Sunday, November 30, 2014

Book Review: Snow Like Ashes

TITLE: Snow Like Ashes
Book 1 in the Snow Like Ashes Trilogy
AUTHOR: Sara Raasch
PUBLISHED: October 14th, 2014
GENRE: Fantasy
PREMISE: In another world, a girl helps a resistance movement and discovers secrets about her past.
MY REVIEW: I have...mixed feelings about this one. There are things I liked about it and things I honestly could have done without. For the most part it was a decent debut...but I could tell it was a debut. It could have stood a lot of editing/world info/less telling instead of showing.
Then there's the ever dreaded love triangle which again: dragged down an otherwise okay book. Seriously authors: if you don't need a love triangle, DON'T PUT ONE IN. There's a damn good reason people are tired of them right now. I liked the imagination of the world, the end had some good twists, and there were some character feels here and there.
The book wasn't a total wash. I just feel like it could have been ten times better with lots of polishing.
WHO SHOULD READ: YA fantasy fans Dragon King Chronicles fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five could have been better sighs

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: On My Winter TBR List

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

This week: Top Ten Books on My Winter TBR List.

Again, as my TBR list is HUGE as always (need to start getting more picky), I'm sticking to books publishing in the winter season. So books published during December, January, and February.

1) Ticker by Lisa Mantchev

Being Released: December 1rst, 2014

Why: Theatre Illuminata is one of my favorite really under appreciated trilogies. The author hasn't written anything since it ended almost two years ago. Plus, it's steampunk. I love me my steampunk.

2) Dark Star Book 3: Fire Fall by Bethany Frennette

Being Released: Jan. 6th, 2014

Why: Another underrated series that I love which is sadly coming to end. Hopefully the author has more new stuff coming.

3) Brothers Grimm Mystery series 1: Gretel and the Case of the Missing Frog Prints by P. J. Brackston

Being Released: January 15th, 2014

Why: It's about a grown up Gretel going out and solving cases. If you don't want to read that, I don't know what's wrong with you.

4) The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

Being Released: January 13th, 2014

Why: It's Holly Black, nuff said.

5) Splintered Book 3: Ensnared by A. G. Howard

Being Released: January 6th, 2014

Why: I love this wacky Alice in Wonderland reimagining.

6) Avalon Trilogy Book 2: Polaris by Mindee Arnett

Being Released: January 20th, 2014

Why: Avalon was a favorite of this year. Can't wait to read the sequel.

7) Fever series Book 7: Burned by Karen Marie Moning

Being Released: January 20th, 2014

Why: One word: FINALLY. Almost two years waiting after that cliffhanger in Iced. Not cool, Moning. Not cool.

8) Lunar Chronicles Book 3.5: Fairest by Marissa Meyer

Being Released: January 27th, 2014

Why: It's Lunar Chronicles. Nuff said.

9) Bloodlines Book 6: The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead

Being Released: February 10th, 2014

Why: Bloodlines conclusion! Feels like only yesterday that we were celebrating the start of this series. Ah, nostalgia...

10) Shades of London Book 3: The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson

Being Released: February 10th, 2014

Why: Been waiting quite awhile for this one. Such a good paranormal thriller series.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

What to Read Next After: The Book Thief

So, maybe you've finally gotten to The Book Thief ;gives you tissues for your tears and feels;. Now, you're ready for some more WWII fiction, because hey, that Pearl Harbor anniversary is coming up. Here are some books to try out next:

1) The Diary of Anne Frank

Going to get the most obvious choice out of the way. If you read WWII books, this should be one of the first ones you go too. Hopefully, your school teachers have already covered this one in class. But you never know with teachers, so if you haven't read it in school, try it out now.

2) Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

This one is about a spy for Allies who gets caught by the Nazis. I'll warn you now: it's a heavy book. But damn, is it good. When you're done, check out its sequel Rose Under Fire. Also good news if you've read both of those: there's another one coming out next year called Black Dove, White Raven (I think...).

3) Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

You probably know Lowry best for The Giver. Well, my first encounter with her writing was this book, which was assigned to me in school for a project of some sort that I don't remember now, but I do remember this book. It's just as good as The Giver.

4) Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

This one goes into the Russian side of things in WWII. It's about what Russians did to Lithuanians, told through the eyes of an teenage artist who is forced to go to one of their work camps. No, Nazi's did not have the monopoly on being horrible to other human beings.

5) The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne

I actually have not read this one yet ;ducks; but from the sound of it, it's in the same vein as Book Thief. This one is about a son of a Nazi who meets another boy from a concentration camp who starts to question what the Nazis are doing.

Other books to look at:

Prisoner of Night and Fog Book 1 by Anne Blankman
Annexed by Sharon Dogar
Atonement by Ian McEwan

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Book Review: Killer Instinct

TITLE: Killer Instinct
Book 2 in the Naturals series
AUTHOR: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
PUBLISHED: November 4rth, 2014
GENRE: Urban Fantasy, Mystery
PREMISE: The group, still dealing with the consequences of the last book, embarks on a new mystery. This one dealing with a serial killer who is copying the work of Dean's serial killer father.
MY REVIEW: Ever wonder what CSI/NCIS shows would possibly be like if the characters were teenagers with baggage and powers? Well, it would probably look something like this series. Which would mean I would actually watch it and not get bored after two episodes (I have nothing against these franchises...I just find them really boring and repetitive).
Barnes takes the CSI set up and does it more along the lines of shows like Bones/Castle/Elementary (shout out to my favs) where there's more character development along with the progression of the mystery. It pays off too, because the result is an engrossing mystery series with characters I actually want to spend time with. I don't even mind the love triangle in this (which I think was basically resolved in this book, thank goodness), it's that fun. Honestly, my only wish is that we get more time with Sloane. But that's mostly because she's my favorite and I feel like she's not as developed as the rest of the group and I would like more info on her.
This did everything second books should do. It progressed the characters, solved lingering issues, and created new ones for future purposes. Honestly, if Barnes wanted, I can see this becoming a long running series. I would be all for it.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of The Naturals, mystery show fans, Barnes fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five serial killers

Many thanks to Disney-Hyperian for the Net Galley of this book.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Book Review: Thyme of Death

TITLE: Thyme of Death
Book 1 in the China Bayles series
AUTHOR: Susan Wittig Albert
GENRE: Cozy Mystery
PREMISE: A former lawyer who owns a shop gets involved when an apparent suicide of a close friend is in fact a murder.
MY REVIEW: So, here's my weekly read the through the library find. I...wasn't that wild about this one. To be honest, it's entirely me. There's nothing really WRONG about the book. It was just a bunch of little things that bugged me that kept me from enjoying it.
For's pretty dated, particularly in attitude. I can absolutely tell a middle-aged white conservative lady wrote this. And no, there's nothing wrong with being a middle-aged white conservative lady. But it did mean that I spent a majority of the book wanting to bang my head on the wall at some of the nonsense going on in the book. For instance there's a conversation about guns that makes me cringe. I'm trying to keep in mind that this woman is from Texas and she wrote this pre-Columbine and not in this day and age where there's a shooting every damn week. But it did make me groan nonetheless (I'm pro-gun control. No, I don't want to take away your precious guns, but you can't honestly tell me you need to take a gun into a freaking Target).
Then there's the air of judgement that tended to come every time China spoke about someone who didn't behave "appropriately". This someone was almost always a woman. I also can't help but notice how strange it is that everyone in this town (a college town, mind you, not some small Stars Hollow ville place) was white. Literally, everyone. Oh, and don't get me started on the treatment of the revelation that the victim was a lesbian. It made it out to be some scandalous thing, and then the author did the preference bs. Being LGBT is not a preference/lifestyle choice people. Being LGBT is a part of who that person is. They do not choose it. Basically, this book was trying to be feminist (or what the author thought feminism was at the time), but really it kind of failed. Miserably. That's not even going into the fact that the main character BURNS EVIDENCE AT THE END. What self-respecting former lawyer burns evidence? I don't care if you're trying to protect someones image, you don't freaking do that.
Now, this series is still going on apparently, so for all I know the author has changed stuff and fixed the problematic things (people can change their viewpoints, it happens). However, I don't particularly care enough to find out as other then getting annoyed at the bad feminism, I was pretty bored through out this really predictable mystery.
WHO SHOULD READ: conservative cozy mystery fans
MY RATING: Two and a half out of Five yawns

