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Airwoman 

This was a case of exceeds expectations, given that I didn’t come with much and found myself enjoying this tale. 

Jade is a typical main character, but she feels realistic, insanely relatable. Sometimes she needs to deal with things that aren’t too good, deal with things on her own. And at the same time, she doesn’t have anyone helping her. She is on her own and a lot of her own decisions, she must pay the price to get there. Take the risks even. 

That was why I liked her, loved her even. Because nothing ever came easy to her, nor did anything fell into her lap. I guess this was why I became invested, to know whether Jade could survive this. That was why I became interested in this show. 

Another bonus is how little the romance take up the book. And for most of it, she doesn’t have the chance to meet him and does think of him as a villain. Only when it was revealed and shown to her that he wasn’t one then it became believable. And she wasn’t flawless due to the reason why she believes in her uncle, it’s common sense. 

Even though I could see everything coming from a mile away. I knew who killed her father, who caused all this. Not that difficult, not that hard either. Around half of it I figured it out. But all that kept me reading was the reason why her father died, and found myself looking at a pretty good and exciting tale.  

The world was interesting, travellers, dragon-verse, all of this was interesting. The culture that was developed nonetheless was interesting, really interesting to read if you ask me. 

Overall, I really liked this book for the way the main character was so utterly relatable. She neither was given any sort of special treatment and honestly nothing came easy to her. She had to work for it, make a gamble. And this is why I like this book, it is a tale of someone discovering the horrible truth. A girl who is true to herself and kind of heart. Although I prefer more morally grey characters, this proved to be an interesting tale. Straightforward, predictable but one that I recommend to all. 

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Rating: 4 out of 5

2

A Court Of Mist And Fury

I have almost no hopes for this author. Especially since Queen of Shadows and I dnf Empire of Storms and A Court Of Thorns and Roses. And it didn’t disappoint. In the completely wrong way.

I still cannot even try to read the book, at best skim and some parts I read. But I just couldn’t find myself in it anymore. Why do I care about all these characters? I barely knew them. I barely knew every one of them.

I was only a quarter into A Court Of Thorns and Roses, and here I give up. There is virtually nothing attracting me to the series anymore, and I find myself scratching my head as to what was I reading. Other times, I could barely even bear to read it. Whether it is about them having sex, or the Fae or whatsoever. I don’t give a damn about any of them.

Because this work simply failed to pull me into it. And that’s all I have to say about it. Nothing about Feyre or Rhysand, nothing about their characters at all. Their romance was flat, what did I care to know what Rhysand gave her. There wasn’t really any tension. I was waiting for Tamlin to just appear way earlier and try different methods.

And in one of the chapters all of a sudden without warning I was reading about Rhysand. That just feels so strange. That just feels so weird. All of a sudden a change without really any clear indication at all. And there was nothing distinct about his voice, you could not even tell the difference should you compare.

I used to love Maas and held high hopes for her work. But with each disappointment, I think it has more to do with the time she is allocated to editing. I mean, she is releasing two huge books at the time without much time for her to edit. And really, I heard that the next book in throne of glass was written in a little over a week. I really don’t have any hopes that it would be decent in any way possible.

And now with this, I think I would be avoiding her for a while. A long good while. With this book, I give up on the series too. One book earlier than most since I can’t even find guilty pleasure.

Rating: 1 out of 5

0

Now I Rise 

This was worth every cent that I spent on it. I bought this book, becoming way too anxious to try and reserve it instead. And this was totally worth it, worth all the money. And like the first book, except that everything gets darker, murkier and even more brutal. 

While the first book was Lada’s story, even though here she still has a lot of story to go. But it goes to Radu, Radu who went through hell, Radu who was caught so in between two worlds. Radu who was beginning to doubt his own alliances. And this was why it is his. The slow development, his sympathy, his emotions and slowly his disillusionment; it was all well portrayed.  

