towards the wreckage of the Icarus in hopes of being rescued. After all, the spaceliner of such a big company as LaRoux Industries carrying the daughter of it’s head, would be looked for after all right?

The plot is slow going, with very little plot. It reminds me of Blood Red Road, where the beginning of the story is focussed on the main character in search of something. There’s a very small cast of people, and it’s simply a narrative of their travels, their fears, and their discoveries. Lilac and Tarver, after their encounter on the Icarus dislike each other immensely during the first half of their trek across this unknown terraformed world. Well, they don’t really dislike each other, but rather, they dislike the hierarchy that separates them. For Tarver, he just wants to be rescued and off this planet, same as Lilac, so they stick together.

As the journey proceeds, Lilac is the first to be affected by the strange things on the planet. There are whispers, and things that mysteriously appear. As they get closer to their goal, the mystery deepens as they constantly question the existence of this planet…

R O M A N C E

I figured I’d give this its separate section since the premise of my edition heavily implies romance. I quote:

These Broken Stars is a timeless love story about hope and survival in the face of unthinkable odds.

There is a love story. But it’s not hot and heavy, nor is it fast and dramatic. It’s slow and accumulating, building over the time that Lilac and Tarver spent together. It’s not my favourite kind of love story because it focusses so much on tthe love story. I love slow burning love stories but I don’t like books that only focus on love stories (too muvh romance and not enough action sometimes!). And this book, like I mentioned earlier, is focussed on the development of their relationship as they traverse the plains of the terraformed planet, and yet isn’t so overdone that I had to roll my eyes and put it down. What I appreciated was the way Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner develop both Tarver and Lilac. They also develop the relationship between the two characters, giving them more than just an ‘instalove’ story.

But even though there’s a strong love story, I feel like These Broken Stars has actually got a stronger mystery plot. It’s a survival story too.

C H A R A C T E R S

Lilac LaRoux is a spoiled rich brat. But I figured she probably wasn’t as spoiled as she seemed. (Kind of classic YA.) She was interesting. I liked her character in the sense that I didn’t find her annoying. I like that she grows through the book. That she’s not above helping out and taking on some of the workload. I should point out though, that in the beginning, Lilac is somewhat pretty insufferable! She seems so spoilt! But she’s not really as spoilt as she seems…

Tarver Merendson is awesome. Well as awesome as a guy gets in YA. I mean he’s clever, reliable, actually capable of doing things rather than just brooding and being grumpy. But he’s a little skeptical–which, I think is a good thing since it gives him that additional dimension. I also feel this book was more his story, since his chapters seemed a lot more substantial than Lilac’s!

S E T T I N G

Futuristic world. Sci-fi. Some Terraformed planet.

W R I T I N G

Very nice. Very easy to read. Wasn’t overly descriptive, so sometimes I had to stop and reread again to see what I’d missed. But otherwise I did like the writing. This book is also sci-fi, though it’s not really a heavy sci-fi. It does deal with things you’d see common to the genre, but I don’t feel (at the moment) that it’s too much sci-fi. Meaning, even if you don’t like sci-fi, you might like this if you like fantasy. There aren’t any mind-boggling terms to work your way around, no foreign scientific hardcore jargon to burn those cogs in your head.

Also, this book is written in first person pov.

O V E R A L L

I really wished I’d bought This Shattered World the last time I went to the store. I’d have started reading that now! But well. This book….this book….well if any of the above appeal to you, then give this book a go? That’s what I’d suggest! ALSO, I have to say, I LOVE that Amie Kaufman is Australian. As an Australian myself, that makes me go gaga over wanting to read this. And wonder why I hadn’t done it earlier!

View all my reviews