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Book Review: Trial by Fire

TITLE: Trial by Fire
Book 1 in the World Walking Trilogy
AUTHOR: Josephine Angelini
PUBLISHED: September 2nd, 2014
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
PREMISE: A girl gets pulled into a parallel universe where magic is every day and her other self rules supreme.
MY REVIEW: Angelini's books are ultimate guilty pleasures for me. I concede that they aren't that challenging or even that original in places. I also concede that the world building can sometimes leave a lot to be desired.
But damn it, she knows how to spin a good yarn. All the little issues tend to go by the wayside because you get engrossed in the fast paced plot and next thing you know, you've already finished the book a day later. I will warn that the first fifty pages are a bit of a struggle because that's the bulk of the teen melodrama. Once you get past that to when she gets into the parallel world is when it starts to get good.
In short, this was a fast and entertaining read, much like the trilogy she did before. If you liked her Starcrossed Trilogy the you'll probably like this. If you didn't for whatever reason, then this probably is not going to be for you.
WHO SHOULD READ: Starcrossed Trilogy fans, parallel universe book fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five rulers being shady

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Book Review: Evil Librarian

TITLE: Evil Librarian
AUTHOR: Michelle Knudsen
PUBLISHED: September 9th, 2014
GENRE: Urban Fantasy, Demons
PREMISE: A girl discovers her librarian is a demon and is slowly taking over the school.
MY REVIEW: I'll be honest, I mostly picked up this book because of the title. Awesome title is awesome and has a great hook. Who wouldn't want to read a book about an evil librarian? Come on. Plus, it describes the book perfectly. It's about a girl who discovers her librarian is evil. Straightforward and to the point title.
The humor of the title also extends to the book and it's pretty much why I enjoyed this book. It's very clearly meant to be a fun urban fantasy romp and fun urban fantasy romp it is. It never asks you to take it seriously (so I don't particularly understand half the reviews I've seen complaining about every little thing) and is just all around FUN.
If you're looking for a urban fantasy that is fun, I definitely recommend this one.
WHO SHOULD READ: Buffy fans, urban fantasy fans looking for a fun time
MY RATING: Four out of Five librarians hiding dark secrets

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Sequels I Can't Wait to Get

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

This week: Top Ten Sequels I Can't Wait to Get:

1) Diviners Book 2: Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray
Being Released: God willing that there's no more delay, April 2015

Why: Because Diviners is freaking awesome and I've been waiting for over TWO YEARS for this book. I'm not yelling at Bray, I get that when the writing juice doesn't come, it doesn't come. But seriously: two years.

2) Seraphina Book 2: Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman
Being Released: March 2015, god willing again.

Why: another sequel to an awesome book that I've been waiting forever for.

3) Lunar Chronicles 3.5: Fairest AND Lunar Chronicles 4: Winter by Marissa Meyer
Being Released: Fairest will be out on January 27th, and Winter is going to be out November 15th (just in time for my birthday next year! I know what I'm spending my birthday money on that year)

Why: Because Lunar Chronicles is awesome. If you haven't read it yet, get Cinder like now.

4) The Custard Protocol Book 1: Prudence by Gail Carriger
Being Released: March 17th, 2015

Why: Okay, I'm kind of cheating with this one since technically it's a new series. BUT it's a new series that is a sequel to a pre-existing series. So I say it totally counts as a sequel. Prudence is the daughter of Alexia and don't even try to tell me you don't want to read about Alexia and Lord Maccon's kid.

5) Madman's Daughter Trilogy Book 3: A Cold Legacy by Megan Shephard
Being Released: January 2015

Why: I've been a fan of this vastly underrated trilogy since the beginning. I can't wait to see how it ends.

6) Winner's Trilogy Book 2: The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski
Being Released: March 2015

Why: Really enjoyed the twists and turns of Winner's Curse. Can't wait to continue the story.

7) Nevermore Trilogy Book 3: Oblivion by Kelly Creagh
Being Released: July 28th, 2015

Why: yet another sequel to an awesome series that I've been waiting for forever.

