Archetype novel

Archetype Novel Is Far from Typical

Archetype by M.D. Waters

Published by Dutton in 2014

Genre: Science Fiction

Pages: 384

 

I am SO GLAD that I just read this book, and get to review it, after my last review was such a shit show.

Archetype was featured in my earlier post, Dollar Dollar Tree, Y’all! Yes, that’s right, I bought this book at the Dollar Tree. For a dollar. That makes me so. Effing. Happy. (Especially now that I know how much I love it. I will happily pay full price for the sequel).

I also want to start with a caveat, which is that it will be really hard to do this without spoilers! If I get vague, I’m sorry. I promise I’m just trying to preserve the magic for you.

The Goodreads Description:

Emma wakes in a hospital, with no memory of what came before. Her husband, Declan, a powerful, seductive man, provides her with new memories, but her dreams contradict his stories, showing her a past life she can’t believe possible: memories of war, of a camp where girls are trained to be wives, of love for another man. Something inside her tells her not to speak of this, but she does not know why. She only knows she is at war with herself.

Suppressing those dreams during daylight hours, Emma lets Declan mold her into a happily married woman and begins to fall in love with him. But the day Noah stands before her, the line between her reality and dreams shatters.

In a future where women are a rare commodity, Emma fights for freedom but is held captive by the love of two men—one her husband, the other her worst enemy. If only she could remember which is which. . . .

Great Characters

Our narrator, Emma, is so realistically developed throughout. Her reactions to her uncertainty feel natural. (This is one area where spoilers would really help me make the point I want to make about why Emma is so great. But I won’t. Le sigh.)

I also want to say that the author does something that is pretty hard to pull off. There are characters we love, really and thoroughly, that we end up hating, really and thoroughly. It is hard to make that transition. Generally, you get a vibe early on if a character is going to turn on you. Not the case here.

Gorgeous Writing

The writing itself is beautiful and eloquent. But possibly the most important thing for me, what made it so well-written, was spot on pacing. I started Archetype at six and didn’t put it down until I finished because the pacing was just so that I never had a stopping point I was really comfortable with. Every time I thought a question was answered, I had a new one and I had to know what was going to happen.

This is every writer’s dream, no? Force the reader to read long after they’d have put another book down. I would like to be asleep RIGHT NOW but I’m writing this with the book still fresh in my mind because I didn’t put the book down.

The Science

I am a person who likes my science fiction either really hard, or pretty soft. Archetype fell somewhere in the middle, and I was okay with that. It dealt with a lot of scientific concepts, none of which I will bring up because frickin’ frackin’ spoilers, but they were all believable and awesome. Probably because of…

The World-Building

Which, holy shit. THE SOCIAL ISSUES, Y’ALL. Emma’s world is a BAD time and place to be a woman. It’s made all the scarier by how it doesn’t feel all that far-fetched. Take this excerpt:

“I’m afraid you don’t have a choice. Birth control is illegal. Abortion is illegal, with a very severe punishment. Pregnancy is not a choice.”

This is the mildest example I could give you. Girls in the east live in actual “WTC’s”: woman training centers. I won’t go into more detail.

I will say that the terrible dystopia is delivered to us so slowly and with such finesse that at least five times I yelled out “Oh my god!” and I threw around “What the dick?!” also as I continued to learn just how bad this place was.

I’d Recommend

Archetype to fans of science fiction or anyone who wants to examine the slippery slope surrounding women’s rights and where we could easily be headed.

Here is a link in case you’d like to purchase Archetype through Amazon! *I only link up books I’d give 5 stars and believe in 100%*

What About You?

What’s the last book you read in one sitting?

 

*Note: My reviews are full of opinions. I may love a book. May want to marry it like the kid in the commercial for Peanut Butter Crunch (1999 was a great year for cereal and commercials, look it up). I may say a book is the best thing to happen to me since I started shaving my big toe. None of these things mean it is objectively good. I recognize that.

Many times throughout my life, I have given a book I swore to be a life-changer to a friend/boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/janitor. Shaking, quietly weeping, I’d hand it (and my heart) over. Only to find out several weeks later that for them the book was good, maybe even great, but not the life-giving, soul-renewing magic I’d purported. You may not like a book I recommend. Sue me.

**Please don’t sue me, I just write here.

 

This post contains an affiliate link. Please read my disclosure for more info.

 



10 ways to find time to read

10 Ways to Find Time to Read

I hear it constantly: “But how do you find time to read?”

It’s a fair question. I’m a mother, and home-educated my son for two years. I’m a full-time student, and just recently stopped working full-time as well.

And for a while, I did all these things at the same time. Yes. I was a home-schooling mother, full-time student, and had a full-time job. And I still found time to read.

