Friday, October 26, 2012

Book Review: Tokyo Heist

TITLE: Tokyo Heist
AUTHOR: Diana Renn
GENRE: mystery
PREMISE: Violet's father becomes involved in a stolen art case and she decides to take matters into her own hands.
MY REVIEW: Here's the thing, I WANTED to love this. I really did. I'm a otaku so I'm all over anything Japan. In terms of accuracy of culture and writing, I give this book a huge thumbs up. Author did her research. The way she wrote about Tokyo was lovely and she really made the city come alive. I loved all of that. It was also even a good mystery if a bit predictable.
Two things hindered this book however and kept me from loving it: The main character was such a Mary Sue and the implausibility of it all. I really should love Violet, I mean she's a manga fan and a artist! She was practically me in high school! However she was what I call the "I'm so perfect I'm annoying" Mary Sue. Literally Violet could do no wrong in this book. Even when she screwed up, it led to a reveal and eventual praise from everyone. Perfect characters are annoying especially ones like Violet who actually feel quite bratty. Oh and don't get me started on her whole "I'm not an otaku though" bs. Honey, you read manga, you draw, you paint manga characters on stuff. Last I checked, stuff like that made one an otaku.
On top of Violet's annoyiance a lot of stuff here was just plain implausible. I'm sorry but in what reality would a japanese couple who has known you for like half an hour offer you a free trip to Japan? And a job on top of that. Also I don't think FBI agents would be terribly pleased at a teenager telling them how to do their jobs when she's taking advice from manga for crying out loud. I know in mysteries you have to have some suspension of disbelief but come on, I've read Nancy Drew books that make more sense then this. The Nancy Drew computer games make more sense then this (if you haven't played any of those you totally should, they're so much fun).
Stuff like that kept this book from being totally awesome. It was a okay first effort but I was ultimately underwhelmed. If the author continues she needs to work on believability and making her characters likeable. Her writing style is very nice though.
WHO SHOULD READ: Nancy Drew fans, mystery fans
MY RATING: Three out of Five kimonos

Book Review: Gilt

AUTHOR: Katherine Longshore
GENRE: Historical fiction
PREMISE: Kitty's friend Cat gets invited to go to the court of King Louie.
MY REVIEW: Sigh. I had such high hopes for this one after all the good reviews I read about it. Clearly I'm missing something that you all saw because I'm sorry, I didn't think this was very good. Sure the writing was competant, and I guess there was a plot in there somewhere but it was SO BORING.
I could forgive the boring part if any of it was actually, you know historically accurate. This woman says in her author note she's a English history nut. Well if that was the case she should know that girls back in the time period this is set in DO NOT ACT like Kitty and Cat did. They did not say things like shut up because shut up is a modern term not used till at least 1950 or so. They spoke very formally back then. But these girls speak like nineties teens. What the hell? Oh and my favorite is how Cat is able to sleep with that one guy despite being in a female finishing school of sorts when back then men would never have been allowed to be left with females their own age unchaperoned. Certainly never would have been allowed in the girls bedroom. Also they wouldn't talk about sex then at all. Yes, the court then was loose by most standards but women were still expected to not know anything about sex and certainly wouldn't ever talk about the size of a man's manhood in such a frank manner as they did in this book. I mean, really author, do your research on how people behaved back then. If that wasn't enough the main character was a boring doormat who I wanted to shake. I wish this had been in Cat's point of view. Cat was the only interesting thing going on in this book but no, we get boring limp noodle Kitty instead.
If you are going to write historical fiction do your research and have your characters behave the way people back then actually behaved. Oh, and make it interesting please. No, I don't count endless gossip as a interesting plot. This could have been so awesome too, it just makes me sad instead.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of the Luxe series, those that don't mind blatant historical inaccuracies
MY RATING: Two out of Five valley girls in the wrong time period

Book Review: Endlessly

TITLE: Endlessly
Book 3 in the Paranormalcy Trilogy
AUTHOR: Kiersten White
GENRE: Urban fantasy
PREMISE: Evie is bullied by the supernatural to open a portal for all of them to go through. It's a pain in her behind.
MY REVIEW: All good things must come to end unfortunately. These books have been a favorite of mine these last three years or so and I really am sorry to see it go. But hey, White has new stuff coming out so it's not all bad, right?
This last book did everything a last book in a trilogy should do: tied up loose ends, solved consequences of previous books, shed light on old characters that we didn't realize before, and bring everything to a satisfying conclusion. Seeing Evie grow has been a absolute treat. She is still the Evie I grew to love in book one, but also has a more mature way of looking at things. True, a few things were predictable here and there but the joy of this series for me has always been Evie herself and White's brillaint sense of humor in the series.
So I'm sorry to see Evie go, seeing as she's been one of my favorite book heroines in recent years, but I'm also really satisfied with her journey and feel this is a good place to leave it be. I can't wait for White's new series and am really glad this author is here to stay.
WHO SHOULD READ: Those that have read books 1 and 2, urban fantasy fans, Buffy fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five portal doors

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Top Ten Tuesdays: Top Ten Books to get you into Halloween

This is a weekly meme hosted by the girls at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week: Top Ten Books to get you into the Halloween Spirit

Well, I don't know about anyone else but me, in October I crave spooky/creepy books. Granted I tend to do this year around because I'm a big fan of the paranormal stuff, but in October it gets worse. So here are my spine-tingling picks for Halloween:

1) Dracula by Bram Stoker-Long before there were sparkly vampires who made vampires into a popular love interest trope, vampires actually used to be scary respectable creatures of the night. This book is why.

