Hunted – Book Review

 

I have said it before and I will probably say it once again, but I am a little tired of the fairy tale retelling trend in Young Adult. Mostly because I think sometimes the books have NOTHING in common with the original fairy tales :: cough :: A Court of Thorns and Roses :: Cough:: I have been disappointed one too many times and thought I was completely over the retelling craze. Then I heard about Hunted by Meagan Spooner. I haven’t read anything else by Meagan Spooner, but this had me intrigued. Hunted felt closer to the real Beauty and the Beast fairy tale than any others I have checked out, so I decided to get it and read it.

I was so pleasantly surprised. I for one loved the fact that the main character Yeva, or as she’s also known in the story as Beauty, was incredibly close with her sisters. It was a nice change of pace to not see every female character at each other’s throats all the time. When their father goes missing in the woods, Yeva takes it upon herself to set off into a forest that she knows deep within her bones has secrets and possibly even magic. Sticking true to the tale of Beauty and the Beast, she becomes the Beast’s prisoner…or does she? She begins to question many things, including the beast’s intentions.

That was part of the magic that made me love this story so much. Anyone who loves the original will have an idea or glimpse into what happens next on Yeva’s journey, but Spooner was able to give it a twist of her own, and it had me hooked right away. Meagan Spooner also has a wonderful way with words. Hunted is the Beauty and the Beast retelling I have been waiting for.

I highly recommend this novel if you’re looking for a fairy tale retelling to read.

I gave this one four out of five Metal Horns.

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Grit – Book Review

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I received this book from the publisher, this in no way impacted my opinion of the novel. 

Grit by Gillian French follows Darcy as she deals with an “easy girl” reputation and the aftermath of the fact that her ex-best friend Rhiannon went missing the previous year. The story follows Darcy as she works the fields with her sister and cousin raking blue berries. Within this story line comes an interesting message because the owners of the fields always hire foreigners and outside help, which Darcy’s aunt seems to have an issue with when someone states that the migrants need the money:

“So do the people of this town. People who live here year round and pay their taxes.”

“You see about as many year round residents turning out for berry raking as you do ditch digging. It’s hard work, and most people don’t want to do it.” 

This made me smile, because it is the most true statement I have seen in a YA novel in a while. While the book had a few “hell yeah!” moments, something about French’s writing kind of muddled the important messages within the book. The plot felt a bit disconnected  at certain points, not just disconnected but it felt like there was A LOT happening with a lot of different characters which made me unfocused.

The writing was good, but I think some more editing could have been involved to make it better. Still I would say the story is a good mystery and I enjoyed it for the most part.

This book will be released on May 16th. I gave it three out of five metal horns!

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A Monster Calls – Book Review

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I bought a copy of A Monster Calls last year at a used book sale for 1 euro. It was the first Patrick Ness book I bought, but after reading this one, it certainly won’t be the last. It took me so long to finally pick this up and read it because sometimes when people hype up books too much my interest in them sort of wavers. I know I sound like a hipster that feels like they’re just not into anything mainstream, but the truth is I have had bad luck with overhyped books in the past, so I am always afraid that I am going to really hate something when all the hype is built up around it.

THIS IS A SPOILER FREE REVIEW

I was wrong in this case. A Monster Calls was an amazing story. It’s short and anything but sweet. The story follows Conor who is a 13 year old boy who wakes to find a monster outside of his window. The monster has seen the passing of time, as it is ancient and it has stories to tell. The Monster doesn’t wake just to tell Conor these stories, but to also get something from Conor in return–The truth! It’s a dark and twisted tale, and yet beautifully poetic. The idea for this story is actually from Siobhan Dowd, who passed away before being able to write the book herself, and so Patrick Ness finished it, and he did such a beautiful job with her idea.

It is heart wrenching and it will grip you in a way that not many books can. I loved it so much more than I ever expected to, and it made me so emotional while reading it. I think if you’re looking for something different to read, something that will touch your very soul, then you should give this a read.

I give A Monster Calls 5 out of 5 Metal Horns!!

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Beheld – Book Review

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This book was sent to me by the publisher, this in no way influenced my opinion on the novel.

