Friday, August 26, 2016

The #FridayReads Review (8/26/16)



Welcome to The #FridayReads Review, a regular Friday segment where I share what I've been reading the past week, and what I'm planning to read next! Want to join the Friday fun? Post your own #FridayReads Review and leave the link in the Comments below, or just Comment with what you've been reading!


>> CURRENTLY READING <<
The Dark Talent (Alcatraz, #5)RIN-NE, Vol. 20

The Dark Talent by Brandon Sanderson (ARC)
In desperate need of a read I knew would be good, I reached for this final book in the amazing Alcatraz series. While the fourth book was sadly rather disappointing compared to the earlier books, this fifth is so far on par with the brilliant first two books and I'm enjoying every word!

Rin-Ne vol. 20 by Rumiko Takahashi (PBK)
These have been consistently light, humorous, unattached reads, and I really need that this weekend so I was happy to stumble upon a new volume at the library! So far so enjoyable as always.


>> ON HOLD <<
The Midnight Queen (Noctis Magicae, #1)The Mirror King (The Orphan Queen, #2)

The Midnight Queen by Sylvia Izzo Hunter (PBK)
Despite entering a more action-oriented area of this pretty good read, for some reason I've lost almost all interest in continuing it. Will give it a week or two on hold to see if my feelings change before declaring it DNF, but as of right now my hopes aren't high. So is the life of a mood reader. *sigh*

The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows (ARC)
Finally felt the pull to return to this, but it was completely predictable and no matter how much I read it felt as if I wasn't making any progress. I have reached the halfway point, but the plot took a turn that rather put me off it again so I've set it aside once more. Will see if I want to return to it after Alcatraz.


>> JUST FINISHED <<
Yona of the Dawn, Vol. 1 (Akatsuki no Yona, #1)
Yona of the Dawn vol. 1 by Mizuho Kusanagi (PBK)
3 Stars. An interesting enough read, although the fantasy premise is common and the main character rather bland. Not much happens in this volume though, giving it more of a prologue feel, so I'll try another volume to see if the MC or story take a more original turn a bit further down the road.


>> READING NEXT <<
Noragami: Stray Stories, Vol. 1
Noragami: Stray Stories vol. 1 by Adachitoka (PBK)
Stumbled on this at the library and will be picking up several volumes from the main story today as well so I'm in for a Noragami week!


So what are you reading this week?

Monday, August 22, 2016

Review: The Fog Diver (Joel Ross)

The Fog Diver (The Fog Diver, #1)
Title: The Fog Diver
Series: The Fog Diver, Book 1
Author: Joel Ross (site)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: May 26, 2015
Genre: Middle Grade Dystopian Action-Adventure
Told: First Person (Chess), Past Tense
Content Rating: Middle Grade (some violence and scary situations)
Format Read: ARC (EpicLibrarian)
Find OnGoodreads
Purchase OnAmazon | B&N | TBD
Summary:

A deadly white mist has cloaked the earth for hundreds of years. Humanity clings to the highest mountain peaks, where the wealthy Five Families rule over the teeming lower slopes and rambling junkyards. As the ruthless Lord Kodoc patrols the skies to enforce order, thirteen-year-old Chess and his crew scavenge in the Fog-shrouded ruins for anything they can sell to survive.

Hazel is the captain of their salvage raft: bold and daring. Swedish is the pilot: suspicious and strong. Bea is the mechanic: cheerful and brilliant. And Chess is the tetherboy: quiet and quick…and tougher than he looks. But Chess has a secret, one he’s kept hidden his whole life. One that Lord Kodoc is desperate to exploit for his own evil plans. And even as Chess unearths the crew’s biggest treasure ever, they are running out of time...


*          *          *

In a Sentence: An imaginative and inventive middle grade dystopian adventure with thrilling action and an engaging cast of characters.

When a desperate young salvage crew from the slums stumble upon a pricey jewel while out scavenging the deadly fog that chased humankind to the mountaintops, they hatch a plan to sell it topside in the hopes of paying their way to Port Oro, a paradise where the woman who saved them can be cured of her debilitating sickness. But after a run-in with mutineers causes them to lose their ship, they find themselves on the run from not only the slumlords they owe but Lord Kodoc, the Rooftop ruler who has discovered crewmate Chess's secret and will stop at nothing to use the boy to gain control over the fog and rule them all.

