Friday, September 28, 2012

Starling: review

Title: Starling (Starling #1)
Author: Lesley Livingston
Genres: mythology, urban fantasy
Rating: 3.9 stars
Summary: Mason Starling is a champion fencer on the Gosforth Academy team, but she's never had to fight for her life. Not until the night a ferocious, otherworldly storm rips through Manhattan, trapping Mason and her teammates inside the school. Mason is besieged by nightmarish creatures more terrifying than the thunder and lightning as the raging tempest also brings a dangerous stranger into her life: a young man who remembers nothing but his name--the Fennrys Wolf. His arrival tears Mason's world apart, even as she feels an undeniable connection to him. Together, they seek to unravel the secrets of Fenn's identity as strange and supernatural forces gather around them. When they discover Mason's family--with its dark allegiance to ancient Norse gods--is at the heart of the mystery, Fennrys and Mason are suddenly faced with a terrifying future.

Set against the gritty, shadowed back-drop of New York City, this first novel in award-winning author Lesley Livingston's epic Starling Saga is an intoxicating blend of sweeping romance and pulse-pounding action.


I'll start off by saying I'm already a fan of Lesley Livingston; I read her Wondrous Strange trilogy in the span of two days. (I love anything Shakespeare, if you haven't gotten that already.) When I heard about this book, I didn't know until quite a while later, that it was a spin-off series, sort of centering around the supporting character, Fennrys. Now Fenn was never my favorite character and tended to keep me on edge whenever he appeared, but I was intrigued all the same and was excited to read Starling. Here are my thoughts upon finishing it.

The cover is really eye catching. The color tone fits the plot, and the girl on the front actually looks a lot like how Mason is described. Except her eyes aren't blue enough. (Her eyes were mentioned approximately a dozen times. :P) Wait, why is she walking through water and wearing Pan's pipes?

As soon as I read the blurb on the back, I clicked it to-read. Our heroine is a fencer. That's right; so she's going to be awesome. How unique is that? This is coming from a sabre fencer I might add, so that statement might be just a tiny bit biased . And overall I think this sport is a real part of the story. Mason is constantly practicing and you can tell it's really important to her. It's not like school, which is just mysteriously blown off, like many paranormal books usually do. She actually goes to practice and that proves she has a life outside of these pages.

Another thing that surprised me is that Mason has siblings. I know, right? And they actually have lines! No matter that they're all working together with an evil master-plan to sell her soul to save humanity...but they're alive and kicking! I really liked that. You might also like this blog post by Justine Larbalestier.

The pace of Starling is where it loses some star-points...It starts off with a quite literal bang of a huge unnatural thunderstorm, but then after about 50 pages of action, the story slows like a lot and I almost got bored. 100 pages later another action scene and then 20 pages after that, conversation again. I mean, you can only have so many conversations with an amnesic guy.

More on that amnesia thing. If I had known Fenn wouldn't even know who he was in this story, I would have picked it up expecting something different. Plots regarding memory always make me go ehhh......but it wasn't too bad. No strong opinions about it. Mostly it seemed like an easy escape to start an old character over again.

The romance aspect was mild. I didn't feel any chemistry between Mason and Fenn, but it was sweet I guess. Mostly it was Fenn drooling over her eye color, I mean really. It's not that I didn't particularly like it, I just didn't feel any strong connection between them. As of now, there is no strong third point to a triangle though.

I guess I expected to LOVE this, but it's more like I "really enjoyed" Starling. After that rather abrupt cliffy, it of course makes me want to read the next one...but it won't be at the very top of my can't-wait-for list. I still for sure recommend Starling for any fan of paranormal.

-Jane

(Hey guys, a little note. If you're a subscriber through email, or are new :), please make sure to re-subscribe in the FeedCat widget up at the top right near the giveaways. I've lost quite a lot of readers with the switch-over, and you guys are awesome, so I want to build up that support again as quickly as possible. :) Thanks!)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Unfailing Light Blog Tour, Review + Giveaway!

