1

Elemental Secrets 

This book would not have been so bad if it was faster paced, less obsessed with the love square that the author built. Chase, Cade, Holden, and Valerie barely even has the agency of anyone up until the later parts of the book.

You can skim read until around 70% where the main plot would kick it, and the actual interesting parts does come it. Before that, classic special snowflake and tropes of girl that doesn’t know much about her true abilities. Also, don’t forget school drama(as if we need more of that). And that’s where Valerie really shone, since she is a normal person, being incredibly naïve is believable in that sense.

As for the world, it feels so incredibly cliché. There could have been more elements, more unique things into it. But it barely succeeded at it, seeing that the only really good thing is about the polarizing beliefs of the Elementals which is rather interesting along with its history. When that kicked in, it became quite interesting. Even if I still could care less about Valerie. 

She probably is one of the most typical female main character. Except that she is more obsessed with the three boys she knows, one of which is in college which are revealed to have differing beliefs. But I would have wanted to see more than that. Charlene is forgettable at best, and I can’t even bother to remember who Loren is. Or what she is doing there. 

Generally, the characters were forgettable, and very usual. What you usually read, is what you would get in this book. And that is where it lost me. I would not want to read about love, teenage life without that little bit of magic, and even that only came in later. The front part was a complete and utter bore. 

The plot needed to move a lot faster, and having Valerie search for those answers. Also, having her start to find them herself instead of waiting for shit to happen. Or it being revealed to her. When things become strange, try the internet, try snooping. Don’t just wait for answers to fall from nowhere, and it came easily to Valerie. She didn’t have to take risks, make sacrifices or any of the sort. She simply asked and got her questions answered. Also, why the hell the Aunt didn’t tell her if they were planning to kill here or even tell her to be careful or I don’t know teach her the differences between Elementals and their abilities. They are centuries old sages, but they act like idiots. 

And this is why I barely liked this book, if I wasn’t tasked to read this, I wouldn’t have even finished it. There is a point, and although a slight pleasant surprise existed in this book. But it was too late to salvage the lasting impression it had on me. 

Rating: 1.5 out of 5

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2

Splintered

This was quite a joy to read. It does definitely feel like a tale of Alice In Wonderland with plenty of spins and being carefully plotted, enough that it uses the old Wonderland but it’s different. Darker even.

And well, at least Alyssa is sensible enough to know what she is doing. Why she gets there is for perfectly good reasons, if you ask me. Since she doesn’t want her mother to be put on electrotherapy. Certainly a good reason. And she isn’t an idiot, she only has Alice In Wonderland to help her and the things she does figure out are pretty awesome.


Although the way the mental illness was dealt, it would have been less using straitjackets. It would have been a lot more counselling, perhaps even hynosis. I do not see a straightjacket, and sometimes mentally ill patients aren’t even commited. They are mostly allowed to stay at home, just as long as they visit the doctor’s regularly. And her case definitely seemed manageable, especially when it’s faked.

As for the love triangle here. I ship none of them. Both lies her, one is a knight in shining armour, he is basically that. And the other, is a manipulative bastard in his own right. What can I say? She deserves better.

The world building was the drawing point, as well as the writing. It seems that I am always a sucker for lyrical writing and writing that is simple but beautiful. And I can read it easily. And when it used Wonderland, I certainly saw a lot influences and really liked it. It is darker, but when it happened to Alice it was a lot more of coincidence, but to Alyssa, she was outright finding it.

I do recommend this book fro being different from the usual retelling, it is much more than that. It follows into the modern times, where there is a possible curse. And revealing the plot twist, the way it went and when it was. I enjoyed it. I didn’t see it coming.

However, there are undeniable issues here. Such as the problem of the way both Jeb and Morpheus really need to learn how to be civilized people, Jeb to lose his knight in shining armour attitude. But overall, I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it.

Rating: 3 out of 5

0

The Appearance Of Anne Van Sinderen

Well, with it being a ghost story, and some phenomenons about why Annie can time travel. All the while I found this to be easy, and quite a ride. Both in the present and in the past. As for the ending, that was the perfection I wanted. Middle ground, an open ending for Wes, and the one that Annie would have regardless of whatever happened.

All the while revealing America in its early days for being one of using slave labour, and many had been African Americans. Also dealing with the death of a family that dealt in slave trading, one which Annie only became aware of after a while. When her father revealed to her, I really died a little inside.

History can be cruel, and it can be disheartening to know that such things existed. Slavery existed just for a man who had a different skin colour so that white men could earn good wages, and to me the way Anne reacted was just right. She was reacting in a way that someone who was raised with kindness would do, and I admit her family had it coming for them. Just a bit sad that Annie couldn’t escape her fate.

Despite the entire story dealing around a cameo, and how Annie is searching for it. I prefer it as it is a mystery of why Annie wanted it, her family’s death and eventual survival.

Maddie did reveal herself to be someone different, as was Tyler. In the beginning it was mysterious, and Wes was merely doing a school project and finding that Annie often interfered. Slowly it became more, and I enjoyed their interactions.

Clearly Annie left an impression on Wes, and Annie would never forget him. Even if the way they meet still remains unexplained, and possible have some weird form of magic is involved. But their meeting had changed them, I saw it after.

So, this book as a case of me stepping out from my usual zone. And finding myself having some enjoyment, even though the book is far from perfect. Do I think you should check it out? You could, since this proved to be a nice surprise. Once more about social issues and history. All the while about slavery, and revenge to a family who was involved in it.

Rating: 4 out of 5

0

The Golden Specific 

I just can’t seem to get myself to feel anything for this characters. And I certainly say that the world building is once again, good with plenty of exploration. But the characters just don’t feel real to me. That is a major turnoff to a reader like me who prefers characters instead of awesome worlds.