Beheld by Alex Flinn seems to be the fourth novel in the Kendra Chronicles series of novels where Flinn mixes fairy tale retellings with the story of the witch Kendra. I actually was unaware that this was the fourth novel in the series but it doesn’t seem like I missed much of anything by skipping the others. (by all means do correct me if I am wrong) I will make this a spoiler free review as most of mine are, but I have a couple of minor issues with this story.

I found it to be dull or at least slow moving at first, and then I was entertained enough to keep reading. As I did so, I found a couple of things that were making me roll my eyes a bit. This book contains the retellings of Little Red Riding Hood, Rumplestiltskin, East of the Sun and West of the Moon, and The Ugly Duckling. All interwoven with the story of Kendra, so she makes in appearance one way or another in each one, but in my opinion it is done in such a  haphazardly way that I could have just done with the four retellings without Kendra being involved. Kendra is always an after thought, a cut and paste within the four retellings.

I also didn’t really enjoy the retellings that contained the desperate woman who couldn’t live without her man, and this mirrored Kendra’s incessant need to look for her long lost love. This certainly made me roll my eyes, because Kendra otherwise comes off as a strong character, but then she’s pining for this man constantly. Maybe that’s someone’s cup of tea, but shit like this gives me Twilight feels, and that makes me twitch.

I enjoyed the last retelling of the Ugly Duckling. It had a bit of a deeper story running through it and possibly saved this novel from getting 2 stars. Then we end with Kendra and I rolled my eyes again, making me want to give it closer to 2.5 rather than a 3, but I didn’t hate the book, it just isn’t the typical story I enjoy, also maybe I am tired of the retellings. This book is out in stores tomorrow Jan.10th. If you love retellings, you will enjoy this book.

This book gets 3 out of 5 metal horns from me.

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American Street – Book Review

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I was given an eARC of this book from the publisher; this in no way influenced my opinion.

This is a Spoiler free review!

American Street by Ibi Zoboi is one of the most powerful stories I have read this year. It follows Fabiola Toussaint as she moves to Detroit from her home in Haiti with her mother. They’re headed to live with her aunt and cousins, but Fabiola’s mother is held by immigration in New Jersey, but Fabiola continues her journey on to Detroit.

This is where the story kicks off, and it certainly does just that. Fabiola tries to understand her new world. American Street is filled with amazing characters, and what’s more important it is filled with complex and interesting relationships. It is a really gripping book.

I think a reason I really loved this book beyond the great story telling and characterization, is that I connected with Fabiola on certain things she went through trying to fit into a new country. I had to do the same when I was a kid who emigrated from Portugal to the USA, and then once again when I moved to Germany. Fitting into a new country, is a massive undertaking and always one hell of an adventure.

 

Fabiola handles a number of different obstacles in this book, all the while dealing with the matter of her mother still being detained in New Jersey. The story is going to twist and turn, and your heart will do the same.

 

This book is great, and I HIGHLY recommend this novel. It’s a rough read with a sprinkle of magical realism. The book will be released February 14,2017. PREORDER IT, BUY IT!!!

 

I give this book 5 out of 5 Metalhorns!

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How it Went Down – Book Review

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How it Went Down by Kekla Magoon tells the story of Tariq Johnson who’s a 16 year old black young man who’s shot twice by Jack Franklin a white man. Tariq dies from the gunshot wounds he sustained. This is how the story begins, so this isn’t a spoiler. The story surrounds all the people left behind, some were witnesses to the shooting and some were friends and family of the victim.

The book goes between quite a few points of view. Everyone has a story to tell about Tariq and all of the witnesses seem to have a very different account of exactly what happened. Sound familiar? That’s because you can see this happening more and more in the news. In real life you’re seeing it more as white cops shooting unarmed black men, WHY? Well I could get into a very long winded rant about racism, but I will save that for another time. This book was tough to read, and not because of any sort of quality issue, but because of how easy it is to put a face to Tariq because of how often these situations occur in real life in the USA. The relevance to real life events is what made it such a potent and heart breaking read. The characters’ emotions will take over you and it’s going to grip you and make you think about the story weeks after you finish.

