Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Top Ten Books I've Recently Added To My TBR List


Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! This week's topic: 

Top 10 Books Recently Added to My TBR List

The UnquietVermilionMy Little Brony: An Unofficial Novel about Finding the Magic of Friendship
These Vicious MasksThe Novice (Summoner, #1)The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion
  1. The Unquiet (Mikaela Everett) - Teens trained to kill their parallel selves in a parallel world because theirs is collapsing? Um, yes please.
  2. Vermilion (Molly Tanzer) - I don't know that I've ever read a "weird Western" before, but this sounds like an amazing place to start! 
  3. My Little Brony (K.M. Hayes) - I'm not (yet) a My Little Pony fan, but K.M. Hayes is a pen name for Natalie Whipple and whatever Natalie writes, I will read. Besides, the main girl is named Skye!
  4. These Vicious Masks (Kelly Zekas & Tarun Shanker) - This sounds like Jane Austen with powers - I'm game.
  5. The Novice (Taran Matharu) - YA Fantasy about a boy who trains to summon demons. I need more fantasy this year and this sounds like a good one!
  6. The Crossroads of Should & Must (Elle Luna) - I'm currently trying to find my passion so I can follow it, and this sounds like a great resource!
  7. Kill the Boy Band (Goldy Moldavsky) - [no cover] A recently announced YA that follows a group of girls who “accidentally kidnap their least-favorite member of their most favorite boy band” and then have to deal with the aftermath when he winds up dead. Oh yeah, gotta give this a try.
  8. The Scorpion Rules (Erin Bow) - [no cover] Dystopian continues to be my go-to genre, especially when writers keep coming up with such interesting premises for them! Really looking forward to this one.
  9. Illuminae (Amie Kaufman & Kay Kristoff) - [no cover] I'm not normally one for a "told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents" kind of story, but I'll try anything by Amie.
  10. Spirit Hunters (Ellen Oh) - [no cover] Recently announced 2017 MG about a girl with shaman training and a ghost friend who has to save her brother. Sounds fun.

So what did you recently add to your TBR pile?

Monday, March 30, 2015

Review: Nil (Lynne Matson)

Nil (Nil, #1)
Title: Nil
Series: Nil, Book 1
Author: Lynne Matson
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co. BYR
Release Date: March 4, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance Suspense
Content Rating: Older Teen (some strong language, tense situations, minor gore, violence, animal attack)
Format Read: Hardcover (library)
Find It OnGoodreads
Summary:

On the mysterious island of Nil, the rules are set. You have exactly 365 days to escape—or you die.

Seventeen-year-old Charley doesn’t know the rules. She doesn’t even know where she is. The last thing she remembers is blacking out, and when she wakes up, she’s naked in an empty rock field.

Lost and alone, Charley finds no sign of other people until she meets Thad, the gorgeous leader of a clan of teenage refugees. Soon Charley learns that leaving the island is harder than she thought . . . and so is falling in love. With Thad’s time running out, Charley realizes that she has to find a way to beat the clock, and quickly.


*          *          *

In a Sentence: A tense and romantic adventure about teens trapped on a mysterious island that I quite enjoyed and look forward to the sequel.

For a story about a bunch of teens suck on an island with nothing to do but survive, surf, and try to find a way off, this was a surprisingly engaging read. It's told in alternating chapters from Charley and Thad's First Person point of views, which worked well at first but I did eventually get them mixed up a little (thank goodness for Thad's occasional Canadian accent). Charley was strong and smart but struggled to find her place on the island. When she did though, it was something different but nothing anyone else couldn't have done as well (no special snowflake here), which was refreshing and made her relatable. Thad was strong and sweet and maybe a little too "girl's fantasy of the perfect boy" at times but he was a good clan leader and a responsible romantic interest. The romance went down love-at-first-sight fast, but they were sweet together and it was a "live every moment like your last" situation so I let the instalove slide. I really liked that the island (Nil) was more character than setting - when setting plays such an important part in the story, writers are advised to make the setting its own character, and here it was literal. Many of the teens considered Nil a scheming, sadistic entity - Thad even "talked" with her a little - and it added a nice menacing vibe.

With such a relatively simple plot, the book was a little long for me and eventually dragged a bit. It was more breathtaking scenery description than anything, and while it was easy to picture, as part of the 1% who aren't particularly fond of island paradises so much beautiful scenery got old fast. The mystery was interesting though, and although it wasn't solved by the end, the conclusion, especially for the characters, was satisfying. This is a series with at least one other book (Nil Unlockedso the mystery may yet be solved, but the sequel will be more of a companion novel and focus on different characters.

