Thursday, July 27, 2017

Book Review: The Last of August

TITLE: The Last of August
Book 2 in the Charlotte Holmes series
AUTHOR: Brittany Cavallaro
PUBLISHED: February 14th, 2017
CATEGORY: YA
GENRE: Mystery
PREMISE: Charlotte and Jamie go on the case when Charlotte's uncle goes missing...
MY REVIEW: By all rights, I probably shouldn't like this series. On one hand, yeah gender-flipped Holmes is awesome. On the other hand, now suddenly, it's okay for Holmes and Watson to be involved when one of them is female (I hate when that happens and that is one of the reasons I love Elementary: they gender flip a character, but don't do any romance between the two). But this scenario works because it's actually not a gender-flipped Sherlock Holmes: it's an ancestor of Sherlock Holmes who happens to be female.
I love the way the author played around with that. Family legacies play a big part in this, and the idea of Holmes and Moriarty ancestors playing cat and mouse with each other for decades honestly...kind of fits to me. The mystery is good, the fallout from the mystery is even better.
Honestly, if you're going to gender flip Holmes, do it this way. I honestly, don't even mind the romance part between Holmes and Watson, mostly because the author doesn't play it as a true love sort of deal. It's an awkward teenage relationship. With all the drama that implies. All in all, this was a very satisfying sequel.
WHO SHOULD READ: Sherlock Holmes fans, Lock and Mori fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five modern Sherlocks

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Book Review: Paper and Fire

TITLE: Paper and Fire
Book 2 in The Great Library series (yes series, it's apparently now going to be five books instead of 3. I'm cool with that)
AUTHOR: Rachel Caine
PUBLISHED: July 2016
CATEGORY: YA
GENRE: Dystopian/Alternate History
PREMISE: Jess and his friends continue their lives at the Library with the danger growing every day...
MY REVIEW: I am a late-comer to this awesome series. I should not have doubted Caine though, because the first book of this series was fantastic and this second book is just as good.
For those that have not picked it up yet: the series is basically about a world where the Library of Alexandria never burned but instead grew to be a global super power that controls everything. It has Caine's usual different cast of characters and fast paced plots and the result is an entertaining as hell series that should be getting way more attention then it is.
Apparently I'm the minority that loved the sequel. I will admit this one dragged a bit. But it did what it needed to do and gave you lots of plot development. So I'm personally very satisfied. And need the new book immediately, because that was a mean cliffhanger.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of the first book, Rachel Caine fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five fangirl squees because damn I love this series

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Book Review: The Vanishing Throne

TITLE: The Vanishing Throne
Book 2 in the Falconer series
AUTHOR: Elizabeth May
PUBLISHED: June 2016 (in the US)
CATEGORY: YA
GENRE: Fantasy
PREMISE: After being trapped in the fae world, Aileana finally returns to her world only to discover three years have passed and the world is not as she left it...
MY REVIEW: So, remember years back when I reviewed The Falconer and really enjoyed it? Yeah, me neither. That book totally slipped my mind until I saw the third book in Barnes and Noble last month and went "wait, when did the second book get released?!" and so here we are.
The problem with picking up a second book after not reading the series after awhile is you sometimes forget details of the first book. But somehow, I managed to remember stuff. Or at least...important things so I was able to get the gist of what was going on in this book. And there was quite a bit going on. Literally every other chapter had some sort of plot development so I sped through this one in like a day.
This is much darker then the first book and leaves off at quite the cliff-hanger. Luckily the third book is out so I don't have to wait as long to finish that one up.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of the first book, those that like books about fae
MY RATING: Four out of Five solid plots.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Book Review: Royal Bastards

