Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Bout of Books 10.0 Wrap Up


I enjoyed this, but I don't know if I exceeded my regular page count by much, because I had a lot of stop-and-go. There were a lot of times what I was trying to read just didn't stick, or that I couldn't read at length because I got distracted. I'm not really sure why, but I was just sort of unmotivated. That said, I did enjoy the read-a-thon, and I will probably be participating in the next one. I'll try to do more of the challenges next time, too.

Total Page Count: 1241

Roughly. I'm only including new books in that page count, not the rereading that I did (probably about 200+ pages of various books I've read multiple times).

Total Books Finished: 3

Indelible (The Twixt, #1)The Chase (Fox and O'Hare, #2)Acid

I also tried to read through A Natural History of Dragons, which I'm still working on.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Review: ACID

AcidTitle: ACID
Author: Emma Pass
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia
Publication Date: April 25, 2013  (March 11, 2014 in North America)

A Quick Introduction: Jenna's world is ruled by ACID, and elite and brutal police force. Almost two years ago, she was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder. When she is broken out, she if offered a second chance- new face, new name, new life- if only she can avoid letting anyone know that she's Jenna Strong, high profile prison escapee.

Out of Ten: 7/10

Review at a Glance: The well formed and rapid paced story of a girl trying to survive under the rule of a totalitarian government.

Review:  This was an engaging read, and I overall enjoyed it. This novel is fast-paced and action packed. It catalogs Jenna's escape from prison, and her struggle to survive in the world thereafter, especially when things get more and more dangerous.

Jenna is a slightly hardened character. She lived a decadent life before her conviction, so her nearly two years in prison have turned her into a very different person. She's toughened up a great deal, and is less likely to trust anyone. Overall, I found her an enjoyable character to read, and overall fairly connectable- I found myself willing to follow her story. The only aspect that didn't really work for me was her past, her past self and her actions didn't seem to click with who she was in the story, which makes sense later on. While some of her decisions were frustrating, I generally understood why she made the choices she did.

There is a side-romance in the book, which I didn't really find myself caring much about. It felt a bit forced, and kind of unnecessary, given everything else that was happening, though I did appreciate that it wasn't made forefront, due to all of the aforementioned things happening. Overall, it seemed like the story would have been about the same without it.

The plot was rapid fire and full of action. Jenna spends much of the book in danger or on the run, and the world of the future isn't safe. She doesn't know who, if anyone, she can trust. She learned to defend herself when she was imprisoned, and she often works out when she can, so she doesn't get out of shape. While there were a few pieces of the plot, and the world, that I would have liked to see fleshed out a bit more or explained, or that seemed just a little beyond belief, it was overall fast-paced and enjoyable to follow.

The story is told mainly in first person, from Jenna's point of view, with samples from ACID reports, as well as rebel communications and unsigned letters written to Jenna. I enjoyed the writing style, though there was a point where I had to stop and try and figure out if the use of a certain name was a typo or not (does that make sense?). I think it was intentional (still not 100% sure), but it did jar me out of the moment a little. That aside, it generally suits the rapid pace of the story well.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read. It almost seemed as though there was set-up for a sequel in the last couple of pages, but it doesn't seem that there will be one. It could go either way, it just leaves a little uncertainty in the ending.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Bout of Books 10.0 Day 7


I didn't finish anything. I essentially did some re-reading (Sarah Rees Brennan's Unspoken)... I have just been horribly unmotivated this week. I'm terrible.


I'm participating in one of the challenges today, which is to re-title a the book I'm currently reading. My victim is A Natural History of Dragons.
I've re-titled it "Judgmental Privileged Lady Goes Abroad In Search of Dragons". 

I'll post a proper wrap-up tomorrow, once I work out the page counts and whatnot. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Bout of Books 10.0 Day 6


AcidToday I finished ACID. I'll be putting a review for it up soon, I think. I also made a little more headway into A Natural History of Dragons. For such a small book, it is taking me a long time to finish


Hopefully finish A Natural History of Dragons. Hopefully. I'm not sure why I'm taking so long with it...

