My friend’s grandmother chose this one for book club, and I was keen to read it because I’ve seen the author’s name around a lot. First jarring observMy friend’s grandmother chose this one for book club, and I was keen to read it because I’ve seen the author’s name around a lot. First jarring observation: this book is written in third person present tense, which I really dislike and found awkward at time. The story was okay, and I actually did learn a few interesting things about Cherokee history. I found a lot of the plot to be predictable (not all of it, though), and some of the characters were quite frustrating. It’s one of those stories where I understand that without the stupid decisions the MC makes there would be no story, but that’s kind of what bothers me. Overall: interesting, but I didn’t like it enough to keep my copy (I gave it away)....more
This one was chosen by my friend’s aunt for our book club, and I was happy that my local library had it available as an e-book. I’m not very big on hoThis one was chosen by my friend’s aunt for our book club, and I was happy that my local library had it available as an e-book. I’m not very big on holiday stories, but this one turned out to be a lot more enjoyable than I had anticipated. Maybe it’s because I can sometimes be curmudgeonly and so I could relate rather well to Luther, who wanted to skip Christmas and all the stress that comes with it altogether! The story was a light, enjoyable read, peppered with plenty of humor. I was kind of frustrated with Mrs. Krank near the end, because I felt like her actions were somewhat unrealistic, but I guess there wouldn’t have been as much of a story otherwise. All in all, a fun little read!...more
I'm a sucker for futuristic stories involving virtual worlds. Caprica, the Battlestar Galactica spinoff series (which I absolutely devoured), really sI'm a sucker for futuristic stories involving virtual worlds. Caprica, the Battlestar Galactica spinoff series (which I absolutely devoured), really struck a chord with me, and it continues to haunt me years later. My husband and I often daydream together about the OASIS in Ready Player One. Being able to visit places that feel real, and meet up with people far away, all without leaving your seat (and no matter where you might physically be) is an intriguing concept.
In stories like Elusion (and Ready Player One, and Under the Never Sky), these virtual worlds are created out of almost a necessity. The physical world is bleak, restricting, and uninspiring -- so why not bring everyone to a better place, however you can? The world-building in Elusion was interesting and pretty rich, which pleased me because a lot of YA sci-fi books don't seem to give as much detail. The unbreathable outside air, ever-smoggy sky, and acid rain -- all thanks to Florapetro refineries -- painted a scary and depressing picture of the future.
The whole invention of Elusion, its Escapes, and the technology that brought people there was very interesting. I loved the idea of trypnosis, and it got me wondering how possible something like that could really be. A person puts on their visor, earbuds, and accupressure wristband, and "escapes" into the world of Elusion for up to one hour at a time. At the end of that hour, they must exit, and suffer a few minutes of Aftershock. The Aftershocks were particularly interesting -- and frightening -- to me, because they felt eerily familiar to things I experience with narcolepsy (I'll put it in a spoiler tag, just in case). (view spoiler)[The Aftershocks leave the person paralyzed, unable to move, and sluggish for a few minutes. The descriptions were vivid, and just about triggered a mini cataplectic episode for me, because it sounds so similar to cataplexy and sleep paralysis. (hide spoiler)]
The story was interesting, if somewhat predictable. It was fast-paced and enjoyable to read, and I found myself continually wanting to know what was going to happen next. My favorite parts were the scenes involving Elusion and its technology, but I also found the scenes that painted a clear picture of their current world status to be satisfying as well. The characters were distinct and decently developed, although I think there could definitely have been more there. There is romance, and the dreaded love triangle, but I found myself not really caring about -- or trusting -- either of the guys.
So, I liked the book. I was excited, the whole time I was reading, knowing that I was experiencing such an interesting story as a standalone, and I wouldn't have to wait months/years for more of the story. But, damn it all, the ending left it so open for a sequel that I was almost angry when I read the last page. If there is a sequel? Of course I'm going to read it. I just wish, for once, I wouldn't have to.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Initially, I chose to read Salvage this year because it's a debut and it looked science-fictiony, which is what I like. I was very excited when my reqInitially, I chose to read Salvage this year because it's a debut and it looked science-fictiony, which is what I like. I was very excited when my request for a galley was approved on Edelweiss, an I started reading it immediately. From start to finish, I went through a range of emotions in regards to this book: fascination, confusion, excitement, skepticism, frustration, curiosity, boredom, and adoration. I know -- it's quite the spread! Let me break it down a bit.
