Friday, December 15, 2017

The #FridayReads Review (12/15/17)



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 <<
Honor Among Thieves (The Honors, #1)
Honor Among Thieves by Rachel Caine & Ann Aguirre (ARC)
This sounded right up my alley, and it turned out to be true! Really enjoying this teen sci-fi about suspicious sentient spaceships and the tough girl who gets mixed up with them.


>> JUST FINISHED <<
Top Ten Clues You're Clueless
Top Ten Clues You're Clueless by Liz Czukas (PBK)
4 Stars. A fun and relaxed read with a relatable and realistic story and characters. Bonus: it takes place Cmas Eve, so I highly recommend it right now! Review to come.


>> [POSSIBLY] READING NEXT <<
(subject to change with my ever-shifting reading whims)
Love, Life, and the List
Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West (ARC)
The ARC keeps tricking me with its 2018 release date, but this releases in just a few weeks so it's top of my TBR pile!


So what are you reading this week?

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Monday, December 4, 2017

DNF Review: A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares (Krystal Sutherland)

A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares
Title: A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares
Series: standalone
Author: Krystal Sutherland
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons BYR
Release Date: September 5, 2017
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Told: Third Person (Esther), Past Tense
Content Rating: Older Teen (strong language, underage drinking, innuendo, violence, abuse, attempted suicide, parental neglect, body parts, disturbing serial crimes...)
Format Read: ARC (trade)
Find OnGoodreads
Purchase OnAmazon | B&N | Book Depository
Summary:

Ever since Esther Solar’s grandfather met Death, her entire family has been doomed to suffer one great fear in their lifetime—a fear that will eventually lead each and every one of them to their graves. Take Esther’s father, for instance: He’s an agoraphobe who hasn’t left the basement in six years. Then there’s her twin brother, Eugene, whose fear of the dark goes far beyond the things that go bump in the night. And her mother, Rosemary, is absolutely terrified of bad luck.

As for Esther, she’s managed to escape the curse…so far. She doesn’t yet have a great fear because she avoids pretty much everything. Elevators, small spaces, crowds—anything that might trigger a phobia is off-limits and is meticulously recorded in her semi-definitive list of worst nightmares. 

Esther thinks she has it all figured out, until she’s reunited with an old elementary school classmate—and first crush—Jonah Smallwood. The encounter leaves her stranded at a bus stop and swindled out of her phone, all her cash, a Fruit Roll-Up she’d been saving, and her list—not to mention her dignity. But the theft is also the beginning of an unexpected friendship between the two, one that sends the pair on a journey of self-discovery as they try to break the curse that’s consumed Esther’s family. Together they face their greatest fears, one debilitating phobia at a time, only to discover the one fear they hadn’t counted on: love.


*          *          *

I did not finish this book. I stopped at Chapter 27 (Page 240 of 348).

I tried to finish this book. I really did. For over 2 months I tried again and again, setting it aside for a week or two and then picking it back up to try once more. But with every try the story further depressed and eventually disturbed me until I simply couldn't continue.

This isn't to say the book is bad - on the contrary. It's an engaging story with an original plot, a snarky and unique voice, and an air of The Addams Family, and for those who enjoy grittier realistic fiction with a touch of the macabre I would highly recommend it. But for an easily depressed soul such as myself who really can't handle contemporary fiction without a soppy romance focus, this story was just too real for me - with its colorful, catty cover and interesting summary I was fooled into believing I could handle any heavier content, and was sorely mistaken. The book has a serious dark side in the spiraling phobias of Esther's family, as well as Jonah's abusive situation, and to deal with it the understandably rather unstable teens drink and act out to excess. (There is also quite a lot of strong language, which always puts me off.) Just one of these things, possibly two, and I might have been able to soldier through, but all of it together left me ever more melancholy with every chapter until in a declaration of self-kindness after the disturbing Chapter 26 I finally allowed myself to let the book go unfinished.

I did lightly skim the remaining 100 or so pages and am glad to say the story does have a redemptive conclusion. But it came in the wake of even more unsettling content, and I am relieved I did not subject myself to it fully.