Title: The Unfailing Light (Katerina Trilogy #2)
Author: Robin Bridges
Genres: ya, necromancy, historical, paranormal, magic
Source: ARC from Random House
Rating: 3.5 stars (a good read)
Summary: Having had no choice but to use her power has a necromancer to save Russia from dark forces, Katerina Alexandrovna, Duchess of Oldenburg, now wants to forget that she ever used her special powers. She's about to set off to pursue her lifelong dream of attending medical school when she discovers that Russia's arch nemesis--who she thought she'd destroyed--is still alive. So on imperial orders, Katerina remains at her old finishing school. She'll be safe there, because the empress has cast a potent spell to protect it against the vampires and revenants who are bent on toppling the tsar and using Katerina for their own gains. But to Katerina's horror, the spell unleashes a vengeful ghost within the school, a ghost more dangerous than any creature trying to get in.


I haven't met many people who've heard of this series, so I consider it a nice, quirky find for those who do stumble across it, like me.

The genre in general is historical fiction. But that barely scratches the surface. There's every sort of paranormal creatures in here and sometimes they're under different names. Like vampires are also known as Veshtiza or Vladiki...depending on what kind of blood drinker you--I mean they--are. So it's not just the average paranormal but filled to the brim integrating the old Russian lore (I'm assuming) to make it really fascinating. Other creatures besides the various vampires, are zombies, (after all, this is a necromancy book) and the odd faerie or two from the Light and Dark Courts.

The love interests, George and Danilo, aren't actually in too much of the novel. George is off studying in Paris on some super secret wizarding mission, and Danilo is busy creepily reading Katerina's thoughts at random times of the day. George can also read her thoughts, but only within close range...because that's better. :P Overall though, they are great as the two "good guy" and "bad guy" roles, but unlike in The Gathering Storm they switch roles here and there, making their characters not as flat.

Katerina, our protag, really has some of the worst luck. She's "cursed" with the power of necromancy but really has no control over it. That means zombies pop up randomly, and lots of people hate her. To me, it seems like she needs lessons in necromancy because she doesn't do much except kind of freak out and lets things happen to her. I was hoping for some real taking-charge attitude from her in The Unfailing Light but unfortunately she's still afraid and confused as to what she can do. I really hope she grows as a character in the last book to finally get to attend medical school as well as embrace her powers as a necromancer.

Like the first, there are sooo many long Russian names and "of this and that place and title" to follow it. I am interested in Russia so all that is totally likable for me, but it may annoy some people with the complexity of it. I find it brilliantly creative.

Most of the time I liked the writing, but here and there the sentences felt a little stilted and not put together as well as they could have been and I noticed some repetition in descriptions. I have an ARC though, so that's subject to change. I have no doubt the third and last installment in this series will be even better, and I can't wait to see what happens to Katerina and her powers...

~~~~~

If you like this series, or think you might, here are some similar books/series you may enjoy:
Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon
Harbinger by Sarah Wilson Etienne
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Die For Me by Amy Plum

-Jane

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, but that in no way affected my views and opinions on the book, it's completely unbiased.