If I can do it, you can do it. Here are some ways to work reading into your life, no matter what your life entails.

Students:

  Read in between classes

Read in between classes. This is honestly where I get most of my reading done. There are plenty of times where a class is cancelled, and I’m stuck waiting for another that doesn’t start for two hours. Sometimes I’ll finish a midterm or final in fifteen minutes, and be in the same boat. Sometimes, I purposefully schedule my classes all semester so I’ll have hour and a half breaks in between classes, so I can do homework and then read. It’s not going to hurt to shove one more, non-school assigned book in your sixty pound backpack.

Employees:

Read on your lunch break

Read on your lunch break. Bring a book, and see how many pages you can go before you get food on it. I promise it’s not as many as you think.

Read on your off-time. At my desk job, I better not be caught dead with a novel. That didn’t stop me from downloading E-books. Even if your employer would like to think you’re a busy little bee who spends 100% of your time thinking and dreaming about their company, chances are you have some downtime. Use the downtime to read.

 

Parents:

I get the most excuses from you. I’ve heard it all. Well, y’all, I’m a mom, too. I get it. We’re busy. I fancy myself Wonder Woman, but I have been known to schedule every second of my day until I feel I may actually be crushed under the weight of my self-imposed obligations. Guess what? I still read.

While dinner is in the oven. Or on the stove. Or at any break I get from being an active participant in the cooking process.

While you’re waiting at doctor’s appointments. The more kids you have, the more time you spend in frickin’ frackin’ waiting rooms. PUT DOWN THE US WEEKLY. (Unless your goal is to read more magazines, in which case good on you, I totally support your journey and your decision to read whatever you want.)

While your children nap. If you’re lucky enough to have children that nap. My kid never napped, not once, past his first birthday. BUT, you may be one of the lucky ones. Instead of spending nap-time crying or day-drinking or whatever, grab a book! Bonus points if you can cry/day-drink while you read!

Find time to read

If you homeschool, take advantage of their solitary activities. Chances are, you don’t hover over everything your kid does. They probably add or paint or do something you don’t have to monitor all that closely. Take this time to read.

At the park. Be it a kid park, a dog park, or a combination of the two, you probably spend some time here. Spend that time reading!

Read at the park

Non-drivers:

Public transportation is the best for reading. Now I live in Colorado Springs, a city where it is virtually impossible to live without a vehicle. However, I used to live in Portland, Oregon, and I took the MAX train everywhere. I got SO much reading done. If you are a bus/train/subway user, stop staring out the window! Read a book. This goes for planes also. There’s more than Skymall out there. Also, there’s generally tons of time to read while you’re waiting for any of these to show up.

Read while you wait for the bus

Drivers:

Get audio books for the car. Some people will tell you that this isn’t really reading. Tell those people to bite your ass.

 

The final thought:

You have to want to read. You have to want to make time to read. Chances are you make time for television, wine, complaining about your co-workers. These things are important to you, and that’s great! If you would like to become more of a reader, you just have to make it a priority to read.
Find time to read

What About You?

How do you find time to read? Do you find yourself making excuses?

 

 

 



hexed book by michelle krys

Hexed: Another Teen Witch Story Is Less Than Magical

Hexed by Michelle Krys

Published by Delacorte Press in 2014

Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Supernatural

Pages: 384

Let me start by saying it gives me no pleasure to give the kind of review I’m about to give for Hexed. I wish I could love every book. I wish I could say great things about every book. Unfortunately, it’s just not the case.

The Goodreads Description:

If high school is all about social status, Indigo Blackwood has it made. Sure, her quirky mom owns an occult shop, and a nerd just won’t stop trying to be her friend, but Indie is a popular cheerleader with a football-star boyfriend and a social circle powerful enough to ruin everyone at school. Who wouldn’t want to be her?

Then a guy dies right before her eyes. And the dusty old family Bible her mom is freakishly possessive of is stolen. But it’s when a frustratingly sexy stranger named Bishop enters Indie’s world that she learns her destiny involves a lot more than pom-poms and parties. If she doesn’t get the Bible back, every witch on the planet will die. And that’s seriously bad news for Indie, because according to Bishop, she’s a witch too.

Suddenly forced into a centuries-old war between witches and sorcerers, Indie’s about to uncover the many dark truths about her life—and a future unlike any she ever imagined on top of the cheer pyramid.

The Characters Are Terrible

Nearly every single one. We have our narrator, Indie, who is every shitty mean girl you normally love to hate. There’s a reason that shitty girl isn’t usually our narrator. We don’t like her. We don’t root for her. She has terrible, bitchy friends who treat her like garbage. Her boyfriend treats her like garbage.