As for Sophia getting on board a ship with Remorse, only to find herself on her own. I don’t even know what to say except that it is very surprising, and at the same time, very strange.

The side characters often feel just there to talk about something, and there are many of them to the point I can’t even seem to know who is talking and who is Sophia asking. The exploration is really intriguing to me, but Sophia as a character, not really.

Another point is that the dialogue although okay, is utterly unforgettable. I didn’t read so much of it, and could barely find myself really caring. Most of it is about the world which is the drawing point of the book, but the characters, not so much. I could barely care less about Theo, or whatever characters stood in the middle of it. Including Sophia too. Although she was rather realistic in that sense, but I could never really relate to her.

I really think that this series wasn’t really written for me. Wasn’t really made for me to understand. It just feels so bland and forgettable when it comes to the characters. And it becomes a weakness for readers like me who prefers character driven stories, with the plot being made by them, not having it all happen. However, Sophia has a reason, and she does take advantage of everything. But I was more surprised that she didn’t do anything except try to survive on her own, or try to learn while she was on the journey who wanted her in the papal states and why.

Rating: 2 out of 5

0

Nascent Shadow

It began by having some interesting parts, before it really became a matter of confusion for me. Who was the main character? I don’t really know her, and I couldn’t really enjoy the narration.

The world was especially unclear to me, and in this case maybe a little spoon-feeding wouldn’t be so bad. Since I barely know what the world is all about, and I’m utterly confused to the mentions of dragons, enchantresses and you the sort of thing. Yet, no in depth translation is actually given to tell me about this world.

And the narration, at first was okay, then eventually became emotionless and incredibly dry. I couldn’t even care about any of them in the least. And Brooklyn was a rather interesting narrator, before she descended into one which I couldn’t click with her and neither did I enjoy her.

And something about the plot also passed me too, along with the way that writing was structured and done. It just wasn’t to my taste again, although it is rather refreshing but at the same time, it was confusing after a while. And well, you could see why I didn’t enjoy it. It just went down to how the world was never truly explained, some clues were given but there were so many parts where I wouldn’t have minded telling, since I wouldn’t be so lost.

Although, it started with a bang, but it descended into chaos and confusion.

Rating: 2 out of 5

4

Developing A Character

For me, developing a character isn’t about using character sheets. It is neither about using spreadsheets. Both those methods never worked for me and for me, if you are a writer who finds yourself doing badly at it, then this is a post for you. 

When I write characters, to develop them, I usually use these three methods. Which I always find interesting, as it highlights and interesting aspect of a certain character. Or a certain reason why they carry around certain objects, chooses to dress in a certain way. 

To me, characters sometimes cannot be left to a structured street. It has to be organic, free of any influence at all. And here’s what I do. 

#1 Write Dialogue In Their Voice 

Sometimes you don’t need to go so deep into their heads, dialogue is enough. This works especially for characters who view the world in a completely different light, or are incredibly witty that the dialogue is more than enough to tell that. And this can be your eyes only, and can help to figure out some aspects which works so well for me. 

#2 Write Notes Like A Biography

Whenever I want to write a character, sometimes I do this. Sometimes the characters may only have a couple chapters, how do I show and outline their personality well enough. I write notes, like a biography except that it can be written hilariously, or in any way you want to. It can be like a journal, reflecting your character’s voice, perspective. Or it can be how you view them. It can be also about their personality. This isn’t just about listing down all facts, you can go into detail for some of them, and they can be quite fun. It all just depends on how you write them, and they can stay private and never see the light of day. 

#3 Try Writing Letters 

This is the best way for me to develop relationships, especially when I start chuckling at how it will be. These sort of things can reveal a lot of aspects of their relationships, and give it a deeper depth. And help you in characterization around certain characters, when they are around some others. 

Or perhaps whether it was strained at some point, another where one knew a lot more about. I would say that this depends a lot on how you write, how your characters are. 

This are basically all my tips to develop characters, this are really what works for me. I’m not a full planner, the way I plan is organic and free. Since I find myself finding that certain aspects of a character sheet are redundant and some are missing which I needed so desperately. Do tell if you have any other tips, or differing opinions. There are many ways to develop your characters, and this is just one of them. 

0

Kuroshitsuji 131

I feel as though nothing is moving the plot, except that we get some needed answers and also pretty good words from Dee. He probably knows what it was like to be just a younger son, bearing the same name except that he was never destined to inherit. And neither would anyone consider him to be.

I just get the feeling that there is some guilt preventing the Earl from giving a balanced account. This balanced account is quite rare, and especially for the Earl, he may have a serious complex thinking that he is trash, or probably worthless and a burden. Especially to his older brother. This does suggest quite a bit about his character.

And also, does answer why he wants to take his brother’s name instead. Because everyone would have preferred him instead, instead of the sickly younger twin. Who would have been unable to take on the Watchdog title. But instead this is irony, again, seeing as how the Earl proves to be a much better Watchdog. Albeit dependent on a demon but he controls him very well.

And well, although not answering much of the questions. Except that once the Earl was forced out of his shell we can see a very successful political career for him. Which sorta wants to make me write a fan fiction about when they are adults, and the Earl is the one who is a lawyer navigating the law front(since younger sons either worked in the military or as a politician or as lawyers, and military was out of the question for the Earl.) All the while backing his elder brother in any risky endeavours he has. I don’t doubt that the Earl would have been any less shrewd even without the tragedy.

But again, I do think that and hope that his name would be revealed next month. It’s quite sad to never know who he was for almost ten years. Though the most likely names in my opinion are: Aster, Cedric or Elic. I highly doubt it was John or something common.