While I found the beginning a little slow at times, the second half of the book was back-to-back thrills as the crew escaped from multiple pursuers by land and air in exciting feats of skill and cunning. The straightforward writing style made for a quick and effortless read with vivid description, smooth action, and easy, amusing dialogue, and the comical old-world references - a mishmash of scrapbook snippets and phonetic names - wove witty and imaginative tales such as the violent game of Golfball ("So each team had a hole? It sounds too easy to guard. You just put your foot over the hole." "Until the other team starts beating you with their clubs.") and the old saga of "Skywalker Trek" ("...about a space war between the Klingons and the Jedi, set in a future when people lived on distant planets, and fought Tribbles, Ewoks, and Borgs.") that made me literally laugh out loud. The setting was a little hard to accept as a whole, but the environmental concept and societal structure were disconcertingly plausible, and the way scavenged supplies were repurposed was clever (paper money as expensive toilet paper, laptops as bricks in building walls, etc.).

It was the crew that really made this book though, a team of quirky and relatable kids carefully and lovingly assembled by strong, good-hearted Mrs. E to tackle their dangerous but inevitable adventure with spunk and determination. Point-of-view character Chess could be a bit too cowardly for me at times, but when it counted he didn't hesitate to defend and support his family, and although he constantly wanted to he never backed down from what had to be done. Commanding but girlish Hazel was an intuitive captain with a quick mind and sharp eye, forced to be the adult of the group but wearing it well, and I think many a young girl couldn't go too wrong aspiring to be her. Sporty, paranoid Swedish played a good devil's advocate even as his mad skillz at the helm flew them out of several spots of trouble, and newbie brutish Loretta provided some good comic relief during otherwise dire situations. Of all though, Bea was my uncontested favorite, the incarnation of a young Kaylee from Firefly who talks to and maintains machines like a seasoned pro, and added some innocence to the unfortunately rather adult situation the kids found themselves entangled in. But it was all of them together as a well-oiled, bantering crew that really made the book an exciting and engaging read, and at the end I was very happy to know that their adventure continued into another book.

Conclusion: With its unique premise, inventive setting, quirky characters, thrilling action, playful wit, and unique premise, I found this adventurous Middle Grade dystopian and first installment in the Fog Diver duology a fun and engaging read. Definitely recommend for middle-graders and/or anyone who enjoys a good Firefly-esque adventure.

Sequel: The second book in the Fog Diver duology, The Lost Compass, released May 24, 2016. You can read my 3.5 Scribble review here.


Scribble Rating
3.5 of 5 Scribbles


Friday, August 19, 2016

The #FridayReads Review (8/19/16)



Welcome to The #FridayReads Review, a regular Friday segment where I share what I've been reading the past week, and what I'm planning to read next! Want to join the Friday fun? Post your own #FridayReads Review and leave the link in the Comments below, or just Comment with what you've been reading!


>> CURRENTLY READING <<
The Midnight Queen (Noctis Magicae, #1)
The Midnight Queen by Sylvia Izzo Hunter (PBK)
For some reason this was the only book I wanted to read this week, so I ignored everything else and picked it up from the library. It's a quieter read, but with a Jane Austen feel and focus on magic it's just interesting enough to keep my attention. Currently about halfway through.


>> ON HOLD <<
The Mirror King (The Orphan Queen, #2)
The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows (ARC)
Just couldn't get back into this after Cursed Child so I decided to set it aside once more. After a week though I'm beginning to feel it's pull again...


>> JUST FINISHED <<
Maid-sama! (2-in-1 Edition), Vol. 5: Includes Vols. 9 & 10
Maid-Sama! vols. 9-10 by Hiro Fujiwara (PBK)
4.5 Stars. I've been waiting almost two years to continue this delightful series, and these new volumes did not disappoint! We finally learned the basics of Usui's past, and an interesting new character came into play. Lots of fun and sweet moments were had, and after the "cliffhanger" ending I'm really excited for the next set!


