Claudia The Conquerer

All it takes to make me happy is a good book, some great music and a big mug of tea.



Whoops... I have not been frequenting Booklikes

So Christmas has been and gone, 2014 is now upon us and I've read a few books in the past few weeks. Some were amazing, most were trashy (which is necessary for the brain relax) but I haven't been able to write any full reviews on any of them. I did post the books on GR with a comment or two but, for me at least, that doesn't mean it post automatically to BL. I wish it did because I just don't have enough time in the day! So these are the books that I read at the end of December plus the past couple of days.

Either way, 2014 was kicked off by Tiffanie DeBartolo's How To Kill A Rockstar which was AMAZING and I've had pretty good luck with my book choices so far.

Best of wishes for 2014 and happy reading!

You could have impressed me so much more...

These Broken Stars - Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner

Read it, and then finished it.

It was definitely not interesting enough. My first reaction into the book was my annoyance when the female MC, Lilac, was described as basically ridiculously gorgeous except for her nose which wasn't quite perfect so therefore she seemed real.

This pisses me off so much. Why can't a MC be normal looking, therefore real? Why does someone have to be so physically perfect to make me like them? Because, guess what? I think the opposite happened - after that little annoyance, it was enough to make me just feel like the book was just so meh.

The plot was unclear and wishy-washy. The characters were one-dimensional and their love was stupid.

All of that being said, I didn't hate it. At all. I loved the world building and survival aspect of the book and I think that the story could have been so much more if the authors had stuck to that plot line.

It would have me very happy to read a book like that.

But as it was, it just fell a bit flat overall.

Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell

I just got back from a 10 day trip to Northern NSW, to rural communities that have a high indigenous population. This trip was amazing and enlightening and I wish I could go back because it taught me so much.

During the trip I was reading Fangirl and I was a little bit nervous because as I was reading about comparatively more shallow problems, I was seeing the scariest issues of society such as drug and alcohol abuse and how that made these tiny communities struggle with unemployment and the threat of tiny primary schools being shut down.

However, I didn't feel irritated or mad about any of Fangirl because Cath, Wren and Levi made it so obvious that social issues, family problems, etc. are definitely just as debilitating as the socio-economic problems.

Some authors may have been unable to give me this realisation. I read plenty of shallow, shitty romance books which are so shallow that they make you want to scream. Fangirl made me want to just hug and marry my kindle.


Another little tangent - the fanfiction aspect of Fangirl was FANTASTIC. I admit to reading A LOT of Harry Potter fanfiction a few years ago. Even trying (and failing) to write a little myself. I can perfectly see how Simon Snow is representing Harry Potter and how Cath wrote such successful fanfiction. I just feel like this was another thing that made this book perfect for me. Seriously, I love, love, loved it.


The writing was great, the characters were so believable and wonderful and if I could steal Levi for myself, I would not hesitate for a second. Off to read more Rainbow Rowell.


The hype is right

World After  - Susan Ee My GOD! How is this so good? How do I love it so much? I am so completely gob-smacked that I don't even know how to review. The only thing I have to say is; WRITE SUSAN WRITE!

Despite that terrible cover...

The Fiery Heart - Richelle Mead Hot damn Richelle Mead knows how to tell a good story. I love this series - mostly because of the growth in Sydney, the appearances of Rose and Dimitri and the enthralling writing. But this time I really got to see the beauty that is Adrian. Mead has written him beautifully and the insight into his mind really is what made this story incredible. And the ending. Hng. I'm so pleased that Mead writes like crazy.
Shadow of Time - Jen Minkman

It took me a bit longer, and I had a whinge once or twice, but it was actually a decent book. That being said, I didn't love it and I have a few complaints. But before that, I wanted to say kudos to the author for translating this to English, from... I can't quite remember what language. Dutch? I thought it was great. There weren't any obvious errors, just a few phrases which were a bit awkward but mostly everything was great. 


The characters were quite possibly the weakest aspect of the book. I found Hanna, the main character, very immature for a 23 year old. I'm not sure whether this was done on purpose so her 'love' for a 17 year old was less weird, or whether she is just immature. Either way, I didn't like the way she flipped back and forth between wanting Josh (the 17yo) and knowing he's too young/her brother's best friend. Her dramatic actions regarding everything to do with Josh. For example, after an incident when Josh breaks up with her and leaves, she does a Bella Swan and becomes depressed. She doesn't eat, won't get out of bed, and says things like, "I feel so empty, Ben. So empty." (p240)

My problem with this is that it's such a bad view of depression. Especially when just a few days later, Josh returns and they're back together straight away, professing their undying love and devotion to each other and Hanna is completely fine.

