Dorothy Must Die, The Series – A Review

Dorothy Must Die Series

Author: Danielle Paige

 

New Year’s Resolution: 2019

This year I’m taking on the challenge to read five book series I haven’t read yet but are on my TBR list. The first one to be completed is the Dorothy Must Die series. It consists of four main novels and several novellas. I stuck to the main story with the four books. I’m thinking about reading the novellas. I’m not certain I want to, but if I feel froggy enough so I’ll be reading them much later.

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Summary:

Amy Gumm Lands in Oz after a tornado wipes out her trailer park. Suddenly, she’s given the mission to assassinate Dorothy. Oz has become a twisted place since Dorothy has come to Oz. Can Amy fix it? With the help of the Order of the Wicked and other unexpected allies, she hopes so.

 

 

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Dorothy Must Die

Review: here

I wasn’t sure what I was expecting with this series. Twisted tales are my typical jam. An acquaintance of mine told me, “Dorothy’s the bad guy and she dresses like a hooker.”. LOL. So, Dorothy being the big bad of the story and Oz being turned upside down really garnered my attention.

 

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The Wicked Will Rise

Review: here

So, the plan to assassinate Dorothy failed and I wanted to see what would happen next. It’s in this book that there’s more of Oz revealed. It’s quite a spacious land. Wingless monkeys, a rainbow cathedral, and an island of lost things. The journey to eliminate Dorothy just got a little longer.

 

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Harper Collins

Yellow Brick War

Review: here

After the cliffhanger of The Wicked Will Rise, I couldn’t not read the next installment. Emotions were running sky-high. I needed more Amy and Nox. The chemistry between is so nice. But they’re also super stuck! Nothing worse and more enticing than forbidden love. That and Dorothy was really taking this war to new heights.

 

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The End of Oz

Review: here

I found this addition and conclusion to the series to show another side of the land of Oz in an even more interesting and horrifying light quite intriguing. The story could’ve ended with the last book, The Yellow Brick War, in a way, but this allowed for something fresh to happen.

 

My favorite book of the series is the third one because it was a major game changer to the series. That being said, my least favorite book was the second one. It fell short of what I was expecting and drawn out a bit too.

Overall, I’m glad I read this series. It’s not one that got my emotions in a wrenching knot or struck me with the desperate need to finish them because they’re so good. They were enjoyable and fun and, in some moments, a riot. They certainly weren’t a waste of time. Not at all. They just didn’t hit that peak for me. I do recommend the series if you love a good twist on tales and the complicated romance scene. The action was pretty great too! I was plenty surprised! Just a really decent story. I guess the reason it doesn’t hit the favorite shelf is that it just didn’t suck me in. It happens.

More to come soon…

  -K.

 

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Sundown Rundown – March 2019

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Hello, Booklovers,

The end of March is nigh.

The sun is setting and might I say (and probably for the millionth time) that I’m so GLAD that the sun is out longer. I’ve missed it.

March was such a great month for reading. I got a lot done. See for yourself, and maybe even catch up on any reviews you might’ve missed.

 

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Sever

Author: Lauren DeStefano

Family reunions are all they’re cracked up to be and they may leave you dazed, confused, and feeling slightly betrayed, especially if you went through hell to get them back.

 

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Undertow

Author: Michael Buckley

A warrior race comes out of the ocean, but what chased them to the Coney Island shores is more dangerous. Getting yourself tangled up in with the prince of said warrior race does not help anybody, especially yourself, but why not? The passive aggressive, moody-broody your type? This one is for you.

 

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The Drawing of Three

Author: Stephen King

Roland, the gunslinger, continues his journey toward the Tower, but now he finds two more companions to tag along. This rag-tag adventure grows darker by the page, but you just can’t look away.

 

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Red Queen

Author: Victoria Aveyard

Born with deadly abilities that’ll get Mare Barrow killed, but very well keep her alive too. With nobody to trust, she’ll have to be careful with every step because it could be her last.

 

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Goodreads

Glass Sword

Author: Victoria Aveyard

Surviving execution, Mare Barrow is on the run in the midst of a revolution that’ll threaten to take everything she has from her, including herself.

 

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Goodreads

Five Feet Apart

Author: Rachael Lippincott, Mikki Daughtry, Tobias Iaconis

Stella has always had a set path to getting a brand new set of lungs. Will could care less. When he’s eighteen he’s free. When they meet it all goes out the window and that six feet is hard to keep. So she’ll take one foot back and make it five.