Rating Content: There was a surprising lack of sex in this book (welcome, but surprising). I mean c'mon, strand a bunch of teens on an island together unsupervised and there's no way their hormones wouldn't get the better of them. Charley and Thad did discuss it eventually, but he (yes, the boy) said no because they didn't have protection. I'm not complaining mind you, but it was a tad unrealistic. As for language, there were a lot of f-bombs for a few chapters (thank you, Rory), but elsewise the swearing wasn't too bad.

Conclusion: While it could've been a little shorter for me, I quite enjoyed the mystery of the island and the romance was sweet. Will definitely be reading the sequel, Nil Unlocked.

For Fans Of: Survivor


Scribble Rating
3.5 out of 5 Scribbles


Friday, March 27, 2015

The #FridayReads Review (3/27/15)



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 <<
Hold Me Like a Breath (Once Upon a Crime Family, #1)
Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt (ARC)
Couldn't resist a crime family story! Only a few chapters in so far but loving it!


>> JUST FINISHED <<
The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B
The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten (ARC)
4 Stars. A funny but bittersweet contemporary that made me laugh, made me cry, and broke my heart a little, but it was worth the hurt and worth the read. Review to come.


>> READING NEXT <<
Soulless: The Manga, Vol. 2Soulless: The Manga, Vol. 3
Soulless: The Manga Vol. 2 & Vol. 3 by Gail Carriger & REM (PBK)
I am embarrassed to admit that, even as one of Miss Gail's biggest fans AND a huge manga buff, I have yet to read these! Finally this weekend, the faux pas shall be rectified!


So what are you reading this week?

Friday, March 20, 2015

The #FridayReads Review (3/20/15)



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 <<
The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B
The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten (ARC)
I felt like a contemporary and this looked like fun! Yep, you read that right: I felt like a contemporary. Apparently I've been replaced by a doppelganger and haven't realized it yet. Anyway, started this yesterday and already 70 pages in - it's a very easy, simple read about an OCD boy obsessed with a cute OCD girl. Enjoying it so far.


>> JUST FINISHED <<
Nil (Nil, #1)Meteor Prince, Vol. 1Honey Blood: Tale Zero

Nil by Lynne Matson (HBK)
3.5 Stars. For a story about a bunch of teens trapped on an island with nothing better to do than survive, surf, and try to find a way home, this was a surprisingly engaging read. The end dragged on a little too long for me, but the romance was sweet and the mystery interesting. Review to come.

Meteor Prince Vol. 1 by Meca Tanaka (PBK)
4 Stars. When they weren't talking about mating this was a really cute and funny and sweet story and I'm a little wary but mostly looking forward to seeing how it all ends in the next volume.

Honey Blood Vol. 0 by Miko Mitsuki (PBK)
3 Stars. A special volume of the 3 short stories that inspired the two-volume series along with two stand-alone short stories from the author. All were okay, but I think they should've ended the volume with the happy ending story instead of the sad one.


>> READING NEXT <<
Voice Over!: Seiyu Academy, Vol. 9
Voice Over!: Seiyu Academy Vol. 9 by Maki Minami (PBK)
I have no idea what my next novel read will be, but this finally came in at the library! The series has been okay so far - hoping it gets better.


So what are you reading this week?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

DNF Review: The Imaginary (A.F. Harrold)

The Imaginary
Title: The Imaginary
Series: standalone
Author: A.F. Harrold
Illustrations: Emily Gravett
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Release Date: March 3, 2015
Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary Fantasy
Content Rating: Middle Grade (Chapters 1-5: seriously creepy situations)
Format Read: ARC (publisher)
Find It OnGoodreads
Summary:

Rudger is Amanda’s best friend. He doesn't exist, but nobody's perfect.

Only Amanda can see her imaginary friend – until the sinister Mr Bunting arrives at Amanda's door. Mr Bunting hunts imaginaries. Rumour says that he eats them. And he's sniffed out Rudger. Soon Rudger is alone, and running for his imaginary life. But can a boy who isn’t there survive without a friend to dream him up?


*          *          *
DNF Review
(DNF at Chapter 5)
"Amanda was dead."
This first sentence was only the beginning of a disturbing and dark children's story about an imaginary friend, his imaginative girl, and the creepy evil man and even creepier imaginary friend hunting them.

