I am a sucker for zombie novels. I can't quite put my finger on why but I absolutely love them. So when I was offered a chance to review Lily Herne'sI am a sucker for zombie novels. I can't quite put my finger on why but I absolutely love them. So when I was offered a chance to review Lily Herne's Deadlands (a novel with the tagline - Everything's better with Zombies - Not) I jumped at the chance.
Deadlands starts out on a strong note. As the reader we're immediately introduced to Lele, a zombie apocalypse survivor living in South Africa. I think I can count the amount of books I've read that were set in South Africa on one hand. It's not a setting you see that often and it was a refreshing change. I liked that we were given references to life before the zombie outbreak and wish there was even more of it. If it's going to be set in South Africa why not make the most of it?
How to give a brief background on Action Comics…. Hmmmm….
Basically it’s one of DC Comic’s flagship titles. It started in 1938 and it is the comic that introduced to the world to Superman. This along with Detective Comics are often considered the beginning of the “Golden Age of Comics” (imagine impressive music playing in the background as you read that). Obviously over the span of so many decades it has changed and evolved under many different writers including, Alan Moore, John Byrne, Neil Gaiman, Gail Simone and Geoff Johns – to name a few. Superman has teamed up with others in the DC Universe, he meets Lois Lane, characters have come and gone and he’s even died! But at it’s heart Action Comics is Superman story throughout the ages.
Hope that sums everything up for you
I’ll be honest with you. I’ve never been a big Superman fan. I watched a lot of Lois & Clark after school growing up and I always thought he was kind of…well..lame. I mean they figured out a way to beat him EVERY EPISODE. How superhero are you? But I understand that Lois & Clark is not a good representation of Superman as a whole and with the new movie coming out this year I thought I should give the New 52 relaunch a try in order to get into the spirit of things.
Now I’ve had a pretty decent experience with the New 52 titles so far. I really enjoyed Aquaman and Batgirl. And since Action Comics has such a sweeping/grand history I thought it would be a great place for a newbie like me to dip her toes in.
The story starts out with a younger (I think) Superman holding a man off the edge of the building and informing everyone that he’s here to take care of Metropolis now. We also see some glimpses of young, journalist Lois Lane and Lex Luthor is there scheming something. Scheming what? I have no idea. The story jumps around so quickly and is just all over the place. I found myself re-reading panels to try and figure out what I missed and how we got to this new location/event but was still totally lost. I sort of understood what was happening at the end of the first plot arc, but then the second one kicks in and starts bouncing you like a ball at a tennis match – back and forth between Clark Kent’s childhood and his time on a spaceship with three other superhumans who are never properly introduced. Honestly. I don’t even know the name of the third one. Or what exactly they were trying to do – something about people being in Superman’s brain? I closed the book and my first thought was “What on Earth did I just read?”
This was slightly better. Superman is edgier than I ever remember him being – although perhaps a little too extreme at times. I liked the contrast between him and Clark Kent. It was more than just the glasses that set them apart. It was their whole appearance. Kent was a lot nerdier and slouchier. I also appreciated that we got to see some of his childhood and his escape from Krypton, although I would have liked a little more.
We also get quite a bit of Lois Lane and I liked her. She was strong willed and determined (good qualities in a journalist) and didn’t let other people get in her way. We didn’t really see her interact with Superman though so that was kind of a shame.
Beyond that all the other characters were pretty one dimensional. Jimmy Olsen is there but only for a couple of confusing phone calls. All we really know is that he’s friends with Kent. And Luthor is simply presented as your static, greedy, heartless man. There’s got to be more to him than that right?
Like a lot of things in this book the artwork was pretty hit or miss. There were some great panels. But then other times people’s facial expressions were really off putting. Or to put it frankly – badly drawn
I was really disappointed by my first experience with Action Comics. The story was poorly strung together and though I liked this version of Superman he felt far away, rather than a character directly in front of me. I may pick up Volume 2 to see if some of these issues get resolved. But overall I am still looking for a good Superman comic to win me over....more
The world of Hytanica is amazing. The descriptions are lush and like any good fantasy novel I found myself daydrOriginally reviewed at Hooked on Books
The world of Hytanica is amazing. The descriptions are lush and like any good fantasy novel I found myself daydreaming what it would be like to run away there. I loved the idea of stealing away to ride horses, long beautiful gowns and tiaras, and amazing dinner parties. It's what keeps me coming back time and time again to the genre and Cyla Kluver does a great job setting it all up.
If only that was enough.
But if there's one thing I have no patience for is a weak female lead. Maybe it's the feminist in me but it drives me mad and Alera is the perfect example of this. I found her so incredibly flaky and annoying. I'm sorry but hiring a new maid and planning a dinner party guest list does not a stressful day make. And I found her love for Narian irrational. It made me think of Elena's love for Stefan on The Vampire Diaries. At a certain point their actions are no longer understandable. I could go on about all the reasons I was disappointed with her but at the end of the day it comes down to this. I did not believe she was this brave, independent woman all the other characters kept saying she was. Instead she made me want to pull my hair out and throw the book against the wall.
I was underwhelmed by Legacy but decided to give Allegiance a chance to change my mind. It didn't. Unfortunately, I don't think I will be continuing with this series....more
From the first few pages, Dark Inside had me hooked. I knew that I was in for one creepy read.
Dark Inside takes you right into the heart of what can only be described as the apocalypse. It doesn't explain the world afterwards or how people moved on with their lives. It simply focuses on what is going on and what lengths people go to in order to survive. It's dark and it's gritty and it doesn't shy away from the gruesome things that may occur. Dark evil force aside, everything in this book seemed very believable. I was shocked, I was disgusted, I was on the edge of my seat. There were so many moments that had me holding my breath and peering out from behind my fingers. I love when a book can get me that consumed in a story.
I have just one complaint and it's a very very small one. I found the ending slightly rushed and a little anti-climatic. I don't know what I was expecting exactly, but it just didn't match what I had planned in my head. This is probably my own fault more than anyone else's. Let me stress, there was nothing wrong with the ending. It suited the story and brought together all the storylines but it just didn't give me the satisfaction I wanted.