 

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Dorothy Must Die

Author: Danielle Paige

Amy Gumm didn’t ask to come to OZ. Didn’t ask to be the unconventional hero and possible villain. Yet, here she is. Now she’s tasked with destroying the one responsible for so much pain, torture, and destruction to Oz. She’s tasked with killing Dorothy. Yes, that Dorothy. Nope, not a lie. That Dorothy.

 

Feeling pretty accomplished. Got some good ones in! Keep on the lookout for the Midnight Tease. It’ll be coming your way soon.

 

More to come soon…

  -K.

 

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Backpacking Across Worlds (The Ragwitch – A Book Review)

The Ragwitch
Author: Garth Nix
Published: 1991

On Goodreads

Ragwitch - The Scarlet Reader

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

Paul is easygoing while his sister Julia is adventurous. While playing along the beach one grey afternoon, they happen across a strange spot on the shore and Julia finds a peculiar doll. Suddenly, the siblings are thrust into a world they never imagined.

Paul never imagined being a savior, but that’s the role everyone puts him into. All he wants to do is save Julia. She suffers, possessed by the Ragwitch, an evil that brings ruin. She is not alone though. With allies of her own, she fights for her being as Paul fights the Ragwitch’s army to save her and the Kingdom of Yendre.

Garth Nix, author of the Abhorsen trilogy and Shade’s Children, brings forth The Ragwitch. Nix jumps right into the story without any dawdling. Once moment these kiddos are playing around and the next they’re stepping into a whole different world. I really liked how he just jumps right in. It grabbed my interest instantly.

The story follows both siblings, detailing their journey through both of their eyes. I found this to be unique. Both POVs were incredible, expanding such amazing storytelling from a battle for the Kingdom of Yendre to the battle for one’s soul. The detail was fantastical and reminded of so many other great journeys’ like J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and C.S Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia that leave you breathless and wishing the journey didn’t end. It’s that element that makes you sad when a story ends.

Scarlet Readers - Endings

While this was adventurous and enchanting with magic, it was also silly and cute. This was a splendid balance and Nix did it well. What has surprised me the most is that each person and magical being that Paul happened across during this great pilgrimage has helped him out without a question or expectation. Not once was he treated as an outsider, though it was very obvious that he wasn’t from around Yendre. Lives were given and nobody batted an eye, like he was the savior they’ve been waiting for even though no prophecy was mentioned whatsoever.

Paul and Julia were just mere kids, but that meant nothing with the great responsibilities that they shouldered. These siblings are complete opposites but so close. There were many moments I just wanted to snatch them up and shield them. Paul broke free of his shy shell, though his fainting spells didn’t dim a bit and he fell asleep for most of the journey, he became a warrior and leader alongside Qwerty, A Friend of Beasts, Tanboule, the wise, and even the great elementals. Julia had the hardest battle between the two of them. Rather than hide in a dark crevice of herself and let the Ragwitch win, she rose up to battle for control and to free herself of the evil hag. She risked losing everything. Both of them had their weaknesses though. Paul has a habit of fainting A LOT while Julia wanted to just give up at times. This made me like them even more because this only showed how human they were and humans have limits they have to battle everyday.

Nix’s imagination blew me away. He can build a world that can compete with Tolkien in my opinion. He’s always had strong originality that is pure and untouched. It’s utterly striking how he can create a world like Yendre off the coast of Australia in a far away land. It was beautiful and vast. I can’t talk about it enough.

Overall

Fantasy beyond my wildest imaginings. Creatures unheard of and phenomenal storytelling. Garth Nix has always impressed me. I loved the Abhorsen trilogy and had no doubt that I’d love this one as well. He follows no traditional path and creates such amazing worlds.

Quotables:

“The stars don’t lie—but they can be mischievous. There’s nothing they like more than a joke, particularly if it’s a long one, played on someone who deserves it.” (Tanboule to Paul, p. 79)

“The stars see everything, and look deep into everyone below them.” (Tanboule, p. 306)

“Questions, questions, questions. No one ever just comes for a spell. They always want conversation as well.” (Patchwork King, p. 360)

More to come soon…

-K.

P.S. Song today? Punching in a Dream by The Naked and Famous.

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The Jungle Will Consume You (Heart of Darkness – A Book Review)

Heart of Darkness
Author: Joseph Conrad
Published: 1899

On Goodreads

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My Rating: Full boltFull bolt

 

There is a taint of death, a flavor of morality in lies-which is exactly what I hate and detest in the world—what I want to forget.

Up the Congo River, follow Marlow on his journey. He meets Mr. Kurtz, an ivory trader who has a mysterious, godlike presence over the region and its inhabitants. During his journey, Marlow is obsessed with the man. Both intrigued and disgusted by him, Marlow is shown the darkness and despair that dwells within man in this jungle.


