After I had done the yearly overview, I realized I had yet to review the books I read in December. Granted, not much reading was done, but here they are:
I really wanted to love this one. I’m even collecting all the books in the series. But with all the amazing UF novels that I’ve already read, this one paled in comparison. Even if there hadn’t been so many issues with the characters like the protagonist was supposed to be a witch. But all she did was mess up and whine. Then there was her partner, a vampire. She was supposed to be on a no-blood diet. However, every time the protag even breathed, the vamp would be on her throat. They were aided by a pixie whom they treated like dirt even when he regularly risked his life for them. Finally, a new character was introduced in a highly suspect manner who made the worst decision ever. But the protag just went and trusted him.
Aside from those issues, the plot wasn’t making much sense either. I will be reading the next one in the series to see if things get better though.
I’m still in the process of collecting all the books from this series. Just got this one last month and was going over it all excited. Suddenly, I found myself flipping its pages. Within no time, I had read the whole book! That is the magic of the Lemony Snicket books. They are funny but profound, and perfect reads for kids and adults alike.
I do have a kind of project in mind for this series. Let’s see when I can make it happen!
The first time I came across this series was a long time ago. From the joke cracked in it about teenage vampires (can’t recall if they were of the sparkly variety or not), I was sold. While I am still collecting all the books in this series. I thought it was time that I started reading the ones I had managed to snag. This is the second book in the series and it didn’t disappoint. Fowl is still his serious precocious but brilliant self and you know my love for Flavia. Butler can still kick ass and will do anything to keep his charge safe. I am also becoming fond of the fairy characters, including the butt-flap-opening farting Mulch. Will keep devouring book after book now that I have begun!
I couldn’t make myself wait, so I started this one almost immediately. We begin to see changes in Fowl’s personality. The kid who has always been smarter than other kids his own age has spent his life being alienated. Now, he realizes the importance of friendship and connecting with others, even his parents!
Holly is a strong female character who doesn’t shy away from danger, speaking her mind, or doing the right thing.
I was sad when I thought Butler would be out of commission now that he had aged 15 years. But he isn’t going to give up without a fight, is he? Typical Butler!
Root and Foaly bicker all the time, but they are fun to read about.
P.S. I don’t think I can stop reading these books until I have read em all now.
Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on January 2, 2019.
Another year has come to an end. If you ask me, there is NO way that 2018 had 365 days. At least, that’s not how I felt! Even though time passed quickly, I did manage to read more than twice the books I had planned reading.
Okay, so this is how this review is going to go. I have separated this year’s books into several categories. Shall we?
Milkweed Triptych Series by Ian Tregillis
Walker Papers Series by C.E.Murphy
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
Hidden Legacy Series by Ilona Andrews
These are books from series that have been consistently good to read for me. How are they different from Old Loves you ask? Even Old Loves had installments that were a hit and a miss. These series didn’t!
These were books from series that had previously left me unimpressed. I had even considered abandoning them but decided to give them one last try. Yaay! These series just got a whole lot better!
Shadows Linger by Glen Cook
So, I have included the books that I liked in this overview. There were some that obviously weren’t for me, but why dwell on those. Right? Here’s hoping the coming year would be even more fantabulous for all readers and non-readers alike!
Happy New Year!
Even though I read this book in October, I forgot to include it in that month’s wrap-up. So, reviewing it now. Cinder is the story of Cinderella but one who is half cyborg and works as a mechanic. All the elements you’d expect from such a story are there, i.e., an evil stepmom, a dead dad, and a prince who is smitten with the poor girl.
But the same goes for the issues that the original (read Disney) version and most YAs have. For instance, the forging of an instant connection between the prince and Cindy. She is considered expendable and is extremely poor at the beginning of the story. Yet soon she not only attracts royalty, but her blood also becomes the only source that can cure the virus plaguing the country. We also come across completely irredeemable and good-spirited characters, meaning everything is black and white.
All that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy this modern twist on an old story because I did, which is why I will be reading the next one.
The story opens on a man, Johanne Cabal, the Necromancer, striding into hell and demanding to see Satan. Having sold his soul for necromancy, he now wants it back. The reason for that becomes clear only at the end of the book and that too only partially. Satan sets him to achieve a seemingly insurmountable task in return for Cabal’s soul.
As Johannes recruits, recreates, and alienates people during the journey, we meet many quirky characters. The best thing about the book is undoubtedly its sense of humor.
Take a look:
“I was cast down from the presence of God himself into this dark, sulphurous pit and condemned to spend eternity here—”
“Have you tried saying sorry?” interrupted Cabal.
“No, I haven’t! I was sent down for a sin of pride. It rather undermines my position if I say ‘sorry’!”
The quote above is an excerpt from the exchange between Cabal and the Devil. The one below is about a crow (one of Satan’s minion) that follows Johannes around when its master can’t spy on him:
It looked at them; first with one eye, then with the other. Then, to show it was a polymath among crows, it went back to the first eye.
Besides laughing out loud, I also learned a few new words. You can view them below:
All in all, I can’t wait to read the next one!
This wasn’t the first book of Ms. Valente that I read. And like that one, this book was a beautiful hot mess. Her prose is almost succulent enough that you can bite into it and yet, in the end, you will be left thinking, What did I just read?
Was it a commentary on the Russian Revolution? Was the book about Russian myths? Was it a coming of age story? Or, was it simply fantasy YA? I’d say there was a bit of everything in it!
A friend who exclusively reads middle-grade fantasy is crazy about this series. Since her taste in books and mine matches, I was excited to get started with this one.
