Book Review: The Ring and the Crown by Melissa De La Cruz

18296016The Ring and the Crown by Melissa De La Cruz

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Genre: Historical Fiction and Young Adult

Release Date: April 1, 2014

Pages: 384 (Hardcover)

good good

Princess Marie-Victoria, heir to the Lily Throne, and Aelwyn Myrddn, bastard daughter of the Mage of England, grew up together. But who will rule, and who will serve?

Quiet and gentle, Marie has never lived up to the ambitions of her mother, Queen Eleanor the Second, Supreme Ruler of the Franco-British Empire. With the help of her Head Merlin, Emrys, Eleanor has maintained her stranglehold on the world’s only source of magic. She rules the most powerful empire the world has ever seen.

But even with the aid of Emrys’ magic, Eleanor’s extended lifespan is nearing its end. The princess must marry and produce an heir or the Empire will be vulnerable to its greatest enemy, Prussia. The two kingdoms must unite to end the war, and the only solution is a match between Marie and Prince Leopold VII, heir to the Prussian throne. But Marie has always loved Gill, her childhood friend and soldier of the Queen’s Guard.

Together, Marie and Aelwyn, a powerful magician in her own right, come up with a plan. Aelwyn will take on Marie’s face, allowing the princess to escape with Gill and live the quiet life she’s always wanted. And Aelwyn will get what she’s always dreamed of–the chance to rule. But the court intrigue and hunger for power in Lenoran England run deeper than anyone could imagine. In the end, there is only rule that matters in Eleanor’s court: trust no one.

First of all, I would like to thank the public Relations coordinator, Annie Jackson/Small Girls PR for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

This book, right here, is one the reasons why I stay far, far away from historical fiction books as well as books about princesses. They are always predictable, there is no (or barely anything) real talk about wars, enemies, etc. It’s all just romance and scandals and who’s fucking who or who wants to fuck who but not allowed to. I honestly felt like I was reading about the girls in my high school rather than an empire on the verge of collapsing. The characters are so one-sided and superficial that I had to skip a few chapters for one character because her life consists honestly, of only money and romance. That’s it. Nothing else. In fact, this is all the main characters care about, romance. Not about anything important.

The novel starts off with a lot of description. Aelwyn returns to the palace after four years. The bad thing about this novel is that it’s all fluff. Like I mentioned before, all the characters are one-sided, especially Ronan (the idiot who care only about money and romance). I could not, for the life of me, give two shits about the ridiculous shit that she goes through. More than once, I had to skip her chapter because I knew that I would give no fucks about what she has to say.

Despite the fact that just about everything important annoyed me, once I shut off my brain, I actually started to enjoy The Ring and the Crown a bit. I really enjoyed the ending, it’s so shocking and exciting. The writing is all right, I didn’t necessarily despise it, it’s well down with the palace and I liked a little French that’s put in it here and there. I also liked the magical aspect of the story although I would have loved it even more if there was more of it, more back story to it.

The Ring and the Crown is can be fun if not thought about at all.  I recommend this one only if you’ve read and enjoyed historical fiction with royalty and enjoyed all the scandals and romances and whatnot. There’s not very much meaning to this story and is solely for entertainment and I was really upset reading this and I don’t know if I’ll read any of De La Cruz’s other series. Though I might finish this series in the hopes that these characters grow the fuck up and decide that life isn’t all about stupidity.

2.5 Mess Up Clouds

2.5 Mess Up Clouds

 

Song of the Week#11-Can You Feel My Heart by Bring Me the Horizon (School Edition-C)

school

This is a weekly meme that’s for the most part, the same as Song Of The Week except each week there will be for the alphabet/numbers! and it’s going to be updated once a week. This week’s edition is: C!

BMTH_Sempiternal

 

Bring Me the Horizon are a British metalcore band from Sheffield, Yorkshire that formed in 2004. The band have released 4 albums-Suicide Season, Blessings, There is a Hell, Believe Me, I’ve Seen it. There is a Heaven, Let’s Keep it a Secret., and Sempiternal. Can You Feel My Heart is off of their album, Sempiternal.

Believe it or not, this song does relate to school. Who can fix the broken? Teachers! Yeah, I know, that was pretty shitty but oh well. The main reason why I’m adding this song to SotW is because my friend and I always (and by always I really do mean always) sing this song to each other. Line by line. I’m usually the one who fucks up first but still, it’s something fun to do that also pisses off our French teacher!

My favourite part is:

I’m scared to get close and I hate being alone.
I long for that feeling to not feel at all.
The higher I get, the lower I’ll sink.
I can’t drown my demons, they know how to swim.

Can you feel my heart?

Can you hear the silence?
Can you see the dark?
Can you fix the broken?
Can you feel… can you feel my heart?

