Monday, June 30, 2014

Adult Review: Fortune's Pawn (Rachel Bach)

Fortune's Pawn (Paradox, #1)
Title: Fortune's Pawn
Series: Paradox, Book 1
Author: Rachel Bach
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: November 5, 2013
Genre: Adult Science Fiction
Rating: Adult (some sex, some language, violence [see Content below])
Told: First Person Singular (Devi), Past Tense
Format Read: Paperback (library)
Find It On: Goodreads

Summary:

Devi Morris isn't your average mercenary. She has plans. Big ones. And a ton of ambition. It's a combination that's going to get her killed one day - but not just yet. 

That is, until she just gets a job on a tiny trade ship with a nasty reputation for surprises. The Glorious Fool isn't misnamed: it likes to get into trouble, so much so that one year of security work under its captain is equal to five years everywhere else. With odds like that, Devi knows she's found the perfect way to get the jump on the next part of her Plan. But the Fool doesn't give up its secrets without a fight, and one year on this ship might be more than even Devi can handle.


*          *          *

Why I Read It: Author Gail Carriger picked it as the first read for Gail's Book Group! Since I'd already added it to my TBR list earlier this year, and I was in a bit of a reading slump, I thought, why not? I'm so glad I did!

Series: The first in the Paradox trilogy, which are blessedly all released. While this book doesn't end on a literal cliffhanger (i.e. no one is in peril), there remained a bucketful of unanswered questions and the promise of much better (and badder) excitement to come. It practically required moving immediately on to the next book.

Setting: Space! The humans of this galaxy far, far away are supposed to be descendants of Earth, so it's our indeterminate future. Aside for the humans (and hybrid human species), we are introduced to less than a handful of very different (from humans and each other) alien races - some pretty cool, some rather terrifying. Interplanetary travel is done with spaceships, and hyperspace is utilized for longer treks mainly via gates unless you want to accidentally end up losing a century or two. Mainly your standard sci-fi framework with quite a few unique and pretty awesome tweaks.

Story: Devi has only ever been good at being a soldier and mercenary, and it's the only thing she's ever wanted to do. And she wants to be the best. With her sights set on the top - becoming a Devastator, one of the Sacred King's personal soldiers - she takes a sidestep job as security on a small trade ship with a cursed reputation that promises a fast pass to her dream. But she gets much more than she bargained for with an unusual crew and the mysterious stops that don't seem to have very much to do with trading. While this does bring a lot more fun to what would usually be a pretty dull job, Devi starts to realize there is much more than eccentricities to what the captain is up to.

Three-fourths of the book consisted of imaginative worlds, several nicely choreographed fight scenes, well-written monotony, and a pinch of very steamy romance. It read as a quick, relatively low-key and uncomplicated sci-fi story. And then All The Weirdness dropped like a ton of bricks in the last fourth. It was a little jolting, but The Weirdness was so awesome it was worth the minor case of whiplash. While Fortune's Pawn read a bit like a prologue to the rest of the trilogy, it was highly entertaining and made me crave the rest of the series even before All The Weirdness fell.

Characters: Devi was very uncomplicated - all she wanted out of life was a good job that fed her bloodlust and enough money to keep her in nice equipment and weapons. If it didn't fall within the purview of her job performance, don't bother her with the details. But when her curiosity finally got the better of her, she wasn't wishy-washy about it - either she wasn't interested or she wanted to know it all. Now. She got a little soppy when it came to Rupert, but luckily a fight usually sprang up to distract her. I loved her obsession with her armor and weapons, her thrill of fights, and her strict religious/military mindset. While there was something slightly off about her that I still can't quite put my finger on, for the most part I really enjoyed her. Rupert made for an interesting and mysterious romantic interest, and although he had his weak moments he stole my heart by the end despite, well, spoilers. The rest of the crew were a fun and unique collection with unfortunately minor parts - hopefully we'll get to spend more time with them in the later books. I did adore Nova though, and my heart went out to Ren.

