Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For The First Half of 2016

Top Ten Tuesdays is a weekly feature created at The Broke and The Bookish.



1. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater: Because obviously.

2. The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski: I've been waiting on that cliffhanger for a year!

3. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi: This debut has a pretty amazing premise.

4. The Forbidden Orchid by Sarah Biggs Waller: This has been on my list since I read A Mad, Wicked Folly.

5. The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins: Because monsters. Also, I like the colour pallet of the cover



6. Passenger by Alexandra Bracken: Time travel and the high seas!

7. The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig: Also time travel and the high seas! (Seriously these two seem to have a lot of shared elements in their premises, and I'm looking forward to see how they differ/ are similar.)

8. Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan: After how much I enjoyed Unspoken, I'm looking forward to revisiting her writing.

9. A Tyranny of Petticoats edited by Jessica Spotswood: Featuring a lot of my favourite authors, I've had my eye on this collection since is was Petticoats and Pistols.

10.  Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton: Mostly because desert.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Up and Down December

I generally REALLY like book blogging. Its something that I just keep coming back to. Though Wandering Through Books is my first book blog, it is not my first time blogging about books. They're a big part of my life, and something I really love talking about. But recently, I've been having some really mixed feelings toward book blogging.

Its like I'm either "IDEAS! EVERYWHERE! Must begin writing twelve posts ASAP!" or "you know what I'm just going to delete this thing and forget about it," and I'm not really sure why that is. Its like my blogging slumps are just super concentrated into phases of intense apathy. And right now, I'm in the apathy phase. Not toward everything, just toward book blogging. Like, I love books. They still excite me. But I'm just really meh toward blogging about them right now.

It kind of feels like I'm... stagnating? Going through the motions? And that's been really frustrating for me. I want this to be fun, dammit! But instead I've just got this pervasive feeling like I'm not really doing anything, which just hasn't gone away.

This is just a long way of saying that I'm sorry I'm not posting more, but inspiration has been a little thin on the ground. (And also sorry for the whining. Also that.)

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Top Ten Books I'd Love as a Gift

Top Ten Tuesdays is a weekly feature created at The Broke and The Bookish.



1. A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

2. Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

3. Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee

4.  Slasher Girls and Monster Boys edited by April Genevieve Tucholke

5. The Next Together by Lauren James


6. Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund

7. East by Edith Pattou

8. Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

9. The Silmarillion by J. R. R. Tolkien

10. The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Year In Disappointments

This month is, in general, going to be a celebration of my favourites, and I'm really excited to be doing it, but I need to get this off my chest first. This post is going to be the books that just totally let me down this year (there had to be a few...). And some musings on why.

Mortal Danger

I was really not impressed with this book. I think the main reason was that I walked away going "But? That is not how mental illness works?" And I couldn't get past it... it might seem like a little thing, but, at the same time, it wasn't. Because suicide is a serious thing. Like, dead serious. And recovery from something like that is a process, not just something you switch off. Being suicidal is not just a plot point, it's a symptom of much bigger mental health concerns.

Part of it might have been that I didn't totally know what I was signing up for when I started this one. I didn't realise that our main character was going to be suicidal at the beginning. In general, I tend not to read books that have suicide as an element, just as a matter of personal preference. So this was part "I didn't know we were talking about suicide" and part "but if we were going to go there, this isn't how to do it."


The Sin Eater's Daughter

The good parts of this book began and ended with the cover. Seriously. The cover's beautiful, the title is amazing, and then everything just kind of flops.

I did review this one, but it mostly makes this list because I was so hoping I would like it, and I really didn't. It turned out to be contrived, flat, and the relationships actually kind of disgusted me in how the main character was treated. While I often find love triangles kind of annoying, this one was toxic. The main character's feelings are consistently ignored by both boys, they manipulate her, and generally treat her pretty terribly, and yet I was supposed to find it romantic?




Winterspell

Again, I did review this. My lack of being impressed was, like with The Sin Eater's Daughter, at least in part due to fact that I found all of the romance to be deeply, deeply creepy. Like, weird and abusive and controlling kind of creepy. Maybe I missed something, but I just didn't find any of how either of the romantic interests treated Clara to be romantic. The story was all over the place, and the writing just didn't work for me. The colour scheme of the cover is quite lovely, but the book didn't live up to it for me.



Brokenhearted

A. K. A. How did this book survive the editorial process in the form I read it in? This was another one where I was confused by the lack of attention to how medicine actually works. You are not on your feet within hours after a heart transplant, much less an experimental procedure involving a completely artificial organ. If you want me to buy something like that, you have to give me some sort of reasoning. This book completely lacked reason. Her elevated heart rate somehow made her able to fly because hummingbirds also have rapid heart rates? That makes absolutely no sense. The rest of the story was just lackluster and poor storytelling. Love the cover, though.




Forbidden

My review for this one is reasonably recent. I was just incredibly unimpressed by this novel. It promised a vivid portrayal of a fascinating and complex culture, and it utterly failed to deliver. The romance was best described as bland, and the story itself lacked flow.

It felt like the idea for a novel, all sketched out before the author did any research on what she was writing about. The characters were one dimensional, the setting and culture were simplified to the point where they approached non-existence, and the message of the story overall didn't work for me. I had a hard time getting through this one, and I really doubt I'll be reading the sequel.


So that was my year in books that just didn't work for me. Really, given the number of books that I've read this year, it isn't a bad turnaround. Obviously, if would be fantastic if we all loved every book we read, but there are always going to be ones that just don't work for every reader.

Onward to 2016!



Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Top Ten Best Books I Read In 2015

Top Ten Tuesdays is a weekly feature created at The Broke and The Bookish.


1. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff: I LOVED this book. I had to take time off before writing my review because otherwise it would just been loud flailing.

2. Magonia by  Maria Dahvanna Headley: This is such a beautiful, strange little book, and I'm really looking forward to reading the sequel.

3. The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes: Her books read like a fast-paced television show, and I really enjoyed reading this one.

4. The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black: Faeries and a creepy little town are two things that really delight me. I love the feel of this book so much.

5. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo: Heist stories! Criminal masterminds! Magic! Moral ambiguity!



6. The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski: This one raised the tension and the stakes, ending on a cliffhanger, and I'm really looking forward to reading the finale next year.

7. The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow: Despite the bumps around the way, I really enjoyed the premise of it.

8. The Nest by Kenneth Oppel: This was such a unique read, especially in its protagonist.

9. The Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi: I didn't read Spiderwick when I was a child, but I really enjoyed reading it this year.

10. The Silmarillion by J. R. R. Tolkien, edited by Christopher Tolkien: I was surprised by how much a enjoyed this one. It was interesting to explore storytelling.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Cover Change: The Winner's Curse

Here we go again...