You can watch Can You Feel My Heart here.

Lyrics are here.

Album Review:Sempiternal by Bring Me the Horizon

BMTH_Sempiternal

Sempiternal by Bring Me the Horizon

Record Label: Epitaph Records

Genre: Post-Hardcore/Metalcore

Release Date: April 2, 2013

Songs: 11
good good

Bring Me the Horizon are a British metalcore band from Sheffield, Yorkshire that formed in 2004. The band have released 4 albums-Suicide Season, Blessings, There is a Hell, Believe Me, I’ve Seen it. There is a Heaven, Let’s Keep it a Secret., and Sempiternal. The group currently consists of lead vocalist Oliver Sykes, lead guitarist Lee Malia, bassist Matt Kean, drummer Matt Nicholls and keyboardist Jordan Fish.

opinion

Never judge an album by an artist’s past work. It’s a simple rule yet I find myself always doing just that. Which is why reviewing this album is something I never thought, never imagined I would ever find myself doing. Yet, here I am. By far, this is their best album yet and that’s probably because they finally listened to the world and made a very smooth transition from hardcore to post-hardcore. To be completely honest, I’m still not a fan of their music, in general, but Sempiternal has made Bring me the Horizon one that I will watch out for once they start releasing new music.

For anyone who has listened to a few of these songs already, or have seen some of the titles (track list is below!), It’s obvious that this album is a heavily religious album. And not in a, ‘we love God, he showed us the way.” But in a mocking way with Ollie Sykes screaming lyrics like-“FUCK YOUR FAITH!/No one’s gonna save you!/FUCK YOUR FAITH!/There’s no hope for us/We speak in tongues”. I’m not a religious person however I do find some of these lyrics rude and offensive to many people no matter what they stand for.

Sempiternal is full of great intro especially in Can You Feel My Heart where the techno beats clashes wonderfully with the guitars and bass. Now pair that with some extremely relatable lyrics (non religious) in And the Snakes Start to Sing, Sleepwalking, and Seen it All Before. I also love how the album is full of many keyboard pieces that really add to the songs, even in the slightest way.

Bring me the Horizon has always been known as that band that could be better if only they changed their sound. With loyal band members that enjoy making music together, sometimes, when a band changes their sound, it’s for the best and not for the worst. It only depends on the band and whether they are doing it for the right reasons.

3 Sexy Treble Clefs

3 Sexy Treble Clefs

Songs On The Album (Click on the title to listen to the song!)

1. Can You Feel My Heart-3:55

2. The House of Wolves-3:26

3. Empire (Let Them Sing)-3:45

4. Sleepwalking-3:51

5. Go to Hell, for Heaven’s Sake-4:02

6. Shadow Moses-4:12

7. And the Snakes Start to Sing-5:03

8. Seen it All Before-4:09

9. Antivist-3:17

10. Crooked Youth-3:37

11. Hospital for Souls-6:38

Book Review: Ostrich by Matt Greene

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Ostrich by Matt Greene

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: August 27, 2013

Pages: 336 (Paperback)

good good

This is Alex’s story. But he doesn’t know exactly what it’s about yet, so you probably shouldn’t either.

Instead, here are some things that it’s sort of about (but not really):

It’s sort of (but not really) about brain surgery.

It’s sort of (but not really) about a hamster named Jaws 2 (after the original Jaws (who died), not the movie Jaws 2).

It’s sort of (but actually quite a lot) about Alex’s parents.

It’s sort of (but not really) about feeling ostrichized (which is a better word for excluded (because ostriches can’t fly so they often feel left out)).

It’s sort of (but not really (but actually, the more you think about it, kind of a lot)) about empathy (which is like sympathy only better), and also love and trust and fate and time and quantum mechanics and friendship and exams and growing up.

First of all, I would like to thank the Publisher, Ballantine Books/Random House Publishing for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

This book doesn’t make any sense, it doesn’t really go in one direction, just kind of in a criss-crossing place that left me with a confused, ‘huh?’ look on my face by the end. To be honest, I’m still not even sure what the hell I just read is about days later. However,(thanks for the tips, Alex) I don’t mind the confusing storyline and the fact that it doesn’t really have a point. I’m okay with this because like Alex, I get carried away too easily. I think about useless things that shouldn’t matter too much and over-analyze them which is what made me love Alex and the way he thinks things over.

Even though I liked the main character, I can’t say I liked all of the info-dumping on things I didn’t care about at all or even remotely made sense to me. There is such an abundance of information that at the end of a chapter, I felt utterly confused and couldn’t remember what was happening in the story before I got all the information on this or on that. With that being said, it’s obvious that some parts of Ostrich are disorganized and confusing with the story being mostly about himself and his relationship between Chloe and his parents.