I was really excited to read this story, expecting a scary but exciting adventure. Instead, it turned out to be something out of nightmares. While it did have a playful undertone, the dark and creepy overtones smothered it for me, and the chilling illustrations made me shudder. Other reviews have noted that a lot of the creepy bits (like the predatory man staking out their house and then stalking the kids) would probably go over a young child's head, but I can't imagine the illustrations wouldn't cause some nightmares. It's one thing to read such descriptions, entirely another to stare into the dark sockets of an eyeless girl, or a bottomless pit of a mouth as it sucks you in.

Although the ungainly writing style took a few chapters to get used to, the characters seemed realistic (especially the children) and any playtime was fun and imaginative. But the plot was simply too dark and disturbing for me to continue into Chapter 5. I did peek at the end and it appears to be a happy, if melancholy, one. But I also glanced at some of the illustrations along the way and have no desire to read the rest of the story to reach it.

While writing this review I discovered The Imaginary is supposed to be "in the vein of Coraline," and as one who was totally creeped out by and unable to finish the Neil Gaiman story as well, I readily agree with this comparison.

For Fans Of: horror, Coraline

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

WoW: Manners & Mutiny (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:


Manners & Mutiny (Finishing School, #4)
Title: Manners & Mutiny
Author: Gail Carriger
Release Date: November 3, 2015
Publisher: Little, Brown BYR / Atom Books
Summary:
When a dastardly Pickleman plot comes to fruition, only Sophronia can save her friends, her school, and all of London...but at what cost? Our proper young heroine puts her training and skills to the test in this highly anticipated conclusion of the rousing, intriguing, and always polished New York Times bestselling Finishing School series!

Why I'm Looking Forward To It: In honor of yesterday's release of Prudence, the author's latest book set in her amazing alternate paranormal steampunk world, today I've chosen the final book in her Finishing School series! It's been such a fun and witty ride and I'm dying to see how it all ends - November can't come soon enough! 



So what book are you waiting on?

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Review: A House Called Awful End (Philip Ardagh)

A House Called Awful End (Eddie Dickens Trilogy, #1)
Title: A House Called Awful End
Series: The Eddie Dickens Trilogy, Book 1
Author: Philip Ardagh
Illustrated by: David Roberts
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: September 1, 2003 (edition)
Genre: Juvenile Historical Humor
Content Rating: Juvenile (violence by fire and stuffed stoat and pocketwatch and book and various other sturdy objects, accidental arson, orphan mistreatment, theatrical fibbing)
Format Read: Paperback (purchased)
Find It OnGoodreads
Summary:

When both of Eddie's parents catch a diseas that makes them turn yellow, , it's agreed he should go away and stay wioth relatives at their house, Awful End. Alas for Eddie, those relatives are Mad Uncle Jack and Even Madder Aunt Maud - and the journey to Awful End will take him to everywhere from St. Horrid's Hone for Grateful Orphans to an audience with The Empress of All China. They never actually make it to Awful End, but that's okay. The hilarious, nefarious, precarious journey is well worth its weight in wonderful and wacky words.

*          *          *

This was one of my favorite series as a child! With its highly eccentric characters and ridiculous illnesses and stuffed stoats and giant metal cows there are lots of snickers and a few lessons to be enjoyed. (The information kind of lessons, not the moral kind, unless you count morals like "Always listen to your doctor, even if he burns down your house" or "No matter what always stay in character, even if a peeler hauls you away.") Seriously nutty, I recommend this quick and highly amusing story (and series!) for fans of zany British humor, and possibly Lemony Snicket.

(Warning: After reading this book, any mention of stoats will make you think of this story. Or, more specifically, Malcolm. Or is it Sally?)


Scribble Rating
3 out of 5 Scribbles

Friday, March 13, 2015

M9B Friday Reveal: Author Spotlight with Amy McNulty (+ Giveaway) #M9BFridayReveals


M9B-Friday-Reveal

Welcome to this week’s M9B Friday Reveal!
This week, we are spotlighting Amy McNulty, author of
Nobody's Goddess
presented by Month9Books!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

Amy McNulty 
Amy McNulty is a freelance writer and editor from Wisconsin with an honors degree in English. She was first published in a national scholarly journal (The Concord Review) while in high school and currently spends her days alternatively writing on business and marketing topics and primarily crafting stories with dastardly villains and antiheroes set in fantastical medieval settings. 
Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Lightening Round Questions
  • Twitter or Facebook? Twitter
  • Favorite Superhero? Storm
  • Favorite TV show? Breaking Bad
  • Sweet or Salty? Sweet
  • Coke or Pepsi? Neither!
  • Any Phobias? Panic (I'm afraid of being afraid. It makes no sense to me, either.)
  • Song you can’t get enough of right now? "Flyers" by BRADIO
  • Who is your ultimate Book Boyfriend? Edward Rochester
  • What are you reading right now or what's on your TBR? The Fading Dusk by Melissa Giorgio (out this summer)
  • Fall Movie you’re most looking forward to? Mockingjay Part 2

