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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

THE TRAITOR'S GAME by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Hold on to your butts, I have a lot to say about this one...



The Traitor's Game by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Fantasy, 400 pages
Expected publication: February 27th 2018 by Scholastic Press
Nothing is as it seems in the kingdom of Antora. Kestra Dallisor has spent three years in exile in the Lava Fields, but that won't stop her from being drawn back into her father's palace politics. He's the right hand man of the cruel king, Lord Endrick, which makes Kestra a valuable bargaining chip. A group of rebels knows this all too well -- and they snatch Kestra from her carriage as she reluctantly travels home.The kidnappers want her to retrieve the lost Olden Blade, the only object that can destroy the immortal king, but Kestra is not the obedient captive they expected. Simon, one of her kidnappers, will have his hands full as Kestra tries to foil their plot, by force, cunning, or any means necessary. As motives shift and secrets emerge, both will have to decide what -- and who -- it is they're fighting for.




Although I said (multiple times) as I was reading this that I had a lot to say about it, it's actually hard to recall all of those little, piling-up things that I'd wanted to mention; this book started fading from memory incredibly quickly. . . But I guess we'll start with the quick notes I jotted down in the #30DayBookBinge Reading Log spread in my bullet journal:”Not good, almost unbelievably so, and yet very fast-paced and readable.”

Every now and then a book comes along that gets under your skin with little annoyances, and yet you can't stop reading it. It's bizarre, every page brings you something new to roll your eyes at, but you just keep picking it up. The Traitor's Game was that book for me. It's cheesy, the writing feels shallow and immature, the characterization is bananas, and the plot thin – and yet I couldn't stop reading it. It moves at break-neck speed (almost literally; the characters are so back and forth and every-which-way, I thought they were going to give me whiplash), and it's a very, very easy read, which is I guess what kept me going. But all the while, I was sort of wondering just why I was still going; it almost became a game, to see how far down the rabbit hole of bad writing I could go.

 It moves at break-neck speed (almost literally; the characters are so back and forth and every-which-way, I thought they were going to give me whiplash)

Now, I want to point out: I realize I'm sounding like a dick. There are plenty of people who are going to love this story and writing, I already know it. It's going to be predictably popular, in the way that books that are readable and fast-paced always are; people tear through them, so they think that must mean it was good. I also want to point out: I realize that was pretty condescending. You're allowed to like what you like, and to like it even if you yourself find it “bad” – objectively, Taco Bell is not good Mexican food, but that doesn't stop us from enjoying it on occasion, right? And also, who am I to decide what is “bad” writing? I know some of you are asking yourselves this. That's okay. It's all subjective, yada yada, but for me, the writing was very juvenile. There are certainly YA and MG authors who write down to their audience (which is a whole other issue; some like it, some don't), but it's one thing for writing to seem suitable for an audience of 13 year olds, and it's another for writing to seem written by a 13 year old. I'm not knocking teens at all, I think they're generally not given enough credit, but think back to the type of story you would have composed as a young teen or pre-teen. Little cringey, yeah?

I don't want to come across like I'm trashing the writing, or screaming HOW DID THIS GET PUBLISHED?! and so I'm going to try to be a little circumspect as I try to explain what I mean by this criticism, but the story and the characters were lacking depth in ways that young writing often is. Their motivations, their backgrounds and how it has influenced who they are now, their interactions with each other and the world around them – none of these things felt authentic or entirely believable. They behaved inconsistently and irrationally in ways that required a real stretch to the willing suspension of disbelief. One character in particular, Trina, was basically written off as being a Jekyll and Hyde type because she was so inconsistent, but even that wasn't believable; it wasn't a sturdy enough justification for just how mercurial and borderline multiple-personality she was, and after awhile, her changeable (within the same page, within the same paragraph) nature just became laughable when I think it was supposed to be by turns ominous and sympathetic. The villain was OTT cheesy, maliciously cruel and yet somehow boring, and the inevitable love interest aspect unfolded so quickly and thoroughly that it, too, became cheesy and not at all believable. (Yes, hello, I've just kidnapped you and am threatening your life, are we in love yet? It's been nearly a full 2 days, after all. Oh, we are? Yay!)