It left me both underwhelmed and pleasantly surprised. The writing is crisp in a way that it immerses you in the scene playing before you. Consider the lines below on how the protag had been raised by her single mother:
Maura had decided sometime
before Blue’s birth that it was barbaric to order children about,
and so Blue had grown up surrounded by imperative question
I also loved the wry humor, which can be seen clearly in the example below:
Calla had once observed that Maura had no pets because her
principles took too much time to take care of.
What I wasn’t that crazy about was the mystery that the story is based on. I liked the characters and mostly enjoyed the book — even though I caught on to the twist pretty early. But the story failed to excite about the mystery. And there was a lot of random stuff going on. The tree that showed the future, for instance, why was it even there?
I’d like to continue with this trilogy though.
I always enjoy reading anything by Rachel Vincent. Even though this book is majorly YA-flawed, I still enjoyed it because I am used to her writing style. No, I don’t have anything against YA, but certain things like the heroine failing to see that her bf was the demonic drug supplier can only happen in YA books.
Anyway, this series has grown on me and I intend to see it through.
Another book set in hell. I had been looking for such books because I had landed on the square for it in book bingo. The Cabal book was enough for it but since I had already done the hard work researching them and because I had liked Fight Club, I went ahead with this one too.
Normally, it bugs me when a male author writes a female character who is annoyingly smart or just full of themselves. Like these lines below made me wanna smack the heroine:
Such vocabulary props served as my eye shadow, my breast implants, my physical coordination, my confidence. These words: erudite and insidious and obfuscate, served as my crutches.
And it happened many more times. Most of the time, though, the writing was good enough to rescue the book from abandonment. Consider this sample:
Trickling toenails threaten to become full-fledged avalanches which could bury us alive (alive?) in their talus of prickly keratin.
And this one:
That, I think, is the function of Hell: It’s a place of remembering. Beyond that, the purpose of Hell is not so much to forget the details of our lives as it is to forgive them.
I also learned some new words:
Okay, so I have no clue if the jejunum (part of the small intestine that absorbs nutrients from already digested food particles) has its roots in the word, jejune, or not. But it would be cool if it did, right?
Go here for the books I read in August this year!
As fun as the cartoon had been!
I'm beginning to appreciate Tepper's writing I think. This book started the way most books based on a dichotomous society would start. The women were good for breeding and whoring. The men enlisted in the military and lorded over the women. But the twist at the end took me by surprise! Read my appreciation of her other book here.
While political strife forms the backdrop in this book, our focus is on one family trying to get through all the chaos in one piece. I loved every bit of this book! This was my first book by Adichie and I can't wait to try the others.
Irreverent as heck but laugh out loud funny is how I'd describe Moore's humor. In this book, a conman meets The Conman i.e. Coyote, the trickster god. Hilarity ensues!
Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on November 15, 2018.
This book surprised me and in a pleasant way. Having never read anything by Ms. Howard, I didn't really know what to expect. What I discovered was good UF with half decent world-building. It had shades of the movie Now You Can See Me — only the magic in the book wasn't an illusion.
We are introduced to the major players almost immediately. They each have their motivations and that was completely okay. The world-building should have been better because as far as I can see, this book is a standalone. Even if it is to be the first in a series, then it would need to be immersive enough for readers to continue with the sequel. I think it mostly does that.
Wow! I mean I tried reading The War of the Worlds and failed miserably. If you can make a novel about an alien conquest sound boring, then there isn't much hope that I'd ever like anything you'd write. While playing Book Bingo, I landed on a category that fit this book beautifully. So, I decided to give Mr. Wells another go.
I am so glad that I did! Suspense colors the atmosphere in the story and there is a stench of violence waiting to happen. Why don't scientists ever learn? I kept cringing every time the humans faced the monsters (Moreau could give Frankenstein a run for the money)! Some were near misses and some events just foreshadowed the darkness that was to come.
The edition I read also came with a summary of H. G. Wells' life history. He had been involved in the formation of League of Nations. Cool!
This book had issues similar to that I highlighted in the review of Kat Howard's book. Say, vampires do exist and they decide to come out. Won't there be a political upheaval to makes all other upheavals look silly? Nothing like that happened in this book.
Meritt caught my interest because she refused to be grateful for being turned into a bloodsucking parasite. She also clashed with the authorities regularly and I liked that she wasn't ready to give in to her attraction towards the head vampire just yet. Her troubled relationship with her gold-digger and nouveau riche parents cemented her authenticity as a person. As did her bonds with her bff and grandfather. What detracted from the believability factor was how she rebelled against her new life and yet gave up so easily on her old one. What of her dissertation? What about going back to school?
What did bug me was the identity of the person having humans killed by her minions. As far as twists go, this one was just all right.
Even so, I want to read the next one in the series before I decide if I will continue with the rest.
The humor in these books is always a winner. Consider the two quotes below:
But what I liked, even more, was that the series took a break from the disaster it had become. In case, you haven't yet read the last book — or my review of it — it was horrible. The author dropped a doozy of a deus ex machina on us. Then she left the readers with a huge cliffhanger that took us back to the prehistoric age (not literally)!
Guess what though? The last part did wonders for the book! I could reconnect with Charley without the usual over-the-top complications. The world was still about to end, but that wasn't going to happen just then. Charley did spend the whole book lusting after her husband even if she didn't know who he was. But that is typical behavior for her.
I also fell in love with Cookie all over again after reading this book. The woman has a life of her own, a daughter, and a husband. Yet she put everything on hold to come be with an amnesiac Charley. Even though she can't act worth a damn and kept slipping up and calling Charley by her real name. Cookie rocks!
Bring on the next book!
