Raven’s Passion by Mary Adair

How popular/known is this book? A brief idea.


Rating: If I could give negative stars I would!/5

The Review:

Alright so, I’ll be the first to admit it, but I suck. I received this book as a Goodreads First Read book, and while that doesn’t mean I’m obligated to review it, it’s strongly suggested that I do.
Let me be clear, I’m awful for this reason: I received this book in 2014, and I’m just now getting around to reviewing it now. If you’re going to stick with me please keep this in mind, as this review is mainly explaining this long gap.

To be honest, when entering to receive this book, I glanced at the summary and it seemed interesting, so I entered. I should have read the summary more carefully. The summary of a book is a window into how the author writes, and the kind of book it will be. I did not give this summary enough consideration.

When I received this book, my first thought was that it was a joke. They say never judge a book by it’s cover, but this cover looks like it was made by a kid with photoshop. The writing on the cover is pixelated, I can see the jagged edges along each word. The photo of “Raven” on the front cover is photoshopped beyond all comprehension, and not well. The hair is airbrushed to look like a solid black mass with no texture. The head looks like it comes from a different body, and even the arm band on the boy looks like it was added in after the fact. Should the author maybe have gotten a model or a stock image closer to what she was looking for instead? Yes. Most certainly yes. Because of this cover, I had a hard time even picking up the book in the first place, to start reading.

When I did finally pick up the book, I discovered that it was printed in what has to be size 16 font, double spaced, and does not even possess a separate page for the dedication (it is instead on the back of the first page (which is the copyrights page). There is no title page or table of contents.

I am not a writer myself, but I am a grammatical expert. I have done editing for books and newspapers in my free time and have written several websites for my work. I believe that proper sentence building is important. When it comes to a published book sent specifically for reviews, it should be considered even more important. The first page of the book is just a warning for the kind of writing that you might expect for the rest of it.
“Hair as black as his namesake streamed behind him, tribute to his speed.”
This is the third sentence of the book. When reading it, it can almost be overlooked, if it weren’t for the feeling of something being not quite right. Perhaps it’s because it’s just not quite right. Maybe: ‘hair as black as his namesake streamed behind him, a tribute to his speed’ OR ‘hair as black as his namesake streamed behind him, attributed to his speed.’ But really, I came up with two better options for this seconds after reading this. Did someone edit this book? The next sentence, only the forth in the book:
“His friend, Farthest Running Antelope, sticks held to his side with arms tense and jaw tight, moved in from the other side.”
This sentence doesn’t even really make sense. It’s not grammatically correct in the slightest. The rest of the books fraught with mistakes such as these. I mean, these two in the first paragraph of the book, which mind you is only 4 sentences long. Two of them were a struggle to read smoothly.

I wanted to read this book. I wanted to like this book. Yet, this book is so off putting. The author seems like a lovely, kind person. She wrote me a sweet note on the first page. I wanted to like her story, but I just couldn’t get over the writing. I feel that the author would benefit greatly from a brutally honest editor. I love well written literature, but I could not love this book. I see all of the authors reviews as positive, and maybe other readers are not so critical as I, but perhaps those who were chose not to review at all.

I never try to be cruel, only honest in my reviews. Often, if you have nothing nice to say, nothing should be said at all, but it has just eaten at me. This author sent me this book expecting I would read it and leave her feedback, and I never did. Take this review with with a grain of salt, as everyone has their own limits and preferences.


Recommend or not? Who and why.

I would never tell someone to read this. Has the author even read this? Don’t read this.

 


-backsong

*In no way to I condone any inappropriate, illegal, weird, awkward, down right strange, or ‘frowned upon’ actions or imaged portrayed in any of the stories I have read and/or reviewed.*

 

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I’m Back!

Hey!

I know I’ve been gone for a while, but I’m seriously going to try to get back into the swing of things. I’ve still been reading, even though I haven’t been doing much reviewing or updating (and by not much I mean none at all), but I’ll be starting back up. I think I’ll be cutting out the beginning part of the reviews that I did for my first two, where I demonstrate how popular/well-known a book is, and instead will just give a brief introduction regarding that.

Anyway, expect to hear from me soon!

-backsong

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Glimpse of Destiny by Samantha Ketteman

How well known this book is as follows:

As of 8/5/14 the number of ratings on Goodreads are as follows:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: 2,681,136 ratings

Divergent: 1,007,138 ratings

Inkheart: 223,932 ratings

Seraphina: 28,485 ratings

The Winter Witch: 3,683 ratings

Glimpse of Destiny: 15 ratings

Clearly this book is an unknown. Then again one must take into account that this book was published fairly recently, June 9th 2014. I happened upon it as a recommendation from Amazon, otherwise it would have remained unknown to myself as well.