The pacing – though fast – was a little all over the place, and so much was crammed into so little time that it started to border on impossible. There's no time for the reader to breathe, let alone the characters. Everything, literally everything, happens within less than four days, and that includes a lot of reversals and secret plots, and reversals of secret plots, and shifting allegiances, and and and. . .
It's a lot. Again, this adds to the impression of young writing, as confident, mature writers don't feel as much of a need to cram everything in, or at least know to stretch the timeline a bit to make it seem more realistic and seamless. I think the short timeframe was meant to heighten the tension, but it also severely hampered the believability.

I try not to knock love stories in YA anymore, because it's just a foregone conclusion at this point, but the instantness of this instalove almost sets a new benchmark for huh?!? I mean, did I mention this all takes place in four days? And did I mention that the male lead literally kidnaps and threatens the life of the female lead, and yet they are twoo wuv? Oh, I did mention those things? WELL IT BEARS REPEATING. But in addition to the romance feeling just, way off, the compressed timeline throws everything askew. As I've mentioned a time or 10, this takes place over four days -- there wasn't even enough time to feel like the characters were physically able to do all of the travelling they did, let alone to adjust (as the reader) to all of the plot elements going on, or to believe that Kestra, the MC, was able to adjust, plan, dupe, come to terms, etc. etc. etc., in the ways she does. It just doesn't jell.

I could go on. And on. There's so much I haven't touched on that deserves to be, like the world/magic system and the creatures (condors? Mothereffing condors?!), and the multitude of villains, each of which made me roll my eyes in their own unique ways. But I realize I've given you a 1k treatise of negativity on this book, so I'm going to stop*. But suffice it to say, I had a lot of issues and pet peeves with this book and style, and it irks my soul more than a little bit to know that the sheer speed of it is going to make it a winner in a lot of readers' eyes. 
=/

End rant.


*For now. I reserve my right to come back and edit this at a later date with future negativity, as my brain "And another thing!"s me with more issues...


Disclosure: I received an advnaced copy of this book from the publisher, in the hopes that I would read and review it, which I am sure they are now regretting. Sorry, Scholastic! 
All thoughts and opinions are honest (clearly) and my own.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

FIRST BOOK HAUL OF THE NEW YEAR!

So... much like I thought I would, I was definitely finding books that I forgot to mention, nearly as soon as I was finished with this video. Every. Time.



Anywho, LE BOOKS:
Audible Romance care package (more on AR soon!)
Xmas present from Liz, including The Wizards of Once
My Little Cities series of board books, including New YorkLondonParis and San Francisco
The Traitor's Game
Pretty Dead Girls
R.I.P. Eliza Hart
One Day a Dot
The Prince & the Dressmaker
Tess of the Road
a whole bunch of things on Hoopla, including:
Saga vol 8
Fables vols 6-9
The Last Namsara
Fiendish 
and a mess of gardening books from my local library, because I. AM. READY.


Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored video, though many of these books were sent to me for review consideration purposes, and the Audible Romance package was a gift to enjoy while I test it out.
All opinions are honest and my own.

RENEGADES by Marissa Meyer | Review

This is a much belated cross-post, as this video originally went up on my youtube channel almost 2 months ago... Sorry, blog readers!
Anywho, please enjoy this, my thoughts on Marissa Meyer's Renegades, better late than never... =D



Just me and my half-decorated Xmas tree, talking about a recent, highly-anticipated release!

Oh, and I'm a ginge now <<<  That's how late this post is. You already know I'm a ginge.

My Renegades VILLAINS post



ABOUT THE BOOK:
RENEGADES by Marissa Meyer

From #1 New York Times-bestselling author Marissa Meyer, comes a high-stakes world of adventure, passion, danger, and betrayal.