This review is going to be shorter than my usual ones and that because I didn’t really enjoy this one. There was nothing wrong with it, we just didn’t mesh. Sometimes the bookworm and the book just don’t work. This is one of those cases. I did finish it. I just can’t say that I enjoyed it.


The theme of the darkness that dwells inside humanity was really strong in this one. In the depth of the wild which draws out the beast even in men—a side that we often don’t like to think about or imagine that we have. You never see it until you’ve been pushed to limits you never knew existed. I mean, this is more than just button pushing. This is mind-breaking.

The style of the short story was poetic and dark and bridged on horror. Horror that lives in people that nobody knows about, not even that very person sometimes.  It was chilling and deep and read much like a journal. Though the story was short, it took me some time to get through it, like crawling through molasses, which I don’t like. It was detailed not so much visually, but philosophically, I felt. In some places, I was left in awe by Conrad’s words and in others I was falling asleep. It was a real push and pull.

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The characters, Marlow and Kurtz, came across maniacal in their own way. Marlow was obsessive to a very scary level that made goosebumps crawl all over me. Right up until the end he was unable to even think about anything else unless it had to do with him. Kurtz came across as a very unstable individual. Narcissism became very dangerous in the form of this character. Everything circulated around him. Each felt incredibly drawn out which was another part of the reason I wasn’t fond of the story.

 

Overall

I enjoy diving into classics. There’s a wisdom in them that can and should be taken away from each of them. The lessons they teach or emphasize upon is so important. However, I didn’t enjoy this very much. I seriously struggled to get to the ending. The is one of those that is either eye-opening or it is just blah. I fell to the blah side.

 

Quotables:

“The fascination of the abomination—you know, imagine the growing regrets, the longing to escape, the powerless disgust, the surrender, the hate.” (p. 4)

 “The earth seemed unearthly. We are accustomed to look upon the shackled form of a conquered monster, but there—there you could look at a thing monstrous and free.” (p. 32)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? Absence of Fear by Jewel

 

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Buzz Buzz Little Crow (Black Bird of the Gallows – A Book Review)

Black Bird of the Gallows (Black Birds of the Gallows #1)
Author: Meg Kassel
Published: 2017

On Goodreads

black bird of the gallows - The Scarlet Reader

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

A simple but forgotten truth:

Where harbingers of death appear, the morgues of soon be full.

Angie Dovage knows there’s more to Reece Fernandez than the tall, athletic boy of mystery that the whole school is swooning over, just like he can tell there’s more to her than the spazzy band-geek. When he tells her that him being here, in her town, means a great tragedy will strike, she knows he must be full of it, right? But then why is there a murder of crows always around him? Why is he sneaking off and to who know where?

When something dark and supernatural attacks Angie, she’s lucky that Reece is there to help her. Then fellow students and people around town have been going crazy. She’s left with more questions than answers. There’s a battle between good and evil, chaos and death, she never saw coming. In the middle of it all, and which is a bad idea, she may or may not be falling in love with a harbinger of death

 

The cover of this book is utterly gorgeous and breathtaking!!!!! If that didn’t make me curious enough, then the mysterious back cover did. All around, this book drew my interest and I enjoyed it! It was quirky and funny mixed with the drama of teenage love mixed with the chaos of an intriguing mythos around the harbinger of death and creator of chaos.

Scarlet Reader - Excited

the approach to magic was genius and unique. Major disasters became so much more. So did animal mythos. Evil bees? I love bumble bees so I surprised when they were used as a force of evil. The logic behind was awesome though. Same with crow. It was like the dark met the light and the light met the dark in this book and was sprinkled with love and a hint of tragedy from the main characters. Everybody has a little tragedy though, right?

Scarlet Reader - Black Bird of the Gallows

The magic was incredibly enchanting, yet dark, reminiscent of Sleeping Beauty in that way. It wasn’t overbearing, but perfectly fitting into everyday life, perfectly hidden. This design was beautiful.

Angie was both interesting and not. There were times I wasn’t into her. She’s a teenager, so she’s going to have those dramatic moments, but her tone came off goofy. She rambled off from time to time and it seemed pointless. But I loved her relationships with her dad and her friends and how mixed up she felt for Reece. I admired her passion. It was louder than a bass dropping at a rave.

I love Love LOVED the style and unique vocabulary that Kassel used to sweep this book away. It was brilliant and refreshing and kept my attention with such enthusiasm. I giggled. I felt my heart break. I was swelling with emotion and engulfed in the words.