TITLE: Royal Bastards
AUTHOR: Andrew Shvarts
PUBLISHED: May 30th, 2017
CATEGORY: YA
GENRE: Fantasy
PREMISE: A group of bastard children band together to save their kingdom...
MY REVIEW: Sigh. I wanted to like this book so badly. To be fair to the author: if I turned off my brain while reading, and stopped noticing how literally EVERYTHING in this book has been done before, and didn't wind up comparing the two, I might have been able to enjoy it more. But sorry, I don't do that while reading. Or consuming any forms of entertainment really. I like to think about the story and all of that.
So, I'm sorry to say: I did not enjoy this one. The world building is paper-thin and again, stuff that has been done before. The characters are typical stock characters that again, I've seen done before (in much better, more fleshed out ways). Every story line I was able to call from chapter two. It was that predictable.  That's not even going into how awkward it was to have teenagers in a medieval fantasy setting using modern language and slang.
The story isn't offensive. Nothing bothered me. It's just SO BLAND. I'm honestly really surprised at the high rating this is getting on Goodreads. Because frankly, I personally can't give this book more then two and a half stars. That's even with me being lenient and taking into account that this is the author's first book.
WHO SHOULD READ: Eh...if you don't mind bland fantasy books?
MY RATING: Two and a half out of Five this could have been so much better then it was feelings

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Notable Book Releases: 7/16-7/22

Here are all the releases from this past week that I'm interested in, are big buzzy books, or just general books of note:

MG/YA

In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan

A new Brennan book pretty much always makes me happy. This one sounds just as interesting and unique as her other books.







The Xenith Trilogy Book 1: Amid Stars and Darkness by Chani Lynn Feener

Sci-fi debut that looks like it might be good. It's been getting mixed reviews so we'll see.
Conspiracy of Us Book 3: The Ends of the World by Maggie Hall

This adventure series has been a fun race from the beginning. I'll be interested to see where it all leads.






The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana

Interesting looking fantasy that apparently is drawing from Indian folklore.








The Bakersville Dozen by Kristina McBride

Mystery that looks like it might possibly be good.







Adult Fiction

The Breakdown by B. A. Paris

This week's twisty thriller offering.








Comics/Manga trades

Backstagers vol. 1
The Amelia Cole Omnibus
Princess Jellyfish Vol. 5
Mighty Thor Vol. 3: Asgard/Shi'ar War
Ms Marvel Vol. 7: Damage Per Second
Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat Vol. 3
Punisher Vol. 2: End of the Line
US Avengers Vol. 1
Bleach Vol. 70
Case Closed Vol. 63
Blue Exorcist Vol. 17

Friday, July 21, 2017

Series Review: Flavia de Luce

SERIES: Flavia de Luce
ORDER OF BOOKS IN SERIES:
1) The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
2) The Weed That Strings the Handman's Bag
3) A Red Herring Without Mustard
4) I Am Half Sick of Shadows
5) Speaking From Among the Bones
6) The Dead and Their Vaulted Arches
7) As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust
8) Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd
AUTHOR: Alan Bradley
PUBLISHED: between 2009-present
CATEGORY: Packaged and sold as adult fiction, I say it's middle-grade but what can you do?
PREMISE: In 1950s England, in a small town, a precocious girl solves mysteries using logic and a love of science.
MY REVIEW: So last year I finally sat down and read the first book of this series and promptly fell in love. Since then I've been playing catch up and after getting to the eighth book last month, I finally am caught up. I'm still very much in love with it too.
Flavia de Luce is sort of a combination of Sherlock Holmes and Miss Fisher pushed into the body of a tween. The result is a delightful main character. On top of Flavia is a colorful cast of family members, and small town characters, who are all very entertaining. Basically, it's like one of those BBC mystery shows in book form, starring a awesome little girl.
The last book left off at quite a place so I'm very eager to get my hands on the next book which is coming out in September.
WHO SHOULD READ: Sherlock Holmes fans, BBC mystery show fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five awesome main characters

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Book Review: Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit

TITLE: Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit
AUTHOR: Jaye Robin Brown
PUBLISHED: August 2016
CATEGORY: YA
GENRE: Contemporary, Romance
PREMISE: An out and proud girl agrees to not advertise her sexuality for her father's sake when they move to a new town. Trouble starts however, when she starts falling for a local girl...
MY REVIEW: I've been meaning to get to this one for quite awhile. As far as a contemporary romance: it does the trick. If you loved things like Simon VS the Homo Sapiens Agenda or just want a sweet LGBTQA romance with minimal angst, this is a good one to pick up.
Not to say there isn't angst, there is as the girl Joanna becomes involved with struggles with whether or not to come out, but no one dies, Joanna gets her girl. This is quite possibly, the happiest lesbian romance I've ever read. It's always nice to see happy LGBTQA romances out there. The world needs more of them.
Along with general cute romance, this makes a lot of good points about faith and the LGBTQA community. I wish I had gotten to this one last year. It definitely would have made the favorites list. Ah well, it's going on the best of the backlist books list at least.
WHO SHOULD READ: Simon VS the Homo Sapiens Agenda fans, those looking for relatively happy LGBTQA books
MY RATING: Four out of Five happy feelings

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Book Review: A Perilous Undertaking

TITLE: A Perilous Undertaking
Book 2 in the Veronica Speedwell series
AUTHOR: Deanna Raybourn
PUBLISHED: January 10th, 2017
CATEGORY: Adult
GENRE: Historical Fiction, Mystery
PREMISE: Veronica Speedwell investigates a murder at the request of the mysterious Lady Sundridge...
MY REVIEW: The first book in this series was a surprise delight for me last year. I wasn't really expecting much from it when I randomly picked it up at the library, but it managed to get me and this second book was just as delightful.
We get more banter, some more backstory on Stoker, some general mystery solving hijinks and all the fun things that should come with historical mysteries. If you're hoping for romance to ignite between Veronica and Stoker....doesn't really happen much. But, there is still banter and chemistry so I say it's a good trade off.
From the looks of things, we have at least three more books in this series coming, and I have to say: I'm here for it.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of the first book, Parasol Protectorate fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five lady detectives

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Book Review: Sorry, Not Sorry

TITLE: Sorry, Not Sorry
AUTHOR: Naya Rivera
PUBLISHED: September 2016
CATEGORY: Non-Fiction
GENRE: Memoir
PREMISE: Actress Naya Rivera talks about her life.
MY REVIEW: Confession: I used to love Glee. In the first season. Then...the rest of the show happened and my love came and went like that. I still really like the cast members though (sorry guys, you all really deserved better then what the writers gave you). So, I picked this up.
As a memoir, this book does its job. It gives you an idea of who Naya is, what her life was like, etc. It gives some behind the scenes look at what being on Glee was like, and all of that. There was nothing terribly shocking. It's a pretty straight forward memoir.
So it was just okay. I would mostly recommend this for die-hard Naya Rivera fans or Glee fans in general.
WHO SHOULD READ: Glee fans, Naya Rivera fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five actresses who are awesome

Monday, July 17, 2017

Book Review: Refuge for Masterminds

TITLE: Refuge for Masterminds
Book 3 in the Stranje House series
AUTHOR: Kathleen Baldwin
PUBLISHED: May 23rd, 2017
CATEGORY: YA
GENRE: Historical Fiction, Romance
PREMISE: The adventures of the Stranje House crew continues with Lady Jane Moore...
MY REVIEW: The Stranje House series is a personal favorite of mine so I was looking forward to this book quite a bit. It did not disappoint. It kept the plot up, we got to get more background on Jane this time, and the romance was rather sweet. There's not really much I can add without going into spoilers. Just going to say: if you liked the first two books, you'll like this one.
Personally, I felt like that ending was a good one for the series, but it looks like we're getting another book according to the author. But I honestly can't complain. As I said, this series is a favorite. So I say bring on more books.
WHO SHOULD READ: those that have read the first two books, historical romance fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five female spies