11/22/63

11/22/63 by Stephen King
Published by Pocket Books on January 26th 2016
Genres: fiction
Pages: 1120
Goodreads

Life can turn on a dime—or stumble into the extraordinary, as it does for Jake Epping, a high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine. While grading essays by his GED students, Jake reads a gruesome, enthralling piece penned by janitor Harry Dunning: fifty years ago, Harry somehow survived his father’s sledgehammer slaughter of his entire family. Jake is blown away...but an even more bizarre secret comes to light when Jake’s friend Al, owner of the local diner, enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination. How? By stepping through a portal in the diner’s storeroom, and into the era of Ike and Elvis, of big American cars, sock hops, and cigarette smoke... Finding himself in warmhearted Jodie, Texas, Jake begins a new life. But all turns in the road lead to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald. The course of history is about to be rewritten...and become heart-stoppingly suspenseful.

This was SUCH an interesting one for me.

Stephen King is a writer that I’ve always wanted to love, but I’ve never jived with any of his books. I often find them repetitive and I’m not a huge fan of his endings. Which sucks, because I love the ideas behind his novels, just not the actual execution of them. But every now and then I get the urge to pick up one of his books to just try.

Enter 11/22/63.

I love historical fiction. I love conspiracy theories. I love the idea of time travel. This book was like the trifecta of literature goodness for me. I’m especially a sucker for JFK conspiracy theories; in my American history class in high school I did a half hour presentation on whether or not I thought Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. It’s still one of my favourite projects.

Anyway, going into 11/22/63, I was excited. I really wanted to like it. I kept whispering “Please Mr. King, don’t fuck this up”, as if he could go back in time to rewrite the novel to my liking if it didn’t suit me. Because, you know, I am that important of a reader to him.

But the thing was, I didn’t have to try and like it. I genuinely enjoyed it. Like, really enjoyed it. It’s a mammoth of a book, but I flew through the pages. I needed to know what was going to happen. Was Jake Epping going to be able to stop Oswald? What would that change in the future? Would he be able to go back to the future if he was successful or would the portal cease to exist? Was he actually just going to be a mental patient in some hospital who was making this all up (View Spoiler »? So many questions kept me anxiously reading the entire time.

I liked Jake Epping. I don’t have much else to say about him, really. View Spoiler »

I really, really enjoyed how detailed the descriptions for the Land of Ago was. I wasn’t alive in the 50s and 60s, but the details were so rich and inviting that I wish I had been. I’d especially liked to have tried an honest to goodness rootbeer from back then. By the end of the book I wished I could travel back in time just to experience what Jake had experienced. It sounded positively delightful.

I was super happy about the ending too, which as I’ve said, are normally let downs for me. I was glad this one did not disappoint. I was very interested to see how it would end since there were so many possibilities, but I think this was the right one, just based off of who Jake Epping was as a man. View Spoiler »

I’m so glad I finally picked up 11/22/63, and it’s given me hope to continue testing more of King’s writing.

Have you read it? What did you think?

One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Feversong

Feversong (Fever #9) by Karen Marie Moning
Published by Dell on October 17th 2017
Genres: urban fantasy
Pages: 520
Goodreads

As Mac, Barrons, Ryodan, and Jada struggle to restore control, enemies become allies, right and wrong cease to exist, and the lines between life and death, lust and love, disappear completely. Black holes loom menacingly over Dublin, threatening to destroy the earth, yet the greatest danger is the one MacKayla Lane has unleashed from within: The Sinsar Dubh--a sentient book of unthinkable evil--has possessed her body and will stop at nothing in its insatiable quest for power.

The fate of Man and Fae rests on destroying the book and recovering the long-lost Song of Making, the sole magic that can repair the fragile fabric of the earth. But to achieve these aims, sidhe-seers, the Nine, Seelie, and Unseelie must form unlikely alliances and make heart-wrenching choices. For Barrons and Jada, this means finding the Seelie queen, who alone can wield the mysterious song, negotiating with a lethal Unseelie prince hell-bent on ruling the Fae courts, and figuring out how to destroy the Sinsar Dubh while keeping Mac alive.