Conclusion: If you love darker realistic fiction with playful premises, do not pass this up. But if like me you require your contemporary reads to possess a large amount of fluff and good feels, don't let the flowery purple cover fool you - there's sadly little of either to be had in this book.

For Fans Of: The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle (my review)

Friday, December 1, 2017

The #FridayReads Review (12/1/17)



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 <<
Curtsies & Conspiracies (Finishing School, #2)
Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger (PBK)
Last month I was in such a reading slump but still itching to read something so I finally just started re-reading my favorite series! Thoroughly enjoyed the first book but I've never been much of a series binger so now in the midst of Book the Second I'm starting to get antsy for a different read. Not sure exactly what though, so in the meantime Sophronia's adventures continue.


>> JUST FINISHED <<
The Stone Heart (The Nameless City, #2)Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight 1Yokai Rental Shop Vol. 1

The Stone Heart by Faith Erin Hicks (PBK)
3 Stars. While the story is interesting, for such a big fantasy plot it reads rather subdued and simplistic. Still I enjoyed the very quick read and look forward to finishing the series with what I believe is the final volume next year.

Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight vol. 1 by Rin Mikimoto (PBK)
4 Stars. Almost didn't bring this home from the library and now so glad I did! Despite the boy's caboose fetish I really enjoyed the characters, humor and story - will definitely be picking up the next volume!

Yokai Rental Shop vol. 1 by Shin Mashiba (PBK)
3 Stars. Not quite as good as I'd been hoping but a little more interesting than I was expecting with both an unusual yet also rather familiar premise with intriguing characters and twists. Might give the second volume a try.


>> [POSSIBLY] READING NEXT <<
(subject to change with my ever-shifting reading whims)
Ash Princess
Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian (ARC)
Still eyeing this after a month - time for fantasy?


So what are you reading this week?

Monday, November 13, 2017

Giveaway: The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl (Melissa Keil)


It's finally time for a giveaway!! 

Up for grabs: two finished editions of Melissa Keil's The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl (Goodreads), a YA Contemporary set in Australia about comics, best friends, the end of the world, and life after graduation.


I'm giving away both copies pictured, and you can choose your preference: right is the Australian softcover, and left the US hardcover. A note about the hardcover: it includes chapterly illustrations (by Mike Lawrence) - if you enjoy novels with a bit of art, you might want to give it a try. The hardcover also comes with the wire hairband it's wrapped in (courtesy of the publisher).

Want to give this colorful story a read? Enter the Rafflecopter below!

RULES: US only (sorry International Followers!); must be 16 years or older to enter. Following this blog is not required but counts for major points! ;)


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 30, 2017

Review: Daughter of the Pirate King (Tricia Levenseller)

Daughter of the Pirate King (Daughter of the Pirate King, #1)
Title: Daughter of the Pirate King
Series: Daughter of the Pirate King, Book 1
Author: Tricia Levenseller
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: February 28, 2017
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Adventure
Told: First Person (Alosa), Present Tense
Content Rating: Older Teen (violence, killing, abuse, minor torture, sensuality, innuendo and sexual implications - see Content Note below)
Format Read: ARC (BookHype)
Find OnGoodreads
Purchase OnAmazon | B&N | Book Depository
Summary:

There will be plenty of time for me to beat him soundly once I’ve gotten what I came for.

Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.


*          *          *

In a Sentence: A quick and thoroughly entertaining pirate adventure with an easy writing style and truly kick-ass female protagonist.

Confession: Unless there's a lot of comedy involved (a la Pirates of the Caribbean), I'm generally not much for pirates. So although I'd heard good things about Daughter of the Pirate King, going in my expectations were low. To my surprise I discovered an exciting and engaging adventure with the truly kick-ass female protagonist so many other books have promised but few have actually delivered.

