Diamond City: A Review

Diamond City by Francesca Flores

My Rating: 4/5 stars!

Cover Rating: 6/10 it’s a pretty cover. It fits the novel inside it pretty well. I love the warm colors of the diamonds! It’s a solid cover.

Publisher: St. Martins Press

Publish Date: January 28th, 2020

Number of Pages: 400

Received: Netgalley provided an e-arc in exchange for an honest review

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

Good things don’t happen to girls who come from nothing…unless they risk everything.

Fierce and ambitious, Aina Solís as sharp as her blade and as mysterious as the blood magic she protects. After the murder of her parents, Aina takes a job as an assassin to survive and finds a new family in those like her: the unwanted and forgotten.

Her boss is brutal and cold, with a questionable sense of morality, but he provides a place for people with nowhere else to go. And makes sure they stay there.

DIAMOND CITY: built by magic, ruled by tyrants, and in desperate need of saving. It is a world full of dark forces and hidden agendas, old rivalries and lethal new enemies.

To claim a future for herself in a world that doesn’t want her to survive, Aina will have to win a game of murder and conspiracy—and risk losing everything.”

Opening Sentence: “ “Do you want to know the secret to survival?””

Musings:

Diamond City is a fun fast pace novel that flies by as your reading it. Every chapter leaves you wanting more. It’s such a great read!

What I Loved:

Assassin Queen! Aina is an incredible assassin. She’s so much fun to read about. She’s smart and does things quick and efficiently and it’s so cool to read.

Casual bisexuality. Aina is bisexual and it’s just part of who she is and I loved being able to have that and have her also be this kickass assassin and it’s all just how things are.

Open-ended Romance. There’s several people that Aina likes and connects to. Yet, she’s giving herself the time and space to feel her feelings and see what she wants for herself in a relationship. I find that admirable and really nice in a ya.

Adventure Adventure Adventure! Every moment spent in this novel is an Adventure. It’s incredible. There’s not a moment to breath most of the time it’s just on to the next exciting thing and it’s great!

Good friendship. This book is essentially a bunch of friends coming together and doing something together for the greater good.

All and all:

Diamond city is a book that will have your heart racing to the very end. With dynamite and knife fights and grappling hooks.. this book will hook you till it’s exciting completion!

About the Author

Francesca Flores is a writer, traveler and linguist. Raised in Pittsburgh, she read every fantasy book she could get her hands on and started writing her own stories at a young age. She began writing Diamond Citywhile working as a corporate travel manager. When she’s not writing or reading, Francesca enjoys traveling, dancing ballet and jazz, practicing trapeze and contortion, and visiting parks and trails around San Francisco, where she currently resides.

THANK YOU ALL FOR READING! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below! 

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Guardians of the Galaxy: A Discussion

Continuing on with the Marvel content, I have a discussion of one of my absolute favorite films from the MCU, Guardians of the Galaxy.

This is one of the marvel movies I had seen long before I decided to watch all of the films in the universe. It also happens to be one of my favorites. But, of course upon rewatching, like I have with every other film before posting these discussions, I find that I love the film all the more.

I think that Guardians of the Galaxy has one of the best and strongest openings of all the Marvel films. You get some back story it’s pretty quick and sweet, but then you see Peter in his star lord get up just walking up to steal this silver orb and at first he looks kinda evil.

I mean look at him? The first time you think is this guy actually a villain or what, but then he has the mask come off and you see Cris Pratt’s adorable little face underneath. He takes out some headphones and puts on a cassette and starts dancing and singing and it’s then you know, this is a whole unique kind of film.