This book is one that will be interesting for young adult and adult readers alike (but be warned there is quite a bit of violence). If you like adventure stories, that also touch on questions of humanity than make sure you add this book to your TBR pile. It's thoughtful and realistic and more than once it scared the pants off me. ...more
Every morning Christine wakes up and doesn't know where she is. She doesn't know who the man is who is sleeping beside her. She gets up and looks in the mirror and she doesn't recognize the face staring back at her. The man explains to her that he is her husband and that she was in an accident. That accident caused a type of amnesia where she can't make any new memories. Every morning she wakes up and she can't remember the day before. As the day go on, her phone rings, a man on the phone says that he is her doctor and that they've been meeting in secret. He also tells her that she's been keeping a journal. This happens everyday. Everyday she reads the journal and tried to remember what happened to her and the more she reads the more things don't seem to add up.
This novel is told in the format of Christine's journal. This worked perfectly for this book. The only information you had available to you is what Christine knows. As pieces of her memory are slowly returned the suspense mounts and you find yourself wondering whats really happening to her. I honestly had no idea where the story would take me and it wasn't until the very end that all the pieces started to fall into place.
Before I Go to Sleep is a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The pacing is perfect. Revelations are slow and layered but it's still fast enough to keep your heart racing. There were a couple of time while reading this book I would simply shut myself off from the world. Turn off my phone and computer (which if you know me is a pretty big deal) and close the bedroom door. I wanted to know what happened to Christine and I didn't want anything distracting me from it. Be prepared to be addicted to this book – it is a beautifully crafted book that will have your mind spinning....more
This is a tricky one. I've only recently begun watching the show and sort of marathoned the first 5 seasons. And I'm of mixed feeling about it. ThereThis is a tricky one. I've only recently begun watching the show and sort of marathoned the first 5 seasons. And I'm of mixed feeling about it. There are things I really like about the show and things I can't stand about it.
So after hearing a number of people tell me the books were better than the show I decided to pick the first one up on audio. And just like the show I am of mixed feelings - but for different reasons.
One thing I really liked is that the Dexter in the book actually feels like a psychopath. He knows what he's supposed to feel and is really good at faking it, but as his inner monologue tells us - he can't actually feel it. I thought this was much more accurate than the Dexter in the show who tells us he's incapable of feeling and then proceeds to FEEL ALL THE FEELINGS.
However, maybe it's because I watched the show first that I did not enjoy the mystery all that much. The end result of the Ice Truck Killer murders was pretty much the same but the journey there was a lot less complex and at times kind of boring.
Then there's the secondary characters. In the show I find them likeable enough but never really care about their subplots. In the book Dexter's own disdain for this people pollutes how you view them. I DESPISED these people -Vince, La Guerta, Angel, the whole group. At first I found this annoying but then I grew to like it because it meant the ridiculous mudance lives of the people weren't polluting the overall mystery. Debra however is the same and for this I was eternally grateful as she is by far my favourite character.
The audio is narrated by Jeff Lindsay himself and he did a fantastic job. His voice is low pitches and creepy. It gave me the shivers. He spoke slowly and deliberately and made me feel unsettled - the way a character like Dexter should.
This wasn't my favourite book - much like the show isn't one my favourite shows - but I am intrigued to read the next book and see how it differs from/stays the same as the show ...more
The Way We Fall, by Canadian author Megan Crewe, is a gritty and realistic read. It will keep you hangOriginally reviewed at Christa's Hooked on Books
The Way We Fall, by Canadian author Megan Crewe, is a gritty and realistic read. It will keep you hanging onto every word, not wanting to put down the book until you know exactly what will happen to each and every character. There was more than one occasion where my obsession with this book almost made me miss my subway stop.
The most significant thing I have to say about this book is that is just feels so real. An unknown virus sweeps a small, but densely populated island. It's highly contagious, leaving doctors and scientists unable to keep up with the rate of infection. Megan clearly did her research for this book. All the government protocols, hospital organization and details about the virus itself were incredibly well thought out and to the best of my knowledge (and what little I read on Wikipedia) pretty accurate. This made reading this book even more terrifying. It reminded me of recent pandemic scares and totally had me believing that this was something that could really happen.
In addition to the detail that was put into this book, The Way We Fall, is led by a really strong main character. I really liked Kaelyn – I found her both strong willed, as well as compassionate. An admirable combination. She's the type of character who takes action. When news about the virus is starting to come out she immediately wanted to get involved and help others in the town. This desire to help others is a quality that continues no matter how bad things get. However, despite this bravery I did not find her character too good to be true. She is definitely flawed. Kaelyn gets scared and nervous just like anyone would in a similar situation, which sometimes leads her to make some poor decisions. These flaws only enhance the layers of her character and make her someone you can easily relate too.
Overall this was an exciting read. If it wasn't for work I probably would have read the whole thing in one sitting. Because it felt so much like something that could really happen it was a chilling book and one that will stay with me for some time to come. As this is the first in a proposed trilogy I can't wait to see what happens next and how Kaelyn deals with the next challenges to come....more
When I signed up for the blog tour for this book I wasn't 100% what I was getting myself in to. I knew that it wOriginally reviewed at Hooked on Books
When I signed up for the blog tour for this book I wasn't 100% what I was getting myself in to. I knew that it was a paranormal novel (the main character is a werewolf after all) and I knew there was a murder mystery. I did not know that this novel was the combination of two of my favourite genres – the paranormal novel and the cozy mystery. I would have never thought to put these two together but Jamieson Ridenhour makes it work.
The mystery in this novella was well crafted. One of the main ways I judge the quality of a mystery novel is by how predictable it is. While reading Barking Mad I was continuously trying to guess who the murder was. It seemed like I had a new guess every other pages. It wasn't until right near the end that I had a clear idea of what had happened. That's what I call a good mystery!
In addition to the mystery Ridenhour has created an amazing cast of character. They're all so detailed and unique. They all have such strong personalities that you can't help but get to know them incredibly well. I especially loved Reggie and Pelham. Their chemistry is perfect! More than once the dialogue between them made me laugh out loud.