So she opts instead to pine after a literal stalker. (It’s okay to be a stalker if you’re super hot). The stalker, Bishop, get this, treats her like garbage. Are we sensing a pattern, here? Indie surrounds herself with shitty people. Indie is a shitty person.

The one decent person in the story is Indie’s neighbor Paige, whom Indie uses and abuses because she can. The one person who is always there, who treats Indie like a human being worthy of love and friendship, Indie can’t stand. Indie manipulates Paige at every given opportunity, and then Paige all but disappears from the novel once she has given the mean girl everything she has.

The Magic is Mediocre

If I’m reading a book about witches, I want it to be about witches.

We wait over half the book for Indie to find out she’s a witch. Almost the entire other half for her to learn to use magic. Of course, she never learns magic well, (basically she levitates some shit and flies for three seconds), meaning she has to rely on her stalker to be, well, a stalker, and save her ass over and over and over. Which leads me to…

The Painful Plot

The cat and mouse in Hexed is just ever so fucking annoying. We run into the bad guys five, six, seven, eight? times. I’m not even sure. Always Indie and her stalker manage a narrow escape. Always the encounter is anticlimactic. Even the climax is anticlimactic.

I’m hesitant to even call it a climax, even though it involves an actual dragon that had me very briefly but actually excited.

The Writing Leans on the Author’s Wit and Humor

which are pretty engaging. There is no denying that Krys is a funny woman. That was the one upside to a novel I’m realizing should have gone into my DNF list, but I really, really have to hate a book for that to happen.

So, my most important final thought:

WE HAVE TO STOP SELLING STALKING AND VIOLENCE AS LOVE. IT’S DISGUSTING. FUCKING STOP IT.

What About You?

Did you like Hexed more than I did?

What tropes are you just done with?

 

*Note: My reviews are full of opinions. I may hate a book. May want to kill it with fire. I may say a book is the worst thing to happen to me since the Odd Thomas movie adaptation. None of these things mean it is objectively bad. I recognize that. You may like a book I hate. Sue me.

**Please don’t sue me, I just write here.

 

 



how to build a girl book by caitlin moran

How To Build A Girl (And Should You?)

This post contains an affiliate link. Please read my disclosure for more info.

How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran

Published by Harper Perennial in 2015

Genre: Young Adult

Pages: 368

How to Build a Girl is so. Damn. Good. Every single living person should read it.

It’s British, so it has the C word (gasp!) the exact right amount of times. (And not just as a noun.)

To Give You a Quick Description:

It’s 1990. Johanna Morrigan, fourteen, has shamed herself so badly on local TV that she decides that there’s no point in being Johanna anymore and reinvents herself as Dolly Wilde–fast-talking, hard-drinking Gothic hero and full-time Lady Sex Adventurer. She will save her poverty-stricken Bohemian family by becoming a writer–like Jo in Little Women, or the Brontes–but without the dying young bit.
By sixteen, she’s smoking cigarettes, getting drunk and working for a music paper. She’s writing pornographic letters to rock-stars, having all the kinds of sex with all kinds of men, and eviscerating bands in reviews of 600 words or less.
But what happens when Johanna realizes she’s built Dolly with a fatal flaw? Is a box full of records, a wall full of posters, and a head full of paperbacks, enough to build a girl after all?

The Writing May Not Work for Younger YA Readers

I will say that while How to Build a Girl is classified as Young Adult, I think it probably sits better among older teenagers or adults, though Johanna is fourteen when we meet her. In America, where (let’s face it) the general vibe is anti-sex and very ready to say what teenagers should and shouldn’t be doing, this is an interesting one to consider YA. It’s probably another good time to mention the author is British, and they have considerably different attitudes toward sex and cursing.

ALL THAT HAVING BEEN SAID. The writing is just amazing. Spectacular. Laugh-out-loud hilarious.

The Characters are Brilliant

Johanna Morgan is all of us. And we get to watch her age. Watch her realize that her dad coming home plastered with a headless fox statue, wearing a robe that doesn’t cover his balls means he’s a drunk, not a pop star. Watch her awkward-as-hell masturbation stories turn to awkward-as-hell sex stories. And watch her realizing, as too few young girls do, that her heartbreaking, humiliating pursuit of happiness is as valid as everyone else’s.

The Girl Power Could Be Taken Either Way

Because we watch Johanna age, and because her lifestyle is eventually one of sex, partying, and rock and roll, many people would hate to have her as a role model for their daughters. Consider this excerpt, though:

“I feel excitingly . . . free. Things were going to happen to me last night that I did not like — and I stopped them. I have never prevented my own doom before. I have never stood in the path of certain unhappiness and told myself — lovingly, like a mother to myself — “No! This unhappiness will not suit you! Turn around and go the other way!”

