The {Constant} Heart of Betrayal | A.M.’s Overdue Book Review

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The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles #2) by Mary E. Pearson
FINISHED IT: 08/14/15 | PUBLISHER: Henry Holt & Co | PAGES: 470
Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape. Desperate to save her life, Lia’s erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komizar that she has the gift, and the Komizar’s interest in Lia is greater than anyone could have foreseen.

Meanwhile, nothing is straightforward: there’s Rafe, who lied to Lia, but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom Lia always believed to be barbarians. Now that she lives amongst them, however, she realizes that may be far from the truth. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her sense of self, Lia must make powerful choices that will affect her country… and her own destiny.

For being the second book in a trilogy, The Heart of Betrayal sure refused to show signs of second book syndrome. I suppose I should focus my thoughts in a linear fashion, starting with the beginning. The first book left off with a cliffhanger and the second book jumps right in to the resulting consequences – and it was chaotic. Beautifully chaotic.

Lia is immediately thrown into the Vendan way of life, along with Rafe, but he fares much better thanks to his quick stitched fibbing. Kaden on the other hand is trying to act as a savior when truly, he’s a borderline traitor. Then, only moments into the book, we meet his boss man. The Komizar. Holy shamwow, this dude was a brilliant bad guy. I’ll admit he felt oddly familiar and I want to say it’s because his demeanor reminded me of Klaus from The Vampire Diaries – but hey, that’s a good thing. Throughout the whole book I wanted to hate his guts, yet I found myself waiting for scenes involving him. I NEEDED TO KNOW MORE EVEN THOUGH HE’S AWFUL?! ARGHH! So yeah, I wanted more Komizar fun facts every five seconds.

Moving right along, we were introduced to Calantha and Aster in this book. To put it lightly, Calantha was a beezy for 75% of the book and Aster was cute though rather boring. I hate using the word ‘boring’ to describe anything in these books but sometimes the characters really slow down the story for me; how ironic since they usually push it forward. Anyway, aside from the new additions, there were a few familiar faces and I was on the fence about most of them.

Pauline annoyed the heck out of me. I adored her in the first book, but only one word came to my mind whenever she spoke this time around: naive. The best example I can provide is her last chapter. She just doesn’t get it. Oh and Gwenyth was there to drop a bombshell that will obviously come into play in the final book.

Those two were what I call “Lia’s girls” and sadly, they didn’t do a whole lot. Thank goodness, we had “Rafe’s guys” and ugh, can we take a moment to appreciate Jeb? I feel a strong affinity toward him which has everything to do with the way Mary E. Pearson wrote his character because he’s only in a few chapters. Like what. I loved him. Can he be featured more often? Okay, I’ll stop fangirling now because lastly, we have to talk about Lia’s brothers – Regan and Bryn. I have two complaints. The first is that I didn’t learn anything about them and the second is that they can’t possibly be serious near the end. I mean, are you joking? I know you’re grieving but do you realize you still have a sister who could kind of use your help?

As much as I make it sound like I wanted to slap the crap out of the secondary characters [which I did], this book was solid and I enjoyed it. I think the problems I had were minor in comparison to The Kiss of Deception which I reviewed last month. The larger problems I had though they weren’t that problematic – were rooted with the main characters, such as the constant deception [no pun intended]. I understand that it’s an important part of survival in this book, but I think Lia takes it too far sometimes. She’s always pushing and it bothers me. I love reasonable rebellion, but she completely disregards Kaden’s feelings, even after she learns about his past. The romance she had with Rafe earned a few eye rolls from me because I can’t grasp why she throws herself at Rafe but refuses to give Kaden a chance. Also, I was weirdly not surprised by any of the large plot twists but some of the smaller moments left me stunned.

At the end of the day, I enjoyed The Heart of Betrayal much more than its predecessor. It kept my attention for a longer period of time. I felt heavily invested. Slowly but surely I have been immersed within this historical world and I’m sad that it’s coming to a close next summer.