So earlier today, the news dropped that The Winner's Curse is getting a cover change. I'm not generally opposed to cover changes as a concept except where they:

1) Happen in the middle of a series, therefore ensuring that my books will NEVER MATCH

2) Take a pretty cover and make it less so.

The change to The Winners Curse did not just one, but both. Let's examine:

Original: The best of the girls in dresses covers I've seen. There was a bit of a change in the typography between the first book and the following ones, but the theme is clearly consistent. (Curse is my favourite typography-wise.)

These are covers that make Kestrel looks strong, without making her look like she's planning on going out and physically fighting someone, and they make her look calculating. It accentuates that there is both combat (the weaponry) and court/ political drama (the dresses, Kestrel's overall appearance).
New: The original is just so much better than what they've done now. The new covers are honestly kind of silly looking? They look like a bunch of stock photos arbitrarily forced together. Why is the sky pink in the first one? They make these books look like something that they just aren't. These are stock YA high fantasy covers that you slap on a high fantasy with an assassin or something as the heroine, and magic figuring in. Which can be totally great, but that isn't The Winner's Curse.

These are not covers for a book like 
The Winner's Curse. Suddenly they have these stupid by-line things? You can's even really see the "The" on The Winner's Kiss. The worst part? They make Kestrel into someone she isn't, attempting to replace her brand of mental combat with some sort of stock variety "girl who fights things with knives." Also, Winner's Kiss cover? That is not how people look after they've been enslaved in a mine, nor even how they look after fighting their way out, if that's what you're going for.
To me, the new covers seem like a transparent attempt to appeal to a different audience. What I don't understand is why you would try to make this fantastic trilogy look like something it isn't. It seems like its more likely to disappoint readers who are drawn in by the cover, expecting a certain kind of story with a certain kind of lead. I love Kestrel, but she is primarily cerebral, and is less gifted with weapons. Her thing is cleverness and manipulation, not stabbing. This also ins't a world with magic in it, so I'm not sure about the random glow-y bits showing up randomly. So I'm a bit weirded out from a branding standpoint. If anyone in marketing understands why this happened, feel free to let me know in the comments.

Will I still buy and read the books? Yes. I'm not going to punish the author and myself to make a point that the publisher isn't going to get anyway. Am I unimpressed and a little confused? Definitely.

Audiobook Review: Salt and Storm

Title: Salt and Storm
Author: Kendall Kulper
Narrator: Lauren Fortgang
Series: Salt and Storm (with a spin-off)
Volume: 1
Goodreads

A Quick Introduction: All Avery Roe has ever wanted is to take over for her grandmother as the witch of Prince Island. When she was twelve, her mother took her from her grandmother's cottage, and, ever since, Avery has railed against her mother's attempts to turn her into a proper lady. When she has a nightmare predicting her own murder, she grows more desperate to find her way out of the spell her mother has used to trap her and become her grandmother's successor. Because, as everyone on the island knows, no one can kill a Roe witch.

Out of Ten: 7/10

Review at a Glance: Full of complex familial relationships and an amazing, grim atmosphere, the only place this novel didn't work for me was the romance.

Review: This was overall an enjoyable read. I listened to it as an audiobook mainly because I have a lot to do right now, and I needed my hands free, but I'm glad that I did go this route. Lauren Fortganag overall does a good job with the narration (though I'm a little unsure about some of the accents). I think my favourite part of her narration was that she puts a lot of emotion into the character of Avery, which fit the character well.

Avery is such a hard-edged character in a lot of ways- she's fierce in her convictions, even when her convictions are wrong. She goes on a very interesting journey of coming to understand that things might not be exactly what she's always believed them to be. Her relationships with her mother, grandmother, and island all evolve over the course of the story, and I found that very engaging.

The point where this novel sort of fell down for me was the romance- I just somehow didn't end up all that invested in it. It didn't ruin the book for me, because most of the rest of the story was fairly strong, but it was meant to be a fairly key element of the story. Love and loss are meant to be something very key to the Roe witches.

The setting was vivid and the atmosphere of this novel really stood out to me. Its rough-edged and grim, and I really liked what it added to the reading/listening experience. It makes everything feel like its constantly on edge, waiting. The overarching plot fit well with the atmosphere, and was refreshing in that the author took the story places I wasn't expecting.

I really enjoyed listening to this one, and I'm really considering picking up the companion novel, especially if it has a similar atmosphere.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Thoughts on Rating


How I Rate Books

Sometimes rating a book is the hardest part of writing a review for me. This is when you make all those observations about the book and give them a quantity. It doesn't have have words, or explanation, its just a number. All of your thoughts being turned into a number.

"Then why do it?" I ask myself on occasion. I think that it is still valuable to assign a rating to books (though sometimes it feels really weird and artificial). It really is a part of writing a review for me- it communicates to anyone reading what kind of a review this is going to be, and I think it contributes a lot to how I write my review here.

Part of the issue is that I'm such a student. I'm incredibly used to ratings. Increasingly, I think in percentages, I rate my books out of ten. I'm not a fan of the five-star rating system, because I mentally turn it into a percentage, and it bothers me that there isn't a 50%. To me, 5/10 means that it passed, but wasn't great. (Like I said, student.)
To me this is 80% and it bothers me that it can actually be anywhere from 70% to 90%. Why, Goodreads?
It does vary quite a bit, though, depending on things like if the book managed to actually make me feel emotions (other than frustrated, when-will-this-be-over emotions). Basically, in my reviews, it is best to look at the rating and the "Review at a Glance" to get an impression of how I felt about a book. Or you could read the review. That would be good too.

Retroactively Rating Books

I'll often give a book a rating right when I finish it, and I'm still riding whatever emotional wave came from reading it. (Incidentally, I NEVER rate a book before or during my reading of it.) I often come back the next day, or while I'm writing the review, and change the rating. This can go up or down, I have certainly done both.

Do you rate your reviews?

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Top (Not Quite) Ten New-To-Me Favorite Authors I Read For The First Time In 2015

Top Ten Tuesdays is a weekly feature created at The Broke and The Bookish.

I apparently didn't discover that many new favourites this year... I'm including debut authors because otherwise my numbers are kind of sad...

1. Maria Dahvanna Headley: Magonia was so wonderful, and I'm really excited about seeing what's in store next.

2. Sabaa Tahir: I overall enjoyed An Ember in the Ashes and I'm looking forward to more of this world.

3. Jay Kristoff: I generally enjoyed Stormdancer, and I LOVED Illuminae, which he co-authored. I'm probably going to be exploring more of his work next year.

