Sunday, October 22, 2017

Review Sunday: Treasure, Darkly by Jordan Mierek


Treasure Chronicles #1

Goodreads Blurb:
"Seventeen-year-old Clark Treasure assumes the drink he stole off the captain is absinthe… until the chemicals in the liquid give him the ability to awaken the dead.

A great invention for creating perfect soldiers, yes, but Clark wants to live as a miner, not a slave to the army—or the deceased. On the run, Clark turns to his estranged, mining tycoon father for help. The Treasures welcome Clark with open arms, so he jumps at the chance to help them protect their ranch against Senator Horan, a man who hates anyone more powerful than he.

Sixteen-year-old Amethyst Treasure loathes the idea of spending the summer away from her bustling city life to rot on her father’s ranch, but when a handsome young man shows up claiming to be her secret half-brother, her curiosity is piqued. He’s clever, street smart, and has no qualms jumping into the brawl between the Treasures and Horans. Caught in the middle, Horan kidnaps Amethyst, and all she gets is this lousy bullet through her heart.

When Clark brings her back to life, however, the real action starts, and Amethyst joins him in his fight against the Horan clan—whatever the cost. Defeating the Horans may seem easy at first, but going up against men with the same fighting vengeance as Clark, and a Senator with power he’s obtained by brainwashing the masses?

Well, Amethyst’s boring summer at home has turned into an adventure on the run, chock full of intrigue, danger, love, and a mysterious boy named Clark."


Review:
Thank you to the author, Jordan Mierek, for providing me with a review copy.  All expressed opinions are my own.

This is another book I feel conflicted about.  Just like Such A Good Girl, I couldn't decide on the first read through how I felt about it.  On one hand, it has such a dangerous feeling and I've never read anything like it, and on the other hand, some passages felt irksome to me and I couldn't get over how the world is glossed over.  I finally decided that in spite of that, I did like it, with some reservations.  Let me explain:

1.  The plot.  This is the most interesting aspect of the book for me.  The story centers around Clark and how he finds his father after being on the run for several years.  He's sent on a mission to collect certain items and that's when it gets really interesting.  On both read-throughs I was completely absorbed in the story and what would happen.  Mierek does a wonderful job of keeping the reader on the edge of their seat as there are so many little hiccups along the way.  The plotline is a piece of art.

2.  The characters.  The book is set up as a third person omniscient POV which means that the narrator pops into all of the characters' heads at one point or another.  For a while, I was worried the characters would remain flat as they had been throughout the first fourth of the book.  However, once these little jumps into different consciousness's were first introduced, the characters really began to be fleshed out in a more substantial way.  We get to know Clark and Amethyst pretty well because they're the main characters but there are also dives into Amethyst's brothers (Jeremiah and Zachariah) that provided a wonderful insight.  One point I couldn't get over, though, is the use of 'brass glass' as a curse.  I completely understand that the author used it as a device to connect the reader to the world but to me, it just felt silly and impractical.  Curse words roll off the tongue and are typically all-purpose (like you can't use 'shit' in basically any other context other than swearing but you can use both 'brass' and 'glass').  I don't know, maybe I'm getting too into the morphological uses here but it bothered me throughout the novel.

3.  The world.  This is where I had the most issues with the book.  While I did enjoy each of the settings the author introduces the reader to, they aren't exactly painted with a fine-tipped brush.  They're more represented by broad sweeps and most of the outer world isn't touched at all.  This is the first book so there can't be a whole lot of world building (there's character building to be done, after all!), but I couldn't really picture the places they went and their specific layouts.  Characters went here and there but there was no in between and no directional orientation which made it difficult to become fully immersed.

4.  The romance/customs.  Of course, there is a romance, and I found it to be rather meh considering that it doesn't add too much to the story.  It adds a slight secondary plot line and a little more tension than normal but otherwise I didn't find that there was too much chemistry between the two.  I was also slightly confused on what the customs are exactly in terms of courting and whatnot.  This book is set in a sort of post-industrial wild west (think the Western US in 200 years after a government collapse or something of the sort) and there's sort of a mix between what we think of as traditional and modern dating practices.  The characters kept mentioning courting and modesty but the next minute, there seems to be scandal everywhere with the romance (or what I should think would cause a scandal; premarital sex for one thing).  The world seems to be undergoing a sort of transition between the two belief systems but I just wish it was made a little more clear what the sort of expectations are for couples.