~~~~~

Hey look, a giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

~~~~~

All right, so now that you've stopped here, make sure not to miss the other stops on the tour listed below!


September 24thSmitten Over Books
September 25thCasey’s Crew
September 26th: Much Ado About Books
September 26thThe Streetlight Reader
September 27th: Infinite Reads
September 28th: The Hiding Spot
September 29th: Girls *Heart* Books
October 1stMom Reads My Books
October 2nd: The Book Review Club
October 3rd: The Book Review Club
October 4th: Kimba Caffeinated
October 4th: My Life is a Notebook
October 5th: My Life is a Notebook
October 6th: Candace’s Book Blog
October 7thReader Girls
October 8th: Bookish
October 8th: Peace, Love, Books
October 9th: YA Bibliophile
October 9thReader Girls
October 10th: Wastepaper Prose
October 10th: Imaginary Reads
October 11thImaginary Reads
October 12th: Well Read Wife
October 15thLibby Blog
October 16th: Cracking the Cover
October 17th: A Bookish Libraria
October 18th: A Novel Review
October 19thIn the Best Worlds
October 20thTripping Over Books

Monday, September 24, 2012

Goodbye Feedburner...



(So long!)

Hi there.
I've recently heard about the imminent demise of Feedburner, the site I use to gain an audience through email subscriptions.

What has happened is Google has decided to shut down its APIs on October 20th.

What now?
So after some looking around, I signed up for a similar website called Feedcat. I just added it to the top right-hand corner of my site's sidebar, and I would be so very happy if you could re-suscribe to Much Ado About Books via email using this program. I would hate to lose so many readers! I just looked on my stats on Feedburner for the first and last time (because I couldn't figure out how to before) and over 150 people have subscribed to me! That's way more than I ever could have imagined for such a new blog. Those stats just made my day.

How do I re-subscribe?
It's super easy to re-suscribe, there's just that little widget on the top right corner (above my giveaway links) that looks like a small blue box. Hover over it and another bigger box will appear. You just click and enter your email address  in the spot with the blue pencil on a "mail" picture. Then that's it! You should receive email updates on my posts just like usual!

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and I hope to keep your support! :)

-Jane

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Stacking the Shelves 9-23-12


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks! Hosted by Tygna's Reviews.


Got some pretty awesome books this week!!



I got Son for review, and I just reread The Giver in excitement. I can't wait to see how this series ties together!

Also, this last Tuesday I bought The Diviners by Libba Bray because I saw it finally out on the shelf and absolutely couldn't help myself....and then I realized it's a mighty HUGE book. :D Shiny.


The last two books are The Ethics of Star Trek, and Finding Serenity (a collection of essays explaining how awesome Firefly is.) My friend had given me an Amazon gift card for my birthday and I found these jewels right away...I may or may not review them on here, because I'm not sure what my audience is like.

Finally, one last book...I am a major fan of Aussie fiction, but of course here in the US, it's hard to find some titles...but my dad happened to be in Sydney last week so I sent him over with a list of books to find! He got this one for me! ^^^ (major happiness)




That's right, in the paper-flesh! I have heard it's full of awesome.

What's in your mailbox this week? Or finish reading anything particularly memorable? :)

Sorry I've been behind on review posts, I've been rereading a couple of old books, and some personal stuff has set me back a bit, but I'll have some good reviews coming soon!

-Jane

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday 9-19-12

Wishlist Wednesday is hosted by Dani, at Pen to Paper, and it's a meme in which you can post a book that you've had on your wish list for a while, but haven't found the time to actually read yet. (Or in my case, I'm also waiting for its release!)




Jaw drop

I love the first two in the series (and managed to get ARCs of both in the past by pure luck, so if there is any way I can complete the set with this one soon, I will jump up and down in happiness and then blog about it.) Seriously, this recently relesased cover makes me want to read it even more. And with the cliffhanger in the last one....!!!! Mon Dieu!



Stuck in a Good Book Giveaway Hop


This hop is hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & Stuck in Books.

Check out the complete linky list HERE. :) (There are LOTS of chances to win!)

This time my giveaway is International! It's also an e-book giveaway, which is a new thing for me. I have a few choices (because I've read SO many good books recently) and here they are...

(Ordering from Amazon, and/or Barnes and Noble so make sure you can receive them in your country.)