4. Sharon Cameron: Rook was fun, though I'm not sure it I'll read her other books. We shall see.

5. Renee Adheih: I'm really looking forward to the sequel to The Wrath and the Dawn.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Top Ten 2016 Debuts Novels I Are Looking Forward To


Top Ten Tuesdays is a weekly feature created at The Broke and The Bookish.













1. The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapbood: Holes in space-time...

2. Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton: Girls with magical horses has been one of my things since forever.

3. Love, Lies,and Spies by Cindy Anstey: I really like the cover...

4. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Choksi: This one sounds interesting. I do so enjoy girl-accidentally-becomes-queen stories.

5. Fear the Drowning Deep by Sarah Glenn Marsh: Witches and a murder mystery rolled into one...



6. The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig: Time travel! Time travel! Time travel!

7. A Drop of Night by Stefan Bachmann: This one sounds eerie.

8. A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallard: Despite the fact that twists on Sherlock Holmes rarely work for me, I can't not try.

9. The May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude: Gothics.

10. The Reader by Traci Chee: This one sounds a little trope-y, but it might be fun.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Review: Forbidden

Title: Forbidden
Author: Kimberley Griffiths Little
Series: Forbidden
Volume: 1
Genre: Historical Fiction
Goodreads

A Quick Introduction: Jayden should be happy. She's engaged to the son of her tribal leader, which will bring her both power and riches, and restore her family's position. But instead, she fears that she's going to be entering a marriage without love, and possibly without safety- she doesn't trust her betrothed at all. When she meets Kadesh, a stranger from the south, she becomes convinced that she cannot go through with her marriage, despite the risks to both her and her family should she refuse.

Out of Ten: 2/10

Review at a Glance: With poor world-building, bountiful info-dumping, weak characterisation, and a completely flat romance, this story really didn't work for me.

Review: I didn't like this one. I think my biggest complaint was that there was absoloutely no sense of place. This book tells a story about rich and vibrant cultures with all of the charisma of a poorly edited, dry textbook. I am familiar with the concept of a desert, thanks.

 A major contributor to this is that the novel is rife with simply telling, rather than showing. There were paragraphs that just related information about locations and lifestyles, without actually giving any sense of what it must be like to live in said locations with said lifestyles. There were things that I could clearly tell were unrealistic in the context of the world and time period, for all the information provided.

The characters, which were... flat. This may partly have because the narrator and main character, Jayden, spent so much time being a vessel through which to infodump, but "flat" really is the best way I can think of to describe them. They seem more like over-described concepts than characters. The way that they speak feels incredibly stilted, the prose just feels unnatural an there isn't any flow. Couple that with the fact that none of them ever seemed to learn from their mistakes, and you have a recipe for frustrated boredom.

There was zero chemistry. I don't even think there was an attempt to create chemistry.  I had no idea why the characters were attracted to each other, and happened unrealistically fast. While I did feel some sympathy for Jayden's position (arranged to marry someone she fears) I didn't enjoy the direction it was taken and the way that story was told. It was just one part of a plot that was both unmemorable and scattered, and I didn't find myself interested.

Overall, this really wasn't the book for me. It fell down on just about every front, and I really don't think I'll be continuing with the series.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Review: Winter

Title: Winter
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles
Volume: 4
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Re-Telling
Goodreads

A Quick Introduction: Cinder and her motley crew are heading to Luna to start a revolution- something that turns  out to be even more complicated than planned. Things seem to go wrong every turn, and they find themselves on Luna struggling to survive, much less lead an army and dethrone Levana.

Out of Ten: 7/10

Review at a Glance: A fairly satisfying conclusion to a sci-fi fantasy retelling.

Review: Well, that was a long one. Seriously, it breached 800 pages, which is not insignificant, especially for a YA novel. This was one of my most anticipated releases, and, it was more or less what I expected. It isn't that I didn't enjoy it, it just... didn't astound me either, I suppose. The series wraps up with a twist on Snow White- which was in a lot of ways further from its inspirational material than the others, because of how much of a life the story itself has taken on.

When I reviewed Cress, I mentioned that I was becoming aware that Cinder was becoming my favourite, and that held true in this book- her and Kai both finished the series as my favourites, both individually and as a pair. They're part of a pretty big cast, all of whom are very much individuals, and have varied relationships with each other- I really enjoy seeing Cinder's team in all of their eclectic glory. Though I generally enjoyed most of the characters, there were a few time that some of them felt a little inconsistent.

The plot is complex, alternating between multiple storylines; I'm not sure if there was just more going on this time around, but I really noticed it. In the other books, there was still a flow, but this one had moments of feeling scattered- and there was something about some aspects of the plot that felt almost repetitive. I'm not entirely sure how to explain it other than that.

That slightly disconcerting feeling aside, I really did have fun reading this one (can you tell I'm having a hard time not talking spoilers? I am). It was interesting to explore Luna after so long hearing about it, and I definitely did enjoy some aspects of the plot, even if others left something to be desired for me. The conclusion was generally satisfying, though I would have enjoyed an epilogue (and I hear their actually might be something in the works for the short story collection). One aspect of this series is that it really does maintain an almost fairytale-esque arc, in a way, while adding a whole lot of other stuff that gives it a really neat feel.

Overall, I have a had lot of fun reading this series, and it is probably a world that I'll be revisiting in rereads in not too long, and I am looking forward to the release of the short story anthology.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Review: Illuminae

Title: Illuminae
Authors: Amie Koffman, Jay Kristoff
Series: The Illuminae Files
Volume: 1
Genre: Science Fiction
Goodreads

A Quick Introduction: In the morning Kady broke up with Ezra. In the afternoon their planet was attacked and she saved his life, and that's just the beginning. They make it out alive on separate ships, but enemy ships pursue the evacuating ships. Couple that with a damaged AI, a mutant plague, and secrets being kept by high command.

Out of Ten: 9/10

Review at a Glance: A showstopper of a first book in what promises to be an fast-paced science fiction trilogy.

Review: This novel took a lot of my favourite things and combined them in a way I didn't know I wanted. I mean; outer space, AIs, existential terror, sarcasm, and emotional trauma all wrapped up in an oh-so-gorgeous package? I'm there. I'm all over that.

Okay, so let's review this thing. This is, hands down, one of my favourite books of the year. Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff chose to tell this story as a collection of found documents- a series of journals, interviews, military files, medical reports, transcripts of emails, and computer data- and it works really well. It opens up interesting possibilities for the storytelling choices, and the authors take full advantage of them. They make the story fast-paced, and full of twists. I loved way that this story was told. And it is SUCH a visually beautiful book. (Seriously, I don't say this often, this is a book that you really want in hardcover. It is so beautiful.)