This epiphany is one many (I’m only barely even hesitant to say ALL) girls could stand to hear. Johanna is many things that may not be desirable, but she’s also the master of her body and life.

 

I’d Recommend How to Build a Girl to Literally Everyone

like I said earlier. I especially think women ages 16+ could benefit from what Johanna has to say.

Here’s a link in case you’d like to get How to Build a Girl on Amazon!

*I only link up books I’d give 5 stars to, and believe in 100%*

What About You?

I’d love to hear from anyone on this: how do you feel when YA gets especially raunchy? How much do you think your cultural background affects this?

 

*Note: My reviews are full of opinions. I may love a book. May want to marry it like the kid in the commercial for Peanut Butter Crunch (1999 was a great year for cereal and commercials, look it up). I may say a book is the best thing to happen to me since I started shaving my big toe. None of these things mean it is objectively good. I recognize that. Many times throughout my life, I have given a book I swore to be a life-changer to a friend/boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/plumber. Shaking, quietly weeping, I’d hand it (and my heart) over. Only to find out several weeks later that for them the book was good, maybe even great, but not the life-giving, soul-renewing magic I’d purported. You may not like a book I recommend. Sue me.

**Please don’t sue me, I just write here.

 



shuffle repeat by jen klein

Shuffle, Repeat is the Lighthearted YA You Need Right Now

This post contains an affiliate link. Please read my disclosure for more info.

Shuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein

Published by Random House in 2016

Genre: Young Adult, Romance

Pages: 327

I bought Shuffle, Repeat on Mother’s Day, as a Goodwill impulse. My initial reluctance to get it was completely unfair, and had nothing to do with the book or the author or anything that makes any sense. But, you see, I am already in love with a YA novel about two kids who don’t really know each other and bond over music. It’s one of my favorite, most-read novels of all time. So I was hesitant, in disbelief that another book (seemingly) about the same thing could make me happy.

I was wrong, this book is excellent.

 

To Give You a Quick Description:

June wants high school to end and real life to begin. Oliver is soaking up senior year’s glory days. They could have coasted through high school, knowing about—but not really knowing—each other.
Except that their moms have arranged for Oliver to drive June to school. Every. Single. Day.
Suddenly these two opposites are fighting about music, life . . . pretty much everything. But love is unpredictable. When promises—and hearts—get broken, Oliver and June must figure out what really matters. And then fight for it.

The Writing in Shuffle, Repeat is so Effing Cute

Fun, hilarious, intelligent. It was the most effortless read of the year for me, so far. The tone is so lighthearted that I flew through the pages easily and readily. At no point did it slow down or become less interesting for me.

Phenomenal Characters

I adored June, our narrator, who is smart and witty and un-apologetically so, which I adore in a female lead. Oliver is fun and bright himself, such a decent kid with a good head on his shoulders. They are very natural and easy to root for. The ensemble cast is delightfully diverse, and each have their own clear motivations/lives, they’re not just there to fill space.

The Feminism is so very Welcome and Exciting

It is subtle; June’s feminist undertones are there, constantly, but it isn’t enough to be off-putting to those less inclined to our ways. Here’s what really floored me: at a certain point, Oliver calls June and says, “If a certain strong-willed, brilliant feminist intellectual just so happened to invite me to prom…” and so on. The reason that is so great is that we have a girl who is an unabashed feminist in high school who just happens to be, get this, a normal person. And the boy, a high school jock nonetheless, calls her a feminist as a compliment. That is so fucking wonderful for any kids reading, you know? I just love it so much.

I’d Recommend Shuffle, Repeat to any Fans of Lighthearted YA

who want a fun, quick read that will make you feel something for a little bit.

Here’s a link in case you’d like to purchase Shuffle, Repeat on Amazon! *I only link up books I’d give 5 stars and believe in 100%*

 

What About You?

What fun romance have you read lately?

 

 

*Note: My reviews are full of opinions. I may love a book. May want to marry it like the kid in the commercial for Peanut Butter Crunch (1999 was a great year for cereal and commercials, look it up). I may say a book is the best thing to happen to me since I started shaving my big toe. None of these things mean it is objectively good. I recognize that. Many times throughout my life, I have given a book I swore to be a life-changer to a friend/boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/acrobat. Shaking, quietly weeping, I’d hand it (and my heart) over. Only to find out several weeks later that for them the book was good, maybe even great, but not the life-giving, soul-renewing magic I’d purported. You may not like a book I recommend. Sue me.

**Please don’t sue me, I just write here.