Time is currency, and the rich are winning: Everless by Sara Holland

everlessTitle: Everless (Everless #1)

Author: Sara Holland

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Pages: 362

Format: eBook

Other: Amazon, GoodReads

Grade:   C(3/5)

Description (from GoodReads):

In the kingdom of Sempera, time is currency—extracted from blood, bound to iron, and consumed to add time to one’s own lifespan. The rich aristocracy, like the Gerlings, tax the poor to the hilt, extending their own lives by centuries.

No one resents the Gerlings more than Jules Ember. A decade ago, she and her father were servants at Everless, the Gerlings’ palatial estate, until a fateful accident forced them to flee in the dead of night. When Jules discovers that her father is dying, she knows that she must return to Everless to earn more time for him before she loses him forever.

But going back to Everless brings more danger—and temptation—than Jules could have ever imagined. Soon she’s caught in a tangle of violent secrets and finds her heart torn between two people she thought she’d never see again. Her decisions have the power to change her fate—and the fate of time itself.

Quick Review

  • A strong yet vulnerable female protagonist
  • A terrifying world where blood is money
  • Cheesy villain who needs some serious work

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Detailed Review

Jules lives in a world where time is money, literally. In Sempera, your years are taken from your blood and boiled down into a coin you can use for payment. For the rich, this is wonderful. They can live for decade after decade. But the poor, it’s a curse that leaves you with a short life expectancy. So when Jules learns her father has little time left, she returns to the estate that she and her father once ran from in a desperate hope to save his life. But little does she know that going back to Everless is dangerous, especially for her.

The entire concept of Jules’ world is both terrifying and intriguing. The idea of paying off your debts with a coin boiled from blood? Naturally, with this form of currency comes a lot of corruption. And readers can see that when they see the differences between the life Jules and her father lead, and the lives of the wealthy. Quite honestly, I would have liked to see more development here because the idea alone creates the potential for some seriously messed up stuff.

Instead of focusing on the politics of this world, Holland focuses on the magic used to create this currency. This makes sense–it has to be a central part of the plot. It’s also different from what I’ve seen before. I also enjoyed that it stemmed from SEmpera’s mythology. Those elements added a depth to Everless that I rather enjoyed.

But I suppose, more than anything, I enjoyed Jules. I liked that she was strong and angry and brave, but she was also incredibly vulnerable. I liked that she is someone who is obviously going to come into her own strength throughout the course of the series. I liked that she was flawed and naive because it means that she has so much room to grow.

Despite this, I found some of the decisions she made a little unbelievable. I’m not going to go into detail because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but she does jump into dangerous situations that didn’t really make sense. She makes really stupid decisions that felt a little…off.

In addition, the villain felt like a comic book character. You know, cheesy, a crappy motive, evil for the sake of being evil. I like a more complex villain, and the one in Everless didn’t feel complex, despite that character’s history. Hopefully, there’s more development there in the future.

In the end, this was the flaw that kept me from loving Everless. But even though Everless isn’t a new favorite, it is the first young adult fantasy novel I’ve enjoyed in a while, and honestly, that was refreshing enough.

Hiatus—Update

Hey guys!

I just wanted to post a quick update. I’m going on a hiatus for a week or two. I mentioned that I started a new job. Anyway, I’m in training, and it’s a lot to learn (legal stuff). I have a few more scheduled posts, but they’re rather sporadic, but I’m taking a break from blogging because I’m pretty busy right now.

I’ll be back soon!

Ten Books Books By My Favorite Authors That I Still Haven’t Read

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith

By the time this posts, I’ll probably have already started it, let’s just be honest.  I just really need Robin and Cormoran to happen. But regardless, I don’t remember much about the last book. I’m watching the show (CB Strike is on Cinemax in the US–apparently you can watch all the episodes if you subscribe through Amazon, so yeah. If I don’t finish the show in 7 days, I’m paying $10 to watch it).

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

Yeah, I actually tried this one and got bored…

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

I love the Shadow and Bone trilogy and the Six of Crows duology, but I haven’t picked this one up yet. Honestly, I just don’t like short stories all that much.

Wonder Woman Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

I might pick up The Language of Thorns someday, but this isn’t one I care to read. While I liked the new Wonder Woman movie and everything, I’m not really into superheroes.

It by Stephen King

Ugh…Yeah, I know. Stephen King is one of my favorite authors, and no, I haven’t read everything by him, obviously. However, this is one I’m not sure if I’ll get to. It’s just so friggin’ long.

Misery by Stephen King

I’m actually planning on reading this soon, so hopefully it won’t be on a list like this again.

