Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Perfect Ruin - Lauren DeStefano

You may go anywhere in this floating city...expect for the edge. You do not go to the edge of the city. But what is that saying? Curiosity killed the cat?



On the floating city of Internment, you can be anything you dream, unless you approach the edge. Morgan Stockhour knows getting too close can lead to madness, like her older brother Lex, a Jumper. She takes solace in her best friend Pen, and in Basil, the boy she’s engaged to marry. When she investigates the first murder in a generation, she meets Judas. The suspect was betrothed to the victim, but Morgan believes he is innocent. Nothing can prepare Morgan for the secrets she will find – or whom she will lose.

This is yet another book that had been sitting on my Kindle forever just waiting its turn to be read. And then it sat patiently waiting to be reviewed (which seems to be how a majority of the books I read end up...just waiting to be reviewed... but I'm a busy mom, so what can I say?). Anyway, I wanted to finish reading DeStefano's Chemical Garden Trilogy first before starting this. And I have to say, out of those books and this one, Perfect Ruin...yeah, the better book. Totally.

I perfer this book not only because the characters are not hair pulling angsty, but because the world is beautifully tragic. The writing is much more crisp and the flow of the story is easier to follow. The twists and turns that are thrown at Morgan Stockhour are impressive, but at the same time make sense with the tone and plot of the story. There are no wasted moments or characters. Well, there is one. But that's neither here nor there. 

There is a perfect attention to the most finite details, such as the mythology built around how and why Interment came to be. At the beginning of each chapeter, there is a little blurb from a paper that was written by the girl who was murdered discussing the flaws and questioning the society and gods that they are all born into. When it is mentioned, it's not over done, if that makes sense. It's something that is not forced down your throat, it's naturally introduced and developed in the story. 

The best way to describe this book is as subtle science fiction. I know that the general masses and book publishers sell is as a young adult destopia, however, it is missing the normal annoyances of the that genre. By that I mean angry teenagers. And it's been a while since I wasn't annoyed by any of the character. Morgan is a refreshing character in that she is a completely innocent character with everything in front of her, her life perfectly planned out. Lucky almost. However, when her world falls apart, it's not all at once. Everything shatters slowly and falls down and as the book progresses, the drama and secrets gather and pushes the story foward to where you are up half the night just needing to know what is going to happen. 

And can I mention briefly how much I enjoyed the connection and love story between Morgan and Basil? It is a simple and pure love story. There is no love triangle being written in to muck things up. You are able to actually focus fully on the story of Morgan and her find out truths about the only place she ever called home.

I'm not going to lie, my only niggle with this book is that its not a one off, that it's the beginning of a new series. Which, if I think about it, is just fine. I just hope that this series continutes this very lovely lyrical writing and the simple and subtle touches of science fiction. 

Hope you enjoyed this review. Sorry for the silence. But hey, I just had a new little one...so...what's there to expect?

Remember to be yourself...unless you can be a pirate. Then always be a pirate!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

City of Heavenly Fire - Cassandra Clare


 A finale to a book series I started forever ago! Did it live up to the hype? Was I disappointed? Well, lets just say that I know there are folks out there who are not going to like this review...so...yeah...heads up there....

 


In this dazzling and long-awaited conclusion to the acclaimed Mortal Instruments series, Clary and her friends fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary's own brother. Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter. Bearing the Infernal Cup, he transforms Shadowhunters into creatures out of nightmare, tearing apart families and lovers as the ranks of his Endarkened army swell. The embattled Shadowhunters withdraw to Idris - but not even the famed demon towers of Alicante can keep Sebastian at bay. And with the Nephilim trapped in Idris, who will guard the world against demons? When one of the greatest betrayals the Nephilim have ever known is revealed, Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Simon, and Alec must flee - even if their journey takes them deep into the demon realms, where no Shadowhunter has set foot before, and from which no human being has ever returned...

 

I have found that when it comes to the final book in a series, I am left pondering the implications of what that book brings to the entire world that the author created. Was it an epic ending? Was it a cop out? As I finished reading City of Heavenly Fire, I was left feeling really one thing in particular: this book was way too long.

“But isn’t that how most final books are?” I thought to myself when I was about half way through this 725 page behemoth. Example: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. That was a long book…but that was a book that I loved to have frustrate me with the twists and turns. I remembered gasping out loud and crying out “what is this craziness?!” There was the perfect amount of pacing with heartfelt moments, plot twists, and action scenes with a pinch of horror. It had an ending that was appropriate for what the story was. There were no random new characters introduced. J.K. Rowling kept us focused on the characters at hand. And, when there was a death, it was important and it was moving.

For Cassandra Clare’s finale, well, I was left feeling bored and impatient. There were wasted words and sentences everywhere, which didn’t move the story along. There were new characters introduced into this world who did nothing for the story. They were only introduced to set up for the next book series in the Shawdowhunter world. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy the idea of the Shadowhunter world and the twist they bring to the Young Adult fantasy fiction world. But, for me, these new characters served no purpose to any of the existing characters or the plot. And when characters died, well, I didn’t care. They’re lives just ended in an anti-climactic and unemotional heap of nothingness. I should feel something when a character dies. I should feel pain or sorrow or joy. No. I was left thinking “oh get on with it.”

The main six characters of this series, where not so much an issue for me. They are who they are. I accepted them for all their flaws. They are not the best characters, but they make no qualms about who they are. My main issue was a feeling of all the characters in this world created by Clare are being forced together…unnaturally. I’m not sure how to describe what I mean by this statement. I suppose it was all the coupling that was going on. Jace and Clary’s relationship I felt didn’t develop it something mature and strong. Isabelle and Simon was a lot of back and forth teenage angst and jealously. Didn’t really care about Jordon and Mia. Also, I was super annoyed that Clare shoehorned in two characters from her Infernal Devices Series (a book series I actually really enjoyed…better than this one) and I ended up being annoyed at their presence in the books. The only couple that wasn’t super annoying was Magnus Bane and Alec. They at least had emotions that seemed genuine…though there was this strange element of romance novel-ness to them.

But that’s beside the point. I can forgive strange couplings of characters as long as the main story is moving along, as long as the action is propels the reader forward. And the main story…well, it didn’t. I wanted to continually yell at the book to “get along lil’ doggies!” Too many subplots with characters I could give two shits about. There were wasted words and sentences. I was being told, not shown, emotions and the world. This book was, in general TOO LONG. Like 300 pages too long. By the time I realized this, I couldn’t just stop where I was and abandon the book. I was far too along in the world to just give up. I wanted to. But I didn’t. I was applauded by co-workers for finishing the behemoth of the book. I shouldn’t have to be congratulated for muscling through a book.

When it all comes down to it, I was sorely disappointed in this book. Not from how it ended. The ending wasn’t half bad. No, I was disappointed in the composition and the overall writing itself. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, just because your book series has the title of New York Time’s Best Selling Series, doesn’t mean that an editor shouldn’t be afraid to say “you know, you might want to cut back here” and “you know, you said the same thing twice…just in a different way.” It was things like this, this lack of editing that drove me bananas. Awesome for those that really loved this book. Kudos to you. But for myself, I just couldn’t get past unwanted characters and plot fodder.
 