Secret Identities.
Extraordinary Powers.
She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone...except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova's allegiance is to the villains who have the power to end them both.



Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored video, though this book was sent to me for review consideration purposes. Incidents in the book are subject to change, as this is an advance version, and thus not final, which could in turn affect my thoughts on the book -- so grab a copy and check it out for yourself when it's released!

Monday, January 22, 2018

UNFINISHED SERIES | Book Chat

Hi, my name is Misty, and I have a serious problem when it comes to finishing series' of books that I LOVE AND I DON'T KNOW WHY I DO THIS.

Let's chat.





SERIES MENTIONED:
Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Chaos Walking
Grisha series
and Crooked Kingdom
Paranormalcy
The Winner's Curse
Lunar Chronicles
White Cat/Curse Workers
I Hunt Killers
Mercy Thompson
Anna & the French Kiss
His Fair Assassin
The Diviners

and SO. MANY. MORE!


Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored video, but some of these books were sent to me for review consideration purposes.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Lunch Chat: TESS OF THE ROAD by Rachel Hartman!

In which I eat some Chicken Tortilla Soup (so good!) and talk about TESS OF THE ROAD (also good!) and reader impatience.

Let me know your thoughts -- and your lunch -- in the comments!
And sorry in advance for your misophonia. ;)

Also, how f*cking fantastic is that cover?!



about
TESS OF THE ROAD by Rachel Hartman:
544 pages
Expected publication: February 27th 2018 by Random House Books for Young Readers
In the medieval kingdom of Goredd, women are expected to be ladies, men are their protectors, and dragons get to be whomever they want. Tess, stubbornly, is a troublemaker. You can't make a scene at your sister's wedding and break a relative's nose with one punch (no matter how pompous he is) and not suffer the consequences. As her family plans to send her to a nunnery, Tess yanks on her boots and sets out on a journey across the Southlands, alone and pretending to be a boy.

Where Tess is headed is a mystery, even to her. So when she runs into an old friend, it's a stroke of luck. This friend is a quigutl--a subspecies of dragon--who gives her both a purpose and protection on the road. But Tess is guarding a troubling secret. Her tumultuous past is a heavy burden to carry, and the memories she's tried to forget threaten to expose her to the world in more ways than one.



Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored video, though this book was sent to me for review consideration purposes.
All thoughts and opinions are honest and my own.
I read an ARC version of this book, which means the text and content are subject to change prior to publication, which could affect my review.

I made the soup.
It was delicious.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Spoiler-filled Discussion: I Stop Somewhere by T.E. Carter and rape culture

FAIR WARNING: there are lots of spoilers (and feels) in this video. You can avoid most of that by only watching to the 4:08 mark, but after that, all bets are off.
Further discussion of the book and elements related follows the video, and is likely to be updated from time to time.




about I STOP SOMEWHERE by TE Carter
Ellie Frias disappeared long before she vanished.

Tormented throughout middle school, Ellie begins her freshman year with a new look: she doesn't need to be popular; she just needs to blend in with the wallpaper.

But when the unthinkable happens, Ellie finds herself trapped after a brutal assault. She wasn't the first victim, and now she watches it happen again and again. She tries to hold on to her happier memories in order to get past the cold days, waiting for someone to find her.

The problem is, no one searches for a girl they never noticed in the first place.

TE Carter's stirring and visceral debut not only discusses and dismantles rape culture, but it also reminds us what it is to be human.




AND ANOTHER THING...

I don't even know where to begin in writing this post. I've put it off for the better part of a month, and even debated removing the section of video where I said there would be an accompanying post. It's just. . . so much, and seeing it all laid out at once is on the soul-crushing side. 
But it's easy to not confront things, and not confronting things is part of what allows them to keep happening, so.
Here goes.