Jamieson Ridenhour has written a story that is intelligent and witty. He's written prose in a distinct style, that reminds me of Alan Bradley and thrown in some werewolves for good measure. It was a short book but everything you could want is there – humour, mystery, interesting twists, great dialogue. I wouldn't have added or changed a thing....more
I know by now you've probably seen a million reviews of this book but I wanted to throw my two cents into the mix. Divergent brings you into the world of a futuristic, dystopian Chicago. In this world the people have been divided up into five factions; Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity and Erudite – each enforcing strict behaviour protocols that are supposed to encourage a specific virtue (honesty, selflessness, bravery, peace and truth respectively). At the age of sixteen every child gets to choose which faction they wish to belong to. For Tris this choice is far from simple. A part of her wants to leave her Abnegation life for one of more excitement. But she also wonders if she should reign in her strong spirit for a life of comfort and happiness with her family.
I'm supposed to be on a strict book buying ban but I caved and bought this one. It was totally worth it. I was a little nervous that after my experience with Wither and book buzz that the hype was going to ruin the book. Great news! It didn't. I sacrificed a full nights sleep for this book because I just couldn't put it down. It was exciting, the characters were great, the setting was eery but believable. What wasn't to love?
I loved Beatrice (Tris). You really got to know her and watch her grow as a character throughout the novel. I loved her innocence but also her incredible spirit. She made mistakes ( a lot of mistakes) and had human emotions that clouded her judgement. This made her easy to relate to and emphasize with. Her spirit and bravery, however, set her apart from other main characters I've come across this year. She was rarely (in ever) passive, she was always thinking and she was tough. Just an awesome chick all around.
Speaking of awesome I need to throw something in about Four. Four is one of the best male characters I've read in a YA novel. He has real personality, not just a name attached to an archetype. He has his own story and his own motivations so he's not just an add-on to Tris and her storyline. But when he was interacting with Tris, they were just so good together. I'm not going to lie to you all, there were a couple times I was a little bit jealous of that girl.
This books is perfect for dystopian lovers. It is fast paced and will keep you on the edge of your seat and you'll be so caught up in the story, time will fly by. Believe the hype, this book is great!...more
Being semi-obsessed with speculative fiction often means I'm a little behind when there's a must-read book fromOriginally reviewed at Hooked on Books
Being semi-obsessed with speculative fiction often means I'm a little behind when there's a must-read book from another genre out there. Such was the case with Code Name Verity. I enjoy historical fiction and I actually read quite a bit of it. I don't, however, follow the new releases as carefully as I do spec-fic. But after reading Code Name Verity I find myself reconsidering that position.
Why was this book so amazing you ask? Well to start off with, it was a pulse pounding, heart wrenching adventure of a book. I've read a lot (a lot) of World War II novels in my day. That's pretty much all they gave us growing up. This wasn't a bad thing, but it did give me the impression that I had "read them all." Code Name Verity proved me wrong. This book was beautiful and surprised me over and over again as I was reading. I don't have enough words to describe the emotional depth and authenticity of this novel.
I also loved getting to know the main characters of Code Name Verity. Unique, independent and strong, I'm honestly not sure if I prefer one over the other. Queenie is a quick thinker and a little arrogant, but I couldn't help admire her throughout all her struggles. I couldn't imagine how horrible her life would have been after being captured by the Germans and I felt overwhelmed by an urge to protect her, even though I barely knew her. Maddie on the other hand, is more withdrawn and practical. Her level of courage and determination is something we can all aspire to.
I could go on about this novel, but at the end of the day it comes down to this. You need to read this novel. It hits all the right emotional notes and does so with incredible historical detail. And to top is all off, it has an ending that all but made me sob on the subway ride home.
Final recommendation: I can't recommend this book enough. Whether you regularly read historical fiction or not, you're sure to love it....more
Crazy Rich Asians is like Dallas meets Downton Abbey in Asia. I can think of no better descriptioThis review originally posted at More Than Just Magic
Crazy Rich Asians is like Dallas meets Downton Abbey in Asia. I can think of no better description.
Nick’s best friend is getting married back in Singapore and he see’s this as the perfect opportunity to spend a summer with his girlfriend – Rachel – in Asia. And for her to finally meet his family. What he doesn’t tell her is that his friend’s wedding is the social event of the year, and that family he wants her to meet? They’re rich. Supremely rich. Crazy rich. It’s a fantastic premise and one that lives up to all your expectations – it’s hilarious, it’s smart, it’s well plotted and it offers some interesting insight and commentary into the lives of the super rich.
Crazy Rich Asians is dramatic. I compared it to Dallas and Downton Abbey above. And those comparisons are totally apt – this book is full of twists and surprises but more importantly it’s filled with drama and scandal! It had me hanging onto every page waiting to see what this crazy group of people would do next. No one could be trusted and you were always waiting to see who would stab who in the back. This scandal is also what gives the book its comedic edge. Crazy Rich Asians is a satire and you can’t help but giggle at some of the over the top schemes that are carried out. Especially those of Nick’s mother and cousins.
Crazy Rich Asians is chock full of interesting characters – some loveable, some intensely despicable. Normally when a book has such a huge cast of character I have trouble keeping them straight. When I read War and Peace I had to keep a special bookmark on hand with all the characters names and who they were so I could keep them straight in my head. But this didn’t seem to be a problem while reading Crazy Rich Asians. Everyone had such distinct personalities. I may not be able to recite everyone by name but I do remember who they are and how to connected to the larger plot.
There is so much detail throughout this story. Kevin Kwan truly did a fantastic job of bringing Singapore to life on the page. From the architecture, to the food, to the clothes. It was brilliant. This was a whole different world to me. I’ve never been to Asia but after reading this book I am dying to take a trip over there. Particularly for the food. They ate so much food in this book and it all sounded fantastic. I also loved the footnotes. Scattered throughout the book they were used to explain slang, or menu items or just general customs. The footnotes were my favourite part of the book. They were funny and insightful and expertly placed – I never felt like I had to pause the story just to read them.
