Quick Review – Swinging Sanity

Swinging Sanity by N. F. Mirza

44172434When the author was struggling with loss, illness, oppression and a perpetual cycle of anxiety attacks and phases of depression, she spent day and night stabbing keys.

And out poured poetry.

When the abyss spat her out she strung together those mutilated verses and compiled this book for the world to read what it feels like when you are swinging between sanity and insanity.

 

REVIEW: Pain and darkness beautifully expressed | ★

From the title to the art to the words themselves, the book is an excellent package. The poetry captures the darkness of pain and madness beautifully. My favorites are: “Clash of Extremes”, “Insomniac”, and “A Million Dead Stars”.

Review originally posted on Amazon.

My poetry book…

Today I received digital proofs of my poetry book that is currently in the process of being published. It is titled “What Have You Done to the Angel?” based on my poem of the same name. It contains a few poems and some artwork by “Rezeile”. I don’t know yet when it will be released officially, but I do have the cover art.

IMG_7021

There are two versions: one big colored book with black pages, and one normal-sized black-and-white book with normal pages. This is because they can’t do a normal-sized colored book, for some reason, so I decided to have two versions.

In the beginning I was kind of excited, but now I feel a bit nervous because most of these poems are personal, especially during the time that I wrote them. Poetry is one way I deal with things, sometimes personal things.

One of the poems I wrote was for someone that I admired. He didn’t feel the same way but I accepted that and admired him anyway. I felt he was mature and witty and he made people laugh. He was a friend. But later on, I became closer to him due to circumstances, and I got to know the real him. I discovered he was kind of an asshole. He was in fact immature, takes advantage of people, and is pretentious. And this is in addition to what he did about me. I was already involved with someone else at that time, who was a friend of his and who respected him, but he basically tried to mess it up behind his friend’s back, telling me I should be with him instead, among other ugly things. My relationship with that guy was already “messed up” to begin with, so whatever he did didn’t have any impact at all LOL. I basically tolerated his behavior because he’s been my friend for years, but I really lost respect for him. In any case, I was unsure whether to include the poem or not because it was from the point of view of someone who admired him. In the end, I decided to include it. It was part of my past as much as the other poems were.

Other funny things happened about the exact same poem. I had posted it online and also shared it with other poets in the office through a poetry mailing list. My ex-boyfriend read it online and thought it was about him and I couldn’t seem to convince him that it wasn’t. And that’s not all. Some of the other poets in the office thought it was about my boss. It was annoying and amusing at the same time. But in hindsight I figured there’s probably some detail in the poem that might have applied to both my ex and my boss.

A lot of other memories came back to me when I read my old poems again, mostly negative memories because they were depressing poems. I’m definitely grateful that my circumstances are different now. Also, maybe I should write happier poems too…

I’m not doing anything official for this poetry book yet. Once I have details, I will definitely do more for it.

 

Quick Review – Reciprocity

Reciprocity by Sean M. Locke

41139191All Kaeri Hawen wants is a peaceful life in the Lower Terrace. No more collecting debts. No more breaking kneecaps.

But then the Boss’s loose cannon of a son massacres a dozen rival gangsters with a single pull of the trigger. Kaeri’s quiet retirement is off the menu—for now.

Kaeri knows she’ll get no rest if this looming gang war erupts into the streets. If she wants out of her life of crime, she’ll have to stop Kasper and his devilish weapon first.

Maria Cantabile is a clever young noblewoman with a penchant for tinkering and a devastating right cross. She’s descended into the Lower Terrace to retrieve two precious possessions: her delinquent little sister, and the stolen prototype of her reciprocating repeater carbine.

Kaeri knows just where to find both—the girl and the gun sit in Kasper’s greedy, bloodied hands.

The deadly noblewoman and the gold-hearted gangster will have to work together to stop a city-wide bloodbath. They’ll have to break their own rules, and betray their own families. They’ll have to risk falling in love. Do they have what it takes to save the Lower Terrace, and save each other?

This dieselpunk crime fantasy is perfect for readers who enjoy the hard boiled noir fiction of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, but want to see more LGBT romance and airships. If that sounds like your shot of whiskey, check out RECIPROCITY!

 

REVIEW: An excellent sci-fi noir mobster story with a lesbian lead | ★★★★★

I am not that much into mafia stories and I was not able to relate to everything here, but boy, oh, boy, is this a solid piece! The writing is slick and clever, the world-building is captivating, and the characters are cool and complex. I would definitely love to follow Kaeri and Maria in another adventure, perhaps in a sequel? ;)

Review originally posted on Amazon.

The Guild

A pledge or two
Broken, like it’s nothing
Over and over
Again, like it’s nothing
Promised deals, unfulfilled
All to serve The Guild

Half-studied verses
Read, like it’s something
Half-hearted sketches
Drawn, like it’s something
Love’s excitement killed
All to serve The Guild

Crafting ceased
Only time for one thing
Plea dismissed
Only tend to one thing
Must strengthen the build
All to serve The Guild

(Not So) Quick Review – Throne of Glass

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

40220795Read the book that started the phenomenon. Sarah J. Maas’s New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series has taken the world by storm.

Meet Celaena Sardothien.
Beautiful. Deadly. Destined for greatness.

In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake. She got caught.

Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament – fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted?