Things I liked about Salvage - The book starts off on a spaceship called the Parastrata with a culture that is rich and interesting. I was drawn in immediately by the strange words and phrases, the curious social norms and traditions, and the situation Ava is in. There is nothing that catches my interest faster than a culture with deep, mysterious, controversial traditions, just waiting for me to unravel them! - The writing and language is quite beautiful. The dialect Ava and the rest of her crewe speak on the Parastrata is not what I'm used to, and it took a while for me to feel comfortable with it. Some of this, I enjoyed, because I learned new things (did you know "modrie" used to be used as a word for a maternal aunt?). - The depth of culture was quite well-done, in addition to what I mentioned above. It's rare that a book (especially a YA book) prompts me to research further, but this one did. I'm so glad I found a couple of explanations on the authors website about religion and Haitian Creole in Salvage. - The main character, Ava, goes through a slow and deep transformation. It took me a very long time to appreciate it, but by the end of the book I was very proud of her and felt quite satisfied with the way things turned out.
Things I didn't like about Salvage - The pace was uneven, and a big chunk of the middle felt too slow. The beginning, set on the spaceship, drew me in easily and I read on hungrily. But things changed, and the bulk of the story ended up feeling much less urgent and almost aimless. By the end, thank goodness, I was happy, but for a long while I was a bit bored. - I wanted more and less at the same time. There's this characteristic many debut and indie novels have, in that they somehow feel too... on the surface. For a large part of the book, I felt like I was just following along with Ava, going through the motions, and nothing was really happening. I wanted to dig deeper into things, and then I felt conflicted because it seemed to be going deep into some things. I'm not sure how to resolve this. Maybe it just turned out to be different than what I was wanting? - Some of the language was too annoyingly confusing. Ava and the crewe of the Parastrata all use the word "so" in just about every sentence. Some of it made sense; I understood easily that when they say "right so" they mean "yes." But by the end of the book, I was still confused by their usage of it as an honorific. I still have no idea what "so doctor" or "so missus" are supposed to mean, and this disappointed me. (I also couldn't find much explanation for this online anywhere, which was equally disappointing.) - As is typical with e-galleys, the formatting provided a somewhat uncomfortable reading experience. Don't get me wrong -- mostly, it was fine. But there were some parts that genuinely confused me. The Aether is a ship that Ava's crewe meets up with, and the Æther people were mentioned many times throughout the book. Like the way the Parastrata people say "so captain," the Æther folks seemed to say "ther captain," etc. Sometimes, however, a sentence would begin with "ther" (yes, lowercase) and it made me feel as if something was missing. I have a feeling that the Æ character was missing, but I wasn't sure because the language was already so unfamiliar. I still don't know the answer.
In the end... I did enjoy this book and by the end, I came to appreciate Ava's story very much. I think this book has a lot of good qualities and touches on a variety of great questions and ideas. I'd recommend it if you're looking for an interesting book with hints of sci-fi, but is more heavy on the social commentary and personal growth....more
I got this as a free audiobook over the summer, and so I chose to listen to it when I didn’t really have anything else pressing in my audiobook queue.I got this as a free audiobook over the summer, and so I chose to listen to it when I didn’t really have anything else pressing in my audiobook queue. I’d been curious about curanderas ever since I met a girl who calls herself one. This book… Well, let me just say that it’s a good thing I know a spot of Spanish, because otherwise I would have been slightly confused and moderately annoyed the entire time. This book is sprinkled heavily with Spanish phrases and honorifics, and I didn’t realize that going in. The story was sometimes interesting and sometimes boring. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it didn’t really have much of an impact on me. Maybe the slow parts weighed it down too much? There was some absolutely beautiful commentary on life and people in it, though....more
I’d been unsure about even starting this new series by Garcia and Stohl since I wasn’t super fond of the Caster Chronicles. But you know me, I can’t rI’d been unsure about even starting this new series by Garcia and Stohl since I wasn’t super fond of the Caster Chronicles. But you know me, I can’t resist a novella, so I figured this would be a good chance to see if I’m interested in the rest of the series. It started off pretty typical, with Ethan and then Link. But the bulk of the story was from Ridley’s point of view, and it was much darker than anything else in the previous series. I’ve never liked Ridley all that much, but I have to say that her point of view surprised me, and I liked it a lot more than I expected to. Based on this, I may be tempted to read the first book int he series, but only if it’s heavily from Ridley’s point of view and there’s not as much Link involved (which I doubt)....more
Confession: my husband and I are Pusheen fans. We have been known to giggle at many a Pusheen gif, compare Pusheen to our own cat, and even buy a PushConfession: my husband and I are Pusheen fans. We have been known to giggle at many a Pusheen gif, compare Pusheen to our own cat, and even buy a Pusheen t-shirt or two. So naturally, when I saw this book available on NetGalley, I clicked the Request button with such enthusiasm that my tendonitis flared up. (Thanks again to Simon & Schuster for galley approval -- you made my day!)