Recommendation: Crazy Rich Asians is a funny and smart summer read. It’s definitely one you’ll want to throw in your beach bag or read out by the lake. Highly recommended....more
I'm not going to lie to you all. I picked up this book because I wanted to read it before goThis review originally posted at Christa's Hooked on Books
I'm not going to lie to you all. I picked up this book because I wanted to read it before going to see the movie. And I want to go see the movie because Daniel Radcliffe is in it. I'm sure I'm not the only one! However, I must you warn you, if you pick up this book expecting to be in any way like Harry Potter, please set it back down and find a different book, because you will be horribly disappointed.
This book is a ghost story in every sense of the word. As told from the point of view of the main character, Arthur Kipps, we experience every creepy moment in tandem with him. There is no extra information we are privy to as readers, we only know what's in front of Arthur's face. This of course is part of the recipe for any great horror story - limit the knowledge, increase the fear factor. In addition, this novel does an amazing job of instilling this constant feeling of dread that you just can't shake. You know something bad is going to happen but you don't know what or when. It's unsettling but in a good way.
One issue I had with this novel was the time period. The synopsis has it set in "Victorian England". This is not a Victorian novel. It feels more like The Crucible than anything else. It also seemed to slip in more modern language and settings from time to time. This inconsistency was a little distracting and I think it could have been executed much more smoothly.
This is a great ghost story and at 160 pages its a quick read. The story isn't overly scary but it is creepy, and as a result is definitely a fun read (especially at night). If you're planning on seeing the movie then why not read through the book first. From what I've seen from the trailer they're going to embellish the story quite a bit and it might be nice to be familiar with the original before watching....more
I picked this book up at a used book store, drawn in by it's unique title and remembering that it had made it on to one of the editions of 1001 BooksI picked this book up at a used book store, drawn in by it's unique title and remembering that it had made it on to one of the editions of 1001 Books To Read Before You Die. I found it incredibly funny, somewhat informative and at times a little tragic. Way more than I was expecting for a $4 paperback. The story follows a British-Ukrainian family during a time of family crisis. The crisis being that the father has decided to marry a much younger Ukrainian woman, who is clearly using him for money and a passport. His two daughters than join forces to save him from his unhappy fate. What made this book for me was the father, and his interactions with his youngest daughter Nadezhda. The father is quirky, old fashioned and conflicted. I can picture him perfectly in my mind. I can even hear his Ukrainian accent when I'm reading his dialogue. His antics are funny all of their own, but are made even funnier by his daughter's attempts to help a very stubborn old man. You can't help but love the father, he's the product of his history, his age and his daughters and he fulfils his role perfectly. In case you were thinking this book was a little too light hearted and fluffy, it is interspersed with memories of the families time living in the Soviet Union. Before moving to Britain the family did not have it easy, facing famine, work camps and the wrath of communism. These are serious undertones to a very funny book. I found them particularly interesting, as Ukrainian history is not one you generally hear about. Overall a nice book. It's funny, not too long and you learn a bit about the Ukraine at the same time. ...more
I am very sad to say I didn't enjoy this one as much as I did Across the Universe.
The main conflict was incredibly interesting. The ship has erupted into what is basically mutiny. Only it feels a lot of more serious and a lot more scary, then it ever has on stories that take place at sea. You can't maroon people in space. You can only kill them or send them out into the airless vaccumm that surrounds you. Neither sounds very pleasent. As a result I found people acted a lot more desperately and fought even harder for what they wanted. The result was lots of action. I love books with lots of action! They keep me hanging on until the last page.
Admist all this great action was Amy. And I can honestly say she is the sole reason I didn't like A Million Suns as much as Across the Universe. Amy drove me nuts. Plain and simple. I found her pretty flaky. We're supposed to believe that she's strong and rational but time after time she simply ran to Elder or just plain ran away when things got tough. None of which gave the impression she was strong at all. I also wondered why she was never the one pushing for democracy. Coming from our present day North American society I would think that would be prominent in her mind when she saw the state of disarray the ship was in.
I also never bought that she would forgive Elder so easily for unplugging her. Sure I knew she would forgive him eventually, but immediately seems like a stretch. She may never see her parents again, she's now forced to live on an isolated ship where everyone thinks she's a freak. She should be a little more angry that he was the cause of that. Maybe she's a bigger person than me.
Overall still a great read that I read in one sitting and the pages flew by as I tried to find out what happened. I can't believe how long I have to wait for the next book!! I only hope Amy improves as the story progresses....more
If I’m being totally honest, it was Arclight’s gorgeous, colourful and eye catching cover that coThis review originally posted at More Than Just Magic
If I’m being totally honest, it was Arclight’s gorgeous, colourful and eye catching cover that convinced me to pick it up. I had no idea what so ever what it was about. I was sold on the cover alone. But then I started reading and became just as hooked on the book’s insides as its outsides.
Arclight starts on a high note. Alarms are going off, codes are being given and people are seemingly running for their lives. We don’t who they are, what they’re running from and where exactly we are in time and space. Normally this kind of beginning can feel jarring and choppy but it was just the beginning this book needed. It gives the story an incredibly high intensity level right from the get go, and it never lets up. If you liked stories that get your heart pounding and move at a consistantly fast pace, you’re going to love Arclight.
Once you’re into the story and are able to get more oriented, you realize you’re reading something totally unique. This isn’t a dystopia, it isn’t science fiction. I saw someone describe it as Stephen King for teens and I think that’s about as accurate description as we’re going to get. It’s haunting and at times, more than a little creepy. The people of the Arclight are surrounded by these creatures called The Fade. They’re creatures of shadows, who have slowly, over many generations, taken over the world. They bleed black and can assimilate your body into their ‘hive’. Creepy stuff. I really enjoyed reading about a creature I had never heard of before as it added an element of surprise. How could I predict what they would do next if I knew nothing about them?
The only fault I have with Arclight is that sometimes I was a little lost. This was because the world building, was at times, lacking. Everything is just SO new and different that it would be impossible to flesh it all out in one book. Josin L McQuein does a pretty good job but I still would have liked more. Sometimes it felt like the world and the characters within it were just rushing by and it was easy to get lost in the shuffle. Overall I was still able to enjoy the story but if you asked me to explain how the world got this way or exactly what the Fade are…well let’s just say I’m not the best person to ask.