Kady and Ezra are both enjoyable characters to read- they're both very human, and I found myself rooting for them. Their dynamic is interesting- they're clearly two people who care a lot about each other, but they definitely have their conflicts. There's a whole cast of more minor characters, and an Artificial Intelligence that could almost be considered a main character itself.

This book had a lot going on- and I mean a lot. The plot is complex and multi-layered, and builds quickly, growing more complex with each event. It starts off fast and gets faster, and the authors sure aren't opposed to killing off characters. Behind the flashes and bangs, there's a very human element to the whole story (read as: lots of heartbreak, humour, and sadness). I'm really looking forward to seeing where this series goes next!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Top (Not Quite) Ten Debut Authors Who Have Me Looking Forward To Their Sophomore Novel

Top Ten Tuesdays is a weekly feature created at The Broke and The Bookish.

Wow, I really haven't read many debut recently...

1. Renee Adheih: I'm really looking forward to the sequel to The Wrath and the Dawn.

2. Sarah Biggs Waller: I really enjoyed A Mad, Wicked Folly and her next book is about ORCHID HUNTING, people. (On top of being a book nerd, I am a natural history nerd.)

3. Joy N. Hensley: I am secretly not-so-secretly hoping for a sequel to Rites of Passage, but I'd definitely give something else by her a try.

4. Maria Dahvana Headley: I adored Magonia, and I'm really looking forward to the sequel. (I know, Maria Dahvana Headley isn't exactly a debut, but this was here YA debut novel.)

5. Sabaa Tahir: I'm looking forward to the sequel to An Ember in the Ashes.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Review: All In

Title: All In
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Series: The Naturals
Volume: 3
Genre: Mystery
Release Date: November 3, 2015
Goodreads

A Quick Introduction: Cassie and the rest of the Naturals are called to Las Vegas on a case, just as Cassie receives word that a body fitting her mother's description has been discovered. As she tries not to dwell on it, they face a killer whose pattern is difficult to understand, who changes methods of killing with each kill, and who hasn't been caught on camera despite killing in public.

Out of Ten: 7/10

Review at a Glance: An enjoyable addition to a fast-paced YA mystery series.

Review: Due a mysterious collection of circumstances, this book came into my hands a bit early. By which I mean the library somehow managed to get a book to me before the release date. As opposed to its usual "a good six weeks after the release date, minimum." Anyway, to onward to the review.

This latest installment, the second-to-last one in the series, takes Cassie and her fellow Naturals to Las Vegas to investigate a serial killer that has been proving unpredictable. After four kills in less than, the killer seems to stop- but serial killers don't just stop. The weapon is different every time, the degree of involvement is different every time, the only consistent thing is the wrists of the victims are marked with numbers. This case is a challenge that is pushing the Naturals further than they've ever been, and its bringing a lot of things to light about all of them. And with a body matching Cassie's mother's description having been found after five years, she has as much to deal with as anyone.

One of my favourite parts of this book was getting to see the Naturals grow as a group. They've all been through a lot, and they're finally all starting to find support in each other. Its a strange, shifting sort of equilibrium, and I really like reading it. They're all growing as people, and they've all got very different relationships with everyone else, and it enriches the reading experience.

The plot was something that let me down a bit in the first book, but I now think that was mostly because I was expecting it to be a little more... real, almost? Once you get past expecting the plot to be 100% believable, it's all fine. Now that I've gotten used to the way the plots in this series flow, I found it interesting to follow. Everything is connected to the characters in these plots, in a way that murders realistically probably wouldn't be, if that makes sense. There's something that makes the characters feel like characters in a story, rather than people in a story, sometimes.

The writing style makes these novels an odd, interesting combination of lightness and grimmer themes. I generally don't love getting a peak in the killer's head when I'm reading murder mysteries (it ruins the surprise), but the way that Jennifer Lynn Barnes uses second person actually makes the point of view a unique contributor to the story.

Overall, this was a fast-paced, entertaining continuation of the series. People who enjoyed the first two are likely to enjoy this one. While there are still flaws, it makes an enjoyable quick read, and I'm really looking forward to reading the finale.

Friday, October 30, 2015

October DNF

Title: Lair of Dreams (Diviners #2)
Author: Libba Bray
In nine weeks I got 400 pages in, which isn't bad. I am actually fairly likely to come back and finish this one at some point, just because I didn't get 400 pages in to give up now. (It had to go back to the library, so my finishing it has been postponed indefinitely).

I always have a hard time getting through Libba Bray's writing, and yet I keep on trying. There's just something about it that still sort of drags for me. When that is added to the juggled 
narration being more distracting that stimulating in this volume, I found myself constantly picking up other things instead. The plot is slow, and the storytelling doesn't carry it well. It probably doesn't help that I kind of hate the 1920's. A lot. Overall, this just probably isn't a very "Kelly" series. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Audiobook Review: The Accident Season



Title: The Accident Season
Author: Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Narrator: Colby Minfie
Genre: Magical Realism

A Quick Introduction: October is the Accident Season, and every year Kara's whole family brace for the cuts, the bruises, the broken bones, and the tragedies as everything that can go wrong does.

Out of Ten: 7/10

Review at a Glance: A surreal, intense novel full of real-world trauma under a veneer of magic.

Review: I can, objectively, say that it is a good book. Objectively the writing is artful, the story progresses well. But I can't honestly say that I really enjoyed it, per say. I don't know how to talk about this book without spoiling it.

I listened to this as an audiobook. Its really quite well done, the narrator carries the story quite skillfully. Colby Minfie doesn't overdramatise, while still making it interesting to listen to. The novel is set in Ireland, and the narrator is Irish, so that worked, (unfortunately, this isn't the case with all audiobooks, so I've learned not to take it for granted).

This is not the kind of book with an action plot. This is barely the kind of book that really has a plot, or, at least, not a notable, overarching one. In that way it feels like realistic fiction, which, in a lot of way, it is. A lot of what the characters deal with is very much traumatic, real-world stuff. There's just the one magical element (hence, you know, the "magical realism" genre). Those real world issues made it an intense listening experience for me, and meant that I couldn't really enjoy it so much as appreciate the storytelling. 

The characters are all interesting... there's something about them that does feel almost unreal, but, in this novel, it seems like more of an intended effect than a flaw in writing. These are all characters who've handled things that have happened to them in a slightly strange way that makes them a little strange, and they do all tend to wear masks and keep secrets. While, objectively, I get that there are good reasons for this, there's something about them that's slightly off-putting to me. The nature of the characters also contributes to the slightly surreal nature of the overall experience. The writing itself is rather lovely. It meanders, filling in the world as the story goes on. 

