Shadowhunters Episode 12 ★☆☆☆☆

HARRY SHUM JR., DOMINIC SHERWOODI think this is the last episode of Shadowhunters that I’m forcing myself through.

Once again, we fly through story arcs and subplots. We are introduced to Magnus Bane’s old friend Ragnar Fell on the off-chance he might know how to awaken Clary’s mom from the weird potion induced coma that she is currently floating in. I think his total screen time takes up 5 minutes. His total arc follows Shadowhunters trademark, go find, finish formula: Clary and Co. find his home, make their ways through his wards, he drops “Book of the White” as a plot point and then gets killed.

Why even introduce him? The same information could have been given to us in a note. There was nothing special except to say there are other warlocks.

Beyond the Red ★★★★★

21414439.jpgWhen it comes to the broad sibling genre of Sci-Fi and Fantasy, I’ve always been more in the favor of Fantasy. But Beyond The Red by Ava Jae showed me a whole new world within the Sci-Fi realm, and I have fallen in love.

Alien queen Kora has a problem as vast as the endless crimson deserts. She’s the first female ruler of her territory in generations, but her people are rioting and call for her violent younger twin brother to take the throne. Despite assassination attempts, a mounting uprising of nomadic human rebels, and pressure to find a mate to help her rule, she’s determined to protect her people from her brother’s would-be tyrannical rule.

Eros is a rebel soldier hated by aliens and human alike for being a half-blood. Yet that doesn’t stop him from defending his people, at least until Kora’s soldiers raze his camp and take him captive. He’s given an ultimatum: be an enslaved bodyguard to Kora, or be executed for his true identity—a secret kept even from him.

When Kora and Eros are framed for the attempted assassination of her betrothed, they flee. Their only chance of survival is to turn themselves in to the high court, where revealing Eros’s secret could mean a swift public execution. But when they uncover a violent plot to end the human insurgency, they must find a way to work together to prevent genocide.

– Goodreads

I’ve been a long time follower of Ava Jae’s writing advice Writability (and you should be too!), and when I heard that their debut was coming, I was ecstatic. Surely, someone who gives such great and dependable writing advice should have written an amazing book, right? And Ava delivered, beyond all expectations.

Reading the book of someone who you hold in high regard due to their advice can feel like you’re walking on a fine line. On one hand, their book could not hold up to your expectations, and fall flat, thereby disillusioning you to their advice. It could be just plain bad and you’ll forever doubt any sort of advice they may try to give, because clearly their advice wasn’t good enough if they didn’t follow it. But, like in the case of Beyond the Red, it could be everything you could have ever hoped for and more.

I felt deeply connected to Ava’s characters, rooting for them from the start. Ava’s writing is rich and powerful, and their prose is almost lyrical when read. The book has a strong set of characters, all with their different agendas, and the story itself has the potential to become a classic and a staple in the sci-fi/fantasy community.

My one and only gripe comes from the sudden end of the book, which sets up for a sequel, and perhaps it comes from my deep need to know more and submerge myself in the world of Sefara. I want more world-building, more stories, a comprehensive guide to the Sephari language, a history of all things Sephari and how humans came to the world. I essentially want this to become as wide and detailed as Harry Potter or LoTR, where I can learn the language and read everything there ever is to read about this story.

Goodreads . Amazon . B&N . Indie . Author Page

REVIEW: Undertow ★★☆☆☆

22924235Seventeen-year-old Eila Walker’s new home has defied the brutal Atlantic for over 160 years. Abandoned since her 4th great grandmother Elizabeth vanished, the town legend declared that she drowned.

Unbeknownst to the town and Eila however, is that someone does know what really happened to Elizabeth and he has returned to the Cape, determined to protect the last surviving Walker from a history of violence. A soulless killer himself, Raef will attempt to keep Eila, safe from his own kind who murdered her grandmother so long ago.

But what starts out as a quest for redemption evolves into something more and soon Raef is forced to reveal the truth to Eila.

My official verdict on Undertow is: Meh.

We open with the instant friendship formula followed shortly by “Oh, gee, who is that mysterious stranger?”

That mysterious stranger who is not really mysterious at all. Maybe I would feel differently if there weren’t the prologue in the beginning. To be honest, I was more intrigued by the prologue than I was by chapter one, and I wish I had read Elizabeth’s story and not Eila’s.