 

Rating: 2/5

A 2 out of 5 is not nearly as bad as it sounds, I mean, this book wasn’t awful. It just wasn’t anything special. At all.

The Review:

The Writing: My impression about the writing style of this book is that it is just average. Not average for Americans, but average when compared to other authors. Clearly this author is experienced, having written other books before this one, but the word building is nothing special. I didn’t see any noticeable grammatical errors aside from one, the use of “bitterer” which is just not proper at all. My issue with the writing is that it isn’t memorable. It doesn’t paint a good picture. You’re aware of what everyone looks like, and the places the characters are in, but in the end it’s because the author told you. At the beginning of the book I found myself a little bit confused as to what point of view the story was being told from, but that was remedied swiftly.

The Characters: The main character, Xade, was interesting to say the least. She was funny and kick butt, and a total smart ass. The problem is that I don’t know anything more about her character than that. If you’re looking for a series of flat characters, look no further. They’re all amusing for sure, but none of them have any true depth. What you see is what you get, and what you see you see in the first two paragraphs of meeting the character. It’s as if the author picked a single trait to give to each and every character and then focused solely on that. The smart ass, Mr. Stud, the jokester, the deep dark and mysterious, the dead-pan. If you don’t need something more from your characters, then you won’t have a problem with this book, but I need depth. This is where this story lost a majority of the points.

The Plot: The plot felt very very familiar. A human world filled with factions fighting a war for power. Does this not scream Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series? Yes. Yes it does. But wait, the main character has to be different, right? Or not. A Hunger Like No Other is also centered around a half vampire half fae girl. Weird, right? The biggest problem for me with the plot is that the main heroine, Xade, kept getting stronger! It’s like she has no dang weakness. Oh no, she got over powered, better pull another power out of her butt. Oh no, there’s too many enemies, better pull yet another power out of nowhere. I just don’t think the bitchy heroine should keep getting so much stronger.

Overall: Now don’t get me wrong. I didn’t hate this book. I didn’t come close to hating it. I thought it was funny, honestly. The characters were witty and the interaction between them all was comical. But when I sit down and think about it, as far as a story goes, this one was very flat. It’s a good, quick read. I read it in about two hours, so it’s just not that long really. I thought it was interesting enough to keep me engaged. Did I mention it was funny? But, and this is a big but, it feels too familiar and for being so similar to something else I’ve read, it just isn’t done well enough. I won’t be continuing the series. If anything, I would recommend Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series over this, because at least you get a little bit more background about the world, and the characters don’t feel quite so 2-D. I think this is an easy to enjoy story, but an easy to forget one as well. Take that as you will.


Profanity. Lots of profanity. Unnecessary? Probably. Lots of blood and guts too, but the author isn’t too descriptive about it.

Personal Rating: PG-13


 

-backsong

*In no way to I condone any inappropriate, illegal, weird, awkward, down right strange, or ‘frowned upon’ actions or imaged portrayed in any of the stories I have read and/or reviewed.*

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The Mad Scientist’s Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke

This review will start, as all reviews will, with a comparison for you to understand how known this book is. The easiest way for me to do this is to compare the number of ratings it received on Goodreads. While Goodreads does lose part of the audience in the elderly and children (those with little access to technology for one reason or another), because it draws from the same people base for each book, the comparison can still be considered accurate. (Trust me, I took AP Statistics) This has nothing to do with the average rating or anything like that, just instead how many people did rate it.

Some of these books I expect you’ll know, and others you won’t. Perhaps you will look into them. The italicized books are the ones that will be constants in my reviews, and will have reviews of their own, so those are worth familiarizing yourself with.

As of 6/26/14 the number of ratings on Goodreads are as follows:

The Hunger Games:  2,644,936 ratings

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: 2,587,311 ratings

The Great Gatspy: 1,660,005 ratings

Divergent: 923,678 ratings

The Old Man and the Sea: 292,854 ratings

Fablehaven: 68,734 ratings

Ship Breaker: 22,129 ratings

The Winter Witch: 3,440 ratings

The Mad Scientist’s Daughter: 1,060 ratings

So in my opinion, this is a little known book. Yet do not let that be what you judge it upon. I have found that some of the most frequently read books are the worst, and the best are the ones you have to dig through the masses to find. Each book should be given an equal chance.