Reading this book in the middle of the #MeToo movement (which has its own wikipedia page, .org website, and has since been named "Person of the Year"), and on the tail of the Harvey Weinstein (and and and and. . . ) scandal(s), heightened basically every aspect of it. It felt immediate in a way that it may not have otherwise, but the thing is, it should. It always should.

But though we all know -- we all know, no matter how much we may want to deny it, dismiss it, or brush it under the rug -- that these things, these horrible things, are happening all the time, all around us. Statistics tell us that we all know someone, or are someone, who has been or will be sexually assaulted. Many of us watched our Facebook feeds fill -- first a trickle, then a deluge -- with personal accounts from friends and family, work acquaintances and people we haven't talked to since high school, of the things they've experienced first hand, that have stuck with them, have changed them. We tsked and gasped and cried and nodded solemnly as they shed light on the things that happened to them in the dark and have been kept there (metaphorically, as assault can happen anytime/place, as too many of us know).

We watched SNL release a parody pop music video welcoming men to the "club" of having to worry and wonder and second guess; we nodded sagely and sob-laughed where appropriate, and weren't at all surprised that the reason men were being welcomed to this club (the one where we use keys as a weapon and know not to wear our hair in pony tails) wasn't because so many were coming forward with their own assaults (some were, and many have been), but because they were afraid that all of the accusations and repercussions of decades of villainy were going to cause them to be caught in the crosshairs of a witch hunt. They wanted the unburdening -- and the resultant consequences -- to stop, because maybe it just might blow back on them? and anyway, it was certainly going to create an atmosphere in which women wouldn't be hired, and men would be afraid to be alone in rooms with women, 'just in case'.

Women -- finally finding their voice and their tribe, and their particular flavor of fed the fuck up -- began to fear the backlash.

(All this, while people wondered just what it was going to take for sexual assault and rape allegations to finally move from Hollywood-powerful to world-stage-powerful. Answer: no one knows, some people may just be untouchable -- no matter who they touch.)

But this, of course, was a momentary blip; the floodgates once opened may not close all the way again, but the deluge is reduced once more to a trickle, as people fear being told they're just "jumping on a bandwagon," or seeking fame and a payout -- that old chestnut, used to discredit every woman who ever accuses a rich and powerful man of anything. Ever.

The old excuses have started rearing their heads again, and the temporarily-cowed harassers have started making new inroads.

Days before I recorded this video, Brock Turner asked for an appeal on his sexual assault conviction (remember, it was just "20 minutes of action," not something a "promising swimmer" should have to pay the rest of his life for). To even feel comfortable enough to ask for your life to get to go back to normal, please and thanks, after you're literally caught on top of an unconscious person behind a dumpster, speaks volumes of the confidence abusers have in their ability and right to do as they please.

Also concurrent with the video, US Olympics gymnasts began speaking out on abuse by a team doctor, and were promptly modesty-shamed by Gabby Douglas -- who then also came out as a victim of the team doctor. She drank the Kool Aid, but she couldn't help it; it's in the water in this country. It's imbibed with the mother's milk, passed down from generation to generation of women who've been assaulted, told they were to blame, internalized it, and started to believe the lie. Women (and men) who punished themselves when they couldn't punish who hurt them, because someone had to pay.

Sometimes, it seems we crave that more than anything. We want the sensationalism, we want to hear the litany of horrors, all the sordid details, please. We want there to be horrors, as seen in the public's absolute desperation for something horrible to have happened to Kenneka Jenkins, and for them to be the ones to know about it first. Rape and violence makes for great water cooler chat, apparently. The modern-day equivalent of ghost stories and gory fairy tales around the fire after the caravan has stopped for the night. Frisson-inducing cautionary tales that, despite how much we cluck and tsk, still boil down to an admonishment to be in the right place at the right time, wearing the right things, and doing only things that good girls and boys do.
Lest it be your name on everyone's lips and hashtags next.