Eila was just too… boring? Is that the right word? She wasn’t above or below her age range but if I were a teen I wouldn’t be friends with her. I’d probably wave at her because I knew her from class, but as for hanging outside of school? Nah.

I stopped reading halfway through. Which I hate doing but I simply wasn’t enjoying it enough.

I will say that I enjoyed the premise. Hence the second star in my rating. I’m a sucker for a good ancient family mystery drama, but I just don’t feel like Conway took me along the right path in Undertow.

Every Day ★★★★★

13262783I, admittedly, judged Every Day by its cover-which I’m not overly thrilled about-sorry. I was also turned off by “Every day in love with the same girl.”

Do I want to pick up another teen romance? I asked myself. Do I want to sit through another love at first site?

Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.
There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

-Back Copy

Shadowhunters Episode 10 ★★★☆☆

Cb5ZET0W8AEY6o2Here we are. Episode 10 of FreeForm’s Shadowhunters, a show I can’t believe got a renewal for season 2. Not only because of its general terribleness but also because of the copyright suit against Cassandra Clare.

But let’s dive right in here because we’ve got three stories to follow:

  • Clary goes to an alternate dimension
  • Isabelle gets arrested for treason
  • Simon visits the wolves and tries to eat a guy

Glass Sword ★★★★★

If I could sum up my entire experience of Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard in a single gif, it would be this one:

Glass Sword? More like Glass Case of Emotions!

If you’ve spent any amount of time on this site, or listening to our Podcasts, you know how much of a fan Jess and I are of Victoria Aveyard. We fell in love with Red Queen last year, and Glass Sword delivered as many emotions as its predecessor. Maybe even more.

Shadowhunters Ep 9 ★★☆☆☆

64bd74a1-9948-4c24-9838-35bdfd87b1ceLet’s use all the words like we’ve been using them all along and this isn’t still a new experience. I feel nothing for Clary, she’s just one of the unfortunate stereotypes of today’s literature attempting to make a strong female character. Overly confident and incapable of thinking ahead she gets on my nerves something fierce. A pale imitation of a “natural born leader,” Clary finds herself in charge of a Seelie/Werewolf/Vampire alliance. And that happens in minutes.

Lydia’s Enchanted Toffee ★☆☆☆☆

cover72812-mediumPlanet Plenti is a most extraordinary place, a world of incredible edible delights; of confectionery minerals, fizzy pop springs, forests and jungles full of delectable plantlife …

And yet, for children in the land of Likrishka, life is less than ordinary, and mostly very grim – as the Likrish population lives under the watchful rule of Stannic, a tin-skinned tyrant, a Master Chef who commands an army of robot waiters.
Thus nine-year-old Lydia faces a future slaving away in a factory camp – but the girl was born with a mysterious power over metal (when she eats a special type of toffee) …

One eventful day, she meets a gang of other girls with strange sweetie powers: the deadly Bull’s-Eye, razor-toothed Jawbreaker, fire-breathing Peppermint, super-fast Hazel Whirl; there’s Marshmallow, Ice Lolly, Sugar Cube, Dolly Mixture, Cocoa and Marzipan … and together, they must travel across the robot-controlled Candi-Lands, on a treasure hunt for magic sweets that will help to defeat the villainous Chef … and return their world to its sweetest, once more.

-Goodreads

Perhaps I was hungry for more with Lydia’s Enchanted Toffee. The synopsis sounded so cute and, if I’m being honest, I love a good pun so the fact that the prologue is called the Appetizer made crack up.

But then it just stopped working. It felt almost juvenile. The dialogue didn’t seem real and after a few pages the amount of food descriptions was just too over the top.

Bakery became Baykari, which I ended up pronouncing Bay-CAR-ree because of its spelling. The Winelands are France and Italy is Nooga

And the whimsical language is incredibly difficult to stay with. Every sound–I mean EVERY sound–has onomatopoeia, like the craa-craa cries of the gulls and the shug-a-shug-a-shug of the snakes (and I’m not even sure that’s the right sound for snakes to be making).

There are also illustrations but… well they aren’t that amazing… and since the world is made of candy, don’t you think I know what candy looks like?

Ultimately, I didn’t finish Lydia’s Enchanted Toffee. I couldn’t put myself through it. And I hate doing that, but it would take me too long to push myself through this book.

If you see it out in the world, leave it where it is.