Romantic Relationship: I enjoyed Rupert's side (probably since we weren't in his head), but Devi got a little too sappy for me. "Love" just didn't fit on a kick-arse gal like her. (Maybe that was the flaw in her character for me?) If not for the sap this book would've been perfect.

Writing: Easy and fun. When Devi wasn't being sappy about her love life I adored her snark and somewhat militarian voice. The fights were very well choreographed and the description relatively easy to imagine.

Content: Language: sprinkled in here and there but nothing too major. Sex: it opened with Devi after spending the night with a guy, and there was some making out and fleeting thoughts, but the only major bit was one quick but intense sex scene. Violence: Devi loved her violence so she dove headfirst into fights and we got all the details. But nothing overly gory - very clinical and military.

Conclusion: An easy, refreshing and thrilling read, and just what I needed to yank me out of a reading slump. Given the plethora of question marks at the end I was blessing the Sacred King that my library not only had Books 2 and 3 but they were waiting impatiently for me when I went to get them. Dove straight into Book 2, Honor's Knight, the same day I finished Fortune's Pawn, and may I just say the Prologue alone completely blew my mind. While I definitely recommend for 18+ because of content, if you like easy Science Fiction (especially with a pinch of Fantasy for flavor), then I highly recommend this book.

For Fans Of: Firefly and Star Wars

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Sunday Post (6/29/14)


Sunday Post

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It's a chance to share news - post a recap of the past week on your blog, share what's coming up on your blog for the week ahead, and showcase books and things you've received.



THIS WEEK ON THE BLOG

Monday   Adult Review: Fortune's Pawn (Rachel Bach)
Tuesday   Teaser Tuesday
Wednesday   Waiting On Wednesday
Friday   The Friday Reads Review



BOOKSHELF ADDITIONS

On the FenceThe Smithsonian Book of BooksThe Bone SeasonThe Young World (The Young World Trilogy, #1)Trust Me, I'm LyingA Blind Spot for Boys

  • On the Fence by Kasie West (ARC - Traded) - FINALLY got my hands on Kasie's latest! *flails*
  • The Smithsonian Book of Books by Michael Olmert (Hbk - Purchased Used) - Research book for Project BW. An awesome book on books, I really must say.
  • The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon (Pbk - From Publisher) - The publisher sent me a paperback to join an August re-read. Sounds like my chance to finally read it, so I'm totally game!
  • The Young World by Chris Weitz (ARC - EpicLibrarian) - While this sounds like exactly my kind of read, I've heard there might be more content than I usually like so we'll see.
  • Trust Me, I'm Lying by Mary Elizabeth Summer (ARC - EpicLibrarian) - Hadn't given this a second look until I got my hands on the ARC - now I'm really intrigued!
  • A Blind Spot for Boys by Justina Chen (ARC - EpicLibrarian) - It sounds cute, but maybe a little too heavy for my tastes? Still on the fence.




Friday, June 27, 2014

The Friday Reads Review (6/27/14)



Welcome to The Friday Reads Review, a regular Friday segment where I share what I've been reading the past week! Want to join the Friday fun? Post your own Friday Reads Review on your blog, and then leave the link in the Comments below!


>> CURRENTLY READING <<
Honor's Knight (Paradox, #2)
Honor's Knight by Rachel Bach (Pbk)
Finished Snitching Snow yesterday so I'm finally back to this! Currently less than 50 pages left and all sorts of fun is going down. Extremely happy to be back to it!


>> JUST FINISHED <<
Stitching Snow
Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis (ARC)
Still trying to form an opinion about this sci-fi fairytale retelling. For now let's just say I sadly wasn't impressed. Review to come later this year.


>> READING NEXT <<
Graduation Day (The Testing, #3)
Graduation Day by Joelle Charbonneau (ARC)
I do not like leaving books half-read, so after I finish Honor's Knight I'm finishing this one as well before tackling any new titles!