To conclude my review, I wanted to share some of the thoughts I had while reading:

pg 016   “The Komizar is a savage and I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but I’m diggin’ it”
pg 045   “Oh look, the lying begins”
pg 069   “Lia’s a savage too, ohmygosh, I ship them so hard”
pg 072   “I love Kaden I love Kaden I love Kaden”
pg 139   “You mean, THIS IS SPARTA ’cause that’s what is sounded like in my head”
pg 288   “Called it, knew it would happen, not surprised”
pg 360   “Well page 302 makes more sense”
pg 361   “Jeb’s third appearance, huzzah”
pg 455   “Who wants to bet we aren’t going to learn anything about this until the last book”
pg 457   “Surprising? No. Intense? Yes.”

all pgs    “Lol Rafe is so irrelevant in this book”

Rating: ★★★☆ [4.25]

Have you read The Heart of Betrayal? If so, what did you think – awesome or okay? Did you like it better than the first book? Please leave a comment below!


Where Do You Think Young Adult Fiction Is Going?

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In the past few months I’ve heard the repeated notion that young adult fiction is changing – going in a new direction. Then I stopped to ponder what that would entail. According to multiple internet articles, many believe that young adult fiction is taking a turn into the land of realism. I will now take a moment to pray for those similar to me [non-contemporary lovers], who will suffer if this is true. Although, I don’t think there’s a whole lot of fact underneath it all.

It is quite obvious to me that contemporary, or realism, has blossomed over the years. Ever heard of a man named John Green? Do you know of Earl, the Dying Girl, and whoever Me was? Did you see the movie adaptation for a little title called If I Stay? Have you read any of those books with beautiful sunsets featuring outlines of cutesy couples on the cover? Or ones that have the audacity to showcase smoldering models instead?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then you understand what I’m talking about. Contemporary is everywhere and it has been for years. Plot Twist: the same could be said of fantasy, in all areas – which is why I think it’s crazy for people to guesstimate that contemporary alone will be skyrocketing in a few years.  Um, hello, fantasy is just as much of a contender, if not more.

The majority of people I speak to in the book community are anticipating fantasy releases over contemporary ones – but that doesn’t mean that bibliophiles elsewhere aren’t awaiting new contemporary books as opposed to fantasy. It’s a matter of personal taste, but my point is that these two genres are the top competitors in young adult, along with sci-fi. Also, I’m somewhat biased because I don’t read contemporary books often, nor do I want to. I personally don’t enjoy them because I prefer worlds different from mine. I want escapism, not realism.

One article stated that realism would take the lead in sales because readers appreciate books they can relate to i.e. contemporary. Pshh. The author of that article clearly hasn’t met anyone like me. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good book where I can relate to the struggles of the character. But that is sure as hell NOT what I want to be reading the majority of my time. I want books that introduce me to new places, people unlike myself, and involve crazy cool magic systems – I don’t want run of the mill contemporary because truthfully, I’ve been there, done that, read it.

Now I’m not trying to discredit any genres by excluding [sorry paranormal books] or disliking them, but I’m truly curious. Maybe I’m wrong. It’s possible that for some reason contemporary will boom in the near future. It’s also possible that contemporary/fantasy/sci-fi will remain equally bought, read, and loved. Another genre may even rise to the top. I realize that a lot of this depends on what publishers decide to produce and which authors get picked up, but I can only hope for more amazing books, genre preference aside.

I want to know, where do you think young adult fiction is going? What genre do you want to see more of in the future? Do you think one specific genre will take off for a lengthy period of time?


Book Love Interests vs The Real Deal

book blog, discussion, love

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Today I’d like to discuss the fine line between fictitious content and everyday standards, deriving from variations of one statement:

“My expectations for real life relationships and boys/girls are too high thanks to books.”

Woah. Hold the phone. Are fictional characters really to blame for our high expectations? Or is there another culprit? 

I personlly think it’s a mix of both. We as readers are conditioning ourselves to believe that these types of fictional characters are out there, somewhere. But I’ve been “out there” a lot in the past year, mainly for school, and in that amount of time I’ve discovered that bookish love interests are far from what the real world has to offer. Sure, most authors spout these swoon-worthy characters, loosely based off of actual people – but that’s just it. These [heart eye emoji] characters aren’t usually written as a mirror image of what authors have known. More than likely, these love interests are what they wish could have been, with a few flaws thrown in to make them more relatable. 

