Review – The Chemist by Stephanie Meyer

In this gripping page-turner, an ex-agent on the run from her former employers must take one more case to clear her name and save her life.
She used to work for the U.S. government, but very few people ever knew that. An expert in her field, she was one of the darkest secrets of an agency so clandestine it doesn’t even have a name. And when they decided she was a liability, they came for her without warning.

Now, she rarely stays in the same place or uses the same name for long. They’ve killed the only other person she trusted, but something she knows still poses a threat. They want her dead, and soon.
When her former handler offers her a way out, she realizes it’s her only chance to erase the giant target on her back. But it means taking one last job for her ex-employers. To her horror, the information she acquires only makes her situation more dangerous.
Resolving to meet the threat head-on, she prepares for the toughest fight of her life but finds herself falling for a man who can only complicate her likelihood of survival. As she sees her choices being rapidly whittled down, she must apply her unique talents in ways she never dreamed of.

The first thing everyone needs to know about The Chemist is that this is NOT a young adult novel. Like most people when I first heard Stephanie Meyer was coming out with another book i rolled my eyes and laughed. Out of sheer boredom I picked The Chemist and I am so glad that i did!

As someone who is a die-hard action/spy movie fan this book was brilliant. Like all of Mrs. Meyer’s books this one also had the romance, part of me thought it seemed a bit like Stockholm syndrome type of thing but in the end I enjoyed how everything played out. With influences like Jason Bourne, James Bond, or any of Tom Clancy’s novels it stays very true to the genre.  The Chemist will grab your attention and it will keep you sitting at the edge of your seat until the very end. This book was magnificently written and is very much worth the time and energy to read.  But you should know there is violence in this book just like any action movie(specifically gun violence). If you are a fan of action/spy movies, shows or books then you will love this novel!

4 Bards

Book Review: Ash by Malinda Lo

In the wake of her father’s death, Ash is left at the mercy of her cruel stepmother. Consumed with grief, her only joy comes by the light of the dying hearth fire, rereading the fairy tales her mother once told her. In her dreams, someday the fairies will steal her away, as they are said to do. When she meets the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean, she believes that her wish may be granted.

The day that Ash meets Kaisa, the King’s Huntress, her heart begins to change. Instead of chasing fairies, Ash learns to hunt with Kaisa. Though their friendship is as delicate as a new bloom, it reawakens Ash’s capacity for love-and her desire to live. But Sidhean has already claimed Ash for his own, and she must make a choice between fairy tale dreams and true love.

After a slow first half, I really enjoyed the second part of the Ash. While the writing is beautiful and it flows really well, the first part is essentially just the Cinderella introduction. That said, there were some obvious differences, in that fairies are just a part of this world, even if only in legend for some. It’s clear that Ash’s mother believed in the fairies and the “old ways” even if Ash’s father didn’t and didn’t keep up with them after she died. And that definitely leaves you wondering how that’s going to play into this retelling.

Turns out it’s a really big deal. And it took me until the second part to realize that Sidhean was basically her fairy god…father? I guess? Mostly because he was set up as a potential love interest from the beginning. The way that Ash talks about him and the way that he speaks to her, it’s obvious there’s something there. Until Ash meets Kaisa. I love the slow budding relationship between them so much. You can tell it’s very sweet and just overall, more equal. With Sidhean, it always felt like he had power over her and was using that to his advantage, it wasn’t an equal partnership, and for most of the second part of the book, it was easy to see that she felt more for Kaisa than she did for Sidhean.

However, I was always worried/confused about where the book was going. I never knew how it was going to end… until the end. Sometimes I like that in a book, but I can’t totally decide how I feel about it in this one. I am glad that she was able to go back and be with Kaisa, but I feel like I would have liked to be sure about that sooner.

Two things I did love about the book as a whole, were that there were old fairy stories and old love stories about women falling in love and that the most famous hunters in the land were huntresses. Always. I love when fantasy authors actually make that decision to actually have something different than the perceived nonsense of “oh, that’s just how it was back then.” You are writing a fantasy. The only “back then” is the one you make. I wish more fantasy authors would just do this.