So what are you reading this week?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

BONESEEKER Blog Tour: Brynn Chapman Interview (+ Giveaway!)



Welcome to my stop on the Boneseeker Blog Tour! Here you will find my interview with author Brynn Chapman, which includes some fun research and her Boneseeker Love List Top 3! And be sure not to miss the International giveaway at the end!


THE BOOK

Boneseeker

Title: Boneseeker
Author: Brynn Chapman
Release Date: June 17, 2014
Publisher: Month9Books

Summary


Arabella Holmes was born different and raised different. After it became apparent she wouldn't fit the role of a proper 1900's lady, her father, Sherlock, called in some lingering favors, and landed her a position at the Mutter Museum. The museum was Arabella's dream; she was to become a purveyor of abnormal science. What her father called a BoneSeeker.

Henry Watson arrives at the Mutter Museum with a double assignment--to become a finder of abnormal antiquities and to watch over and keep Arabella Holmes. An easy task, if he could only get her to speak to him instead of throwing knives in his general direction.

But this is no time for child's play. The two teens are assigned to a most secret exploration, when the hand of a Nephilim is unearthed in upstate New York. Soon, Arabella and Henry are caught in a fight for their lives as scientific debate swirls around them. Are the bones from a Neanderthal ... or are they living proof of fallen angels, who supposedly mated with humans according to ancient scrolls?

Sent to recover the skeleton, they discover they are the second team to have been deployed and the entire first team is dead. And now they must trust their instincts and rely on one another in order to survive and uncover the truth.


Born and raised in western Pennsylvania, Brynn Chapman is the daughter of two teachers. Her writing reflects her passions: science, history and love—not necessarily in that order. In real life, the geek gene runs strong in her family, as does the Asperger’s syndrome. Her writing reflects her experience as a pediatric therapist and her interactions with society’s downtrodden. In fiction, she’s a strong believer in underdogs and happily-ever-afters. She also writes non-fiction and lectures on the subjects of autism and sensory integration and is a medical contributor to online journal The Age of Autism. 


THE INTERVIEW

Summarize Boneseeker in one sentence:

Sherlock’s daughter, Arabella Holmes, finds danger, death and unrequited love upon arriving at the Mutter Museum in 1910.

What was the initial spark that created Boneseeker

It was a combination of ‘what if’ questions. What if Holmes had a daughter? (He can scarcely tolerate Watson some days.) What if she was so like him, he could not ignore her? (Instead of shoving her with nannies, he saw his own genius beneath those unruly curls. He loves himself—he could not resist.)
What if, when grown, she could not fit into tight Edwardian Society’s box? What would he do with her?

What's your favorite Sherlock Holmes story?

I would say, “The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire.”

Who was your favorite character to write, and why? Who was your least favorite?

I love Henry and Bella equally—like you love your children—equally, but for their own individuality. Why—because I love all the good that is Henry—and his own particular brand of genius. And Bella—she so very complicated, and angsty, and difficult yet loveable and…is an entire Pandora’s box of emotions and conflict.

Hate? No one. I even love my villians. I mean, they star in their own lives.
If I had to pick one, it would be Sherlock himself. He only makes a cameo, as I don’t feel fit to reimagine him myself. ;)

What were some of the subjects you researched? 

Wow…well, I did a trip to the Mutter museum, filling a whole notebook about forensic anthropology and all their artifacts. Some of the interesting oddities ranged from a fifteen foot colon to Albert Einstein’s brain.

I researched the Nephilim skeletons. Many conflicting accounts and theories—the most interesting from 1912, when several oversized skeletons with two rows of teeth were supposedly uncovered. I will allow you to do your own searches on this subject. :)

The two societies mentioned in the book did exist—L’uomo Deliquente and Phrenology. My application of both to BONESEEKER however, being a total fabrication. From Wikipedia: 
Phrenology (from Greek: φρήν, phrēn, "mind"; and λόγος, logos, "knowledge") is apseudoscience primarily focused on measurements of the human skull, based on the concept that the brain is the organ of the mind, and that certain brain areas have localized, specificfunctions or modules. Phrenology was first practiced by mystical groups that operated during the period of the Essenes. Developed by German physician Franz Joseph Gall in 1796, the discipline was very popular in the 19th century, especially from about 1810 until 1840. The principal British centre for phrenology was Edinburgh, where the Edinburgh Phrenological Society was established in 1820.