I know. This review is not very nice. But, all is not lost. Try reading Cassandra Clare's Infernal Devices  book series. It's only three books long and the characters are much more likable and the story is so much more compelling. Maybe that's because its set in Victorian England and has a steam punk feel to it that makes me like it more. I would suggest those books over this series completely.
 
Thanks for reading folks. I appreciate you.
Remember to always be yourself...unless you can be a pirate. Then ALWAYS be a PIRATE!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Darwin Elevator - Jason M. Hough


So if it’s young adult tale about the end of the world, it’s a dystopia…but if its and adult tale, it’s Science Fiction. Either way, you should strap in folks. It’s the end of the world and only a tiny town in Australia is safe…or you know, so they all thought…

 


In the mid-23rd century, Darwin, Australia, stands as the last human city on Earth. The world has succumbed to an alien plague, with most of the population transformed into mindless, savage creatures. The planet’s refugees flock to Darwin, where a space elevator—created by the architects of this apocalypse, the Builders—emits a plague-suppressing aura. Skyler Luiken has a rare immunity to the plague. Backed by an international crew of fellow “immunes,” he leads missions into the dangerous wasteland beyond the aura’s edge to find the resources Darwin needs to stave off collapse. But when the Elevator starts to malfunction, Skyler is tapped—along with the brilliant scientist, Dr. Tania Sharma—to solve the mystery of the failing alien technology and save the ragged remnants of humanity.


***Preface to review: Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher, Random House Publishing Group - Del Rey Spectra, for providing me this e-book to review. Now, on to the review!***
 
I love a good End of the World book. When I had requested this book from Netgalley and the publisher, I believe I had just finished reading Icons by Margaret Stohl. Yes, it was young adult. But, it was about an unknown alien force who had dropped their strange and powerful technology on the world. This book by Jason M. Hough, is similar, but the aliens in this book, called the Builders, seem to be passive aggressive about their take over. They build this amazing space station that is tethered to the Earth, but then release a disease that makes you bat shit crazy. The world goes into chaos. Ka-Boom. End of the world. Sounds like a Doomsday prepper’s nightmare, but you can’t prepare for something like that.
For our Dutch hero, Skyler Luiken, him and his scavenger crew are the link to the world outside of Darwin’s protective shield, the Aura, as they are immune to the alien disease. They do what they can to survive the end of the world. Skyler is a decent male hero. I feel like he is supposed to be the Every Man, the man who still has emotions and doesn’t necessarily hold to the mantra of Dog Eat Dog. He does try to help where he can, but not at the expense of his own crew…
Well that is until he meets Dr. Tania Sharma and things get complicated.
The good doctor is a on a different level and zone than Skyler. While Skyler scavenges around the world, Tania lives in orbit on the space station. She is smart and wise, and just like Skyler, will do anything to protect her people. But while Skyler is more of a man of action, Tania is a woman of intellect and cunning. When they meet on what becomes a completely botched mission to Hawaii to retrieve some important data, they are fascinated with each other as they are from different areas of society, but they end up being a decent team together.
Both Skyler and Tania are relatively good looking folks, and there is some commentary about how the other looks, and emotions felt about the other. But thankfully, it’s subtle and more so on Skyler’s end. Because I’m going to be honest, the whole man and woman pair up and fall in love instantly because they are forced into a sticky situation, is getting a little old. There is one faux lesbianism type of scene with Tania and her assistance that had me rolling my eyes, and I wasn’t too sure if it was necessary, and a scene where Skyler rushes in to save the day and Tania kisses him...but other than those scenes, there’s not much else in the way of sexuality in the book. Why? Well, because it’s not necessary to moving the story along. And thank you Jason M. Hough for realizing that sex is not something mandatory in a book. If it doesn't move the story along, why put something like that in? Sure, the evil Blackthorn of Nightcliff detains Tania after the mishap in Hawaii and the decontamination involved nudity and water and poking and prodding, however, we as the reader are dropped in after all this is done. Which is nice as because as a woman, don’t really want to hear about the violation of another female. And it didn’t progress the story!
Jason M. Hough does a great job of keeping to elements and scenes that progress the story forward. The action kept moving forward and me turning the page. The action, as it was, was a little slow going. But the idea of aliens possibly cleansing our world for whatever reason, is intriguing.
I enjoyed the story but didn’t feel completely connected to the characters. All the characters, major and minor, are well written and they know their place. Major characters upfront…minor folks in the background. It was a well-balanced story that had followed the rules of the road in story plotting and action packness (is that a word?). There are two other books in this series, and I hope I can get to reading them as I am curious about who and what the Builders are. They were briefly discussed but never expanded upon so here’s hoping that book two will reveal a little more about the people who pretty much brought on the end of world…except for one little patch of the world.
Thank you for reading this review.
Remember to always be yourself unless you can be a pirate…then always be a pirate!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Cinder - Marissa Meyer


Honestly, this book had me at "Cyborg"…





Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.
This is another one of those books that I read it like two days. I just devoured it. I tend to do that with books that seem new and inventive. We’ve all seen the whole reimagining of fairy tales into something different yet familiar. But cyborgs? A strange illness effecting the population of the world? People who live on the moon called Lunars? Sweet baby, Jesus…where do I sign up?

All the characters are perfectly balanced. The main characters are interesting and have many layers (like onions!), and the secondary characters, though interesting, were perfect in the background. They helped push Cinder along with her development. She has always been strong and tough because, well, she had to be, which is perfectly demonstrated at the beginning of the book.  And it’s one of my favorite images in the entire book. Cinder is sitting on a stool, taking off her own cybernetic foot and she is just waiting for her android to bring back a brand new foot for her. For whatever reason, that particular scene just seems to set the stage for everything Cinder is about to go through.
And yeah…she goes through a lot.

Prince Kai, well, he’s an okay character. He is struggling with the death of his father at the same time dealing with the crazy Lunars who are pretty much going to invade Earth. Just saying. He represents the mystery and intrigue that is forced into Cinders life. For the most part, she handles herself pretty well…up until the end that is. What happens you say? Well, you know how Cinderella runs from the big party at the end and loses her slipper? It’s sort of like that…except it’s way more tragic…and kind of pathetic.  Anyway, back to Kai. He was for the most part a flat character for me. Not as interesting or well developed like Cinder. But I do see Kai’s importance and hopefully in the following books he gets a bit more interesting.
I’ve been thinking about the best way to describe this book and I think this phrase will work: Cinder is a Futuristic space opera filled with love, betrayal, moon people and cyborgs…and it’s just way too much fun. Action with just a bit of longing romance. But really, it's all about the action and political intrigue.
Thanks for taking the time to read this review! Here’s hoping I can stay on top of my blog in the following weeks. Also, I’ll try to reintroduce some little features on this old blog, Momo’s Pick and Hump Day Meme, and introduce a few new things. I’m thinking I might feature a copy kiddo books on here and maybe do a Book vs. Movie thing on here. My dreams of YouTube Vlogging is very far away as all my laptop is ancient and well, recording on my phone is a pain.