While Alosa's tendency to turn all the horrific things that happened to her into "teaching moments" wasn't exactly the healthiest, she was a genuine pirate princess and embraced it, her strength and surety and fearlessness a beautiful thing to behold. Her power was also different and interesting and added a nice twist to her character and personality. Cute and tortured Riden was an excellent foil and love interest, and his banter with Alosa was naturally a highlight. Their "relationship" was an intriguing one as Alosa's character, so detached after her violent upbringing, doesn't even seem to recognize or understand the concept of love, and I look forward to watching her discover it - with Riden's help - over the rest of the series.

Despite the murder and marauding that always accompanies pirates, the story's easy, breezy writing style made for a light and effortless read. The plot was simple with only one or two twists, which I found very refreshing - so many book plots nowadays try to outdo themselves twist-wise and end up a messy knotted ball for all their threads, and as I can typically predict most of them it's grown rather tiresome. With just Alosa's ruse and her search and little else to Pirate King's plot I could relax and enjoy the quick adventure without suspiciously second-guessing every little thing. I will say the last 30% or so had some flaws, but for the most part it was an engaging story with a satisfying ending.

Content Note: I typically avoid pirates because of the filth and debauchery that accompanies them, but told in an easy writing style from the viewpoint of a detached and fearless female I felt the dingier bits of pirate life and rateable content (see Content Rating above) were very tastefully handled and for the most part blessedly skimmed over.

Conclusion: An easy and entertaining adventure with an uncomplicated plot, fantastically fearless female protagonist, and tastefully handled piracy. I wasn't even 20% through when I found myself wishing I already had the sequel to read next, and now look forward to Alosa's next adventure, Daughter of the Siren Queen, with great anticipation!


Scribble Rating
4 of 5 Scribbles


Friday, October 20, 2017

Nanowrimo 2017


It's that time of year again!

Although most years I typically say I won't participate in National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo) and then reluctantly do, this year I've been completely on board for months now! I'll be assisting my local library in launching their Nanowrimo Young Writers Program, and this November plan to start writing the first book in a new sci-fi serial series whose main character I am completely potty about. In general though I've been itching to write and this is the perfect excuse to finally throw myself into it without feeling [too] guilty about neglecting life and blogging.

So heads up, dear followers: as I plot and plan for Nanowrimo this month and then furiously write the next, posts will be spotty as I have less time to read and work on reviews. I'll see if I can't try to schedule some giveaways though, to hold you over until December. ;)

Are you participating in Nanowrimo? Find me here!


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

WoW: Daughter of the Siren Queen (Tricia Levenseller)

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:


Daughter of the Siren Queen (Daughter of the Pirate King, #2)
Title: Daughter of the Siren Queen
Author: Tricia Levenseller
Release Date: February 27, 2018
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Summary:

The capable, confident, and occasionally ruthless heroine of Daughter of the Pirate King is back in this action-packed sequel that promises rousing high seas adventures and the perfect dash of magic.

Alosa's mission is finally complete. Not only has she recovered all three pieces of the map to a legendary hidden treasure, but the pirates who originally took her captive are now prisoners on her ship. Still unfairly attractive and unexpectedly loyal, first mate Riden is a constant distraction, but now he's under her orders. And she takes great comfort in knowing that the villainous Vordan will soon be facing her father's justice.

When Vordan exposes a secret her father has kept for years, Alosa and her crew find themselves in a deadly race with the feared Pirate King. Despite the danger, Alosa knows they will recover the treasure first . . . after all, she is the daughter of the Siren Queen.

In Daughter of the Siren Queen, Tricia Levenseller brings together the perfect mix of thrilling action, tense battle scenes, and a heart-pounding romance.



Why I'm Looking Forward To It: I'm typically not much for pirates but I thoroughly enjoyed Daughter of the Pirate King and so can't wait to continue kick-ass Alosa's adventures in this sequel!!


So what book are you waiting on?

Friday, October 13, 2017

The #FridayReads Review (10/13/17)



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 <<
A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares
A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland (ARC)
Back to this and despite the language, heavier issues, and impending dread I'm enjoying it. It's certainly a unique and engaging story, and I seriously love that cover.


>> ON HOLD <<
Frogkisser!
Frogkisser! by Garth Nix (PBK)
Started out really good but after the quest started things surprisingly slowed and I've had a hard time maintaining interest. Set it aside to finish Semi-Definitive and will see if I want to return afterwards.