Winner picks TWO ebooks they want out of the choices below:

Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin                                   

This is an excellent retelling of Poe's short story. It's full of steampunk influence and crawling with zombies. Not to miss!

Read my review here.

















Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card

From the author of Ender's Game, Pathfinder is for sic-fi fans who can't get enough of time travel. It's complicated and engaging, even though it's over 600 pages, it sure doesn't feel like it. And the sequel just came out!

I didn't review Pathfinder on here, but you can read my review of it's sequel, Ruins, here. (spoiler warning)












Forgotten by Cat Patrick

I seriously couldn't put this book down. It's mind-bending and is in the point of view of a girl who remembers backwards. It's a quick read and you'll probably finish it in one sitting like I did because it keeps you guessing (and squealing) till the last page.














Prequel shorts for Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass

(counts as one pick)
I just finished reading these and they are very good! I am glad to have read them before Throne of Glass because I got to learn more about the characters in advance.














The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

This is a unique twist on the usual fey novels I've read. Blending the myth with current technology really surprised me and I've got to recommend it now! (Though I still like her Immortal Rules book better. ;))

You can read my review here.












Blood Red Road by Moira Young

I stumbled upon this randomly and I'm SO glad I did. The writing style is unique and memorable, the characters well developed and the plot is gripping. Dystopian like no other.
















So many more amazing reads! But that's what I'm picking for now. Just enter the Rafflecopter below and good luck!

-Jane

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Teaser Tuesday 9-18-12


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Stop by there, to see other blogs participating as well! :)



I'm in the middle of The Unfailing Light, so here is a teaser:

   I walked between the aisles of wooden desks, which were probably older than me, and stopped in front of a dark-haired girl with bright green eyes. In French I asked her name, and then placed the chalk in her hand. "Charlotte, will you write the verbs as we speak them again?"
   "Oui, Mademoiselle," she said, standing up from her desk.
   Madame Fredricks was no longer paying attention to the class. She was absorbed in her romance novel. As long as the class continued according to my lesson plan, she would not bother me and I would receive a passing grade.
   Charlotte stepped up to the board and raised her chalk, ready for the class to recite their verbs. But before anyone could say anything, her hand moved with a jerk and she began to scrawl across the board, in Russian: STAY OUT OF THE LIBRARY.
-page 100 of the ARC

Don't you love a good ghost story? :)



Be sure to stop by next week, on the 26th, to see my review as a part of the blog tour!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Rise of Nine: review

Title: The Rise of Nine (Lorien Legacies #3)
Author: Pittacus Lore (pseudonym)
Genres: sci-fi, action adventure
Rating: 4.8 stars
Summary: Until the day I met John Smith, Number Four, I'd been on the run alone, hiding and fighting to stay alive.

Together, we are much more powerful. But it could only last so long before we had to separate to find the others. . . .

I went to Spain to find Seven, and I found even more, including a tenth member of the Garde who escaped from Lorien alive. Ella is younger than the rest of us, but just as brave. Now we're looking for the others--including John.

But so are they.


They caught Number One in Malaysia.

Number Two in England.
And Number Three in Kenya.
They caught me in New York--but I escaped.
I am Number Six. 
They want to finish what they started.
But they'll have to fight us first.


I had originally thought this was the last one...and now I'm so glad to hear it's not!

Warning, there are a few spoilers for I Am Number Four and The Power of Six...

The whole book is pretty much one action scene after another. It's great because the pace is set at breathtaking and I couldn't help but to keep turning the pages right up till the very last one, but it's also a tad exhausting to read only about that and nothing else. I swear, on every page there is a form of the word "explode." Because of that, hardly any of the plot moves. Well, it does but is so hindered by all the people stopping to fight or to be attacked that to me, it seemed like not enough got accomplished for an entire book.

I guess the action is great all around, but there is little room left for actual dialogue between the characters which usually leads to character development. While they're all developing physically via discovering all their superpowers, I want to see them all interact more as people, if that makes sense.