I will say this, I understood the need for the different points of view, I do feel that there were a bit too many of them. At some point, I was confusing a couple of the characters at one point, and while it was easy to clarify by reading back who was who, I still think this could have been done without a handful of the points of view.

All in all though this book tugged at every piece of my soul. I highly recommend it to absolutely everyone. It is strange to me that this book isn’t really talked about much in the book community, but I hope I can get a few of you to read it and that more people will start talking about it. It’s a book that needs to be read.

I give it 4 out of 5 Metalhorns.

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The Female of the Species – Book Review

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This book was sent to me by the Publisher. This in no way influenced my review or thoughts on this novel. This is spoiler free, and short and sweet as most of my reviews are. I don’t want my opinion on a novel to spoil the story.

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis is going to come for your emotions, your expectations, and your soul. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading this–A story similar to Dexter where the killing is done to those who some may say deserve it? It’s so much more than that. This book takes you on the ups and downs of being a female in a world where many times that means you look like lonely prey.

You learn right away that Alex is a killer. Her sister was sexually assaulted and killed, and the man who did it walked free for lack of evidence. It’s a story we have all become a little too familiar with, but Alex takes matters into her own hands. She murders that man in a brutal way, and never gets caught. That’s where the story really kicks off.

The Female of the Species is told in three points of view. One being Alex, the other is Peekay, and then Jack. Peekay and Jack sort of bring Alex out of the shadows and the social isolation she’s placed herself in because she feels she cannot be trusted around other human beings at all times. One night and one incident sort of brings them together, and a few other side characters as well. This book examines rape culture, the female anger that we feel when we are not heard or when perps walk free when they should spend years and years behind bars, and a closer look at slut shaming and the affects it may have. You get the view of the angry, the innocent, and the guy who doesn’t realize his words and behavior are shitty. Taking a look at the “boys will be boys” line of thought.

The writing is magnificent and the different POV’s were done really well. I feel that this is a book that should be read by young men and women, and should not be taken lightly. The subject matter is tough to handle, but look at the news today, it’s all around us.

A quick note: The book says that it is ages 14 & up, but I feel that some of the crass speech and even subject matter may not be for every 14 year old. I would advise that people take the maturity of the younger teens into consideration before handing them this book.

TRIGGER WARNING: It’s been made obvious by my review that rape and sexual assault is the main topic. There is also animal abuse and child molestation within the pages of this book, so please be aware if those are triggers for you.

I give this book 5 out of 5 metal horns!!

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The ARC and the Blogger

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Last night, or I should say very early this morning I was sucked into a giant blackhole on Twitter. The discussion started as a way to shame those people who grab ARCs at conventions and then put them up for sale on eBay for their own monetary gain, and it morphed into a whole other spectrum of blogger behavior when it comes to ARCs and the frenzy around getting these Advanced Readers Copies.

Before hopping into this full discussion I want to clarify that when I say BLOGGER I am talking about regular bloggers, instagrammers, and youtubers who’s main focus is books. I include all of these in one term because they are all involved in this.

To break it down a little bit, let’s talk about BEA. BEA stands for Book Expo America, it is a conference held for industry professionals. This means people who own bookshops, librarians, teachers, authors, and obviously publishers. I don’t see anything wrong with bloggers attending, but personally I believe that BEA is too lenient with who they allow in. I honestly don’t think the 16 year old with the book blog that’s read by two people should have the same access to these ARCs like the librarian or teacher who is trying to research what books their teens might be into, Or the indie bookshop owner who has buying power.

The Entitled Book Blogger Problem

As you can see I am a book blogger. I haven’t been doing this for very long, but I started this blog as a way to keep my sanity. It is something I enjoy, and have fun with, as it should be. My impression in this group is small compared to many others in the book community, but I don’t mind. I do think there is a lot of you who feel you are entitled to ARCs. THIS kind of attitude won’t get you very far in life. Entitlement is ugly. I understand that reviewing a book takes time and effort, but this is a choice you made. You could have easily kept to goodreads, and not start a book review blog. Publishers don’t have to give you shit, and the sooner you realize that, the happier you will be. Sure I can understand the excitement of getting these advanced copies, but it is not a right that as a blogger you should receive them. ARCs have more important hands to be in as well. You can feel privileged if a publisher finds you professional enough to hand you an ARC.