>> READING NEXT <<
The Heiress and the Chauffeur, Vol. 2
The Heiress and the Chauffeur vol. 2 by Keiko Ishihara (PBK)
Picked this up from the library today! It's the final in a two-volume series, and I'll be interested to see if they actually end up together or not.


So what are you reading this week?

Friday, August 12, 2016

The #FridayReads Review (8/12/16)



Welcome to The #FridayReads Review, a regular Friday segment where I share what I've been reading the past week, and what I'm planning to read next! Want to join the Friday fun? Post your own #FridayReads Review and leave the link in the Comments below, or just Comment with what you've been reading!


>> CURRENTLY READING <<
The Mirror King (The Orphan Queen, #2)
The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows (ARC)
Was finally able to return to this, but the carry-over excitement from the first book had cooled and now I'm struggling to maintain interest despite how good it is. Hate to set it aside after over 100 pages in, but so many other books look far more interesting to me right now...


>> JUST FINISHED <<
Harry Potter and the Cursed ChildP.S. I Like You

Harry Potter & the Cursed Child by Rowling, Tiffany & Thorne (HBK)
2.5 Stars. A quick but highly unimpressive "eighth book" in an impressive series. Review to come.

P.S. I Like You by Kasie West (ARC)
4 Stars. As expected from Kasie: a light, sweet, easy teen contemporary romance that I read in a single sick day. Loved the letters, and the slight Pride & Prejudice vibe. Review to come.


>> READING NEXT <<
Honey So Sweet, Vol. 3
Honey So Sweet vol. 3 by Amu Meguro (PBK)
Wasn't that impressed with vol. 1 but vol. 2 was better so I'm intrigued enough to give it another volume.


So what are you reading this week?

Friday, August 5, 2016

The #FridayReads Review (8/5/16)



Welcome to The #FridayReads Review, a regular Friday segment where I share what I've been reading the past week, and what I'm planning to read next! Want to join the Friday fun? Post your own #FridayReads Review and leave the link in the Comments below, or just Comment with what you've been reading!


>> CURRENTLY READING <<
The Mirror King (The Orphan Queen, #2)Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows (ARC)
I had planned to pause and read Harry Potter before tackling this sequel, but after the serious first-book cliffhanger I went straight into this. Now paused about 25 pages in but so far so engaging!

Harry Potter & the Cursed Child by John Tiffany & Jack Thorne (HBK)
The format is taking some time to get used to, but it's...interesting, I guess? About 70 pages in and so far I'm not very impressed. Especially a bit frustrated with Albus's lack of proper motivation - when Harry did stupid stuff, at least he typically had a pretty plausible reason.


>> JUST FINISHED <<
The Orphan Queen (The Orphan Queen, #1)
The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows (ARC)
4 Stars. Began rather awkward with lots of infodumping and too many characters to keep straight, but slowly built into an intense and engrossing read with a cliffhanger ending that had me dashing to the bookshelf for the sequel. Review to come.


>> READING NEXT <<
Barakamon 7 (Barakamon #7)Barakamon 8 (Barakamon #8)
Barakamon vol. 7 & vol. 8 by Satsuki Yoshino (PBK)
I've really been enjoying this quirky small-town series, and am rather glad I took so long to discover it so I can now binge a bunch of volumes!


So what are you reading this week?

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

WoW: Starfall (Melissa Landers)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly blogging event hosted by Breaking the Spine, in which one spotlights an upcoming release they are eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:


Starfall (Starflight #2)
Title: Starfall
Author: Melissa Landers
Release Date: February 7, 2017
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Summary:
When Princess Cassia Rose fled her home world of Eturia to escape an arranged marriage to a bloodthirsty prince and prevent a coup, she had no idea her sudden departure would spark a war. Now after two years hiding as a lowly ship hand, she finally has the chance to return home and make peace, but not in the way she imagined. Shackled by bounty hunters, she is violently dragged back to account for her crimes. Her only solace is that the Banshee crew managed to evade capture, including Kane Arric, her best friend... with occasional benefits.