This time, there's no gain without sacrifice, no pursuit without risk, no victory without irrevocable loss. In the battle for Mac's soul, every decision exacts a tremendous price.

AHHHHH I can’t believe I finished the series!

Okay, okay. I know there’s technically more books in the series, but I know at the very least that the next one does not deal with Mac and Jericho as the main characters (at least I think it doesn’t). I think a lot of people consider this one the end of the series.

If not, feel free to correct me in the comments. I could be persuaded to continue them.

Either way, I’m so excited yet so sad that the series is done. Sometimes it took me awhile to get through each book, and sometimes I zipped right through one and on to the next. Feversong is one of the latter ones for me. I even bookmarked a scene to keep for later, which I NEVER do.

Spoilers.

More spoilers.

Don’t be spoiled.

There are really only a couple of things I have to talk about with this one. FIRST OFF. The ending. I still don’t even know what to think about the ending. It kind of sort of wrapped it up nicely but also….wutttttttt. Jericho is the Unseelie King and Mac has been the Concubine the entire time??? Am I getting that right?? I like the idea but I also didn’t. For some reason I feel like making Jericho the Unseelie King erases the mystery and allure around him. I also have some other questions – like who was the concubine they saved then (was she the real Seelie Queen who just had her mind erased?) – that I’m still pondering. I almost guarantee if I read the last book again I’d probably answer most of my own questions.

I also likely could just do a good ol’ Google search. Which I might.

Second, I’m glad Shazaam was a real being. Just saying. I’m glad Dani didn’t make him up.

Third. The scene I bookmarked is the one where Jericho tells Mac he wouldn’t have minded if she ran into his arms. This scene got me right in the heart. It was just so cute. He tells her that he understands that she’s pulled away because she’s alpha and doesn’t like involving other people when she’s trying to figure her messed up shit out and finishes it by saying he would have liked it if she’d leaped into her arms when she’d hesitated at the White Mansion because she thought he  wasn’t that type of man. My heart.

I honestly think this was my favourite of the entire series.

Alright, that’s it! That’s my somewhat binge of the Fever series. It was great while it lasted!

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Feverborn

Feverborn by Karen Marie Moning
Published by Dell on November 29th 2016
Genres: urban fantasy
Pages: 391
Goodreads

In Karen Marie Moning s latest installment of the epic Fever series, Mac, Barrons, Ryodan, and Jada are back and the stakes have never been higher or the chemistry hotter. Hurtling us into a realm of labyrinthine intrigue and consummate seduction, Feverborn is a riveting tale of ancient evil, lust, betrayal, forgiveness, and the redemptive power of love. When the immortal Fae destroyed the ancient wall dividing the worlds of Man and Faery, the very fabric of the universe was damaged, and now Earth is vanishing bit by bit. Only the long-lost Song of Making a haunting, dangerous melody that is the source of life itself can save the planet. But those who seek the mythic song must contend with old wounds and new enemies, passions that burn hot and hunger for vengeance that runs deep.

The challenges are many: the Keltar at war with nine immortals who have secretly ruled Dublin for eons, Mac and Jada hunted by the masses, the Seelie queen nowhere to be found, and the most powerful Unseelie prince in all creation determined to rule both Fae and Man. Now the task of solving the ancient riddle of the Song of Making falls to a band of deadly warriors divided among and within themselves. Once a normal city possessing a touch of ancient magic, Dublin is now a treacherously magical city with only a touch of normal. And on those war-torn streets, Mac will come face-to-face with her most savage enemy yet: herself.

I don’t remember much of Feverborn, and that’s not because it was bad, but because it was such a build up to what was coming that I wanted to get to the end to figure out what it all meant. The fact that I was able to rush through it without getting bored is a testament to how good it was.