Until next time!
Remember to always be yourself, unless you can be a pirate...
Then ALWAYS be a PIRATE!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Dreams of Gods and Monsters - Laini Taylor


Strap in for some heavy hitting and super intense emotions and actions. Holy moly…this one had me run ragged at the end of this…

By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz.
Common enemy, common cause.
When Jael's brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people.
And, perhaps, for themselves. Toward a new way of living, and maybe even love.
But there are bigger threats than Jael in the offing. A vicious queen is hunting Akiva, and, in the skies of Eretz ... something is happening. Massive stains are spreading like bruises from horizon to horizon; the great winged stormhunters are gathering as if summoned, ceaselessly circling, and a deep sense of wrong pervades the world.
What power can bruise the sky?
From the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond, humans, chimaera and seraphim will fight, strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.
At the very barriers of space and time, what do gods and monsters dream of? And does anything else matter?

So let me start off in saying that this is the last book in this series. And I have determined that this is one of my favorite series ever. And this book was everything that the first two were. But man oh man, it was a doozy to read and get through. What do I mean you ask? I shall explain.

Not sure how many of you folks have read anything by Dan Brown, but if you have, then think about to books like Digital Fortress, or his most famous books, the Robert Langdon series. Think about how those were written. You have the main protagonists POV that is clear and concise for the most part. Then, the bad guys and other supporting characters are randomly thrown in for good measure to mix it up and confuse the hell out of you. Then, at the very end, you need eye protection for all the random loose ends that are flying about to come together at the end. Remember that? Got that picture of story telling in your head? Okay. That was this book. And don’t get me wrong. I love Dan Brown. I love the Robert Langdon books. They are fun bits of thrilling fiction. And Taylor’s third installment in her series was just amazing. But the story telling was just all over the place. And I don’t need to have everything be in order, but I don’t want to have to try to remember a specific incident from something that happened four chapters ago.

 The writing is beautiful and all the characters are wonderful. At first, I did think that Eliza was a completely waste of character though. I just kept reading thinking “Why was this character introduced in the final book?” But not wanting to give anything away about who and what she is, I still felt like she was a wasted character. And as it always happens when you have such a HUGE cast of characters, I found that I completely lost interest in the two characters this entire series is built around. Karou and Akiva just became too tortured for me. I felt like they became too self absorbed and I just wanted to shake them both like “Hello! Focus! You got a war you have to deal with right now!” I was drawn to the Ziri, who truly understood sacrifice. Also, Zuzana who showed so much determination and grit (that’s right. I said grit!). It’s almost as of Taylor picked the certain emotions or themes and motifs and inserted them into the characters of her story. Which is great, I loved that…but…shouldn’t have the main focus been on Karou and Akiva being all these things? Because all I really read was a lot of wallowing in self pity.

Wow. As I look back at what I just wrote, you would think that I didn’t like this book. But I really did! I think I just went in with expectations that I felt weren’t really met. Yes, the story was well written (except for the whole Dan Brown structuring. Just doesn’t work …), but for me, it just felt like something was missing. I’m just happy that none of the main characters were killed off brutally and without warning. Thank you for that Ms. Taylor. Yes…I’m still bitter and angry at Veronica Roth for her pissing on her loyal readers with Allegiant.

If you are looking for something exciting and different to type of story, totally check out this series by Laini Taylor: Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Days of Starlight and Blood and finally this book, Dreams of Gods and Monsters. It’s tragic. It’s beautiful. And it’s original. All I have to say is that you better strap in and have a box of tissues with you because these books are not for the weak of heart and will most defiantly get the Feels a’flowing.

Thanks for reading guys. I know it's been a while since my last blog post, but hey, that happens when you have a family you have to run and work full time!
Remember to always be yourself. Unless you can be a pirate...
Then ALWAYS be a PIRATE!!
Until next time!! (which is hopefully going to be soon...)

Friday, July 25, 2014

This Dark Endeavor - Kenneth Oppel


MAD SCIENTIST!! Mwhahaha!! Or at least, one in the making…

 

(This is not the cover from my edition I read....but I could only find this cover. Bummer...)
The purest intentions can stir up the darkest obsessions.
In this prequel to Mary Shelley’s gothic classic, Frankenstein, 16-year-old Victor Frankenstein begins a dark journey that will change his life forever. Victor’s twin, Konrad, has fallen ill, and no doctor is able to cure him. Unwilling to give up on his brother, Victor enlists his beautiful cousin Elizabeth and best friend Henry on a treacherous search for the ingredients to create the forbidden Elixir of Life. Impossible odds, dangerous alchemy and a bitter love triangle threaten their quest at every turn. Victor knows he must not fail. But his success depends on how far he is willing to push the boundaries of nature, science, and love—and how much he is willing to sacrifice.

That’s right! The Granddaddy of all mad scientists! Victor Frankenstein! However, he’s a moody teenager. Which is fine. I’m fine with that. I like the idea of a peak into the past to see what made Frankenstein into FRANKENSTEIN. You see the development of his passionate obsession and how it came to be: it came out of love for his brother. He’s so desperate to find a cure for his brother Konrad's illness, that he would defy his father and look into the forbidden art of alchemy. There are strange and curious encounters and adventures that bring them to finding what they need to create the mystical Elixir of Life. And that’s where I’m going to stop in discussing the plot because I don’t want to give away any spoilers.
The voice of Victor is well written and it flowed along nicely.  I wasn’t bored…but then again, now that I think about it…I wasn’t exactly enthralled either. I couldn’t get myself to fall head over heels into the story, like I was one of the characters scaling trees or venturing into underground caves or giving up….well, that’s a spoiler and I’m not going to tell you. But I didn’t feel like a participant. I felt like an observer. When I read a book, I want to fall into face down on the dirt. And, well, that just didn’t happen with this book.
And even though I was not completely immersed in the book, I liked it a lot. It was a spooky Gothic tale…up until Victor decides that decides that he is in love with the lovely and fiery Elizabeth (yes, thy are cousins. Yes, it’s a little icky. But it is justified as she’s a very distant cousin) once he discovers that his twin brother Konrad (yep, the one that gets sick) is madly in love with her first. Then…it turns a little too juvenile for me in that it was no longer about saving Konrad, which is still wants to do, but it was all about proving himself better than his twin to win the affection of Elizabeth. Oh Young Adult…can there be one book where there is not a strange love triangle? Can you just be an awesome Gothic tale full of spooky and dangerous adventures?
Le Sigh….
Overall, this is a fun book. It’s a fast and easy read and if you’re looking for something after a super intense read (I read this after Dreams of Gods and Monsters. Sweet baby Jesus that book hurt my head…still trying to figure out the review on that one…), this is a great book for you. And, it’s a little different from all the other historical Young Adult books at there. I mean come on….FRANKENSTEIN!!      

Until next time, lovers. Remember to always be yourself. Unless you can be a pirate…
Then always be the PIRATE!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Shadow and Bone - Leigh Bardugo


Young female character with an amazing and rare ability to save the world? Check. Said female character torn between Tall, Dark and Handsome and her childhood friend? Check. Magic and Secret Societies? Check. Set in a Fantasy world that is reminiscent of Pre-Bolshevik  Revolution Russia? Ohhh…that’s new…


The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka. Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite—the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free? The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfill her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him. But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him? Glorious. Epic. Irresistible. Romance.

