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

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)

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.