 

REVIEW: Enjoyable if you don’t take it seriously | ★★★☆☆

I feel like the main character Celaena Sardothian being given the label “the greatest assassin” is a huge insult to the term “assassin” and I really resent the book for that. She has the behavior, attitude, and mentality of a modern-day teenager because she is a teenager (although not supposedly in modern-day), and actually, there’s nothing wrong with that. But she’s as immature as teenagers tend to be, and to label her an assassin just to make her look cool is bringing down the coolness factor of the word “assassin”. The way she reacts to and views certain things are quite normal for a teenager but somewhat laughable for an assassin. There was a part where I actually laughed out loud because she was upset that she was not invited to the ball. This “greatest assassin” is upset that she was not invited to the ball. LOL! I wish there was this angle of “she was a trained assassin but is just now learning how to be a teenager” coming-of-age theme just to make her immaturity a bit more believable. We could also maybe get flashbacks of her past kills from time to time. But we get neither of these and instead we have an immature assassin at best.

The romance is a bit bland because instead of it being the “forbidden romance” between assassin and prince, it felt more like two teenagers being attracted to each other where I’m more inclined to let them enjoy their youth (so stop being overdramatic and just go for it!), than to feel any kind of weight or stakes for this kind of romance. I guess this is supposed to be a love triangle… and I’m actually rooting for the other guy — who, by the way, seems a bit young and inexperienced for a “captain” (yet another term whose coolness factor is brought down).

The tournament itself is also problematic. We have elimination tests that are set so far apart, and they’re not even that elaborate. And we are informed of some of them in hindsight and kind of dismissively. And in between these tests the participants are required to train — but why would established assassins, murderers, thieves, etc. need to be given time to train? It would have been much more believable if this whole thing was like a young assassins academy or something and they are on their way to graduating by performing these series of elimination tests. Also, the action is really lacking, which is weird because introducing a main character as an assassin usually implies a lot of action.

There is also a mystery plot where people in the castle are being killed horribly. To avoid spoilers, let me just say it ended up to be underwhelming for me.

Now that I’ve given my negative points, I’m gonna start with the positives.

The cover art looks good. That’s all!

Haha, kidding. From the get go I realized that this book is on the less mature side of Young Adult, so I decided not to take it so seriously and try to enjoy what I can.

Removing the assassin aspect to it, Celaena is not exactly unlikeable. Although I never felt that she was cool, I feel that she is a relatable character (for teenagers, not assassins) who can stand on her own. I love that she enjoys reading and is resourceful. More often than not, her connection to Chaol, Dorian, and Nehemia are enjoyable to read and I find these friendships believable. Dorian is not particularly interesting, but Chaol and Nehemia are. I never really believed him as a Captain, but Chaol feels like that honorable dependable buddy for both Celaena and Dorian. Nehemia is probably the most intriguing character in this story and that’s all I’m gonna say about her (to avoid spoilers).

The pacing of the story was also good. There were only few moments that felt dragging or too fast. The writing was very accessible and although not perfect, it was quite decent. And it played a huge part on why I enjoyed the book in spite of my frustrations with it. Another thing that kept me glued to the story is the intrigue behind the magical lore.

In the end, despite having major problems with it, I still managed to enjoy this book, with the hope that the next ones are better.

Review originally posted on Amazon.

Quick Review – Theonite: Planet Adyn

Theonite: Planet Adyn (Book 1 in the Theonite Series) by M. L. Wang

42946515Joan is at her happiest when she uses her powers – stirring air currents, creating fire, and levitating metal objects – but she learned at a young age that no one in her small-minded suburban town was prepared to accept her abilities. Since that painful revelation, she has hidden her powers, isolating herself from others, even keeping her own parents at a distance.
However, all that changes when a boy named Daniel Thundyil transfers to her school and she begins to suspect that he is concealing powers of his own. Burning with curiosity and desperate to end her loneliness, Joan makes it her mission to get to the bottom of this boy’s secrets. What she doesn’t realize is that Daniel isn’t just another Earthling with uncanny abilities; he is an inter-dimensional traveler from a world of super-powered beings. And the moment she started prying into his life, she put herself in the sights of the godlike evil that follows him from his dimension.
Now, the most powerful girl on Earth faces a choice: will she retreat back to the safety of her life in hiding or brave the storm for a chance at truth and friendship?
For Daniel Thundyil and his crime-fighter father, Robin, adventures in exotic places are nothing new. The two of them have chased criminals all over their own planet of super-powered beings. But this is the first time a mission has brought them to a parallel dimension, and something about it doesn’t sit right with Daniel. Questions gather like storm clouds: Who is this villain they are hunting? Why won’t Robin reveal his name? As the sky darkens, Daniel and Joan start to wonder who is really being hunted.

 

REVIEW: An endearing coming-of-age superpower story | ★★★★☆

The portrayal of Joan as a child with superpowers is quite endearing because we get to see how she grows as a child with superpowers, how she harnesses them, and how she realizes that she must hide them. Ultimately, she meets a boy Daniel who seemingly has abilities too and we get to see how she deals with that. I enjoyed the book because I really like the main character a lot. We do get a glimpse of action, but I’m left wanting for more. I do wish for a lot more showing than telling in terms of Daniel and his father Robin’s background but it seems well thought out and intriguing. This is definitely a promising series.

Review originally posted on Amazon.