What’s your favorite line/passage in Boneseeker?

I think it’s the argument between Bella and Henry. When he tells her, her heart is Algor Mortis—‘cold death,’ a forensic term referring to rigor mortis.

He says, “I thought I would put it in terms you could understand.” (She deserved it ;)

Brynn Chapman's Boneseeker Love List Top 3

While I love this concept—I have the fear of interviews becoming like movie trailers—where they show all the best bits before you have ever seen the whole movie? That said, I will give generalities, and you will just have to read BONESEEKER to figure out my clues.
  1. Bella doesn’t believe that people can be monogamous. Her own life and upbringing has been largely routed in science and routine, not love. I love Henry’s response to her—turning her own precious science against her.
  2. I love when we see cracks in Bella’s rigid façade—hinting at what may lurk beneath the letters and numbers that make up her structured world. Like when they are near to strangling due to a toxic gas in the caves. We see chinks in her armour.
  3. I love the concept of Six Impossible Things before Breakfast—from Alice in Wonderland, which they read together as children. And once again, how Henry weaves this common thread from the past into their present, convincing her that the Impossible…is indeed not just possible, but probable.

And that's it! My thanks to Ms. Chapman for the awesome interview! :)


THE GIVEAWAY
  • Four (4) winners will receive an ebook copy of Boneseeker by Brynn Chapman (INT)
  • One (1) winner will receive an ebook copy of Boneseeker by Brynn Chapman AND a $10 Amazon Gift Card or B&N Gift Card – Winner’s Choice (INT)
a Rafflecopter giveaway


And be sure to check out the rest of the tour here!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Cover Reveal: FOUR HOUSES (Victoria Scott) + Giveaway

As a member of the V Mafia, I'm excited to share with you the new cover of Four Houses, a dark YA short story by Victoria Scott releasing July 22, 2014! To celebrate, Ms. Scott is giving away a digital copy of Four Houses, as well as a print ARC of The Jewel by Amy Ewing - check out the cover and then enter to win below! 


THE BOOK

Four Houses

Title: FOUR HOUSES
Author: Victoria Scott
Pub. Date: July 22, 2014

A frightened girl. 

An empty field. 

Four houses. 

Which house would you choose?

FOUR HOUSES is a dark short story told in an unusual format that leaves readers wondering how they'd react if found in the same situation as seventeen-year-old Maddy.
THE GIVEAWAY

Waiting On Wednesday: The Aftermath (Jen Alexander)

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:


The Aftermath
Title: The Aftermath
Author: Jen Alexander
Release Date: August 26, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Summary:

Sometimes, I dream that I'm someone else.

A girl with dark hair who doesn't worry about hunger or thirst or running from flesh-eaters.

In her world, those sorts of things don't exist.

Since the spring of 2036, when the world changed forever, Claudia and a small clan of survivors have roamed the streets of a very altered Nashville: polluted and desolate, except for the ever-present threat of cannibal Hoarders. Together they must undergo punishing tests of endurance and psychological challenge sometimes with devastating consequences all just to live another day.

With food and water in dwindling supply, and with danger lurking around every corner, no one can be trusted. And as her world starts to make less and less sense, Claudia begins to realize something terrifying: she is just a pawn in some sort of game, and all of her actions are being controlled from afar by a mysterious gamer. So when she meets a maddening and fascinating outsider named Declan, who claims to be a game moderator, she must decide whether to join him in exchange for protection and access to the border.

If they play the game right, they are each other's best hope for survival and a life beyond the only world Claudia's ever known: the terrifying live-action game known as The Aftermath.