 

Overall

I’ve never read anything like this before. Something that was both enchanting and chaotic and tragic and yet, filled with love. My big problem? The ending felt hugely rushed and vague and confusing. I was as clueless as Angie and Reece were, but more so because there was no real hint as to how everything happened. And the special possibility about magic in Angie’s family? It didn’t feel very solid. I was more fascinated than anything so it was easy to let those bits slide. I feel like they’ll possibly come into play in later books, which I hope to read someday.

 

Quotables:

“Crack your bones and eat the marrow, snap your spines like broken arrows.” (p. 104)

“…I don’t kiss guys who don’t tell me what planet they’re from.” (Angie, p. 119)

“Death doesn’t require a prediction. It’s an inevitability.” (Reece, p. 128)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles

 

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Monsters of Man (to make monsters out of girls – A Book Review)

to make monsters out of girls (the things that h(a)unt #1)
Author: amanda lovelace
Published: 2018

On Goodreads

to make monsters our of girls - The Scarlet Reader

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

this is how I bury you

Amanda Lovelace comes back with this epic first book in a duology answering the question, and contemplating it: What happens when the man of your dreams turns out to be a nightmare with sharp teeth?”.

Poetry takes a turn into the dark and scary. Boundaries are non-existent as Lovelace’s memory of an abusive relationship is explored from unimaginable angles.

The eternal question that she also faces, that we all face: Can you heal once you’ve been marked by a monster, or will the sun always sting?

 

Lovelace is always amazing when it comes to being vulnerable. She lets out ever part of her for the world with her modern and inventive poetic style. It’s what I love about her books. She takes the average box and not only jumps outside of it, but rips it to shreds, destroying the expected shape and stanza of prose poetry.

She segmented her book into parts, that for me, were curious.

pt. 1 – monster-boy

pt. 2 – monster-girl

pt. 3 – sun-heart

 

What was really awesome about this novel was also something I couldn’t fully agree upon. Lovelace approaches the idea of comparing abusive men to monsters. Throughout time (and my own personal studies) monsters are debatable. If asked, the common ones are vampires, werewolves, zombies, Frankenstein, Creature of the Black Lagoon, and the list goes on. But a lot of these have been divulged upon that they’re not so much monsters as they are just creatures turned dark by humans, which I agree with. They’re not evil 100% of the time just like people. So, as I read this book, man became its own terrifying monster over being like the ones we know through history. But for me, that’s also because an abusive man is scarier than any mythological, literary, film monster ever could be.

There’s artwork! Having read the princess doesn’t die in this one, I was excited to see artwork right alongside Lovelace’s work. It was chilling and perfectly paired to show the horror she was expressing through her words. It’s like getting hit by a million pinpricks.

Relatable on a very real level for anyone who’s been through abuse or knows somebody who has. Not just across the U.S., but the entire planet, women and men have grown stronger and braver in coming out about abuse they’ve suffered through. It’s become scary at how often it really happens and the fear it instills in people, keeping them from being able to speak out. This book was incredibly brave and vicious. It’s good to be vicious. To fight back and prove that you come back stronger from something that could destroy you because you destroy it instead. Triggers are very real, and I thank Lovelace for putting that warning in there before the beginning.

 

Overall

While I didn’t enjoy this book as I have her other one, it still approaches a major subject from an incredibly personal position, a firsthand one. The bravery of that alone is applauded. One thing I have to say is that you may not get a full feeling for what Lovelace expresses in this book if you haven’t experienced this pain before or seen it firsthand. It won’t make for a terrible read if you’ve never experienced things like this, but it’s an outside perspective versus and inside one.

 

Here are a few poems that I really enjoyed and that really ripped into me:

 

you had years
on me
&
I wanted
to drag
my teeth
across the surface 
of every one
of them.
 

-red & the wolf (p. 20)

 

I found this to be one of the most interesting ones with how Lovelace brings up the Grimm’s Little Red Riding Hood in which the wolf is actually a monster. Like I said, I don’t believe all creatures are monstrous, but this one definitely is. The wolf of the tale is known for not only being stalkerish, manipulative, and murderous of a young girl, but rapey, too. This shed light on the question of age, and at what point it is okay to be with someone older or younger than you.

It reminds me of the latest subject flitting across the internet, too: grooming. If you don’t know what it is, it’s when an adult builds a relationship, which is usually private/secret, with a young child/teen. While it puts on the front of friendship and/or guidance, behind the scenes it is boyfriend/girlfriend and deemed a type of sexual abuse. There have been many cases made across the decades.

