This was a very fun book to read. Angels/Nephilim seem to be on a new wave of literary popularity, and Ethereal does not disappoint. I was intriguedThis was a very fun book to read. Angels/Nephilim seem to be on a new wave of literary popularity, and Ethereal does not disappoint. I was intrigued beginning from the first paragraph. As soon as Skyla begins to tell her tale, I was hooked. The prose flows very nicely, and naturally. The book certainly feels like the story of a teenage girl, rather than how an adult would assume a teenage would write or speak. Also, added bonus, real humor ("we had this whole East Side/West Side thing [...] So I was expecting musical gang fights and a lot of girls named Maria.."). I laughed throughout this book, and often. Skyla was a heroine after my own heart: snarky, willful, passionate and curious. Most of all, she came across as a very genuine, real character; one that was both easy to connect with and care about. The first part of the novel is introductory; we meet Skyla, her mom, sister Mia, stepdad Tad, stepbrother Drake and stepsister Melissa as this Brady-ish family moves from L.A. to the dreary Paragon Island. Skyla's family serves as a backdrop for most of the story, with a lot of the early tension in the book stemming from Skyla's strained relationship with her mom over her dead father and her nonexistent relationship with her antagonistic stepdad. Rounding out our cast of diverse characters is Brielle, Skyla's closest thing to a female friend on Paragon, and Logan and Gage, two cousins that are gorgeous... and like Skyla, Nephilim. As Skyla adjusts to the new surroundings and finds others with similar abilities to the ones that have freaked her out her whole life, she learns of the true danger she, and all the other persecuted Celestra, face. It's ridiculously easy to get caught up in this book. It just flows marvelously well. I would take it out for my fifteen minute break at work, look up and realize I was going to get in trouble for missing an extra fifteen minutes. Between the engaging characters, the plot twists, and the chemistry between Skyla and the two charming boys, I devoured this novel. Eagerly awaiting the sequel. ...more
Super short (less than twenty pages) hence only three stars. Nicely enough, it featured my favorite Fae from Glimmerglass, Kimber, as a younger versioSuper short (less than twenty pages) hence only three stars. Nicely enough, it featured my favorite Fae from Glimmerglass, Kimber, as a younger version of herself and struggling with basic magic skills. A fun, free ebook that is read in ten minutes, easily. More of my reviews here: http://bibliophileanonymous.blogspot.......more
A quick, fun, inventive read. Very reminiscent of Jane Austen - but with subtle and interesting magic to add a bit of new allure. The end was a bit faA quick, fun, inventive read. Very reminiscent of Jane Austen - but with subtle and interesting magic to add a bit of new allure. The end was a bit fast compared to the previous 260 pages, and was a bit too easily configured, but for all that, I raced through this, enjoying myself all the way....more
This is my first foray into the world Lindsay Buroker has fashioned for The Emperor's Edge series, and it was just as fun as another novella by the saThis is my first foray into the world Lindsay Buroker has fashioned for The Emperor's Edge series, and it was just as fun as another novella by the same author that I adored, Flash Gold. I'm a big fan of the way the author writes, and the stories she creates are original and a mashup of almost all my favorite genres: fantasy, steampunk, a little mystery and some well-written, hinted at chemistry rather than a full-blown romance. I randomly picked this to start before The Emperor's Edge because it is a very short novella, only about 60 pages, but Buroker seems to work rather well within the confines of a short story. Her writing flows well and the dialogue and interaction between the characters, is witty and one of the best aspects of the novella ("I know this is dangerous, probably more for you than me-- my poster just says wanted, yours says kill on sight.."). But don't be mistaken, there is enough happening in those tooshort sixty pages to keep the plot moving briskly. Assassins, deceptions, conspiracies abound, making this an intricate and convoluted short story. As with the other novella I've read, the pages fly by with speed and I was sucked completely into the story. There is not very much characterization or character depth in the story, for two reasons. One, the author is using recurring characters from other works of hers in which they have more detail and personality ascribed to them. Reason two: there's only so much punch you can pack in 60 pages. With all that the novella has going on, the amount of depth created for each of the two is perfect. Amaranthe is a fun, vivacious character. Above all, she was resourceful and self-sufficient. I always enjoy reading books with strong, believable, kickass female characters and Lindsay Buroker seems to write them often and reliably. She's also smart, without being obnoxious or having it be her fatal flaw. Sicarius was silent and intriguing as the talented and deadly assassin who is trying to outrun his dark past; clearly, I'll be focusing on him in the future books in this series I read. My only complaint is the same as it was for Flash Gold: I simply want more. This was shorter even than that, and was over far too quickly. I know there is The Emperor's Edge and its soon-to-be-released sequel (yaaaaay!!) Dark Currents, but it's such a shame to be pulled back out of such a well-crafted world so abruptly. Not to say the resolution was not well done, because it was, it just came too fast for my preferences. I guess I'll just have to read The Emperor's Edge, then Encrypted (it's a prequel, apparently set 20-25 years before The Emperor's Edge) and wait patiently for Dark Currents. More of my reviews here: http://bibliophileanonymous.blogspot.......more
This was just great fun for me to read once it hit its stride - Phoenix Rising has nice mixRead This Review & More Like It On My Blog!