Another book that I wish had read a long time ago. Now, I don't appreciate it the way it is meant to be lauded. Firstly, since it is by a female author writing epic fantasy. Yaaaaay! Then because the protagonist isn't white and male, but colored and male. Okay, this deserves a smaller yaaay. Even so, it is still a win.
What I wasn't a fan of was the writing style. It felt stilted and kept me from devouring the book in my usual way. Of course, the fact that I have read my fill of epic fantasy might have something to do with it. Although, this book wasn't much concerned with the affairs of the world. It focused on a character's solo journey to get rid of the darkness that he had called from another world.
So, I'll reserve the final verdict until I have read the next book in the series.
I can never understand how a children's book can scare the pants off me when so many horror novels have failed to do that! Similarly, I survived watching Jessica Jones being mentally — and otherwise — raped by Killgrave repeatedly. And yet, I have to force myself to sit through one episode of A Series of Unfortunate Events!
The idea of kids being in control is a very scary one because they can be very cruel. At times, they won't even realize the extent of damage they are leaving on another kid's psyche. The good thing about kids managing their affairs is that they can take highly complicated concepts of morality and simplify them.
I had a great time reading this book for both those reasons. Can't wait to read the next one!
Have mostly given up on this series ever being anything but cheesy, if I ever thought so in the first place. This novella was a good surprise though. Instead of the swooning heroines, we were shown someone who could fight and hold her own. She was also the one who kept the vampires and their minions at bay while hubby went to ground.
Yeah, she was forced into the whole Carpathian mating for life ritual by her husband-to-be. And yes, she couldn't live without him as soon as he arrived at the scene. Little improvements, see?
The humor was on point, as usual. Look below for a crack or two:
The relationship between Harry and his brother is slowly developing. By that, I mean they talked to each other about real stuff, like Thomas being thirsty all the time.
Susan was awesome!
The rest was pretty much as it always is:
Harry was trying to save a woman's life.
Harry couldn't hit women, even ones bent on killing him.
Harry defeated a threat that he couldn't possibly defeat.
Harry saves an adorable character who learns how to stand up for themselves and others.
Harry is hit with threats from all directions and lives to tell the tale.
Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on November 3, 2018.
This was my first encounter with Kamala Khan and boy did I love what I read! What made her an authentic character were her lifelike issues, including those of being a teenager, a superhero coming into her powers, of trying to find her place in the world, and of being a Muslim American girl. She wanted to eat bacon, for instance, but couldn't because of her religious beliefs. She wanted to be able to just worry about her school, but she couldn't because she was a superhero with a job to do. So far, the series has stayed true to what makes it unique. I hope it does that in the future too.
If there is one subject that I have always found boring, it is philosophy. That remained the case no matter how hard I tried until, i.e., I found this book. Hilarious and light, it walks you through complicated philosophical concepts like you are out for a walk in the park...or a bar!
Complete review here.
I hadn't started reading many comics and graphic novels back when I read this series. To my surprise, not only did I like it, but I also connected with the characters. Like most awesome literature, this one is based in a dystopian world. I binged through the whole series before I could pace myself. Hope others will give it a chance too.
It isn't that China Miéville's books are full of action or just really good stories. Well, they might be all that too. But if I remember correctly, this one was a collection of very random situations that somehow came together to give us a conclusion. Yet, I didn't want to put the book down even once. It was that good!
** spoiler alert **
What I liked: The book was fun- the ladies (all three of them) were crazy and stubborn but they delivered when the occasion called for it. That there were more secrets to unveil- a sequel would be awesome.
What I didn't like: The rest of the characters were as fun to read about- Tom, Ryan, poor Stan, and Jacey.
Would have liked a bit more about Jacey's baby- whether the vampire was bluffing and how did he found out about the kid, anyway.
there wasn't any information about how the wraith brothers teamed up with the vampire in the first place. Really fun read- demon nannies, vampire godsons, exorcizing runaway husbands, berserker football players, and ghost dads; the book has it all- & I would love to meet the grandmother-I'm sure she kicks ass too. She won't be on the Devil's hit list otherwise!
** spoiler alert **
This is the book to read if you like a little science in your zombie fiction. The author uses a fungal agent as the cause of zombieism. The fungus, ophiocordyceps unilateralis, is real. It infects and zombifies certain ants. It even has favorites among the same types of ants!
Not only did I love the sciencey bits, I remember starting that book cold. I hadn’t read any reviews and as a result, the moment when I realized who the little girl could be was delicious! Read this book, if you don’t read any other zombie fiction!
I dunno what I can say about this book that hasn't been said about it already. Asimov wrote a definitive book that all future sci-fi robot-based books are inspired by. What do you say about such work?
More reviews of Asimov books here.
I don't remember much about this book, except that I really liked it. Some of the scenes read like they were from The Exorcist but with a decidedly Mediterranean flavor. Others were simply Aladdin-ish. In short, the book was a lot of fun.
Okay, I hate reading popular books at their height of popularity. Dunno why I made an exception for this one, but I am so glad I did! The twist was beautifully done. Ooh, and I loved the movie too.
I don't like everything that I read by Neil Gaiman. But this book is one of my absolute favorites. Whether it was the callousness of the villains who'd harm a baby or the open-heartedness of the people whose hearts had stopped beating, I loved every bit. Weirdly, I found this book to be less dark than Coraline and that one was aimed at kids!
Another review here.
Funny as heck and quite spontaneous. Most books in this series seem to be following no discernible plot. That becomes a turn off as you continue with the series. But the humor is good in this one and as long as I didn't binge, it made for an enjoyable read. Funnily enough, I have yet to meet someone who liked both the first book and the movie like I did.
