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)
Find OnGoodreads
Purchase OnAmazon | B&N | Book Depository
Summary:

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)

Crudrat
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)
Find OnGoodreads
PurchaseAudiobook
Summary:

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)
Find OnGoodreads
Purchase OnAmazon | B&N | Book Depository
Summary:

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!


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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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PURCHASE:
Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | Book Depository


Monday, May 14, 2018

Paragraph Review: Competence (Gail Carriger)

Competence (Custard Protocol, #3)
Title: Competence
Series: The Custard Protocol, Book 3
Author: Gail Carriger
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: July 17, 2018
Genre: New Adult Alternate Historical Paranormal Steampunk Romance
Told: Third Person Duo (Prim, Percy), Past Tense
Content Rating: Adult (sexuality, violence, werecat mauling, unsettling vampire feeding habits)
Format Read: ARC (publisher)
Find OnGoodreads
Purchase OnAmazon | B&N | Book Depository
Summary:

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?


*          *          *

Review copy provided by publisher - thank you, Orbit!!


Series Note: This is the 3rd book in The Custard Protocol Series, but the first from Prim & Percy's POV (Books 1 & 2 are from Rue's POV). This is also one of many series set in Gail Carriger's Parasolverse, the scope of which you can check out here.

A playful and witty adventure from Prim & Percy's point of view that was a pure delight of a read and my favorite of the series so far! While another vampire race is discovered (unnerving but fascinating), most of the book follows the Spotted Custard's general floating adventures exploring the natural and supernatural world as Primrose comes to terms with her sexual preferences. There were a few bits of customary series sexuality (lesbian this time) that had asexual me blushing fiercely, but Tash's possessiveness was adorable. The ending was even more of a delight than the entire read (seemingly impossible but somehow Lady Gail pulled it off) and, given the promises for next book Reticence I am most eagerly anticipating The Custard Protocol's final installment!


Scribble Rating
4.5 of 5 Scribbles


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Blog Tour Spotlight: SHADOW CALL (AdriAnne Strickland & Michael Miller) + Giveaway


Today I spotlight AdriAnne Strickland & Michael Miller's Kaitan Chronicles #2: SHADOW CALL! I really enjoyed the first book, Shadow Run (you can check out my review here) and have been excited to continue the series with this sequel. If you enjoy Sci-fi you definitely have to try this series - check it out below, and be sure to enter the giveaway at the end for a shiny new copy of Shadow Call!

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THE BOOK:
Shadow Call (Kaitan Chronicles, #2)

Title: SHADOW CALL (Kaitan Chronicles #2)
Author: AdriAnne Strickland & Michael Miller
Pub. Date: April 17, 2018
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Pages: 432

His throne. Her rebellion. Their war.

Qole is the youngest starship captain in living memory on her homeworld of Alaxak and has spent her life hunting a dangerous energy source called Shadow. Alaxans distrust and evade the galaxy’s royalty as a rule, but Qole is now harboring the exiled Prince Nevarian Dracorte, along with some very conflicting feelings about it—and him.

Nev’s feelings are just as complicated, but not towards her. When it comes to Qole, he knows one thing: he’d do anything to stay with her. But when Alaxak is attacked and Nev finds himself framed for murder, he realizes the only way to help Qole and her people is to fight for the throne that should be his. To become the royal she might hate.

As for Qole, she would never have imagined herself as the leader of a rebellion. Despite that, she soon realizes that hiding from her power is no longer an option. It’s time to answer the call, even if it kills her.


Add to Goodreads

PURCHASE:
Amazon | B&N | iBooksIndiebound | Book Depository


Check out the first book!
Shadow Run (Kaitan Chronicles, #1)
Shadow Run
Goodreads Amazon | B&N | iBooksIndiebound | Book Depository | My Review


THE AUTHORS:


ADRIANNE STRICKLAND and MICHAEL MILLER met in their hometown of Palmer, Alaska, where they agreed on 99% of book taste and thus decided to write together. Adri spends her summers as a commercial fisherwoman in Bristol Bay, Alaska, and the rest of the year writing. Michael grew up off the grid in a homestead in Alaska and now works in IT and tech. This is their second book together.

Find AdriAnne:

Find Michael:
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads



THE GIVEAWAY:
3 winners will receive a finished copy of SHADOW CALL, US Only. 
Ends on May 4th at Midnight EST!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
THE TOUR:
Check out the rest of the tour!

Week One:
4/2/2018- Here's to Happy EndingsReview
4/3/2018- Wonder StruckReview
4/4/2018- Rhythmicbooktrovert - Review
4/5/2018- Jena Brown WritesReview
4/6/2018- YA ObsessedReview

Week Two:
4/9/2018- Emily Reads EverythingReview
4/10/2018- laura's bookish cornerReview
4/11/2018- Literary MeanderingsExcerpt
4/12/2018- Two Chicks on BooksExcerpt
4/13/2018- Good Choice ReadingReview

Week Three:
4/16/2018- Rachel's Book ReviewsReview
4/17/2018- Skye's ScribblingsSpotlight
4/18/2018- BookHounds YAExcerpt
4/19/2018- The Desert BibliophileReview
4/20/2018- Seeing Double in NeverlandExcerpt

Week Four:
4/23/2018- Book-KeepingReview
4/24/2018- lori's little house of reviewsReview
4/25/2018- Books at DawnExcerpt
4/26/2018- Read. Eat. Love.Review
4/27/2018- MNBernard BooksExcerpt

Week Five:
4/30/2018- Smada's Book SmackReview


Friday, March 30, 2018

The #FridayReads Review (3/30/18)



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 <<
Shadow Call (Kaitan Chronicles, #2)The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well

Shadow Call by Adrianne Strickland & Michael Miller (ARC)
I couldn't help signing up for the blog tour and after re-reading the first book I'm now powering through this sequel! Just like Shadow Run it began a bit awkward but once more I found myself hit with a shocking twist about page 40 and now the story is off and running!

The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking (HBK)
After reading a book on Lagom I wanted more in a similar vein and picked up books on Hygge and Lykke. I'm not connecting to Hygge as much as Lagom, but it's still an interesting and relaxing read.


>> JUST FINISHED <<
Wake Up, Sleeping Beauty, Vol. 1 (Wake Up, Sleeping Beauty, #1)
Wake Up, Sleeping Beauty vol. 1 by Megumi Morino (PBK)
5 Stars. I brought this home from the library and read it without even glancing at the summary, and don't let the romantic title and summary fool you: this is first and foremost an original and rather chilling GHOST STORY. With its mysterious premise and realistic main male character, the start of the eerie story of shut-in Shizu and scaredy-cat Tetsu was an engrossing one that found me reluctant to put it down and finishing well past bedtime. I can't wait to get my hands on the next volume and see how things progress!


>> ON HOLD <<
The Chestnut King (100 Cupboards Book 3)
The Chestnut King by N.D. Wilson (PBK)
During my 3-week January-February flu I decided to finally read the entire 100 Cupboards series. Books 1 & 2 went well, but I've been struggling for about a month now to finish this final Book 3 as I don't think I'm going to like the foreshadowed series end. Still, I'm less than 100 pages away and feel I really should finish it eventually, I've come this far.


>> [POSSIBLY] READING NEXT <<
(subject to change with my ever-shifting reading whims)
The Little Book of Lykke: The Danish Search for the World's Happiest People
The Little Book of Lykke by Meik Wiking (HBK)
After Hygge comes Lykke!


So what are you reading this week?