 

The Old Man and the Sea by  Ernest Hemingway

I love his books and short stories: “Hills Like White Elephants”, A Farewell to Arms, A Moveable Feast. I’ve read so many of his works, and yet I haven’t read this one, and it’s his most famous. I’m a little apprehensive because I think it’s one of those books that you read in school when there are clearly better alternatives. I honestly don’t know if I’ll ever get to it.

Going Bovine by Libba Bray

I’ve read The Gemma Doyle series and all of the books (so far) in The Diviners series. I’ve loved Libba Bray since middle school, and yet I haven’t picked this one up. I’m not sure if it’s one that interests me, to be honest.

Richard III by William Shakespeare

Is it stereotypical to have Shakespeare up here? Anyway, I’d actually consider myself pretty well-read with his plays. I went to a couple of Shakespeare camps as a kid (yep, this was a thing) and took a Shakespeare class in college, on top of the usual exposure you get with him in theater and literature classes. But nope, I haven’t read this one. I’m actually not a huge fan of his histories.

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

I want to read it, and I’ve started it before, but it’s just so bizarre that I need to be in the mood for it, honestly.

Off Topic: Let’s Get Nostalgic, Movies & Shows

Yeah, yeah…Another completely off topic and totally not book related post, but I recently took a trip down memory lane. I was a true 90’s kid. I mean I “graduated” from the fifth grade in 2000 so yeah, my single digits were spent in the 90’s. And my awkward tween/teen years were spent in the early 2000’s. If you’re close to my age, you probably remember these moments too. Let me know you’re favorites in the comments below :).

When Lizzie McGuire stepped WAY out of comfort zone by performing at a huge concert.

Sure, there’s some seriously bad auto-tune here, but the moment was just so epic. Middle school me totally wanted a moment like this….But my middle school class didn’t go on trips to Europe before starting high school, so obviously that didn’t happen.

When this is what I thought the 21st century would look like.

All That was seriously the best show ever.

When Marnie and the gang sneak on the bus and go to Halloweentown.

Halloween never really felt like Halloween until I watched this movie. And yeah, I still watch it every October.

When Serena (Usagi) revealed her identity to Darien (Mamoru, my one true love).

I still love this scene. Sure, I like watching the original version more, but this cheesy dub will always have a special place in my heart. Thanks Cartoon Network.

When a boy who found out he was a wizard became an international sensation.

When my dad bought me a copy of the first book back in the 90’s, he had no idea that he was about to start a lifelong obsession. And yeah, I totally flipped over this trailer. And every subsequent book and trailer.

When this show gave me some serious nightmares.

Why did I watch it?

When they finally figured out that Hallie and Annie switched places.

I dreamed of finding out I had a twin, but unfortunately, that never happened.

When Disney made me fear elevators.

90’s Disney Channel Original Movies were the best.

When Mia made the best decision and lived out my biggest fantasies.

What is it about this movie that I love? The fact that Mia discovers she’s a princess? The fact that the popular hottie isn’t the romantic hero? The fact that Mia comes into herself? Honestly, probably everything. I watch this movie a few times a year, and I love this scene.

Music Monday: “How Far I’ll Go” Or Rather, I’m a Kid at Heart

Hosted by Drew @ The Tattooed Book Geek

Yeah, I know. Most people know this song. It’s super popular. It’s from a Disney movie…but whatever, I love it.

I’m a huge Disney girl. I went to Disney World when I was seven, worked at Disney World during and after college, and watch Disney movies pretty regularly, despite not having children. For the longest time, Beauty and the Beast was my favorite Disney movie. I loved Belle because she could read, and she wasn’t set on finding love.

But then Moana came along and I found a new favorite Disney movie and princess. I love that Moana doesn’t have a romantic interest. I love that she goes on an adventure completely on her own and fights her own battles. She’s independent, strong, and the princess I wish I had as a kid. Basically, Moana is awesome.

Besides that, “How Far I’ll Go” is a beautiful song. It’s inspiring. It’s about chasing your dreams, taking chances, and discovering who you are. I connect so well to it. But Auli’i also just has a beautiful voice, and I’m a little jealous.