8) Mediator Book 7: Remembrance by Meg Cabot (no cover out yet)
Being Released: February 2016

Why: Mediator series was my crack as a teen. You seriously think I'm not looking forward to reading about Suze as an adult? I hope she gets to visit Father Dom at her alma matter, ;crosses fingers;

9) Princess Diaries 11: Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot (no cover yet)
Being Released: June 2nd, 2015

Why: Mia and Michael's wedding! Mia and Michael's wedding! MIA AND MICHAEL'S WEDDING!

10) Game of Thrones Book 6 and beyond by George R. R. Martin
Being Released: Who the hell knows when.

Why: Because it's Game of Thrones and there were several cliffhangers in A Dance of Dragons. Get it out already, Martin.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Book Review: Loop

Book 1 in a new series
AUTHOR: Karen Akins
PUBLISHED: October 21rst, 2014
GENRE: Sci-fi, Time Travel
PREMISE: A girl who time travels gets into trouble in the past and that in turn, effects her future.
MY REVIEW: Time travel books tend to be hit or miss with me. That especially includes YA time travel books. This always, I didn't take the method of time travel seriously at all (this time travel gene trend needs to END. I blame Time Traveler's Wife). But other then that sigh inducing aspect, the story itself was rather good.
The main character is likable, the romance...okay, but nothing special. But at least the guy wasn't a douche. What was interesting to me mostly was the mystery surrounding the mother and the time loop butterfly effects going on. I like when authors actually use the time travel to make a good story and don't just use it for romance purposes and this author did actually do that.
It's not a debut of epic proportions, but this is a perfectly decent debut. I look forward to the rest of this series.
WHO SHOULD READ: Time Traveler's Wife fans, Tempest Trilogy fans, time travel romance fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five time travelers wreaking havoc

Many thanks to the publishers for the Net Galley of this book.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Book Review: Queen of the Tearling

TITLE: The Queen of the Tearling
Book 1 in Queen of the Tearling series
AUTHOR: Erika Johansen
GENRE: Fantasy
PREMISE: A young woman is brought out of seclusion to finally reclaim her throne.
MY REVIEW: Loved Game of Thrones, but wish it was only about Dany? Also wish it had far better treatment of females in society? Well...this book is for you.
This book is focused on a young queen who wrestles with the kingdom she was left in the wake of her mother's murder. It is more character study/politics then fantasy, which is why I recommend it for Game of Thrones fans. It's not as dark as GoT can get but it does have some interesting food for thought in it. Honestly, most of the weak points for me was the romantic factor. Thankfully the author didn't seem as concerned about that plot line. I kind of think that, like what happened in Hunger Games, she was told to put SOME romance in there to generate interest.
Other then weak romance, this was a well done book. The writing is wonderful, the characters are interesting, and it's a good lead into what looks to be an interesting series. I can't wait for the next one.
WHO SHOULD READ: Game of Thrones fans, fantasy fans who like character focus
MY RATING: Four out of Five badass queens getting shit done

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Book Review: The Glass Sentence

TITLE: The Glass Sentence
Book 1 in the Mapmakers Trilogy
AUTHOR: S. E. Grove
PUBLISHED: June 12th, 2014
CATEGORY: Middle-Grade/Childrens
PREMISE: In a alternate world, a girl gets swept up in adventure when her uncle is kidnapped.
MY REVIEW: I admit, I've been slightly out of the middle-grade loop this year. In fact, I'm pretty sure this is the only one I've read at all this year which makes me feel slightly sad. Because middle-grade fiction is truly a gold-mine of imaginative stories sometimes. This book, is a perfect example of that.
Because holy hells, I love this author's imagination. She took one simple idea of what would happen in history if this had happened and explores that idea wonderfully. Seriously, I love alternate history because you can play around with it so much, and play this author did. Now, sometimes the playing did slow down the story a bit. The author is apparently an historian and I can tell, because she liked giving all the details. While the world-building lover in me adores that, I can't ignore that this sometimes slowed the plot way down and interfered with character moments.
But all in all, I really loved this old-school adventure that reminded me of why I still read middle-grade fiction despite not having any kids. I think I'm going to have to catch up in this section. Anyone know some really good releases that have come out in the past year or so?
WHO SHOULD READ: Alternate history fans, His Dark Materials fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five maps