They've been together for a week, max! This just annoyed me so much because, as a reader, nothing had been explained so I didn't know that there was a deeper reason to their insta-love. At this point (55%) I was just about to give up and proclaim it as dnf. But I continued on and, finally, at about 60%, the actual paranormal plot line began.

Josh was sweet, kind and lovely. But sadly that was all he was. I never got the feeling that was anything more than a sweet character who did good things. Problem was, I found him a bit boring. That being said, it was nice to read a character who wasn't a raging alpha male. This guy was passionate about looking after his people. I really respect that, and I liked him, but he didn't get a place in my male MC hall of fame.



I don't know about you, but it sort of irritates me that the annoying, teenage, angsty love story had to take up 60% of the book and only 40% goes to the cool, paranormal section.

This part felt so rushed. It was good, and even managed to illicit a bit of panic in me as a rooted for the characters as they had to go into a creepy place. But it was sort of anti-climatic in the end, and I wasn't overly convinced.


But that's the bad. What I really did like was the world-building and description of the cultures and practises of the native American Indians. I personally know absolutely nothing about their history so I was convinced. Hopefully people who do know things about it are also pleased with how that part of the book was written.

I also liked the flashbacks and explanation of reincarnation. That was definitely the most interesting part of the book, hands down. Reincarnation fascinates me and I think that more time should have been devoted to it instead of it being used as a explanation for the paranormal evils.


And lastly, the relationship between Hanna and Ben, and Josh and Ben was great. Evidently Ben is a great brother to everyone, and I think it's great that family was still a big part of the novel.


All in all, I liked it but it could have been more.


I received this book as a giveaway in exchange for an honest review.


The Best Books of 2013 according to the Goodreads list

This makes me very, very sad.

Agreed? 50% of the books on here are on my 'not-with-a-ten-inch-stick' list.



I'm struggling...

Shadow of Time - Jen Minkman

At 54% and we're only JUST getting to any semblance of plot that isn't Hannah being a whingey, dramatic cradle robber.

I want to be nice because it's not terrible, and if the plot would hurry up and exist, I'd probably feel a lot nicer.

But I'm struggling.

For some idea what this is like:

After a two-day relationship with a boy 6 years her junior (not necessarily bad) and he breaks up with her...

"I feel so empty, Ben. So empty."

Definitely, Maybe in Love - Ophelia London

Pride and Prejudice adaption... And it was... fine.
I read this one pretty quickly and I enjoyed almost all of it (though the name Spring Honeycutt... not sure how I feel about that one).
The plot was modernised sufficiently, and the personalities were great - except for one.
Julia/Jane's character was completely butchered. Jane, who I've always loved for being sweet, smart but strong, turned into a blitering wreck when Dart/Bingley broke up with her. And then goes and does the stupid thing (that Lydia is supposed to do)
And with that, the character of Jane/Julia is ruined.
The rest of the book I was fine with. Good writing, good Darcy/Henry and Elizabeth/Spring relationship.
It was just a little flat, if anything, entirely unmemorable.

The Scribe: Irin Chronicles Book One - Elizabeth Hunter

I am a huge fan of Elizabeth Hunter. I love her smart plot, easy to read, likeable and intelligent characters.

The Irin are the paranormal aspect of this series - as opposed to the vampires in her other series - and are another take of the fallen angel mythology. The main characters are Ava and Malachi who are likeable and complicated.

AND ITS SET IN TURKEY - I love that, and describing the setting is something that Elizabeth Hunter does particularly well.


What's most interesting in this story is the pacing. It's not a huge book - it only took me about a day to read and everything happened very fast. But luckily there wasn't really any insta-love or rushing of character development. It just reads very quickly and that's not necessarily a bad thing, assuming it's a long series.


So for a quick, smart, interesting and really beautifully written romance/ paranormal, I recommend this one.



BTW: doing this on my phone and its not easy. Does Booklikes have an app?

I am having a conniption

Allegiant  - Veronica Roth

I'm pretty sure I hallucinated.


I hallucinated that ending right? RIGHT?!


I didn't find this a worthwhile ending to a trilogy that I thought ruled in it's spunk and toughness. I definitely found it bland and lacking.


