Sunday, November 30, 2014

November DNF

These review-y things are becoming noticeably longer. I don't write full reviews for books I haven't finished, simply because I don't have a full scope of the book. So these are my DNF reviews for the month.
The Jewel (The Lone City, #1)
The Jewel by Amy Ewing
204 pages
Yes, that right I actually got over halfway through. This does happen. Here's the thing: I was on the fence to begin with about it, but I saw it at the library and I tried reading it, and nope. It started off alright. Not perfect, by any means, but alright. And then it went downhill. Here are some thoughts:
  1. This book is a stock YA post-apocalyptic novel. It was trope-y all get out. There was a scene that was incredibly similar to those in The Hunger Games. It has all the pitfalls that YA dysopia novels sometimes fall prey to. There's no realistic background for how the dystopia happened, not explanation as to how it functions (because it really shouldn't) and absoloutely no reason for the society to continue functioning as it was. I have a hard time with "it's sci-fi, anything goes"- I need background.
  2. The character of Violet bothered me from the start, but I could push it aside, since I brushed them off as being mostly "me" problems. There was just nothing to attach me to her character.
  3. I thought I would be able to finish it until we met the love interest... and I knew then that I wouldn't be able to to deal with how the story was going to play out. I, personally have a hard time with insta-love. I mean, I get that people can be attracted to someone the first time they see them, but there's a big difference between that and love.
So, what I'm saying is it didn't work for me. I think if you liked The Selection or Landry Park, this might be something for you to check out, they have a similar feel.

Trust Me, I'm Lying
Trust Me, I'm Lying by Mary Elizabeth Summer
65 pages
I haven't had very good luck with debuts recently. This was another one that just didn't work for me at all. My rule is that I give a book 50 pages... and I stopped right after that mark with this one. I just couldn't do it. I had hopes for this novel, especially because I really liked the title (I think I liked the old cover better, but that's neither here nor there). Thoughts:
  1. Julep bothered me. Not in an "she was an unlikable character" respect, though I didn't find her particularly likable, but in an "you say you are intelligent and good at what you do, but I'm REALLY not seeing it" respect. Part of this was there was a lot of telling and not a lot of showing (at least as far as I got). From what I've gathered, manipulating people requires subtlety, and she's about as subtle as being bashed in the head with a hardcover. It's also necessary to observe the people you're manipulating (and be observant in general), and she just wasn't.
  2. This might sound petty (probably), but Julep's so called "wit" bothered me. Being really witty generally requires some though behind it, and she didn't think. I know some very witty people, and the thing that lets you pull it off is that there's intelligence behind it.
  3. There was a love triangle of sorts lurking on the horizon, about as subtle as a thunderhead. Or possibly a tornado. I have a hard time with love triangles, they are extremely difficult to get right. This was not getting it right, even in the early stages, and I just wasn't willing to drag myself through another if there was one to be had.
  4. I started getting the sense that this was going to be one of those mystery stories where everything is incredibly convenient for the main character to solve. 
I think that this book mainly suffers from a lack of finesse. Everything is told to the reader, rather than shown to them. Much of it was likely a problem of personal preference. 

All That Glows (All That Glows, #1)
All that Glows by Ryan Graudin
100+ pages
I actually got fairly far into this one. I thought I wasn't going to finish it, then I thought that I was, and in the end I didn't finish it. I sort of put it on hold again and again until I had to return it to the library.
  1. The romance in this book really, really came out of nowhere in this one. I was expecting insta-love, but it was really fast, even by the usual standards.
  2. I found that didn't connect to the characters. I think an element of that actually came from the sudden relationship- I found it really difficult to understand Emrys's thought processes or choices.
  3. The world in this one just didn't win me over. The world building didn't make if feel particularly vivid and I didn't really understand how the magic system worked. 
In the end, this just didn't interest me. I'm very hit-and-miss with fae books, and this just ended up being a miss for me. I'm not entirely sure exactly why... I didn't have a strong dislike for it or anything, it just didn't grab me. I might try it again at some point... we'll see. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A to Z Book Survey

Look at what I found collecting dust in my drafts.
Jamie of the Perpetual Page-Turner  put together a survey, which sounded fun, so I figured I would give it a go. (Click the sign above for her competed version.)