5.  Clark's powers.  I wanted to give this it's own little section because Clark's powers kind of puzzle me.  He has the ability to bring the dead back to life (only the very, very recently dead apparently) and then can maybe sometimes use it to kill people too.  I would have loved a little more information on the mechanics of this because that's pretty much all that's said about it.  I also would have loved to hear more of Clark's feelings on the fact that he has these crazy, abnormal powers that he's somehow completely okay with.  I mean, in his thoughts he almost sounds cheered that after bringing someone back, he can transfer that power to a living persona and kill them but an hour later he's saying that it's a curse and that's that.  We don't really get any of his feelings on the subject which is a disappointment.

The Final Verdict:
The shining star of this book is the plot and characters and I have no doubt that their majesty will continue in the next books.  The world, however, could use some more development and a little clarification on the romance standards also wouldn't be amiss.  Also, Clark's powers continue to puzzle me (I seriously am thinking about another reread to maybe clear this up).
3 stars

Friday, October 20, 2017

50/50 Friday (55): Favorite/Least Favorite Book to Movie Adaptation



50/50 Friday is a meme hosted by Carrie @The Butterfly Reads and I and focuses on the opposite sides of books (best/worst, differing opinions, etc).  Every week will have a new topic and several advance topics will be listed in the tab labeled 50/50 Friday!

Today's Topic: Favorite/Least Favorite Book to Movie Adaptation

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A Guide: Review Writing



This is the next installment of my series that is commemorating my third blogoversary!  I've decided to sum up all of my knowledge that I've gained as a blogger into these guide posts.  My first guide was all about how to find the right reviewer for your novel (see it HERE) and this next one will focus more on the reviewer's side of things: review writing.  I hope you enjoy and if you have anything to add, leave your thoughts down in the comments!

Friday, October 13, 2017

50/50 Friday (54): Best/Worst Bookish Job


50/50 Friday is a meme hosted by Carrie @The Butterfly Reads and I and focuses on the opposite sides of books (best/worst, differing opinions, etc).  Every week will have a new topic and several advance topics will be listed in the tab labeled 50/50 Friday!

Today's Topic: Best/Worst Bookish Job (job you'd want/not want from a book)

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

A Guide: The Pursuit of Reviewers



Today, before I jump back into posting regular reviews and 50/50 Friday's (I'm still here, Carrie!!), I'm going to be starting a new series all about what I've learned through my three years as a blogger and some advice.  And yes, I'm very bad at celebrating my blogoversary because I always forget about it when it comes around or I'm not prepared enough to organize a giveaway or something of the sort.

This guide is centered mainly for authors (especially authors who have never blogged and therefore need some pointers on etiquette).  I'll be writing guides on review writing, blog design, etc etc soon!  Keep in mind that this has just been my experience!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Review Sunday: Such a Good Girl by Amanda K. Morgan


Standalone to date

Goodreads Blurb:
"Riley Stone is just about perfect.
(Ask anyone.)

She has a crush on her French teacher, Alex Belrose.
(And she suspects he likes her, too.)

Riley has her entire life planned out.
(The plan is nonnegotiable.)

She's never had a secret she couldn't keep.
(Not ever.)

Riley is sure that her life is on the right track.
(And nothing will change that.)

She's nothing like a regular teenager.
(But she doesn't have any problem admitting that.)

Riley doesn't usually play games.
(But when she does, she always wins.)

She thinks a game is about to start....

But Riley always has a plan....

And she always wins."


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Review Thursday: Out of the Ashes by A.M. Heath


Ancient Words #3

Goodreads Blurb:
"Sometimes peace is won through battle.

Haunted by the memories he can't escape, Ralph Williams wants to be left alone to lick his wounds. He doesn't understand why he's forced into the company of the one woman he least desires. Can God bring him healing through such uncomfortable circumstances?

Frank Harper thought he had left the war and its turmoil behind, but the home to which he has returned is anything but peaceful. When racial tensions arise in Maple Grove, Frank finds himself on a battlefield once more. He's desperate for peace, but at what cost?

When George Chandler heads off to wed his beloved bride, things don’t go as expected. Just as George starts to get comfortable with what he believes is God’s new plan for his life, history threatens to repeat itself. Will he fight for the woman he’s come to love, or will he let her go?

The War Between the States has destroyed more than just a nation. In four years, it has damaged bodies and wounded souls until the people think that nothing is left. Will they find the healing they so desperately need from the God that loves them?"

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