The Stand: The Complete and Uncut Edition by Stephen King
“Shall I tell you what sociology teaches us about the human race? I’ll give it to you in a nutshell. Show me a man or a woman alone and I’ll show you a saint. Give me two and they’ll fall in love. Give me three and they’ll invent the charming thing we call “society.” Give me four and they’ll build a pyramid. Give me five and they’ll make one an outcast. Give me six and they’ll reinvent prejudice. Give me seven and in seven years they’ll reinvent warfare. Man may have been made in the image of God, but human society was made in the image of His opposite number, and is always trying to get back home.”
After almost a year of reading and pausing, I finally finished The Stand. Don’t get me wrong, though, the reason why it took me such a long time to finish it is because it’s not my usual read. I’m more on the high fantasy types and obviously, this is sci-fi (post-apocalyptic type). I give this book a 4.8 rating because the story is just amazing! How each of the characters story weaves into each other. I like how the book is divided into different parts. The introduction of the characters, the middle part when they start their journey and the third part where it all comes together. Readers will surely have favorites and bets on who’s going to survive until the end. I surely had some heartaches in this when a couple of them lost in the battle. If you like apocalyptic themed stories and of course Stephen King this one’s for you.
Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
My rating: 4.9 of 5 stars
” He smiles and I know then that not all magic is gone from the world. The kind that burns- that has gone. Men will no longer fly, or cheat death of its due. But a deeper, older, and more subtle enchantment persists. The Kind that both breaks and men’s hearts and has always run through the marrow of the world. The good Kind “
Does the end justify the means? That’s the question I asked myself after reading the series. Honorous Jorg Ancrath has done horrendous things throughout his life but in the end, he saved their world. I don’t want to say anything else lest I spoil you of how The Broken Empire ended, But I surely give this 4.9 stars. The 1 point there is because a part of me that just wish that it had ended a little bit different. Overall I would surely re-read this series.
I answered my own question, by the way, Jorg maybe a lot of things but he’s a fierce protector of what’s his. In my eyes, that is a little redeeming quality among all his flaws. In a way, he has justified some of his means but not all.
” A man may fear his own shadow, but here is a pale shadow that fears the man who cast him. Jorg of Ancrath will not return, though. The magic has been shut off, enchantment has run from the world. Death is, once again, what it was. “
“Curse or blessing, we contend with it. Neither arrives without the other close behind. It’s all part of the Evertide “
I was excited to read this book. As I read the first few pages I thought this would just be like other books with dragons and a female lead in it, but there’s more to it. Aside the from the usual, where the strong female lead slowly uncovers who she really is, and rising the from the challenges that’re thrown at her, the story also deals with religion. How people react when their beliefs are challenged, how they struggle to get up and move on after struck with disaster. Which reflects our world today, we may not have dragons (for now? haha) but the conflict of religion and refugees are elements that we also face in our society.
The lead character Maia has been struggling since her mother passed away, who was upset with Maia before her death which she secretly blames herself for. Just before that happens her mother tell her that a “Dragon handler with her head in the clouds is cursed.” This leads to Maia constantly blaming herself for every unfortunate event that has transpired since then and her trying to prove to herself that she’s not cursed. This makes her relatable in the sense that everyone, at some point in their lives or even until today has experience self-doubt. We constantly try to prove or self-worth but at the same time, in some little space in the back of our head think that we are undeserving.
I recommend this book to those who like stories with Dragons,myths and a lead character. If you’re someone who likes love stories, well aside from lingering looks here and there this book doesn’t really have one, but it’s still the first from this series so who knows.
“Only Fools know what it is to be fearless. Seek only to be afraid and stand tall anyway. That is what it is to be brave “
The last part just blew me away. I love how Jay Kristoff actively included the Gaijins and the mythology in the story. I also love that there is now a sense of camaraderie with the female characters in the book. I think that with all that was going on in the series, I didn’t feel that in the previous installments. The love story is also one of my favourite points in the book, I can’t really call it a love triangle because it depicted two types of emotion; first we had Hiro, who Yukiko instantly liked, she kept dreaming about him and when she was living the Shogun’s palace they immediately fell in love and slept together. I’m not slut-shaming Yukiko, she was following her feelings but that kind of instant love doesn’t really last because they didn’t know each other and later on they realized it was infatuation. Second, we had Kin, who at first liked Yukiko right away but then with all the twist and turns that happened he doubted his feeling for her, and realized they don’t really know each other. With time, they got to know one another and eventually became a couple. This for me was refreshing amidst all the YA instant love going on. The issues in presented also resonate in our world. Pollution, Global warming and segregation and prosecution of those who are different. This book was action packed and kept me turning the pages one after the other.
As a series, I rate The Lotus War with 4 stars and something I’d re-read.