Basically, while I can tell that this is a good book- well written, well planned- it really isn't a Kelly book. There was something about it that didn't quite hit the notes that I look for as a reader. While I could appreciate it, I didn't like it.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

10 Wishes I'd Ask The Book Genie To Grant Me

Top Ten Tuesdays is a weekly feature created at The Broke and The Bookish.

1. Quicker library availability: I'm being a bit of a spoiled brat with this one, but I would love for new releases to be available from my library within a few weeks of the release.

2. More author tours stopping in Canada: mostly because I can't exactly jet off to the states whenever. Doesn't everyone want this, though?

3. Built-in shelving: which is something I could probably achieve without magic if I would only learn how to use power tools. Also, if my living area weren't so transient... I migrate throughout the house.

4. The complete History of Middle-earth: As I ask myself what I'm doing with my life. The thing is, when I read Tolkien, I almost want to annotate, and you can't do that with a library book.

5. More sticky notes: this could just as easily be achieved through a trip to a business supply store, though.

6. A reading nook: again, Kelly, just learn to use power tools.

7. 10th edition Airborn trilogy: I still can't quite justify buying them for myself, because I already have perfectly functional copies.

8. New Harry Potter books: The old ones are semi-falling-apart, but they still work, so I haven't replaced them yet.

9. The ability to comfortably read e-books: I'm still not an e-book person. There's just something about them that doesn't work for me the way paper books do.

10. All of the wonderful audiobooks: I love audiobooks, but I'm kind of picky about my narrators. I suppose I just kind of want audiobooks whose narrators I like.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Top Ten (okay, Eight) Author Duos I'd LOVE To See Write A Book Together

Top Ten Tuesdays is a weekly feature created at The Broke and The Bookish.

This is such a weird thing to think about for me. Because you never really know what you'll get, I suppose. Especially because most of the books I've read with multiple authors recently are textbooks.

1. Y. S. Lee and Sarah Biggs Waller: They showed very different sides of London (and slightly different time periods), and I'd love to see what they would create if they combined forces.

2. Maria Dahvanna Headley and Marie Rutkoski: They've both got beautiful writing styles. Though I think it would probably be better if they wrote two different points of view?

3. Michael Scott and Sarah Rees Brennan: *shrugs* This didn't really seem intuitive at first glance, but I think they favour different aspects of my sense of humour, and I think it would be fun.

4. Kenneth Oppel and Kat Falls: I think this is because I enjoyed Airborn and Dark Life in the same way?

5. Eoin Colfer and Cristin Terrill: I thought of this one mostly because time travel shenanigans, but the more I consider it, the more I want it.

6. Marissa Meyer and Leigh Bardugo: They're already a similar kind of storyteller, I think? And I quite enjoy that kind of storyteller.

7. Erin Bow and Sarah Beth Durst: Probably just because they've both written fantasy-quest novels that I've really liked.

8. Marie Lu and Jennifer Lynn Barnes: Because I think they'd write a pretty amazing post-apocalyptic and/or cyberpunk heist novel. Is that a shallow reason?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Ten (Okay, Six) Bookish Things I Have Quit or am in the Process of Quitting

Top Ten Tuesdays is a weekly feature created at The Broke and The Bookish.

1. Dog-Earring Pages: I stopped doing this when I really got into library books. It's weird, actually, because it isn't due to my not wanting my books to look used, I've talked at length about how I do not always treat my books gently. It's the the dog-earring that bothers me. I especially don't love it on library books, for no reason that I can fathom. It's just one of those inexplicable tings.

2. James Patterson: Does this count? After the absoloute trainwreck that was Maximum Ride, I resolved not do put myself through his writing again. The way he tells stories really doesn't work for me, and just leaves me frustrated. I actually spend time ignoring Amazon's suggestions that I purchase James Patterson books.

3. Forced love triangles: Well, kind of. It depends on the book, but I've just started dropping books that have weird controlling love triangles in them. I just give up.

4. Trying to force myself through books I'm not enjoying. I'm still working on this one... I'll always inevitably read some, but I'm trying to recognize when something just isn't working for me.

5. I used to try to read more contemporary novels, but I think I'll change up how I do them.

6. Buying books I don't actually know that I'll like. I was a little weird with my book buying in the past six months, but it is now back to only buying books that I'm really interested in.

Monday, October 5, 2015

September DNF

Not sure if it was my mood this month, but SO MANY DNFs. Anyway. The point of the DNF post is to give a little blurb of a review to be taken with a grain of salt, because these were books I couldn't finish. My criteria is that I have to be at least 50 pages in before I can really consider DNFing the book. If I've read less than that, I generally won't even mention it.

Title: The Cage
Author: Megan Shepherd
This was the second Megan Shepherd book I've attempted and failed to finish. I did know that I might not love this one going in- I dropped The Madman's Daughter when I was partway though as well. I found a disliked this one as well. The characters felt formulaic and I really didn't care for the narrator. There was a lot of telling and not a lot of showing in both the characters and the setting, which really only gave a shallow impression of these crucial aspects of the story. I didn't care about the plot. At all. Eventually I just found myself to bored to continue.

Title: The Creeping
Author: Alexandra Sirowy
This was mostly a case of the main character not working for me. I'm someone who has to, if not love the main character, then at least find some element of them that I understand. That just didn't happen here. The way Stella saw the world was so far from anything that I could understand. She seemed to hate her friends, though we're told she likes them. She's dating someone she doesn't seem to like. While I was interested in the thriller aspect of the story, the way it was told just didn't hold my interest, especially when the other aspects of the plot didn't seem all that cohesive with it.
Title: Falling Kingdoms
Author: Morgan Rhodes
I don't even know how to express what I thought of what little I managed to read of this book. I rarely find myself wondering what on Earth people saw in a book, but I did with this one. The characters fall flat, the writing doesn't paint a picture of the world- instead it bangs you over the head with descriptions that would be at home in a poorly written geography textbook. There is no subtly to the storytelling, and overall, this book really didn't capture my interest. I was less bored and more actively irritated when I tried to read it.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Reread Challenge: Harry Potter


WHEN I First Read
It was sixty million years ago, unfamiliar creatures roamed the Earth... and... Okay, all joking aside, I had the first book read to me by my parents when I was eight or nine.

WHAT I Remember
Okay, so I remember almost everything because these books are ones that I reread often.

WHY I Wanted to Re-Read
I reread them a while every year or so for a bit, though my interest in doing that is cooling. I still really love the books, though.

HOW I Felt After Re-Reading
I have done this over the course the past few months, but I figured that it would be more fun to post about the whole series. I'm still working my way though Deathly Hallows, actually, but now this post is hanging over my head.