Why I'm Looking Forward To ItThis. Sounds. Awesome. While on the surface it's a well-used storyline, this sounds like it's going to be one of the best of the bunch. Can't wait!



So what book are you waiting on?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Teaser Tuesday: Stitching Snow (R.C. Lewis)


It's time for Teaser Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading, where you open your current read to a random page and pick two teaser sentences.

This week I'm reading an October release a little early to prep for interviewing the author: Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis, a YA Sci-Fi retelling of Snow White! The teaser:


Stitching Snow

"Maybe they'd keep me away to spite my father.
Maybe they'd kill me just to simplify their lives."



Check out the book on Goodreads!



So what are you reading this week?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Review: Take Back the Skies (Lucy Saxon)

Take Back the Skies
Title: Take Back the Skies
Series: Take Back the Skies, Book 1
Author: Lucy Saxon
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Release Date: June 3, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Steampunk Fantasy Adventure
Content Rating: Older Teen (violence, disturbing images, minor gore, child torture, minor sensuality)
Told: Third Person (Cat), Past Tense
Format Read: ARC (EpicLibrarian)
Find On: Goodreads
Purchase OnAmazon | B&N | Book Depository
Summary:

Catherine Hunter is the daughter of a senior government official on the island of Anglya. She’s one of the privileged – she has luxurious clothes, plenty to eat, and is protected from the Collections which have ravaged families throughout the land. But Catherine longs to escape the confines of her life, before her dad can marry her off to a government brat and trap her forever.

So Catherine becomes Cat, pretends to be a kid escaping the Collections, and stows away on the skyship Stormdancer. As they leave Anglya behind and brave the storms that fill the skies around the islands of Tellus, Cat’s world becomes more turbulent than she could ever have imagined, and dangerous secrets unravel her old life once and for all . . .


*          *          *

Why I Read It: It looked like an interesting adventure story, so when the publisher invited me to participate in the blog tour (you can check out my interview of the author here) I bumped it to the top of my TBR pile.

Series: While this is the first in a series, it has a complete story and character arc, since "each novel [in the series] will be set in a different land within the Tellus world and come together to create a one of a kind addictive reading experience." So it sounds like each book will be about different characters from different countries at different times, so you might not have to read them in order? We'll see.

Setting: The fantasy world of Tellus, where a storm barrier separates countries and skyships run on tyrium, a purple crystal (I think?) mainly mined from Anglya, the focus country of this book. It's part fantasy, part steampunk with flying ships and mechas and clothing with lots of buckles. While nothing particularly original, it was fun.

Story: Escaping from a life of privilege that is not the lap of luxury most imagined, Catherine becomes Cat and stows aboard a merchant vessel to see the world. But when she discovers everything she has ever known back home was a lie, she decides to return home to find the truth - and save her people from a fate she could never have imagined.

The first half was too uncomplicated for me. Cat just decides to run away and does it, decides to stow on a ship and does it, decides to join the crew and does it. There was very little resistance from the story - everything just went Cat's way with little to no consequences. The movement actually reminded me a lot of an adventure video game: an epic journey to new lands, accomplishing random activities (she was an expert pickpocket her first try, c'mon) to reach an ultimate goal. While not particularly a bad thing, it felt more fan fiction than original novel.

Once Cat had (easily) convinced the crew to help her save their country, however, the story flow shifted in the second half. While things still came too easily most of the time, the adventure became more intense and engrossing - and dark. The first half felt very light and playful, the Young Adult tag leaning more towards Middle Grade. But once they found out what the Collections were, things took a turn for the disturbing, ratcheting the rating up into Older Teen for me. The characters (and romance) remained on a younger plane, however, so the disturbing wasn't as dark as it could've been. The disturbing aside, I found the book hard to put down during the second half, the action quick and constant. I did not, however, like the ending. It was much too neat, and for me completely out of character. A serious curve-ball was thrown right before the bow-tie epilogue, and I was not amused.