Meanwhile, Kane and the rest of the crew of the Banshee, including Solara and Doran, are planning a desperate rescue mission. But when they arrive on Eturia, they find Cassia ruling her home planet, having imprisoned the rogue prince who would have overthrown her family. Deep down, Kane knows that Cassia can't rule her world and be with the bastard son of a business man, but he's also sure she returns his feelings, and that makes the circumstances all the more painful. When the outer realms are threatened by the dangerous Zhang mafia, Cassia, Kane and the rest of the Banshee crew rally to protect the population from widespread enslavement. The reunion forces Cassia to consider who her true family is and if she can live without the boy who has been there for her through thick and thin.

Why I'm Looking Forward To It: With Melissa's UNITED releasing yesterday (see my blitz post here) I was reminded of her next upcoming title, STARFALL, the sequel to STARFLIGHT, my no contest favorite read this year! (See my review here for proof.) STARFLIGHT was exactly what I look for in sci-fi, my favorite genre, so you can imagine I'm seriously excited for the sequel!!


So what book are you waiting on?

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

UNITED by Melissa Landers Launch Blitz + Giveaway (INT)


UNITED, the third and final book in Melissa Landers' Alienated series, finally releases today, and I'm excited to be part of the launch blitz! Check out the note from Melissa below, and be sure to enter the giveaway for signed mini-posters at the end!


ABOUT THE BOOK

United (Alienated, #3)
Title: United
Series: Alienated, Book 3
Author: Melissa Landers
Release Date: August 2, 2016
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Summary:

After thwarting a deadly coup and saving the alliance between their worlds, Cara and Aelyx have finally earned a break. Their tiny island colony is everything they dreamed it would be―days spent gathering shells on the beach and nights in each other’s arms.

But the vacation is short-lived.

The treaty between Earth and L’eihr has awakened an ancient force that threatens to destroy them all. The Aribol, mysterious guardians charged with maintaining interstellar peace, deem the alliance a threat to the galaxy. They order a separation of the races, decreeing humans and L’eihrs must return to their own planets within the month or face extinction. In fact, they already have agents in place on Earth, ready to begin.

With the clock ticking, Aelyx and Cara assemble a team of colonists and race back to Earth, where they unite with old friends to solve the mystery of who the Aribol are, what they want, and the real reason the alliance has provoked them. As tensions build to a full-scale war, Aelyx and Cara must fight harder than ever―not just for their future, but for the survival of both their worlds.



Hey there, booklovers! 

I’m author Melissa Landers, and I’m thrilled to announce the release of UNITED, the final book in the Alienated trilogy. Our star-crossed lovers Aelyx and Cara have overcome some heavy obstacles to be together—riotous mobs, alien hybrids, and worst of all, high school on two planets. Now to stay together they’ll have to unite their people against a common enemy, a threat more deadly than they ever imagined. (NBD, right?) I’ve written an ending to this trilogy that makes my heart happy, and I hope you’ll love the conclusion as much as I do!

What do reviewers have to say about the series? 

“The author’s storyline is out of this world.” –VOYA on Alienated

“The unusual plot and world building are ingenious.” –Library Media Connection on Alienated 
“If [the third novel] is as entertaining as this tale, it can’t come soon enough.” –Kirkus Reviews on Invaded 
“A fun genre-blending series that will only gain traction as it continues.” –Booklist on Invaded

If you love hot aliens, snarky humans, and wild sci-fi adventure, make sure to pick up a copy of UNITED today. It’s now available in stores and online.





ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Melissa Landers is a former teacher who left the classroom to pursue other worlds. A proud sci-fi geek, she isn’t afraid to wear her Princess Leia costume in public—just ask her husband and three kids. She lives outside Cincinnati in the small town of Loveland, “Sweetheart of Ohio.” For more information, or just to say hello, visit her website.



THE GIVEAWAY


To celebrate my book birthday, I’m offering one lucky winner a set of all 3 mini-posters in the Alienated series—signed by me! The giveaway is open internationally.

Best of luck, and happy reading!