Overall I’d give it 4 bards.
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Be sure to keep up with Midsummer’s LGBT History Month Celebration by keeping your eyes on our schedule!

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Book Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

626F6F78747265616D=7474747474727576707<7473Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

Okay, this was wild. From start to finish. And I am so conflicted about it. On the one hand, I was pretty entertained throughout the whole thing. On the other, I was pretty disappointed/underwhelmed overall.

Let’s start with what I loved about it. Albus and Scorpius’ seriously unsubtle love and devotion to each other. Finally, a Potter/Malfoy love story the fans have been waiting for. Seriously though, I’m ignoring that bit at the end. The premise of the story is so outrageous that it was just so entertaining and I loved a lot of it. I was able to easily feel a connection to Albus, and Scorpius. Even in play form, you can see that they’re struggling trying to find a place for themselves in a school that holds the legacies of both of their fathers. Ron Weasley is still the best in every universe and I have nothing more to add to that.

However, for the most part I found the story predictable and the original characters to be completely out of character from their development in the canon Harry Potter books (because I for sure am not considering this part of canon). First, in no universe would Harry James Potter ever say such terrible things to his own son, or try to control him the way the Dursley’s controlled him. Second, there’s no way that Severus Snape would ever be okay with sharing a name with a Potter. Even if he did, he would never outwardly admit to anyone, let alone his namesake.

I was really disappointed with the story overall in that everything that happened was predictable, which is not ever something I would expect from a Harry Potter story. In general though, I found myself having to remind myself just to read and not think too much about it. Time travel stories sometimes really mess with my head and I start thinking about the complexities and consequences, and things overall that could just not happen even in the magical world if you’re following your own rules.

If nothing else, I got to feel the anticipation and excitement of reading a new Harry Potter story and I’ll always be grateful that I got to feel a little piece of my childhood all over again.

Overall, I’d give it 3 bards.

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Waiting on Wednesday

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Every week Breaking the Spine hosts the bookish meme for book bloggers to share what books they are waiting on to be released!  This week I’m waiting on:

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Release Date: September 27, 2016

Strange the Dreamer is the story of:

the aftermath of a war between gods and men
a mysterious city stripped of its name
a mythic hero with blood on his hands
a young librarian with a singular dream
a girl every bit as perilous as she is imperiled
alchemy and blood candy, nightmares and godspawn, moths
and monsters, friendship and treachery, love and carnage.

Welcome to Weep.

Book Review: The Darkest Part of the Forest

Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does…

As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?

13 years ago, I was introduced to Holly Black by my friend in the form of Tithe, a book about faeries set in the modern world. Imagine my glee when I came across The Darkest Part of the Forest, the first book about faeries that Black has written since finishing up her Modern Faerie Tales books.

I read this book greedily, finishing it in a total of seven hours, and was not disappointed. Black sets up the world extremely well, giving you the lore of Fairfold, the legend of the monster at the heart of the forest, and some amazingly fleshed out characters.

Hazel and her older brother, Ben, have grown up knowing firsthand what living near the Fey was like. They spent their childhood days hunting down the creatures that would kill humans, using Ben’s musical gifts and the sword Hazel found by the lake; they spent their adolescent nights partying at the Horned Boy’s coffin; Ben’s best friend was a changeling. They knew to stay out of the forest on the Full Moon, lest they become victims of the Alderking’s revel. When the Horned Boy wakes, things are set in motion that changes Hazel, Ben, and all of Fairfold irrevocably.

Black weaves several stories around each other gracefully, culminating in a tense climax that had me holding my breath. Her way of writing always surprises me, she pulls twists out where I never would have expected them, and ties everything together very neatly. One of my favorite aspects of this book was even the mentions of the “upstart knight” ruling over the Unseelie Court, which would strike a pleasant chord with anyone who has read the Modern Faerie Tales books, but does not distract from the plot if they haven’t.

I’ve read Tithe almost 30 times, and the subsequent companion novels over ten times each. Black is easily one of my favorite authors, and I know I’m going to be recommending this book to anyone who asks.

5 Bards.

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This review was submitted to A Midsummer Night’s Read by Lindsey. 

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