A sign of an awesome book? You don’t want to put it down. I would sit at my desk at work watching the clock for my breaks and lunchtime. I would read while giving my Mini Me her bath. I would read well into the night until my eyes couldn’t stay open. I read this book in two days. Of course, it helps that I have this book on the ol’ Kindle Fire so I could read on in the dark. Score! And I will try to keep this spoiler free as I feel you should read this book. READ. IT!
But why did I love this book? Alina is just a girl who wants nothing but to get close to her childhood friend, Mal, as they have never been apart since their meeting at the orphanage. She is stubborn, combative, and prefers to NOT be the center attention. But then, with one single act, she is thrust into a world that is so completely different world. It’s one of intrigue and luxury and mystery. She gets swept up in actually being paid attention to, not being in the background. Being told she was important.
But then, wouldn’t you know, all sunshine and roses gets pissed on when the truth comes out about some dark and nefarious goings on. Alina’s doubt and fear is palpable and makes your scared for her and root for her survival.
There is one part in the book, near the end, where I did get a little weepy. It wasn’t heaving sobs or anything like that, it was simply tears running down my cheeks. It was so beautifully written and such a real moment between Alina and Mal, well, I couldn’t help myself. I cried. I don’t want to give it away, but use your imagination about the conversation had and I’m pretty sure you can work out it.
This review is a short one, I know, but I don’t really know what to say without giving away to spoilers. There are some books that I have no issues giving spoilers. But this book, with its mystery and sinister plots, it just doesn’t seem right.  You should read this book and enjoy the buildup of suspense and the horrors of what man would do for what they consider peace.
Book Two, Siege and Storm, it’s waiting patiently to be read. And I cannot WAIT!

Until next time. Remember to be yourself, unless you can be a pirate. Then ALWAYS be a pirate!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Undead Pool - Kim Harrison


How is Rachel Morgan doing after her last adventure in Ever After? Well, not too bad if you think about. Am I going to give you spoilers? Why yes. Yes I am.



Witch and day-walking demon Rachel Morgan has managed to save the demonic ever after from shrinking, but at a high cost. Now strange magic is attacking Cincinnati and the Hollows, causing spells to backfire or go horribly wrong, and the truce between the races, between Inderlander and human, is shattering. Rachel must stop the occurrences before the undead vampire masters who keep the rest of the undead under control are lost and it becomes all-out supernatural war. However, the only way to do so is through the ancient elven wild magic, which carries its own perils.


I feel a little guilty about just now writing this review, as I read this book back in April. I think part of that has to do with the face that I wasn’t too sure how I felt about this book. I loved it. I did. But, some part of me feels like it was simply filler. Which, I mean, let’s get real. That’s going to happen some point in a book series that goes over six books. The Undead Pool is book number 12 in the Kim Harrison’s Hollow Series. I love the world that has been created by Kim Harrison. I love the alternative history she has created and it’s so fun and exciting and action packed…even when Rachel royally screws up.  But something about this book, it was different than the others. I understand, it should be different as the story line is different.
But to me, it felt a little too domestic. Too much romance. Where’s the action and the inner conflict? Yes. The action is there. And there is inner conflict, but it all had to do with her feelings for Trent. Which, can we have a brief and spoiler filled conversation about that whole bit? Can they be any more inappropriate and awkward about their feelings towards each other? First, they make out in a room full of dead vampires. Second, when they finally bone, it’s something you would see a high school teenager do. Really? Shuffling from the kitchen to the living room with your pants around your ankles? Geez. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to see two characters that have been mooning over each for who knows how many books get it on, but I expected something not so…juvenile? Yeah. I think that’s the word I’m looking for.
Other than that, I did like the story line. It was nice to have a book devoted to the elven society of The Hollows World. I like how the elven society and magic counters Rachel’s own and her beliefs. The idea of the Goddess and her essence being trapped inside of Rachel makes for an interesting conundrum for Rachel as a day walking demon. And the undead vampire Masters not waking up? Well, causes a lot of issues in Cincinnati. The Free Vampires (which, I felt was kind of a floundering story line to cover up the diabolical plans of an Elf Priest) running around biting folks and drinking blood and that brings in Ivy and her new girlfriend Nina fighting and battling her former hold on her Vampire Master. It is a good story line for what it provided for Rachel: full of action and ka-bow which is always awesome.
The one things I was bummed about is that Al and Newt really only appear at the end. Newt is brilliant and Al is angry. The way I love them. And we did see more of Newt and her craziness, but we got a deeper understanding of what she went through…and how much it is just like Rachel is going through with essence of the Goddess floating around in her head. And Al…geez! I just wish there was more of that guy. He’s so complicated and angry. He’s wonderful. And I miss him. I do hope to see much more of Al and Newt in the upcoming and final book for this series.
I do love this book, however, I didn’t feel it was up to par with the previous books. It felt like corn: filler but no substance (or nutritional value). Ever After was amazing and probably my favorite in the series.I suppose I got a little over excited. And I know this last little statement is totally first world problem and nitpicky…but I hate the cover. I hate it. Why is Rachel blonde? She has red hair? And Trent…totally not what I pictured. On the cover, he looks like he’s out of an 80’s movie about power brokers and Wall Street scum. I just can’t get with it. Vain and silly? Yes. But I don’t apologize for my book snobbery. It is what it is.
I cannot wait to read the final book in this series, Witch With No Name. I am hoping for complete and utter epicness swimming in awesome sauce….oh please deliver….please?
 
Until Next Time. Remember to always be yourself...unless you can be a pirate.
Then ALWAYS be the PIRATE!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Dead Spots - Melissa F. Olson

If you’re a normal person and your job is crime scene clean-up, you are either legit or work for the mob. But you happen to be a unique supernatural being known as a Null and you do crime scene clean-up…probably not as legit. Hell, work for the mob would probably be more legit than what this chick does for a living…




Scarlett Bernard knows about personal space: step within ten feet of her, and any supernatural spells or demonic forces are instantly defused—vampires and werewolves become human again, and witches can’t get out so much as a “hocus pocus.” This special skill makes her a null and very valuable to Los Angeles’s three most powerful magical communities, who utilize her ability to scrub crime scenes clean of all traces of the paranormal to keep humanity, and the LAPD, in the dark. But one night Scarlett’s late arrival to a grisly murder scene reveals her agenda and ends with LAPD’s Jesse Cruz tracking her down to strike a deal: he’ll keep quiet about the undead underworld if she helps solve the case. Their pact doesn’t sit well with Dash, the city’s chief bloodsucker, who fears his whole vampire empire is at stake. And when clues start to point to Scarlett, it’ll take more than her unique powers to catch the real killer and clear her name.
 