 

Rating: 3/5

A 3 out of 5, for me, is just slightly above average. Considering the volume of books I read, I have to be sparing with my ratings, or I’d have over a hundred 5’s, and that just wouldn’t do. This book, as a 3, is a good book. If it were the first in a series, I would be continuing it. I would tell people to read it, but I would never use an adjective stronger than “good.”

The Review:

The Writing: Cassandra Rose Clarke is no novice to writing. When she wrote this I believe that she had only written one full length, independent novel prior, that being The Assassin’s Curse. Having read that novel I can surely say that at its basics, this one is better written. Clarke accells at world building and the classic “show not tell.” For me, a book is not mainly about its writing, but about its content, and the worst thing for an author to do is ruin a perfectly good premiss with poor writing. Here, the writing does its job, it conveys the story. There are some minor grammatical errors that could probably be fixed with a quality editor.

The Characters: The characters, more or less, are human. They establish what humanity is as they develop. This story is driven by the characters, and not by some goal, and the characters do this through change. Often authors may write a character into existence that is far too perfect and good. When this happens there are two options: kill the character, they can’t exist forever and get a happy ending because they are too good; or: have a book that ends to perfectly for anyone to ever imagine a world like this could exist. While both of these can be well done, I don’t necessarily find it satisfying. Clarke instead does a fantastic job of creating the flawed character. A character that is realistic, believable, and relatable. Each and every character in this story is someone that you can understand. Even the most minor or characters feel familiar, and for this alone Clarke has made her book worth reading.

The Plot: With a character driven plot, sometimes it is hard to understand where the story is going. Clarke carefully builds in the back of your mind an idea of where this story should go, but she does so through the movements, actions and thoughts of her characters. This creates a character driven plot with the mentality of a goal/journey driven plot, as there is journey involved. The plot of the book takes place in a futuristic world, and yet this world is believable. It is advanced in some ways, which is expected, and yet it has deteriorated in others, which while odd seeming at first is actually a relief. It reveals the basic idea that the future is not all good and perfect and full of problems that have already been solved.

Overall: The most outstanding factor of this book is its relatability. It is not fiction, it is fantasy, and yet it is a fantasy that one can easily believe, in 50, 100 years, will be fiction. I truly enjoyed this book. I believe the premiss to be slightly misleading:

“Finn looks and acts human, though he has no desire to be. He was programmed to assist his owners, and performs his duties to perfection. A billion-dollar construct, his primary task is now to tutor Cat. As she grows into a beautiful young woman, Finn is her guardian, her constant companion…and more. But when the government grants rights to the ever-increasing robot population, however, Finn struggles to find his place in the world, and in Cat’s heart.”

Because as I read it I didn’t see the struggle as the foremost point of the story. Instead what caught my attention was the development of everything.

This is not a fast story. There is no action or adventure. This book made me want to cry for the injustice of the world. It is a story about people. People you can believe in and believe exist. It is about the unfairness of the world, and about what is under the surface.


I would recommend this book to someone looking for a deep read. Emotional and yet not heartbreaking, a futuristic world that gives the sense of fantasy but keeps things down in reality.  I don’t love everything about it, but like in a good relationship, the good outweighs the bad just enough for you to overlook it.

*Warning: Large amounts of smoking are portrayed in this novel, mild sexual activity, mild violence.

Personal Rating: PG-13


 

-backsong

*In no way to I condone any inappropriate, illegal, weird, awkward, down right strange, or ‘frowned upon’ actions or imaged portrayed in any of the stories I have read and/or reviewed.*

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Goodreads

Hey again!

Just wanted to throw this one out there: I started on GoodReads. It’s an amazing site to keep track of all of the books you’ve read and books others have read. I find some reviews there to be very tasteful, and some not so much. I am still using it and will continue to do so. All reviews posted here have been posted on GoodReads.com as well. I highly recommend it to any reader.

Sincerely,

Erica Mei

 

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Welcome!

Welcome to Book Reads, Reviews & Recommendations!

You can call me backsong and this is a brand new blog! Let me tell you about what is to come. This blog is for readers of all shapes and sizes, any ethnicity and genders as well as whatever religious affiliation. There is no discrimination against any group. My goal is simply to spread my love of reading, find new things to read, and help others do the same.

I personally love to read, I can claim it’s the one thing in life I truly enjoy; that is the ability to escape into a world that isn’t my own.

As I get things started up I’ll be updating this site with all of my personal reads. Expect to see a personal read list, a personal review list, a personal preferences/favorites list and much more. I’ll be taking any recommendations starting right now, even though things aren’t entirely set up here.

Please take a quick trip over to the “About” page and the “Contact” page at the top of this site just for some info and to familiarize yourself with it.

Thanks so much,

backsong

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