I am still amazed by how intricately structured the foreshadowing and world of Harry Potter are. I think the way J. K. Rowling created her characters was amazing, because they are both fantastical characters and incredibly real people. Their vividness is breathtaking, and I found myself adoring the world more in all of its complexities.

I'm also just realising how incredibly screwed up the wizarding world is. It has all of the flaws that our world does, and it a  post-war society. They've got so many things that are terrible from the outside, but normalized within the world to such and extent that the reader accepts them, or almost does. 

Umbridge is terrible. I find that every time I read these books. There are plenty of wonderful analyses of the reason that people have such a repulsed response to her, and I think that they're spot on in saying that everyone has had an experience with someone like Umbridge. Voldemort is incredibly evil, of course, but most of us haven't met someone who commits mass genocide. But we've all met someone who condescends, someone in authority who will tell you that you're wrong about something you know to be true, someone with that special kind of malicousness that we see in Umbridge. Everyone has had an experience like that.

Also, I'm at the point now of "they're all so young!" Lily and James were so young- I have friends the same age as they were when they died. Harry, Ron, and Hermione were all so young to be going through what they did. It just really hit me. 

So these books are still a really fun, interesting read! It's always going to be a part of my life, and I really enjoy revisiting it.

WOULD I Re-Read Again
Definitely. I've reread it before, I will reread it again. It is inevitable.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Reading Habits: Rereading

I am a perpetual and incurable rereader. I reread as often as I read something new, though, and right now I'm in a loop of rereading.

I don't always reread a whole book- sometimes its a favourite passage, or chapters, or the last half, or any combination thereof. Sometimes its an audiobook of a book that I read. I'm on my sixth listen-through of The Raven Boys- this is what happens when I own audiobooks. (Well- sometimes. I still haven't finished Jane Eyre, but that's mostly because I have a low tolerance for Rochester and his antics and his entire personality.)

I like it just as much as I like reading a book for the first time, though the experience is different. I love uncovering something new when I go back and read it again. I love noticing the foreshadowing (I see what you did there!) and seeing how a story's structure comes together. I guess it comes down to the fact that one of the things I like about books is the storytelling? Its what makes me enjoy reading a book to which I already know the ending.

Rereading is why the idea of being in a reading slump is pretty unfamiliar to me- I have phases (like right now) where I just reread random things, sometimes for weeks on end, but I don't ever really have a time where I'm not reading anything at all. And that sometimes leaves my Goodreads challenge in disarray. (Dear Goodreads, please do something about a reread feature. Sincerely, Kelly.) What I call a reading slump is more of a "why can't I find anything new to interest me? Why I am I reading Eragon again?" slump.

Thoughts on rereading? Does anyone else go through phases where all they'll do is reread?

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Top Ten Books On My Fall TBR

Top Ten Tuesdays is a weekly feature created at The Broke and The Bookish.


1. Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson: I read and enjoyed Rae Carson's Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy. Plus, look at that cover!

2. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo: Wait this comes out in a week!? September has been a whirlwind...

3. A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis: This sounds eerie and intriguing, and I love the colour pallet of the cover.

4.  Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff: This sounds like just about everything I like in a sci-fi.

5.  Winter by Marissa Meyer: I have to admit I wasn't super excited about Fairest when it came out, partly because they pushed the release date of Winter back. I'm really looking forward to wrapping up this series, its been a really fun read!


6.  Slasher Girls and Monster Boys edited by April Genevieve Tucholke: I still haven't gotten to this. I would really like to.

7. Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee: Ditto. It is still on my TBR list, and I will get to it eventually.

8. All In by Jennifer Lynn Barnes: While I didn't love The Naturals, I liked its sequel, and I'm looking forward to reading the next installment, especially after how much I loved The Fixer earlier this year.

9. Soundless by Richelle Mead: This book has such and interesting premise.

10. Transcendent by Lesley Livingston: I still haven't gotten to this. I think part of it is that I didn't like this trilogy as much as I enjoyed Wondrous Strange, so now I'm having a hard time finishing it.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Review: The Scorpion Rules

Title: The Scorpion Rules
Author: Erin Bow
Series: Prisoners of Peace
Volume: 1
Genre: dystopia, post-apocalyptic, science fiction
Goodreads

A Quick Introduction: When wars brought on by the changing climate ravaged the world, world leaders agreed to send their children has hostages. If countries go to war, the hostages from all involved parties die. Greta is the Princess of the Pan-Polar Federation, which holds 2/3 of the world's available drinking water- the question isn't so much if she'll die, but when. Despite this, she's proud of her role in keeping the peace- until her view of the world is shaken to its core.

Out of Ten: 7/10

Review at a Glance: An intriguing dystopia with a fascinating premise, which stumbles slightly with character relationships and plot.

Review: This was such a hard book for me to rate. I've been finished it for a bit now, and I'm still not quite sure how to review it. You see, there were things that I liked a lot, and there were things that I didn't like at all. But I'm giving this a try.

I found the concept fascinating. In my life outside of this blog, I'm an environmental science major, and we talk about climate wars a lot, so that aspect felt all too plausible to me. This book starts off with a narration by Talis, and AI that has taken over the world. In his defense, he says, he did if four our own good. We were facing extinction. If he had to blow up a few cities along the way, well, you've got to break a few eggs to make and omelet, right? The result is a very different dystopia than is common in YA. Its a world where, despite the methods of their inhuman, totalitarian ruler, his strategies really are probably the only thing standing between human societies and complete collapse.

Moving right on to characters. Greta is a very passively strong character. I don't know any other way to say it. She is willing to accept that she will die, in order to preserve the peace of her world. Whether it is right or not isn't the question, but I don't think it weak. She's a very... internal... person, in a lot of ways. Da-Xie was a character I had the most trouble believing in- there was just something about her that felt unreal until a significant way through the book (after I'd managed to forget about her backstory a little bit, actually... it felt kind of contrived). I enjoyed the glimpses we got of the supporting cast, though they were too sparse for me to really form any attachment.

What I didn't love was the weakness of most of the character relationships. I found I somehow didn't care about just about any of the relationships that Greta had with most other people. They just fell flat for me as a result. Its as though she talks about caring about people, but doesn't actually feel it. I'm still unable to put my finger on exactly why this seemed so dull to me... It was something that ended up detracting from my reading experience. I found myself wishing that we could just get back to the plot, already.

The plot was not what one would call "fast-paced." It is, in fact, the opposite of that, and there are several different things going on. Greta has a lot to come to terms with, and choices to make, while the world outside has its issues. The way the story was delivered was the other thing that didn't quite hit me most of the time, possibly with the exception of Greta's decision.

