Monday, August 13, 2018

Paragraph Review: The Prom Goer's Interstellar Excursion (Chris McCoy)

The Prom Goer's Interstellar Excursion
Title: The Prom Goer's Interstellar Excursion
Series: standalone
Author: Chris McCoy
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: April 14, 2015
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Science Fiction Humor
Told: First Person (Bennett), Past Tense
Content Rating: Older Teen (lesser innuendo, substance abuse, underage drinking, maybe a few words of language, murderous intent, death-like situations, words that make you shudder)
Format Read: Hardcover (purchased)
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It's Superbad meets Spaceballs in this hilarious extraterrestrial road trip!

Just a few days before prom, Bennett pulls off something he never imagined possible: his dream girl, Sophie, agrees to be his date. Moments afterward, however, he watches Sophie get abducted by aliens in the middle of the New Mexico desert.

Faced with a dateless prom (and likely kidnapping charges), Bennett does the only thing he can think of: he catches a ride into outer space with a band of extraterrestrial musicians to bring her back.

Can he navigate alien concert venues, an extraterrestrial reality show, and the band's outlandish egos to rescue his date in time for the big dance? Fans of King Dork and Winger won't want to miss this!

*          *          *

If you love The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as much as I do, then you are in for a treat with The Prom Goer's Interstellar Excursion! With the same dry wit and wacky imagination, this YA version tells the story of a hapless teenage boy who hitches a ride to rescue his abducted prom date from the outrageous wonders of the galaxy. Bennett's teen male voice was realistic without being crass (bless you, Chris!), and I adored his detached humor and quick wit in the face of an utterly ridiculous situation. Despite playing with heavier subjects of abduction, substance abuse, death and death-like situations, murderous degenerates and more, the story was a lighthearted road trip/rescue mission packed with quirky characters (alien, human and ram alike), bizarre situations, destructive music, and outrageous outfits. Although I wasn't crazy about the day-long chapters, the fast pace and Adams-esque style made it a breeze of a read from foreboding Prologue to satisfactory More Epilogue. Thoroughly entertaining and laugh out loud funny, The Prom Goer's Interstellar Excursion was a highly enjoyable read and I highly recommend it for Hitchhiker's Guide fans.

Scribble Rating
4.5 of 5 Scribbles

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

WoW: The Lady's Guide to Petticoats & Piracy (Mackenzi Lee)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly blogging event in which one spotlights an upcoming release they are eagerly anticipating.

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

The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy (Montague Siblings, #2)
Title: The Lady's Guide to Petticoats & Piracy
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Release Date: October 2, 2018
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Felicity Montague is through with pretending she prefers society parties to books about bone setting—or that she’s not smarter than most people she knows, or that she cares about anything more than her dream of becoming a doctor.

A year after an accidentally whirlwind tour of Europe, which she spent evading highwaymen and pirates with her brother Monty, Felicity has returned to England with two goals in mind—avoid the marriage proposal of Callum Doyle, a lovestruck suitor from Edinburgh; and enroll in medical school. However, her intellect and passion will never be enough in the eyes of the administrators, who see men as the sole guardians of science.

But then a small window of hope opens. Doctor Alexander Platt, an eccentric physician that Felicity idolizes, is looking for research assistants, and Felicity is sure that someone as forward thinking as her hero would be willing to take her on. However, Platt is in Germany, preparing to wed Felicity’s estranged childhood friend Johanna. Not only is Felicity reluctant to opening old wounds, she also has no money to make the trip.

Luckily, a mysterious young woman is willing to pay Felicity’s way, so long as she’s allowed to travel with Felicity disguised as her maid. In spite of her suspicions, Felicity agrees, but once the girl’s true motives are revealed, Felicity becomes part of a perilous quest that will lead her from the German countryside to the promenades of Zurich to secrets lurking beneath the Atlantic.

Why I'm Looking Forward To It: As a lady of the Ace persuasion, I'm extremely eager to lay hands on this beauty with its Asexual main character! I've also heard great things about the author's delightful character and storytelling skills. Can't wait!

So what book are you waiting on?

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Release Spotlight: COMPETENCE (Gail Carriger)

Today I'm delighted to spotlight Gail Carriger's latest novel, COMPETENCE! Set in her alternate historical paranormal parasolverse, it's the third in the Custard Protocol series but first from the point of view of the Tunstell twins. I had the pure pleasure of reading an early copy (you can peruse my paragraph review here), and it was a playful and witty adventure and my favorite of the series so far! Needless to say I highly recommend it, so if you haven't checked it (and the rest of the series) out yet, do so below!