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Book Review: Prince of Fools

TITLE: Prince of Fools
The Red Queen's War Book 1
AUTHOR: Mark Lawrence
PUBLISHED: June 3rd, 2014
GENRE: Fantasy
PREMISE: A prince gets caught up in conspiracies while his grandmother wages a war.
MY REVIEW: I picked this up not knowing that it's apparently part of the Broken Empire series. Luckily it's a spin-off about completely new characters, so I wasn't totally lost while reading it. I'm sure there are probably some easter eggs here and there that I missed though. Which is why at some time in the future, I'll be picking up the Broken Empire series, because I really did like this.
One thing I'll warn about: this is what I call dude-bro fantasy. It is fantasy that is about dudes who go on adventures together and doing manly things like fight in wars and flirt with wenches. The dudes are usually always white and naturally none of them are gay (though I was shipping Snorri/Jalen like nuts through out it, so sorry author). There's little to no relevant female characters in it. I mean you have the queen...and you have the queen. I mean, there are side-bit female characters but they add basically nothing to the plot. They're either there to be love interests or just there. So, this is very traditional fantasy. It's not very inclusive with the diversity at all. But at least the female characters get treated better in this world then they do in Game of Thrones. Kind of.
This is my first Mark Lawrence book, and I'm thinking I'll look into the Broken Empires series now. Because despite being disappointed in the lack of diversity/female characters...the writing was good and I enjoyed the characters. I just wish the author thought a little more outside the medieval fantasy box.
WHO SHOULD READ: Game of Thrones fans, fantasy fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five snarky princes

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Book Review: Hollow City

TITLE: Hollow City
Miss Peregrine Book 2: Hollow City
AUTHOR: Ransom Riggs
PUBLISHED: January 14th, 2014
GENRE: Historical Fantasy
PREMISE: Jacob and the students of Miss Peregrine travel to London.
MY REVIEW: I don't know why it is that I just can't get as excited about this series as everyone else seems to get. To be clear: I do like it. I do think it's a perfectly decent series and I'm kind of looking forward to the movie.
I just don't get that thrill that everyone else in the world seems to get from it. Part of it I know, is that I just don't get the overhype surrounding it. But honestly I don't get the overhype machine ever, so there you go. To me, this is just another fun YA paranormal. The section is full of series that are just as wonderful and imaginative as this. But apparently the rest of the book world doesn't know about those books, because I keep hearing about how this is super unique. Now, yes, the way Riggs tells the story with the photos he finds is fabulous. I also love the powers he came up with for the kids. But story wise...this is kind of X-menish and most of the stuff in it are tropes that are very familiar to those of us who read lots of paranormal YA. So...I don't particularly agree that this is the best thing since sliced bread. Good entertaining book? Absolutely. Most unique thing ever? Not so much.
But I've made peace with the fact that I'm in the minority on feeling this way. I don't at all expect this to change the fact that the next book will be everywhere when it comes out too. I'll also probably read that one too, because as I said: I like it. I just think the hype is really overblown.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of the first book, historical fantasy fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five weird photos

Sunday, November 9, 2014

What to Read Next: The Tempest Trilogy

So you've finished the Tempest Trilogy by Julie Cross and loved it. Now you want more time travel stories or books similar. Fear not, this list is for you.

1) The Time Machine by H. G. Wells
Why: Always a good idea to look into the classics that inspire these things.

2) Hourglass Trilogy by Myra McEntire
Why: Has time travel (of sorts), shady organization using time travel, romantic subplot and drama.

3) Outlander series by Diana Gambledon
Why: more romantic time travel.

4) The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Why: Another tale of a guy who time travels which messes up his love life just a tad.

5) Precious Stone Trilogy by Kiersten Gier
Why: Has someone who time travels, does so for reasons, has romantic subplot with guy who also time travels.