>> JUST FINISHED <<
Barakamon, Vol. 13
Barakamon vol. 13 by Satsuki Yoshino (PBK)
5 Stars. The more I get to know the characters and become invested in their stories, the more delightful this series becomes! A quirky and relaxing contemporary read I highly recommend.


>> [POSSIBLY] READING NEXT <<
(subject to change with my ever-shifting reading whims)
Ash Princess
Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian (ARC)
Snagged this from my library book group cart and will be giving it a try next. Part of me is intrigued but we'll see...


So what are you reading this week?

Friday, October 6, 2017

The #FridayReads Review (10/6/17)



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 <<
Frogkisser!
Frogkisser! by Garth Nix (PBK)
Just found this at a used bookstore and decided to immediately read it (I know, crazy right?). Turns out it's quite good and charming with its transforming characters and talking dogs (love the dogs!) and now the main gal is off on a quest. Really enjoying it so far!


>> ON HOLD <<
A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares
A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland (ARC)
I am interested in finishing this but as I'm expecting it not to have a "happy" ending I'm just not in the mood for it right now.


>> JUST FINISHED <<
The Hollow Bettle (Poisons of Caux, #1)
Poisons of Crux: The Hollow Bettle by Susannah Appelbaum (PBK)
2.5 Stars. While a seriously wandering and inconstant read, this was a relatively interesting and magical story that hit the spot for my "young and magical" craving last week. Think I'll even give the second book a try someday.


>> [POSSIBLY] READING NEXT <<
(subject to change with my ever-shifting reading whims)
Libriomancer (Magic Ex Libris, #1)
Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines (MMP)
Finally got my hands on this and after I couldn't help reading the first few pages I now need to read the entire thing pronto. If I wasn't already in the middle of a good book right now this would be my current read!


So what are you reading this week?

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

WoW: Pitch Dark (Courtney Alameda)

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:


Pitch Dark
Title: Pitch Dark
Author: Courtney Alameda
Release Date: February 20, 2018
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Summary:

Tuck Durante is a shipraider, combing space for Earth artifacts from a war that ended 500 years ago. When his parents' ship crashes in the dead zone and the crew goes missing, Tuck hires a ragtag rescue team.

Meanwhile, curator Lana Gray is fighting to keep the US PANAM John Muir—and the remnants of its crew—alive. Their space capsule housing Yosemite National Park was hijacked. The hijacking turned ninety-five percent of her crew into nightmarish creatures called mourners who flay, dismember, or decapitate with nothing more than sharp-pitched shrieks.

Now, despite their differences, Lana, Tuck, and their crews must work together to save the John Muir. In space, nobody can hear you scream...but on the John Muir, the screams are the last thing you'll hear.



Why I'm Looking Forward To It: It rather astonishes me that I haven't featured this title before as I've been awaiting it since it's announcement in February 2015! Although I'm typically not much for horror I thoroughly enjoyed Courtney's debut, Shutter (check out my review here), and now with her foray into space (my favorite setting) I'm eager to finally get my hands on this chilling read!


So what book are you waiting on?

Monday, October 2, 2017

Review: Defy the Stars (Claudia Gray)

Defy the Stars (Constellation, #1)
Title: Defy the Stars
Series: Constellation duology, Book 1
Author: Claudia Gray
Publisher: Little, Brown
Release Date: April 4, 2017
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Told: Third Person Focused (Noemi, Abel), Present Tense
Content Rating: Teen (violence, kissing, scary situations)
Format Read: ARC (trade)
Find OnGoodreads
Purchase OnAmazon | B&N | Book Depository
Summary:

She’s a soldier.

Noemi Vidal is seventeen years old and sworn to protect her planet, Genesis. She’s willing to risk anything—including her own life. To their enemies on Earth, she’s a rebel.

He’s a machine.

Abandoned in space for years, utterly alone, Abel has advanced programming that’s begun to evolve. He wants only to protect his creator, and to be free. To the people of Genesis, he’s an abomination.