Another classic. I loved how authentic it felt and how dangerously close the real world teeters to becoming Orwellian. For a slim book, it takes some time to finish because it becomes a bit boring at certain times. My favorite parts were about the new dictionary that was being prepared. To a writer, no word is redundant because they all mean different things — even synonyms. Red isn't scarlet and neither is crimson. Reading about words just being unmade hurt the writer in me. But it has only made me appreciate my vocabulary. So, I am really glad that I read this one.
This book had me laughing out loud!
The humor kinda reminded me of the book, Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi.
I enjoyed every second I spent reading this book.
I wanted to hit Danny over the head for being so stubborn and getting Theo killed-nope, didn’t feel sorry for Keto even once!
I started to feel weird and grossed out when I first started liking the Hunters but they came through in the end.
Rake was..clean Rake was almost too much to take and I kept thinking, Poor Ravail, what have you gotten yourself into!
Ravail came a long way from being a scared kid to a woman who could mouth off to Rake!
The last scenes were hilarious– everybody ended up in space.
Can’t wait to read the next book!
I love the Nightside novels now but back when I just started reading it, it reminded me too much of Harry Dresden books. Almost gave up on them too, but thankfully, I developed this craving to read the next one in the series. These days, I prefer the Nightside to Dresdenverse!
** spoiler alert ** I received this book from Making Connections for free, in exchange of, an honest review. Get your copy here.
I really enjoyed this book for various reasons:
anything that has to do with mythology always attracts me and the author incorporated Egyptian mythology into this story beautifully.
the action begins with the first page and keeps going!
the story kept me interested throughout and it was the right length.
I liked how Nur/Nicole knew some things instinctively while she had to work to get better at others.
Another thing I liked about this book was that it can be read as a stand alone.
Looking forward to reading the next in the series.
A cute book about books. Read it for a bookish challenge and found out that it is a good book to relax with on a lazy day. I'll just say that it bogged down just a bit before the end. But it picked up its pace again quickly.
Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on October 3, 2018.
Oh, this was such a pretty book! It stayed true to the story from the novels, making me laugh and fall in love with the series all over again. The art is just so manga-ey that you can’t help but like it. My initial thoughts on reading it can be found here.
Another novel converted to graphic novel format. While Ms. Carriger’s humor shines through in both novel formats, I didn’t find the same to be true for Butcher. Even so, if I can stick to this series with its problematic treatment of female characters, I can stomach the graphic novels too. Did that sound like somebody was forcing me to read them? Lol
Betsy came into my life when I needed a reprieve from the real world. She might be shallow and it might take her like 9 books to realize that, but she still makes me laugh. Her magnetic ability to attract trouble no matter where she goes reminds me of Mercy of the Mercedes Thompson fame. Her tenacity has shades of Kate Daniels from another favorite series of mine. But most of all, I love her for the way she sticks up for those she considers family!
This is one book that I wish I had found when I was a kid — or had been written back then. I think I’d have appreciated it more? Anyway, it has the charm of the Dahl books but there is a dark undercurrent to them that makes them scary. But in a good way. Fine job I’m doing of explaining why I like this series, right? But I do!
Gaiman’s books either wow me or they don’t i.e. there is no middle ground. But I never not like them. Does that make sense? For instance, I wasn’t a fan of American Gods but I loved Coraline and this one. TOATEOTL had this surreal feel to it that never let up. Despite being a short story, I felt like I connected with the characters in it too.
This book has an old-timey sci-fi-ish feel to it that instantly resonated with me. I am also a fan of anthologies and short story compilations. To me, they present a varied meal where I sample different dishes and decide which ones i loved. Like most books of its genre and time, it isn’t overly long. Another plus in my case! I also reviewed the second book in this series.
** spoiler alert ** This was such a refreshing book! Another YA novel that I’d recommend to those of us who aren’t too into them. The book had everything: a teenager who acted her age was smart and kicked butt-not dumb enough to dismiss the strange ongoings in her school like most YA protagonists would have done.characters that kept me interested throughout — Nick’s zombieness made him all the more fun and Lydia was cute. It had the right beginning and a balanced ending — the book wasn’t too long either.there were some spelling mistakes, yes.the humor was done just right. It was fun, witty and a quick read — I just couldn’t put the book down till I was done reading.
** spoiler alert ** I got this book from Making Connections for free, in exchange of an honest review.The action started from the get-go and it never stopped.
It has been so long since I enjoyed a YA novel this much and didn’t end up wanting to hit every character over the head-well, maybe Shiv, at times!
My favorite character was Grizz for obvious reasons. TogYip were cute too.
The transformation that each teenager goes through by the end of their journey (as Harvin was kind to observe for us) made the story even better.
The romance or sprinklings of it was just the right amount.
There were a few spelling mistakes which I noticed though.
The descriptions of the city of Bigfeet were sufficient without being boring.I loved every bit of it!
Sadly, I don’t remember much about this one, just that I loved it. It was a simple, touching story about a family. That much I do remember!
Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on October 2, 2018.
Like the two previous books in this series, this one was hilarious! Pratchett continues to amaze me by dealing with huge issues like gender discrimination in his own unique way:
“I can see you’ve been getting ideas below your station,” said Granny coldly.
As always, the humor was exquisite. Consider the following quote:
However, it is primarily a story about a world. Here it comes now. Watch closely, the special effects are quite expensive.
And this one:
“You’re wizards!” she screamed. “Bloody well wizz!”
I mean who even thinks of what a character would think if they were turned into an old palace. Pratchett, that’s who:
For the first time in her life, she knew what it was like to have balconies.
And then there was this one:
The light was misty and actinic, the sort of light to make Steven Spielberg reach for his copyright lawyer.