I mean.. look at him.. singing into some sort of mutant freak rat all weird like. All to the sound of ‘Come and get your love’ it’s truly pretty much perfect. (I love this scene so much that I just replayed it in my head so much that I couldn’t think about what else I wanted to talk about for this movie for way longer then is necessary)

Then, the assembly of the Guardians take place and of course it’s as wonderfully ridiculous as it is. They all meet on Xandar. Rocket and Grott see Peter and realize they can make some big bucks by capturing him and proceed to try and bounty hunt him. The reason Peter is there is to sell the silver orb behind Yondu’s back. Then, Gamora shows up and also finds herself after Peter because she’s after the orb to sell it to someone else to escape the claws of Thanos. But then, they all get captured.. and Drax of course joins in because he wants to kill Gamora because Ronan killed his family and he wants to kill anyone associated with Ronan.

The entirety of this plot is so good, but it feels so silly. Yet, it’s believable. They, put together something that in short seems convoluted and spread it out in such a way that it’s very comedic in timing and visually interesting to watch.

But, that’s not even close to the half of it. Every single scene is gorgeous. There is so much detail that goes into this film not just visually, but in the music and the dialogue. No other film in the marvel is quite like Guardians of the Galaxy. The ship fights and the weapons. The part where all the guys get drunk and bet on the freak rats… because they were bored and had nothing else to do.

The detailed backstories for each character Peter who didn’t hold her dying mothers hand when she asked. Gamora taken from her family by a man who destroyed half (though I’d say all) of all the people who lived on her planet. Rocket who was pulled apart and put back together again and again to turn him into the creature he is. Groot.. who we don’t really know anything about actually. Drax who lost his wife and child to Ronan. Nebula who is tortured again and again by Thanos who still wants his approval.

Every one of them has something dark of their past. Yet they come together and form a true bond and protect each other as friends. Something that many of them didn’t have much of. They seem to be the least likely crew to be true heroes or even to care at all about what happens in the Galaxy, let alone save it, but at the end of the day, they do their part and they save the Galaxy and the people who live on it.

A major part of the film I truly enjoy is the music. Especially the music that Peter’s mom gifted him as a kid. I created a Spotify playlist of all the songs in the Vol. 1 cassette for your listening pleasure down below:

https://open.spotify.com/user/wolfet98/playlist/2dMwOXRvmc3ZrCfaGjuQs6?si=OEPjUcsMSpaXd2jJa7rJYg

I love the way the music was used in the film to add both humor and life to it. It makes this film one of the most genuinely hopeful films of the marvel universe and it even creates a sort of innocent feel to the film. It’s what makes this movie not only funny and adventurous, but beautiful too.

One thing I do want to do is a character appreciation:

For one Yondu:

Yondu is kinda evil, but mostly a cinnamon bun. He’s the tough-lovin’ father Peter never realized he had. He has an image to put up in front of his crew, but inside he truly cares about Peter. I believe he truly doesn’t regret not letting his crew eat Peter as a boy.

Groot:

Sweet sweet Groot. One of my favorite sci-fi characters of all time. My dream is to give this mythical tree a hug. He’s the wettest of all the Guardians, but I believe he is probably the most dangerous. Especially, in one of the final scenes (pictured in the second half of the video below) where he smashes his arm through several people’s bodies and utterly annihilates them then smiles afterwards like he did a good thing (which he did, but it was terrifying as heck).

https://youtu.be/dcc5KWftKeA

THANOS the Inevitable:

Thanos looks kinda like a derp here, but it’s the only time he ever looks like a derp so.. it’s the only time I get to say that. The truth is, I love to hate on Thanos. He destroyed my entire soul in infinity war, so any little thing I can nit pick on him in any of the films I am going to do it. I don’t care how childish that is. Thanos doesn’t have the biggest part to play in Guardians of the Galaxy and I didn’t think much of him the first time I saw this film, but now.. now things have changed.

The Collector:

I almost think this man is the most evil of all the characters in Guardians of the Galaxy (minus Thanos). The way he treats his “servants” is absolutely awful. He sees everything and everyone as an object to add to his collection. The way he spoke to Gamora made my skin crawl. I don’t like this man at all. His only redeeming quality is that he looks cool, but i don’t put much stock in people’s looks, especially when they make me as viscerally sick as he does.