Competence (Custard Protocol, #3)
Title: Competence
Series: The Custard Protocol #3
Author: Gail Carriger
Publisher: Orbit Books
Release Date: 7/17/18

From New York Times bestselling author Gail Carriger comes the delightful sequel to Imprudence.

Accidentally abandoned!

All alone in Singapore, proper Miss Primrose Tunstell must steal helium to save her airship, the Spotted Custard, in a scheme involving a lovesick werecat and a fake fish tail.

When she uncovers rumors of a new kind of vampire, Prim and the Custard crew embark on a mission to Peru. There, they encounter airship pirates and strange atmospheric phenomena, and are mistaken for representatives of the Spanish Inquisition. Forced into extreme subterfuge (and some rather ridiculous outfits) Prim must also answer three of life's most challenging questions:

Can the perfect book club give a man back his soul?

Will her brother ever stop wearing his idiotic velvet fez?

And can the amount of lard in Christmas pudding save an entire species?

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Check out the first two books!

Prudence (The Custard Protocol, #1)Imprudence (The Custard Protocol, #2)

Book 1: Prudence

Book 2: Imprudence

Monday, June 4, 2018

Manga Review: Pandora Hearts Series (1-24) (Jun Mochizuki)

Pandora Hearts, Volume 1Pandora Hearts, Volume 24

Title: Pandora Hearts
Author: Jun Mochizuki
Volume(s) Reviewed: 1-24 (complete)
Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: December 15, 2009 - March 22, 2016
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Horror Fantasy
Content Rating: Older Teen (heavy violence and disturbing images, monster violence, some child abuse and neglect, mental instability, murder, some minor language)
Format Read: Paperback (own & library)
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Volume 1 Summary:

The air of celebration surrounding fifteen-year-old Oz Vessalius' coming-of-age ceremony quickly turns to horror when he is condemned for a sin about which he knows nothing. Thrown into the Abyss - an eternal prison from which there is no escape - Oz meets a young girl named Alice who is not what she seems. Now that the relentless cogs of fate have begun to turn, will they lead only to crushing despair for Oz, or will Alice provide him with some shred of hope?

*          *          *

Pandora Hearts is an extremely convoluted series with a multi-layered plot and extensive cast that hurt my brain more often than not. The paranormal fantasy story was an interesting one with many heart-stealing characters (darn you, Break *sniffles*) and intriguing twists, but with every volume the plot complicated more and more until I was less interested in the reveals and more in just finishing the series and being done with it. Despite my story frustration I really enjoyed following the character progression for most of the cast, especially my favorites - Break, Gil, Echo (although her climax still doesn't fully make sense to me) - but prepare your feels because with a violent and tragic story such as this one no one emerges unscathed, and many don't emerge alive.

Ultimately Pandora Hearts is a story of self-acceptance, grief, and forgiveness of yourself, your past, and the selfish and misguided actions of others. With seriously creepy monsters and several mentally unbalanced characters running about a twisted Alice-themed nightmare setting, it's a chilling tale of the darkness within us all, but ultimately ends in redemption. It's definitely not a read for the faint of heart, but if you enjoy epic, convoluted alternate dark/ horror fantasy stories then I recommend a Pandora Hearts binge.

Scribble Rating
3 of 5 Scribbles

Monday, May 28, 2018

Paragraph Review: Crudrat (Gail Carriger)

Title: Crudrat
Series: The Tinkered Stars, Book 1
Author: Gail Carriger
Publisher: AWP
Release Date: March 11, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Told: Third Person, Past Tense
Content Rating: Older Teen (violence, fighting, brief torture, short discussion of sexual anatomy)
Format Read: Hardcover (gift)
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The Progenitors of The Wheel live high up above the sky, amongst the stars, removed from the petty concerns of mere mortals. Each one designed, engineered, perfect; their imperfect children get left to die.

Ghosts. Cyphers. They do not exist. A lucky few, the Crudrats, scrape out a perilous living cleaning the toxic wastes from the great machines that power the station.

Meet Maura. Cypher. Crudrat. Grown too tall, alone in a spaceport with no use for her, doomed to starve. With only her crud-eating murmel and an alien monster to help her, she must find a way to survive, or escape, before they catch her and blow what’s left of her life, and her companions, into space.

From the mind of Gail Carriger, ArtisticWhispers Productions presents a young-adult adventure tale that brings golden age-style science fiction into the 21st century, stuffs it full of heart, and gives it a finely polished, gleaming edge.