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“We have to be more than this. More than rage. More than revenge. Or else we will drown, Buruu. You. Me. All of us. Just like you said.”
The book starts off after Yukiko has arrived in the Iishi mountains after her father’s funeral and the 5-day flight from Kigen. She’s full of anger and loss but hasn’t shed a tear for him after those 5 long days. She’s avenged her mother and now she wants nothing more than to do the same for her father after they took all she had. But something’s happening to her, the Kenning’s getting stronger, she can her all the creatures in the forest, humans too. It gives her severe headaches and makes her eyes, nose and ears bleed. Realizing that she’s a threat to the welfare of the people in the village, she sets north to learn more about the Kenning, and there she finds out along with new allies
This book shows the other side of a rebellion, it’s costs, effects and that sometimes the people who fight for freedom can get lost along the way. Yukiko’s consume with rage and loss and wants to topple the Guild and the rising Tora daimyo. Burruu warns her that it’s a dangerous path and what it entails.
” THERE IS BLOOD DOWN THIS ROAD, SISTER. BLOOD LIKE A RIVER. AND THOUGH I SWIM IT GLADLY, I DO NOT WISH TO SEE YOU DROWN”.
The same can be said about Kaori, who full of hatred that she’s willing to sacrifice innocent lives just to achieve the goals of the Kage. And speaking of them, the Kage annoyed me in this book. I understand that they distrust for a reason and they get blinded by it. All their talks of being against injustice, they didn’t realize that their views on Kin was just that and in the end it cost them.
” Even if these trinkets work, will it make people forget who you were? What you were?
“Everyone here was someone else once. Why not me?”
One of the poignant sacrifices in this book was Michi’s. She had a chance to get away from it all, to start a new life, to be happy and loved but she chose to sacrifice it all, for the Kage’s cause , the greater good and for the majority.
Overall I give it 4 stars. I liked how there were so many dynamics in the characters and that the author included diversity between relationships (Yoshi and Jorou) . But the description or narration of details was a little wordy for me this time, especially in action-packed scenes, but then that’s just me.
One of the benefits of having your own paycheck is that you have the budget to buy the things you want and need. My not so simple desires are books and art supplies! They are in the boundary between wants and needs, it’s not like I’d physically die if I can’t have them but I would certainly do so, on the inside. So, I go ahead and go for them, because as they say, “It’s the inside that counts”
All the horrors of Hell stand between Snorri Ver Snagason and the rescue of his family, if indeed the dead can be rescued. For Jalan Kendeth, getting back out alive and with Loki’s key is all that matters. Loki’s creation can open any lock, any door, and it may also be the key to Jalan’s fortune back in the living world.
Jalan plans to return to the three w’s that have been the core of his idle and debauched life: wine, women, and wagering. Fate however has other plans, larger plans. The Wheel of Osheim is turning ever faster, and it will crack the world unless it’s stopped. When the end of all things looms, and there’s nowhere to run, even the worst coward must find new answers. Jalan and Snorri face many dangers, from the corpse hordes of the Dead King to the many mirrors of the Lady Blue, but in the end, fast or slow, the Wheel of Osheim always pulls you back. In the end it’s win or die.
Thoughts: Mark Lawrence is one of my favourite authors. I haven’t read the Red Queen’s War series yet, but I’ve read the Broken Empire which is set in the same world. (At some point both protagonists from each book get to meet each other). This series is about the adventures of Prince Jalan Kendeth, who’s a cheater, coward and womaniser who gets unwillingly drag around by Snorri ver Snagason’s quests which requires the opposite of his character.
In downtown Chicago, a young woman named Esther Vaughan disappears from her apartment without a trace. A haunting letter addressed to My Dearest is found among her possessions, leaving her friend and roommate Quinn Collins to wonder where Esther is and whether or not she’s the person Quinn thought she knew.
Meanwhile, in a small Michigan harbor town an hour outside Chicago, a mysterious woman appears in the quiet coffee shop where eighteen-year-old Alex Gallo works as a dishwasher. He is immediately drawn to her charm and beauty, but what starts as an innocent crush quickly spirals into something far more dark and sinister than he ever expected.
As Quinn searches for answers about Esther, and Alex is drawn further under Pearl’s spell, master of suspense Mary Kubica takes readers on a taut and twisted thrill ride that builds to a stunning conclusion and shows that no matter how fast and far we run, the past always catches up with us in the end.
Thoughts: Are they twins? Is this a case of double identity? clones? This really got me curious, (I smell something sinister about it) plus the cover looks good too.
Driven to his death by the demon of Distrust, Baden spent centuries in purgatory. Now he’s back, but at what cost? Bound to the king of the underworld, an even darker force, he’s unable to withstand the touch of another…and he’s quickly devolving into a heartless assassin with an uncontrollable temper. Things only get worse when a mission goes awry and he finds himself saddled with a bride—just not his own.