 

Let’s also talk about privilege a little bit. Someone on twitter mentioned that people should feel privileged to go to these massive book conventionså and I guess I can see some truth to that. I now live in Germany and going to BEA would be expensive for me, Expensive, but not impossible. I can work hard and save up for it if I really wanted to do it. Sure that may be a privilege I have as an adult, and above others who may not have the luxury to save up money for this sort of thing, but someone who worked their ass off to be there, may take offense to that sort of comment. Also you can’t say that, and then in the next breath say that the people who paid to be there shouldn’t be mad about not being able to grab ONE copy of an ARC when they already have 20 different copies of other books. If someone paid to be there, is professional in their demeanor, and simply waited hours to grab a copy of an ARC to be able to read it and review it, then they have every right to be pissed off at the asshole who grabbed 3 or 4 copies to do giveaways on twitter to simply just boost their followers or in the worst case scenario the asshole who sells those 3 or 4 copies on eBay. You are taking away from that person, and from the professionals who really need these books. Many librarians allow these ARCs to be read by underprivileged kids who can’t really afford libraries of their own at home.

You’re sad and/or mad you couldn’t attend? Get over it. You want to be treated as an adult then you have to act like one as well. As an adult, you learn to deal with the fact that some things you simply can’t do and you move on. That’s life. Put the entitlement away.

Look, I have only received Digital ARCs, and I am extremely grateful for it. I was able to read This Savage Song as a digital ARC and I honestly felt so honored to be able to do so because it’s the release I am most looking forward to. I feel grateful each time I am accepted for a digital ARC, but if I receive physical copies at some point, I WILL NOT sell them. That brings this discussion full circle. Selling an ARC is beyond illegal, and I hope publishers take action. Buying an ARC does not make you any better, just WAIT for the release like everyone else.

This ARC frenzy seems kind of nuts to me. If you go to these conventions, just be a professional. Grab one copy, and move along. If you are not able to go, don’t expect to get your hands on the extra copies. There are other people who should have those in their hands. I know this is going to anger some people, but again, time to grow up and move on. Wait till release date for it. Shit, I have been waiting for YEARS for the next Game of Thrones novel, you can certainly wait a few months. This turned out to be longer than I wanted it to be, but also deal with the fact that I do not share the same views as you. I am open to discussion of course, but I will not tolerate any personal attacks.

Peace & Love

MATG

 

 

This Savage Song – Book Review

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This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab – Summary:

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives. In This Savage Song, Victoria Schwab creates a gritty, seething metropolis, one worthy of being compared to Gotham and to the four versions of London in her critically acclaimed fantasy for adults, A Darker Shade of Magic. Her heroes will face monsters intent on destroying them from every side—including the monsters within.

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This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab – Book Review:

I want to start this by saying that I was given a Digital ARC of this novel by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Also this is Spoiler free!

 

On that note, let’s kick this off. Victoria Schwab has become an instant favorite. Having only heard of her last year, I dived into her stories and next to J.K. Rowling, she is now my favorite author. She just knows how to write a wonderful and exciting story. This Savage Song is marketed as an Urban Fantasy novel, and it is definitely that, with the urban layout of the city of Verity, but in my opinion it also has a mighty big touch of a dystopian story in it as well. THIS did not turn me off from the story. While I, like many others might be a bit tired of Dystopian novels, This Savage Song just breathed new life into the genre. Even after reading what this story was about I was a bit confused, that confusion kind of continued even a few pages in. In Victoria Schwab fashion though, she slowly brings you into the new world she has created and clarity becomes apparent soon after being introduced to the two main characters. This new world of Schwab’s is filled with monsters! August being one of those monsters, and while Kate might be human, she also shows her monstrous side as well. That’s really what this book explores, what makes a monster, and who are the REAL monsters in V-City? You find out that the monsters that are roaming the city are born from acts of human evil. She doesn’t delve too deep into this aspect, but I am sure we will get more about this in the next book. The monsters are born from different evil acts and therefore have different names. There is the Corsai, the Malchai, and the Sunai. August is a Sunai, and he uses music and a song he plays beautifully on his violin to take the souls of sinners.