I think this was actually the first book in the entire series where I didn’t mind Mac at all. She became a fully realized character to me. Her decisions made sense, her attitude made sense, it all fit for me finally. Only took me until the end of the series. I got a better sense of Jada too, and wasn’t as thrown off by the whole Dani fiasco.

I liked that you were being fed a decent chunk of backstory while also building up some action. It’s definitely a middle book, but it’s a good one. I could feel that the end of the series was coming in this book, but I was excited to see how it played out.

I know this isn’t much, but I didn’t really have much to say about it, honestly. Decent overall!

One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

Dreamfever

Dreamfever (Fever, #4) by Karen Marie Moning
Published by Dell on October 26th 2010
Genres: urban fantasy
Pages: 498
Goodreads

MacKayla Lane lies naked on the cold stone floor of a church, at the mercy of the Fae master she once swore to kill. Far from home, unable to control her sexual hungers, MacKayla is now fully under the Lord Master's spell.

He has stolen her past, but MacKayla will never allow her sister's murderer to take her future. Yet even the uniquely gifted sidhe-seer is no match for the Lord Master, who has unleashed an insatiable sexual craving that consumes Mac's every thought--and thrusts her into the seductive realm of two very dangerous men, both of whom she desires but dares not trust.

As the enigmatic Jericho Barrons and the sensual Fae prince V'lane vie for her body and soul, as cryptic entries from her sister's diary mysteriously appear and the power of the Dark Book weaves its annihilating path through the city, Mac's greatest enemy delivers a final challenge.

It's an invitation Mac cannot refuse, one that sends her racing home to Georgia, where an even darker threat awaits. With her parents missing and the lives of her loved ones under siege, Mac is about to come face-to-face with a soul-shattering truth--about herself and her sister, about Jericho Barrons . . . and about the world she thought she knew.

Okay, okay, okay, okay, okay. I think this might be my favourite so far in the Fever series.

Spoils. Spoils, spoils, spoils, spoils, spoils.

I know a lot of people have an issue with the beginning of Dreamfever. A lot? Some. Some people have an issue with it. I only read a couple of other reviews briefly. Most of the issue stems from the fact that Barrons essentially uses rape to “cure” Mac from being a pri-ya (human addicted to fae sex). Those that are upset argue that, given Moning is the author, she could have chosen anything to cure Mac, and this is the way she chose. But I think it was alright. It wasn’t just tossed into the story, it had a purpose for furthering the story.

Mostly it made Mac and Barrons deal with some feelings (or show some feelings) that they otherwise wouldn’t. Which was fun to watch up until Mac started denying the feelings and we went right back to pretending neither of them wanted to screw the other. Except when Barrons made smart-ass remarks to her about their time together. Which I feel was somewhat alright, but this actually upset me more than the rape itself. She had no control and yet he’s tossing it back in her face to embarrass her or get the upper hand. I’d have smacked the shit out of him.

Spoils over.

I did like how we got a lot more of the fae backstory in this one. I feel like we finally know, more or less, what is going on. Except with the book. But we’re starting to understand the history of why things are happening the way they are, which is great. Not a fan of Rowena and that whole ganging being a bigger part in this, but it is what it is.

I’m nervous to continue reading because I know some things that happen that I am not looking forward to. But we shall see.

One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

Faefever

Faefever by Karen Marie Moning
Published by Dell on July 28th 2009
Genres: urban fantasy
Pages: 389
Goodreads

When MacKayla Lane receives a torn page from her dead sister’s journal, she is stunned by Alina’s desperate words. And now MacKayla knows that her sister’s killer is close. But evil is closer. And suddenly the sidhe-seer is on the hunt: For answers. For revenge. And for an ancient book of dark magic so evil, it corrupts anyone who touches it.

Mac’s quest for the Sinsar Dubh takes her into the mean, shape-shifting streets of Dublin, with a suspicious cop on her tail. Forced into a dangerous triangle of alliance with V’lane, an insatiable Fae prince of lethally erotic tastes, and Jericho Barrons, a man of primal desires and untold secrets, Mac is soon locked in a battle for her body, mind, and soul.