We meet Eight early on, and I think he's a great addition to the group, though he isn't a huge character. I liked seeing more of Nine, because he only just showed up in the last few chapters of The Power of Six, and his personality is definitely an interesting one. I don't exactly get what he has to do with the title though because he's just like any of the other Guarde.

My least favorite thing in here is that Sam is not in it!!!!! Considering he is my favorite character, an absent Sam is a slight let down. All the other characters are great, and Sarah even says a few lines, but we don't get so much as a peep from Sam. He'll be in the next one, I can tell from the story, but he could have at least showed up at the end, just for me.

And this contradicts my usual views...but I really do enjoy the different POVs. Normally I complain to no end about them. What makes this likable is the three, Four, Six and Seven (Marina) each have their own distinct fonts. That really helps to keep track of what's going on in big battle scenes when the views switch every few paragraphs. They're all in first person too, instead of third person switching. I feel like I can connect more to them that way.

The ending came abruptly, but I really can't wait for the next one. I'm not sure how many more books there will be, but I feel like another climax is approaching so my guess is two or three books tops.

I have yet to read the Lost Legacies book(s) because I only recently found out about it, so at least I'll have something to tide me over before the release of the next book in the series, currently Untitled but finally added to Goodreads!

-Jane

Under the Sea Giveaway Hop!

September 14th-20th! :)


You can find the complete linky list HERE.

I am giving away an ARC of Vicious Deep by Zoraida Cordova.

Note: My copy doesn't have the final cover shown above, because it's an advanced copy.




Make sure to enter all the other giveaways!


-Jane

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Cover Reveal- Reaping Me Softly by Kate Evangelista

Here it is! Thanks to AToMR Book Blog Tours there will be an ARC tour soon as well, and I hope to participate, so keep your eyes open! (pun intended.)

Add on Goodreads HERE. :) I highly recommend to do so.


Release Date: October 30th, 2012

Book description: Ever since a near-death-experience on the operating table, seventeen-year-old Arianne Wilson can see dead people. Just as she’s learned to accept her new-found talents, she discovers that the boy she’s had a crush on since freshman year, Niko Clark, is a Reaper.

At last they have something in common, but that doesn’t mean life is getting any easier. All while facing merciless bullying from the most powerful girl in school, Arianne’s world is turned upside down after Niko accidentally reaps the soul of someone she loves. This sends them both into a spiral that threatens to end Arianne’s life. But will Niko break his own Reaper’s code to save her? And what would the consequences be if he did?

This sounds pretty awesome, I'll have to read it as well as her other book, Taste.

-Jane

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Teaser Tuesday 9-11-12

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Stop by there, to see other blogs participating as well! :)



I'm reading a handful of books right now, but I'm actually going to pick something random off my to-review shelf instead...ah, look where my hand stopped:

The Essence by Kimberly Derting, the second book of The Pledge trilogy. 
Expected publication is January 1st, 2013! It's a New Year's book. :)

   "It wasn't until I found myself lying facedown in the dirt that I came fully and completely awake. Until that moment, I'd simply thought I was having another one of Sabara's dreams. The vague buzzing, a blur of  voices and shouts, could have easily been coming from inside my own head.
    Now, however, I could taste the stringy meat Jeremiah had brought back with him--some sort of scruffy-coated animal I hadn't been able to identify, a meal that hadn't settled well in my stomach in the first place--against the back of my tongue. I gagged on the gamey flavor as I struggled against an immovable weight that pinned my to the ground.
    A hand shot out to cover my mouth and my eyes went wide."

-excerpt from just about the middle of my ARC.

Are you excited for this sequel? At first I was kinda bummed The Pledge wasn't a standalone because I am sure it would have been an excellent one, but now I see how the loose ends could be raveled into another two books before tying off, I just hope they're as good as the first. 

-Jane

Outpost: review

Title: Outpost (Razorland #2)
Author: Ann Aguirre
Genres: zombie-ish, dystopian, kick-ass, adventure
Rating: 4 stars!
Summary: Deuce’s whole world has changed. Down below, she was considered an adult. Now, topside in a town called Salvation, she’s a brat in need of training in the eyes of the townsfolk. She doesn’t fit in with the other girls: Deuce only knows how to fight.