Recommendation: Arclight is a high intensity read that actually accomplished the challenge of being “nothing like you’ve ever read before.” It’s great for those who want to get lost in a high action, high impact read. Not so great for those who love really fleshed out speculative fiction....more
Legend is the beginning of a new dystopian series. If you know me at all you know I LOVE dystopia andOriginally reviewed at Christa's Hooked on Books
Legend is the beginning of a new dystopian series. If you know me at all you know I LOVE dystopia and was so excited when I heard there was a new series coming out this November. There's been so many dystopian novels recently, however, you never know if it's going to be more of the same old, same old. Thankfully Legend was an action packed adventure, with plenty of unique twists and developments.
The main thing I really like about Legend was the way the traditional gender roles were reversed. I usually find young adult dystopian fiction centers around a strong female character who is generally poor or disadvantaged by the current society. If there's a love interest, he's usually more well off and more integrated into the system. In this novel, however, it is a male character (Day) who is outcast from society and its the female character (June) who is a soldier for the oppressive government.
Even though I enjoyed this book there were still a few problems I had with it. I had a few question about the nature of this society and how it got the way it was. Particularly how did the Republic and the Colonies get divided up? Was it just random chance which side you lived on? And what exactly did the Trials consist of? These questions didn't ruin my overall enjoyment of the book but they were a little distracting.
I was also unhappy with a certain design feature within the book. The book alternates point-of-view between June and Day. When it's June's chapters the text is a normal, black font. When it's Day's chapters, however, the font switches to a light gold colour. I found this very distracting and hard to read, and if the story wasn't so good it would have been enough for me to abandon the book all together. My copy is the advanced copy, however, so it's possible it may be different in the finished version. We'll have to wait and see.(* I have been told that the finished copy will have a much darker gold font for Day's chapters. Yay!*)
Despite these small issues I can honestly say that in the flooded market of young adult dystopian Legend manages to hold its own. It's filled with action, excitement and some interesting characters. From the moment I picked it up I couldn't put it down! I look forward to seeing where Marie Lu takes this series next....more
China Mieville is a brilliant fantasy writer. His work takes the genre to new and exciting places andThis review originally posted on Hooked on Books
China Mieville is a brilliant fantasy writer. His work takes the genre to new and exciting places and his newest, Railsea, is no exception.
This book is an imaginative retelling of the Moby Dick story, but instead of a white whale there's a giant mole rat called Tracker Jack and instead of ships, there are trains. It's a crazy and intriguing premise and he totally makes it work. I haven't read Moby Dick before but I certainly want to now, just to see how this hold up against the original tale. The neat thing about this story, is instead of revealing the details of the fantasy world all at once - like you would expect - it is divulged layer but layer right up until the last few pages of the novel. I kept turning the pages, excited to see what else would be revealed to me.
As an added bonus, this novel is graced with amazing characters. The main character, Sham is a delight. Adventerous and headstrong yet cautious and naive. He dreams of a more exciting life - and who among us can't relate to that? The female characters - Caldera and Captain Naphi - we're especially well written. I loved Caldera attitude and I loved how complicated Captain Naphi turned out to be. I became heavily invested in these characters and where this adventure was going to take them.
If you need any further convincing that you should read this book, the prose has this rolling soothing quality to it. For a story so exciting and adventure filled, the writing was very calming. I was happy to be reading this book on an e-reader, so I could highlight all the passages I fell in love with. I have never highlighted a book so frequently.
I feel that Railsea is the type of book that every time you re-read it you'll find new things to love and appreciate, and because of that it has earned a permanent place on my bookshelf.
Final Recommendation: For Fantasy and Speculative Fiction fans who want a break from the same old same old and for literary fiction fans that want to be wowed. ...more
Ontario is a pretty big place. There's quite a bit of diversity between regions. But reading Essex County has reinforced my belief that small towns in Ontario have more in common that than not. I'm from a small town in Eastern Ontario and Essex County can be found in Southern Ontario but there was a lot of stuff I could really relate to in this book and I think that helped me enjoy all the more.
The Collected Essex County takes place in three parts, each detailing the lives of three completely different people. A young, orphaned boy named Les, a washed up hockey player named Lou and a lovely little nurse named Mrs. Q. Though seemingly very different they are all interconnected through the history of the county in a way that is apparent to the reader, if not necessarily to the characters themselves.
Each character is absolutely heart breaking. They have all faced personal hard ship and tragedy and have continued on in life, trying to find their place and trying to find a bit of happiness. Nevertheless I'd say the overarching theme of this book was loneliness. Even when they were with other people Lou, Les and Mrs. Q were lonely. I think Lou says it best when he states “There are only two ways to be completely alone in the world...lost in a crowd..or in total isolation” (pg. 229). They were all searching for someone/something and whether they ever found it (or will find it) is unclear.
Since this is a graphic novel I have to talk about the artwork. It was very simple, black and white drawings but they served their purpose well. These were tales very simply told but nevertheless moving and the artwork reflected that. It may have been simple drawings but the lack of colour and unnecessary additions reflected the loneliness of the story.
Essex County is unique. I consider myself a fan of graphic novels/comics but this one was like no comic I've read before. It's got some strong similarities to Canadian literature well at the same time remaining all its own. If you enjoy reading about small towns and the relationships within them but you're looking for something different The Collected Essex County has a lot to offer. It surprised me, there's a good chance it'll surprise you too....more
My full review for Half Bad will be appearing in Volume 3 of Inaccurate Realities but short version is I really enjoyed it. Particularly the way SallyMy full review for Half Bad will be appearing in Volume 3 of Inaccurate Realities but short version is I really enjoyed it. Particularly the way Sally Green examined the idea of nature veruss nurture. Are we born bad? Or does society shape us?...more
Despite the fact that I am in my 20s and have no children (aged 9-12 or otherwise) I still enjoy a gooOriginally reviewed at Christa's Hooked on Books
Despite the fact that I am in my 20s and have no children (aged 9-12 or otherwise) I still enjoy a good middle grade title. A well written middle grade title is fun, it's refreshing, it's the stuff fairy tales are made of. I don't mean that poetically, I find that fantasy style middle grade styles help relive that time in my life where I watched Disney movies on repeat and read Doctor Seuss and Robert Munsch books.