Noemi and Abel are enemies in an interstellar war, forced by chance to work together as they embark on a daring journey through the stars. Their efforts would end the fighting for good, but they’re not without sacrifice. The stakes are even higher than either of them first realized, and the more time they spend together, the more they’re forced to question everything they’d been taught was true.


*          *          *

In a Sentence: A teen galactic travel adventure with an occasionally disorienting writing style and predictable twists but soulful characters, surprise subplots, and an entertaining story.

This is one of those stories that I can't help but claim was written just for me. I'm a huge sci-fi nut and have been craving a "mech falls in love with human" story for a while, so when I heard Claudia Gray was working on one it immediately became a highly anticipated 2017 release. As with her previous novel, A Thousand Pieces of You, it wasn't perfect: the writing tense read loose, the character logic didn't always make sense, and most of the main twists were predictable from the start. But despite the imperfections, the travel adventure story was entertaining, most of the subplot twists and the climax came as a complete surprise, and the energy between Noemi and Abel was a pure delight as she helped him discover his humanity while he introduced her to the galaxy.

The characters were the true highlight of the book. Noemi was strong and had such a good heart, always fighting for immediate worthy causes while still conscious of her own needs and putting her world first, ready to die for it if necessary. Her selflessness was commendable and portrayed perfectly, never for a second coming off as cheap or poorly motivated. She was a truly admirable character and one of the best I've ever read. Abel, aside for a few illogical actions, was also perfectly portrayed as a machine with a soul, thinking one thing but doing or saying what his programming or later experiences informed. I delighted in his emotional progress through the book - he was just what I'd hoped for and more, and I especially loved the contrast between his thoughts and actions. Together Noemi and Abel were a dynamic duo, balancing each other as they traveled the galaxy overcoming obstacles to execute their ultimate plan. There was a semblance of a romantic relationship for them, complicated to say the least as it was between a human and a mech. But complications aside it was pleasantly slow burning and realistic and as it was not resolved in this book I look forward to its hopefully sweet conclusion in the duology's second book, Defy the Worlds, currently releasing April 2018.

Conclusion: While most of the main plot twists were predictable and the writing tense occasionally disorienting, the unpredictable subplots were entertaining and the laid-back writing style made for a relatively easy - and in the case of Abel's voice rather delightful - read. Noemi and Abel were fun and engaging characters whose relationship development I really enjoyed following, and I look forward to finishing their story in the next book!

Scribble Rating
4 of 5 Scribbles


Friday, September 29, 2017

The #FridayReads Review (9/29/17)



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 <<
A Semi-Definitive List of Worst NightmaresThe Hollow Bettle (Poisons of Caux, #1)

A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland (ARC)
I've been craving light, simple reads of late and that typically means contemporaries, so I grabbed this purple pretty. Currently 45% through and while it does have some fun and snark that I'm enjoying, it also has a dark, somewhat unsettling side that I fear won't end well. Still, I'm invested enough to see it through.

Poisons of Crux: The Hollow Bettle by Susannah Appelbaum (PBK)
I'm currently out of sorts thanks to the season transition so due to a sudden desperate need for a young and magical read I pulled this randomly off the shelf. While normally I would've DNFd this wandering and non-linear story not 50 pages in (I think I actually did, long ago), for now I'm just enjoying the mindless magical adventure. 


>> DNF <<
Traveler (Traveler #1)
Traveler by L.E. DeLano (ARC)
DNF at Page 45. Another Swoon Reads bites the dust. *sigh* Despite the protagonist being a writer I just didn't connect with her, and although the alternate worlds premise was interesting I couldn't even get through the explanation of how they worked to reach the actual travelling into them. Mainly though the story didn't feel properly balanced, and I wasn't really fond of the writing style. Would recommend Claudia Gray's A Thousand Pieces of You instead.


>> [POSSIBLY] READING NEXT <<
(subject to change with my ever-shifting reading whims)
Renegades (Renegades, #1)
Renegades by Marissa Meyer (ARC)
*FLAILS*


So what are you reading this week?