4.5 out of 5
This was just great fun for me to read once it hit its stride - Phoenix Rising has nice mix of the best elements: a finely tuned use of steampunk and its gadgets, two vastly different but strangely compatible, rounded main characters, amusing banter, and a plethora of smart antagonists against which to pit their brains and Braun. The first hundred pages are used quite effectively to establish each of the individual characters and the world in which they operate, but they are slower in pace than the following three hundred. Once the essential basics are nailed down and the plot has kicked in, this steampunk fantasy is a wild ride full of airship rescues, bar brawls, lots and lots of explosions, (broad)sword fighting, and multiple secret societies - obviously this is a book that kept me on my toes with twists and turns. The first in a series of at least two novels, Phoenix Rising is a good harbinger of hopefully more madcap adventures to follow in Old Blighty with Welly and Eliza.
Eliza D. Braun is a "successful but not smooth" field agent and is so relegated to the Archives and Wellington Thornhill Books, Esquire. With typical gender roles reversed in this Sherlockian pairing of odd bedfellows, Eliza being the muscle and trigger-happy and Books the, well, bookish one, these two agents are an interesting mix of humorous banter, keen intelligence and walking armoury. There's no dearth of smart, capable women to be found in the book (hello, Sophia!), but Eliza manages to be both feminine and convincingly menacing in exactly her own brand (read: the girl likes weapons and knows how to use them.) It's also thoroughly refreshing to see a woman be the hero and ride in, guns blazing, to save the day her partner. Multiple times. The colonial from New Zealand's counterpart in Archivist Wellington is reserved, by the book - the straight man to her more free-wheeling approach to Ministry business. They are total opposites in nearly every manner and opinion, but their banter is truly amusing - I lol'd several times while speeding through. Wellington does come rather close to being a caricature of a librarian but his vaguely-defined personal history and a slow-reveal show him to be a rather more complicated man than it can first appear. This is obviously a more plot-driven novel, but to the credit of Phoenix Rising's cast, the characters are dimensional and can create credible pathos with the reader during their alternating POVs.
*These last few paragraphs are going to get a bit spoilery.* This book has been out a year so... just be warned. Though the early action scenes lacked a certain momentum and pull, the plentiful adventures later on more than made up for it (A death carriage with spinning wheels of spiky doom a la the car race in Grease? Why not?!) With the exception of the initial and introductory part of the novel, Phoenix Rising is filled to the brim with action, death and unsavory characters. With the addition of sparingly few but appropriate gadgets (the auralscope, analytical engine, the Combobula!), these two authors create an added dimension to their supernatural world without overdoing it on the clockwork. Unlike the somewhat laughable wax/mechanical steampunk/automaton army that was shown as a national threat in Kady Cross's The Girl with the Steel Corset, these Mechamen can actually carry a palpable menace and are juuuust right for a steampunk mystery centered around a case called the "Rag and Bone" murders. Of course there are mentions of "aether" and "corsets" (bulletproof this time! Much a smarter than just steel) but by and large, the inventions here are unique and original to Books, Mad McTighe or other characters herein.