Author you've read the most books from:
Eoin Colfer. I've only mentioned my adoration of the Artemis Fowl series about a million times. I just love Colfer's writing. I think he's the author I have read most.

Best Sequel Ever: I really enjoyed Skybreaker, sequel to Airborn

Currently Reading:
I'm re-reading  the Harry Potter series. I'm almost finished Going Vintage, though it has been sitting neglected for almost two weeks. I've got less than 100 pages left of The Omnivore's Dilemma. So, basically I have a bunch on the go.

Drink of Choice While Reading:
Lemonade, or cranberry raspberry juice. Or, basically, whatever I feel like at the time.

E-reader or Physical Book?
Physical. People keep telling me to get an e-reader, but there's something about physical books. Also, I have been known to drop many a book, and paper is a lot more forgiving than wiring.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:
Tough one. I don't tend to take fancies to fictional characters.

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:
Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1)
I wasn't going to read it, but a friend of mine loved it. It has plenty of flaws, but I still overall enjoyed it. I have a weird relationship with this trilogy...

Hidden Gem Book:
Airborn by Kenneth Oppel. A lot of people haven't read this one. I don't know if it would be such a hidden one if this cover was the one that you see in stores, but, sadly that isn't the case. Or maybe people have read it, but didn't like it as much as I did?

Important Moment in your Reading Life: Recently? Reading The Scorpio Races. Ever? Deciding to read Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone on my own after my family finished it, when I was in the first grade or so. I read before that, but it cemented me as a reader.

Just Finished: *laughs guiltily* nothing... Okay. I finished Blue Lily, Lily Blue again. I'm in a rereading phase.

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read: Anything pitched as a "gritty contemporary novel" or such. I've tried it. I don't like it. I tend to be an escapist when I read, and I don't really enjoy reading about people's real-world lives.

Longest Book You’ve Read:
The Lord of the Rings (The Lord of the Rings, #1-3)
I think that would have to go to Lord of the Rings. On top of being over a thousand pages long, the writing is a little more intricate that I typically read.

Major book hangover because of: I don't usually get book hangovers. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare and Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan were both draining for me to read, though, since I was pretty invested in them... end of a trilogy, lots of emotions sort of thing.

Number of Bookcases You Own: Three in my room, but I'm lucky enough to live in a house full of books...

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times: I re-read almost obsessively. I don't often buy something that I don't think will get more than one read-through. I reread The Scorpio Races obsessively.

Preferred Place To Read: Anywhere. Chairs, buses, before bed, at lunch (the only time that I get solid reading time during my school day is while I attempt eat my food one-handed). Probably a comfortable chair.

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read: This one is always super hard for me. There are a lot of quotes that I find myself thinking of for no apparent reason... One of my favourite passages is the entire description of Gansey's journal in The Raven Boys. It's a very tactile description, and yet sort of... whimsical... maybe, at the same time.

Reading Regret: That I didn't go to the Toronto International Book Fair this year. This isn't really a huge regret, but I just didn't have the time or energy, I had a lot of labs and what not. I'm hopefully going next year though

Series You Started And Need To Finish(all books are out in series): I have yet to read the last book in the His Fair Assassin trilogy, I'm waiting on Mortal Heart. I'm also waiting for The Retribution of Mara Dyer, to finish the Mara Dyer trilogy.

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books:
Not an easy question... at the moment?
1. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
2. Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony by Eoin Colfer
3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Unapologetic Fangirl For: So many books. I've mentioned The Scorpio Races about 18 time in this survey, so that. I adore the whole Artemis Fowl series (at one time, most of my decision as to whether or to go on a trip was contingent on whether or not I could get the last book in eBook- I could, so I went, and spent about a day locked in a hotel room in Belize to read it). As mentioned, I have a weird relationship with The Infernal Devices and the Shadowhunter universe...

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others: Right now? The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski. (Though there's an untitled book by Sarah Biggs Walter coming out in 2016 that I'm really looking forward to as well at the moment).