I feel like this book is the line between pink Barbie Mac and black leather Mac. It definitely started to get darker in tone with Faefever, which is not a bad thing. I was getting annoyed by naive, pretending-stuff-isn’t-happening or not-listening-to-Barrons-even-though-he-knows-shit Mac.

The tension in this book was palatable. I’m still enjoying the plot, the writing, and the setting. Love me some good Ireland.

Barrons is still a conundrum for me. I STILL can’t picture him in my head, even after looking up character art. I don’t know what it is. Maybe that’s how he’s supposed to be. He has grown on me a bunch, though, and I do like him now. I wish he wasn’t such a stick-up-the-butt type of dude, but I know there’s reasons for that. Mostly because I accidentally spoiled it for myself. I’m only half mad about that.

Add to my annoyance list Dani. I don’t know why, but she isn’t doing it for me as a character. Which is not great since I spoiled myself and know she’s a bigger part in this series.

Also, I don’t know if I’ve just started to tune it out or I’ve gotten used to it, but the repetitiveness that I mentioned in my Bloodfever review is getting much better.

So better overall, mostly.

And hoh-boy, that ending. Immediately picked up Dreamfever.

 

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Bloodfever

Bloodfever by Karen Marie Moning
Published by Dell on August 26th 2008
Genres: urban fantasy
Pages: 368
Goodreads

MacKayla Lane's ordinary life underwent a complete makeover when she landed on Ireland's shores and was plunged into a world of deadly sorcery and ancient secrets.

In her fight to stay alive, Mac must find the Sinsar Dubh- a million-year-old book of the blackest magic imaginable, which holds the key to power over both the worlds of the Fae and of Man. Pursued by Fae assassins, surrounded by mysterious figures she knows she cannot trust, Mac finds herself torn between two deadly and irresistible men: V'lane, the insatiable Fae who can turn sensual arousal into an obsession for any woman, and the ever-inscrutable Jericho Barrons, a man as alluring as he is mysterious.

For centuries the shadowy realm of the Fae has coexisted with that of humans. Now the walls between the two are coming down, and Mac is the only thing that stands between them....

I’m on a Fever series binge right now. I read this one right after Darkfever. And I’ve already bought the third and the fourth, although I’m not in love with the series. I’m still not sure on the characters, but I kind of love the plot and writing. So maybe it’ll be worth it for me to continue reading?

A bit spoilery ahead.

My biggest issue remains to be Mac. She’s just so dense. And I don’t know if it’s because she’s supposed to be this small town, naive girl, but it’s starting to get on my nerves. Like, you just find out that ALLLL these Fae exist, but when you see what you think is the Grim Reaper, you ASSUME you’ve gone bonkers and it’s not real. WHY??? I get that it needs to happen in order for the plot to make sense, but I feel like this is not a realistic reaction to seeing the GR. If I found out vampires existed and saw a troll, I’d for sure be talking to someone about it (especially if you know someone that can also see things) just to make sure. This was the single most irritating part of the book. And since it was happened throughout the book, I wasn’t exactly a happy camper.

Okay, I think you’re good for spoilers.

Jericho has gotten a bit better for me, although I still can’t really picture him in my head. His attitude is somewhat annoying, but I think that’s the point of him. And when he starts to show his feelings, man I melt. I’m super curious to find out more about him.

I’m also super excited to learn more about some characters that were introduced that I think will play a bigger part going forward.

And, as I said, I’m still loving the plot. Even if there isn’t much going on, it’s still moving ahead, which is nice.

Oh, the other thing I had an issue with was repetitiveness. Reading these back to back, there’s a lot of info that is repeated book to book. Saying that, if I was reading the series normally, I think it would be super helpful. Especially when Mac encounters characters for the first time in that book, but not the first time in the series, and she gives you a little recap of who they are and how they play into the story. But for me, it’s like having to watch a “last time on the show” recap while binging a show on Netflix.