And though we've just come through one of the biggest and most protracted assault scandals of possibly ever, it feels like it, too, will pass from memory.  It will recede into the distance, take its place in the annals of unburdening and accusations, another hole in the graveyard of Big News Stories whose details have become muddy and forgotten, moss crept over the names on the stones, like Steubenville. Something to be dredged up again years later, for clicks and ad money and maybe a to make a point while garnering clicks and making ad money. A shame to be stored on a shelf, completely forgotten until someone makes us remember --  until it's forgotten again.

I have so much more to say. I have a pages-long list of things I wanted to mention and include in this, but I don't even know if I'm making sense anymore, and it's honestly just too much. It doesn't matter how much I add, there will always be more, and new, and worse.
We all know that.

But we can start by remembering. We can start in ourselves, by refusing to fall into the same patterns, make the same bad 'prison rape' jokes, by calling out the shitty comments asking what she was wearing, and what was she doing there?

It has to start somewhere, right?



I sincerely look forward to your thoughts and contributions to the discussion in the comments.
I also sincerely understand if you just can't.


This will be updated as I feel the need and energy to do so.
Thanks for sticking with me so long, and sorry for any errors.

RESOURCES: 
https://www.rainn.org/national-resources-sexual-assault-survivors-and-their-loved-ones
Hotline: 800.656.HOPE
Many, many more resources, tailored to specific scenarios and needs, can be found at the link above.

WORLDWIDE: http://headington-institute.org/files/international_centers_for_survivors_of_sexual_assault_45553.pdf


Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored video, though this book was sent to me for review consideration purposes.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Keeping Your Reading Resolutions

Here are some top tips for how to boost your reading and hit your resolution reading goals for 2018, from a girl who reads more when she takes her own advice...

Join me for the 30 Day Book Binge to boost your reading even more!


And let me know YOUR tips in the comments!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

#30DayBookBinge round 3!

Hey! This is really late notice, due to the fact that my BLOG WAS DOWN FOR OVER A WEEK, THANKS GOOGLE, but the 3rd 30 Day Book Binge is going on now!

I talk about it a bit in this video:



and there are more printables again, of course, including not one but TWO January calendars, because reasons:



The reasons being that I made this calendar and people asked for it, so I giveth. But only with the dates correct, because yes, I f*cked up the first calendar of 2018 and had to repaint it. . .

A post shared by Misty (@bookishmisty) on


So. If you're feeling up to it, join us! You're 30 days can start now, that's cool.
You can follow along on Twitter and Insta with the hashtag #30DayBookBinge, and if you want to know more or see how these things have gone in the past, you can find it all at bit.ly/30DayBookBinge!

Let's hit those 2018 reading resolutions together, folks!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

BEST & WORST READS OF 2017 | Book Chat

I read some things last year.
Some were good, some not so much, and lots were only so-so. Collected here for your ease and edification (lulz) are the ones I recommend -- and the ones I really don't.
Here are my  Top 5 & Bottom 5 (ish) Reads of 2017!



LE BOOKS:
FAVES:
I Stop Somewhere
Words in Deep Blue
Berserker
A Court of Mist & Fury
Face Like Glass
The Gentleman's Guide to Vice & Virtue
forgot to mention: Saga, vol 7

NOT FAVES:
The Bone Season
The Wrath & the Dawn
The Rose & the Dagger
*technically TWTD was read in late 2016, but I read them as a unit and think of them as 16/17 reads
Wolf vol 2: Apocalypse Soon
and lastly, the many, many books I drifted out on. I specifically mentioned The Glittering Court
and Girl of Fire and Thorns

HONORABLE MENTIONS:
The Jane Austen's Dragons series
Clean Room series
Monstress
Yes Please (specifically on audio)
Conjured
Spindle's End

ALSO MENTIONED:
YA Booktube Awards RETELLINGS section
BERSERKER (and others) reviewed
FACE LIKE GLASS (and others) reviewed
WORDS IN DEEP BLUE review
I STOP SOMEWHERE discussion (live soon!)



Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored video, though many of these books were sent to me for review consideration purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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