Also look into: The Timeless series by Alexandra Monir
River of Time series by Lisa Tawn Bergren
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Book Review: Stitching Snow

TITLE: Stitching Snow
AUTHOR: R. C. Lewis
PUBLISHED: October 14, 2014
GENRE: Retelling, Science Fiction
PREMISE: A retelling of Snow White set in space.
MY REVIEW: First off, I'm not going to do that thing people have been doing, which is compare this to the Lunar Chronicles. I understand the temptation, but I think we really need to step away from this habit of comparing new books to books that have already gained a following. I love Lunar Chronicles, I do and that's the problem. Because when you love something like that, and you read this new thing and compare the two, of COURSE it's not going to measure up. So, this review is not based on how this is not as good as Lunar Chronicles.
As a story on its own, this is a decent debut. The author twists the familiar story of Snow White a bit in some unexpected ways. It's very readable and Essie is a fun heroine. I wish the world was a bit more developed, but it's developed just enough that you get the gist of it at least.
Is it as good as Lunar Chronicles? No. Does that mean it's a bad book? No. It's a perfectly decent read, especially if you want more sci-fi retellings. Which I do, hint hint publishers.
WHO SHOULD READ: Lunar Chronicles fans (who aren't going to find it lacking just because it's not Lunar Chronicles), retelling fans, Snow White fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five badass princesses

Many thanks to the publishers for the Net Galley of this book.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Book Review: Silver Shadows

TITLE: Silver Shadows
Book 5 in the Bloodlines series
AUTHOR: Richelle Mead
PUBLISHED: July 29th, 2014
GENRE: Urban Fantasy, YA
PREMISE: Sydney and Adrian have to break Sydney out of the prison that the Alchemists sent her too.
MY REVIEW: This review is going to be short because honestly at this point, I don't have much to say about the series.
At over ten books, you probably know whether or not the Vampire Academy books are for you. If you're a vampire fan and have not checked this series out yet, I strongly urge you too. This book is what I've come to expect from this series and Mead. It's fast-paced, it's got fun dialogue, and a good cliffhanger at the end to make you read the next book.
So if you're a Bloodlines fan, go forth and continue.
WHO SHOULD READ: Bloodlines fans, Mead fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five surprise weddings

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Book Review: The Keeper of Lost Causes

TITLE: The Keeper of Lost Causes
Book 1 in the Department Q series
AUTHOR: Jussi Adler-Olsen
PUBLISHED: 2011 (in the US)
GENRE: Mystery
PREMISE: A down on his luck detective in Denmark gets shafted into solving cold cases. His first involves a dead politician.
MY REVIEW: Yes, my friends, another reading through the library read. You love these, don't you? This weeks find is a mystery thriller from Denmark. Apparently this one is popular in Denmark, to the point that they made it into a movie (or a tv show?, I just saw film stills when I looked it up in Google so I don't know the whole story).
I actually kind of liked this one. It's kind of reminiscent of Girl With a Dragon Tattoo, just minus the rape/torture scenes (thank God). The main character isn't as interesting as Lisbeth, unfortunately, but he is interesting. He's got the grumpy detective thing going for him. But honestly, his cheerful partner was who I liked. I hope we get his back story in the next few books (yes, I'm continuing the series). The only warning I can give is that since it was written for a Denmark audience, it tends to assume you're familiar with Denmark politics and in-jokes. So, some of that was a little confusing. But not to the point that it made reading it impossible. Personally, I found the peek into Denmark rather interesting.
The mystery is nice and twisty, the characters are interesting enough to make you want to read the next one. I can see why it caught on in Denmark.
WHO SHOULD READ: Girl With a Dragon Tattoo fans, Mystery fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five grumpy detectives