2) Frankenstein by Mary Shelley-Every time some literature snob says women can't write horror I point to this book.

3) The Shining by Stephan King-Well, pretty much all King's early stuff will work for Halloween. The guy is king of horror for a reason but The Shining is the most freaky of them all.

4) Anna Dressed in Blood/Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake-Ghosts are my favorite supernatural creature and Blake took the ghost genre and turned it on it's head in a fabulous way. I'm currently reading Girl of Nightmares and it is just as good as book one.

5) Coroline by Neil Gaiman-Fabulously spooky story about a girl saving her parents from a monster who steals children. Highly rec the movie as well which follows the book rather well considering things.

6) The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman-Yes, another Gaiman book. This man writes fabulous ghost stories, what can I say? This one is about a boy who is raised in a graveyard by ghosts.

7) Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margeret Stohl-You can't have a Halloween list without some witches (they are my second favorite after ghosts). This series isn't totally scary persay but some of the imagery in it is haunting and a big part of it takes place on Halloween. Plus, Gaitlin is like the perfect setting for Halloween. Incidently book four comes out today. I can't wait to get my hands on it.

8) The Fear Street series by R. L. Stine-If you haven't at least heard of R. L. Stine then you had no childhood. Fear Street was my crack when I was in middle school. Pretty much any of the books will do (if you can find them, I don't think they're published much nowadays, the only place I've seen them is used bookstores and libraries). My favorite is probably the The Fear Street Saga which chronicles the Fear family and tells about why Fear Street is so cursed.

9) The Mediator series by Meg Cabot-Yes, more ghosts. This series chronicles Suze, a girl who sees ghosts. And it is a big pain in the behind for her. Good if you liked to be spooked but not too much. Plus it's got some hilarious stuff, for instance Suze's mentor is a old priest in charge of her high school who also sees ghosts. Needless to say, they have differing ideas on the ghost thing.

10) The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong-Okay, this is a bit of a stretch but I feel it's got some spooky parts in it so it totally counts in my book. The main charactor is a necromancer who sees and can summon ghosts to her. There's some really freaky parts in it because of this gift.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Book Review: The Immortal Rules

TITLE: The Immortal Rules
Book 1 in the Blood of Eden series
AUTHOR: Julie Kagawa
GENRE: Dystopian, vampires, adventure
PREMISE: In a world where vampires have taken over, Allie fears and hates them. But then one night she is forced to turn into the very thing she hates...
MY REVIEW: If there is one thing I love about Julie Kagawa's books that keep me coming back for more: it is her creativity. She manages to take somewhat tired trends (in this case vampires and dystopians) and makes them feel shiny and new by using new ideas. I mean blending vampires with dystopia? Brilliant. Sure, the romance is a little lackluster for my taste (sorry, I found Zeke to be kind of boring), there are one or two world building issues I have, and the ending wasn't much of a surprise but it's a good ending and a great lead in for book 2.
Kagawa's writing is also just lovely. She manages to get you to picture these fantastic worlds she creates without going overboard with purple prose and she creates interesting characters that you root for in the process. Boring Zeke aside, Allie was interesting to me. I do sort of wish other female characters had been just as well portrayed as her though. The whole treatment of Ruth and the obvious intentional bashing of her just made me roll my eyes and I will say a giant flaw in this book is that Allie literally is the only strong female shown. It's the one thing that annoyed me in this because I don't like it when authors obviously make other female characters weak to make their main character look badass/strong. I also remember this being a thing with the Iron Fey series. It's something I wish Kagawa would work on. What, is female friendship dead in this future or something? Male friendship seems to be doing okay so I don't see why female friendship is no where to be found.
But other then that personal annoyance this was a great start to a fabulous new series and proves that Kagawa is here to stay. Iron Fey was not just a fluke. I'm always pleased when authors do something other then their popular series and take chances like this because this is actually quite different from Iron Fey. I can't wait to read book 2.
WHO SHOULD READ: Iron Fey fans, dystopian fans, Hunger Games fans, vampire fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five samurai swords

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Weekly Recs (1)

This will hopefully be a regular feature here on this blog from now on (I know, I know, you've heard that before). This is similar to my previous Saturday Recs idea but I've decided to expand that idea to include TV, Movies, and Anime as I love all of those things as well as books. I've also changed it to weekly because I won't always be able to do them on Sunday as I my posting schedule is at the mercy of the retail schedule lords. So you never know when a day will be a weekly rec days. Keeps things interesting, right? So here's the first (of hopefully many) weekly recs post.