The way that he began to doubt, began to wonder. The way that he eventually saw the things he needed to pay, it was all so painful for Radu. All so painful for me to read. He was the one who always fought for the truth, he isn’t without his own loyalties, his own moralities but it all comes to be a balance here. And this quote was perfect to describe it: 

How many ways could a man turn traitor in his lifetime? 

Lada’s slow evolution to becoming the Impaler, was exactly what I expected to see. Eventually, it was going down this route. She begans to fight less and less from her own inner demons, and begins to give in. She is cruel, but at the same time, I could say almost anyone would admire her for what she did. The means justifies the end, she killed all of them to have a stronger Wallachia. And she never wavered from it. 

Even if she is cruel, for me, I always liked it. I always understood her, I still continued to sympathise with her. Even though she is in a downward spiral, she will become the monster that Vlad the Impaler was, and this book showed it. The steps she took, all for a noble goal, but she is allowed to be nasty and at the same time, she is doing what she can. 

And most importantly, she is doing it on her terms. Even when she is a woman, even when she is basically nothing. And her obsession and devotion to Wallachia, it was something that I feel was real. She wanted to rebuild it, and this book will justify the monster she becomes just for her own country. 

As for her own sexuality, she should be asexual, end of story. Because she is too arrogant, and too angry with men to be one. And the way that the romance had a part to play in her, the way that she chose not to ever dress up. She doesn’t like playing by anyone’s rules, and sometimes she constantly wonders whether she has too. Even when they prove to be utterly useless and dangerous to them instead. 

And she would do it all for Wallachia. Whether it means destroying it completely and building it from the rubble, or killing so many. She is afraid of losing power, and she is afraid to be at anyone’s mercy. The way that she didn’t want to be Mehmed’s Empress, the way she didn’t want to forge alliances and play by the rules. Because she doesn’t want to trust them; she believes she cannot trust them. And this is why I loved her. So many reasons, and an actual female protagonist who although hasn’t find her feminity, but is balanced out by the other female influences here. 

As for her own quote: 

She never stopped being that girl lost in a place where she could never have power 

As for the side characters, Nazira stood out, so did Daciana. The way Nazira helped Radu, was important to it in so many ways. The way that she was so much more than a wife, and she was real. She loved, she hated. And that was why I like her, she is never afraid to take opportunities, she is never afraid to move forward. As for Daciana, being a peasant, and managing to terrify Janissaries instead, and even find Lada. She was brilliant, she was strong. And she is tough. She knew who to find, and I liked her because of it.

As for the character who are simply too good for this world, is Cyprian. Despite it all, he trusted Radu. Despite it all, he believed in him. And the way he impacted Radu, was in a way that was utterly believable. And his entire character, I just hope he will survive to the end. 

And their sibling relationship, even when they separated, they didn’t stop thinking about each other. They are close, when together are balanced yet they would suffocate each other. They would utterly be unable to help each other rise. And have separated, they constantly think about each other. Constantly think about the other’s action. And I loved it. 

The romance and love triangle have tied up, in a way that I was satisfied yet completely out of my thought. It developed in a way I never thought it would, and the end, I would say is fitting. 

As for my ending paragraph. This was perfection to me, but it may not be for all readers. If you like historical fiction, if you like politics and court intrigue, then this is for you. There is no fantasy, there is no easy way out. There is only political machinations and deals, and cruelty. Above all, there are no heroes or villains here. And there is no black or white. Everything was in shades of grey. And this is all about thrones and power. 

If you like all this, pick up And I Darken. Because there is no better ya book who deals with this better, the way that politics is handled here was so well done. But if you prefer sword fights and action scenes, you are looking for the wrong book. 

Rating: 5 out of 5

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These Shallow Graves 

Now this is how you do a historical fiction with mystery, and a lot about feminism. And Jo, was the perfect character to start with. 

She is a naive girl, but who isn’t. Almost every girl in those times were raised to believe they would either marry, or end up working in dead end jobs. There were no in betweens. And I loved it, the realistic way Jo was created. She felt real for the period she lived in, taking and challenging it in every aspect. And it isn’t just in word, but also on actions. And that is a true feminist. 