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Book Review: Afterworlds

TITLE: Afterworlds
AUTHOR: Scott Westerfeld
PUBLISHED: September 23rd, 2014
GENRE: Realistic Fiction, also kind of's complicated.
PREMISE: A young writer just gets a big book deal and moves to New York City to start her writing career...
MY REVIEW: This is such a departure from what Scott Westerfeld usually writes so I'm not really shocked that many of his fans didn't like it. Me...I'm firmly on the fence. I guess you could say I liked the idea of it and what the author was doing more then the final product itself.
I do love the way Westerfeld set up the story for sure. He sort of has two stories going here. You have Darcy, the young writer, moving to NYC and discovering the pitfalls of being a new writer and making those deadlines. Then alternately, we get to see the story that Darcy wrote, called Afterworlds (hence the name) which is your typical YA paranormal sort of story. It's a clever idea. Because we get to see Darcy and see her grow, at the same time we get her book and see her influences in it. There's a lot of meta on the YA book world as well. Which I admit, as someone who is writing a book (don't ask how it's going, just...don't), I found interesting. Also, if you're looking for diversity in your reading, Darcy is Indian and also falls in love with a girl while in NYC (and I could go on forever about how much I adore Ingrid).
I'll admit, I didn't like this as much as Westerfelds previous books. I think he wrote this one just to get the story out there. Sometimes writers need to do that. I respect that. It's not his best work ever, but I've certainly read worse.
WHO SHOULD READ: Fangirl fans, Scott Westerfeld fans, those into the behind the scenes action in YA
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five panicked writers making deadlines

Monday, November 3, 2014

Book Review: Lock In

TITLE: Lock In
Book 1 in new series
AUTHOR: John Scalzi
PUBLISHED: August 26th, 2014
GENRE: Sci-Fi/Dystopian, Mystery
PREMISE: In the future a man joins the police FBI and takes on his first case...
MY REVIEW: Confession time: I've never actually read John Scalzi. I've been meaning too for years. Because Redshirts sounds like all kinds of awesome and I follow him on Twitter and he seems like an awesome person all around. Also when I say I haven't read him yet, I get that LOOK. You all know the one I'm talking about.
After reading this, I totally get what the fuss is about. Normally, it takes me awhile to get into Sci-Fi books. Usually because the authors are so hell bent on proving their science cred that they forget that little thing called story and so I tend to get bored. This is why I tend to prefer fantasy over sci-fi. Scalzi manages to find that happy middle. Where he does do some interesting plausible world building AND manage to have a great story/characters at the same time. He has somehow managed to make not just good sci-fi, but sci-fi that everyone can read. Yes, my friends, it can be done.
Basically, I loved the hell out of this. This, I think, is what Meyer was TRYING to accomplish with The Host but failed to do. This really is Sci-Fi for those who can't get into Sci-Fi. But it manages to do so, without insulting Sci-Fi fans. Redshirts has now gone up on the TBR list.
WHO SHOULD READ: Sci-Fi fans, John Scalzi fans, I Robot fans
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five detectives in a sci-fi world

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Making the Leap: Harry Potter

If you liked the Harry Potter Series:

Then in adult fiction, look into The Peter Grant Series by Ben Aaronovitch:

Why: It's got the hidden fantasy world thing going on, that certain Britain humor, it's self aware and makes the Harry Potter jokes, and there are twisted magical mysteries.

Other options to look into: 
Discworld series by Terry Pratchett (if you liked the Brit humor side and the well developed world)
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (if you liked the portal fantasy/darkness of it)
The Magicians Trilogy by Lev Grossman (if you want more magical school stuff)

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Looking Ahead: November 2014

Here are books published this November that are on my radar.

November 4rth:

Naturals 2: Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Category: YA
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Mystery
Why: I'm always up for a Barnes book and The Naturals was really fun and twisted.

Finishing School Book 3: Waistcoats and Weaponry by Gail Carriger
Category: YA
Genre: Steampunk/Mystery
Why: Because I love this series. I read anything Carriger. I can't wait for Prudence next year.

Bhinian Empire Book 2: Empire of Shadows by Miriam Forster
Category: YA
Genre: Fantasy/Mystery
Why: I love City of a Thousand Dolls. It was one of the most underrated books last year. Can't wait to spend more time in this fascinating land.

His Fair Assassin Trilogy Book 3: Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers
Category: YA
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance
Why: I have a fondness for this trilogy, even if I will forever find nuns training assassins weird.

November 11th:

Stone Cove Island by Suzanne Myers
Category: YA
Genre: Mystery
Why: I'm a sucker for mysteries. Ones where everyone is a suspect and secrets are spilled? Even better.

The Change 1: Stranger by Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith
Category: YA
Genre: Dystopian Fantasy
Why: It sounds like it could be cool.