AMY McNULTY'S BOOK

Nobody's Goddess
In a village of masked men, each loves only one woman and must follow the commands of his “goddess” without question. A woman may reject the only man who will love her if she pleases, but she will be alone forever. And a man must stay masked until his goddess returns his love—and if she can’t or won’t, he remains masked forever. 
Where the rest of her village celebrates this mystery that binds men and women together, seventeen year old Noll is just done with it. She’s lost all her childhood friends as they’ve paired off, but the worst blow was when her closest companion, Jurij, finds his goddess in Noll’s own sister. Desperate to find a way to break this ancient spell, Noll instead discovers why no man has ever loved her: she is in fact the goddess of the mysterious lord of the village, a Byronic man who refuses to let Noll have her right as a woman to spurn him and who has the power to fight the curse. Thus begins a dangerous game between the two: the choice of woman versus the magic of man. And the stakes are no less than freedom and happiness, life and death—and neither Noll nor the veiled man is willing to lose.
add to goodreads
amazon B&N

Giveaway

Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!
The book will be sent upon the titles release.


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The #FridayReads Review (3/13/15)



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 <<
Nil (Nil, #1)
Nil by Lynne Matson (HBK)
Lynne is coming with the Fierce Reads tour this May so it was finally time to read this! Unable to acquire an ARC though, and with the paperback release still a ways off, I'm having to read a library hardcover. Yep, me, reading a hardcover. When needs must. *sigh* I'm over halfway through now and it's not bad. For a story about a bunch of teens stranded on an island with nothing better to do than survive, surf, and search for a way off, it's holding my interest enough.


>> JUST FINISHED <<
Kamisama Kiss, Vol. 17Drug and Drop Volume 1

Kamisama Kiss Vol. 17 by Julietta Suzuki (PBK)
Totally saw the revelation coming but who cares the arc ending was perfect! It feels like it's winding down to the series end though, which I most certainly do not want, so the wait for the next volume, and the verdict, is going to be torture. T-T

Drug & Drop Vol. 1 by CLAMP (PBK)
This continuation of the Legal Drug series could've only been better if, say, Watanuki from the xxxHoLic series made an important cameo. Oh wait, he did!!! XD


>> READING NEXT <<
Inu x Boku SS, Vol. 6
Inu x Boku SS Vol. 6 by Cocoa Fujiwara (PBK)
This series took a very interesting turn at the end of Vol. 4, and although Vol. 5 was a little repetitive (for spoiler reasons) it was interesting and after its end I definitely want to see how it continues!


So what are you reading this week?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Review: The Strange Library (Haruki Murakami)

The Strange Library
Title: The Strange Library
Series: standalone
Author: Haruki Murakami
Publisher: Knopf
Release Date: December 2, 2014
Genre: Adult? Magical Realism Horror
Content Rating: Older Teen (serious creepiness, some violence, minor abuse, death)
Format Read: Paperback (library)
Find It OnGoodreads
Summary:

A lonely boy, a mysterious girl, and a tormented sheep man plot their escape from the nightmarish library of internationally acclaimed, best-selling Haruki Murakami's wild imagination.


*          *          *


I was excited to read a story by an "internationally acclaimed" Japanese writer set in a library, but this turned out to be a very strange and slightly disturbing read for me.

This "book" and I started off on several wrong feet. First, the folded cover was hard to read around. I had to get creative to keep it out of my way and yet not ruin it. Second, I'm (still) not sure if this is supposed to be a short story or a novella. While knowing really doesn't change the story, not knowing made me uneasy for some reason. 

Third, aside from the fact that the main character was still in school and living with his mother, I had no idea what age he was. I'm the type that prefers not to know every little detail about the main character, but here I would've liked a school range at the very least (grade school, middle grade, high school?). And fourth, the fact that the library shelved it in Adult Fiction aside, with the main character possibly a child I wasn't exactly sure what audience the story was meant for. With the possibly of a younger main character some might think it fit for a younger audience, and in its native Japan this may very well be considered fitting for children. But in my opinion it is much too unsettling for the younger American audience because of how it depicts libraries and librarians. Although Americans have our own "evil librarian" children's stories, all the ones I know of are in good fun. Here, librarians were made out to be brain-eating demons, and libraries horrific buildings one dare not enter for fear of kidnapping and enslavement. If this story was meant to put people off setting foot in libraries, then it could certainly do the trick.