I really really loved the characters in this; August being my favorite. They are so well written, and both are deeply flawed but you find yourself really rooting for them when they team up to figure out what the hell is happening in the city. The greatest thing about this book is there was NO ROMANCE. Because I am really tired of love triangles, and weird romance tropes clouding up an otherwise wonderful story, I was so happy that This Savage Song is able to pile on all these emotions, and jaw dropping moments in the story without having it connected to romance. THANK YOU for that. I really don’t know what else to say without putting forth too much information. This book will be released on July 5, 2016, and I HIGHLY recommend it to not just fans of Victoria Schwab, but fans of Urban Fantasy and Dystopian novels as well. If you aren’t already, you WILL become a fan of Schwab’s writing after reading This Savage Song.

 

I gave this 5 out 5 Metalhorns!!

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Coffee & Rant – Stop Being a Snob

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On this installment of my coffee & rant posts, I talk about snobs. You know who I am talking about. The people who think their choices in what they eat, drink, read, and listen to, are better than your choices. You know one. You possibly know a bunch of them. Well I am here to say: STOP BEING A SNOB!

NOTE: This indeed is a rant. I drop F bombs a few times, if you’re pure like a unicorn and can’t take it, Walk away now.

Here’s why I get irritated by the snobbery from people. What someone chooses to do with their free time, and frankly their god damn digestive system, has ZERO effect on your life. Honestly I know you can come back and say well “the mass consumption of this, that and the other is ruining…” Shut the fuck up. I will reiterate this for you, it has ZERO effect on your life. Take coffee drinking for instance, yes I have found many other places I enjoy more than Starbucks here, but once in a while if I want to walk into Starbucks and drink a frothy drink with 1000 calories, how is that any of your business? I am not chaining you down and making YOU drink it am I? But NOOOOO, the coffee snob is going to come in and rant “How can you drink that? I only drink coffee beans that have been partially digested by an Asian Palm Civet.”

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I have dealt with snobs a lot, because the Metal community tends to have a lot of them. Only their underground bands that no one listens to are real metal, and your love for (Insert Moderately Popular Band Name Here) makes you a poser. I already did an entire post about people whining about a band not being metal enough, so I won’t bitch about it right now, but again, What I listen to, isn’t going to make your world stop turning. Your heart isn’t going to stop, you won’t hear it if you don’t want to, so let me listen to whatever the hell I want, and you listen to your underground bands, but stop judging me for this shit. Stop judging people in general.

Which brings me to the book community. I actually really love this community because they are way less judgmental about what people choose to read, but the readers who are outside of this online book community tend to piss me off. Especially the adults. So the fuck what if I read Young Adult Books, Kids books, or anything else that you seem to deem unworthy? When people complain about popular novels…I’m sorry, did we have a freaky friday moment, and suddenly everything I read is being absorbed by your brain? NO? Then, silence! I will admit that I turned into a slight snob about people reading 50 Shades of Grey, but at the end of the day read whatever the hell you want. I read comic books too, and I am sure there are plenty of people who find that juvenile and stupid. Well good for you that you don’t know how to have fun, but I enjoy it immensely. I get it, you’re a pseudo intellectual who only reads classic novels written by dead white guys, but I don’t care what you read, just don’t try to pin point me as an idiot because I like to read many different things. Don’t think because I have a mass amount of Harry Potter books and collectibles that I am somehow less intelligent than you. I can tie my shoes and count to three, go fuck yourself. I work hard, so if I want I will play hard. That has no lasting effect on your life, other than those five minutes that you get worked up over what I am doing, but that’s on you. I will continue to do whatever I want.

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I get it, you snobs love to feel special, smart, and unique. You love to think so highly of yourselves that you can’t take the time to just let people simply enjoy the things they love. Well continue on your pretentious little lonely path, I will be over here, having fun.

My coffee is cold, see ya later!!