Drax:

I love Drax. He adds the sort of dry humor that really makes me happy deep inside. He’s god awful to Gamora most of the time, but redeems himself by blasting Nebula into another dimension when Nebula stars talking trash to Gamora. Someone so literal about everything can be frustrating to deal with, but he ends up being a true asset to the team so, he has a special place in my heart.

Corpsman Dey:

The true MVP of the film. Corpsman Dey is the Nova corps man who listened to Peter and decided to accept his help. He is also the first person to acknowledge Peter as Star-lord. I have so much respect for this man.

In Conclusion:

I love every aspect of this film. i love the characters, the story, the music, the humor, the fight scenes, everything. To me, this film is perfection from beginning to end. I will always have a deep love for Guardians of the Galaxy.

Thanks for reading! I’ve worked on this post for an inordinate amount of time, but I love this film so its all worth it. James Gunn outdid himself directing this film. It is one of the top films in all of the Marvel Universe. Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below!

-Till next time!

Captain America: The Winter Solider: A Discussion

My Marvel series continues with a discussion on Captain America: The Winter Solider. Which I now appreciate so much more after having watched Endgame and Captain Marvel.

The first time I watched this film I enjoyed it, but I don’t think that I fully understood what was going on. Or rather, I understood, but there was more to it then what I had thought initially. Plus, there was a lot of smaller lines and parts that I appreciated so much more this time around.

What I appreciated both times around was how the movie starts off. The humor of Captain America running laps around Sound with the witty remark of “On your left.” Which was an all around fun scene. Followed by Captain jumping out of an aircraft without a parachute which is just straight up badass.

What I also loved both times was the fight scenes. All the action sequences were entertaining to watch and visually interesting to the eye. Particularly, the fight between Cap, and this martial arts guy that I don’t think was named in the beginning of the film. They do this hand to hand combat with all these jump kicks and flips and it looked so cool!

Other then entertaining fights I also enjoyed the relationship between Black Widow and Cap.

They have this friendship between them that I find to be very sweet. Even in the most inappropriate times black widow tries to get cap to ask out this girl or that girl (which I do find endearing even though his heart belongs to Peggy). Sometimes it’s nice to not force every character to fall in love with each other just because they are a man and a woman in the same environment.

The other relationship I enjoy a lot is the one between Cap and Bucky.

Cap may have fought Bucky a lot in this film, but at the core of himself he doesn’t want to hurt his friend. Cap has this deep set integrity that is rare to find in anyone these days let alone a character and it’s really great to see. He stays true to his values no matter what the circumstances. Cap set his mind that he was going to get through to Bucky and it worked. He didn’t give up on his friend or think he was too far gone to save.

*spoilers for Captain Marvel ahead*

One of my favorite lines in this film comes from Nick Fury who says, “The last time I trusted someone I lost an eye” which is a serious line in the film, but it was funny to me because I realized this:

Was caused by this:

Which made me laugh because the last person he trusted was a cat or really a Flerken named Goose and that feels so fitting to me. It makes me think of Fury’s soft side and I love it!

Another little thing I noticed was a line from this guy:

The shield agent black widow kicked off a roof. He said something about keeping track of persons of interest and he mentioned Steven strange amoung others, which felt like a cool Easter egg to notice of hints for what would be future films in the universe.

*spoilers for Endgame ahead*

The other part that I saw completely differently this time around was the scene where Cap sees Peggy in the current time:

The first time I saw this I was bawling my eyes out. It broke my heart to see what was an unfortunate circumstance tear apart a couple that truly loved each other. It was the one thing about Cap that continuously broke my heart. Yes, he was saving the world, but I had always wished that he could do all that with his best girl by his side.