Right by her side, to help her with this is the reporter who has a reason to go after this story. And slowly, you could say romance happened. Even in the end, it is still more of an open ending rather than a happy one. But to me, it’s the best of both worlds. Jo gets her dream, and I do think that their romance still needs more time to grow. More time to develop. 

The entire mystery, although was predicable, I figured out the murderer before I was even halfway through. Yet, when she suspected other people, it was because she didn’t want to suspect someone so close to her. So close to her. And she believed in his moral character. If she did, she wasn’t intelligent, she’s heartless. And the way she let it go, was entirely like her. Since she loved him so much. 

It becomes clear that here, she flaws are also relevant. Yet, they also complement her. She is someone that knows the rules of society and tries her best to defy but not get into trouble. That takes intelligence either way. And to me, is much more better than just stating her opinion. It is so much better to do that, as it makes her sensible and willing to preserve herself. Something I prefer over outright defiance which gets her into trouble. 

And to me, she was perfect. Not flawless, but real and true to her time. That was her charm, the fact that for her family she threw everything out the window. For her father, she broke all of societal norms. She believed that it is worth it, and that is what I love about her. 

Even so, behind in the background are awesome girls. Fay really comes to mind, since she is an awesome pickpocket and helps out Jo so many times. And so many times, saved her. And above all, they were friends. They felt like friends. And I love female friendships, they are a lot more awesome than that. And she had a lot of relevance to the plot too, which is another bonus. 

Although the villain was obvious, but the execution had me on my toes all the time. All the time I was guessing what became relevant. All the time thinking about what really happened. It was a really wild ride to guess it all out, and then revealing that not all people were good. Not all were bad. Some did it to survive, others did it for greed. Some sink deeper into this, and I loved every bit of it. The truth hurts, it is ugly. And this is where Jo shines, in the fact that she would rather see the truth published than lie and have a comfortable life. 

And this is why I loved it, because of the way it handled all the themes here in a way of its own. And I enjoyed it because of the way it handled Jo, it handled the mystery. And this is why I loved this story. 

Rating: 4 out of 5

4

Turning An Idea Into A Novel

An idea is this spark of inspiration we have in our heads, not all of it would be a good thing. Some might be so elusive that you never manage to find the real core of the novel. Some would be easy to find. But before you write that idea into a novel, it is best to figure a couple things out first. 

But this is mostly a guide for those who have a lot of trouble trying to start a story. Or often find it leading nowhere. For me, pantsing wasn’t always the best as often somewhere in the middle, it lead to nowhere at all. And when I planned just a little, it helped me keep on track. 

#1 An Idea Cannot Sustain A Novel 

There is so much more to it, characters, plot, themes, you need all this. You cannot just rely on the premise to get by. There is still a lot more that you can do, and a lot more that you can choose to do. An idea is only a small fragment, and the beginning spark. You need so much more than that to last through a novel. 

#2 Know That An Idea Doesn’t Always Work

Sometimes this happens, sometimes we cannot help it in the least. We can only say that we have done our best, but not all ideas are workable. I threw out quite a few from my early days which had very little reason to exist. And the whole entire core of the story made little sense to me. The idea can eventually become hard to develop and you just cannot find that spark. It is okay. As a writer, sometimes it just doesn’t work out. You can leave it alone, since you simply don’t find the kind of inspiration to keep on going. 

#3 Let Yourself Experiment 

There isn’t a need to be sticking it into one way, you can choose other methods. You can choose to look through another angle. Sometimes you just don’t have the benefit of getting the first try right. Then try again, and again. Writing isn’t just done once, it can be done over and over again to your satisfaction. If one way doesn’t work, try another. Or take a break then come back. And experimenting can let yourself know what could work as a novel. 