Characters: Cat was a take charge, take no prisoners young lady, which was definitely admirable - she would set her mind to something and do it, consequences be darned. When she saw her country needed saving, she said "this needs doing, let's get to it" and got it done. Realistically, what she pulled off wasn't even remotely plausible, but lucky for her the story was obliging. Story aside, she was overall an awesome character and I really liked her. Fox was talented but a right arse, blaming his misfortunes, and the country's, and anything else he could think of on Cat and her privileged life at the drop of a hat. Still wondering how they ended up an item. Despite his major flaws though, I guess I liked him okay. Loved Matt and Ben (and still wondering if they weren't more than just childhood friends). Did not like James, but given the circumstances I'm sure very few will, poor guy.

Romantic Relationship: That saying about "a thin line between love and hate" definitely applied to the romance in this book. Fox hated Cat a little too much for the love to make sense most of the time, but I guess if you add the saying about "you can't help who you love" into the mix, it balances out. When I didn't think about how much he hated her, they were a cute couple.

Writing: British, which essentially means a laxness of the strict rules most American novels follow. Sentences weren't always formatted in a way my brain could process, including punctuation, and while the viewpoint was supposedly Third Person Singular from Cat's perspective we occasionally knew a little more about other characters' feelings and reactions than we really should have. Essentially, while we speak the same language in theory, British storytelling can be a whole other beast to American storytelling, so I'm sure most of the blame can be laid on my American storytelling-trained sensibilities.

Conclusion: While the Older Teen storyline paired with Middle Grade characters and romance made for a somewhat unbalanced book, from a basic entertainment standpoint it was a pretty good read. I'll give the next book in the series a peek, just to see where Lucy is going with this. Would recommend for people who like uncomplicated adventure stories simply for adventure's sake, possibly for younger teens if they have strong stomachs.

Scribble Rating
3 of 5 Scribbles

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Sunday Post (6/22/14)


Sunday Post

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It's a chance to share news - post a recap of the past week on your blog, share what's coming up on your blog for the week ahead, and showcase books and things you've received.

THIS WEEK ON THE BLOG

Monday   YA Review: Take Back the Skies (Lucy Saxon)
Tuesday   Teaser Tuesday
Wednesday   Waiting On Wednesday
Friday   The Friday Reads Review
Saturday   Signature Saturday



BOOKSHELF ADDITIONS

The Farfield Curse (Bran Hambric, #1)Stitching SnowRed Rising (Red Rising Trilogy, #1)Mortal FireUnteachable

  • Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse by Kaleb Nation (Hbk - Purchased Used) - It was $2 and in gorgeous condition - I couldn't help myself.
  • Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis (ARC - From Publisher) - I'm interviewing the author for DAB14 so the publisher was sweet enough to send me a copy. Will be reading it next and can't wait!
  • Red Rising by Pierce Brown (ARC - Purchased Used) - Discovering ARCs at my library Friends! I've heard good things about this so I'm game.
  • Mortal Fire by Elizabeth Knox (ARC - Purchased Used) - Another from Friends. On the fence about this one - anyone else read it?
  • Unteachable by Leah Raeder (ARC - Purchased Used) - Another from Friends. Not my cup of tea, so I have it up for trade here if you're interested!





Saturday, June 21, 2014

Signature Saturday: Paranormalcy (Kiersten White)


Welcome to Signature Saturday, a regular feature in which I showcase a signed book in my collection and tell you the story of how I came to acquire it!



I was so excited when local indie Changing Hands and Phoenix Library brought one of my favorite authors, Kiersten White, in for Yallapalooza a few years ago! Not only did I get my book signed, but I attended a writing class with her, and she's as fun as her writing style. And yes, she is as short as she claims, but I regretfully slouched when our picture was taken - I have several inches on her, I swear!


