Miranda @ Bibliodaze

I'm an awesome 24 y/o reader and writer of YA fantasy/historical fantasy. I mainly write about awesome ladies and the people who love them. I work at a library and I'm a contributing reviewer to Bibliodaze.

Review: The Almost Girl by Amalie Howard

The Almost Girl - Amalie Howard

This is a DNF review. Pages read: 73/289

I tried to be into it, I did. And admittedly, it started off strong and the beginnings of the world building were good. But then Riven and the narration of the book shame Caden's girlfriend as being slutty and a "bitch," and--I don't know. It kind of just ruined the entire thing for me, because seriously, you can create a world where there's virtually no sexual assault and where women can hold positions of power and command with no problem, but it's apparently still acceptable to slut shame other girls and call them bitches?

On top of that, I found my interest slowly fading. There wasn't really anything that made me want to pick the book back up after I'd put it down. I eventually decided to put it aside. I wish it had worked for me, but sometimes these things just happen.

Giveaway of Sorrow's Knot by Erin Bow

Sorrow's Knot - Erin Bow

Catherine and I are giving away three hard copies of Sorrow's Knot by Erin Bow to three lucky winners!

To enter, just head on over to the post and use the form at the end of the post. Good luck!!

Source: http://onthenightstand.net/2013/10/giveaway-sorrows-knot-by-erin-bow

Review: Reality Boy by A.S. King

Reality Boy - A.S. King

When I first began seeing status updates and reviews coming in from friends about Reality Boy, a surprising number of them dropped the book because it was a book they had to be in a certain mood for. After having read it, I now see what they meant. Reality Boy is definitely a book you have to be in a certain mindset and place to be able to read and fully appreciate.

Gerald's justified anger at his dysfunctional life is almost tangible and very visceral in several scenes. King's writing really shines the brightest during the moments when he's triggered and angry and upset and needing an outlet.

Admittedly, the first hundred or so pages are difficult to read because of his anger and his abusive home life. He deals with it in unhealthy ways and his narrative style reflects it. It's worth sticking with it to see how Gerald grows from the person he is in those first few hundred pages, and how his story unfolds.

I especially liked how we got flashbacks of sorts to the taping of the reality show he and his family were on. It really added a good layer in figuring out exactly how screwed up his family is, and how much it screwed him up in turn. It really did tackle issues we rarely see about reality shows anymore, namely: Is it right to subject kids to this sort of thing when they can't give their full consent? Should we accept the fact that the parents give consent for them instead and keep it at that?

Gerald was a great character. However, in turn, for all that I felt like I really knew him as a person and got to see all these layers and depth to him, it rarely felt like I could say the same for the secondary characters.

Tasha, his abusive and possibly bipolar sister, is reduced to pretty much just as she is. There's also a very high level of slut shaming put into her character, and I've noticed this is becoming a theme with King's female characters. The main one is always great and exempt from being called a slut for doing the exact same things the female characters who get called sluts do. Frankly, Tasha was a detestable enough character that this really wasn't needed.

Hannah, Gerald's love interest, did have moments of being interesting, and at the end I did enjoy her relationship with Gerald though it was very tumultuous. But in the end she toed the line of being one-dimensional and I never felt like I knew her as well as I knew Gerald.

But on that note, King's portrayal of Gerald's family was very effective and felt real. It was understandable why Gerald had so much anger at his family because they were just so dysfunctional, all he could do was react in anger towards it and how they treated him.

Overall, while I did get engrossed in Gerald's narration and the excellent technical writing, there were some things that did hinder my enjoyment of the novel overall. King is still one of my favorite authors, but I'm getting very tired of the slut shaming in her works and Reality Boy, while good, won't be my favorite of hers.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley for an honest review.

Mini-Review: Shadowlands by Kate Brian

Shadowlands - Kate Brian

A silly and incredibly predictable read, and the pacing lags in the middle. But honestly? I enjoyed the hell out of it. The writing was actually good and got me caught up in the emotions of it all, and although I figured out the whole thing pretty much immediately, I had fun with it. Enough that I'll get the second book from the library.

Review: Sorrow's Knot by Erin Bow

Sorrow's Knot - Erin Bow

After enjoying Plain Kate by Erin Bow, I was looking forward to Sorrow's Knot. I'm so happy to say that I enjoyed it every bit as much as I did her first novel, if not a bit more!

Usually when I read novels I end up guessing how the story will go after a certain point, but in this one, the story kept surprising me with all the twists and turns it took. I legitimately gave up guessing after a while because I just did not know where the story would take me. It is a well crafted plotline that never goes where one might expect it to, and for that it was a serious joy to read. Even when it got creepy.