This book did, however appeal to me in terms of humour. I really enjoyed Greta's internal monologue, as well as her interactions with Talis, who is... truly strange. Amoral, maybe, but occasionally quite amusing, especially when played off of Greta's more deadpan sense of humour.

Overall, I think I would say that I enjoyed The Scorpion Rules, it really only stumbled a terms of character relationships and some of the plotting of the novel. I'm looking forward to seeing how Greta's story finishes.

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Unofficial Hiatus Becomes Official and Other News

I'm taking a break for a bit... at least for the rest of this week. (I know I've been off for a bit already, so I'm retroactively declaring a hiatus. Because that makes sense.)

I've just started another year of school, which is wonderful, but throws my scheduling for a bit of a loop. I'm doing my best to get that all worked out. I'm hoping I'll be able to get everything in order as soon as possible. I'm also in a new house, so I'm finding a balance with my housemates and getting used to that schedule and whatnot too. ("When is garbage day?" "Where are the green bin liners?" "Do we have a potato masher?")

I feel like the appendicitis kind of jolted me out of my rhythm for a lot of things, both reading and blogging. I didn't really notice it in a "this is a huge thing, I can't do this" but I've just weirdly felt like I'm really... I don't know... behind on everything since then, even now that I'm fairly caught up. It causes this strange sort of pressure, and I'm hoping to reset my system a little by giving myself a week to feel like it isn't hanging over me. Not sure how that'll work, but nothing else has, so I'm giving it a try.

The third things that's thrown my schedule for a loop is a happier thing. I'm now blogging at Paper Boulevard as well! I'm super excited about this, and I really enjoyed reviewing in a slightly different style- its a nice change of pace.

"But, Kelly," you say, "you said there's too many things on your schedule, so your solution was... to add more things?" Hush. I know. But this is such a different experience from blogging here, I don't know... it just is.

So I don't want to say that I'm taking a break indefinitely, because I don't like it when people, especially people who are me, do that. But, I am going to say that I will check back in a week, and hopefully be in a more blogtastic (totally a word) frame of mind.

Is anyone else in a weird slump right now? Is it just me?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Review: Every Word

Title: Every Word
Author: Ellie Marney
Series: Every? Watts & Mycroft? Something?
Genre: Mystery, Action, Romance
Release Date: September 8, 2015 (North American release)
Goodreads

A Quick Introduction: Rachel Watts would like to be spending time with her partner-in-crime-turned-boyfriend, James Mycroft, but, when they find out about a "car jacking gone wrong" that mirrors how his parents died, he takes off to London without telling her. Fearing the worst, Rachel follows him, but they quickly find themselves entangled in much more than they bargained for.

Out of Ten: 7/10

Review at a Glance: A rapidly paced, clever characters and quick dialogue, this was an entertaining continuation of the series.

Review: This novel is just as fast-paced as Every Breath was. These books are certainly gritty- and Marney certainly isn't afraid to hurt her characters. I overall quite enjoyed this addition to the series.

I'm still not sure how I feel about the characters- I don't dislike either Rachel or James, and they're both consistent characterizations. I think its more that they're still in the process of changing, but I think they're growing on me. Their relationship, though not lacking in chemistry (banter and whatnot), still seemed a little strange (unbalanced, maybe?). That said, they certainly ended up working well together as the plot progressed. There's a feeling that their both growing, individually as people, as well as as a couple, and I'm really looking forward to seeing what they become in the last book.

Things pick up rapidly in Australia, and only move faster once Rachel lands in London, which is one of this book's greatest strengths. The plot keeps a consistent, fast pace from the start, and the action is both quick and easy to follow. The book got intense, the danger that the characters face, seems very real, partly a result of the author's willingness to do harm to her characters, and her vivid descriptions. Also explosions. There were explosions, which is always good.

This is such a vivid book. The action is fast, the plot is quick, the dialog is witty and the characters are very raw in everything they do. It is overall an enjoyable addition to the series (what is the name of this series?) and I'm looking forward to finding out what's in store next for Rachel and James.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

August Mini-Reviews

Title: A Curse of Ash and Iron
Author: Christine Norris
Out of Ten: 6/10
Review: Overall this book was a fun read. While the cover is very steampunk, the novel itself is more fantasy with steampunk elements. The main focus is on Ellie and the curse she finds herself under- her father is ill and no longer capable of recognising her, the rest of the world sees another girl's face when they look at her, and she is unable to speak her own name. Its a retelling of Cinderella, and it is always interesting to pick out how elements of the fairy tale tie in to a retelling, so that contributed to my overall interest in the story.

While the plot of Ellie and Ben, a friend and aspiring illusionist, attempting to undo the curse laid on her by her stepmother before time runs out was enjoyable, I decidedly did not enjoy the romantic aspect of the story. It felt both forced and unnecessary, and really detracted from my interest in reading- especially because it was a love triangle. While I don't exactly hate them on principle, they have to be well done to be enjoyable, and this, unfortunately, wasn't. The issue of the romance aside, however, this was quite a quick, enjoyable read.

Title: Dead Upon a Time
Author: Elizabeth Paulson
Out of Ten: 6/10
Review: First thing that we need to address: on my ARC there's a little byline thing on the cover. It is an allusion to Disney's Frozen, and I may have shrieked in despair inside, but tried not to let it warp my view of the novel's contents. I hop you appreciate my self control. Moving on to the actual book: it was alright. There were pages where I was wholly engaged, and there were stretches where I just wasn't. The major flaw in this story is that nothing in this world is really explained or expanded on in any more than the most superficial way.

It is an quick read, and, while I enjoyed parts of it, the weaknesses in the structure of the world and plot really decreased my engagement with the story. I found myself asking very basic questions about the plot- I constantly felt that I was missing something, as though I were reading the third of fourth book in a series without reading the novels preceding it, almost. I did enjoy the characters and the general plot, despite the incomplete feeling of the story, and would have liked to see it fleshed out more.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Bout of Books 14: Day 2

Today:

  • A History of Glitter and Blood by Hannah Moskowitz: 132 pages
  • Ink and Bone: The Great Library by Rachel Caine: I haven't read any of this today, but I'm going to try to read some tonight.

This Week: 

  • A History of Glitter and Blood by Hannah Moskowitz: 274 pages
  • Ink and Bone: The Great Library by Rachel Caine: 8 pages

Challenge

I know the photo isn't great, but I left this until late, so I have zero daylight.
1. A Book that begins with “B”  (for Bout of Books!): Bitterblue by Kristen Cashore
2. A book you’re planning to read/currently reading for Bout of Books: Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine
3. Blue Book(s): Most of my books are blue in this post for mysterious and/or thematic reasons. Pick any, Bitterblue is the most blue, but Ink and Bone is dominantly blue, and so is Empire of Night.
4. Books from your favorite genre: I have a lot of favourite genres. It basically boils down to "not contemporary" but here's two, Empire of Night by Kelley Armstrong (fantasy) and Skybreaker by Kenneth Oppel (steampunk, but not forced).
5. A book on your TBR shelf, or your full TBR shelves: The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich. I have been resisting the urge to open this one until I finish my August ARCs.