Continue (and maybe finish?) Locavore by Sarah Elton.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Bout of Books 10.0 Day 4 and Day 5

Yesterday and Today

The Chase (Fox and O'Hare, #2)Okay, I finished this in the early hours of Friday morning, but it's not tomorrow until you sleep, right? I had to run it back to the library before it opened today...

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Bout of Books 10.0 Day 3


Indelible (The Twixt, #1)
1. I finally finished Indelible today. I found the last half more of a struggle to get through for me, though I'm still not entirely sure why. I think it just started feeling formulaic, somehow, and I also think part of it was that the worldbuilding wasn't vivid for me.
2. I made a little headway into Locavore, but not as much I would like. Same with A Natural History of Dragons
3. I did start Bleak House, but, again not as much as I would like.


1. I've taken a book out of the library that is a one-day loan, so that should give me an extra push to read tomorrow.
2. Finish  A Natural History of Dragons.
3. Bleak House, I don't know what to do with this one. I doubt I will finish it during this read-a-thon, if at all.

Review: Univited

Uninvited (Uninvited, #1)Title: Uninvited
Author: Sophie Jordan
Series: Uninvited
Volume: 1
Genre: Science Fiction, Romance
Release Date: January 28, 2014

A Quick Introduction: When Davy Hamilton tests positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome, she's automatically branded a killer. Davy hasn't ever hurt anyone, much less killed, but she still loses everything: her friends, her boyfriend, her acceptance to Julliard. Suddenly she's an outcast, considered less than human,  and she's practically alone, nobody but fellow HTS carriers for company.

Out of Ten: 7/10

Review at a Glance: Set in the near future, this novel has an interesting premise, though sometimes the characters and plot decreased the impact.

Review: I really liked the premise of this one and found it disturbingly plausible. In the real world, there are studies liking psychopathy with certain genes, though this is an ongoing area of research. In this book, which is set a few years in the future, the so-called "kill gene" has been identified. This is a gene that, if present, predisposes the carrier to violence and also appears to be linked with psychopathy, the effects of the gene are being referred to as Homicidal Tendency Syndrome, or HTS for short. With a rising homicide rate, the government of the United States requires that people be tested for the gene, and carriers are placed in a database and monitored, and may be marked with a tattoo around their neck. If someone is found to be a carrier, viewed with fear and hatred, even if they haven't done anything.

Davy is a musical prodigy, she plays multiple instruments and sings. She also has close friends and a boyfriend. She generally a well-liked, and well-adjusted person. She does seem a little too perfect sometimes. When her test comes back positive, suddenly she loses all that. Her parents walk on eggshells around her, her former friends are openly hateful and society in general doesn't treat her like a human being. Now she's viewed as a potentially violent psychopath who just hasn't snapped yet- but inevitably will.

 I found myself feeling sympathy for her as she tries to maintain a brave face, and tries to prove that she isn't about to start murdering people left and right. She's treated awfully, and, when she lashes out, it's viewed as the first sign of her snapping, rather than an innocent girl losing her temper with everyone who has been treating her like a monster. She's fearful of herself as well because she's scared that their right- some of the HTS carriers clearly show signs of a lack of empathy and enjoy inflicting pain. There were moments where she herself fears that maybe she would be willing to, or even enjoy, hurting another person if necessary. This said, from the reader's point of view, she clearly isn't a psychopath- she has empathy, and feels things like nervousness, shame and regret. While it was probably realistic, there are times where she made reckless decisions, from which she then had to be rescued.

The plot is mostly Davy trying to come to terms with, and survive in spite of, her new status as a volatile kill gene carrier. She relises that she will have to become stronger and tougher to survive. This I found interesting, since, by branding her as a killer, the society she lives in has made her more likely to have to do so. This made me wince a little, because it is generally agreed that psychopathy is, at least in part, a result of environment (nature vs. nurture if you will). People do questionable things when they are afraid, and there are people taking advantage of the fear in the populace. There was some action, which was pretty well done. The consequences of having the gene were one of the main focuses of the story, the other part was the romance.