Have you read the Fever series? What’d you think?

One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

January + February 2018 Wrap-Up

Hey all!

Soooo, I’ve been playing around with my site a bit, and I stumbled across the ability to add wrap-ups easy peasy into posts. I thought this would be a fun way to close out each month! We’ll see how long it lasts.

And since I discovered this with three days left in February, you get a double hit of the wrap-ups in one post! Yay me not figuring things on out time.

January Reads

January wasn’t too bad of a month for me. I feel like I started 2018 off with a bang and really hit my reading grove. I started off strong, but then the books got just alright.

  1. [8 Jan] The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin ★★★★★
  2. [15 Jan] The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick ★★★★
  3. [22 Jan] Resilience: Navigating Life, Loss, and the Road to Success by Lisa Lisson ★★★
  4. [29 Jan] Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor ★★★

February Reads

I think the biggest win for February was finishing off the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series which has been on my shelf for yeeeaaars. I’ve kept them because they’re pretty, but now I can say I’ve also read them! Although they weren’t my favourite, I’m glad I finally made it through.

  1. [13 Feb] Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor ★★★½
  2. [20 Feb] Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #3) by Laini Taylor ★★★½
  3. [27 Feb] Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning ★★★★
  4. [28 Feb] January + February 2018 Wrap-Up

Alright guys, that’s all for this one! What did you guys read in the month of February?

Darkfever

Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning
Published by Dell on August 28th 2007
Genres: urban fantasy
Pages: 349
Goodreads

"My name is MacKayla, Mac for short. I'm a sidhe-seer, one who sees the Fae, a fact I accepted only recently and very reluctantly.


My philosophy is pretty simple - any day nobody's trying to kill me is a good day in my book. I haven't had many good days lately. Not since the walls between Man and Fae came down. But then, there's not a sidhe-seer alive who's had a good day since then."

When MacKayla's sister was murdered, she left a single clue to her death, a cryptic message on Mac's cell phone. Journeying to Ireland in search of answers, Mac is soon faced with an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to master a power she had no idea she possessed - a gift that allows her to see beyond the world of man, into the dangerous realm of the Fae.

As Mac delves deeper into the mystery of her sister's death, her every move is shadowed by the dark, mysterious Jericho...while at the same time, the ruthless V'lane - an alpha Fae who makes sex an addiction for human women - closes in on her. As the boundary between worlds begins to crumble, Mac's true mission becomes clear: to find the elusive Sinsar Dubh before someone else claims the all-powerful Dark Book - because whoever gets to it first holds nothing less than complete control both worlds in their hands.

This is my second time reading Darkfever and I’m intrigued but also annoyed.

I love the plot. Give me almost anything set in Ireland and I’m in. All of the history/geography seems to be really well researched, which adds SO much texture to the story. It’s one of those books where I felt like I was walking beside the main character the entire time, looking through her eyes.

The main issue I had was MacKayla herself. Her entire attitude is the self indulgent “I’m young but I know everything” attitude. Like, look. You flew to Ireland because your sister was MURDERED. You find out monsters exist. A man who knows WAY more about monsters than you do decides to save your ass. But do you listen to him? No. You think you can handle the world so you just continue almost getting killed. I know he’s an ass, but come on?! I spent most of the book wanting to punch Mac in the face, honestly.

The other issue I had was Jericho. Not with the character himself, per say. I just had a very hard time building a mental image of him. When my mind is trying to convert the story into a nice little movie, I don’t know quite how to picture him. I’m hoping this gets better for me as the books go.

As I said, the plot was great. I’ll definitely continue reading it just for that. Also because I already own the second.

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Dreams of Gods and Monsters

Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #3) by Laini Taylor
on April 8th 2014
Genres: fantasy, young adult
Pages: 613
Goodreads

Two worlds are poised on the brink of a vicious war. By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera's rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her.

