Thursday, March 24, 2016

Book Review: Riders

TITLE: Riders
Book 1 in the Riders series
AUTHOR: Veronica Rossi
PUBLISHED: 2/16/2016
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
PREMISE: A boy discovers he's one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse...
MY REVIEW: I was honestly a bit disappointed in this one. I really liked Rossi's other series, Under the Never Sky. So I might have been expecting too much. There's nothing really wrong with it, persay. The writing is competent enough.
It's just...dull. Which is odd, because a book about the four horsemen of the apocalypse should not be dull. But there it is all the same. On top of dullness, it's...confusing. The author drops you right into the middle of the story. Which can work for some things, but in this case just added to my confusion. Also, the romance was completely unnecessary. The book probably would have been ten times better without it.
I think I might skip the rest of this series. I didn't find it as compelling as Under the Never Sky and didn't enjoy it much. It's not a horrible book, it just...really wasn't for me.
WHO SHOULD READ: those that like dark YA, Veronica Rossi fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five horses

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Book Review: Welcome to Night Vale

TITLE: Welcome to Night Vale
Book 1 in the Night Vale series
AUTHOR: Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor
PUBLISHED: October 2015
GENRE: Science-Fiction/Paranormal
PREMISE: Set in the world of the popular Night Vale podcast, this book follows two people in Night Vale as they try to uncover a mystery about the mysterious "King City".
MY REVIEW: I have fallen in love with Night Vale podcast. If you have no idea what it is I'll...try to explain it. Basically it tells the story of a strange town called Night Vale via a nightly radio show. It seems strange, I know, but just give it a listen. It gets pretty addicting pretty fast. They just recently started a spin-off podcast called Alice Isn't Dead. You can start listening to it here if you want too:
If you haven't listened to the podcast...this book will likely not make much sense to you. It's written matter of factly and assumes the reader knows Night Vale. I don't mind that, but if you were hoping to use this book as a way to check out what Night Vale even is, If you were hoping to read a book featuring Cecil, the radio show host, you're also out of luck. This book follows two side characters instead. It does however give you a more visual glimpse of Night Vale then the radio show does. Plus random characters make an appearance, such as Old Woman Josie. suits Night Vale. I'm not sure the randomness of this book would suit any series that wasn't Night Vale. It is enjoyable. For Night Vale fans, I highly recommend it. If you haven't discovered Night Vale, I would suggest trying the podcast first and then trying the book if you like the podcast.
WHO SHOULD READ: Welcome to Night Vale fans, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy fans, Terry Pratchett fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five weird towns

Monday, March 21, 2016

Reading Through the Classics: The Color Purple

TITLE: The Color Purple
AUTHOR: Alice Walker
GENRE: Historical Fiction
PREMISE: In a series of letters to god, a woman talks about her life in Georgia during the 1930s.
MY THOUGHTS: Like most classics (even modern classics), there probably isn't much I can say about this book that hasn't already been said. You probably already know if you're ever going to read it or not. I would advise reading it, it is an important book.
Most of the importance in this for me, came in the ideas it brought up. There is a very good reason this novel is taught. It gives you so much to think about. The way it's written is a bit startling at first, but after awhile you grow used to it. It's a very quick read, but it's a quick read that packs quite a punch. I absolutely understand why this has gotten loads of awards and people still talk about it to this day. Also, I highly recommend the movie and seeing the musical. But read the book first. I didn't and so this didn't impact me as much as I feel it would have if I hadn't been spoiled by the movie.
WHO SHOULD READ: Historical Fiction fans, anyone inclined

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Book Review: The Dragon's Return

TITLE: The Dragon's Return
Book 2 in The Zodiac Legacy Series
AUTHOR: Stan Lee, Stuart Moore, Andie Tong
PUBLISHED: 1/26/2016
CATEGORY: Middle-Grade
GENRE: Urban Fantasy, Superheroes
PREMISE: The Zodiac team struggles as their lives become more difficult...
MY REVIEW: I've mostly been pleased with Marvel and DCs attempts to break into the book market. They're going about it in smart ways. This book is just one example of a job well done.
Now, like the first book, this is incredibly fast paced. Also like the first book, I honestly wish this had been a graphic novel series instead of a book series. I suspect as a graphic novel it might have taken off a bit more. Because it is written much like a graphic novel where there's lots of action and a very fast-paced plot. But little character development. Though this one did try more then the first, so there is that.
This one is obviously mostly aimed at the younger crowd. For them, it'll probably be a very entertaining read. If you know younger readers looking for some action books, I would definitely recommend this to them.
WHO SHOULD READ: Marvel fans, comic book fans, younger readers
MY RATING: Four out of Five zodiac signs

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books on my Spring TBR List

This is a weekly meme hosted by the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is top ten books on my Spring TBR list. For the sake of narrowing things down (I have over five hundred books on my TBR list), I shall be keeping this list to books being released during the Spring season. So books published from next week on until June 21rst.

Here are the Top Ten Books on my Spring TBR List:

Winner's Trilogy Book 3: The Winner's Kiss  by Marie Rutkoski

Release Date: March 29th

I've been loving this trilogy since it started. I can't wait to see how it ends.

Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan

Release Date: April 5th

I'm always up for a Sarah Rees Brennan book and this one sounds all sorts of awesome.

Rebel Belle Book 3: Lady Renegades by Rachel Hawkins

Release Date: April 5th

Another series that I love. Hawkins always has enjoyable books and I can't wait to get my hands on this one.

Raven Boys Book 4: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

Release Date: April 26th

So many awesome series are ending this year and this one is a conclusion that I both want and don't want because I don't want a certain character to die.

Down With the Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn

Release Date: April 26th

This one sounds so interesting. It involves a modern day world where there's a substance that grants wishes but at a cost.

Lois Lane Book 2: Double Down by Gwenda Bond

Release Date: May 1rst

I loved the first Lois Lane book. I can't wait for more adventures starring our teen reporter.

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

Release Date: April 26th

First, look at that gorgeous cover. Second, it just sounds cool and is a tale inspired by Indian mythology.

The Trials of Apollo Book 1: The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan

Release Date: May 3rd

Damn you, Rick Riordan, you got me again with another mythology series. I'm never going to be able to quit you.

The Fixer Book 2: The Long Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Release Date: June 7th

Barnes got me again with another excellent series that is basically a YA version of Scandal but with likable characters (I love you Scandal, but seriously)

Peter Grant Book 6: The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch

Release Date: June 16th

I love the UKs answer to the Dresden Files. I actually will go as far as to say, I kind of prefer this series to the Dresden Files.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Book Review: Sword and Verse

TITLE: Sword and Verse
Book 1 in the Sword and Verse series
AUTHOR: Kathy MacMillan
PUBLISHED: 1/19/2016
GENRE: Fantasy
PREMISE: A girl is torn between helping the people of her country and the prince she's fallen in love with.
MY REVIEW: Sadly, this one was a disappointment for me. Maybe it's my own fault. I let the buzz get to me and the premise presented in the summary makes it sound like the most epic thing ever. Unfortunately, the book does not live up to the promised epicness.
A large part of the problem is that this is presented as a fantasy book but, like so many before it, it chooses instead to focus on a boring romance instead of the fantasy part which is probably why most of us picked it up in the first place. The romance between Raisa and her prince is predictable, has been done several times before, but for some reason is about eighty percent of the focus. The result is a very dull fantasy book.
If you want a romance that just happens to be set in a very light on the fantasy, fantasy book. This book will probably be for you. But I for one, wanted a fantasy book and this one did not deliver that very much. There is a plot in it about a rebellion, but it is constantly pushed aside in favor of the romance and that got very annoying, very quickly. The fact that this world isn't very developed and the characters are predictable makes this a passable, but honestly not very original read. The author got the story done. I'll give her that. I can see some people who really like romantic fantasy liking this. It's readable. It's and ultimately a very forgettable in a book section that has dozens of books like this out already.
WHO SHOULD READ: Those looking for a romance that happens to be set in a fantasy world
MY RATING: Three out of Five could have been betters

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Thematic Sunday: Books for St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's Day is upon us this week. So in honor of that, this week's Thematic Sunday are books about the Irish. I'm going to be doing history books, non-fiction books about any Irish people, and even fiction books with Irish characters.

1) Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt

A memoir about Frank McCourt's years as a young boy born to recently immigrated Irish parents, growing up in Depression era Brooklyn.

2) Dubliners by James Joyce

Short Story collection by James Joyce looking at Dublin at the turn of the twentieth century.

3) Dublin Murder Squad series by Tana French

Looking for a mystery series to sink your teeth into this St. Patty's Day? Try Tana French's murder mysteries set in modern day Dublin.

4) Room by Emma Donoghue

Maybe you want to see what Irish lit is like nowadays? Look no further then Room. A bestseller that recently got turned into a Oscar nominated film.

5) Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

Speaking of the Oscars, this book also got made into a movie that was nominated this year. This one about a girl from 1950s Ireland who immigrates to the US.

6) Fever series by Karen Marie Moning

Looking for a more fantastical version of Ireland? Try this dark urban fantasy series complete with antagonistic romance and fae.

7) Tara Road by Maeve Binchy

Binchy has several books set in Ireland. I'd go with this one. It seems to be her most popular.

8) How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Chahill

Looking for a history book on Ireland. Check this bestseller out.

9) Hush: An Irish Princess' Tale by Donna Jo Napoli

Retelling of an old Irish tale set in medieval Ireland.