Friday, June 20, 2014

The Friday Reads Review (6/20/14)



Welcome to The Friday Reads Review, a regular Friday segment where I share what I've been reading the past week! Want to join the Friday fun? Post your own Friday Reads Review on your blog, and then leave the link in the Comments below!


>> CURRENTLY READING <<
Honor's Knight (Paradox, #2)
Honor's Knight by Rachel Bach (Pbk)
Book 2 in the Paradox Series. The first book (see below) was just the refreshing read I needed to pull me out of a reading slump, and after the explosive ending I was relieved Books 2 & 3 were waiting for me at the library. So far loving this even more than the first book!


>> ON HOLD <<
Graduation Day (The Testing, #3)
Graduation Day by Joelle Charbonneau (ARC)
It's a good read, but just not what I'm craving right now. Halfway through.


>> JUST FINISHED <<
Fortune's Pawn (Paradox, #1)
Fortune's Pawn by Rachel Bach (Pbk)
Author Gail Carriger did me a huge favor by making this the first pick for Gail's Book Group - loved it! Firefly meets Star Wars. Pleasantly simplistic but wow some seriously interesting and original twists as well. Review to come. 


>> READING NEXT <<
Stitching Snow
Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis (ARC)
Really excited for this sci-fi Snow White retelling!


So what are you reading this week?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday: Waistcoats & Weaponry (Gail Carriger)

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:


Waistcoats & Weaponry (Finishing School #3)
Title: Waistcoats & Weaponry (Finishing School, Book the Third)
Author: Gail Carriger
Release Date: November 4, 2014
Publisher: Little, Brown BYR
Summary:

Sophronia continues her second year at finishing school in style--with a steel-bladed fan secreted in the folds of her ball gown, of course. Such a fashionable choice of weapon comes in handy when Sophronia, her best friend Dimity, sweet sootie Soap, and the charming Lord Felix Mersey stowaway on a train to return their classmate Sidheag to her werewolf pack in Scotland. No one suspected what--or who--they would find aboard that suspiciously empty train. Sophronia uncovers a plot that threatens to throw all of London into chaos and she must decide where her loyalties lie, once and for all.



Why I'm Looking Forward To ItWith the release of the stunning cover last week I am excited to finally make this a WoW pick! For anyone who doesn't know, Ms. Carriger is one of my favorite authors, so the simple fact that she wrote it is reason enough for my wanting to get my hands on it. Don't get me started about how original and imaginative her paranormal steampunk world is, or how fun and snarky her characters are, or...


So what book are you waiting on?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Teaser Tuesday: Fortune's Pawn (Rachel Bach)


It's time for Teaser Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading, where you open your current read to a random page and pick two teaser sentences.

I'm participating in Gail's Book Group, and her June pick is Fortune's Pawn by Rachel Bach (Goodreads), an adult Sci-Fi thriller. I'm two-thirds through and really enjoying it - I've been in a bit of a reading slump and this book is proving the perfect cure! Will be snagging the rest of the trilogy from my library this afternoon. But now, the teaser:


Fortune's Pawn (Paradox, #1)

"I stayed perfectly still, one finger poised over a switch at the base of the console like I was contemplating pressing it, and waited. A second later, I saw it again, a flash of movement in my rear cam."



So what are you reading this week?

Monday, June 16, 2014

Manga Review: Strobe Edge (Io Sakisaka)



Title: Strobe Edge
Japanese TitleSutorobo Ejji
Author: Io Sakisaka
Volume(s) Reviewed: 1-10 (complete series)
Publisher: VIZ Media
Genre: Young Adult Romance
Rated: Teen (kissing, minor sensuality, minor language)
Find It On: Goodreads

Summary:

Having no experience in romance, the vibrant Ninako curiously explores the meaning of what "love" really is, and is surprised to feel a colorful range of emotions as she grows closer to the school heartthrob, the quiet yet gentle Ren, who also happens to be involved in a longtime relationship. With every intention of keeping her head held high, Ninako prepares to face the mental pain of this one-sided love that she had allowed to take root, facing a series of trials that would either contribute to her growth as a headstrong woman, or break her as it did with other girls. However, is this really a one-sided love?