Aside from my shallow and negligible complaint about the pacing of the first few chapters, all was going nearly perfectly (exception: Ferdinand Magellan was Portuguese, not Spanish) except for two little things: #1. the Phoenix Society Initiation Weekend's orgy. While it wasn't overly crass or vulgar, it also seemed totally somewhat unnecessary to the plot. The whole "women as communal property" was also distasteful, but I understood the point being made behind the sexist attitude - the orgy? Not so much. Olivia's essential pimping out (and drugging) of her young niece was also unexpected and randomly distasteful. #2. Other readers might have issues with the style of the book as well - the chapter titles are often ominous, if not outright spoilery in themselves. Titles like "Wherein Our Heroes Endure Perdition's Flames" are pretty much the general bent the authors chose. While certain key plot points and twists aren't explicitly revealed, it can take the edge off some of the adventures that are forthcoming.
Though the main events and plotlines of Phoenix Rising have been neatly (view spoiler)[disposed of (hide spoiler)] wrapped up, there are several plotlines that extend themselves quite naturally to the second novel. Due out later this month, The Janus Affair is sure to be a closer look at the Moriarty-like mastermind behind both the Phoenix Society and Sophia amid quarrelsome banter and unlikely escapades. I for one am quite glad I have the second novel to hand - I didn't want the first to end as quickly as it did (downed in one day) so I'll have to draw out my second outing with Books&Braun. Fans of steampunk should take note and give this inviting novel a try.
"Gods... the sacrifices I make for Queen, Country, and all the pommy bastards that live in it."
"The show really does go on.."["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Well, after the whirlwhind bundles of fun and originality that was White Cat, Holly Black stumbles a bit with the second outing of the Curse Worker'sWell, after the whirlwhind bundles of fun and originality that was White Cat, Holly Black stumbles a bit with the second outing of the Curse Worker's series. Pacing issues, much less action and other issues begin to accumulate early, but don't mar the entire novel too badly. I am a bit let-down but not epically: Cassel was the same sneering bastard with a heart of gold and Lila and the secondary/tertiary character are interesting and different - I just felt the 'mystery' element for this one was underwhelming. Full review to follow....more
Lovely. Simply lovely. Just as charming as the first in the duology, The Last Little Blue Envelope is 200+ pages of humor, unrequited love, European lLovely. Simply lovely. Just as charming as the first in the duology, The Last Little Blue Envelope is 200+ pages of humor, unrequited love, European landmarks, beloved familiar characters, intriguing new characters with awesome coattails, and a fulfilling and imaginative ending to a well-written and thoroughly engaging series. I loved this book. It's as simple as that. It was highly highly enjoyable and easy to read. This seems to be the rare sequel that does not disappoint fans of the original. I actually enjoyed the 'new' group dynamic with the additions of Ellis and Oliver. Not only was a completely unexpected side of Keith shown but the interactions between all of them were amusing, awkward and sometimes infuriating. Ellis in particular was very amusing. Ginny evolves a lot of the course of the novel; not having a set of instructions from her aunt, she must make decisions on her own, figure out a puzzle without half the pieces and do so with three other people depending on her. She's more mature and very real; Ginny reminds me of a lot of girls that I know and it's nice to read a protagonist so grounded and familiar. Or one so well-written you feel an actual attachment for her and her uncle, the awesome Richard. I've added the Scarlett series by this author because I loved this series so much. I can only hope Gin gets another book later on. More of my reviews here: http://bibliophileanonymous.blogspot.......more
Enjoyable and engaging, The Admiral is about the Empire of New Europa from the first book, but this timRead This Review & More Like It On My Blog!
Enjoyable and engaging, The Admiral is about the Empire of New Europa from the first book, but this time it is a sea-faring submersible that is the location instead of England. This is a very short story, only about 160 pages, so it does seem a bit rushed, especially in regards to the romantic aspect between Tristan and Jia.