So when I read the description of Scary School, I was really excited to read it for the all the reasons listed above and when all is said and done I found it a very cute and funny read. This is a great middle grade title, it's inventive and has an interesting story that will keep kids interested. It's smart (it does after all take place in a school) but it still easy to read and understand. I know since finishing I have passed along my copy to a seven year old (almost eight!) member of my family and he is currently devouring the story with minimal help.
The great thing about this book is the jokes. The book is full of them and you are guaranteed a giggle or two. I'm a little worried that a few of them may go over kid's heads. For example there's a reference to Minotaurs being aMAZEing. I'm not sure how many kids I know would get that joke, but it's totally possible I know the wrong kids!
There's also a really stellar cast of characters! Each chapter deals with new characters, adding to different branches to the storyline. I particularly loved Dr. Dragonbreath and his set of 5 classroom rules. If you break them you don't just get detention - you get eaten! I would've like to learn more about Derek the Ghost (since he's the narrator and all). Despite the fact that he's doing all the talking we know very little about him. I think he should've had his own chapter.
If you have (or know) kids in the ages 8-12 range this would be a great book for them. In addition, however, it's also a fun read for teens or adults who are just looking for something light and enjoyable. ...more
You want to convince someone to never do heroine? Give them this book.
It’ll be effective for two reasons. The first is when you find out how crappy the character’s lives were before they were abducted and brought to the island. The things they did for drugs or the living conditions they were in were cringe worthy. No. They were beyond cringe worthy. But that wasn’t even the worst part. The worst part was the withdrawal. Messum’s descriptions were just so vivid and frightening. They made me physically squirm more then once.
The story itself fell a little flat for me. It was a little predictable and the characters were exactly what you expected them to be. Static archetypes, not a lot of development. It’s a very quick story so there isn’t a lot of time for that anyway but I did miss it. Especially since I had a hard time rooting for any of them to survive.
Messum is clearly a talented writer. This may not be the best novel but I would definitely be interested to see what he writes next....more
Bess Gray never thought she'd meet the man of her dreams. She had a great job, good friends, a nice apartment, but still thought it would be nice to round it all out with marriage and maybe a family. She had almost given up hope by the time of her thirty fifth birthday when she met Rory. An Irish immigrant, fiddle player and computer specialist. Sweet, funny, sexy, everything she had been looking for. Everything was going along perfectly too, until he asked her to marry him. Because with that proposal came the revelation that he had been married before. Not once, not twice, but eight times before. Now as she hears out his explanation she has to decide, does she really want to be wife number nine?
The Ninth Wife was a nice, relaxing, fun read. Rory is so lovable. As he tells the stories of each of his wives you find yourself really feeling for the guy. This book isn't poking fun at marriage and the ideals that generally go with it. Rory really believes in love and marriage. He falls in love to easily and wants to make people happy but is just lacking some good common sense. Bess on the other could get on my nerves. Sometimes her reactions were just too much. I realize this is an extreme and unusual situation but sometimes you just need to take a few breaths and relax.
This book is coming out just in time for summer and it will be a great beach read. It's light and refreshing and it'll make you laugh. There aren't any great revelations about life and it's not an English language masterpiece but sometimes you just want to have fun when you read. In this way The Ninth Wife delivers....more
Sorcery! Mayhem! Dragons! Corsets! Logic! (Ok maybe that last one didn't need an exclamation point but you get tOriginally reviewed at Hooked on Books
Sorcery! Mayhem! Dragons! Corsets! Logic! (Ok maybe that last one didn't need an exclamation point but you get the idea)
Lilith Saintcrow's newest steampunk adventure, The Iron Wyrm Affair, has all the mixing for an incredible and magical adventure. Emma Bannon is a sorceress of the highest calibre, so when some suspicious deaths start occuring within the city's mentah population (which as far as I could tell is basically an investigative person who uses logic to get to the bottom of things) she is called in to figure out what is going on. She's an incredibly independent woman, with a brilliant mind, and some impressive attitude. At times I found her a bit over the top - particularly when it came to her obsession with dresses. Every single one was described in so much detail, I sometimes found myself skimming to get on with the story. But overall I was definitely drawn to her as a character and fascinated by what she would do next.
Lilith Saintcrow is an intelligent woman. That much comes across in her writing. She nailed the Victorian aesthetic dress, customs etc. There was never a doubt in my mind that this is what an alternative Britain would have looked like. And not only is her book well researched, it quite clever writing. It was difficult at first to get into it. I got bogged down by the detail and structure, but then I began to pick out the similarities to Victorian writing and I could appreciate in much more. It was still occasionally difficult to decipher exactly what was happening at some points but it was beautiful writing nonetheless.
My one complaint about The Iron Wyrm Affair is that I still have a lot of questions. Potentially too many questions. There were a lot of character motivations that I just didn't understand. There were a few things hinted at, that never came to anything. It was almost as if the book was trying to accomplish too much, too include too many things. If you could weed through the surplus information, there was a really great story underneath, but it all comes down to whether or not you want to put that much effort into it.
Final recommendation: An intelligent, well written, sometimes witty steampunk novel, that captures the Victorian age perfectly. Great for fans of the genre....more
Finley Jane has always know she was a bit different. She's pretty strong, heals quickly and has got an incredible temper that she can barely control. After causing trouble at yet another employer's house, she takes off into the night. She knows this time, trouble will mean more than a dismissal, it'll mean jail. As she sneaks off, she collides with Griffin King, a duke and associate of the Queen. Fortunately for her, Griffin is also a little bit different, and before she knows it she's a part of a rag tag team, using their unusual skills to track down England's newest criminal, the Machinist.