In all reality, we’re setting ourselves up. Our expectations soar sky high because we no longer have the ability to differentiate between realistic love lives and unrealistic outcomes. I’ll admit that I’m guilty of doing this, on multiple occassions. I’ve waited around for the mysterious new guy. I’ve waited for the jerk [but not a true jerk] who made me feel invisible. I’ve waited for the jock who needed time to grow up. I’ve waited for the knight in shining armor. I’ve waited for them all and I got a whole lot of nothing while I sat on my butt, waiting. That’s what happened when I let my expectations take over. Then I met someone – and he was a game changer.

I went off to college, leaving my hopeless bookish expectations behind. Fast forward a month or so to the party where I met my badass knight in [jeans & a tee shirt] shining armor. For once, a guy had looked at me instead of my friends. I felt good enough, special even. Now, fast forward to the next quarter of school when we had class together. It was awkward, but bearable, although – he stopped looking at me. I figured I had just become one of the hundreds of pretty faces on campus. The last fast forward moment began with this same guy asking me via social media for a scantron sheet [while inserting unnecessary blushing emojis] and ended with me asking for his number a few hours later.

It didn’t work out. He was another dissappointment [with a girlfriend]. I was left alone, yet again, to ponder how guys in the real world could be so shitty compared to ficticious characters. I mean, seriously, are my standards and expectations THAT unattainable?

The simple answer is no.

I put myself out there this past year and looked like a fool, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Meeting these ridiculous guys has made me realize that my expectations are where they damn well should be. I will wait for my prince, whom I pray will be as funny as Rhy [ADSOM]. I will wait for the guy who unexpectedley falls for me, cough, cough Kaden [TKoD]. I will rise above and beyond to find someone who cares as deeply for others as Felix does [Wolf by Wolf]. At this point in my life, I don’t care that books give me crazy expectations that people frown upon, because they also give me hope.

This topic is a double-edged sword. It has good and bad attributes. If you aren’t finding the right significant other, maybe it isn’t a ‘you’ problem like everyone makes it seem. Maybe it’s a societal problem. People don’t even know how to date, let alone speak to each other anymore. I know some of the guys and gals of our generation could learn something from literary characters – even though it’s kind of sad that we have to resort to acceptable behavior demonstrated by non-existent people. I refuse to believe that my “book boyfriends” are all I’ll ever have because I’m not “realistic” enough for everyone else.

I deserve better. And I will wait for it.

Do you think that readers are setting their expectations too high or is there a disconnect in the real world? What do you think about what I’ve said above – agree or disagree? I’d love to hear what you think, so leave a comment sharing your thoughts below! Oh and who are some of your bookish boyfriends?! Please, no spoilers!

End Note: I’d like to thank the male who I briefly speak about in this post for making me feel attractive. I went full circle because of you. Started with low self esteem, realized I’m beautiful, and discovered that more than anything – I’m fucking brilliant. Even if you no longer agree. C’est la vie.


Divining With The Diviners | A.M.’s Overdue Book Review

book blog, book review, books

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I didn’t believe the hype. I didn’t trust the most trustworthy reviewers. Then, about three weeks ago, I finished the behemoth of a book that is The Diviners. It lived up to the hype and it proved that I should trust the most trustworthy reviewers because I clearly know nothing need to be more open minded. This is less of a review and more of a gush fest, which means I must apologize in advance. Unless you love this book as much as I do. In that case, I regret nothing.

Can you say spectacular? Marvelous? Totally fab? The main idea behind The Diviners is utterly captivating. I don’t know about you but I thoroughly enjoy the 1920s. Even if you aren’t particularly fond of the flapper/prohibition/Great Gatsby inspired time period, I highly recommend this book. The very beginning is it’s own small storyline which inevitably ties in with larger plot points. I felt that every individual had a purpose, though I will admit – there was a hefty character count and I could be forgetting people. Nearing the middle, I found that the plot lulled every once in awhile, mainly because of extra scenes and details. At the end of it all, I only had two problems with this book which were 1 | The anticlimactic climax and 2| Not finding out why Diviners were special, or what they were for that matter. Surprisingly, there wasn’t much of a plot twist but I guess it makes sense. There was no need for one because we the readers already knew that shit was about to go down in the last hundred pages.

Um, yeah, I loved them. Most bibliophiles I know enjoy books for their overall plot, individual character arcs, and storytelling qualities. Since I consider myself one of those notorious bibliophiles, I was shocked to realize that I adored this story mostly because of the characters. They completed the story.