And wow, did it ever get creepy. I didn't expect this to be an appropriate Halloween read when I started, but it was! There were some scenes that had me huddled under my blanket and wishing I slept with a nightlight. There's no gore, but it's like a very suspenseful ghost movie, where shadows shift in a fuzzy frame and you're sitting there, waiting for something to happen, the chills going up your spine. It's a very effective, chilling read at times, but it never gets too grimdark or too overwrought. There are plenty of lighthearted moments to even it up.

As for the cast, I think Otter's one of my new favorite lady leads in a book. She's just fantastic. A lot of things happen to her, but she tries her best to move on and grow. Kestrel, one of her best friends, was also a lovely character and I loved the role she played in the book.

The world building was also very nicely done. There was obviously a lot of research done on Native Americans and the different tribes that exist in order to make Otter's world well rounded and believable. A certain other book I recently finished could have taken a few lessons. (That's the only comparison I'll make, I swear.)

If there were any downsides to it, I'd say at times the already slowish pace did drag a little. It's not an action packed story; it's one that's slowly unraveled like a piece of yarn. But it's definitely worth it to see how the whole thing untangles and then comes back together.

I loved Sorrow's Knot, and I heavily encourage anyone who loves fantasy to give it a good look.

Shadowlands - Kate Brian

A silly and incredibly predictable read, and the pacing lags in the middle. But honestly? I enjoyed the hell out of it. The writing was actually good and got me caught up in the emotions of it all, and although I figured out the whole thing pretty much immediately, I had fun with it. Enough that I'll get the second book from the library.

Tiger Lily - Jodi Lynn Anderson

When I initially picked up this book, I worried about the portrayal of Wendy Darling. I thought, "Oh Lord, if this is setting it up to be a whole 'the tomboy girl is better than the feminine silly girl' thing, I'm going to be upset."

Clearly I should have been more concerned about the portrayal of Natives.

I can see that the book was well intentioned in how it wanted to turn the racist source material into something not racist and more nuanced. However, I don't think enough research was put into the various Native tribes that exist around this country and the history surrounding Native portrayals in media and society, and therefore it fell into other traps.

Take, for instance, the naming system in Neverland. The children are pretty much named for whatever the person naming them happens to see at the moment; Tiger Lily was named because she was found under a flower of the same name, Sticky Feet was named because she accidentally walked through tar once, etc. They're also outlandish names, which furthers the unfortunate stereotype.

There's also the fact that once an English man moves into the island and begins preaching about his God and the ways of English life, the Natives are hesitant at first but then are very easy to sway over into his ideals. I found this troubling because it made the Natives seem silly and not all that bright.

Then we get to the one character that hurt me the most, Tik Tok, Tiger Lily's mother. Though she was born a man, Tik Tok identifies as a woman and wears dresses and womanly colours. Once the English man moves into the village, however, he puts pressure on Tik Tok to identify as a man and wear men's clothing, and forcibly cuts Tik Tok's long hair.

At the end of this, Tik Tok commits suicide rather than go on. I'm not entirely sure what the point of this was except to have some drama, but I'm very tired of seeing queer/genderqueer/trans* characters having sordid lives or trauma based on their identity and then killing themselves over it. I realize this is the story of a lot of those people, but why can't we have some happy trans* characters in books for once?

As for the rest of the book, well, I did actually enjoy Tiger Lily as a character. There wasn't as much of a rivalry between her and Wendy as I thought there would be, which I did appreciate. Frankly I was never that caught up in Peter and Tiger Lily's relationship in this book anyway; I guess I could see how they might work, but nothing about it really had me rooting for them.

I did really love the writing, though, and I liked how Tinker Bell was the narrator. It was a good choice of narrative and I liked her relationship with Tiger Lily.

Overall, though, I can see the book was well intentioned. Intentions don't make up for the troubling aspects of it, however, that even I as a white woman caught on to. I might look into Anderson's next book due to the strength of her technical writing.

BEWARE OF GOODREADS BOOK GIVEAWAYS! YOUR personal information is being shared!

Reblogged from The Book Lantern:

Amanda Welling shares a screenshot of author's discussing "trolls," where it was reveled that several authors are collecting readers' personal information, via Book Giveaways, into a spreadsheet to "track and identify trolls." 


There's no indication of what they plan to do with this informations, but the fact that none of these authors are respecting the privacy of potential readers is worrisome enough. 


Whether you believe you're one of the "trolls" being targeted is beside the point, everyone should be concerned, if not outright pissed. The personal information of ALL the participants in these giveaways is being shared without their permission. 


Not surprising, GoodReads has absolutely nothing safeguarding privacy of the participants' personal information in the Terms & Conditions of their giveaways. 


Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas

Crown of Midnight - Sarah J. Maas

   Oh, book. I wished I had liked you.
    I initially really enjoyed Throne of Glass. It was easy enough to read, and at the time I liked it a lot... but then once I read other reviews, I ended up downgrading my initial rating from four stars to three. There were a lot of things I overlooked in favor of wanting to find the amazing story so many people told me it was; the juvenile writing and emotions behind the story, the fact that it still felt very much like it’d been published online, and the internal logic of the characters that never really matched up with their situations, histories or established personalities.
    Still, I was looking forward to reading Crown of Midnight, especially after a lot of early reviews came out and said it improved on the first book and that even people who liked the first well enough but didn’t love it turned into fans by the end of this one.
    Well. I’m sadly not one of those people.
    I had a lot of trouble getting into this book from the start. The writing was still rather juvenile, and the pacing for the first 200 pages honestly dragged. It wouldn’t have been so bad if the intrigue that Maas was attempting to do was actually well written. Instead, it just came across as a mess. There was very little intriguing about it, and it made the pacing slow down to a near halt.
    The plot itself also felt a little... under planned. There were things that Celaena should not have fallen for that she did, which made no logical sense if she’d just stopped to think about it. I was also highly uncomfortable with the event that takes place halfway through the novel and the implications it held, but unfortunately I can’t get into that without spoiling a lot of the novel.
    Celaena hasn’t improved much from the first novel, where she ignored clues that were right in front of her face in favor of keeping the mystery and plot going. She does the same here, although granted the mystery is slightly better written than it was in Throne of Glass. Still, it made it hard to root for her when I was sighing and going, “It’s right there, you’re not connecting the dots because the plot doesn’t want you to yet.”

    On the plus side, a pretty obvious plot twist was finally revealed in this book. If it had been dragged out to the third book, I would have definitely given this a lower rating, and likely also ripped my hair out in frustration.
    Overall, I don’t know that I’ll be around for the third book in the series. However, I am interested in seeing how the author’s other works fare. I don’t know if the juvenile writing would be an issue in other works that were started later than this series. Hopefully I’ll get to find out.

“He Looks Mixed Race”. “Divergent” & White Privilege.

Reblogged from The Book Lantern:

"I don’t think [Veronica] Roth has much say on the casting of the film of her book ["Divergent]. She certainly hasn’t been on lengthy bragging sprees about how “interfere-y” she’s been like Cassandra Clare was with “The Mortal Instruments” (her backtracking on that has been one of the pop culture highlights of my year). I understand not wanting to annoy the film’s producers or cause a fuss that could turn into something more public. However, her noted U-turn on the issue has to be addressed. We have to discuss the wider implications of what she’s said, what she hasn’t said and how the white privilege prevalent throughout the fandom and the industry has polluted the world at large."


Read more at The Book Lantern

So last night, Annie came and read some of CROWN OF MIDNIGHT with me.

Blogging With Depression

I have depression.

Well, actually, that’s not all I have. But it’s the one that’s most pertinent to this post. I’ve had depression for as long as I can remember. It was such a natural state of being for me that I didn’t think anything was weird about it, not even when others yelled at me for not doing important things like schoolwork or chores because I simply didn’t have the motivation or energy.

Unfortunately, due to a lot of factors, I’m not currently able to medicate it. The anti-anxiety medicine I’m on (because I also have generalized and social anxiety disorder) supposedly treats depression as well, but it hasn’t had much of an effect on me. This is because I also have bipolar disorder, and that’s a whole ‘nother beast that can’t be taken down with the same things that takes down depression or anxiety. So when I have a depressive episode caused by the bipolar disorder, my medicine can’t do anything for it.

Read the rest of the post at On The Nightstand.

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin Trilogy Series #1)