I also learned a new delicious word:
Oh, and the writing was beautiful and witty, which is also characteristic Pratchett:
There should be a word for words that sound like things would sound like if they made a noise, he thought. The word ‘glisten’ does indeed gleam oilily, and if there was ever a word that sounded exactly the way sparks look as they creep across burned paper, or the way lights of cities would creep across the world if the whole of human civilization was crammed into one night, then you couldn’t do better than “coruscate.”
Granny was my favorite character. She dealt with sexist snobbish wizards with such aplomb and scolded sense into anyone who dared act crazy! More Pratchett love here.
Okay, okay. So it took Betsy almost ten books to realize how selfish she was. But at least, she owned up to it and then did something about it.
The book was funny:
And I was self-aware enough to realize that if I thought someone was being immature, it was time for them to reexamine their life.
It also had dark foreshadowing, which will form the plot of the future books. I am confident though if Betsy can survive her evil step-mom, dying, becoming a vampire, ruling over the bloodsuckers, marrying a selfish power hungry vampire and get him to fall in love with her, be sisters with the Devil’s daughter, adopt her own step-brother, prevent an all-out war with the shifters, and take down a villain or two, then she can handle whatever’s coming her way. Right?
The good things about this compilation first. It had nuggets like this one:
One of the major agonies of reviewing is that you cannot recall an opinion which later reflection reveals to be fatheaded. There isn’t enough time for anything but snap judgments, and often you end up regretting them, and there’s no practical way to retract them.
I’m pretty sure seldom has a reviewer been this honest about their job and its drawbacks. Anyone who goes back and reads their reviews from before will agree with this point of view.
Then there were the stories with such beautiful one-liners, which is why I love the Time Travelers series:
And-and funny men are nicer lovers. They know about pain.
Not to forget brutal truths thrown in for good measures, like this one:
Of course one of the first concerns of a colonizing country is to properly condition the colonists. To ensure their loyalty. Because a colonist is supposed to give you the things you want to have in exchange for the things you want him to have, and for this golden opportunity he is supposed to be properly grateful. It wouldn’t do for him to get any treasonous ideas about his own destiny, his own goals.
Now for the bad part. This book doesn’t just contain the Callahan stories. It includes some reviews written by Robinson, a defense of Robert Heinlein, and other short stories not from the Callahan series. The so-called defense is long and drawn out and full of sexist, homophobic, and other negative comments. I skipped most of it.
The Callahan stories included:
The title is a play on the word foresight and is a sad but uplifting story about a character whose husband can see a few hours ahead into the future.
This is the story of a German Shepherd, Ralph von Wau Wau, and it is exactly Callahan-tastic!
This story is about a new character who comes to visit the saloon, Al Phee, and reveals the true nature of one of the regulars, Josie Bauer. Another fun one!
This story describes the events that befall Robert Trebor and how Callahan and the narrator, Jake, help him out.
The non-Callahan stories were:
It is a story about how a thief and a drug addict save each other.
A woman tries to reawaken her mate to life from a cryogenic sleep. Things don’t go so well. The story’s focus is on what could make reincarnation possible
This represents Robinson’s rare attempts at writing a fantasy story. It is about a warlock who becomes all-powerful and immortal and how he meets his demise.
Kid emancipation and parenting are the focus of this story. It was a miss for me.
Exhaustingly descriptive and maybe dated to some extent. I think if the pages spent by the author describing Manderley were removed, the result would be a fast-paced thriller. I didn’t mind that the author took her time unraveling the secrets surrounding the first wife’s death. It made the story exciting but I did mind when she spent pages and pages telling me about the garden and the rooms of the mansion. How awkwardly the second Mrs. De Winter tries to fill Rebecca’s shoes and her trials were described very well. It made you feel for her while remaining in awestruck by the glamorous creature Rebecca had been. How Rebecca’s nurse mentally tortured the girl and the rambling man by the beach only deepened my enjoyment of the mystery. But when De Winter finally confessed, I wanted to smack him hard. It took him this long to say that? Why did he make his wife suffer so much? The idiot! And when Manderley finally burned now, I was like good riddance!
A parody of the Twilight series. It had its laugh out loud moments, not because they were funny. They made me laugh because they accurately described how nonsensical certain things were in the original series. Bella looking after her parents instead of it being the other way around. Her thinking that all the guys were falling for her. I could go on and on, but I won’t…
If I was to name one pompous, pretentious book that glorified one era and was elitist as shit, I’d probably name this one! The protag is a geek, which made him better than everyone who met him. He is also a Mary Sue. He was singlemindedly solving the riddle when he suddenly just had to fall in love. The girl he fell for was introduced as an independent woman but by the end of the book, she had been successfully Hollywood-ized. There were dei ex machina of all kinds and the last one was obviously the worst. The villain’s character was cardboard thin and just in it for the money. He worked for an organization that was supposedly the worst, right? Then how come he kept failing and they never replaced him? What pissed me off, even more, was the fact that the book was marketed as YA. None of the targeted audience would have even existed in the eighties. Why add all those obscure references? Just to show off how knowledgeable the author is? Then why not write a non-fic about the subject? A quick read if you can ignore the glaring faults with this one!
Fun, informative book that made me thank my stars that I wasn’t born back then! Some of these bloodthirsty giants even counted the land amongst their hunting grounds. Yeesh! Check out some of the hair-raising illustrations below:
A father-son team on a space voyage; guess which one doesn’t survive the trip?
Theseus needs to board a train to meet his beloved. The metrotaurus isn’t having any of it!
Odysseus returns home to find aliens have taken over and turned his family into pterodactyl-like creatures. The rest, as they say, is history!