This edge of your seat read, had me from the first few pages. Finley Jane is an A+ heroine. She is brave, strong willed, loyal and doesn't need a man to protect her. Can you say Girl Power? I found her engaging and I loved reading about her and all the trouble she managed to find herself in again and again. Finley is joined by a whole cast of other very likeable characters. Griffin King is incredibly charming, Sam (the part-man, part-robot) is ruled by his emotions but is always there for his friends and Emily, an incredibly smart and sweet girl that always seems to have the answers (again I want to say yay to girl power!). There are also some less than angelic characters, like the underground criminal, Jack Dandy. Though not as charming and well off as Griffin I definitely prefer Jack. Love me some Victorian age bad boys :)
Unfortunately, this book was a little predictable. It was easy to figure out the mysterious idenity of the Machinist and there were a couple more moments that you saw coming pretty far in advance. I was also a little disappointed by one of the big action scenes. It seemed too easy and it was over way to quickly. After building up to it for so long, it would have been nice for it to present more of a challenge. Overall, however, the good outweighed the unfortunate.
This was my first steampunk novel, so I really didn't know what to expect. What I found in The Girl in the Steel Corset, was an exciting edge of your seat read which combined what I love about science fiction with what I love about historical fiction. It was like reading Sherlock Holmes meets Jean Gray from the X-Men. There's not as much suspense as I would have liked but it's a great story, with some even greater characters and I can't wait for the next one....more
Tessa Masterson Will Go to Prom is a different kind of coming out story. It’s not the story of hoThis review originally posted at More Than Just Magic
Tessa Masterson Will Go to Prom is a different kind of coming out story. It’s not the story of how she told her family, or her best friend (although both of those things do happen). It’s the story of one town’s reaction when she wanted to do something as simple as attend the prom. With a girl. While wearing a tux. She never wanted to cause a riot, she only wanted to attend prom as herself.
Though fictional this novel is reminiscent of some real life events. It’s actually really troubling how many unique cases come up when you google “gay teen banned from prom.” However Tessa Masterson’s story seems to be directly inspired by the Itawamba County School District decision in 2010 to ban Constance McMillen from bringing her girlfriend to the prom and wearing a tuxedo. It’s important to remember that though we read books like Tessa Masterson Will Go to Prom for entertainment, they are addressing real life concerns. The authors are doing more than telling a story with this book, they’re getting a message out.
The point of view alternates between Tessa and Lucas her straight best friend. And while Tessa is clearly the focus of the novel Lucas plays an important role as well. When he first finds out about her, he doesn’t handle it so great. But then, like so many before him, he realizes he’s being a jerk and spends the rest of the novel trying to make it up to her. Lucas’s character is important for two reasons. Primarily, he represents the importance of being a friend, and standing beside the people you care about when they need you the most. But he also demonstrates just how much one person can do to help – when it looks like Tessa’s parents might lose their store he gets to work trying to make sure that doesn’t happen. I think sometimes people don’t speak up because they don’t think their one voice will make a difference. Lucas proves that’s not true and that by doing something as simple as shopping in a particular store or wearing a t-shirt you are demanding to be heard.
Tessa Masterson Will Go to Prom is a humorous but relevant book, with characters you can’t help but fall for. It will make your blood boil but also warm your heart....more
As in many of Sara Shepard’s books, the story begins in a quiet, quaint small town. This town is filledOriginally posted at Christa's Hooked on Books
As in many of Sara Shepard’s books, the story begins in a quiet, quaint small town. This town is filled with “average” people. They go to work, they come home, they raise a family. Most of these people have quite a bit of money to their name and spend a good deal of time worrying about their reputation. This worrying is often because of some secret(s) that they don’t want getting out. However, unlike many of Sara’s other books, like the Pretty Little Liars series or The Lying Game series, these secrets are crazy, over-the-top, hard to imagine secrets. They are regular old secrets that anyone could end up with depending on the choices they have made in their life. For me this was the charm of this novel, just how…normal it was.
I really liked how realistic all the characters felt. I truly felt like they were “real” people and I was reading their story. The character development never felt forced. They all changed and developed (as people do) but there wasn’t some big “ah ha” moment, after which everything was completely different. I just don’t think those come around as often as fictional writing has us believe, so it was nice to see an author go a different route.
I should mention that the story itself was interesting. Accusations were flying, plans were set in motion. It was all very dramatic. But it wasn’t the story that sold it for me. If you haven’t already guessed from the previous two paragraphs, this novel is all about the characters. You get invested in them. You hang on through the slow parts because you want to know what will happen. I particularly like Joanna. She seemed so lost, yet so determined to find herself. I respect that. She’s made a few mistakes along the way, but we all make mistakes. It’s human.
What it comes right down to is that Everything We Ever Wanted gives you a glimpse into a very intimate part of people’s lives. But it isn’t about what’s going on in that moment, but how that moment affects the people involved. It's about how it relates to their humanity and their ability to adapt. And it shows you all this in a way that is subtle and unobtrusive. You can’t help but admire it. Sara Shepard has already shown that she is able to write stories that have deep dark secrets, crazy rumours and lots of suspense but now she has proven that she can write the serious dramas that make us question who we are as individuals and how other’s affect our development. She is most definitely a multi-talented writer....more
This is one of those comics that I feel like everyone is reading and yet I knew almost nothing about the story (except for the line above) before I cracked open Volume One. I actually thought it was about aliens. Like Area 51 inside the Manhattan Projects.
And there are sort of aliens. But there is much much more to this comic than that. Jonathan Hickman is incredibly good at making me believe the incredible. The Manhattan Projects centres around real people, but he takes some major liberties with their biographies. For example, Robert Oppenheimer. In the context of this story Oppenheimer is a twin, and his twin brother, Joseph, is also quite brilliant. However Joseph’s brilliance is more along the lines of Dr. Moreau or Dr Jekyll and he’s goes more than a little mad. The way this is written was so realistic I actually had to google it to make sure there wasn’t actually a Joseph Oppenheimer. I think that’s what makes this series so compelling. It may be filled with over the top science fiction but it is twisted up with real life people and facts and it makes you want to believe (like the X-Files).