At first I thought Evie was going to be a pain in the ass, but after several dozen chapters, I concluded that she would work out just fine. Then I met Sam and boy, oh boy, was he a good time or what?! I thought he was an absolute riot and I have undoubtedly fallen for him. Uncle Will on the other hand took more time for me to warm up to. He did not have the natural charisma that most of the other characters encompassed, yet he still managed to win my heart. Deep down, I understand his type; the Uncle that is severely concerned for the well being and safety of his family – though it be far too difficult to convey through a regular display of emotions. Theta was another favorite. I was completely in sync with her sass. Henry, Memphis, and Mabel were probably my least favorite of the bunch, not to say I didn’t appreciate their part in the story. Last but not least, we have Jerome. I liked him better in the first three quarters of the novel. We learn about his background near the end of the book, but I could not sympathize or empathize with his mini life sharing moments. I know, I’m a terrible person. Sorry ’bout it.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again for future readers. This book is NOT scary. Of course, some of the situations would be terrifying in real life but I view this for what it is: a work of fiction. At most, I would describe this as being creepy or eerie. If you get spooked easily, I will emphasize that yes, there is a serial killer in this book and there are some unpleasant descriptions. But I swear, it isn’t as gruesome [in terms of detail] or gory as other books I’ve read.

If someone were to ask me how excited I am for the sequel, Lair of Dreams, I’d tell them I’m floating on cloud nine. The second book will be released on August 25th of this year.

Rating: ★★★★★

Have you read The Diviners? If so, what did you think of it – good or bad? Did anyone else think Theta was reminiscent of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famous golf player, Jordan Baker – or was that just me? Please leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!


Is Everyone An Aspiring Writer?

aspiring writer, books, discussion, writing

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Have you noticed that “aspiring author” or “aspiring writer” is written in every Twitter bio, Facebook description, and Blogger about me section nowadays? In all actuality, I hear “aspiring writer” more often than “aspiring author” in daily conversation, which has thrown me through a loop recently. An aspiring author is a person who directs one’s ambitions toward becoming a writer of a book, article, or report. I don’t have a problem with that phrase. The beef I have is with the combination of these two words: aspiring + writer. If you think of the general definition, it would be a person who directs one’s ambitions toward writing. But wait. Who wants to be an aspiring writer when you could – oh I don’t know – be a writer?

The word aspiring only works when one describes themselves as an aspiring author, and I’m talking about publishing books not publishing blog posts. For example, I can easily publish a blog post and people know I’m the author. It’s a different story when I talk about writing a fantastical novel in the hopes of becoming traditionally published and known as an author by millions. Yep. Those are the two best examples I can give in order to explain authorial range.

I hate it when people call themselves aspiring writers. You are either writing or you’re not. Put your pen, pencil, or keyboard to work with your thoughts in tow and just freaking write – because then, you can call yourself a legitimate writer and leave that bogus “aspiring” mumbo jumbo behind.

As much as I urge everyone to adhere to the previously stated advice, although seemingly minimal, I have my own confession to make. I don’t refer to myself as any of the above. I don’t put myself in the category of aspiring authors – and as hypocritical as it sounds – the only category I fit in the majority of the time is aspiring writers. Truthfully, as many of my English majoring friends would know, writing is hard. Brainstorming unique ideas is hard. Outlining an entire storyline is hard.

For whatever reason, the most difficult part of being a writer for me personally, is getting the damn words written. I am a perfectionist when it comes to the dialogue, characters, and plot points that float around in my head. I’ve heard on numerous occasions that writers need to get the words said before editing. People like me write when small tidbits of inspiration strike, then slowly we crawl back into our shells where no writing occurs, only sheer thought. I know that it’s a poor way of writing and it’s highly ineffective. I aspire to write these grandiose tales but they never get written which is why I am far from being an aspiring author. It may be a wild dream of mine to become an established author, but at the rate I’m going, I won’t make it through the first draft.

I think most of the inspiration for this post came from my own inner bossy pants, yelling at myself to read and write more. I won’t call myself an aspiring author because I haven’t put in nearly enough effort to be classified under such a respectable title; but I also refuse to call myself an aspiring writer because that’s more of a cop out than anything. I know for a fact that there are people who can relate to my situation, throwing pity parties for ourselves when we should be planning, plotting, and producing stories. If you want to be a writer, be a writer – don’t accept anything less or half assed.