However, the characters are likable and more realistic than the first novel in the series, The Inventor. The male protagonist was more fleshed out and detailed, with a more compelling and mysterious past. The 'world' that the story takes place in does not suffer from the brevity of the plot; each successive novel has revealed more and hinted plenty about this alt-world that Karpiel has crafted so carefully. It seems fully-realized and tantalizing; each book has made me more and more curious about New Europa.
Basically this was a short, quick and enjoyable steampunk fluff. Karpiel has done great so far, with mixing many different elements in her stories: adventure, strange contraptions and romance all work wonderfully in a very readable series. I've noticed improvements in development, characterization and pacing that were just a mite off in the beginning novel. I will say that I hope the novels become longer the more are added to the series; each is succinct complete tale, but I live for details and world-building. All four in this series are only $.99 so if they sound somewhat interesting to you, it's really worth it to try it out. ...more
A book with a lot of promise. The idea of time-travel from a post-dystopian society to past Verona in 1347 is a clever premise and works well with theA book with a lot of promise. The idea of time-travel from a post-dystopian society to past Verona in 1347 is a clever premise and works well with the three protagonists. It is a bit simple, probably aimed for kids in their early teens, but enjoyable for those older than that as well. A lot of thought has evidently gone into the story and world that Kaufman has created. He writes well, blending 24th, 30th and 14th century ideas, technologies and personages into a believable, epic adventure. Engaging and easy to read, I hope that the next in the series has a little more depth will hold more details about the later technologies Kaufman has imagined, as well as the differing lifestyles from the 24th/30th century. The personalities of the women in the novel could have been fleshed out more. Shamira is mostly on the sidelines, helping when told what to do and rarely takes any initiative on her own. Giuletta seems a bit more believable but that is because she interacts with Hansum the most for the romantic angle of the story. The Signora does not add much besides comic relief and angelic hallucinations. I hope that the women are less background and more central to the plot of the next in the series. More of my reviews here: http://bibliophileanonymous.blogspot.......more
This novel was both very charming and very refreshing; it's a delight to read. It's not a great work of literature, but it excels at what it is: escapThis novel was both very charming and very refreshing; it's a delight to read. It's not a great work of literature, but it excels at what it is: escapism. Pure fantasy, or perhaps pure day dreams come true; after all, who hasn't wished to backpack across Europe with no ties and be responsible for nothing? Yet Ginny's circumstances aren't perfect, and the desire to read the next envelope, to see what is driving this whole escapade, is really what moves the story along. More than the love interest in London, more than the crazy tattoo artist in Edinburgh (though these characters, and more are rich and diverse), it is the why of the thirteen envelopes that catches hold of your imagination and won't let go. Ginny is not obviously deficient in any way. She's smart, she has friends, and is not too morbidly obsessed with her favorite Aunt's departure. So the reader has to winder why Peg thought this solo adventure in Europe was necessary and what the lesson is for Ginny in the end. All in all, witty and engaging and pure escapism. More of my reviews here: http://bibliophileanonymous.blogspot.......more
The Goblin Market reads like a classic fairytale, with a traditional beginning plotline: the abduction and necessary rescue of a loved one from landsThe Goblin Market reads like a classic fairytale, with a traditional beginning plotline: the abduction and necessary rescue of a loved one from lands afar and dangerous by an unassuming, unsuspecting "normal" girl. Meredith Drexler is the likable and capable rescuer, and her sister Christina, the carefree, dependent rescuee. Though similar to fairy-tales and myths with goblins, pixies, etc., Hudock's Market is original and refreshing to read. Descriptive and vivid, this is a well-written and enjoyable novel. The editing in the ebook needed some work but were not too huge of a distraction from the fast-paced novel and the characters. The pacing moves along briskly, there is not a dull or boring moment throughout the entire thing. Just read with fair warning, unlike typical, watered-down fairy-tales, remember that the oldest, beginning fairy-tales were much darker, with happy endings much more rare. Though some readers might want a different ending, I though it was brilliant as is; the perfect ending to a novel about goblin-abduction. More of my reviews here: http://bibliophileanonymous.blogspot.......more