Weekly Recs: Currently running TV shows I recomend.-I am somewhat of a TV addict, I admit. I am into so many shows it's probably very sad. Netflix getting all the older shows on tv as well as older seasons of current shows does not help matters (I am currently neck deep into LOST for instance and kicking myself for never watching it while it was on the air). So here are all the shows currently still ongoing (either on hiatus, in the middle of a season) that I rec. For your sake I'll do the shows by channel.

FOX: I still am rather upset at Fox for the Firefly debacle so out of protest I don't really watch them all that much anymore. Plus Fox News makes me want to punch something so there's that as well.

I used to be into Glee but I got so fed up with it last season that I quit it (but I still occasionally buy the music and I keep up on what's happening through friends). I rec the first season of Glee. The first is the best. It was all downhill from there.

Bones-Forensic mystery show staring the man formerly known as Angel (who ruined all other vampires for me) and Emily Deschenel (Zoey Deschenel's sister (or is it cousin?)). Fun mystery of the week stuff with a witty cast. I have to say Bones is not as awesome as she used to be but the show is still very worthwhile.

I also hear Fringe is good but I've never seen it so can;t say for sure. But if you have access to it I would totally check it out.

CBS: Big Bang Theory-The show about nerds dedicated to nerds and nerd culture. But don't let that scare you off. Catch a episode or two on TBS reruns, that pretty much will give you an idea of the whole show.

NBC: Community-Also a comedy that is very nerdy (and kind of better then Big Bang even though I love Big Bang).
30 Rock-Because it's 30 Rock.

CW: Vampire Diaries-Well, I admit I have a love/hate thing with VD. It's got huge huge flaws but is still entertaining if for nothing other then to snark at.
Supernatural-One of the last shows left over from WB (oh WB, I miss you). For a good reason.

ABC: Once Upon a Time-Once is perfect for people who love fairy tale retellings and Disney. It's a fun and always twisty show. I gaurantee you will never look at Rumplestiltskin the same again.
Revenge-The most soap operish primetime show in awhile with two fabulous leading ladies and so many OMG moments you'll be hooked from episode one.
Castle-A writer follows a female cop because she is his muse (and more). Hilarious cast, fun mysteries, and so much meta/genre references.
Modern Family/The Middle/Suburgatory: ABCs comedy Wednesdays are pure gold.
Nashville-This is a tentative rec. The show is only two eps in so for all I know it becomes horrible later this season.
Scandal-One of the few shows with a african american female lead played by the always fabulous Kerry Washington. Follows the scandals that rock DC politicians and the woman whose team helps the people involved in said Scandals.

Misc. Channels:
Downton Abbey-Historic costume drama at its finest.
Warehouse 13-A show I wish was more popular about agents who track down historic artifacts that wreak havoc and store them in a warehouse to keep the world safe.
Doctor Who-Longest running show on television for a reason.
Being Human (BBC version, not bastardized SyFy version): A ghost, a werewolf, and a vampire all live together. It works out about as well as you'd expect. Has some wonderful philosophic thoughts on it about what it means to be...well human.
Game of Thrones: Wonderful example of how to make a book adaptation work as a series.
True Blood: Granted, TB is another show that gets love/hate from me due to its huge flaws. But again: entertainment factor is huge still.
Sherlock: A modern day Sherlock and Watson solve crimes. It is awesome.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Book Review: Underworld

TITLE: Underworld
Book 2 in the Abandon Trilogy
AUTHOR: Meg Cabot
GENRE: Paranormal/Urban fantasy, romance, retelling
PREMISE: Piarce is now stuck in the Underworld against her will and does everything she can to return home.
MY REVIEW: I'll be the first to admit it: I am a Meg Cabot fangirl. This is the author who basically introduced me to YA with the Princess Diaries. Plus she's hilarious and one of the few classy YA authors out there. All current YA authors need to take a leaf out of Cabot's book on how to conduct themselves online and with their fans. So that said, I don't think this trilogy is Cabot's best work, but it still is better then most.
On one hand I love the plot of this. Cabot's vision of the Underworld and the mechanics of it and her descriptions are all the things I've come to love about Cabot's writing. Plus, Piarce is a likeable heroine. She doesn't just take her boyfriends word for things and when he pulls douchebag crap she calls him on it. This is one of the few Cabot relationships I've had a hard time getting into and I've read one or two comments comparing it to Patch/Nora which just NO. Because Nora never ever calls Patch out on being a ass and certainly would never have the balls that Pierce does and she most certainly does not actually care about her friends/family like Pierce actually does. Plus there's a huge difference between this and Hush Hush: Cabot makes sure to tell us over and over again that what John does (kidnapping Pierce) is NOT okay. She makes sure to point out all the problems with this relationship as well as the good points of it. I'd much rather have a author is aware of the problematic issues in the book then a author like Fitzpatrick who doesn't seem to understand all the problematic messages she's sending. And I say this as a person who does mildly enjoy Hush Hush despite herself. I like Hush Hush but it's relationship make me want to bang my head against a wall.
This is one of the times where I think the plot outweighs some of the bad points of the relationship in the book. I like the trilogy, don't get me wrong, but it's got issues. However this is still one of my preferred Persephone/Hades retellings because it actually does point out the things that were wrong with what Hades did instead of making it super romantic.
WHO SHOULD READ: Those that liked Abandon, Persephone/Hades myth fans, fans of mythology, Cabot fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five  necklaces