Thankfully, at the end of the tale, Red splits the wolf open, making him regret coming onto her.

 

on the days 
you decided you

were still in this
we me,

ancient trees
leaned into my touch;

will-o’-the-wisps
swarmed around me;

butterflies
made nests in my hair;

falling stars
tangled in my eyelashes;

nectar oozed
from my fingertips;

& even oceans
feared the multitudes in me.
 

-moon made up of honey (p. 41)

 

The imagery of this one has to be my favorite. So strong and powerful. Sweet. Fantastical.

 

he may have gone,
but I’m still finding
his fingerprints
on every surface
of me.
 
-intruder (p. 66)

 

This one can be interpreted in many ways. Positive and negative. Horrifying or straight up heartbreak. Whether she is talking about a woman whose boyfriend, the love of her life, has broken up with her, leaving only memories and heartbreak behind, or the survival of sexual assault, trying to scrub away the feeling of it and never feeling clean enough, never feeling like the assaulter let go, is still a mystery to me. This one can be divided among many situations and emotions, I feel.

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? Never Be Like You by Flume feat. Kai.

 

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Getcha Head in the Game (Ender’s Game – A Book Review)

Ender’s Game (Ender’s Saga #1)
Author: Orson Scott Card
Published: 1985

On Goodreads

Ender's Game

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

17/25

“I’ve watched through his eyes. I’ve listened through his ears, and I tell you, he’s the one. Or at least as close as we’re going to get.”

Andrew “Ender Wiggin, a Third, is chosen to go to Battle School for the I.F., the international fleet at the ripe age of six. What he believes are just games that he’s engaged in with other kids is actually much bigger than he knows. He hasn’t met a soldier he can’t mold or a battle he can’t win. Originally a part of a grand experiment that’ll save Earth, he becomes the top soldier in his class, advancing quicker than anybody else in history.

Ender being a part of an experiment to create soldiers and fleet generals isn’t all of it. The buggers have been attacking the Earth since long before Ender was born. If not stopped, the next attack made on the planet will end it altogether.

This book marks 17 out of 25 authors, from my New Year’s resolution, that I’ve never read from before. I’ve heard about the movie and that the book was a genius and conqueror in the Sci-Fi genre.

This blew my mind! Nuclear. BOOM. Orson is a master storyteller and this is only book one of a saga. So much happened and he did a splendid job of spanning it over years. It was a journey that was trying and it chipped away at not only Ender, but his sister, Valentine, and his brother, Peter. All three of them had a large part to play, proving that age doesn’t really matter when it comes to power. Rising up to their has shown both heroism and jealousy. They show that Ender isn’t the only brilliant one, but emphasize how scary it is. It was mind-blowing to see children rise up in power and scary.Scarlet Reader

Ender had so much pressing down on his shoulders. For a six-year-old, Ender was such an incredible character. So many times, he was ready to give up, but he had so many by his side. Petra and Dink guided Ender to become a better shooter. Alai and Dwarf became his closest friends in a place where friends seem impossible because everybody is against him. This isn’t just some game though. It’s more. Bigger.

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I became intrigued with Ender’s name the further I got in the book. He became responsible for hurting people and dominating in Battle School. I never thought to question the nickname until I was well over halfway through. Ender and how it relates to his actions and determination. He ends every simulation, battle, and fight on top, winning. Realizing this was chilling.

Scarlet Reader

The writing and style was amazing. Engrossing and not a detail amiss. Orson really captured a whole new frontier in this novel. It reached deep into a place that pulled at one’s humanity. He really grabbed at emotions, rocking them, and getting them to feel the pressure that Ender felt. Just captivating. And I really liked the dialogue at the beginning of each chapter from the head of the I.F. and how it gave accounts of progress with their war against the buggers. They knew what they were doing and it was great, haunting foreshadowing.

Overall

This book was engaging from page one and so entertaining. So in-depth. I was so sucked in that I felt like I was in the book. And that ending! I teared up big time. I really just want to cradle Ender in my arms after everything he went through. A phenomenal book that surprised me. The writing swept me away into this galactic world with many disguises. Everything was just perfect. I loved this. I hope to read the rest someday.

Quotables:

“The battleroom is ready. Petra’s hands are steady. The enemy is deadly.” (Petra, p. 82)

“We aren’t just ordinary children, are we? None of us.” (Valentine, p. 240)

“I’ll tell you something. If you try and lose then it isn’t your fault. But if you don’t try and we lose, then it’s all your fault. You killed us all.” (Valentine, p. 241)

More to come soon…

-K.

P.S. Song today? Titanium by Sia.

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