 

  • Song: “How Far I’ll Go”
  • Performed by: Auli’i Cravalho
  • Album: Moana Soundtrack (2016)
I’ve been staring at the edge of the water
‘Long as I can remember, never really knowing why
I wish I could be the perfect daughter
But I come back to the water, no matter how hard I try
Every turn I take, every trail I track
Every path I make, every road leads back
To the place I know, where I can not go, where I long to be
See the line where the sky meets the sea? It calls me
And no one knows, how far it goes
If the wind in my sail on the sea stays behind me
One day I’ll know, if I go there’s just no telling how far I’ll go
I know everybody on this island, seems so happy on this island
Everything is by design
I know everybody on this island has a role on this island
So maybe I can roll with mine
I can lead with pride, I can make us strong
I’ll be satisfied if I play along
But the voice inside sings a different song
What is wrong with me?
See the light as it shines on the sea? It’s blinding
But no one knows, how deep it goes
And it seems like it’s calling out to me, so come find me
And let me know, what’s beyond that line, will I cross that line?
The line where the sky meets the sea? It calls me
And no one knows, how far it goes
If the wind in my sail on the sea stays behind me
One day I’ll know, how far I’ll go

 

Forget Me Not by A.M. Taylor: A Simple Whodunit That Was Seriously Lacking

Forget Me NotTitle: Forget Me Not

Author: A,M. Taylor

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Pages: N/A

Format: eBook

Other: Amazon, GoodReads

Grade:   D(2/5)

Description (from GoodReads):

WHAT HAPPENED TO NORA?

When Maddie met Nora, their friendship felt as easy as breathing. And when Nora disappeared, all the air went with her. Without her best friend, Maddie’s life became impossible.

Ten years later, Nora is still missing and Maddie is still searching. People have been questioned. People have even been accused. But no one has managed to find Nora.

Then, in the same spot where Nora went missing, the murdered body of Nora’s little sister is found. Convinced this is no coincidence, Maddie resolves to uncover the killer and find Nora – dead or alive.

But will she be able to cope, when we learn what really happened to Nora…?

Quick Review

  • Figured out the murderer at the beginning of the book
  • Unrealistic plot that only exists so Maddie can figure it out
  • Annoying and selfish main character

Detailed Review

Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

When Maddie was seventeen, her best friend, Nora, went missing. Ten years later, there hasn’t been an arrest and Nora hasn’t been found. But when Nora’s little sister’s body is found, Maddie finds that she’s determined more than ever to find out what happened to both Nora and her little sister.

Forget Me Not wasn’t a poorly written novel. The descriptions weren’t cheesy, and the dialogue didn’t usually make me cringe. I also enjoyed the flashbacks–I thought it added a nice, personal touch and allowed us to get to know Maddie better.

But ultimately, the statement that this wasn’t a “poorly written novel” is my positive for the book because so many other things were off.

But for me, the biggest problem I had with this book is that I figured out the mystery after the first few chapters. I’m pretty sure it was chapter one, but it took me awhile to read this book because I didn’t really enjoy it. So anyway, yeah. It’s blatantly obvious. I guess I get what the author was trying to do: he/she was trying to make sure the murderer was obvious from the beginning by including a scene where they interact with someone in a very creepy manner. In reality, this desperately needed to be toned down.  And Taylor did try to make other people look guilty. It could have worked if it hadn’t been for this initial scene. There were a few other major hints, but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who might want to read it.

The plot was also incredibly unrealistic. This is a basic mystery. I figured it out early on, and yet I was expected to believe that the special agents brought in to investigate the case couldn’t figure it out. For example, Maddie has the brilliant idea (that obviously no one else would have thought of) to go into both Nora and Noelle’s Facebooks. Like the investigators wouldn’t have gotten a warrant (and yes, someone being presumed murdered and definitely murdered is enough to get a warrant to read that person’s messages). And if they would have gone through those messages, then they would have figured out who was responsible for their death’s. But you know, Maddie’s a brilliant armchair detective, so she has to figure it out.

There were also these incredibly painful parts where Maddie logs into Reddit to read theories about Nora’s disappearance. Apparently, some kid from her hometown blogs about it. Right, okay. It was just awkward.

And then there’s Maddie herself. Maddie is selfish and abrasive. She jumps quickly into police interrogation mode, but it just felt odd because who does that? More importantly, other characters tiptoe around poor Maddie’s grief, including the brother of the two deceased girls. Yeah, sorry? He’s the one who lost his sisters. By the end of the novel, I was tired of Maddie.

So in the end, I didn’t like Forget Me Not. It’s too obvious, there are some major issues with plot, and the main character is annoying. 

Tempting New Releases, #13

Are any of these on your list? Have you already read them? Let me know in the comments below :).

LETHAL WHITE BY ROBERT GALBRAITH

Description (Amazon):

Lethal White is the fourth book in the Cormoran Strike series from the international bestselling author Robert Galbraith.
“I seen a kid killed…He strangled it, up by the horse.”