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Book Review: Something Strange and Deadly

TITLE: Something Strange and Deadly
Book 1 in a new series
AUTHOR: Susan Dennard
GENRE: Zombies, alternate history, urban fantasy
PREMISE: Eleanor Fitt lives in a world where zombies are very real and a common fear. When her brother goes missing she finds herself pushed right into the world of zombies...
MY REVIEW: I liked this a lot. I will say a lot of it reminds me of Dearly Beloved (a personal favorite from last year) and it isn't a perfect series. Some of it is questionable. For instance Eleanor's judgement of feminine females got on my nerves a bit oh and I'm sorry but the girl on that cover does not look at all like she has a eating problem. No corset is that good. But overall this book did what it set out to do which is entertain.
Because this was some entertaining stuff. Dennard's writing is great. She has nice simple prose that explains what's going on without being over the top about it and this world she created is endlessly interesting. The characters are fun even if they aren't fully fleshed out. There's a fast pace to it with something always happening. It's a very readable book but also doesn't make you feel like you're losing IQ points while reading it.
A few predictable twists aside this was a fun ride and I look forward to the rest of it. I recomend this for all zombie fans. Especially those into historical fantasy.
WHO SHOULD READ: zombie fans, Infernal Devices fans, Dearly Beloved fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five corsets

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Book Review: Tiger Lily

TITLE: Tiger Lily
AUTHOR: Jodi Lynn Anderson
GENRE: Retelling, fantasy
PREMISE: Before Wendy came to Neverland, Peter Pan ran around the island with a girl named Tiger Lily....
MY REVIEW: I'm going to go ahead and say it: I never liked Peter Pan. No I don't mean the book. Bite your tongue, Peter Pan the book is fabulous. It's one of those I think everyone should read, and if you say you haven't, I tend to judge you. No, I never liked Peter Pan the character. I always felt he was a bit of a selfish jerk. Fascinating jerk, but a jerk nonetheless. I kind of always wanted Wendy say up yours and take the Lost Boys and take over Neverland. Alas, time period it was written, this was never a possibility.
This is one of those type of retellings that I adore. It takes a well known story, doesn't totally change it to suit the authors purpose but does sort of flip it and make you look at it in a new way. It's written in wonderful way as well. I adore Anderson's type of storytelling. True, it's not terribly subtle but it's written in a way that actually reminds me of JM Barrie's style and it feels wonderfully appropriate. The author makes Tiger Lily a full person instead of a stereotype and I absolutely love what the author did with Tinker Bell here. This is Neverland but it's also sort of different from say...the Disney version of Neverland. It's a retelling that does its own spin on Peter Pan but does it without walking all over the original material like oh say Scarlet did with Robin Hood.
I actually want to say this is my favorite read of the year. Literally the only flaws I see in it is that maybe the ending is a bit rushed. I sort of wish we had gotten more time with Wendy. I think this and Cinder and Code Name Verity are my top three YA debuts, unless a better book comes along later in the year. Unlikely.
WHO SHOULD READ: Peter Pan fans, anyone inclined.
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five lilies

Book Review: The Demon Catchers of Milan

TITLE: The Demon Catchers of Milan
Book 1 in a new trilogy
AUTHOR: Kat Beyer
GENRE: Urban fantasy
PREMISE: Mia gets possessed by a demon and soon learns that excorcising demons is part of the family business.
MY REVIEW: I'm torn about this book. On one hand the author has fantastic writing. She's atmospheric, she great at having you picture things, and the idea is somewhat creative.
On the other hand...I was confused a lot of the time. Mia wasn't totally fleshed out enough for my taste and don't get me started on the whole flirting with your cousin thing. Yeah...NO. I think you can say this was a idea I liked and I liked the glitter but the overall execution of it? Not so much.
I will give the author several points for the idea and the wonderful writing style but...I think this one is a library read only.
WHO SHOULD READ: Supernatural fans, urban fantasy fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five candles

Book Review: So Close to You

TITLE: So Close to You
Book 1 in a new trilogy
AUTHOR: Rachel Carter
GENRE: Time Travel, romance
PREMISE: Lydia discovers that her grandfather's stories about a local lab are actually true. But this truth comes at a cost.
MY REVIEW: Sigh. Another time travel book. Another wasted oppurtunity of a somewhat cool idea. YA authors, you can do so much with time travel, why why WHY do you all insist on focusing time travel books on boring melodrama? Just...WHY? Do I have to sit you down and make you watch Doctor Who, Quantum Leap, or heck even LOST to make you people see what you can do with time travel? If you insist on making this a trend in YA at least have the decency to make it interesting. Also really helps if the time travel is plausible. This? Not plausible. Also again: BORING.
Basically Lydia is Bella Swan with red hair and maybe a bit nicer who somehow magically gets transported to the nineteen forties. Now me, I'd be freaking out and finding my best way to get home but Lydia? Somehow manages to keep calm and poised and is all "oh, nineteen forties. Interesting" and then proceeds to flirt with two boys who basically do everything for her and something about her ancestors who totally cool with having a complete stranger live with them for a indetermined amount of time. Oh and did I mention one of the boys may be a ancestor of hers? That's not disturbing at all. Add in a stereotypical plot, boring stock characters, and okay but nothing great all adds up to a yawn of a book. I mean maybe the surprise about the grandfather in the end will lead to something but I honestly wasn't given enough to care about these flat characters that I probably won't bother to find out by the time the next book comes out.
I suppose this book does have some entertainment going on. I suspect fans of romance would actually enjoy the flirtation and not be bothered by how much the time travel takes a back seat to it. But for me this was boring, sloppy, and typical YA du jour. Nothing new to add to the table at all.
WHO SHOULD READ: Time travel fans, Hourglass fans (though Hourglass is better), romance fans
MY RATING: Three out of Five yawns