Some of the things that I liked about the novel are that Alex is not your typical pre-teen trying to fit in. He’s just himself with his obsession over languages, pets, and words just to name a few. It’s nice seeing a character that like to question everything around him and find out the answer for everything. Another thing I liked is the writing and how straightforward it is. Reading about Alex and all the things he’s learned and is still learning made it easier to accept the writing style being of a pre-teen. The relationship between Alex and Chloe is just so cute. They’re confused and young and weird which makes the relationship that more real. When I was thirteen everything was weird, especially boys even though I spent most of my time with them. I understood Chloe and her tactics to spend more time with Alex by doing the dumbest things to become friends with him.

Matt Greene does a nice job of creating a story about nothing and trying to make it into something more. Recommended for anyone looking for a light novel before it’s time to crack open the textbooks *shudders* and start school. This is not a bad novel, just don’t think too much about what’s going on and focus on Alex’s weirdness.

3 Clouds

3 Clouds

 

For quotes from this book, click here.

Book Review: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

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The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

Genre: Fantasy and New Adult

Release Date: August 20, 2013

Pages: 480 (Hardcover)

The Bone Season

It is the year 2059. Several major world cities are under the control of a security force called Scion. Paige Mahoney works in the criminal underworld of Scion London, part of a secret cell known as the Seven Seals. The work she does is unusual: scouting for information by breaking into others’ minds. Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clairvoyant, and in this world, the voyants commit treason simply by breathing.

But when Paige is captured and arrested, she encounters a power more sinister even than Scion. The voyant prison is a separate city—Oxford, erased from the map two centuries ago and now controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. These creatures, the Rephaim, value the voyants highly—as soldiers in their army.

Paige is assigned to a Rephaite keeper, Warden, who will be in charge of her care and training. He is her master. Her natural enemy. But if she wants to regain her freedom, Paige will have to learn something of his mind and his own mysterious motives.

First of all, I would like to thank the Publisher, Bloomsbury USA for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

I can see why there’s so much hype around this book! There’s a lot of action and drama and all that fun stuff packed in here. And I really like this novel, I do. The Bone Season held my attention for a lot longer than I thought it would, but unfortunately there is just so many things that I can’t overlook and allow me give this book a higher rating. Nonetheless a lot of people will still enjoy this, maybe even love it. I’m just not one of those people who can overlook things easily.

The first thing that I can’t stand about this book is the abundance of information. And it’s also not only a few pages long, throughout the book, I had to skip everything about Paige’s past life and albeit important, information on all of the different types of clairvoyants and such things just to make sure my head didn’t explode. There’s just too much info-dumping which leads to the disorganized plot. A lot of things happen in the book, like I mentioned before, there’s a lot of action but it’s all over the place and a bit confusing at some parts. Another thing that frustrates me about The Bone Season is the protagonist, Paige because she’s not only predictable but crazy as well. She is constantly getting into trouble for no good reason except to get killed, and then she gets everything handed to her. There’s very little proof that makes me like Paige even in the slightest because of the way she acts and receives everything because she’s ‘special’. I really dislike her character.

Samantha Shannon does a fine job building a believable world though. With everything that’s happening, I fell in love with the setting and the atmosphere, everything feels like it’s happening right in front of me and I couldn’t stop reading. The story is also well written, it’s smooth and exciting. I love the way that Shannon hooks readers in with simple yet complex writing.  A lot of the characters are well-developed, especially Arcturus. He’s really complex and layered with lots of passion. Even when I didn’t want to, I felt myself loving him.

The Bone Season is a novel many people will love, no doubt. There’s tons of action and friendships and pain with a little bit of romance that takes the backseat. But there’s a few things that stand in its way of being an amazing start to a seven book series. Still, I recommend this to anyone who likes a lot of action and a well-developed world and don’t mind an abundance of information. Or are willing to skip half the book to get to the good parts. Hopefully there’ll be a lot less info-dumping in the next book and Paige grows up a lot more.

2.5 Clouds

2.5 Clouds

Book Review: Beyond Parallel by Matthew Turner

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Beyond Parallel by Matthew Turner

Publisher: Independent/ Turndog Publishing

Genre: Contemporary and New Adult

Release Date: January 8, 2013

Pages: 202 (Ebook)

Beyond Parallel

Bella and Clark are two young twenty-somethings, finding themselves in a chaotic and crazy world. One craves love; the other avoids it. Will they find one another, or will a single what-if moment send them down different paths?

In the same mould as Sliding Doors, Uncertainty, and Smoking/No-Smoking, Beyond Parallel flips between two parallel tales. One follows Bella and Clark as a couple, the other as if they never meet.

It’s incredible how a small, everyday decision can affect how you look, where you live, the people you love, and who you become. We could all live a billion lives, but we’re only given one. Is it all a game of chance, or are Bella and Clark meant to be?