The divine messenger cannot survive going digital. Or can he?
An alien heroine tries to convince her mother she loves Hades. A sad ending!
Why even a chimera isn’t a match for Pegasus!
Even a modern-day Zeus doesn’t know when to give up!
Andromeda isn’t going home and Perseus can go hang himself.
He tries to bring Eurydice back with a software.
Game developers try to bring back their creation to order.
A friendship that survives several alien transformations until it doesn’t!
She doesn’t know how to give up!
The classic tale, except this time, Galatea returns the favor!
A tale as old as time, but with a twist!
Gang wars break out over the golden fleece err jacket.
Achille’s exploits at the Battle of Troy turned into a comic strip.
The dominant species always ends up wrecking the world!
Is it set in Ancient Greece or the modern times, who can tell? But Ulysses comes through for his son!
A comic strip about Zeus’ sexcapades.
I loved all the illustrations and most of the stories in this comic compilation.
I read this book for the Hispanic Heritage category in Book Bingo. It started off beautifully. The descriptions of how subtly — and not so subtly — different life was on both sides of the border were juicy and well written. I loved reading about the different generations of a family and how circumstances shaped their lives and nature. When the book began, the narrator calls her grandma, the Awful Grandmother. By the end of the book, she drops the awful, and you can see why. What turned me off was how the book dragged on needlessly when it could have been wrapped up at least 100 pages earlier. I realized early that there wouldn’t be a twist and I was right. Still, the story left me wanting.
I have always wanted to read this book but haven’t been able to woman up for this task. Once I had bought a physical copy, I even picked it up. Got as far as the first page, which sets the tone of the book, and explains that it is going to be epistolary. The book found its way back on my bookshelf and languished there, it did. Until Book Bingo because I am friends with this kooky group of girls. We all have different reading tastes so any attempts at starting a book clubs have met with a failure of the bitchy sort. What we flock towards is Bingo because it allows us to read whatever the heck we want – provided it matches the description of a Bingo square. After several months or so, one of us – usually, this person of ill-repute – wails about Bingo. The rest of us say aye and so it begins like it began this time.
I read The Color Purple for my Banned Book square. A perfect choice because it has been banned many times and for various reasons. It is a book that breaks your heart but also reaffirms your faith in familial love. After all, it was the sisters’ love for each other that helped them survive the cruelties of fate. You’d start reading thinking that this book recounts a tale that isn’t unique in any way. You’d be right too if the author hadn’t used clever devices like broken grammar and failed to establish Celie’s voice. Besides the writing, I also liked that Celie didn’t get back with her husband. They remained friends but she had outgrown him, so it seemed right that she didn’t go back.
Another thing I liked was that this book showed women behaving like women usually do: being generous and compassionate, raising other women’s kids as their own, leaving home to fulfill their dreams, being stronger than the men, and refusing to give in when it mattered.
A few quotes from the book:
If he (God) ever listened to poor colored women the world would be a different place.
Shug: Why any woman give a shit what people think is a nystrey to me.
Grady: A woman can’t git a man if peoples talk.
Shug look at me and us giggle. Then us laugh sure nuff.
I finished the book in a few hours. It was the perfect length!
Two pages into the book and Christopher’s autistic nature made me fall in love with him. We might find his life complicated by certain behavioral quirks. But to him, life was quite straightforward. A particular number of red cars meant a Good Day and yellow ones meant a bad one. He had plans in place for a bad day and he followed them to the letter. What did throw him off were how people said one thing but meant another. Since he couldn’t lie or bluff, he found it difficult to interpret others’ behavior when they did that. It took a lot of work for him to match a person’s expression with past experiences stored in his mental database. An animal’s life held as much value for him as a human’s, which is why he decided to work out who murdered the neighbor’s dog. His parents loved him as best as they could but they were human and lost their temper at times. This book made me realize the importance of patience. The next time I run into someone who isn’t like everybody else, I hope I have the presence of mind and the compassion to exercise some patience and accept them for who they are!
Some Christopher wisdom for us all:
I think prime numbers are like life. They are very logical but you could never work out the rules, even if you speny all your time thinking about them.
If only we were all this smart, all the time!
So, that was my September in a nutshell. How was yours?
Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on September 23, 2018.
This series is light, entertaining, and satisfies all my once-in-a-blue-moon romance cravings. I know the setting and the characters are familiar. While they may be cut out from the same stencil: the guys are manly and stubborn and the ladies are quirky and non-traditional. These books are still fun to read! Here is my review of the previous book in this series.
This was supposed to be a steampunk book but I didn’t see much of that genre in it. Besides that, I really enjoyed reading it and will definitely be picking up the next one. My only quibble with it is the same one that I have with the graphic novel, Saga. The inclusion of colored, queer, etc. characters for the sake of inclusion seems artificial to me. I dunno, maybe I’m not used to reading about them, which is why I feel this way. The solution would be to read more off-the-path books and see if I still feel this way. Don’t see anything wrong with having more books to read. Do you?
Ugh, this book frustrated me to no end. I don’t get why it was written in the first place. It wasn’t even interesting the way Tooth and Claw had been! If the story isn’t interesting but the characters are, that usually makes it up to me. When the characters are just plain boring or annoying too, nothing can redeem a book. It was true for this one. Fortunately, it was a small book!
So, I didn’t get much reading done in August and was late to post the wrap-up. Switching jobs will do that to ya!
Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on August 24, 2018.
My review can be found here.
Find the review here!
The Percy Jackson series remains a favorite. Here’s why…
My review of this series is here.
Loved the book.
The humor was just my style-the way the Yherajk communicated was a hoot.