Worst Bookish Habit: I've had friends scold me because I open books too wide (ie I crack the spine), I think I'm a little rougher on my books than some people, they tend to look a little lived in after I've read them a couple of times.

X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book: The Magician by Michael Scott (Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel book #2). These books have marvelous covers, especially the last few.

Your latest book purchase: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater and Talon by Julie Kagawa.

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late): Many, many. Blue Lily, Lily Blue made me stay up later than was wise when I had to get up at 5:30 to catch the bus for classes the next morning. (Who has no self control? Me. The answer is me.)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR

Top Ten Tuesdays are a weekly feature over at The Broke and The Bookish.

I'm going to go with December to March. (Though in Canada, winter is pretty much November to April some years.)

Already Released:
Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin, #3)
Mortal Heart. I got reacquainted with Grave Mercy a little while ago when I discovered that I had the audiobook (from SYNC's free audiobook thing a few summers ago, I believe). My library will probably have it available some time in the next four months. Maybe.
A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird, #1)
A Thousand Pieces of You. That cover. Again, hopefully my library will get around to getting that in some time soon so I can read it.
The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #3)
The Retribution of Mara Dyer. Library again, hopefully... you've heard this before. Ah, long hold lists...
The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Fire and Thorns, #1)
Girl of Fire and Thorns. I still haven't read this, and I really should. Hopefully I'll be able to binge-read the trilogy when I get off university this semester.
World After (Penryn & the End of Days, #2)
World After. I really enjoyed Angelfall, but I haven't gotten around to reading book two yet.
The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #1)
Queen of Tearling. Another that I've got on hold a the library, hopefully it will come in in time for me to read it over my break.

To Be Released:
The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy, #2)
The Winner's Crime. It comes out in March... finally. I just finished doing a reread of The Winner's Curse, which was still wonderful, and I am definitely more than ready to continue this story. 
Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles, #3.5)
Fairest. I'm not looking forward to it nearly as much as I'm looking forward to Winter, though.
Shadow Scale (Seraphina, #2)
Shadowscale. Its been a longer-than-average wait (it will have been almost three years by the time it comes out). I listened to the audiobook of Seraphina (which I read a while ago) over the summer, and I'm looking forward to finding out what's next for Sera.
Transcendent (Starling, #3)
Transcendent. I've had mixed feelings about this trilogy, but I'm looking forward to finishing it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Top Ten Sequels I Can't Wait To Get

Top Ten Tuesdays are a weekly feature over at The Broke and The Bookish.

I'm not sure about how I did on this list... it ended up being kind of extemporaneous because I've been in the throes of education chaos these past few weeks (finals approach...).


The Infinite Sea (The Fifth Wave #2)
The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancy
I still haven't gotten a chance to read it yet, though I would like to at some point soon. (Is this breaking the rule... I mean, I am looking forward to it, it's just that I haven't gotten to it yet... Oh well, its staying.)
The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #3)
The Retribution of Mara Dyer.
Basically I would like to finish this series. I have it on hold at the library right now... there's no telling how long it will take for that to come in (its kind of unpredictable).
Transcendent (Starling, #3)
Transcendent by Lesley Livingston.
Again, it's the end of a trilogy that I would like to finish. I've had mixed feelings about the trilogy itself, but we'll see how it goes whenever I get a chance to read it.


Shadow Scale (Seraphina, #2)
Shadowscale by Rachel Hartman.
The sequel to 
Seraphina, which I really enjoyed... this one has been a while in the making, and I'm really looking forward to being able to read it.
The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy, #2)
The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski.
I really liked The Winner's Curse... and it left on something of a cliffhanger. I'm excited for this one. And what a cover.
Winter by Marissa Meyer
I actually had mixed feelings about the release of Fairest being announced, because it meant that Winter's release is pushed back another 6+ months... I really enjoy the Lunar Chronicles, and I'm really looking forward to the final installment. 

Raven Cycle book 4
Maybe I shouldn't be thinking that far ahead? Oh well, I am. I'm quite anxious to know how this ends.  I'm also really excited to see the cover (and to see the title for that matter). Hopefully there's less fiasco about the release date this time around.