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Book Review: Team Human

TITLE: Team Human
AUTHOR: Justine Larbelestier and Sarah Rees Brennan
GENRE: Vampires, urban fantasy, parody/humor
PREMISE: Mel is not a fan of vampires. When a vampire starts going to her high school and her friend falls for him, she knows she has a big problem on her hands.
MY REVIEW: This my friends is the book I've been wanting since vampires became a thing in YA. First off, I will do a disclaimer: this is a parody. Book parodies are apparently not everyone's thing for some odd reason so there is a good chance you won't be a fan of it or of the humor (and admittedly some of the humor did wear thin at times). Luckily for the authors I adore book parodies. It's totally Terry Pratchett's fault. I've been waiting for a vampire parody since forever and here's one and it's glorious.
Okay yes, Mel can be annoying. Also some of the jokes did fall flat as they sometimes can in these types of books. But for the most part, this gave me a major happy. I think it's clever how it handles the vampire subject. It does mock it yes, but it does so lovingly and actually has arguements for both sides of the vampire arguement. Surprisingly it doesn't just bash vampire books for kicks (although there are one or two mocking grins Twilight's way but c'mon. It's TWILIGHT. If one does a vampire parody then one must include Twilight. It's like an unspoken rule) Also for a parody I thought the plot and the characters were pretty well done. There's diversity in the characters, Mel is called out on her flaws and she actually grows as a character, there's actual female friendship and the interaction/dialogue between the characters is fabulous.
So this is pretty much a personal favorite of mine. I loved it so much I'm thinking of giving Justine Larbelestier another chance despite being less then impressed with the one book of hers I've read. Perhaps Liar is better. But again, I must point out: parody. So I write this knowing there is about a fifty percent chance people who read this review may not love it as much as I did.
WHO SHOULD READ: Parody fans, Twilight fans with a sense of humor about the series, vampire fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five Team Human shirts because there need to be some.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Stacking the Shelves: Oct. 13th

This is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews that tells people what new books we've gotten over the week.

Downloaded to Kindle:

Thin Veil Book 1: Through the Door by Jodi McIsaac-Adult fantasy that is under the current monthly deals.

Witch Eyes book 1 by Scott Tracey-LGBT fantasy that is currently free on Amazon.

Library Haul:

Blood of Eden book 1: The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa-Kagawa's new vampire dystopian series that I'm currently reading and am loving the hell out of.

Shadows Cast by Stars by Catherine Knutsson-YA fantasy/dystopian debut that sounded interesting to me.

The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Long-YA debut about faeries. I can never resist faerie books.

Gilt by Katherine Longshore-YA debut and Historical fiction that people have been raving about. Doubt it'll live up to my love of Code Name Verity but you never know.

Tokyo Heist by Diana Renn-YA debut that has gotten several good reviews and sounds a little like Heist Society so I'm in.

Secret Letters by Leah Scheier-YA historical fiction debut that involves Sherlock Holmes and mysteries. I'm in.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Book Review: Magic Under Stone

TITLE: Magic Under Stone
Magic Under Glass Book 2
AUTHOR: Jacelyn Dolamore
GENRE: Fantasy, Faeries, Romance
PREMISE: Nimira and her clockwork prince travel to his home to discover a way to try and break him out of his curse.
MY REVIEW: So I was one of the few to read Magic Under Glass a year or so ago despite Bloomsbury's dumb decision to whitewash the cover. For the record, I didn't break the boycott about not buying it. I checked it out of the library because I believe it's unfair to not give the writer a chance because writers don't make the decisions ultimately about the covers of books. I thought it was definitely creative and I think Dolamore is one of the more imaginative writers to come along in the past few years.
My feelings about the sequel are...a little less enthusiastic. I still love the authors imagination and the plot was decent enough, I just found I liked Nimira a lot less then I did before. Honestly, I swear I don't remember her being nearly this annoying in the first book or did I miss that in favor of "ohh creativity!"? Possible. I mean I sort of get her motivations but still her "woe is me" act was really really trying my patience.
Other stuff was just...okay. I kind of hope this ends here and the author moves on to brighter shinier things because I feel this was a good place to leave it. So...decent book but not as good as the first.
WHO SHOULD READ: those that have read Magic Under Glass
MY RATING: Three out of Five spell books