To make matters worse, her Hunter partner, Fade, keeps Deuce at a distance. Her feelings for Fade haven’t changed, but he seems not to want her around anymore. Confused and lonely, she starts looking for a way out.

Deuce signs up to serve in the summer patrols—those who make sure the planters can work the fields without danger. It should be routine, but things have been changing on the surface, just as they did below ground. The Freaks have grown smarter. They’re watching. Waiting. Planning. The monsters don’t intend to let Salvation survive, and it may take a girl like Deuce to turn back the tide.

Second books are always a touchy subject for me...they're either really horrible and pointless, or great and plot-moving. (Kind of like debut authors! I say nicely.) Some examples are Until I Die by Amy Plum. I loved it, but realized after that the plot went pretty much nowhere and consisted of fluff. And on the other hand, Lauren Oliver's Pandemonium I enjoyed WAY more than Delirium. In both cases though, I am eagerly, and not really patiently awaiting the last of each trilogy. ;)

Outpost did not fall into the Second-Book-Slump as I feared it would. It did, however, have it's questionable moments...

The start is slow-going. It took me a good 80 pages or so, until I finally stopped setting it down in between chapters to go do something else. Mostly that's because Salvation is pretty boring. It's a small town of salvation (well duh) and the people in it are living their lives a little too easily and not much happens besides everyday life. When Deuce finally leaves the town to be a part of the summer patrols, action arises and the Muties become smarter. That finally had me hooked. I was scared for a while that this book would be a disappointment.

I just realized. And maybe I'm like the last person in the world to get this, but I think Deuce's name has a deeper meaning from the author. Throughout most of Outpost, she's struggling with her two natures; the prominent Huntress, aka killing machine, and her emerging girly side who is falling for Fade and likes to be hugged by her new mom. She's at constant battle with herself--how to react in situations in order to be true to both selfs. Hence her name, Deuce which means two. I feel so smart! All right, you can laugh at me now, for not getting that before.

Bad-ass-ness rating: 10 stars. This might be a weird comparison, but Deuce has some serious River Tam moments. You know that scene from Serenity where she rises from the pile of zombies and dripping in blood? There are many moments in Outpost where battle scenes get pretty much like that. LOVED. If you need a visual: http://www.horror-movies.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/river-tam.jpg
It is pretty descriptive, the gore.

One more nerd moment. The city Deuce comes from is called Gotham. Does that sound familiar? Gotham! I wonder if that's an actual place, or if she wanted to be funny by putting that in there.

The romance is becoming alllmost a love triangle, but not quite. Fade is in that annoying stage of "good-boy-keeping-distance" for a while, while Stalker is, well, stalking in an overly friendly way but Deuce is holding her distance. I actually grew to like Stalker more in here than in Enclave, but I still don't like his pet name for her, dove. Fade and Deuce finally get past some unsaid misunderstandings (haha that sounds funny...) but things change by the ending. Fade is left sort of like how Pita Bread was during Mockingjay. Read: I don't like it. And I have a feeling he might do something stupid and sacrificial soon...crossing my fingers everything will turn out okay, but at the same time, I liked him more in Enclave.

Where there wasn't a bad cliffy, I am now totally looking forward to the last in the trilogy, Horde! I can't wait for a cover to be released!

-Jane

Also, anyone ever read her other series, Grimspace? I just learned of it, and it looks pretty interesting...

Monday, September 10, 2012

Books to Movies Giveaway Hop! (INT)


Welcome! This hop is hosted by I am a Reader, Not a Writer & Sweeping the USA.
You can find the complete linky list HERE. There are over 80 blogs participating!

This time, I'm making the giveaway INTERNATIONAL! Let's see how it goes.

Books to movies is a touchy subject to us bookworms...I'm personally super picky about them. I refused to look at a single piece of news about The Hunger Games until the day the trailer came out, and I'm currently doing the same with City of Bones. It's crazy, I know. Call it denial, because it is. But I LOVED how The Hunger Games turned out, so there's still hope yet for future ones, like Ender's Game and Anna Karenina, The Great Gatsby...there are quite a lot of good ones coming up. 

Enough rambling. You want to get the giveaway entered and off to the next linky. At least, that's what I do. And assuming you're still reading this far.


So what I've picked is....