The romance wasn't something that I particularly enjoyed- it was just kind of there. There were times when Davy seemed a little too dependent on the love interest, Sean, another carrier, which is something that I don't typically like in a relationship. I didn't really feel much about him one way or the other. He's lived with the carrier status a lot longer that Davy has, and has had to toughen up and become a lot colder toward the world. He had to rescue Davy from dangerous situations that she'd gotten into frequently. One advantage is that it shows that they are both capable of caring about another person, which isn't exactly a classic symptom of HTS- it seems as though HTS is supposed to make the carrier a sociopath, incapable of empathy. Their relationship, as well as friendships with a few other carriers, who both seem capable of caring about people, show that having the gene probably isn't the guarantee it is treated as.

The quality and style of writing of the is book was overall fine. The story is mostly told in first person, from Davy's point of view, so everything she goes through is being told first hand. There are occasional excerpts from newspaper articles, reports, phone calls and other forms of correspondence that set a tone for the outside world, which contributed a little to the atmosphere of the story. A few more of those might have made the world a little more vivid.

Overall, I found the premise quite interesting, and I will probably be picking up the sequel, despite some aspects that I found less than enjoyable. I would like some more background for the gene and how it works- and a list of the symptoms of HTS.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Bout of Books 10.0 Day 2


This barely warrants a posting, since I read practically nothing, which is sad for someone who has, in the past, read almost 1000 pages in a day. I've kind of hit a wall with Indelible, which I was trying to get through today. And then some other things happened, and I didn't end up reading much.

Reading Goals For Tomorrow

As in "this time I am seriously going to do it":
-Locavore by Sarah Elton: I am a huge fan of urban agriculture and many things food, and this one is actually Canada oriented, which I'm looking forward to.
-Bleak House: Start this. Probably fail, because it's kind of an intimidating book, and I've never been very good with classics.
-Indelible: Finish it. Just finish the thing- I've hit a block.
-A Natural History of Dragons: Hopefully finish this one up as well. I am enjoying it (dragons!), but it's somehow been on the back burner since I got it.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Bout of Books 10.0 Day 1

I started on a bad foot today- I somehow kept getting distracted, so I didn't get much reading done.

Indelible (The Twixt, #1)
That said, I made some headway into Indelible by Dawn Metcalf, which is enjoyable so far. Other than that, not much.
Goals for Day 2
-finish Indelible
-wrap up a couple of the books currently sitting half-finished, including A Natural History of Dragons and perhaps Crown of Midnight

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Bout of Books Read-a-thon

Bout of Books
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 12th and runs through Sunday, May 18th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 10 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team
This will be my first time participating in a read-a-thon, so lets see how this goes. I might actually post TBR list a bit closer to the date... when I figure out what I'll be reading. I'm a great planner like that.  In any event, I'm quite looking forward to it.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Top Ten Book Covers I'd Frame As Pieces of Art

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

I'm late this time, so this is pretty extemporaneous... and I'm not sure if this would be my final answer if I had more time to think on it- I feel like I'm missing something. That said, these are certainly lovely covers. I also have the tendency to consider the cover as part of the artwork that is a novel, so the symbolism of a cover as it relates to the story if represents often plays a role- this was an attempt to divide the two. I think that I shall do a top twenty covers where I can include why I like the cover for that book. But if I don't start doing these again now, I'll probably stop because I am unmotivated like that.

A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent
A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan
Anatomical dragons. 
Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle, #3)
Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
I confess that I may just be very excited that the book now has a cover... But it's still nice.
Ink (Paper Gods, #1)
Ink by Amanda Sun
The cover design- front and back and inside flap- of this book are lovely.
The Enchantress (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, #6)
The Enchantress by Michael Scott
Actually the entire series is gorgeous, though it would lose something if the texture wasn't there. I just really like looking at these covers. They speak so much of the book.
Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1)
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Another cover that just speaks so much to the book, and it does it so elegantly, tying in so many features of the book.