Book Review: Timeless

TITLE: Timeless
Book 5 in the Parasol Protectorate series
AUTHOR: Gail Carriger
GENRE: Steampunk, urban fantasy, werewolves, vampires
PREMISE: Alexia is forced to go to Egypt at the bidding of a royal who shows interest in her daughter.
MY REVIEW: I've been a fan of the Parasol Protectorate series for...gosh over a year I think. I pretty much fell in utter love from the get go and my love has not wavered one bit through to the end of the series, despite some shakyness in book 3. This series is an example of how genre fiction can just be downright enjoyable even if it's not the best literature in the world. Sometimes enjoyability can trump everything. I mean, there's a reason shows like Castle and Revenge are so popular. I love these shows in question but mind-bending tv they aren't. Although Revenge does have its wtf moments that make it worth it. Plus the wonderous character that is Queen Victoria.
So it's a little sad for me that this series is ending. Or sort of ending I guess because apparently there's going to be a spin-off series and Carriger has a YA series coming out next year that takes place in the same universe but earlier and I for one cannot wait because it sounds all sorts of awesome. So at least there's that. But even if there wasn't more coming, this would have been a decent ending. You get the sense that things are changing and that Alexia has come to an ending of sorts. It's satisfying (and I must say I'm really happy about Lyall/Biffy even if part of me will always want Akeldama/Lyall or Akeldama/Lyall/Biffy. But this is good too so no complaints).
So in conclusion the usual fun, entertaining, and enjoyable experience that I've come to expect from this series and from Carriger. Can't wait for the rest of the books. I want them NOW.
WHO SHOULD READ: those that have read books 1-4, steampunk fans, Terry Pratchett/Neil Gaiman fans, fans of snarky books, Jane Austen fans (no seriously, this series is literally what Austen would be writing today, I'm telling you).
MY RATING: Four out of Five pimped out parasols

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Book Review: Spider's Bite

TITLE: Spider's Bite
Book 1 in the Elemental Assassin series
AUTHOR: Jennifer Estep
GENRE: Urban fantasy
PREMISE: Gin is a assassin who always does the job, no questions asked but then she gets asked to do a job that doesn't smell right from the beginning...
MY REVIEW: I became a big fan of Esteps YA series Mythos Academy last year (and I plan on reading book 3 soon, I's burning a place on my Kindle as I type) so I thought I'd give her adult series a try. Luckily her adult books are just as enjoyable and entertaining as Mythos Academy was. Granted I didn't love it nearly as much because well...Gin is kind of hard to like, but in a realm full of look alike UF series, this one does stand out and is memorable.
While as I said, Gin is a difficult character to get a handle on, she is still one of the more fascinating ones to me. I definitely get that this woman is a assassin, she doesn't feel like she's just saying "I kill people and am badass" but then proceed to melt instantly at the hands of her love interest and become a big ole softy like so many so-called badass "heartless" women. But she also has the character that similar heroines like Anita "I judge every woman who isn't me" Blake totally lack: namely you like her dispite her flaws because along with the flaws she also has charms. Along with Gin, there's a interesting mystery, a surprising twist at the end, a somewhat turbulant and complicated relationship with the male lead, and it has Estep's charming and readable writing style.
In the case of this series, I give it a thumbs up. I'll definitely be picking up more of these books in the future (after I get caught up on Mythos Academy though). Estep is fast becoming a favorite author in the UF genre. I hope she sticks around.
WHO SHOULD READ: Fans of Mythos Academy, UF fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five badass female assassins

Monday, October 8, 2012

Book Review: For Darkness Shows the Stars

TITLE: For Darkness Shows the Stars
AUTHOR: Diana Peterfreund
GENRE: Science Fiction, retelling, romance
PREMISE: Basically a retelling of Persuasion with science fiction flair.
MY REVIEW: For Darkness is pretty much exactly what it advertises: It is Persuasion retold in a science fiction setting. I picked it up for this idea and that idea is exactly what I got. So there isn't anything really wrong with it persay...I was just not blown away by it. Partly that is my own fault I guess. I love Peterfreund's Killer Unicorn books which were so wonderously creative and well done that I think maybe I built this up in my head a bit.
To be sure this is just as well written as those books. I love Peterfreund's prose and style of writing. The world is clever in the way that it does still talk about the issues that people seem to forget were apart of Persuasion. Everyone always focuses on the romance aspect of Austen but Austen did some very sly social commentary in her books as well and I often feel modern adaptations lose that in favor of "OMG, ROMANCE!". This is one of the few adaptations I've read that remembered the other issues that this book covered.
Still though...I can't really give it huge points for originality. It doesn't deviate from the main story of Persuasion, it didn't give me insight that I didn't have before was nice. It just wasn't mind blowing and considering the author I was a tad disappointed. It is a very good adaptation though so I give the author credit for that.
WHO SHOULD READ: Romance fans, fans of Persuasion, Jane Austen fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five stars in space