And I can't even say that it's because of that ending. Why? I honestly don't understand why. Usually I get why you would do that to a character. But I felt it was unnecessary, and almost a 'fuck you' to endings that at least have some semblance of trying to please the reader.Or at least have some meaning - I didn't find any.


My God, WHY?! I thought the plot went nowhere, and the amount of page space that was used up to explain moral ambiguity and it's appearances in the novel. What is the truth? And what do you do with truth once you've got it? It's great when stuff like that is a theme, because it does make you think. But I want some real plot.


And a better ending.


Ahh, I just... I can't even review this properly. I give up.

Crown of Midnight - Sarah J. Maas

Holy Mother of GOD. That was PHENOMENAL.
I made myself read Throne of Glass again prior to reading CoM and I liked it just as much as the first time I read it but I wasn't 'in love'. But CoM has bumped the entire series up into the favourite series lists. I LOVED IT.
And I want to gush but I'm also going to keep the review relatively spoiler free.  
Gosh I almost can't articulate how awesome I though it was so this might have to be a short and snappy review. Firstly, I definitely believe that Celaena is a kick-ass assassin. Even when at the beginning, I doubted it because she wasn't actually killing people, but then, you know, she went crazy


I love the plot change with Dorian. Yeah, he's not my favourite but I still think it was a great decision.

One little nit-pick which isn't a nit-pick but just a comment -

why make Celaena a Fae?

(show spoiler)

She's already a talented assassin, why make her anything more than normal in other ways?

Wyrd magic has become THE major plot point, which I also like because it explains a lot as well as keeping a certain amount of mystery. The monsters and action in this is what stands out to me - Sarah J Maas is amazing at suspense and action.

I also read that Sarah J. Maas wants to make it a 6-7 book series, even though its only signed for 3 at the moment, and that makes me deliriously happy because I don't ever want it to end. Ever.

And then the end. No words. Just hnnnnngggggg
That's all.

How reading a good love story should feel. ;)

Throne of Glass - Sarah J. Maas

I get the love and I get the dislike. I get that people think that Celaena is arrogant and wishy-wishy and annoying. I jut don't actually care. I think she's pretty cool but just a bit overwritten.


Throne of Glass intrigues me. I find the first third a little bit stilted and boring, but I get absolutely sucked in for the rest. I'm half in love with Chaol myself and I have so much sympathy for poor, naive Dorian.

The assassin working for the King is not a new concept but I find the fact that Throne of Glass tells the story of how she got there quite interesting, but it definitely think it could have been written more interestingly. When I think about it, the majority of the novel is Celaena sort of doing stuff that I can't even remember. The plot mostly skips over all the 'tests' that Celaena has to go through and I would have loved to get some of them in greater detail just so I can legitimately believe that Celaena is as badass as she is supposed to be.


The magic aspect of this is cool - I like it. But again, it could have been done better. I think more detail could have been out into the Wyrdmarks and their roles.

They're magic... but not? That's what the author is trying to tell us and I'm a bit clueless.


And then we have everyone's favourite love dilemma - a love triangle! (voms) Although, as much as I hate love triangles, this is nowhere near as bad as some. At least in Throne of Glass I like both men and can understand the confusion - handsome, charming Prince or the strong, sweet Captain of the Guard. It''s not the worst love triangle ever, I submit.


So even though I want more out of this book, and I'm excited to read the next book because I hear it's great in comparison, I think Throne of Glass is a pretty decent fantasy.

Childhood love

The House of Hades - Rick Riordan

House of Hades - I'd been waiting for this for a year. Now I'm waiting for Book 5. It's an endless struggle.


I was so nervous for this installation. I am a big fan of the easy, silly humour of this series and the last book just felt kind of flat to me. But this was great. Easily one of the best of the series.

The plot was very similar to the rest of Riordan's works. Just lost of action and myths flying about. Sometimes I think it gets too chaotic and I'll have to re-read a passage.


My biggest issue is the flow. The character changes happen too often and always end on an extremely irritating cliffhanger. And it confuses me because you then have to work out where the next character is and what they're doing and it's just too much for my lazy, tired brain.


I adore this series and the characters and I'll be very sad when they're over. But I have grown a little too mature for them, because some of it just isn't funny anymore :(


By the way, favourite character (other than Percy and Annabeth of course) is Leo. (tiny little squee)

I would like to give this a go in either December or January.

It looks great!