Little did I know that he does spend a full life with Peggy as is shown in Endgame and it changed this scene completely for me. It no longer caused me to feel heartbroken. Yes, the scene still hurts, but there is a beautiful end to the story. That love won in the end. That that kind of love doesn’t die. They literally had decades of time pass between them with the biggest hurtle imaginable, but they still got their life together and that makes me happy to no end.

But it made me notice something about the lines. In the past tape of Peggy talking when she was young she calls Cap her husband.. something I didn’t notice the first time. Plus, old Peggy has a photo on her bedside with children, but not showing her husband at her side. Which means that Cap is the father to her children and realizing that made me smile from ear to ear.

Rewatching The Winter Solider I realized how much I genuinely care for and enjoy Caps story. He’s one of my favorites of the avengers along with Ant man, Iron man, Hawkeye, and black widow. I love The first avenger with Caps back story the most out of his films, but I have a special place in my heart for The Winter Solider.

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

-Till next time!

Welcome to the Slipstream: A Review 

Welcome to the Slipstream by Natalka Burian

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Publisher: Adams Media

Publish Date: June 6th, 2017

Recieved: Netgalley provided a e-arc copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Pre-Order: Amazon

Synopsis:

Bright lights, big trouble
Fans of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak and Judy Gregerson’s Bad Girls Club will relate to this story about a girl traumatized by her brilliant mother’s serious mental illness.

Like a grown-up Eloise from the picture book, the main character, Van, lives in an upscale casino in glitzy Las Vegas, giving readers entree into a crazy world that few ever get to see.

Based on real life events witnessed by the author, a harrowing look at the dangers of self-help cults that promise insight and instead deliver destruction.
With her mother, a brilliant businesswoman with fragile mental health, Van arrives in Las Vegas at the Silver Saddle casino, where Alex, a college student, is assigned to “babysit” her. Van is used to having to land on her feet, because her mother and her surrogate grandmother move from city to city all the time like corporate gypsies, but Alex introduces Van, a talented musician, to a group where her guitar skills may shine. But just as she’s about to play her first gig, her mother is lured in by a con man promising a “vision quest” in Arizona, and Van must go on the road to find and save her mom.

Musings: 

This book was one of those books that was weird in a delicious way. It’s so real and honest in how it portrays each character and all the interactions that occur. Vans mother is very sick and the beautiful way of that Natalka writes her illness and Vans struggle to ever truly understand and connect fully with her mother was amazing. The familial love in this book is done so well because it portrays the hard parts of love as well as the easier parts. Sometimes it’s easy to feel like giving up, but some part of you always keeps you going. 

I also really enjoyed the Vegas setting for the beginning bits, but I’m a little upset that the synopsis gives away so much of the novel. I.e the second half where Van goes after her mother who is on a vision Quest as the supposed prophet of a certain psychedelic group of people. 

However I’m getting a bit ahead of myself here. Let’s just talk about my absolute favorite relationship that this story enfolds Van’s relationship with Ida the woman who is the glue to this very unconventional family. Ida is an elderly woman that is like a chill grandmother that pays attention and really cares. Without Ida there is a lack of balance and things fall apart, but when she is present she knows how to be stern yet encouraging and truly a role model for Van. I love her more then words can say. 

When Alex shows up as this awkward yet endearing love interest for Van. It felt very fitting. I really enjoyed how Van didn’t seem to know exactly the best way to interact with Alex and vice versa. I just enjoyed the weird ways they got to figure out who they were to each other. When Alex finds out Van can play guitar and introduces her to some friends in a band who needed a guitarist. All the adventure there was fun to read. 

But, it didn’t stop there. Van’s mom is such a lovely character because she is so unpredictable and when she is stable she is like a light that Van can’t help but want to be like (she would never admit that even uncounciously) and when she is low… well things get really difficult. When you find out her mom is attached at the hip with a “psychic therapist” and things start going crazy at the hotel, Van’s mom’s job gets compromised and when Van’s mom takes off with her therapist to the middle of nowhere things get weird. 