The Content I'm not sure what I was expecting when I started reading through the book, but I was a bit surprised to see that it was basically the Pusheen blog collected into chapters and put into book form. (And, sadly, without the gifs because we don't like in Harry Potter's world.)
For the most part, things were well organized, and the chapters and sections made sense. A few times, though, there seemed to be just random images thrown in at the end of a section. Most pages consisted of one or two drawings, and the various Pusheen Guides (cat etiquette, being fancy, etc.) were spread out over multiple pages.
While most of the content seemed familiar, apparently a portion of it was never-before-seen material, which was a nice surprise. Even so, the book felt a somewhat lacking and I was hoping for a bit more substance (but, perhaps, what can one expect from a cat?).
The Format As an e-galley, this book was somewhat problematic. At first, I was reading it with the Kindle app on my phone, because I wanted to see it in color. But the book was clearly not formatted for Kindle viewing, and the images (which were basically the whole page) only took up about 40% of my screen. Viewing this on my Kindle wasn't as fun, either. The images were still not proportioned well for the screen, and since I have the cheapest Kindle, that meant viewing it all in black and white.
Finally, I opted to view it using Adobe Digital Editions on my computer. I was able to view it more like a regular book, seeing two pages side-by-side, which was nice. The quality, however, was on the low side, and I felt myself getting frustrated because I could see most of the images in much higher quality on the Pusheen website. This was obviously not the finished ebook, however, because the bleed and crop marks were clearly visible along the edges.
Final Thoughts I'm not sure how different the finished ebook looks, but either way, I'd recommend picking up the print version of this one. It's a very quick read, but it's cute and fun and full of that Pusheen charm. A great addition to any cat-lover's coffee table....more
So, the heavily anticipated Adam novella. I have to say, I was underwhelmed. In fact, I’m not really sure why I rated this one at three stars. Did I rSo, the heavily anticipated Adam novella. I have to say, I was underwhelmed. In fact, I’m not really sure why I rated this one at three stars. Did I really? I should change it to two. This is basically a big chunk of the ending of Unravel Me, but from Adam’s point of view. Which means that you get to re-read a LOT of the same material — dialogue and all — all over again. (Maybe this was only annoying to me because I read this directly after finishing Unravel Me, but I still think it’s lazy.) In addition, Adam’s voice sounded way too much like Juliette’s half the time, and the other half he was making Juliette look and sound pretty crazy (which made me wonder why he wanted to be with her in the first place). Overall? Meh. I say skip it....more
Well, folks. Robin LaFevers has charmed me once again. After thoroughly enjoying Ismae's growth in Grave Mercy and falling in love with Sybella in DarWell, folks. Robin LaFevers has charmed me once again. After thoroughly enjoying Ismae's growth in Grave Mercy and falling in love with Sybella in Dark Triumph, I had no doubt that Annith's story was sure to reel me in. She had been this mysterious figure throughout the first two books that I was eager to learn more about, and DAMN. This GIRL.
One of the things I admire most about this series is that LaFevers has a way of gently pulling you so deep into a person's life that you just can't help but feel for them. Like, it's so subtle and eloquent and masterfully done. As I began to learn about the secrets and circumstances of Annith's past, my heart went through waves of indignation, sympathy, and admiration. You really do get to experience the utter frustration of her entire life, and then you understand some of her choices, and you also come to see what an incredibly strong person she is.