The end was weird and rather depressing (although Japanese endings can tend to be), and after this short, quick read (at only 96 pages, offset with rather random images, I read it in a few hours) I was left feeling sad and confused and upset. Perhaps I didn't understand the story's full meaning because it's based on a Japanese legend or allegory of some kind that I've never heard of? I almost never come away with a book's theme or moral - fiction is pure entertainment to me. But possible underlying allegory or not, the surface story was confusing and unsettling to say the least, and I think I will forgo Murakami-sama's other works in the foreseeable future.

For fans of: horror


Scribble Rating:
1 out of 5 Scribbles

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

WoW: Undertow (Michael Buckley)

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:


Undertow
Title: Undertow
Author: Michael Buckley
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Summary:
Sixteen-year-old Lyric Walker’s life is forever changed when she witnesses the arrival of 30,000 Alpha, a five-nation race of ocean-dwelling warriors, on her beach in Coney Island. The world’s initial wonder and awe over the Alpha quickly turns ugly and paranoid and violent, and Lyric’s small town transforms into a military zone with humans on one side and Alpha on the other. When Lyric is recruited to help the crown prince, a boy named Fathom, assimilate, she begins to fall for him. But their love is a dangerous one, and there are forces on both sides working to keep them apart. Only, what if the Alpha are not actually the enemy? What if they are in fact humanity’s only hope of survival? Because the real enemy is coming. And it’s more terrifying than anything the world has ever seen.

Action, suspense, and romance whirlpool dangerously in this cinematic saga, a blend of District 9 and The Outsiders.

Why I'm Looking Forward To ItThis sounds like Star-Crossed except with more intensity and hopefully less focus on romance thanks to the male author! Seriously stoked for this one.




So what book are you waiting on?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

DNF Review: The Paper Magician (Charlie N. Holmberg)

The Paper Magician (The Paper Magician Trilogy, #1)
Title: The Paper Magician
Series: The Paper Magician Trilogy #1
Author: Charlie N. Holmberg
Publisher: 47North (Amazon)
Release Date: September 1, 2014
Genre: Adult Alternate Historical Magical Realism
Content Rating: Older Teen (Pages 1-130: violence, some language)
Format Read: Paperback (purchased)
Try It Again?: Yes
Find It OnGoodreads
Summary:

Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic…forever.
Yet the spells Ceony learns under the strange yet kind Thane turn out to be more marvelous than she could have ever imagined—animating paper creatures, bringing stories to life via ghostly images, even reading fortunes. But as she discovers these wonders, Ceony also learns of the extraordinary dangers of forbidden magic.
An Excisioner—a practitioner of dark, flesh magic—invades the cottage and rips Thane’s heart from his chest. To save her teacher’s life, Ceony must face the evil magician and embark on an unbelievable adventure that will take her into the chambers of Thane’s still-beating heart—and reveal the very soul of the man.
*          *          *
DNF REVIEW
(Chapter 10, Page 130 of 214)

While it began interesting enough, my attention waned around the one-third mark until I sadly lost all interest at Chapter 10. Ceony's arrogance and self-pity were a bit off-putting at first, but as her opinion of Thane and paper magic changed, she grew on me. Paper magic is my favorite kind of magic, and here it was intriguing with original elements that I enjoyed, even if the lessons could be a little dull. It had a bit of a Howl's Moving Castle vibe so I eventually got quite into it, but once Ceony entered Thane's heart my enjoyment steadily declined. Overall I'm not really sure what happened - it should've been interesting for me, but it just wasn't. I will be holding onto my copy though, and plan to try it again.

Friday, March 6, 2015

The #FridayReads Review (3/6/15)



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 <<
Changeless (Parasol Protectorate, #2)
Changeless by Gail Carriger (MMP)
It's been a slow reading week so this lingers on, but it makes for a pleasant break between some serious spring cleaning!


>> JUST FINISHED <<
RIN-NE, Vol. 15RIN-NE, Vol. 16
Rin-Ne Vols. 15 & 16 by Rumiko Takahashi (PBK)
This continues to be a light, fun series that I quite enjoy!


>> READING NEXT <<
Kamisama Kiss, Vol. 17Drug and Drop Volume 1

Kamisama Kiss Vol. 17 by Julietta Suzuki (PBK)
Another volume in my 2nd favorite series! Will be devouring it tonight.

Drug & Drop Vol. 1 by CLAMP (PBK)
Discovered a continuation series of Legal Drug was not only in existence but being released here - I am so excited to finally get some answers to Legal Drug's many mysteries!!


So what are you reading this week?