Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Kindar's Cure

Kindar's Cure by Michelle Hauck. This book was provided free of charge in exchange for my honest review

Kindar is a princess without a lot of luck. The second of three sisters and born cursed with the affliction chokelung (a disease which usually kills in infancy), Kindar exists as an afterthought, a burden. Kindar's life takes a drastic turn following her eldest sister's marriage as life long truths come into question and motives become a swirling storm in which Kindar must find her footing or drown.

I tried so hard to like this book.


Even now as I reflect back upon the components of the story, I am perplexed why I struggled with this novel and why it took three times longer than it should have to read through.

Kindar is a likable enough character who shows all the necessary growth required of a fantasy heroine but her mindset and the way her disability was handled felt uncomfortable for me as a reader with a disability.

The plot with ancient omen's and a daring quest should hold the attention and, I know for many it would yet, I found the omen to feel, almost distracting at times, as though it were tacked on.

The male characters were equally disappointing.
The premise of Mal confused me greatly. Kindar's personality didn't not warrant, even in her initial desperation for the man's guidance, her continued tolerance of his presence as the story progressed.
Camden, though a secondary character still one of importance, felt like  yet another afterthought as his story intersected with Kindar's. Even Henry, the amore felt too one dimensional(one directional ?) after reading of the female characters.

I think Kindar's Cure has a strong potential audience as it does have so many strong qualities, unfortunately I'm not that audience.

2.5 stars

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Mark of the Dragonfly

I received this book in exchange for my honest opinion from NetGallery, the opinions are my own.

Nervously optimistic is an odd way to start any book and yet that is the best way to describe my feelings as I dove into Jaleigh Johnson's The Mark of the Dragonfly.

Johnson's novel follows a young, orphaned scrapper named Piper who's fighting to survive on the edge of the meteor field. One day, Piper learns that meteors may not be the most dangerous thing in her hometown as a mysterious girl lands at her feet bringing foreign kings, dangerous hunters, and a whirlwind of adventure to her door that she never dreamed was possible.

Initially Thoughts . . .

I really enjoyed the concept of the meteor fields and object falling through from other realms/worlds/dimensions. It was hard not to smile as I recognized the foreign items Piper encountered. However, it was hard, perhaps due to being above the intended age bracket or because of my own expectations in this genre to swallow the whole premise.

Johnson's world shows incredible promise, the races are interesting as is the technology in what I best felt was an almost weird blend of dystopian/steampunk, sci-fi. Major plot drivers such as the 401's presence, Piper's gutsy attitude, and Anna's incredible blend of intelligence and naivete drove the story at a focused pace that kept me going once I connected to the story.

My own issue were the story lines that didn't get completed. Gee's backstory seemed an anomaly in comparison to what we were told about what his family life should have been. The meteors, while incredibly fun and, in my thoughts, a fun plot point were never fully explained and therefore never lived up to their full potential (though could make an enjoyable sequel). Even the ending, though hitting many major story arches, felt a tad too rushed and fell somewhat flat compared to the build up of the other chapters.

That said the relationships of the 401 family, Anna and Piper's developing relationship, Anna in general - side note Anna well, at first, the most annoying character I could imagine, quickly became my absolute favourite in the entire book. She reminded me a little of a more innocent less combat ready River Tam from Firefly who, if you aren't familiar with just go find Joss Whedon's Firefly and remedy that, it's a sci-fi must :)
It's the mark of a good author, in my opinion, who can take an aggravating character and make them beloved.

The relationships are what make the story along with the growth of the two central girls as they journey towards maturity. I believe the majority of my issues probably would not be an issue to the intended audience and even still this remains a highly enjoyable read.
4 out 5 stars

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy

How is it already the 7th of January!

I honestly had every intention of getting this post up earlier but who would have guessed the holidays would be a little more involved and a lot more crazy when you through a baby into the mix.

In hindsight, I probably should have been able to figure that out.

Add to that my last few free nights have been exploring and sharing the wondrous new Doctor (you don't get terribly many nights free for writing with a little one either) and  . . .voila, it's January.

Oh well, better forward than behind at this point.

I am sad it took me so long to write about Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee for the sole reason of it being such an enjoyable read. I've really been lucky of late in the books I've been getting to read and this one was no exception.

As usual, I was offered this book for free in exchange for me honest review and opinion of the novel.

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy, centers upon a young girl named Ophelia who's family is coping with the loss of their mother/wife through various means.

Ophelia's father has become obsessed with his work at a new museum with a mysterious overseer.

Ophelia's sister has become lost in the world of teenage ambitions, beauty, and growing up.

Poor Ophelia though finds herself stuck with a marvelous boy who keeps requesting ridiculous things that stretch her familiar and comforting logic to the brink and yet she can't seem to leave the boy alone.

My first impression of Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy was to harken back to another series I had began by the name of Lemony Snickett. Both books shared that somewhat darker flavour for a children's novel and yet held a sense of interest and well crafted plot that kept me going (even though I'm a few years past the target audience;) )

It was the rarity of this book though that made it so engrossing.

I was surprised (from a counselling background) how believable the characters expressions of grief were concerning the loss of the mother. As traditional children's novels tend to shy away from complex issues, I was impressed at the discussion which could be drawn from the text regarding grief if parents wished to use the book as a launching point for such a discussion.

I was also highly impressed with the author's use of names within the book. The Marvelous Boy is referred to as such  because his name has been taken from him - an interesting plot point and I'd rather not share any spoilers. I was concerned as this was revealed that it would make the character harder to connect with, especially with my personal interest in names. Somehow this boy still managed to wiggle into my heart (maybe due to me reading it with my own little boy on my lap) and send a not so subtle message on the power of names.

My one point of concern with the book is for readers like myself who would prefer to read a little more, rather than have a storyline left to the imagination. Although some characters were wrapped up nicely and even left in such a way that there could, potentially,  be a plausible sequel to this book, I just could not get into the one main character's resolution. When you read the book yourself ;) it's pretty obvious who. I understand that it's very stylistic and much more common to leave some endings more vague, but after so much build up between the boy, Ophelia, and the family . . . it just felt a little hollow. Not so frustrating I would not recommend the book but still frustrating enough for this completionist to mention :)

Overall, I found this to be a good read and a relaxing break from this year's festivities, and would easily give it 4/5 stars