This is a book that hung around on my Kindle for a long while. I don’t know how long. I remember it being recommended to me. I found it on Amazon on sale and bought it. And then not much after that. Until one afternoon, was flipping through my collection of Kindle books and saw this book. Nice title and cover. Sure, I thought. Why Not? I picked it because I was waiting for some reserved library books to come in. And can I say? Pleasantly surprised.
Scarlett Bernard as a character is a good one. There is no wishy-washiness in any of her decisions. She gets scared, expresses it, but then still manages to control her fear. She is street wise and knows that her bosses, are dangerous and that she is expendable.  Her employers, who include the head of the Los Angeles vampires, werewolves, and witches , know her work and trust her ability to make quick work of the messes caused by the supernatural community.  
Until…well, this incident in the park where she's surronded by three dead bodies and holding a large heavy duty trash bag by an LAPD Homicide dectective...
What I loved most about this book is how Scarlett handles herself. She works for supernatural baddies and, sure she’s sassy, but she’s not sassy to the ones that sign her check or can you know, kill her and then get rid of the body no problem. And when she’s confronted with being framed for the murder in the park on both sides (supernatural and regular folks), Scarlett doesn’t freak out. Well, she freaks out a little. A lot. But privately. In her room with the door closed. When she faces the world, she has her game face on. And when it all comes down to it in the end, man, is she a total badass with her magic nullifying abilities.
I did have one issue with this book (isn’t there always one issue with any book you read??). It was with Detective Jesse Cruz. And it’s not his fault in the least. He’s a pretty good character, a nice foil to Scarlett with him being all by the book and her, well you know, technically involved in criminal activities that involved destroying evidence. He had a nice, good looking head on his shoulders. But, I didn’t really like it when it suddenly shifted to his point of view. Why you ask? Well, because the writing style totally changed. It went from Scarlett’s first person POV, to a third person POV of what’s going on inside of Jesse’s head. It just felt…weird. So, no fault of Jesse’s character, I like him. I just can’t stand the tense change and the point of view switch a-roo.

It was awesome to read about a strong female character who is a little outside the normal in the urban fantasy genre that I love. Scarlett has a natural interaction with all the characters she meets. There is nothing forced and seems out of place with her mannerisms and attitude. She’s normal stuck with a tragic past and with a path in life that she feels destined and stuck with as a Null. The action scenes where well written and the tension built up perfectly and you don’t see the true villain until it hits Scarlett square in the face. Love being surprised along with the hero.

The urban fantasy is a nice, fast pace, and original take on the typical werewolf/vampire/witch world. And yes, this is a series, and yes…I already have book two, just waiting to be read.
 
 
Until next time! Thanks for reading.
Remember to be yourself. Unless you can be a pirate...then always being a pirate!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sever - Lauren DeStefano


FINALLY! A Young Adult Dystopia with a relatively happy ending for almost everyone involved! Sweet baby Jesus…

 


With the clock ticking until the virus takes its toll, Rhine is desperate for answers. After enduring Vaughn’s worst, Rhine finds an unlikely ally in his brother, an eccentric inventor named Reed. She takes refuge in his dilapidated house, though the people she left behind refuse to stay in the past. While Gabriel haunts Rhine’s memories, Cecily is determined to be at Rhine’s side, even if Linden’s feelings are still caught between them. Meanwhile, Rowan’s growing involvement in an underground resistance compels Rhine to reach him before he does something that cannot be undone. But what she discovers along the way has alarming implications for her future—and about the past her parents never had the chance to explain.
 
Out of this trilogy, this book, might be my favorite all around. The writing is better. Gabriel is nowhere in this book. Cecily is wonderful (like always), and Rhine seems to realize just how selfish she has been. And then, there’s Vaughn, who in the previous book s (I felt) was betrayed a little too much like a mustache twirling villain. But in this book, there is more to his madness and Rhine begins to sympathize with him…just a little.
I really only had two little niggles that drove me crazy about this book. One was Rowan, Rhine’s twin brother. What an incredible tool bag that guy is. And how blind and dumb he is. Oh, and can we mention he’s a hypocrite? Thanks. And he has just no sense of what is going on around him. None. He just cannot fathom why Rhine feels uncomfortable and doesn’t trust Vaughn. Even after the truth was given.
My second issue was the whole flying to Hawaii thing. I don’t want to give too much away if you have read this book, but just think about the world that DeStefeno created in the previous two books and just think about the possibilities. That was just the one thing that I could not wrap around my head. Hawaii. I just don’t know what to even say about it. Just read it. See if you agree with me and my bafflement.
However, those two (sort of big) things aside, the story was great. It moved along fast for me. My favorite character is this book was Cecily. To see her turn from a spoiled child bride into a young woman who is fierce and determined was a great foil for Rhine, who I felt had lost her way after being trapped in Vaughn’s Room-Of-Doom. She helped show Rhine that not all is lost. That sometimes, you gotta go outside yourself to find the strength needed to survive.
But, if I’m being honest, I’m just thrilled that this young adult dystopia has a relatively happy ending. I didn’t feel the need to cut my wrists to release the angst like most young adult dystopias. It wasn’t all fluffy bunnies and mice in feety pajamas happy, but it was the beginning of hope for a much better future for her generation.
I always feel accomplished after reading a book series. And this one I am happy to say was a good one. A unique tale filled with everything that makes me love reading books: a new take on the human condition. No matter the time or place or the world that is created, at some level, everyone at some point in Rhine’s tale can relate to her struggles and triumphs.
 
Thanks for reading
Remember to always be yourself. Unless you can be a pirate.
Then ALWAYS be a pirate!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Nihal of the Land of the Wind - Licia Troisi (Translated by Ann Gagliardi)


A lonely warrior. The last of a massacred race. A tale of magic and mystical creatures and a dark overlord Hell bent on destroying the world. A tale of friendship and hardships. Oh! And the main character? A chick!



Nihal lives in one of the many towers of the Land of the Wind. There is nobody like her in the Overworld: big violet eyes, pointed ears, and blue hair. She is an expert in swordplay and the leader of a handful of friends that includes Sennar the wizard. She has no parents; brought up by an armorer and a sorceress, Nihal seems to be from nowhere. Things suddenly change when the Tyrant takes charge. Nihal finds herself forced to take action when she is faced with the most difficult mission a girl her age could imagine. Fierce, strong, and armed with her black crystal sword, Nihal sets out to become a real warrior. Readers will be riveted as she forges her powerful path of resistance.

***A Preface for you Folks: This book was provided to me from Netgalley and the publisher for an honest review. So thanks! Now, onto the review!!***

I love this cover. Love it. It believe that’s what sold me on the book. Not the title or the synopsis. Just the cover. Gorgeous. You can see our main characters sorrow and now, that this is going to be an intense book. This book was originally written in Italian in 2004 and went by Nihal della terra del vento. The American translation was published and released on May 27th 2014 by Mondadori.

Now, with all that technical stuff out of the way, I can say that this was a good read. It was short and the pace of the story was good. I read this in a few days. The progression of this tale starts with Nihal as a 13 year old girl living in a tower city of Salazar where she is the leader of a rag tag group of boys who make lots of trouble. We walk through a total of five years of Nihal’s life. We see her develop a meaningful friendship with Sennar, the young sorcerer, and her passion to become a warrior. Nihal learns the truth of who she is and learns the truth of war and death, from her time at the Dragon Knights Academy to her first real battle as a knight. Sorrow and death, disappointment and disgrace…all par for the course for Nihal.