The choice between a hardback Fang or a (normal sized) paperback Max. Both are read, but in great condition.

...stupid formatting...



Because there WILL be a movie coming out! Next year hopefully! So that counts, right? ;) Ha! There is proof: HERE. :)

And since the last Maximum Ride book, Nevermore, just came out it's time to get around to putting them all on your shelf.

It's easy, just enter the Rafflecopter below!



Sunday, September 9, 2012

August RAK wrap-up (late)




I totally forgot to post what I got last month! :O

I didn't get any books, but I got a really nice handmade bird keychain from Miki, so thank you very much! It was a nice surprise in the mail when I got back from my trip.






September sign-ups are open now, so head on over to Book Soulmates and join in on the fun! Make sure to click the 'yes' to handmade gifts because they're always unique.

Happy reading!

-Jane

Stopped-Short Sunday (9-9-12)

It stuck! I got some positive feedback, so I'll continue this meme for now. The only thing is...I need an image to go along with it. Anyone??? :)

Stopped-Short Sunday is where I pick a book that I couldn't finish, and explain the pros and cons of not liking it. That way, instead of a bad review or no review at all, it gives some perspective in an open minded way.

This week I'm picking Daughter of Smoke and Bone, by Laini Taylor.

I read this last November and from the first page, fell absolutely in love with it. The description pulled me right in, about some otherworldly mythology thing going on, and there wasn't mention of any romance so I figured this will be the next Divergent, (as far as new favorites go.)

For the first 200 pages, I seriously couldn't put it down. The writing is mysterious and the characters were totally strange and unique. Urban-fantasy at it's best.

Then the angel fell from the sky.

This is an angel book, my friends. How did I not know that coming in? If there is a genre I have to dislike the most, it would belong to the angels. It might have something to do with the usual relation to God it brings up, and as an atheist, that stuff doesn't really appeal to me; I don't get that connection to the story. And they're all the same. At least the 10 different ones I've put down were.

(The only two exceptions are Illuminate and the City of Bones series.)

Anyway, this got hugely popular, and I stumbled upon it by the ginormous cardboard display-rack thing in the bookstore; it was like a magnet. So I bought it.

I'm mentioning this book now, because in a couple months, Laini Taylor is going to be near me on tour for the second in the series. Now a handful of friends have said it's worth finishing, for me to give it another shot. Also, I just read her short story in Foretold which was ahhmazing! Really, her writing is completely awesome.

Final thoughts, I'm going to pick it up again soon, back track a couple chapters to get my bearings again, and finish it. I really really wanted to love this, so I think there is still a chance! (Even though it's sort of an angel book, because I think there's more mythology than being simply that.)

And I mean come on, the covers are great. ;)

-Jane


Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Dark Unwinding: review

Title: The Dark Unwinding
Author: Sharon Cameron
Genres: Victorian era, almost-steampunk, coming-of-age, bunnies.
Rating: 4 stars!
Source: finished copy from the publisher, Scholastic Press
Summary: A spine-tingling tale of steampunk and spies, intrigue and heart-racing romance!

When Katharine Tulman's inheritance is called into question by the rumor that her eccentric uncle is squandering away the family fortune, she is sent to his estate to have him committed to an asylum. But instead of a lunatic, Katharine discovers a genius inventor with his own set of rules, who employs a village of nine hundred people rescued from the workhouses of London.

Katharine is now torn between protecting her own inheritance and preserving the peculiar community she grows to care for deeply. And her choices are made even more complicated by a handsome apprentice, a secretive student, and fears for her own sanity.

As the mysteries of the estate begin to unravel, it is clear that not only is her uncle's world at stake, but also the state of England as Katharine knows it. With twists and turns at every corner, this heart-racing adventure will captivate readers with its intrigue, thrills, and romance.


I'm always cautious when reading a debut novel. Usually they're either horrible, or wonderful. The Dark Unwinding fell into the latter category, and I would definitely recommend it!

The story takes place outside of London in the mid 1800s, and the first thing I noticed was that the dialogue was good for the times. It felt naturally English and old fashioned, and not fake or stilted. 

Mainly, lots of the good dialogue comes from Katharine's crazy uncle (who nowadays would be characterized as highly-functioning autistic) because the paragraphs of nonsense is really well written. His condition is sad and at the same time hilarious if you think of it positively. A true genius inventor is often a bit crazy and the author captures that craziness unusually well.