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Book Review: Spellbound

TITLE: Spell Bound
Book 3 in the Hex Hall Trilogy
AUTHOR: Rachel Hawkins
GENRE: Urban fantasy, adventure
PREMISE: Sophie and co. deal with a takeover by the headmistresses of Hex Hall.
MY REVIEW: It's always sad when a fun trilogy like this one comes to an end. But if it must at least it's done in satisfying ways like this particular trilogy. True, I am a little upset about the Cal thing (but as it opened the doors for Cal/Elodie... so.I'm over it) and one or two things were predictable (the ending of the love triangle for instance. Much as I was rooting for Cal I knew it was going to be Archer. At least Archer isn't a douche so I guess it's an improvement) but as a whole this was a good ending and a great lead in for the spin-off series that Hawkins is apparently planning.
Most satisfying is seeing Sophie just growing up and getting stuff done. Sophie's journey has been a fun and fullfilling one and as I've said one of my main wishes for trilogies/long book series is for characters to have growth. It doesn't even have to be huge growth just as long as they're at least a LITTLE different from when they were introduced in book 1. Sophie is different but she's also still got all the qualities that made me love her in book 1.
All in all this was a satisfying and fun conclusion to a solid series. I am going to miss Sophie and co (especially Jenna who thank god is alive). I can't wait for the spin-off series (please please be about Sophie's younger cousin. She was awesome) as well as whatever else Hawkins has in store for us. This author is here to stay and I couldn't be happier.
WHO SHOULD READ: Those that have read books 1 and 2, witch fans, Percy Jackson fans, Vampire Academy fans, Buffy fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five badass witches

Friday, October 5, 2012

Book Review: Soulbound

TITLE: Souldbound
Book 1 in the Legacy of Tril series
AUTHOR: Heather Brewer
GENRE: Urban Fantasy...I guess? Fantasy?
PREMISE: A girl who discovers she's a Healer who aren't taught how to fight decides to take matters into her own hands.
MY REVIEW: Here's the thing, I liked the general message of this book. Girl saying hell no to a stupid authority rule that is dangerous and fighting against the system? Hell yeah, I'm all over that stuff. There's a reason I love the Tortall series so much after all. For that I give Brewer a huge thumbs up. She's right: there needs to be more kick-ass girls in YA. However, I guess you could say I just didn't care for her execution of this idea.
Mostly this suffers from what I call tropesville. Practically everything in here has a feeling of deja vu and I feel like I've read this story a million times before and in much better ways. That would be fine if the characters were in some way interesting but...they aren't. Kaya kind of annoyed me, and I was done with Trayton the minute he was all "no, no, no, you can't fight! That's absurd! How dare you try to take care of yourself!"Plus the world building makes utterly no sense to me. I question the urban fantasy thing because I honestly have no clue if this is a total fantasy world or a world like Harry Potter where it's in our world, but this stuff is going on and we don't know it. That's....a problem. Plus the soulbonds vastly annoy me. God authors, enough with the mystical soulmate stuff already. Especiallly problamatic soulmate stuff like this one.
On one hand this is entertaining as hell. I like the message of the book. But on the other hand...the writing and plot is very poor. I say this one is a library read only.
WHO SHOULD READ: Vladimir Tod fans, those wanting a kick-ass heroine and don't mind sloppy sloppy SLOPPY world building
MY RATING: Three out of Five swords

Book Review: Body and Soul

TITLE: Body and Soul
Book 3 in the Ghost and the Goth Trilogy
AUTHOR: Stacey Kade
GENRE: Paranormal
PREMISE: Alona and Will deal with the consequences of Alona now being in a comatose girls body.
MY REVIEW: I have a deep fondness for the Ghost and the Goth Trilogy. True, some of the world building is iffy and the ending of this could have maybe been a bit better but it was still a pretty solid ending for the trilogy and was logical. But first and foremost: this trilogy is just plain enjoyable. It's also well written to boot and has good solid characters. So I give the trilogy as a whole a thumbs up.
My favorite in all of this is mostly Alona. I just love her. The author takes the pretty bubble-head cheerleader stereotype who is often made the villain of the YA genre (usually because she's pretty and gasp!cares what others think) and stomps it into the ground. Bless. You all know from past reviews how much I tend to loathe this trope. Finally the blonde cheerleader is given depth and personality. Alona is deeply flawed yes, but we are given reasons for her flaws and she manages them and actually grows past them. Same with Will who while not quite as well developed for me as Alona, is still given growth. The Will and Alona of the end of book 3 are vastly different from when they began in book 1. In the end that's what I want most from books series: for characters to grow and change. The plot is also given a satisfying conclusion.
All in all this is a solid ending for a solid entertaining trilogy that I'm really going to miss. But Kade has a new series coming out next year so it's not all bad.
WHO SHOULD READ: Those that have read books 1 and 2, paranormal romance fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five mediums

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Older Books

This is a weekly meme hosted by the girls over at The Broke and the Bookish .

This week: Top Ten Older Books You Don't Want People to Forget About

I am defining older books as books/book series that started five years or longer ago if anyone is curious about the criteria.

1) Harry Potter series by JK Rowing. Well, with the movies it's doubtful this series will ever be forgotten but I'm putting it on here anyway. Harry Potter has done so much for reading as well as childrens/YA and I do actually feel it'll be one of those timeless series that will be handed down the generations.