Empire of Night (Age of Legends, #2)
Empire of Night by Kelley Armstrong.
While Sea of Shadows wasn't perfect, I still have high hopes for this series. I'm hoping for a more concrete world and (please, please) no love triangles (I feel like there is maybe one lurking but I'm hoping that I'm wrong)... We shall see.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Its technically the start of a sequel series, but I'm counting it. I'm really looking forward to revisting the world. (Maybe cameos too? That would be nice...)

Miss Mayhem (Rebel Belle, #2)
Miss Mayhem by Rachel Hawkins
Rebel Belle was an enjoyable read and I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes. I'll probably get it out of the library before it comes out.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Top Ten Characters I Wish Would Get Their OWN Book

Top Ten Tuesdays are a weekly feature over at The Broke and The Bookish.

This is weird for me because, when I want more of a story, I typically just want another book with the characters that are already in the book... so this might bridge into that because I'm terrible that way.

1.Aiofe and Niten from Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel. Actually, much of the cast of these books. So many of them have lived an incredibly long time, and have had so many adventures. They've been together a long time and they're a great team, and care about each other a lot (in their vaguely emotionally stilted way). I would love to seem them meet and go on adventures...

2. Virginia Dare from Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel (again, so sue me). We got a little of her back story in The Enchantress, but I could do with some more adventures. She was interesting in that she could be very ruthless, but had a very strong set of guiding personal values. Also Billy the Kid and Black Hawk. Like I said, I would enjoy stories for 90% of the supporting characters...

 3. Zoe from Darklife and Riptide. She's Ty's little sister, but I would love to see her at sixteen or seventeen going crazy things in the name of marine biology. Because she would.

4. Minerva Paradizo from Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony. I feel like she showed up and then disappeared, and I would love to see what she's up for. I would really like for her to become a go between for the fairies and the humans eventually.

5. Kate de Vries from Airborn, Skybreaker and Starclimber. Okay, I'm 50/50 on whether I would want a book from her point of view, but I'll tell you what I do want: her field notes. Which, I have decided, count. Especially if there are drawings. I would read them. (Also, I could really do with another book. Really.)

6. Nikolia Lantsov from the Grisha Trilogy.  Again, I'm a fan of adventures, and he's certainly had a few (also, airships, I am a fan of airships), and I would love to revisit this world (which I will get to, there's a duology planned in the same world). I would also love to read a story centered on Zoya, perhaps after the events of Ruin & Rising.

7. Dr. Barlow from the Leviathan Trilogy. I would enjoy reading young Dr. Barlow making her way as a lady scientist in a Victorian-style society- even with her famous  ancestor, it can't have been easy.

8. Anne Treleaven and Felicity Frame from the Agency series. Mostly because I'm curious how The Agency was even founded. They have a complicated relationship, and we don't see much of it besides the fallout. (I also didn't feel like Rivals in the City closed out the story, I could have done with another book...)

I think that's about it for me...

Friday, November 7, 2014

Review: Talon

Talon (Talon, #1)Title: Talon
Author: Julie Kagawa
Series: Talon
Volume: 1
Release Date: Oct. 28, 2014

A Quick Introduction: Dragons live in hiding among the humans. Ember Hill is learning is out in the world for the first time, learning to blend in with humanity, in her human form. Ember is thrilled to, for the first time, be free. This may be her only taste of freedom, before she is inducted into the dragon organisation Talon. Unfortunately, she's got dragon hunters on her tail-dragon hunting has changed over the years, trading  swords for guns and armour for carbon-fibre, evolving with the changes in the dragon world. Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has been raised to kill dragons nearly his entire life, but he isn't prepared for how human Ember seems, and the growing suspicion that his superiors haven't told him everything.

Out of Ten: 5/10

Review at a Glance: This book is a simple and somewhat predictable series opening, with characters that were somewhat difficult to invest in.

Review: This book was alright, but it just didn't wholly pull me in. The character of Ember wasn't one I found easy to connect- not because she's a dragon, but because she didn't feel like a complete character. All the framework was there, but her thought processes just didn't line up, and her emotions were something that I couldn't follow. It wasn't that I disliked her, it was just that I couldn't connect with her, or Garret really. They both frustrated me sometimes. All this said, they worked alright together- Ember challenged him, and they both grew through the story.