Poor Nihal.

What I like about this book was that it was a quick read and that it flowed beautifully. Most translations are hard to read as sometimes they do not flow like they would in their native languages. The world was interesting and much thought was given into it. There is no wasted character, nothing misplaced or askew. Though I loved Nihal and the world, I just couldn’t connect on a deeper level. I was routing for her, hoping for the best, but it felt from a distance. Almost like watching something sports related on the ol’ television. You’re hoping that the best team wins, but in the end, you just want a good game to watch. That’s how this book was for me. I just simply enjoyed this book. There was nothing more to it. I wasn’t compelled to dig deeper for more meaning and understanding of Nihal or her world. For me, it was a fast light read after reading some pretty deep and intense books.

Would I suggest this book? Yeah. I would if someone is looking for something easy to read. Sure. But for me, it was just a little too short to be the epic fantasy that I was wanting. I don’t think my expectations weren’t met due to the English translation. It was very good, probably the best that I’ve read. But…for me, something was just missing. I’m not sure if it was due to the tale being so short, or if I was just something subtle and indistinguishable in the story itself. It just felt a little lacking.

However, don’t let this deter you from trying out this tale of a girl who turns herself into a machine of war in hopes of avenging her people and only learns that to be in war, one most know how to live to be sure what they are fighting for. Or, at least, that appears to be the message in the book.

Remember to always be yourself, unless you can be a pirate.
Then ALWAYS be a pirate!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Shatter Me - Tahereh Mafi


No. I'm not talking about the completely AWESOME song by Lindsey Stirling featuring my girl crush Lzzy Hale. I'm talking about this book. And I know I am late on the band wagon for this book….but it has been read and hmmmm….very interesting….


I have a curse
I have a gift
I am a monster
I'm more than human
My touch is lethal
My touch is power
I am their weapon
I will fight back

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days. The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color. The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now. Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

 Alright. Let us go down the check list, shall we?
Young Adult? Check.
Dystopia? Check.
Love triangle (as strange and uncomfortable as it is…)? Check.
But what is this? A girl who can’t touch others because she can kill them? Unique writing style? Interest piqued!

What I love about anything else in this book is the writing. I wasn’t really all that interested in Warner or Adam or even how the world turned into a pile of shit. It’s all about the writing. The writing is stunning. It is gorgeous. And you can feel Juliet starting to lose her damn mind. From the very beginning, from the very first sentence, I was completely hooked. I had no other interest than to see what was going  on inside of Juliet’s head. I loved how Tahereh Mafi made me feel like I was having a nervous breakdown along with Juliet. It was beautiful and moving and sad. I just loved it.
And the rest of the book left me feeling, well, “Meh.” The writing is good. The story moved along at a good pace. I just wasn’t into all the action scenes and plot twists like I should have been. I was really just intrigued with the craziness of Juliet. To not be able to touch anyone for fear of killing them? This must be what it’s like to be inside of Rogues head!
I do have the second book and I am excited to read it. I am interested to see what becomes of Juliet. Personally, I think she’s being used by this secret resistant group. What makes them any different than the Reestablishment? But! That’s just me and I’m not going to give away any spoilers to what led me up to that conclusion. I just hope that Juliet ends up being a character who realizes she doesn’t need Adam or Warner to believe in herself and not rely on some man to make her feel strong and empowered. Just saying…..
I do suggest this book as it is a good read, intense, but a good read none the less. You will devour this book and think later on it. And, if you're anything like me, you're favorite part will be all about Juliet's psychosis. Is that wrong? Yup. But then again...what's wrong with being a little crazy?
Remember to always be yourself. Unless you can be a pirate.
Then ALWAYS be the pirate!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Romulus Buckle & the Engines of War - Richard Ellis Preston, Jr.


***PREFACE TO THIS REVIEW: This book was provided to me from the publisher prior to its release for review. My opinions are honest and I don’t hold back. Thanks to 47 North and Netgalley! Now, on to the review!!


Well, this swash-bucking hero of a post-apocalyptic steam punk world has returned. Captain Romulus Buckle…you just might be a modern day pirate after my own heart.

“The frozen wasteland of Snow World - known as Southern California before an alien invasion decimated civilization - is home to warring steampunk clans. Crankshafts, Imperials, Tinskins, Brineboilers, and many more all battle one another for precious supplies, against ravenous mutant beasts for basic survival, and with the mysterious Founders for their very freedom. Through this ruined world soars the Pneumatic Zeppelin, captained by the daring Romulus Buckle. In the wake of a nearly suicidal assault on the Founders prison city to rescue key military leaders, both the steam-powered airship and its crew are bruised and battered. Yet there's little time for rest or repairs: Founders raids threaten to shatter the fragile alliance Buckle has risked everything to forge among the clans. Even as he musters what seems a futile defense in the face of inevitable war, Buckle learns that the most mysterious clan of all is holding his long-lost sister in a secret base - and that she holds the ultimate key to victory over the Founders. But rescuing her means abandoning his allies and praying they survive long enough for there to be an alliance to return to.”

 Oh Romulus Buckle…where do I begin with you? You are fun and action packed. You are pirate and a gentleman, fierce and loyal and completely charges into battle sometimes without thinking things through fully. He is pretty much what you expect in the way of a dashing hero. All the characters are fun and carry their individual air of mystery to them. And I have to say, that this second installment, was much easier and faster to read.

The writing itself seems to not be as awkward and jumbled. Also, there was less character descriptions of clothing and more story telling. Yay! The best part of the book for me in regards to how well the middle was done. I know that sounds, well, dumb. But let’s be real. It’s always the middle of the book that drags us down because we have to climb up hill, building tension and suspense until finally! Climax! (not that kind of climax…get your brains out of the gutter!) We have all the clans coming together to battle against the Founders! Oh, those mysterious Founders!  There's are pretty impressive swording fighting scene between a fancy schmancy Founder officer and Buckle. This book is just too much fun! Action and romance and more action and shenanigans and the constant revelations of all the characters.

There are many revelations in this book. So many, that you almost have to wear eye protection the way all the revelations are flying about. And what are these admissions and surprises you may ask? Well…..I fear that might give away soooooo much of this tale. Just trust me when I say, they are everywhere. It’s almost as if Richard Ellis Preston Jr realized he might have left too many unanswered questions and mysteries in the first book, City of Founders. I’m all for mystery, but I don’t want to be scratching my head thinking “what the hell is going on?” The author seems to have found a balance in the providing us answers and leaving us guessing.

After reading this book, I totally and completely suggest the series. Some might have an issue with getting through the first book, but I promise, the story gets better and better….and for sure…the way this ends. There’s going to be a third book. So come Captain Buckle, bring on the adventure!
.
Remember to be yourself….unless you can be a pirate.
Then always be a pirate!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Skin Games - Jim Butcher


EEEEEECCCCKKK! HOLY BALLS!! I JUST…EEEEEEECCCCKKK!!
Okay. Fan Girl Moment done.
 
