The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

The Bone Season (The Bone Season, #1)The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

YAY for buddy reads!

Wow! This was a treat. I might not have stayed with it if not for the buddy read. Complex world building was a lot to take in, and I had a hard time getting into the crime syndicate part of it. I was really hooked by the time we got to Sheol I.

Paige was a great MC, kind of a breath of fresh air. No mooning over boys or worrying about her appearance. She’s a clever, talented survivor who thrives on danger. She’s got skillz, and everybody wants her for her rare clairvoyant ability.

I loved her BFF, Nick. Not so much love for her mime-lord boss Jax. His character is interesting, written like a bit of a sociopath (remember, most sociopaths aren’t killers, they just can’t feel or fathom empathy).

I thought her friendships in Sheol I were too quick & deep. Who knows, maybe being in dire straits together can do that.

The Rephaim were my favorite part of the story. Nashira is a b*tch & a half. Warden. Hmm, he was a intriguing character, all those secrets. I like a rule breaker. There was ONE part where he said, “Always..” and I permanently pictured him as Severus Snape because of it!!! So, that killed any romantic inclinations I might’ve been having for the bad guy.

The ending felt rushed. I’m rooting for Warden to fail at his final task. Picking up the next book right away!

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Readers, Authors, and Reviews

Time and again I see storms brewing between readers & authors about reviews. There are naughty lists on both sides. Authors have STGBR (stop the Goodreads bullies) and reviewers have BBA (badly behaving authors) shelves. I’d like to put in my two cents worth.

I’ve always considered myself a high volume reader, usually over 100 books yearly. Some of my GR (Goodreads) friends read 300 or more each year! I don’t have statistics to back this up, but I believe that highly active GR members make up a relatively small percentage of that book community. Highly active, to me, means that you consistently give feedback along with a star rating. “Oh my gosh, I loved it!!!” and “This book was crap” aren’t really feedback.

Part of the reason we have close knit groups on GR is that we respect one another’s opinions. Reviews range from one star to five stars on the same book and we all stay pals. Of course, we fangirl (this term includes boys) over books we love together. We complain and console each other over mutual disappointments. I can tell you that we NEVER all have the same book feels. Statements like, “Sorry you didn’t enjoy this one!” or “Dang it! I wanted you to love so-and-so too” are commonly exchanged. Friends who know each other really well joke-threaten, “Hope you love this book. Our friendship is riding on it” or “You are shunned!” We don’t actually jump on the bandwagon & influence the masses. UNLESS.

We unite & fervently defend one another when a fellow reviewer, or reviewers in general, are publicly criticized by another reviewer or an author. Go ahead and hate a review, it’s your right. It’s poor etiquette in the book community to be disrespectful or try to gain sympathy on a public forum. It’s equally poor etiquette for a reviewer to attack an author personally, critique should be limited to the book. Only when the author makes statements to or about reviewers do they open THEMSELVES up to responses on a personal level. Do even a small amount of internet research and you’ll see that this usually alienates potential readers.

When I’m considering a book I know little about, I read positive & negative reviews. I do the SAME thing on Amazon when making a purchase. I read about 100 reviews AND customer Q & A before purchasing a fancier juicer. I read Consumer Reports to help me decide on stuff like cameras, appliances, & cars. Both kinds of feedback help me make an informed decision.

Those ARCs are getting readers to do almost FREE market research for an author! Most of our profiles give info about our age, gender, race, and reading preferences. Is there a certain demographic that likes or dislikes your book? Are there negative reviews that point out inaccurate racial or cultural depictions? The best negative reviews are ones that teach me something. A few fellow reviewers had issues about how lightly slavery was handled in a book I gave 5 stars to. I didn’t change my rating, but I learned something important. A Vietnamese friend goes nuts over cultural and time period inaccuracies that I don’t notice. Experts in a certain field are going to catch mistakes in fiction. How can an author not want to know what these readers have to say? It’s valuable.

There’s been extreme rudeness on both the author and reviewer sides that’s garnered much public attention. I believe that most people behave themselves. I don’t give any credibility to 1 star reviews with no written review or nasty, inappropriate comments. Authors, please realize that most readers disregard unhelpful reviews. 1 star ratings don’t hold as much power as you might think, neither do 5 stars. Readers are after info. Readers are smart & hard to trick.

Authors, especially newly published ones, if you’re hurt or offended by a harsh review, there are a number of things you can do privately. Read happy reviews. Talk to a friend or fellow author. Write in your private journal. Eat cake. Publicly, be a rock. Remain professional. It’ll pay off and you’ll be respected for conducting yourself so well during a bad time.

Blood Crown by Ali Cross

Blood CrownBlood Crown by Ali Cross
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Space ships. Genetic engineering. Humankind fighting for survival. Good, right?

A rebel prince and a hidden princess with hybrid blood running through their veins. Really good stuff.

I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly this book grabbed me. There was an abundance of sappy, lovey dovey stuff in the last chapters that could’ve been pared way down. Overall, an enjoyable story. 3.5 stars rounded up for GR.

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Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L Armentrout

Don't Look BackDon’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 Stars, rounded up for GR. This was a well written psychological thriller, not just the fluffy stuff I’ve come to expect from JLA.

2 girls wonder into the woods. Only one reappears, 4 days later, with amnesia. Samantha is discovering that she was a mean girl with horrible friends. Her handsome boyfriend maybe isn’t so great. Cassie is still missing. Samantha learns more about herself and wonders if she was the one who harmed Cassie. Was she that awful? If she hurt Cassie, then who hurt her & left her for dead?

Enjoyable read, kept me turning pages well into the wee hours.

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