This book is a novel centered around discovery and finding out what it is you really want from life. It is about imperfection, mental instability, and a tornado of relationships that will leave you filled with curiosity right until the very end.

Thank you all for reading! I hope you enjoyed this review. What do you think about Welcome to the Slipstream? I’d love to hear your first impressions! 

-Till next time! 

Quests of the Kings: A Review 


Quests of Kings by Robert Evert

My Rating: 2.75/5 Stars

Publisher: Diversion Books

Release Date: March 14th, 2017

Recieved: Net Galley provided an e-arc in exchange for an honest review

Pre-Order: Amazon

From the author of the Riddle in Stone books comes a thrilling new series for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Kristin Cashore.
Across the realms, the kings’ quests captivate the imaginations of nobles and commoners alike. These dangerous competitions pit the most daring adventurers against each other as they compete for riches and glory for their kingdoms.
Plain and ordinary Natalie, a sixteen-year-old peasant girl, loves listening to stories about famous adventurers, but the thrilling action of the kings’ quests seems far removed from her everyday life of mucking out stables and working every odd job she can find to support her siblings and disabled mother. However, after a violent run-in with Brago, a ruthless adventurer who believes Natalie is a threat to his mission, she is dragged unwillingly into the latest contest.
On the run from Brago, Natalie seeks refuge with a rival adventurer, the legendary Sir Edris, and his squire, Reg. As they toil together to find the object all of the kings desire—an ancient golden harp—Natalie starts to feel safe with the fatherly knight. Yet, despite Edris’s protection, Brago is never far behind. When one of Brago’s cruel plots separates Natalie from her protectors, she must become as strong and cunning as the adventurers of old to save her friends and stay alive.

Musings: 

I really enjoyed reading Quests of Kings, it was an adventure. As much as I enjoyed reading it I wanted more. There was something about the characters and how they were written that makes you want to care, but also separates readers from them. 

This book felt like one big adventure story. It ignites an almost childlike wish to go out into the world and experience all there is to see. To be and do something more. 

I liked Natalie as a main character. However, I felt she was confused and at times acted colder then her thoughts would suggest her to be. I felt like she was a girl that was broken by her circumstances and never gave herself to what she truly wanted in life. I also feel that there wasn’t enough time spent exploring her thoughts as a character and allowing her to act more naturally. It was like hearing snipets of her voice every once in a while, then rushing to the plot in other parts. A lot of times I felt like something would happen and she would cry, but then in the next two seconds it would be over and it was like an important event that happened is no longer important. 

The one part of Natalie’s character that didn’t add up was when she would complain. The girl who does everything she can to feed her family. The girl who cares more about others well-being then her own, doesn’t makes sense with the character that whines about her burdens. Her initial actions do not coincide with what she says and I felt like I was reading about two completely different kinds of characters. It made Natalie fall flat as a result. 

I also wish there was more character development for all the characters in the story. I felt that the secondary characters were often easy to look past, because they were not given enough time to truly speak. The biggest example of this is Arist, he is a secondary main character that I felt like I was starting to get to know, but in the end I felt like I didn’t get to know him as well as I should.

I also felt that the death that occurs in this book wasn’t felt as deeply as it should have because the readers didn’t get enough time to care about that character and afterwards the death would feel skimmed over. It felt very rushed, it happened so let’s move on, type of thing. 

The things that Natalie goes through are horrific. Her sarcasm and strengths would be felt much stronger if more meaningful time was spent on her dealing with the emotions she has. When connections are severed it is severely painful and emotionally crippling for all people. If that was shown more, I feel like I would have connected with Natalie so much more. 

This novel has the potential to be something I could fall in love with. At this point while I enjoyed it, I wanted to care more. 

Thank you all for reading. I hope you enjoyed this review. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Are you thinking of reading this book? Have you read any other books from this author? If so, what are your thoughts?

-Till next time!