What I also liked was that even though the MC was a smartass, he wasn’t made out to be a jaded guy or an agent who took advantage of other people to survive.
I was expecting a romance between Tom and Michell but Miranda was a far better choice.
The book wasn’t too long but just the right length which always wins points with me. Joshua was my favorite character.
Loved how the ending/unveiling was handled, as well as how the whole Holocaust movie was dealt with.
Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on August 19, 2018.
I finally learned how Samuel and Bran became werewolves. The story is dark and violent but that seems fitting.
Asil, an aging werewolf in the Marrok’s pack is more man than beast. An innocent girl, Kara, begins to change all that.
Ben has always been an interesting character in the Mercy series. He is misogynistic and can’t say two words without cursing. He also has a lot of baggage to deal with due to an abusive past. Yet he redeems himself in this story!
This is the story of Thomas the vampire who comes back home to repay a favor. I found it boring.
Elyna Gray is a vampire who must face the consequences of her actions when she killed the man she loved. Sad but interesting story.
I have never really cared about the other series. This story takes us back to the first time Marrok’s son Charles met his wife Anna. I found it okayish. You can see the author’s uncertainty about the whole concept of Omega werewolves. She hasn’t gotten there yet and the story suffers for it.
A werewolf Tom meets a witch Moira. Gruesome things happen in this one but I liked it anyway. One thing that bothers me is why the author looks down on witches’ magic and the whole concept that it comes from pain and blood sacrifice. Even when she is describing white magic, it feels as if she is against it. Why though?
David Christiansen gets a family reunion that gives him a reason to continue living. Scary as heck but a feel-good story.
We are allowed to peek into the relationship that the werewolf Warren has with his boyfriend Kyle. While I love em both and together, I wasn’t a fan of this one. Warren was too overprotective of Kyle and not in a good way. I solved the identity of the person who hired the hit as soon as they were mentioned, which took the fun out of the story even more.
Classic Loki antics. Plans within plans within plans. I wasn’t crazy about this one but it wasn’t bad either. As usual, Loki is trying to do the right thing in the wrongest of ways and for worse reasons. We see a glimpse of the Avengers in the first one. The second featured Doctor Doom.
The humor characteristic of the series is seen in this volume too. Red Dagger shows up in Kamala’s playground. She celebrates Eid-ul-Azha. Kamala also runs away and finds out more people are supporting her and rooting for her than she thought. Captain Marvel makes an appearance and they patch up. In all, a fun installment. Can’t wait to read what happens next! Find my review of the previous volume here.
So, the premise is good. The U.S. plays host to a plague that is slowly turning people into plants. The art is beautiful and the confrontations with those human-plant hybrids are adequately terrifying. Of course, there is a government conspiracy going on that I suppose we’ll find out in about in the next issues. But there seems to be something missing. Mostly though, I couldn’t bring myself to care for any of the characters. That means I dunno if I will be picking up the next in the series.
A man who works for the mafia is sent to convince a rustic moonshine-maker. His boss wants to be the sole distributor of the amazing liquor. But when the poor guy reaches the place, strange things begin to happen. I liked the dark feel of the comic and the art too. Even so, like The Wilds, the something that would make me rip into the following issues eagerly isn’t there!
The wittiness of the TV series is missing from the graphic novel. It was short and the end came abruptly. The artist translated the facial features of all characters with accuracy, except for Inara’s. She didn’t look right! I am still glad I bought this book because it came with an introduction by Nathan Fillion.
It seems I didn’t get much reading done in July and still managed to delay blogging about it. Shit happens! How was July for you?
Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on August 4, 2018.
I started reading this book at a weird time in my life. A loss that I’m still grieving and new changes make for bad companions. Those reasons could be why I enjoyed reading this book much more than I should have. You’ll see what I mean when I share the two contrasting views that I found myself taking while reading this story and reviewing it.
Grief is almost always for the mourner’s loss.
It got me wondering, was that the only reason I cried at my uncle’s funeral? And if it was, was it selfish of me to do so?
…that aching, hollow, half-panicked feeling returned. She isn’t here. I can’t just speak and have her answer. I can’t just ask and have her remember. I can’t just reach and feel her hand. And, most terrible of all: Perhaps I never will again.
While there isn’t a perhaps in my case, this eloquent quote says it all.
Does Mother know you’re going?
Please be practical, Miro. I have no fear of Satan, but Mother…
This is a conversation between two brothers. One of them is a priest and is going on a religious mission fraught with danger. Both are adults and the situation is a serious one but I have found and enjoyed such light humor in all Ender books.
You’re one tough son of a bitch, aren’t you?
Welders and smiths are tough. Sons of bitches have problems of their own.
Again, the same pair is conversing and the priest ends up swearing and impressing his brother.
Ender is quite annoying in this book. When he goes into non-space, he wishes his siblings into existence. One of them is dead, so maybe I could have swallowed that. Even though he is supposed to have created a hegemony and was the root of all evil in Ender’s life…yeah maybe I wouldn’t have bought this one either.
The other one is alive and with him yet he chooses to bring a younger version of her back to life. And don’t even get me started on the squickiness of how innocent and beautiful he makes her. Sister, dude. She is your sister, you creep! If this was just done so the author could have characters to base his next novel on, it is a shitty move. Shitty. Move.
Ender also seems to have found religion in this book. This is contradictory to the way his character was in the first two books. In fact, the whole heavyhanded way of dealing with religion was odd. There were the piggies — an alien race who were brought to Christianity. Then there was this throwaway line in the book about couples who aren’t interested in premarital sex are the ones that make the society more stable.