Aside from Annith and her growth throughout this book, I was delighted to encounter a handful of new characters and followers of some of the other nine old gods. Balthazar is clearly a favorite, and the Arduinites were a very welcome addition to the fold, much like the Charbonerie in Dark Triumph. It was also interesting to get to see a bit more from the Duchess's perspective, and see what unfolded with her situation and her sick little sister.
I had the pleasure of meeting Robin LaFevers at a local author event, and she spoke a lot about her inspiration for this series. I didn't realize that so much of the overall story was rooted in true events that happened to the folks in Brittany. Knowing that they did hold onto their old gods much longer than many other countries (as Christianity swept the world) was a fascinating revelation that made me love the tapestry LaFevers wove even more.
Mortal Heart is the perfect ending to this wonderful trilogy. The writing and the storytelling and the imagination throughout all three of these books are magnificent. Highly recommended.
Oh, and if you're wondering: the narrator was really good. It's funny that each narrator pronounced various names differently, but at this point I didn't mind. The audiobook was a winner. (And yes, I bought the hardcover AND the audiobook. What can I say? I'm a super fan.)...more
When I started listening to this audiobook (immediately after finishing Grave Mercy), I was surprised by a few things: 1) the narrator was different,When I started listening to this audiobook (immediately after finishing Grave Mercy), I was surprised by a few things: 1) the narrator was different, which was quickly explained when I realized that 2) this book focused on Sybella instead of Ismae. Call me oblivious, but I didn't realize this series was comprised of companion novels (you KNOW I never read the descriptions)! No matter, however; it is all fabulous.
Here are the important things about my experience with Dark Triumph: - The writing is even more lovely than in Grave Mercy. I didn't know this was possible, but it is true! - The narrator was a bit annoying (I really don't think Sybella was breathless with urgency the entire time), and it took quite a while for me to get used to it. - There are multiple ways to pronounce French names. I preferred some spoken by this narrator and others spoken by the narrator for Grave Mercy. - I didn't think I could despise d'Albret any more than I did by the end of Grave Mercy, but I was wrong. Oh, so very wrong. (He is quite despicable.) - This book is dark. Much more so than its predecessor. I liked this, but, you know... beware. - Sybella is one of my favorite characters ever. She is clever and dark and capable, yet full of self-doubt. I can relate to her on such a deep level, despite the differences in our experiences. (view spoiler)[She is the first character I ever wept for when I read about her lost baby. I am not very, how-you-say... maternal. (hide spoiler)] - I adored the romance and thought it was very well done. - Once again, I was impressed by the lore and depth of world-building presented in this book.
Robin LaFevers has made a true fan out of me. This book was spot-on in every category, and inspired even more ideas within me (more discussions, more creative projects, more fan art!). I'm not sure what kind of review this is supposed to be, but I don't know what else to say that isn't just blatant gushing. I loved this book, and I basically want to read everything else Robin LaFevers writes forever.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I like the series, so I was excited to pick this one up when I realized it existed — and even more excited when I realized it was about Wyatt. It wasI like the series, so I was excited to pick this one up when I realized it existed — and even more excited when I realized it was about Wyatt. It was such a treat getting to learn more about this character, her life before the Pentagonal Spire, and her initial experiences there before Tom arrived. It made me like her even more, and it actually surprised me, some of the thoughts she had regarding some of the other students at the Spire. This was a fun read, and pretty satisfying, but they did that thing I hate. You know, where the file is this long, but actually only half of it is novella, and the rest is just a preview of the book. Boo! I was tricked! I wanted more!...more
I have to admit that I approached The Mime Order with a bit of trepidation. Yes, I gave The Bone Season a raving five star review, but I was nervous tI have to admit that I approached The Mime Order with a bit of trepidation. Yes, I gave The Bone Season a raving five star review, but I was nervous that book two would not tickle my fancy as much as the first one had. Well, I'm here to tell you that I FREAKING LOVED IT.
This book picks up right after the events at the end of The Bone Season, so you're thrown right back into the action, and poor Paige barely gets a moment to breathe for the rest of the book. It's pretty much INTENSITY IN TEN CITIES most of the time, and I loved every minute of it. Samantha Shannon sure knows how to lay on the tension in many, many delicious layers.