*          *          *

A unique and interesting teen sci-fi read with an engaging story and diverse cast. The broken English writing style took a bit to (mostly) get used to, but it made for a different kind of read and this one came to rather enjoy it, for the most part (all the typos in the print version were painful, though T-T). The intriguing worlds weren't quite as fleshed out as I would've liked, but the lack of details created a very immersive and unpredictable environment that kept me guessing. I absolutely adored Maura - no matter how others thought of her and treated her or tried to fit her into a mold, she was always just herself and totally at ease with who she was. While this book wrapped up the story nicely, it was definitely open-ended for a sequel and this one would definitely be interested in continuing Maura and Fuzzy's story in another book!

Possibly recommended for fans of: The Last Book in the Universe; The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Scribble Rating
4 of 5 Scribbles

Monday, May 21, 2018

Paragraph Review: Jackaby (William Ritter)

Jackaby (Jackaby, #1)
Title: Jackaby
Series: Jackaby, Book 1
Author: William Ritter
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Release Date: September 16, 2014
Genre: New Adult Alternate Historical Supernatural Mystery
Told: First Person (Abigail), Past Tense
Content Rating: Older Teen (some minor gore, violence, violent monster attack, scary situations)
Format Read: Paperback (trade)
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Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job, Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary--including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby’s assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced it’s an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain the foul deeds are the work of the kind of creature whose very existence the local authorities--with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane--seem adamant to deny.

*          *          *

An easy and engaging New Adult alternate historical mystery with a predictable culprit but likable characters and an interesting supernatural setting. The cover quote compares it to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but in my opinion (aside from being a supernatural Sherlock Holmes) it's more in the vein of Black Butler - except instead of demons, it's fairy folk (and lighter on the gore). The writing style is simple and relaxed which created a very smooth and quick read, and as the story is made up of a lot of larger scenes I slid through the chapters with ease. I really loved Jackaby's quirkiness but especially his surety of self (and choice of roommates), and male author William wrote a generally authentic and relatable female point of view character in Abigail, even if she was a bit plain. The plot was delightfully simple (I typically avoid mysteries for being too complicated), and while I fingered the culprit from the first along with several other reveals (although to my amusement I almost missed a red herring), I enjoyed the suspense of the plot and was reluctant to put the book down, breezing through it in three days. I'll definitely be reading the second book, Beastly Bones, and probably the rest of the series.

Scribble Rating
4 of 5 Scribbles

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Release Spotlight: ONYX & IVORY (Mindee Arnett)

Today I spotlight the new fantasy from Mindee Arnett: ONYX & IVORY! Pitched as "Pitch Black meets Pony Express", it also has a Tegami Bachi feel that saw me signing up for the Street Team (the Relay Riders) at their inception! If you haven't yet heard of this epic title, check it out below!


Onyx and Ivory

Title: Onyx & Ivory
Author: Mindee Arnett
Publisher: Balzer & Bray (HarperCollins)
Release Date: 5/15/18

They call her Traitor Kate. It’s a title Kate Brighton inherited from her father after he tried to assassinate the high king years ago. Now Kate lives as an outcast, clinging to the fringes of society as a member of the Relay, the imperial courier service. Only those most skilled in riding and bow hunting ride for the Relay; and only the fastest survive, for when dark falls, the nightdrakes—deadly flightless dragons—come out to hunt. Fortunately, Kate has a secret edge: she is a wilder, born with magic that allows her to influence the minds of animals. But it’s this magic that she needs to keep hidden, as being a wilder is forbidden, punishable by death or exile. And it’s this magic that leads her to a caravan massacred by nightdrakes in broad daylight—the only survivor her childhood friend, her first love, the boy she swore to forget, the boy who broke her heart.

The high king’s second son, Corwin Tormane, never asked to lead. Even as he waits for the uror—the once-in-a-generation ritual to decide which of the king’s children will succeed him—he knows it’s always been his brother who will assume the throne. And that’s fine by him. He’d rather spend his days away from the palace, away from the sight of his father, broken with sickness from the attempt on his life. But the peacekeeping tour Corwin is on has given him too much time to reflect upon the night he saved his father’s life—the night he condemned the would-be killer to death and lost the girl he loved. Which is why he takes it on himself to investigate rumors of unrest in one of the remote city-states, only for his caravan to be attacked—and for him to be saved by Kate.

With their paths once more entangled, Kate and Corwin have to put the past behind them. The threat of drakes who attack in the daylight is only the beginning of a darker menace stirring in the kingdom—one whose origins have dire implications for Kate’s father’s attack upon the king and will thrust them into the middle of a brewing civil war in the kingdom of Rime.

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