*          *          *

Story: Strobe Edge follows a handful of teens, all friends in one way or the other, as they find love. The main focus was on Ninako, a normal, content girl who fell for Ren, a sweet boy who was already in a long-term relationship. After discovering the girlfriend was also really sweet, Ninako struggled to be happy with just being his friend. Meanwhile she was pursued by Ando, a former playboy who fell for her strength in the face of her romantic adversity. And then there was Daiki, the first to confess love to Ninako (goodness she was popular for an "average" girl!), and the story of him and his subsequent second love, Sayuri. We also follow the story of Ren's girlfriend, older model Mayuka (sister to Daiki - told you they were all connected), along with a few other friends and, of course, exes. But overall Strobe Edge was a story of love and redemption and, above all, happy endings.

I'm very picky about straight-up romances, but this one was perfect. I picked it up from the library on a whim and after reading the first two volumes I put the entire series on hold and waited impatiently for all of them to come in so I could binge-read the whole thing in one sitting. I re-read the first two volumes again and they were just as good the second time, and devoured the 10 volumes over a weekend. I think the best part about the series is that there are no unlikable characters - you root for everyone, even if that means rooting for two different people after the same person at the same time. Just like Ninako I couldn't even dislike Ren's girlfriend, she was so nice and Ren loved her so much. Love is a funny thing.

Characters: Ninako was so sweet and innocent and what a strength. Even as her feelings for Ren grew she never burdened him with them, respecting his relationship and their friendship despite how much it hurt her. She stuck to her guns no matter what anyone said and went with her heart, and it served her well. Ren was a sweetheart, quiet, somewhat insecure and adorably a little awkward. For all his apparent strength he was a little boy at heart and I can totally understand how Ninako fell for him. Ando may have been a player but he was insecure as well, although he had some impressive strength in other areas to balance it out. Considering the circumstances, I was happy with his ending. As for the rest of the cast they were very well rounded and I enjoyed following everyone's stories of love and friendship. You just can't help wishing you were a part of the group, they were so kind and supportive!

Setting & Art: Typical Japanese school, towns, and living situations. The characters were cute, no one especially gorgeous (especially the main girl, Ninako), which was the right fit for the story. The backgrounds were very simple and more often than not barely there, which allowed the story to flow uninhibited by any possible distractions.

Conclusion: Probably my favorite romance story/series to date, not only for Ninako & Ren but the other couples' stories as well, each so different yet equally heartwarming. I loved how the series ended, definitely happy for most but with the possibility of even greater happiness to come for all. I'm so glad my library collected the series and that I gave it a try - I'll be purchasing my own set so I can read it again and again!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Sunday Post (6/15/14)


Sunday Post

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It's a chance to share news - post a recap of the past week on your blog, share what's coming up on your blog for the week ahead, and showcase books and things you've received.



THIS WEEK ON THE BLOG

Monday   Manga Review: Strobe Edge
Tuesday   Teaser Tuesday: Fortune's Pawn
Wednesday   Waiting On Wednesday: Waistcoats & Weaponry (Gail Carriger)
Friday   The Friday Reads Review



BOOKSHELF ADDITIONS

Hollow Earth: The Long and Curious History of Imagining Strange Lands, Fantastical Creatures, Advanced Civilizations, and Marvelous Machines Below the Earth's SurfaceThe Official xxxHOLiC GuideThe Bone Season

Hollow Earth by David Standish (Pbk - Purchased Used) - For story research purposes.

The Official xxxHolic Guide by CLAMP (Pbk - Purchased New) - Can't resist a B&N coupon, and this had been sitting on my wishlist shelf for so long. I love Japanese folklore, especially the tales they used in this manga series, and this promises to go into more detail about them.

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon (Pbk - Purchased New) - Another B&N coupon splurge. It's high time I finally got around to reading this!