Now the main character, Katharine, I have a few mixed feelings about. She isn't the usual kick-ass or even sort of tough character I look out for when choosing a book. Prone to the occasional painting spell and easily scared, she isn't used to the safely of her London home. But there's good development and for what she lacks in physical abilities, I really felt she is strong in spirit. Katharine is torn for most of the story between her own self-preservence and the saving of her uncle and his whole estate/town and the jobs of his people. So I liked her for that, and she's smart-though often proves to be too curious for her own good.

The supporting characters are delightfully present and rounded. I grew attached to all of them, even the rather annoying Miss Jefferies who determined to give Katherine the hardest time possible while visiting. 

On the other hand, the romance...was predictable. Not in the bad kind, I still liked it, but every new thing she discovered about the two possible angles of her triangle I had already guessed. But I will admit the way it turned out surprised me a little with an open ending. Honestly, there wasn't actual romance in it, because that's not what the plot centered around.

There's a nicely set pace with plenty going on to keep you guessing, its as much of a mystery as historical. But the climax turned out to be slightly confusing, lots happens at once, and it's disorienting with the commotion. Though the storytelling recovers toward the resolution of the book, when much of it is explained, so I understood what happened by the end.

The Dark Unwinding  is one of those books that would make a great movie, and it was nice to read a standalone rather than the beginning of a series debut. I look forward to reading more of the author's work in the future.

-Jane

**Thanks to the people at Scholastic Press for providing me with a finished copy to review. It did not effect my review in any way. I reviewed it honestly and without bias.**

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Wishlist Wednesday 9-5-12

Wishlist Wednesday is hosted by Dani, at Pen to Paper, and it's a meme in which you can post a book that you've had on your wishlist for a while, but haven't found the time to actually read yet.

I choose Ironskin by Tina Connolly this week. It just came out a few days ago and I can't wait to get it from the library! Or, you know, I might just accidentally walk into a bookstore and buy it...it could happen.

Goodreads summary: Jane Eliot wears an iron mask. 

It’s the only way to contain the fey curse that scars her cheek. The Great War is five years gone, but its scattered victims remain—the ironskin. 

When a carefully worded listing appears for a governess to assist with a "delicate situation"—a child born during the Great War—Jane is certain the child is fey-cursed, and that she can help. 

Teaching the unruly Dorie to suppress her curse is hard enough; she certainly didn’t expect to fall for the girl’s father, the enigmatic artist Edward Rochart. But her blossoming crush is stifled by her own scars, and by his parade of women. Ugly women, who enter his closed studio...and come out as beautiful as the fey. 

Jane knows Rochart cannot love her, just as she knows that she must wear iron for the rest of her life. But what if neither of these things is true? Step by step Jane unlocks the secrets of her new life—and discovers just how far she will go to become whole again.


Im having some serious cover-love here. Probably one of the prettiest I've seen in a while. I can't wait to see it in real life. I wonder what the spine looks like. Anyone have a chance to read this yet?

The genre of steampunk is a weakness for me, I'll admit. And the book I'm reading right now is pretty good, and vaguely steampunk, but Ironskin looks like something else entirely! It has faeries in it too, which doubles the intrigue. 

What's on your wishlist this week?

-Jane

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Teaser Tuesday 9-3-12



Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Stop by there, to see other blogs participating as well! :)


The book I'm now starting, The Dark Unwinding, came out September 1st, only a couple days ago; here are a few teasers.

                  Add on Goodreads!

"It was her unspoken words that silenced me. That I could have no hope of future provision beyond the charity of my fat cousin, and had no invitations to keep me in London for the season, were far weaker places than her love of money, and she knew it."


"The color was an assault to the eyes almost as the silence seemed an attack on the ears."


"The birdcage had read five o'clock. All of them, every one of them had hands pointing to five..."






This has a great start, hopefully it'll keep up with the good descriptions...what are your teasers? Is The Dark Unwinding on your to-read shelf?

-Jane