When Billy, a troubled young man, comes to private eye Cormoran Strike’s office to ask for his help investigating a crime he thinks he witnessed as a child, Strike is left deeply unsettled. While Billy is obviously mentally distressed, and cannot remember many concrete details, there is something sincere about him and his story. But before Strike can question him further, Billy bolts from his office in a panic.

Trying to get to the bottom of Billy’s story, Strike and Robin Ellacott—once his assistant, now a partner in the agency—set off on a twisting trail that leads them through the backstreets of London, into a secretive inner sanctum within Parliament, and to a beautiful but sinister manor house deep in the countryside.

And during this labyrinthine investigation, Strike’s own life is far from straightforward: his newfound fame as a private eye means he can no longer operate behind the scenes as he once did. Plus, his relationship with his former assistant is more fraught than it ever has been—Robin is now invaluable to Strike in the business, but their personal relationship is much, much trickier than that.

The most epic Robert Galbraith novel yet, Lethal White is both a gripping mystery and a page-turning next installment in the ongoing story of Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott.

Why I want to read it:  I am SO excited for this book. It’s been so long, and I’m dying to know what’s going on between Robin and Cormoran, and I can’t wait to see what their next mystery is about. I already have the book because J.K.Rowling…er…Robert Galbraith…is one of the few authors I’ll buy new books from (full price hurts my soul a bit), but I don’t remember much from the last book, so I’m watching CB Strike to catch up. It’s FINALLY available in the US courtesy of Cinemax/Amazon.

THE SILENCE OF THE GIRLS BY PAT BARKER

Description (Amazon):

The ancient city of Troy has withstood a decade under siege of the powerful Greek army, who continue to wage bloody war over a stolen woman–Helen. In the Greek camp, another woman watches and waits for the war’s outcome: Briseis. She was queen of one of Troy’s neighboring kingdoms, until Achilles, Greece’s greatest warrior, sacked her city and murdered her husband and brothers. Briseis becomes Achilles’s concubine, a prize of battle, and must adjust quickly in order to survive a radically different life, as one of the many conquered women who serve the Greek army.
When Agamemnon, the brutal political leader of the Greek forces, demands Briseis for himself, she finds herself caught between the two most powerful of the Greeks. Achilles refuses to fight in protest, and the Greeks begin to lose ground to their Trojan opponents. Keenly observant and cooly unflinching about the daily horrors of war, Briseis finds herself in an unprecedented position to observe the two men driving the Greek forces in what will become their final confrontation, deciding the fate, not only of Briseis’s people, but also of the ancient world at large.
Briseis is just one among thousands of women living behind the scenes in this war–the slaves and prostitutes, the nurses, the women who lay out the dead–all of them erased by history. With breathtaking historical detail and luminous prose, Pat Barker brings the teeming world of the Greek camp to vivid life. She offers nuanced, complex portraits of characters and stories familiar from mythology, which, seen from Briseis’s perspective, are rife with newfound revelations. Barker’s latest builds on her decades-long study of war and its impact on individual lives–and it is nothing short of magnificent.

Why I want to read it:  I love anything based on history, mythology, and classic literature, so I’m definitely interested to read this one, especially since the author seems so knowledgeable about it.

UNBROKEN BY MARIEKE NIJKAMP

Description (Amazon):

This anthology explores disability in fictional tales told from the viewpoint of disabled characters, written by disabled creators. With stories in various genres about first loves, friendship, war, travel, and more, Unbroken will offer today’s teen readers a glimpse into the lives of disabled people in the past, present, and future.

The contributing authors are awardwinners, bestsellers, and newcomers including Kody Keplinger, Kristine Wyllys, Francisco X. Stork, William Alexander, Corinne Duyvis, Marieke Nijkamp, Dhonielle Clayton, Heidi Heilig, Katherine Locke, Karuna Riazi, Kayla Whaley, Keah Brown, and Fox Benwell. Each author identifies as disabled along a physical, mental, or neurodiverse axis―and their characters reflect this diversity.

Why I want to read it:  I very rarely read books about characters with disabilities, and when I do, they usually aren’t the main character. I don’t usually enjoy short stories, but hey, I’d be willing to give it a shot.

A Happy Announcement

In a few of my posts, I’ve mentioned that I’m currently unemployed and that I’ve been job searching for awhile. My husband and I recently made a big move for his job, and I desperately wanted to get out of education. Anyway, I’ve been anxious and a little depressed. So I’m SO EXCITED to announce this….

I ACCEPTED A JOB OFFER TODAY.

For a job I REALLY wanted. I start on Monday!!!!!