The art is also quite unique. It has a way of throwing you off balance, and making you feel a tad uncomfortable. In this way it adds to the bizarre nature of the story. The end of this volume will leave you desperate for more. You’ll need to know what else this group of mad scientists were getting up to behind closed doors....more
This book was described as The Hunger Games meets The Handmaid's Tale which gave me high hopes, as thoseOriginally posted at Christa's Hooked on Books
This book was described as The Hunger Games meets The Handmaid's Tale which gave me high hopes, as those are two of my favourite books. And for the most part I did find the premise of this book intriguing. The best way I can think to describe it is, The Handmaid's Tale out in the wild. Books like this really make me question what would actually happen if most of the population was wiped out. What would the attitude be towards re-population? Eve does an excellent job of raising some key questions and made me stop and consider the rights and responsibilities of women in such a scenario. What would happen to our freedom? (Heavy stuff I know).
Premise aside, however, I was a little unimpressed with some of the other elements of the novel. For one thing the pacing just didn't seem right. Everything happened too fast, and not in an "edge of your seat" kind of way. There wasn't enough time in between major events to really digest them and really have the characters react to them. Sometimes the reaction to a scene is just as important as the scene itself and I felt like I was missing out on that. In addition to the pacing I also found the ending a little off. I just don't buy the way things happened, it wasn't rational! I'm dying to talk to someone about it (maybe they have a different take on it than me) so if you've read Eve and want to talk about it then please contact me!! Bring on the book discussion!!
This book is the first in a planned trilogy, and I intend to check out the sequel because, as I mentioned the premise interests me. So who knows maybe the kinks will be worked out in the coming books. I sincerely hope so. Otherwise since there are so many other similar books, Eve might just fall through the cracks. I'm not willing to write off this series completely just yet and sometimes I just need to look at a book in a different way to really appreciate it. So if you have a different take on Eve please share!...more
I have a confession to make. When I first sat down to read this book I was scared. How could thatThis review originally posted at More Than Just Magic
I have a confession to make. When I first sat down to read this book I was scared. How could that be? you ask. It has such a bright and friendly cover and a heart warming synopsis. And you would be right about both of those things. But it’s written by John Boyne and the only other Boyne book I have read is Boy in the Striped Pajamas. An absolutely beautiful but heartbreaking book. So I was wary that this book – Barnaby Brocket – that seemed pleasant on the surface would end up punching me in the heart and making me cry as well.
But right from the first few chapters I could tell that The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocketwould be different. It was still an absolutely touching and heart warming read, but there was no tears, no heart ache. It was much more pleasant and light than my previous experience with this writer.
Though a terrible thing happens to poor little Barnaby, who can’t keep his feet on the ground, his story is anything but. This one tiny event, which might destroy a less optimistic and determined person, is the start of a great adventure for Barnaby Brocket, taking him from Sydney, Australia to far off places like Brazil, New York and Toronto. I loved the way Barnaby approached the situations he was in and that through it all he never seemed to give up hope. He is a strong and admirable little boy and I grew quite attached to him during my time reading.
The best thing about this book is that the message – that you should celebrate what makes you unique, rather than try to pretend to be “normal” (whatever that may mean) – is woven into every scene and interaction but doesn’t feel overly preachy. It’s a very friendly and approachable writing style. One that I found similar to authors like Roald Dahl – particularly Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Recommendation: I think middle grade readers will really take to this novel, but that teens and adults will also find Barnaby Brocket easy to relate to. It’s a universal story with a simple but important message that none of us should forget....more
After her dad gets a new job, Megan has to move to a new town. This isn't the first time she's had to moOriginally posted at Christa's Hooked on Books
After her dad gets a new job, Megan has to move to a new town. This isn't the first time she's had to move because of her dad's work but this time is different. To start off her new home is in Ireland and once there she finds herself drawn to the tall, dark, and handsome Adam DeRis. Maybe this move won't be so bad. However, the longer she stays there and the closer she becomes to Adam, the more she realizes things aren't exactly “normal”. Instead they couldn't be any further from normal. Turns out Megan has some very strong supernatural powers. They're part of the reason she's so drawn to Adam. Though her new powers are amazing, they are also dangerous and highly sought after. Not exactly what she had in mind for her first time in Ireland!
To be quiet honest I had mediocre expectations for this book. It sounded like so many other books I've read this year. But let this be a lesson to me! Expectations can be wrong. This book was so fun and unique and I absolutely loved it. In fact I ended up loving it more than many of those “similar sounding” books. Here are some of the reasons it really stood out for me.
First of all it's set in Ireland. Sorry to all my American readers but as a non-American resident, sometimes it gets frustrating when every story is set in the U.S. Having The Carrier of the Mark take place is Ireland was a refreshing change. Plus Ireland is amazing. It's beautiful, it's got amazing history and culture and the book is full of neat little nuances and sayings that make you wish you could head over to the Emerald Isle yourself.
In addition to the setting I love the way this book draws on nature. I can't tell you exactly what the supernatural powers are in this book but there are many references to the elements and I love this. I saw one review that said it made them think of Captain Planet! I love that description! I think Megan has a kick-ass superpower and that makes her pretty darn cool in my book!
Finally I loved Adam. Seriously, could this guy get any more sweet? Though I also love the rebel without a cause thing, that many leading men in YA tend to emulate, it's nice to come across someone like Adam. Someone who doesn't play games and get angry at every little thing. There's no stupid little arguments, where one (or both) characters stomp off and don't talk to each other (quick tip – this is not the foundation of a solid relationship and is no way to solve your problems!). Instead Adam and Megan face things together. They're a team and they care about each others well being. I think this sends a positive message to readers of every age. My only complaint, however, is that this book falls into the trap of insta-love. I'm sorry but you just don't fall completely “head over heels – I'd do anything for you – we're going to be together forever” in love, after only a few days. You just don't. I just wish there was a little more relationship building instead of just jumping right in.
To sum up, this book totally exceeded my expectations! It has an amazing setting, a unique plot and the love story is adorable (although a little cheesy). I am now one of Leigh Fallon's dedicated fans and I am certain I will not be the last. The Carrier of the Mark is a great read and I hope you pick it up!...more