Famed dog trainer Katarina Joelle is forced to marry a monster to protect her loved ones. When she’s taken hostage by the ruthless, beautiful Baden immediately after the ceremony, she’s plunged into a war between two evils—with a protector more dangerous than the monsters he hunts. They are meant to be enemies, but neither can resist the passion burning between them…and all too soon the biggest threat is to her heart.
But as Baden slips deeper into the abyss, she’ll have to teach him to love…or lose him forever.
Thoughts: I’ve read the other Lords of the Underworld books and each book tells the story of a different Lord. They used They’re finely entertaining for . Setting in contemporary with supernatural elements , so no world building there but plenty of origin story for each Lord. The romance part is different for every book, there’s the kind that builds and the kind that just happens.
San Francisco, 1906: Fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong is determined to break from the poverty in Chinatown, and an education at St. Clare’s School for Girls is her best hope. Although St. Clare’s is off-limits to all but the wealthiest white girls, Mercy gains admittance through a mix of cunning and a little bribery, only to discover that getting in was the easiest part. Not to be undone by a bunch of spoiled heiresses, Mercy stands strong—until disaster strikes.
On April 18, an historic earthquake rocks San Francisco, destroying Mercy’s home and school. With martial law in effect, she is forced to wait with her classmates for their families in a temporary park encampment. Mercy can’t sit by while they wait for the Army to bring help. Fires might rage, and the city may be in shambles, yet Mercy still has the ‘bossy’ cheeks that mark her as someone who gets things done. But what can one teenaged girl do to heal so many suffering in her broken city?
Thoughts: I like people who act rather than complain and not do anything at all, and it sounds like Mercy Wong is that kind of person. She wants to elevate herself from poverty, so she lies to get herself an education. I’m saying that lying is good, but I’m sure she didn’t murder anyone to get there. This sounds like a really good story of bravery and putting destiny in your hands, I haven’t read it yet but she sure seems like a good role model especially for someone like me who lives in a country where it’s a big deal and a plus to be a degree holder when looking for employment.
Maia and her family raise dragons for the political war machine. As she comes of age, she anticipates a dragon of her own to add to the stable of breeding parents. Her peaceful life is shattered when the Summer Dragon—one of the rare and mythical High Dragons—makes an appearance in her quiet valley. Political factions vie for control of the implied message, threatening her aspirations, her aerie, her entire way of life.
The bond between dragons and their riders is deep and life-long, and Maia’s desire for a dragon of her own to train, ride, fly, and love drives her to take a risk that puts her life at stake. She is swept into an adventure that pits her against the deathless Horrors, thralls of the enemy, and a faceless creature drawn from her fear. In her fight to preserve everything she knows and loves, she exposes a conspiracy, unearths an ancient civilization, and challenges her understanding of her world—and of herself.
Thoughts: High Fantasy? Check! Dragons? Check! Strong Female lead? based on the reviews by readers that were given an ARC, it sounds like it so; check!!
“Dying is easy. Anyone can throw themselves onto the pyre and rest a happy martyr. Enduring the suffering that comes with sacrifice is the real test.”
Strong Female Protagonist? Check! Japanese- Steampunk? Check!
The book starts as Yukiko our protagonists, battle two Oni in the Iishi mountains. We then get the back story how she came to be in that situation. Basically, it’s a coming of age story of a girl with secret power called “kenning” (she can telepathically communicate with animals, hear their thoughts and feel their feelings) which is a secret because “yokai-kin”or people like her are hunted down and executed by burning (like the witch trials) It’s a journey of fighting for freedom and right amidst an abusive and polluted society burdened by the concept that honor is serving the emperor regardless of right or wrong. After her experience in the Iishi mountains where she meets rebels and discovers the truth behind her mother’s disappearance, Yukiko returns to the capital with the mission to kill the Shogun. Along the way she experiences, love, betrayal, and self-discovery.
“To be a servant can be a noble thing, but only as noble as the master served.”
The story’s setting is in Shima an island based on Japan, where mystical creatures used to roam until they left or died due to extreme pollution. Shima’s skies and sea are red and rain comes down as acid black as dirt. Most of the people are addicted to the Blood Lotus, a toxic flowering plant cultivated by the people. It’s utilized as tea, medicine, narcotics ,fabrics and fuel at the expense of the land as it poisons the soil making it incapable of sustaining life. So the people keep on burning forests to give space for growing it. The government also manufacture inochi fertilizers made from a secret ingredient (liquefied gaijin/foreigners!)
I would’ve given this 5 stars but somethings were bothering me. There was a misuse of honorifics like “sama”, “chan” and “san”. Also “hai” was misused it became a substitute for the word “yes” in this case. But overall I love the concept of the story. I understand that Shima is not supposed to be Japan but a place similar to it. 5 stars for the concept and I love Buruu and Yukiko’s relationship and 3 stars for the execution.