2) The Tortall series/Circle of Magic series by Tamora Pierce-Technically this is cheating because they're two series but they're written by the same author and are both wonderful series I wish every fantasy fan would read. At the very least everyone should pick up Sandry's book and Alanna: the First Adventure. These books are what got me into reading the fantasy genre during middle-school. The books are still ongoing and still just as solid as when they started.

3) The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede-Why more people don't know about this wonderful series about Cimmorone, a princess who LIKES dragons and doesn't want to be rescued thank you very much, I do not know.

4) The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle-One of the best adult fairytales out there. You probably know the movie better and while I like the movie just fine (it actually follows the book fairly well despite the unneeded addition of musical songs) it doesn't hold a candle to the book.

5) The Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot-Please ignore the Disney movies which are nothing like the series. The PD books are fabulous character books and hilarious to boot. I don't enjoy contemporary novels as a rule and Cabot is one of those who made me give contemporary YA a chance.

6) Beauty by Robin McKinley-Still one of the best fairy tale retellings out there and one I tend to judge all fairy tale retellings by.

7) His Dark Materials Trilogy by Phillup Pullman-A trilogy I wish more people would give a chance. Damn movie that screwed it up. Damn church making people afraid of it.

8) The Young Wizards series by Diane Duane-One of those series that very few people seem to know about which is a darn shame. It's a fabulous blend of fantasy/sci-fi and was another one of those series that got me into reading during my middle-school years.
9) The Diary of Anne Frank-Read even if you don't read non-fiction or aren't a history buff or whatever excuse you've come up with. Everyone should read this at least once.

10) The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi-One of my favorite books growing up about a girl who goes on a overseas voyage and gets caught up in a mutiny and becomes a sailor.

Honorable mentions I considered but didn't make the cut for reasons (mostly: not as good, or very little chance of being forgotten): Animorphs series, Baby-Sitters Club series, Nancy Drew series, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Artemis Fowl series, Lord of the Rings series, Where the Sidewalk Ends, all the classics, To Kill a Mockingbird, American Gods, Stardust, The Giving Tree, Where the Wild Things Are, all Judy Blume books, Gemma Doyle Trilogy, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and The Princess Bride

Monday, October 1, 2012

Monthly Book Picks for October

All the books released in October that I hope to eventually read.


Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George-Because I'm always up for a George book.

Heroes of Olympus Book 3: The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan-Even though I still need to read The Son of Neptune and the last Kane Chronicles book...


Crewel World Book 1: Crewel by Gennifer Albin-Interesting looking YA debut.

Eve and Adam by Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant-Sounds like it could be cool.

Montefiore's Goddaughter by Elizabeth Brooks-debut that looks really interesting. Plus, gorgeous cover.

Beta book 1 by Rachel Cohn-Looks interesting.

Breathe by Sarah Crossan-Interesting looking dystopian even if I get the feeling the love triangle will be highly annoying.

Hush Hush Book 4: Finale by Becca Fitzpatrick-Hush Hush is my shame read series. I read it. But I'm ashamed I read it because the books...aren't good. But they're damn addicting. It's a sickness.

Dark Star by Bethany Frenette-Superheroes. Hells yeah. It's about time someone did teenage superheroes in YA. I'm amazed this isn't a larger genre.

Caster Chronicles Book 4: Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia and Margeret Stohl-One of my favorite series is coming to an end ;sad face; However, Kami does have a new series coming and there's the BC movie in February so it's not all sad...

Juliet Immortal book 2: Romeo Redeemed by Stacey Jay-Kind of don't want Romeo to be redeemed because I found him one of the more interesting characters in Juliet Immortal and I feel if he's redeemed all his interesting aspects will disapear but I'll still read.

Mystic City Trilogy Book 1: Mystic City by Theo Lawrence-Looks like it could be cool.

Innocents by Lili Peloquin-Gothic mystery. I love me my gothic books.

The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski-Secret society book. I'm a sucker for those.

Dustlands Book 2: Rebel Heart by Moira Young-Dustlands was a favorite last year. Can't wait to read the sequel even if the writing style will be forever annoying.


Agent of Hel book 1: Dark Currents by Jacqueline Carey-New UF series and we all know I'm addicted to this genre.

Toxic City Book 1: London Eye by Tim Lebbon-Cool looking new dystopian series.

Dani O'Malley book 1: Iced by Karen Marie Moning-My favorite Fever character is getting her own book. ;insert fangirl squee;

Book Review: Arise

TITLE: Arise
Book 2 in the Hereafter series
AUTHOR: Tara Hudson
GENRE: Paranormal, romance
PREMISE: Amelia and co. return and try to get answers for things.
MY REVIEW: Honestly...I still don't have much to say about this series. It is what it is. Not horrible but not really great either.
The sequel doesn't really do much in terms of convincing me this series is great. It's basically more of book one. Amelia is still as bland as ever as is Joshua though it is nice to have a relationship that isn't unhealthy even if the relationship is still as boring as rocks. Really all I can say about this series is it doesn't suck. But it's not fabulous either.
So I still shrug at this. I'm not sure if I'll bother to read book 3 next year. I may just because I believe it's the last book.
WHO SHOULD READ: Those that read Hereafter and liked it.
MY RATING: Three out of Five shrugs