Review: A History of Glitter and Blood

Title: A History of Glitter and Blood
Author: Hannah Moskowitz
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: August 18, 2015
Goodreads

Synopsis: Life in the city of Ferrum has its hazards for a fairy like Beckan. Gnomes will try to eat you, with the added unpleasantness of the fact that you'll be able to feel the appendage as it is digested. Fairies are immortal- they cannot die. Not even when they've been shredded to pieces. Beckan stayed when almost all of the other fairies left, and survives as a sex worker for the same species that would eat her. Making your way in a city where you're on of the few fairies who haven't left, in a city where there's now a power imbalance is a challenge. Beckan soon finds herself working with members of both her own species and others toward a common goal.

Out of Ten: 6/10

Review at a Glance: A bizarre story, told in a bizarre way, which was overall fairly engaging.

Review: This was such a weird book. Seriously, so weird. It wasn't a kind of weird that I loved, but it also wasn't a kind of weird I wished banished from the face of the Earth. I think.

This book basically intentionally plays with doing all of the things authors are advised against doing when they write, with mixed results. The idea of this novel is that it is meant to feel incomplete. The issue is that it does, and that wasn't a reading experience that I particularly enjoyed. The book deliberately jumps tenses and narrators in a disorienting way, especially because we have two layers of narration: the points of view from which the story is told, and the "author" of the story's own notes and thoughts. It takes some getting used to, so this book got off to a disorienting start.

This books is designed to be viewed almost as a found object- as if a notebook containing an early draft of a story/history were found and printed, with various pages of other books, and drawings inside. I generally enjoy having drawings and such in my novels, but, combined with the writing style, there was a bit of a scattered feeling.

The world Hanna Moskowitz creates is a strange one, one that we only see peaks of. I did find myself wondering what the world beyond Ferrum was meant to be like. There are mentions of other cities (where the fairies go), but it seems like a very isolated place, and I cannot imagine how the rest of the world functioning in a manner similar to this city. I must admit I had a hard time seeing why Beckan, Scrap, Josha, and Cricket stayed, because they suffered so much for a place that would inevitably destroy them. The desire to stay in your home only stretches so far.

This is definitely more of a mature YA novel (the main characters are sex workers, who frequently come face to face with violence, profanity is used consistently). The story is set in a dark world, and is often told in a very stark way. While there isn't really magic, each of the three races has fantastical character traits, which were quite interesting.

Overall I found this novel to be quite interesting, despite my mixed feelings about some of the story and storytelling style.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Bout of Books 14: Day 1

Books

  • A History of Glitter and Blood by Hannah Moskowitz: 142 pages
  • Ink and Bone: The Great Library by Rachel Caine: 8 pages (I think...)
My page count is seriously not great today, because Netflix. I'll probably do some more reading tonight.

Challenge

The challenge today is to choose books set in a place that isn't where I currently reside. I'm in Canada, so we're not going to do that. There are some books set in Canada.

Five books set in Paris (because themes, I think this is still within the rules- Paris is a pretty big city). Once upon a time I went to Paris, but I was, quite honestly overwhelmed and jet lagged. I don't think I was mentally ready, and I'm hoping to go again at some point in my life. (My French is rather dreadful, I would have to brush up.) I've only been to a few of the places mentioned in these books...
  • Belle Epoque: Historical fiction.
  • The Beautiful and the Cursed by Page Morgan: Historical fantasy. About les grotesques (the things you probably call gargoyles).
  • The Magician by Michael Scott: Urban-(ish) fantasy. When I was in Paris, I stayed in an apartment across the street from Nicholas Flamel's house on Rue St. Montmorency! Its a restaurant now. 
  • Rook by Sharon Cameron: Post-apocalyptic. Inspired by The Scarlet Pimpernel.
  • Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins: I felt compelled to include some kind of contemporary novel. I'm still not 100% sure how I feel about this book.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Top Ten Authors I've Read The Most Books From

Top Ten Tuesdays is a weekly feature created at The Broke and The Bookish.

I'm going by my Goodreads shelf and my memory... (I need to finish that reading spreadsheet. And that other spreadsheet. I have a lot of spreadsheet catch-up to do.) There's quite a bit of overlap here with my "Authors I Own the Most Books From" post.

1. Rick Riordan- 15 books: Um, what? I didn't realise it was this many! Percy Jackson and the Olympians (plus two of the guides), Heroes of Olympus, The Kane Chronicles. At risk of sounding strange, I liked the older books best.

2. Eoin Colfer- 12 books: All of the Artemis Fowl books (and the Artemis Fowl Files, yes, I'm that person), which I adore. I've also read The Supernaturalist, Airman, and The Reluctant Assassin.

3. Cassandra Clare- 10 books (+1/2, I'm partway thought The Bane Chronicles, I'm weird about how I read short stories): I've mentioned that I have a kind of odd relationship with her books, but I certainly have read a lot of them.

4. J. K. Rowling- 10 books: Harry Potter, and all the accompanying material (Quidditch through the Ages and whatnot).

5. James Patterson- 9 books (ish): *hangs head in shame*  Maximum Ride, the first Daniel X. For those wondering, I have a disturbing amount of commitment to finishing a series when I start it, so I read eight Maximum Ride books, though I was pretty done with the series by book six. I will probably NOT be reading the ninth book, because I simple DO NOT have the emotional fortitude to subject myself to that. I try not to think about the James Patterson books I've read.

6. Kenneth Oppel- 8 books: Matt Cruse trilogy,  Silverwing trilogy, and The Boundless. Airborn is one of those books that I go back to when I'm in a reading slump. (Hello, fellow rereaders!)

7. Holly Black- 7 books: The Spiderwick Chronicles, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, and The Darkest Part of the Forest. I read Spiderwick as a bind-up, but I also have the separate books, so I'm going to count them as they were originally published.

8. Lesley Livingston- 7 books: I kind of have a soft spot for her books, because they're from when I REALLY started reading YA. Which reminds me, I still haven't read Transcendent, yet.

9. Michael Scott- 6 books: Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series. 

10. Julie Kagawa- 5 books: I have a lot of author's whose books I've read five of, apparently. I'm putting her here because I've read a couple of short stories as well, so...