 

Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard, is about to have a very bad day….
Because as Winter Knight to the Queen of Air and Darkness, Harry never knows what the scheming Mab might want him to do. Usually, it’s something awful.
He doesn’t know the half of it….
Mab has just traded Harry’s skills to pay off one of her debts. And now he must help a group of supernatural villains—led by one of Harry’s most dreaded and despised enemies, Nicodemus Archleone—to break into the highest-security vault in town so that they can then access the highest-security vault in the Nevernever.
It’s a smash-and-grab job to recover the literal Holy Grail from the vaults of the greatest treasure hoard in the supernatural world—which belongs to the one and only Hades, Lord of the freaking Underworld and generally unpleasant character. Worse, Dresden suspects that there is another game afoot that no one is talking about. And he’s dead certain that Nicodemus has no intention of allowing any of his crew to survive the experience. Especially Harry.
Dresden’s always been tricky, but he’s going to have to up his backstabbing game to survive this mess—assuming his own allies don’t end up killing him before his enemies get the chance….

***FYI AND FAIR WARNING: there are some minor spoilers. I will try to keep the big ones under wrap but, there are just something’s I’m going to have to say that might give a few things away.***

For those of you folks who stumble across this blog, let me give lay down some very important information about this book series:
1. Harry Dresden is listed in the Chicago phone book under Wizard.
2. Harry Dresden always, ALWAYS, gets in way over head, but still somehow manages to make it through to the other side mostly not dead (Granted…there was Ghost Story…but are we counting that misadventure? I’m not…)
3.  This latest installment of the Dresden Files, is book 15. So if you haven’t read this series yet, well, you got some catching up to do.
Also, Harry Dresden is my book boyfriend. He is broken and carries A LOT of baggage, but he’s good. So. Good.
But where do I start with this book in the aspects of a review? I mean, there is so much going on with poor Harry right now. He has a parasite threatening to burst out of his head and kill him…which we find out really isn’t a parasite but something else ENTIRELY. Mab is expecting him to play her deadly game by loaning him out to a villain we haven’t seen in a long while, Nicodemus Archleone (he’s appeared in two books, Death Masks and Small Favor. Super Baddie). And the highest security vault in the Nevernever? Oh, it just belongs to HADES, LORD OF THE GREEK UNDERWORLD! Oh, and there’s also all this other stuff…minor mention of Molly as the new Winter Lady and FINALLY something going down with Karrin Murphy and Dresden. Fifteen books in…about damn time really.
So you see my dilemma? Where do I start? How about everything and everywhere. It’s another super well-crafted and throughout adventure that pushes Harry almost beyond the limit. He has been forced to draw deep from his Winter Knight mantel for power and to survive the inevitable FUBAR and clusterf**k that has become his life (like how I censored myself there?).  There is a ton of action per the course filled with magic, demons, and guns. This is just normal everyday stuff for Mr. Dresden. What was interesting was to FINALLY see him interact with his daughter Maggie, who is just like any other 4 year old in that she wants her father. Harry, who has been pushing everyone away since taking up with Mab, the Winter Queen, comes to realize that the true friends will stick by him and love him until the world comes to an end. And what I was most excited about? Michael Carpenter. Yes. That’s right. The bad ass Knight of the Cross is back in action as wing man when Karrin gets taken out. Since being horribly injured in Small Favor, he isn’t so awesome. However, with the help of an angel, Michael gets to be put back in the fight as if he was never injured. He is the moral compass for Harry. Always reminding him that he is a good person, and reminding him that there is always another way.
I don’t want to give too much away but let it be known that Hades makes an appearance, and he is awesome. Just read the book. You’ll see. But read the other books first! Because you will have no concept of any of the characters or back story if you don’t. And trust me, they are GREAT reads. (Well, Ghost Story was a bit of a miss for me…but still good…)
Jim Butcher just makes me happy when I read his books. I got lost in the world he created. Every person and monster is relatable. The good guy is not a knight in shining armor. The bad guy is not mustache twirling villain. The shades of good and evil are muddled and confusing, nothing is clear cut. There are decisions in the world that need to be made: the lesser of two evils. And if we play our cards close to the chest, well, we must just get to place the ace up our sleeve and make it out alive.
Go forth and read Harry Dresden my fellow book nerds. I know this was not really much of a review. That this was a rambling of an over excited fan girl who just can’t get enough of my book boyfriend. But then again, isn’t that what being a fan girl is? Being over excited and passionate about the things you love? And I do love the world of The Dresden Files. Thanks, Jim Butcher, for everything. You are awesome!!!!

Until next time, remember to be yourself…unless you can be a pirate. Then ALWAYS be a pirate!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer - Michelle Hodkin


What is this book?! A paranormal romp of ghostly and supernatural proportions? OR…Is this girl just plain ol’ crazy? You decided!!

 


Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there. It can.
She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed. There is.
She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love. She’s wrong.

I would like to thank my awesome book sister from a different mister, Destiny, for inviting me to join her and a few others on this little book read along over the weekend. But I, however, started this book early. Started on Wednesday and finished it on Friday. It was a pretty quick and was just what I needed between books. But, I have to admit, this book did leave me scratching my head. I mean, really? What H-E-Double Hockey Sticks is going on here?
The little book summary. Yeah. Short and tells us nothing. All we know is that something mysterio-so is going on.  Don’t want to give too much away if you haven’t read this book, but just know that something completely awful happens and as a way to deal with the trauma, Mara Dyer’s brain has chosen to forget that night. But after moving to Florida, things start to come back to her in her dreams. Also, other strange things are happening. Some severely nasty folks are dying shortly after meeting her in really terrible and violent ways that seem to match Mara’s imagination. Then, of course, there is a boy that is introduced into her life that will change everything for her. Noah Shaw is slightly obnoxious in that Mara goes back and forth between “I hate your guts” to “I think I’m in love you.” It is the typical young adult recipe for a relationship it seems. But I give it up to Mara, she is quick with her wit and I do like the voice she was given. Sassy and smart…and completely aware to the fact that she is completely losing her mind. Like total bat shit crazy.
Oh, and did I mention that part of the crazy she is experiencing is due to the fact she is seeing her dead friends? In the worst places and the worst times? But of course, not too much detail about that darlings. Because it would totally spoil certain parts of the book that lead up to the end. So yeah. Hush, hush on that.
Overall, I did like this book. Heck, it grabbed my attention enough to finish reading it in three days. And that’s something to say since you know, I work full time and I’m also taking care of my family. My only niggle with this book is the ending. Definitely was a lead up into to the second book. However, I’m concerned that this super explosive “DUN DUN DUN!” ending does not back fire like it did with Veronica Roth’s Insurgent leading into Allegiant. I’m still fuming over that big bag of betrayal that book given to the world…Just saying…..
If you looking for a different type of read in the young adult tale, I would suggest checking this one out. However, be prepared for some head scratching. Just a bit of heads up.
Until next time.
Remember to always be a pirate. Unless you can be a pirate…then always be the pirate!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Parasite - Mira Grant


This book definitely grabbed my attention…then it took a turn for the whacky…and now I don’t know how I feel…

 


“A decade in the future, humanity thrives in the absence of sickness and disease.
We owe our good health to a humble parasite - a genetically engineered tapeworm developed by the pioneering SymboGen Corporation. When implanted, the tapeworm protects us from illness, boosts our immune system - even secretes designer drugs. It's been successful beyond the scientists' wildest dreams. Now, years on, almost every human being has a SymboGen tapeworm living within them.
But these parasites are getting restless. They want their own lives...and will do anything to get them.”