One of my favorite things about the world building in this series is that is so deep and rich. That means that this book is full of plenty more voyant types to learn about and get to know, as well as many new characters, gangs, and aspects of life for the citizens of Scion. You can be sure I made note of the scenes involving tarot cards; and one of my favorite scenes involves a different type of seer that was just fascinating!
Look, clearly I am having trouble expressing how much I loved this book and all of the many, many things about it that are freaking awesome. So, let's say the book starts at about here (imagine my hand is level with my chin). And throughout the story, things slowly escalate until there are multiple hands in front of my face around the range of my eyes and forehead. And then HOLY SHIT, basically like my arms are ripped off because I can't even lift my hands that high anymore and it's like OH MY GOD, DUDE, DID YOU JUST SEE THAT?!
In essence, The Mime Order takes everything I loved about The Bone Season, throws it into a maelstrom of WHOA, and the end result is the scariest, coolest thing ever and I can't believe I'm going to have to wait so long to read the next book!...more
There’s not much I can say here beyond: this is pretty much the ending to the House of Night series that I would have expected. The POV changed quiteThere’s not much I can say here beyond: this is pretty much the ending to the House of Night series that I would have expected. The POV changed quite a lot throughout the book, which actually served it well, because I got to see what was going on with both sides of the crazy showdown. Many circles were made, many dilemmas were had, and many people were killed and/or tortured at the hands of Neferet. Denouements abounded and the bad guys were vanquished (with a bit too much ease, imo). I will say, though, that there is one character I really grew to like, and I was pretty disappointed with the way things ended for her. :P Finally. It is over....more
When I discovered this book on NetGalley, I knew I wanted to read it. I basically can't resist a story involving cyborgs! What I got wasn't too far frWhen I discovered this book on NetGalley, I knew I wanted to read it. I basically can't resist a story involving cyborgs! What I got wasn't too far from what I expected, considering this is a pretty short indie novel.
The story was interesting, and though it did delve into some of the scientific bits, it wasn't as deep as I wanted. I did enjoy the friendships that Kaitlyn formed with Quess and Lucas, as well as the mysteries regarding her hidden past. Being witness to her inner thoughts -- trying to reconcile slang and *human-speak* with her robot brain -- was often amusing. It was the kind of story you can sit comfortably inside and walk right alongside the main character, which was nice. But despite the issues that arose, I never really felt much tension or threat, and I think this is especially important in a story where the main character is so physically capable and super-human.
Don't get me wrong: I enjoyed the story (despite the plentiful typos and wrong-word-usages), but I felt like it was just too easy. The threats were meager, and the resolutions all seemed to come about much too easily. I am curious to see where the story goes, so I might pick up the next book when it comes out, but it's not one of my favorites, either....more
I don't know what took me so long to finally read Grave Mercy, but when I heard Robin LaFevers speak on a panel at Austin Teen Book Festival, I realizI don't know what took me so long to finally read Grave Mercy, but when I heard Robin LaFevers speak on a panel at Austin Teen Book Festival, I realized how much I wanted to read her books. I listened to this one on audio, and while the narration took some getting used to, I'm really glad I stuck it out.
The writing is beautiful, thoughtful, and eloquent. When listening to an audiobook, it's easy to get swept up into the story and not think as much about the words; but LaFevers is masterful at making her words leave a mark. When I read a beautiful passage in a book, I like to reread it multiple times, and gaze lovingly at that collection of words, until it's imprinted in my mind's eye. I love that I was able to do this with an audiobook of Grave Mercy (this, my friends, is rare)*!
The story was much more interesting than I expected. Look, I don't know why I dismissed assassin nuns as a boring topic before, but my opinion was quickly swayed. I loved that there was so much lore behind everything. The idea of a convent that worships the god of death (Mortain, in this case) is just fascinating, and I was quickly drawn into Ismae's life there. Their methods for killing, the weapons, the poisons, and their connection to Mortain were really satisfying to read about. The depth of world building here -- with the religious lore and political intrigue -- was evident and very well-done.