I wanted to let you all know because you have been so kind in your comments, and I really appreciate the support. 🙂

Let’s Discuss: Women in Literature

For the longest time, women were portrayed as nothing more than damsels in distress. We were portrayed as weak little things incapable of fighting our own battles, and we needed men to save us. Luckily, this has started to change. We’re no longer the ones being rescued; instead, we’re the ones leading the battles. 

But that doesn’t mean that there still aren’t problematic attitudes towards women in literature. There are, especially in romance and young adult literature. There’s this obsession in literature with having a “pure” and chaste protagonist. It isn’t that I mind a virginal main character. That’s a choice, and I respect it, but I have a problem with how it’s addressed.

The “pure” MC isn’t a great catch because she’s a virgin. It doesn’t make her better, prettier, or smarter than other women. And yet, there seems to be this trend that this is what makes her the better choice. Sometimes, the male protagonist chases her because he wants to prove he can get her in bed. Sometimes, he’s intrigued by her innocence.  But usually in the end, he respects her more because she isn’t “like other girls”. It suggests that her chastity is what makes her girlfriend material and that the sexual experience  of other women is what makes them unworthy.

More often than not, the pure MC has a problem with these other women because they’re mean to her and judge her for her lack of experience.  Essentially, they hate each other because the only thing they care about is getting the guy.  They’re superficial, desperate,  bullies who are portrayed as nothing more than “sluts”. So ultimately, there’s this suggestion that a woman’s worth stems from her sexuality.

I hate this.  I hate that there’s still this ideal in literature that the virgin is better because she’s a virgin and that other women are simply sluts. Even more troubling is that it often feels like the author’s fantasy wherein she’s the catch and all of the other women are anything but.  It perpetuates girl-on-girl hate.

Luckily, I think that as readers, we don’t see this as acceptable anymore. At least,  I  like to think that most people hate seeing this in literature. I like to think that it’s becoming outdated. And from what I’ve seen in the book blogging community, it definitely feels like it is.

But my skin still boils anytime I see the pure MC as the only “good” woman in the book (with the exception of an incredibly underdeveloped BFF), where  the antagonist/”villainous” woman as someone who isn’t chaste thus creating comparison between these women based on sexual history.  For lack of better words, it really pisses me off.

Ultimately, I want books with complex female characters. I want books that celebrate differences in women. I want books that show friendship and support. I don’t want books that slut shame other characters. I don’t want books that suggest a woman’s value is rooted in her sexual history. Because not only is that a load of crap, it’s a mindset that desperately needs to be changed because it’s so psychologically damaging.

Anyway, what are your thoughts on this? Are you still seeing this in books being published today? Let me know in the comments below!

Random Ramblings, #9

Bookish Ramblings

1. I’m still reading my NetGalley bookI like it, don’t get me wrong. I just haven’t read in a few days due to anxiety. 

2. I kind of went a little hold crazy at the library. I mean, whatever, there are a lot of new books I want to read, and I’m not letting myself buy any more books until I have a job. 

Writing Ramblings

1. I finally got a new journal.  I’ve mentioned it before, but I have trouble writing when I’m on the computer. I get distracted with this blog, with google, with social media—pretty much with everything. So hopefully this helps me get into the zone.

2. I also get distracted by my husband. Okay, mostly it’s the television. But I find that I have a hard time writing when my husband is at home, yet I feel the most creative at night…which is obviously when he’s home. I probably just need to separate myself for like an hour or so, but I always feel guilty, which is absolutely ridiculous. I need to get over it. 

Personal Ramblings

1. I had three interviews this week. One was with an employment agency and two were with jobs I’ve applied to recently. I feel like I’m getting better at this interview thing, but I can’t help but look back and think about all the dumb things I said. It’s a little obsessive, really. I’m actually starting to realize that my anxiety is a little debilitating, and I think I need to see someone about it because I desperately need to learn to manage it better. But honestly, the thought terrifies me (especially the idea of being prescribed medicine for it–I’m so weird about medicine. I pretty much only take it if I’m dying). 

2. Driving in San Diego isn’t actually that scary. This is a little silly, but I was actually terrified of driving in a big city, mostly because of the highway. This mostly stems from my experiences of driving in Tulsa. Tulsa’s highways are AWFUL, mostly because the ramps to get on are REALLY short (like they pretty much end right when you get on the highway), so there’s not much time to merge safely. You pretty much have to either merge immediately or stop, and neither of those are ideal situations. They were just poorly designed. Anyway, the highways here are SO MUCH BETTER. You actually have time and space to merge. IS THIS WHAT DRIVING SHOULD BE LIKE?!