First of all, I would like to thank the author, Matthew Turner  for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

Usually, I don’t read New Adult novels because I can’t really relate to the characters. But I was intrigued by Beyond Parallel and the concept of alternate realities. It’s so very cool! And this novel didn’t disappoint me but it didn’t impress me either. With so much going on I felt a little left in the dark during some chapters and bored or excited with others. Between chapters, six months goes by which is a lot of time for things to happen. Nonetheless, Beyond Parallel is a book that readers will enjoy.

Bella and Clark are such a cute couple. The only problem I have with them is that the beginning of their relationship is the classic case of insta-love. Their relationship happens so fast and maybe this is how adults do things, I’m not sure, but it feels very forced in the beginning. It would have been nicer if readers were eased into their romance instead of shoved into it. I also don’t like Bella. At all. Throughout the story, for both stories in fact, she’s annoying, whiny, and very self-centred. She expects her best friend, Alex to help her through a breakup (fine), be her wingman (fine), but to also just talk about herself and then whine about it without asking Alex about his problems (No way). It’s really annoying how flat and boring all of the secondary characters are also. They have little life to them.

A big element in the novel is travelling and finding that special missing something or someone. The story starts off in Thailand where Bella and Clark both are and I liked that Matthew Turner used Thailand because it’s a really exotic, fun place with some breathtaking sights. Beyond Parallel has two stories inside of the book, one with Bella and Clark as a couple and the other one is without Bella and Clark as a couple. For me, I really enjoyed reading about Bella and Clark being a couple because I got to read about both sides of their story instead of just one. They both start freaking out over little things and their hardships as a couple that they are forced to over come shows how realistic any kind of relationship is and I liked that.

Overall, Beyond Parallel is a good read full of romance and a few tough parts to get through. Just like any relationship and although the middle is very slow and most of the characters are quite flat, I did enjoy the story. Especially the ending, it’s so cute and Awe worthy! I recommend this to anyone who enjoys new adult or romances with some travelling going on.

Three Clouds

Three Clouds

Album Review: If You Leave by Daughter

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If You Leave by Daughter

Record Label: Glassnote Records

Genre: Indie/Folk

Release Date: April 30, 2013 (Released in UK: March 2013 with 4AD Records)

Songs: 11
If You Leave - Daughter

Daughter is an indie/folk band from England. They have created songs that are filled with tales of heartbreak and death that are sung in a sweet, soft tune. Currently, the band has out three EPs-Demos, His Young Heart, and The Wild Youth and one album-If You Leave. Members are: Elena Tonra  (vocals, guitar), Igor Haefeli  (guitar), and Remi Aguilella (drums).

opinion

Daughter is the type of band that understands you without trying to. They’re trying to express themselves with their music but along the way they express you too. Or at least, they do for me. If You Leave is a story about heartbreak. It’s about feeding the monster inside of you, something, we all have and realizing that we’re still human. This entire album can easily become the backdrop for a heartfelt tv show drama. (Seriously, close your eyes and you can imagine Human, Amsterdam, Shallow as the music for Grey’s or supernatural or something super intense and heartbreaking movie/tv show.) I know I’ve been handing out high ratings for a lot of albums lately, but this band, Daughter, completely deserve it. And I cannot wait to see them this fall (hopefully).

I adore the way Daughter can make me feel with the single beat of a drum, a few chords from a guitar, and lovely sung high notes. In most of the songs, there’s an echo attached to the vocals which is something I’m very picky about. I can’t stand when songs have an echo that is useless to the song but with Daughter, they pull it off. Everything compliments each other rather than takes away from the songs. I also love how easy it is to relate to their music with lyrics about broken romances in Still with lyrics, “Biting words like a wolf howling. Hate is spitting out each others mouths. But we’re still sleeping like we’re lovers.” And no matter what, people are still human in Human with, “Buried deep within, there’s a human.” 

If You Leave by Daughter is a gorgeous album. There’s heartache, love, life, death, and well…Youth and growing up that’s shown throughout the album. I recommend this album to everyone especially to lovers of indie and acoustic music. Favourite songs off of this album are: Still, Human, Youth, and Shallows.

Five Beautiful Treble Clefs

Five Beautiful Treble Clefs

Songs On The Album (Click on the title to listen to the song!)

1. Winter-4:44

2. Smother-4:02

3. Youth-4:14

4. Still-3:33

5. Lifeforms-5:36

6. Tomorrow-4:41

7. Human-3:34

8. Touch-4:26

9. Amsterdam-4:03

10. Shallows-6:54

P.S. Daughter’s music actually has been on well-known TV shows like Grey’s anatomy, Skins, Suburgatory, Vampire Diaries, etc.