Glitches (The Lunar Chronicles, #0.5)
Glitches by Marissa Meyer (prequel novella to The Lunar Chronicles)
The Resurrectionist: The Lost Work of Dr. Spencer Black
The Resurrectionist by E. B. Hudspeth
I haven't read this- I would like to at some point. I apparently enjoy anatomical drawings.
The Time Quake (The Gideon Trilogy)
The Time Quake by Linda Buckley-Archer
I also love the cover of book one. They're very magical looking. I remember being enchanted by the cover of the first book when it was given to me. This one is such adventure to look at. 
Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy, #1)
Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
I do wish that it was more detailed, I still enjoy this cover. I kind of resent to cover change sometimes to be honest.
Perfect Ruin (Internment Chronicles, #1)
Perfect Ruin by Lauren Destefano
Just the font and the lines outlining the branches, gears, keys and other dangling thing. It's lovely.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Review: Rebel Belle

Rebel Belle
Title: Rebel Belle
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Series: Rebel Belle
Volume: 1
Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Supernatural, Romance
Release Date: April 8, 2014

A Quick Introduction: Harper Price, Southern belle extraordinaire, has it all together. She's Homecoming queen, gets excellent grades and leads several groups and committees. Until a strange run-in at the Homecoming dance, when her whole life it turned on it's head. Suddenly she's the imbued with superhuman strength and agility, bound to protect David Stark, whom she can't stand, with her life. They're both thrown headlong into a world of fates and prophecies that they know almost nothing about, with no understanding of where they fit into it.

Out of Ten: 7/10

Review at a Glance: A light, fun, fast-paced opening to a humourous supernatural trilogy.

Review: This one was just a fun read for me. For the most part it's quite fluffy and comical.

Harper Price has formed herself into the definition of a Southern belle. Homecoming queen, perfect grades,  president of multiple school groups, gets along with just about everyone. She's put a lot of effort into becoming the ideal, in hopes that everyone will forget what happened with her sister. Despite this baggage, she's generally a pretty light character. The story is told in first person, from Harper's point of view, which added humour, as she often had no idea what was going on, and was a bit of a snarky narrator at times. I didn't really connect with her, but, I found that in this case it didn't impair my enjoyment of the story as much as it often does, it just gave the book an overall light feel. She comes into these superhuman abilities and has no one to help her find her way, so she's understandably overwhelmed, and things start to unravel. David was, well, kind of frustrating sometimes, though that was generally the intent of the author. They did sometimes feel a little like ideas of characters than actual characters, but they grew on me as the story went on.

The relationship between  Harper and David was kind of predictable. The extended feeble love triangle was just that; feeble. It was pretty clear where it was going from the start. It seemed like it was Harper's way of clinging to her old life. She does struggle with the sudden shift in her life, and it makes her relationships with her friends a bit strained when she has to lie to them. That said, she still maintained contact with her friends, and tried to include her best friend, Bee, to whatever extent secrecy would allow. Her relationship with her boyfriend, Ryan, is strained because of the lies, and because he starts feeling like a demand on her time that she can ill afford in the face of her new responsibilities, one that maybe she doesn't want anymore. Harper and David's scenes together were enjoyable to read, mostly because of whatever bizarre situation they had somehow gotten themselves into and how they both reacted to it. So their interactions were generally pretty fun to read.

The plot was just building, as this is the first book in the trilogy. One thing that aggravated me a little was some of the choices the characters made had me wondering how they had missed something, but at the same time, it did make it very clear that Harper and David had no idea what they were doing and were totally new to this. It just seemed like sometimes something was a little too obvious to miss, and nobody picked up on it. This did make some of the situations feel a little contrived or forced at times. Otherwise, the plot and action were generally enjoyable, and often served to display or spur character or relationship development

The writing was like the story itself, light and entertaining. There wasn't anything that really stood out one way or the other. There were points that a little more explanation would have been nice, but overall it was fast-paced and enjoyable, and generally maintained a flow, even as it jumped between Harper's two lives- the one she led, and the one she's been thrown into.

Overall, this was a quick, fun read. It was light and amusing, and I found myself enjoying the balance of action, humour and character interactions.