When the brutal angel emperor brings his army to the human world, Karou and Akiva are finally reunited - not in love, but in a tentative alliance against their common enemy. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people. And, perhaps, for themselves.

But with even bigger threats on the horizon, are Karou and Akiva strong enough to stand among the gods and monsters?

The New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy comes to a stunning conclusion as - from the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond - humans, chimaera, and seraphim strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.

After reading the first two books in this trilogy without being super blown away, I was interested to see how Laini Taylor planned on ending it. I was also a little apprehensive. I was terribly afraid it would quickly turn into a “and everyone lived happily ever after” scenario.

I’m really glad (but also kind of sad) that it didn’t end out that way.

This book was dark. We’ve got smart Karou back, although she’s tired and so done with everything that’s going on. We’ve got her and Akiva on minimal speaking terms, but it’s enough. We’ve got the whole gang of awesome characters ready to fight a war that no one really wants to fight. Let’s gather everyone and kick some butt!

The stand out for me, character wise, in this book was Liraz. I loved her character development, even though it might not have always been straight forward. In the first book, I didn’t like her. By the end of Gods & Monsters, I had a profound understanding for why she is the way she is.

I felt so bad for Ziri throughout this book. Boy got the short end of the stick more often than not. His story line broke my heart the most, I think.

The one main thing I wasn’t a huge fan of was the back story to Akiva and his powers. Maybe it was because we didn’t start learning about it fully until this book (or was it the second?), but I just felt like it wasn’t as flushed out as it could have been. It was like we were told a legend about creation and expected to accept it without any questions. It just bothered me how that entire plot was handled.

I have mixed feelings about the ending, but I’m kind of happy it ended the way it did. I think it was a good compromise. I know that explains nothing, but if you read the books, let me know if you agree.

Really, I’m just happy I finally finished this trilogy. It’s been sitting on my shelf for far too long. And whether or not I like the stories, Laini Taylor has wonderful writing.

One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

Days of Blood and Starlight

Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor
on November 6th 2012
Genres: fantasy, young adult
Pages: 517
Goodreads

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

Art student and monster's apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she'll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

As the middle book in a trilogy, Days of Blood and Starlight wasn’t half bad. The plot was a little slow, but that’s because it’s creating a slow build up to the third and final book.

My only real issue with this entire book was Karou.

Oh, uh, spoilers.

I understand that Karou has just basically lost everything and everyone that she loves. I get that. Betrayal is extra devastating. But she gets so…caught up?…in her grief that she stops being Karou. I don’t know if that’s me being uncompassionate, but come on. She’s a smart girl and she closes her eyes to some OBVIOUS shit. Mostly regarding the White Wolf. It aggravated me a lot that I just had to sit by and watch stupid Karou make stupid mistakes while her stupid heart was broken.

I felt intensely sorry for Akiva, even though he’s the one that messed up and got people into this mess. I just..ugh, I don’t know. I feel like he screws things up, tries to apologize, but no one gives a shit that he’s made a mistake. Look, just because the guy’s an angel doesn’t mean he doesn’t mess up.

Days of Blood and Starlight is where I really started to connect with the characters, which was fantastic. Karou I still had issues with, but Zuzana and Mik I absolutely LOVED. I would take Zuze as a best friend any day of the week. I can understand why Karou doesn’t let her in immediately to the Fantastic World of Beasts, but I feel bad that Zuze has to basically fight her to be let in.

Gaining more insight into Akiva and his siblings was fantastic. They become more human (ironic) than in Daughter, where I felt they were just out to kill everyone. Although, this book still has a lot of killing. But it makes you realize how senseless violence is, and how tiring it can be.

On the plus side, there was no insta-love, so that was an improvement for me. We get a darker, grittier, emotional feelz between the characters. Which is an improvement, but still not my favourite. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again. A lot of relationships in books could be solved with some simple communication. It would save everyone so much heartache.

One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star