I recommend this for people who like steampunk, Japanese oriented stories, and strong female lead. But if you’re someone who does not tolerate Cultural appropriation then you may have problems with the book.
Warning! Review contains some spoilers
Jorg has now settled in the role of King of the Renar Highlands after extracting revenge from his uncle in the first book, and like the first the story is told from his perspective in the present (Wedding Day) and in the past (4 years ago, 3 or so months after he took the Highlands). Like the title , it starts with his wedding day, while outside the Prince of Arrow’s thousands march their way into his castle.As in Prince of Thorns, we get to understand the present circumstance by flashback, with Jorg’s plan coming together piece by piece until it reaches its climax near the end.
It must be said that Jorg has grown from the boy that he was four years ago. I’m not going to say that he has grown “good” or “soft” because he’s still ruthless and cunning as ever and he will still sacrifice anything just to prove himself.
” Pride has ever been my weakness and my strength “
What I mean is that he’s become aware of the consequences of his actions and acknowledges people’s lives he has taken for his benefit. He is haunted by the ghosts of his dead.
” I have…regrets “
” We’re all built of those.”
Makin watched the diggers. A spear of daylight struck through into the cave.
” Gelleth I am sorry for…My father would think me weak. But if it were now- I would find another way.”
” There was no other way,” Makin said. ” Even the way you took was impossible”
The vital reason why I gave this book 5 stars is that we get to meet Princess Miana, his 12-year-old bride, who may look like an innocent child, bur can surely stand her ground with Jorg.
” My dowry, “ she said.
” I hoped for something bigger ” I smiled and took it.
” Isn’t that my line? “
I laughed out load at that .
” Somebody poured an evil old woman into a little girl’s body and sent it to me with the world’s smallest dowry “
Right after their wedding, she tells him to attack while they still have a chance; is proactive in battle statistics and created serious damage against the opposing army.
” In two heartbeats the Queen of the Highlands cut her foe in half “
And Katherine! Well, there was rape in the first book and there is again in the second. After having her mother precious vase smashed against her head, she wakes up to find her dress has been ripped apart. She thinks that Jorg, after hitting her head had defiled her. She then keeps having dreams and misses her period. Jorg never outrightly denies this but instead asks who was the man who found her unconscious. From there, everything finally falls into place and she realizes it wasn’t Jorg but Friar Glenn. She then learns that Sageous the Dream Witch has been using her as a pawn, to extract revenge, she reads and learns magic and Dream Walking, which she uses to help end the heathen.
” I don’t believe that creature Sageous capable of something I’m not, I won’t believe it. Fear keeps us weak, fear of what we don’t know and fear of what we do know “
We also get to know Queen Rowen’s side of the family (Jorg’s mother) who are a million times better people that his father’s. I can’t help but wonder if Jor might’ve turned out a better person if his uncle did march his armies to Ancrath and demanded justice for his twin sister and her son to be taken home with him like he used to imagine when he was a little boy.
The Broken Empire series is not for the soft-hearted. Honoruos Jorg Ancrath is not just an antihero but a psychopath. He will make you despise, loathe and pity him from one scene to another. At the end of each book, you’d think ” Was all that bad worth all that good?”
“I mean you can be with the person, but still be yourself. You can be happy to be yourself. It’s very…nice,” her grandmother had said quietly. “When you’re with a person who is content to let you be. It’s the most peaceful thing in the world.
Not usually my cup of tea but definitely worth reading. This is my first time reading a book from the genre erotica. I honestly thought it was something like a submissive female meets dominant male who rules over her. (talk about bias huh?) But no, Akira Mori is a force of her own. She’s a successful businesswoman who gets the job done and Jacob Campbell too, our leading male is a known author whose first series is going to be adapted into a TV series. I like how the two characters are successful in their respective fields and their growth as characters by the end of the book; with Jacob starting to live life for himself not only for others and Akira slowly opening her heart and letting others go through her defensive walls; with both of them accepting each other for who they really are.
I highly suggest this for feminist and equality readers.
The owner of AM Enterprises. A go getter and gets stuff done.Akira gets what she wants but she doesn’t come off as a privilege spoiled brat. She actually deserves the success she has with her business. Because of her very dysfunctional upbringing, she built a wall around herself and pretends to be a shallow, dumb, rich girl to protect herself from getting hurt.
The author of the James Talent series, Jacob has lived his life being responsible for his siblings especially their younger sister. He wants to live his own life but is afraid that he’ll become irresponsible and like their father.
Akira Mori: Meisa Kuroki matome.naver.jp
Jacob Campbell: Tyler Hoechlin Teen Wolf Rocks!