The Empress (The Diabolic #2) by S.J. Kincaid

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I fangirled like crazy over the first book and was THRILLED to receive an ARC of The Empress! Then I read it. It’s so difficult when you want to love a book and you don’t. I decided not to rate the book because it’s a good book and I think the reason for my disappointment lies with me and not the author’s story.

There is a LOT of politics and focus on religious extremists in this, which makes my mind turn off. It’s not my favorite set up or theme in books AT ALL. So I was not the right audience from the very start. I did not realize this or I would not have requested it from Netgalley.

However, I did and here is my review. (No spoilers.)

This is going to be a tough review to write. I’m sure it’s just me. I didn’t like this, and here is why:

– Nothing much happens until 30% into the book
– Almost the entire book dealt with politics and religious extremists/conservatives
– It was all about court betrayal and intrigue
– There was so much talking and telling and not enough doing and showing
– Yes, you get a LOT more world-building in this book, but it felt tedious (I’m sorry!)
– Ends in a cliffhanger
– I predicted most of what happened
– Drama llama made me angry

I’m sure some things that happened will not be as they appear in the final book. But, I am moving on and won’t be continuing. :((

I am sorry. Thank you for the digital copy to read and review. I am just being honest. I’m sure it’s mainly me and the book will be popular and most others will like it.

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“The Agony of Bun O’Keefe” by Heather Smith

OMG guys, I read a book that didn’t have monsters, vampires, or any supernatural themes. Just regular old fiction! 🙂 I would never have heard of this little gem if it weren’t for reading my friend, Schizanthus’s review. I just had to request it from Netgalley!

This short book is just so unique and addictive. Bun O’Keefe is a 14 year old (this is NOT a young adult book) with a 300-pound hoarder mother who tells her one day, “Get out! Just get out!” And so she does.

Luckily, she finds a very kind group of rag-tag friends who teach her about life, love, emotions, and how to function *more* as a social being.

I’m guessing Bun has Asperger’s, but it doesn’t really say. She memorizes details from medical encyclopedias and remembers lines from movies and little obscure tidbits. She is extremely literal and has no inkling of “social cues,” but wow, this girl is so awesome and there are many touching scenes and lines.

This also takes place in the 80s, which is cool!

She doesn’t remember her birthday but when her mother lights a candle on August 16th for Elvis’s birthday, she knows “that’s the day to say, Happy Birthday, Bun O’Keefe.”

She is tiny and malnourished and never menstruated. She lived off sausage in a can, saltines and plastic-wrapped cheese. She thought of Cherry Coke as being a fruit.

“Santa stopped coming when my dad left. I figured it was ’cause my mother turned me invisible.”

No one knew she was alive, she didn’t go to school, and was basically an agoraphobic teen until she finds her tribe.

Cher/Chris – the awesome transvestite whose dad wanted him to be a doctor
Chef – the guy who works as a dishwasher but can cook like a boss
Busker Boy – an Innu Indian with a tender heart who takes Bun under his wing
Pop Girl – the girl whose Catholic-extremist mom wanted her to join a convent so she ran away

This was just great. I highly recommend. It’s a book you can read in a day and will leave you feeling good, even though it’s sad. It’s the kind of quirky, “regular” fiction I LOVE.

There are some abuse triggers, but no major details and it doesn’t go on and on. I lurve Bun so much!

Thank you Netgalley and publisher for providing a digital copy to read and review.

Review on Saga Vols 1-4 by Brian K. Vaughan

I finally jumped on the Saga bandwagon after nearly all my friends have read it. I love graphic novels and especially ones with lots of weird stuff. This has sci-fi action, aliens, space opera, along with relationship drama, family arguments, grandma and grandpa showing up in the middle in the two main characters running for their lives with their newborn daughter. There is even an author who writes subversive bodice rippers! Ha! A recipe for success if I ever saw one.

My problem is, I really, REALLY liked the first two volumes and then the next two were just kinda MEH to me. I am not a fan of relationship drama and we get a LOT of that in volume four.

We also have the bad-ass, but one-dimensional ex-fiance (Gwendolyn). There’s not much to her except wanting revenge. A bit of a yawn factor there for me.

One of my favorite characters is the Lying Cat. Lying Cat senses when people are lying and it’s hilarious and often comes up in inopportune times. But, Lying Cat also gives the story heart when he offers comfort to Slave Girl (aka Sophie) at one point. The Will is a mercenary tracker who is his best friend. I like The Will.

The sci-fi aspects are off the charts cool. It’s the angst and drama that feels a bit like filler to me. The story of star-crossed lovers who fell in love even though their peoples have warred and despise each other is one we have all seen at one point or another. I just feel like I need a bit more MEAT by this point. I want more action and less, “Is Marko going to cheat on Alana?”

The robot people are kinda weird and funny too. They have TV heads and the king has a huge flat-screen as a head, which for some reason, I found hilarious.

I’m not giving up though. So far, I think if I averaged my rating for the first four volumes, it’d be sitting at about 3.75 stars?

My reviews for the volumes are below.

Saga Vol. 1 at Goodreads. ★★★★★

Saga Vol. 2 at Goodreads. ★★★★

Saga Vol 3 at Goodreads. ★★★

Saga Vol. 4 at Goodreads. ★★★