Have you ever put any thought into what it truly means to be an aspiring author or writer? Do you consider yourself a writer? What sets writers apart from aspiring writers? Do you have any advice that has worked to motivate yourself throughout the gruesome writing process? Please leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below! I would love to discuss this further!


The {Disappointing} Kiss of Deception | A.M.’s Overdue Book Review

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Considering I’ve decided to start anew here at Hungover Fiction Lover, I wanted to explain some of my plans for future reviews. I want to begin writing mini book reviews for a monthly roundup segment instead of writing preposterously long posts twenty four seven. I’m not completely positive that I’ll stick to this plan but it’s looking that way. Unless a book truly speaks to me, I’m going to limit my full length reviews to one or two per month. Don’t worry, the rest will be discussed in the previously mentioned mini book reviews. I’ve had trouble in the past deciding whether or not I should review a book just because I read it and I concluded that full length reviews are not needed for every single book I read. I also don’t want to spend my time writing a review for a book that I didn’t even enjoy all that much. There you have it! I will now cease my jibber jabbering so that everyone can continue on to the review.

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The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles #1) by Mary E. Pearson

The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can’t abide. Like having to marry someone she’s never met to secure a political alliance. Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love.

Oh how I wish I would have loved this book as much as everyone else and their dog. I
 went from being over the moon excited to surprisingly disappointed in a matter of 486 pages. The premise in summation is more a less: a runaway princess, a curious prince, and an assassin bound by duty – all of whom are living in a world with magic realism and warring kingdoms. Yeah, sounds like the setup for one badass book. Then I actually read the story in it’s entirety and realized it was far less badass than what I was led to believe. Let me break it down by halves.

From what I’ve gathered, most people I know enjoyed the first half more than the second half; this I do not understand because legitimately nothing happens in the first half that hasn’t already been mentioned on the dust jacket. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration but you get my point. Mary E. Pearson’s writing is beautiful, and to be honest, it was the only reason I didn’t hate the beginning. Aside from the lovely writing, I felt that there were too many tedious details or irrelevant chapters. Right around here is where I’m expecting the opposing view to chime in with, “What about the tension?!” Between an eclectic cast of secondary characters, a prince, an assassin, and one royal runaway – uh yeah – of course there was tension. Unfortunately, the small amounts of tension dispersed throughout every other scene weren’t enough to make me adore the first half of the book.

Another problem that I’ve noticed many people bring up in relation to the first half is how the forming relationship felt forced. While I agree that everything happened quickly, I don’t think that the romance was forced. The problem I had was how little dialogue we were given between Lia and her chosen love interest. There were many instances of awkward eye contact, accidental touching of shoulders, and persistent thoughts of one another. Also, there’s a chapter that solidifies what I’m currently attempting to convey, where Lia herself tells the readers about how her and the love interest talked for hours and hours. Yet here I am, reading maybe two tenths of what they talked about, leaving the rest between them, two fictional characters.

Now, to get to my favorite part: the second half of the book. Ugh. The feels were real in this section you guys. It turned into a completely different story. Everything became much more dynamic and action packed, as opposed to the static first half. Words can barely describe my feelings toward the end. There were two scenes that freaking ripped my heart to shreds. I’m glad no one was home because I proceeded to bawl my eyes out.

The characters worked better for me after the plot twist, which wasn’t much of a plot twist, and I found myself rather attached to them. One other huge aspect that turned around in this half of the book was the political intrigue. I’m not usually one to favor ‘kingdom clashing’ but for the time being, I’m rather interested in what will happen to each and every kingdom. Naturally, I will have to wait until book two [which was officially released yesterday] to get some answers.

Since I don’t want to give any huge plot points away, I will leave y’all with some detached last thoughts: I’m definitely Team Assassin. The nomads were a wonderful addition. Gwenyth is sketchy as hell. The world building needs work. I want to meet Lia’s other brothers, Bryn and Regan. I have a soft spot for the donkeys. I need Lia to stop saying her full name every time she thinks about her old life. The written passages before every other chapter or so seemed unnecessary.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ [3.75]

Have you read this book? If so, what did you think about it? Agree or disagree, please feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!