Grave Mercy - Robin LaFevers See more of my reviews at On The Nightstand.This book has everything I love in a novel: Historical fantasy, playing with expectations of gender roles, awesome ladies, political intrigue, and subtle touches of feminism.So I'm disappointed to say that while I liked it, I didn't outright love it like I wanted to. I'm not sure what it is about the novel, but I just didn't respond to it as much as I thought I would.The world building was good and layered, though I wish we'd spent more time at the convent. Especially because later Duval is poking so many holes in how they teach things there, and Ismae begins to doubt everything there, but it didn't really have a lot of impact on me because we honestly hadn't spent much time there. While the political intrigue was, well, intriguing, I figured out who the traitor was way before the book wanted me to. The entire time I wanted to jump into the book and point at the person and yell at Ismae, "RIGHT THERE!! USE YOUR BRAIN!"Speaking of Ismae, I honestly wasn't taken with her as a character. Possibly because she showed a lot of disdain for things generally coded as "feminine"; pretty dresses, knowing how to curtsey and act like a noble lady, etc. It gets so grating to read about after a while, and granted she does eventually drop it, but by then the damage had been done. The worst part is she doesn't really get into trouble at the court once she's there, despite never really paying attention to the classes that would have taught her how to properly behave. Things are incredibly easy for her when they shouldn't be, and I felt it cheapened her story by a lot.I also wasn't into her and Duval as a romantic couple. Bickering couples aren't my thing, and Duval especially lost any of my interest when he basically pins Ismae to the chair on their second meeting and tries to physically intimidate her. I had rather hoped she would kick him in the groin then, but alas, no.Still, I wasn't bored while I was reading it and the pacing didn't bother me (I thought it was quite even, actually, if a slower kind of pace). I'll still look into Dark Triumph, but I'm going to hope it's improved from Grave Mercy.
The Hallowed Ones - Laura Bickle See more of my reviews at On The Nightstand.The Hallowed Ones is the very definition of a hidden gem. I honestly hadn't heard much about this book in my bookish circles--granted, I've been out of touch for a while now, so that may have played a part in it. When I read the summary, it sounded good enough that I knew I had to read it, so when Amazon had a sale on the Kindle version, I snatched it up as fast as possible.I'm so, so glad I did. I loved this book. It was a breath of fresh air in so many ways.Where to even start? The atmosphere is the best part about The Hallowed Ones, I think. It's an unsettling, quiet, creepy atmosphere that sneaks up on you and slowly sinks under your skin, making you realize that things have gone very wrong. There were several times during the book I got the shivers, and it was from Bickle's wonderful writing and her ability to immerse me in this slowly decaying world.I also loved Katie as a character. She questions the world around her and the people who expect her to be subservient, but she also keeps her faith. I thought she was a wonderful, layered character that I immensely enjoyed reading about. I wish her friend Elijah had been written half as well, especially considering the end scene with him that just came out of nowhere and didn't feel organic at all.The setting of an Amish community was an especially inspired move, since it's generally closed off from the world and they keep to their own devices. It really added a sense of unease and worry to the story; what's going on outside, what if it comes for us next? It's also a rare setting to see in a young adult novel, and once I loved reading about.I don't think I can praise The Hallowed Ones enough. I can't wait to read The Outside as soon as I can.

Where the Stars Still Shine

Where the Stars Still Shine - Trish Doller See more of my reviews at On The Nightstand! I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.Well, this wasn't quite the book I was expecting it to be based off the summary. I was thinking it'd be focused more on her family instead of her hooking up with some guy, but alas, the latter turned out to be more prevalent in Where the Stars Still Shine. Which I'd be fine with, except that I never really got the impression that Callie and Alex were in love with each other so much as they were in lust with each other. While I'm happy to see sex (and oral sex!) presented in a healthy way in this novel, at times it felt like that was all there was to their relationship. And then at the end, when Alex basically proves that he's not really that great a boyfriend? Yeah, I wasn't feeling the romance aspect so much. Unfortunately it took up a large, large part of this novel, to the point where I felt like I still really didn't know her family even after she'd lived with them for at least two months. They felt flat to me, and the few scenes they had to wrap up any development or plot they had with Callie felt kind of like they were tacked on because they were necessary. I don't expect Callie to immediately gel with them, but I also felt that she never really tries to integrate herself with them, either. She always sneaks out, wanders around when she feels like it, and then goes to have sex with Alex. She makes some half hearted efforts, but it never really sticks, and honestly that was a big failing with her character. By the end of the novel, I don't feel like she grew or changed. She just reacted to her life as it happened to her and only put roots down in some places because she didn't really have any other option. When she makes her final decision near the end of the novel, it didn't feel organic because yet again, her hand was forced. She didn't come to that point by herself, through growing and maturing her feelings.There's also the fact that her past includes a plot point that just feels... unnecessary. One of her Mom's boyfriends sexually assaulted her, and while the repercussions of it are shown and kinda sorta dealt with, I wondered if it was honestly necessary to have it included at all. I don't know that it added anything to Callie's character or the story at large, and it reminded me of When You Find Me. Do all stories about kidnapped children need to have their main characters get raped or molested as children for some reason?For the things I did like, I enjoyed the Greek culture aspect of the novel and how it played into Callie's relationships and surroundings. It's not really one I haven't seen yet in a YA book. I also liked how Callie eventually didn't go to school; while I felt her ease at the GED studying was a bit unrealistic, it would have been even more unrealistic to have her be knowledgeable enough to go to high school without an issue. The writing was nice at times, though mostly serviceable. I didn't actively hate reading it, but I wasn't really won over in the end either, and I wish I had been.

When You Reach Me

When You Reach Me  - Rebecca Stead The writing style was too disjointed for me at times, and I had the main mystery figured out pretty early on. I did enjoy the characters, though, and the general storyline.

Currently reading

A Feast for Crows
George R.R. Martin
Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the Mass Media
Susan J. Douglas
The Winter Rose
Jennifer Donnelly
Progress: 259/720 pages