I’m going to be honest, I did not read the synopsis of this book prior to requesting it and then getting this book delivered to my Kindle. All I cared about was that it was Mira Grant and I loved her Newsflesh series. LOVED.  But when I did read the summary of the book, I have to admit that I was fascinated. There is no mention of our hero, Sal, a girl who experienced a seizure and was in a coma for months before walking up with all her memories gone and having to re-learn how to live like a civilized human being. Mira Grant, I have found, has the ability to write about the not too distant future that is believable. The medical industry genetically mutates a tapeworm to work with our immune system? Sure. Why the hell not?
What I didn’t expect…was the slight ick factor.
But, the ickiness of this book did not present itself until the last 20% of the book. And only a little bit of it has anything to do with Sal Mitchell. She’s a good character. Solid. Dependable. Not too many surprises. She feels confined with her medical anomaly celebrity status, but she knows that SymboGen pretty much pays the bills. Her family smoothers her due to her lack of memory and treat her like a child. When Sally Mitchell has a seizure at twenty,  and blows through a light and crashes her car which causes her to go into a coma, her memories are lost and now, years later, she is Sal. Someone new. She is technically a child in that she still has much to learn about the world, but Sal is instinctive and smart.
You asking though, where does it get icky? Well, it’s the last line of the book summary…” But these parasites are getting restless. They want their own lives...and will do anything to get them.” I don’t want to get all spoilery on you guys, but this does give a hint about what is revealed in the last portion of the book. And then you think back on certain parts of the book...and you just feel a little icky. Just think about it…
But overall, this was a fun book, even the end of the book which left me feeling a little off. It is full of suspense and mystery and “what the hell just happened?!” moments. That last one is always my favorite. Though different from her Newsflesh series, I can still tell that this is a Mira Grant book, a lovely gem of scifi/horror that is well written with the perfect balance of suspense and gross out factor. I loved it.
And awesome news from Orbit: Mira Grant is going to write another book for the Newsflesh series and there should be a couple more books to follow Parasite. Woot woot!
Until next time my darlings.
Remember to always be yourself, unless you can be a pirate. Then always be the pirate.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Allegiant - Veronica Roth


Oh I’m sorry Ms. Veronica Roth. Can you help me out for a second? I seem to be having a difficult time getting this knife out of my back that you stabbed so deeply in my back.





“The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories. But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.”

So a couple things first:
1. I’ll try to keep this as spoiler free as possible. However, there might be a few plot things that will be mentioned for this review. Okay actually, I’m going to spoil this book. But there is a warning to see keep your eyes open.
2. My nice things about this book are limited. Oh…and there might be a few curse words. Yeah. (Well I am a pirate after all. What did you expect?)

Okay, now with that out of the way, we can start the review on this book. And I suppose the first thing I should start off in saying is that it has been a while since I have felt completely and utterly betrayed as a reader. Truly. I feel like the whole success of the Divergent series might have gone to Ms. Roth’s head in that she can write whatever she feels like. Or maybe, at the end of Insurgent, wrote herself into a corner and thought, “well crap…what do I do now?”

For those who don’t remember, the end of Insurgent left us with a cliff hanger with a video of a woman named Edith Prior pretty much saying that Tris and her the factions way of life is a lie. I am summarizing of course. So, as to be expected Evelyn and her factionless army take over and now it is one dictator for another. And what happens in this short amount of time? A rebellion is formed in a group called Allegiant. Tris and Tobias are recruited and they leave Chicago, met with an outside world of despair and desolation. We learn about genetic manipulation caused a war and that’s what created experimental cities, like Chicago, to produce eventually genetically pure individuals. And….then all sorts of bullshit mayhem and chaos occurs.
Now, let’s talk about my main issues with this book.

First off, the structure of the book suddenly changes from the first two books. With Divergent and Insurgent, we see the world from Tris’s point of view. But now, suddenly, there is a back and forth between Tris and Tobias/Four’s. This, in the long run, should have been a hint about where this story was going to be going. Though the writing is okay, I felt like there was so much being forced onto Tobias/Four’s. It felt forced and uncomfortable. I get that we are getting an inside look at the “true” Tobias, away from his reputation as the legendary Dauntless member Four, but come on. He finds out he’s not Divergent, and suddenly he is super whiney and woooo is me? He jumps head long into a rebel on the Compound that runs the Chicago experiment which results in the death of a friend? No. I don’t buy it. Tris is the only character that I feel we should really care about.

Second thing on my Pissed Off List: The whole plot of the book. To me, it felt like a complete slap in the face from the beautiful, terrifying and unique world that was created in Divergent. Though it started to fall a little apart in Insurgent, I was able to forgive certain elements because it still felt like a natural development of the Tris’s story. This felt forced. I can suspend my own personal sense of reality for a book; because that’s what books are suppose to do: suck us in and transport us to a new place. But this is such a sharp turn from what I feel was the natural progression of the story. I just couldn’t believe it. Suddenly, there is a government agency that is running experiments in large cities due to genetic manipulation that pretty much screwed up mankind…and there are terms like “genetically pure” and “genetically damaged” being thrown around all willy-nilly like. Oh, and this government agency monitors Chicago constantly and sometimes they interfere…and not in a good way. It’s like Big Brother of 1984….but lacking drama, mystery and follow through….and it failed completely.

And the third thing that totally had me writing in betrayal….well, it’s a spoiler. So, if you haven’t read this book, just scroll to the end. Because yeah, I can’t keep this spoiler under wraps.


****SPOILER TIME****

Well, Veronica Roth kills a main character. Like an important main character.
She KILLS TRIS. Kills her. Nay, MURDERS her. Pointlessly. Just a complete waste. You know what it makes me feel like? Makes me feel like I completely wasted my time reading the entire freaking series. We are supposed to believe that this was some great sacrifice Tris was making for the good of the ones she loves. Total bullshit. I just…damnit! Son of a…..grrrrrr!!!!!
Here’s the thing, I have no issues with an author killing off a main character. As long as it feels natural and something that the character needs to do. This, Tris being shot down in the back…just…I have no words to describe the bad taste in my mouth this book left after reading that part. I am one how loves a good twist…but it needs to be a twist that makes SENSE.


****END OF SPOILER TIME****

On Goodreads, I gave this book three stars because it’s not completely awful. The writing is good. The characters, for the most part, are well developed. I feel like I gave this a three just because the first two books were grat. We don’t really here anything more on Edith Prior and her video, which is really kind of lame since you know, the end of Insurgent made it seem like a pretty big deal. I just feel like my trust as a reader that I give to an author was totally thrown away like it meant nothing. Complete and utter betrayal. And after this whole book series ending the way it did, I don’t know if I will ever read another Veronica Roth book again. There you go. I said it.

Then again, this is what happens when you stab your loyal readers in the back with such a lame ass ending.

Until next time. Remember to always be yourself…unless you can be a pirate. Then always be a pirate.