Overall, this are all my tips on turning an idea into a novel. I think that the idea only starts to push you into writing a novel, but it will not give all the tools to finish one. If you have anything to add, please leave it below. 

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Kuroshitsuji 130

Nothing really happened this chapter. Except that whenever I see Vincent knowing that he had twins, I would expect him to spend the next couple of days just thinking about names. And he clearly looked surprised. 

Before: 

After: 

And during this wedding, did Frances manage to comb his hair or something. Seems as though it is possible, since Vincent would probably never let his bangs be swept back. 

Generally, nothing really happened, except that Ciel acknowledged that he had a twin. And he was his spare. That’s really all that was to this chapter. Nothing much, other than Tanaka appearing fine, and not just disappearing. 

However, I did want to know more about their relationship together. Since right now, Ciel is pretty hostile, and if he is responsible for Agni’s death. I won’t see a pretty ending coming. 

As for what the Earl did on that day, when he was taken by the cult. Perhaps he had done it intentionally and causes Ciel to be the one who was sacrificed on the altar, or perhaps it is the Earl who wanted to escape. But it does suggest a lot more than survivors guilt, remember, this manga is dark. And Yana would love to subvert this and present a twin relationship that ended in one sacrificing the other, and one coming back by brutally killing one of the Earl’s companions. I would say forget about good brotherly relationships. 

As for why Ciel could come back, the way Sebastian mentioned that he never seen someone like this. Perhaps it is someone who has lost their soul yet managed to be standing and normal. Since chances are, Sebastian ate his soul as the price for him to come to the Earl. 

Well, I do want to know what the Earl’s real name is. Chances are, it is one of the older names Yana thought of using. Or even an anagram of Ciel, but I’m curious. There is a crack theory that Vincent may have called the Earl, Earl Ciel. But I’ll leave it up to the next chapter. 

 

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Jepp, Who Defied the Stars 

This was a really a tale where it hooked me, with little trouble at all, it did all the work to make me interested in it. Jepp’s story, begins at an inn, slowly moving to the court and eventually finding out who he is. 

And what a set of twist it had, the way almost all of it slowly builds Jepp before revealing more about his life. His background and even who he was. This story slowly went with Jepp, who was a really interesting and good character from the very beginning. His fascination with his identity, which get sidelined because of him entering the court. 

Then, he starts to know more about the court. And at the end, his entire background was within the court itself. Which is a really nice thing, to come full circle and come together. 

As for the two girls that takes up Jepp’s life, Lia and Magdalene are very different. Lia wanted to be free, even if it meant she died. But if she died free, it was even better for her. As for Magdalene, she was an interesting character, with the knowledge and talents which I really like. She is someone who I really can like, and see why Jepp liked her. She isn’t afraid to admit when she’s wrong, but stands firm on the ground when it’s needed. 

I didn’t think that this was historical fiction at first, eventually I really liked it when at the end all of this characters had a part in history. All of them, had a place in history. Some had bad endings, some had better endings. But I was completely fine with the liberties taken, Magdalene deserved better and Jepp was a really good choice. Tycho, being one of the most accurate astrologers and having an artificial nose was interesting. 

And most importantly, was dealing with Jepp who barely left a name in history. The way he would end his story, is like what I would say perfect. It doesn’t botch up history, but nonetheless creates a happy ending which I enjoy. And I nonetheless prefer. 

For all that Jepp suffered through, all that Jepp been through. I enjoyed the fact that Jepp having moments of doubt and moments where he is firm. That he is a master of his one destiny, and that he is what drives it. Rather than the other way around. 

And the writing, it had to be the reason why I liked it in the first place. It managed to grip me, all the while maintaining this style. The way that it seemed to have been from a long time ago. The way it was simple to read without me ever wondering where it was heading. That takes a lot. 

So, I loved this book. The way everything was handled. Surprisingly, I really did. And if you like a book which deals with fate astrology, and uses actual history, then you should check this out. It is the perfect fit for you. 

Rating: 5 out of 5