The plot itself  was fairly straightforward, and simple. It was, of course, somewhat predictable and it was also a little slow in places, where if felt like there was nothing happening that contributed to the development of the plot.  Much of the novel was simply build-up, as this is to the first in a series.

The writing was simple, overall. Something that did bother me about it was that the descriptions and method of referring to characters were both rather repetitive (which is likely linked to the simplicity of the writing style), it just made things feel somewhat unnatural.

Overall, this book just didn't quite work for me. There were parts of the execution that could have been improved and I had a hard time connecting to and investing in the characters sometimes. Though it didn't work for me, I think fans of Julie Kagawa's other work, or people who are interested in the premise might still want to pick it up. I'm still not sure if I plan on continuing the series, I might pick up the next book when it comes out, but we'll see.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Top Ten Books/Series I Want To Reread

Hah. Top ten. I an obsessive rereader, but here we go. (Also, I know I haven't been doing Top Ten Tuesdays for... a month. I'm awful.)

1. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. It's one of my go-to reread books. It hits so many personal notes for me as a reader, and it's just such a beautiful book. I adore it as an audiobook as well. (I feel like it ends up on a lot of my TTT lists... oops?)

2. Cinder, Scarlet or Cress by Marissa Meyer. These are books that I often turn to when I've got reader's block (which is a relatively new phenomenon for me). The downside is they make me very impatient for Winter, which doesn't come out for just over another year. I think I reread Cress the most, and Scarlet the least.

3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I haven't read it in three years, and I feel like I should probably read it a second time at some point.

4. Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater. I read it when it came out as an ebook, but now I have the physical copy and I want to read it more thoroughly (I kind of sped through the first time). I reread the other two books in The Raven Cycle a lot too.

5. The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare. I reread them a lot... I have a weird relationship with these books.  I think I'll leave it at that for now.

6. The Matt Cruse trilogy by Kenneth Oppel. This is another go-to reread. And I want to reread it with it's new covers at some time in my life because they are lovely.

7. Dark Life and Riptide by Kat Falls. Fun, light, quick read, and I really like the world.

8. East by Edith Pattou. I read it a while ago and really enjoyed it, and I think that I would enjoy reading it again.

9. As You Wish by Jackson Pearce. I've read it a couple of times. I borrowed if from the library several times and it's been a while.

10. The Lynburn Legacy by Sarah Rees Brennan. I just did a group reread of these books on Twitter. They're really enjoyable.

Man. One day I'll make a list of all my go-to rereads, because this doesn't even cover it.

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

Monday, November 3, 2014

October DNF

The Vanishing Season
The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Barnes
This one just didn't do it for me. I started off interested, and the point of view of the ghost was interesting, the plot didn't really progress toward... anything... for me. I think this was a mostly an "It's not you it's me" sort of situation here, I just wasn't in the proper mood for it, or I was just kind of lukewarm toward it. This is one that I may give another go at some other time. Maybe.

Buzz Kill
Buzz Kill by Beth Fantaskey
Oct 3, 2014-Oct 7, 2014
Well, I knew this one would be a long shot, but I still grabbed it when I saw it on the shelf at the library. I got about 100 pages in before I threw in the towel. I just couldn't stand the main character, and I'm beginning to see that I'm someone who needs to at very least not hate the narrator. But Millie was pretty awful, and, honestly, not at all cut out for detective work or anything else requiring an sort of intellect. The plot... was there a plot? Maybe I didn't get that far? Essentially, I didn't like any of the characters, got a general not great feeling from the book and didn't find myself enjoying the plot. I remember Nancy Drew very differently from who it's described in this book (though far from perfect, those books were at very least interesting). Everything felt sort of flat.

The Bone Season (The Bone Season, #1)
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
Sept. 26- Oct. 7
I hereby dub this "Infodumping, an novel". That was the main flaw with  The Bone Season. The world itself is incredibly complex- unnecessarily so- and the writing style does not carry it. I think I am more toward the "Show don't tell" end of the scale as fantasy writing philosophies go, and this book just doesn't deliver. 
Feel free to tell me what you thought of these. Are they worth me giving them another try?