10) Early Irish Myths and Sagas

If the book above interests you, then try this book out.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Book Review: Wishful Drinking

TITLE: Wishful Drinking
AUTHOR: Carrie Fisher
CATEGORY: Non-Fiction
GENRE: Memoirs/Biography
PREMISE: Carrie Fisher, she of Princess Leia fame, recalls some things in her life.
MY REVIEW: I love Carrie Fisher and I always have. I honestly don't know how it took me so long to get to this book. I should have read it ages ago. Oh well, best laid plans and all of that.
For those hoping for in depth memoirs...this is not that. Mostly this is Carrie talking about her life experiences. It hits on most of the big things like her life as Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher's daughter, making Star Wars, and getting diagnosed with bipoler disorder. It's all told in what I've come to think of as Fisher's very frank sense of humor.
I found this one pretty enjoyable. It's told kind of like in the style of her one woman show. If you're familiar with that, then you'll probably enjoy this one quite a bit.
WHO SHOULD READ: Carrie Fisher fans, memoir/bio fans, fans of Has Everyone Been Hanging Out Without Me? and Why Not Me?
MY RATING: Four out of Five laughs

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Book Review: All In

Book 3 in The Naturals series
AUTHOR: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
GENRE: Mystery, Paranormal
PUBLISHED: November 2015
PREMISE: Cassie and her crew are called in to investigate a series of murders in Las Vegas.
MY REVIEW: This review will be short. There's not much to say about this book that I haven't already said about the rest of the series.
Like the other two books, I loved this. Barnes does great character development along with a great mystery. It deftly continued plots from the previous book and kept me interested.
It was in short, a great installment. There is another book coming and as always with Barnes, I look forward to it.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of the first two books, Criminal Minds fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five poker faces

Friday, March 4, 2016

Book Review: The Sword of Summer

TITLE: The Sword of Summer
Book 1 in the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series
AUTHOR: Rick Riordan
PUBLISHED: October 2015
CATEGORY: YA/Middle-Grade
GENRE: Fantasy/Urban Fantasy
PREMISE: Magnus has been on the run for awhile now. Everything changes when he dies.
MY REVIEW: This is the kind of book where honestly whatever I say here, will probably make no difference. This series will still do well. Riordan has a loyal fanbase (I should know, I'm a part of it) and there's a good reason for that. The man knows how entertain. Better, he entertains in smart ways.
If you've read the Percy Jackson books or the Kane Chronicles this book will probably be familiar. Riordan has a formula, but it works for him. If it works, don't fix it, I say. This is basically like the rest of his books, except this deals with Norse mythology. As always how Riordan weaves in the myths into his own versions is clever and works well.
I admit, I sometimes have issues with series that do spin-offs upon spin-offs. Sometimes I do really  wish authors would move onto to something else (;cough;Cassandra Clare;cough;). But I can get behind it if the author still manages to make the universe fresh and engaging and not stale. Riordan manages that better then most. I can't wait for the rest of the books in this series and yes, I will be reading the Apollo books.
WHO SHOULD READ: Rick Riordan fans, mythology fans, Thor fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five dead heroes still getting stuff done

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Looking Ahead: March 2016 Releases On My Radar

Here are all the releases in March 2016 that you can probably expect reviews for at some point or another:
March 1rst:

Charlotte Holmes 1: A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

I was not very impressed with Lock and Mori, which featured a gender flipped Moriarty. But that was mostly because the idea had been done before (and spectacularly) by Elementary. Perhaps this version of a gender flipped Sherlock Holmes will be better.

Seven Black Diamonds by Melissa Marr

Melissa Marr is writing about faerie courts again! Woohoo!

Burning Glass Book 1 by Kathryn Purdie

Mostly just on my radar because it's fantasy. If it's fantasy, I'm basically guaranteed to at least try it.

Walt Whitman Mystery: Speakers of the Dead by J. Aaron Sanders

A mystery staring Walt Whitman? Yes please.

March 8th:

Others Book 4: Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop

As soon as I get caught up on this series that I just discovered last year, I'm reading this.

Conspiracy of Us Book 2: Map of Fates by Maggie Hall

Conspiracy of Us was so much fun. Can't wait to read the sequel.

Rebel of the Sands Book 1 by Alwyn Hamilton

I admit, 90 percent of why I want to read this comes down to the gorgeous cover. But also the premise sounds pretty awesome.

The Great Hunt Book 1 by Wendy Higgins

Another book that has gotten lots of buzz.

The Steep and Thorny Way by Cat Winters

I'm always up for a Cat Winters book. She has such interesting ideas. This one is no exception: Hamlet retelling set in 1920s Oregon.

A Tyranny of Petticoats by various authors

An awesome idea for an anthology that features stories that are historical fiction or historical fantasy. It has an awesome array of writers as well including Jessica Spotswood, Marie Lu, Marissa Meyer, and so much more.

March 15th:

A Drop of Night by Stefan Bachmann

Mystery set in Paris with teens in a cat and mouse sort of game? Sign me up!

Dorothy Must Die Book 3: Yellow Brick War by Danielle Paige

This series is my guilty pleasure series. I don't pretend at all that it's brilliant but there is something rather addicting about this messed up version of Oz.

March 22nd:

Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke

This one has been getting some buzz around the YA circles. Plus, the cover is gorgeous. I have to give it at least a look.

March 29th:

Winner's Trilogy Book 3: The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

Seems only yesterday this trilogy started and caused a stir. Really looking forward to seeing how all of this goes down.

Note: yes, Lady Midnight does come out this month as well (the 8th). But I have finally bid adieu to the Mortal Instruments series so that book is not on this list because I have very little interest in reading it.