The characters were rich and real. There's something to be said about a writer who can make you feel like you know each character without even realizing how they've done it. The slow romantic buildup felt natural and sweet (if a bit predictable), and the relationships between all of the characters were complex and realistic. I liked that some characters were easy to love, some were easy to hate, and some were ambiguous for a long time.
This book turned out to be a surprising source of inspiration for me. Not only did I get drawn into a world -- and a predicament -- that was altogether fascinating, but Ismae's story inspired me with a few new ideas (some discussion posts, some creative projects). It's rare that a book does this for me, so once again I was impressed by this book! If you haven't read it yet, what are you waiting for?
*That being said, the narration was somewhat problematic. In the beginning, she sounded a lot like she was reciting a speech, instead of telling a tale naturally. It did get better as time went on, though (either that or I just got used to it). This illustrates even more fully how well-written the book is!...more
I read this short story as a little warm up (heehee) before I dove into Vicious, and I’m glad I did. This is a great introduction to the way that peopI read this short story as a little warm up (heehee) before I dove into Vicious, and I’m glad I did. This is a great introduction to the way that people in this world develop their supernatural abilities (by having some sort of near-death experience and then coming back). It shows how these special powers — though cool-sounding at first — can actually be much more of a burden for the wielder. By the time I was finished with Warm Up, I was really ready to dig into the novel. (I was kind of expecting the main character in this short story to show up at some point in the book, but he never did. On that note then, I kind of wish that Schwab had written a couple more short stories like this, just so we can get a larger sense of it all beyond Victor, etc.)...more
I got this as a freebie from SYNC this summer, and thought it’s not my usual fare, I decided to give it a try (especially since it was less than 4 houI got this as a freebie from SYNC this summer, and thought it’s not my usual fare, I decided to give it a try (especially since it was less than 4 hours long). Oh my gosh. This book. First off, the narrator was just incredible, which really helped me immerse myself in the story. The writing was beautiful; the story was told in little vignettes, and I really enjoy that type of writing. I’m not sure how, but the combination of writing and narrating just really sucked me in to Lakshmi’s story. I was her. I was with her; so, so close. Aside from that, the actual story was hard to listen to, because of Lakshmi’s situation, and her utter innocence. I spent the entire 4 hours wanting to hug her tight, and when it was over, I wanted more....more
This is kind of a difficult book for me to review. Do I compare it to Code Name Verity? I bought it because I liked CNV, and since it's sort of a compThis is kind of a difficult book for me to review. Do I compare it to Code Name Verity? I bought it because I liked CNV, and since it's sort of a companion book, I can't ignore the connection. Should I compare the similar narration styles -- journal-type entries, although obviously different in style and intended "audience". Do I talk about all the ways it was gruesome and sad, but different from the ways that other World War II books are gruesome and sad? I don't know how to begin.
So, Rose Justice (what a name) is a pilot and a writer. She's an American working for England -- stationed in France, and intercepted (and then held prisoner) in Germany. She finds herself surrounded by people from unfamiliar countries, cultures, frames of mind, who speak languages she doesn't understand and treat her in ways she can't begin to fathom or accept. It's layer upon layer of uncomfortable and frustrating circumstances, and it takes a strong sort of person to make it through something like that.
The book is filled with her poetry, because it's clearly a means by which she helps to comfort herself, cope with her situation, and organize her thoughts and feelings. I found some of this very easy to relate to (especially her counting poems, and the once with a strong, deliberate cadence; but others were harder for me to get into (maybe I only enjoy or understand some sorts of poetry?). But the way she clung to it, and the way she used her poetry to help herself and her fellow prisoners cope -- that was beauty.
The story is FILLED with moral questions, as any good WWII-era book ought to be. I do think that this one was quite a bit darker and more gruesome than its predecessor, and I'm not sure I was prepared for that. Rose's struggle with PTSD was terribly understandable, though, and it was a good choice, I think, to have the book written in such a way that she's reflecting back on the hard times and commenting on her present in tandem.
Did I enjoy this book? Absolutely. Did it make me FEEL as much as perhaps it should have? I don't know. It was uncomfortable to read, and I was surprised when I got a little choked up in the end. The strong female friendships in this book are -- again -- some of the best, and the broad perspective of female relationships throughout the book was wonderfully done. Would I recommend it? Probably, yes. I guess I am conflicted on this one, but I still really liked it....more