Another thing that weirded me out was Miro’s miraculous transformation. From the very beginning, we are shown that he is very bitter on account of being handicapped. That is a very ableist stance. Then we see him changing as he stops isolating himself and stops a bloody riot from getting even bloodier. This was a tad more positive but it was ruined when he goes into non-space and comes back healed. What did it all even mean? What purpose did his character serve?
Irritating and squabbling for no reason. I wanted to smack them all at least once. Another thing that bothered me was that in the previous book, they were the odd ones out. In this one, they have magically become all-important. Xenologists, priests, physicists and brickmakers, almost all of them have a say in how the planet should be run. And even though they are all adults and professionals, most of them behave like toddlers with no regard for the consequences of their actions. What’s more, when one of them is giving all the indications that they will be acting stupidly, the others (and the rest of the planet) do nothing to stop them. Then there is an uproar after the stupid thing is done!
A seemingly minor character who starts as a slave and then becomes the source of the cure for a whole population, Wang Mu was irritating at times but bearable. Then all of a sudden, she is fangirling over the long-dead Hegemon. That isn’t all though. The long-dead Hegemon is then recreated by his brother, visits Wang Mu, and flies away with her to take over the world. What is even happening? How much of my disbelief should I be suspending? Like all of it?
Faster than light travel isn’t possible. Hundreds of scientists have said so. Yet a physicist jailed for instigating a mob and his brickmaker brother come up with a solution i.e. a supercomputer can wish it into existence by holding the image in her mind. Wait, I am not done yet. While that is happening, the xenologist sister of theirs will hold the image of two things in her mind that will solve all their problems.
So, this is what I thought of the book. Feel free to share your thoughts!
For those who have been patiently waiting, the paperback volume of my novellas is here!
This paperback edition includes:
The Last Lancastrian: A Story of Margaret Beaufort
Once a Queen: A Story of Elizabeth Woodville
Prince of York: A Story of Reginald Pole
I know I am way behind schedule but I have been really busy what with switching jobs, earning money, and losing an important my mamujan (maternal uncle) to Parkinson’s! Please bear with me…
So, this is weird. I didn’t have many good reads during the past Aprils. Hopefully, that will change in the future. This book stood out because I read it while still following the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. The husband-wife duo seemed to write a book that made me like the main leads again — even if I didn’t fall in love with them the way I did with Kate & Curran and still haven’t!
Find my review here.
Witty characters, a female protagonist, Victorian sensibilities, and impossible situations, this book should have been an instant favorite of mine. It wasn’t! Maybe, it didn’t capture my interest because I read it after finishing The Parasol Protectorate series. It could also be a lack of hilarious courtship between the protags that made it less interesting.
Whatever it was, I am glad I continued because the subsequent books are better.
It has been 5 years since I read this book, so I don’t remember much. What did remain behind was the authentic display of the life of a soldier. It was that and not the story that made me go out and buy the omnibus edition. And it won’t be anything else that will get me to read the graphic novel version either!
When I read this book, I felt as if I’d read something that had shades of both Wilde and Dahl. I still feel the same about the subsequent books in this series. There is nonsensical fun and razor-sharp wit that makes me want to keep reading. They aren’t overly long either, so that is another plus. Of course, the protagonist being female and used to fighting her own battles doesn’t detract the reader from its beauty. If I remember correctly, this one featured a villain who had no ulterior motives — he only wanted to destroy the world!
Hello Friday! Hello Follow Friday with book bloggers! Today let's meet Julia. You need to keep on reading to see those shelfies! :D
Follow JL's Bibliomania on BookLikes: http://jlsbibliomania.booklikes.com/
What are you reading right now? How do you like it?
I’m reading three things as I write these responses:
Heaven's Queen by Rachel Bach, which is the concluding volume of a lighthearted romp of a Space Opera featuring a girl and her big gun.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, which is the story of how Marie- Laure, a blind French Girl, and Werner, a German Orphan, converge in the French town of San-Malo near the end of the 2nd World War. Slower moving, especially as an audiobook.
The Inner Life of Cats: The Science and Secrets of Our Mysterious Feline Companions by Thomas McNamee, which is the current selection for the Flat Book Society. OK so far, but recently I’ve been struggling with sustained attention to non-fiction.
However, I expect that by the time this is published, I will have finished Heaven’s Queen and moved on to another piece of fiction
When have you discovered you’re a book lover?
If this question is asking when did I (first) discover I was a book lover the answer is: When books were replacing my non-existent friends in Elementary and Middle School and I was devouring a book an afternoon.
Why reading is important to you?
Because I like how reading fills the spaces in my head. Because I crave the escape it offers.
Which books are you most excited recommending to your followers?
I’m currently excited about The Hate U Give, which is getting a lot of buzz, and does a great job personalizing the questions behind the Black Lives Matter (Movie due to release in October)
I discovered Maggie Stiefvater relatively recently and loved The Raven Boys and the sequels as an audiobook.
I read them a long time ago and the details have faded, but I think Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay is essential reading.
I also love CJ Cherryh’s work.While a bit older, I particularly like how the Faded Sun Trilogy and Forty Thousand in Gehenna wrestle with the idea of being the “Other” and of becoming the bridge between human and alien.
In your bio you write: “Daughter of a Bookaholic. Wife of a Bibliovore. Mother of 2 Bibliophiles” Did your family had an influence on your reading passion, and how do you encourage your kids to keep on reading?
My parents really didn’t watch television much and were always reading, particularly my Dad who always has a book or 3 going, typically Space Opera or military SF. My parents definitely had an influence on my reading passion by always having books around, and nurtured my love of SF by handing me Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonsong when I was in Jr. High and complaining that I was bored and out of things to read.
This is going to sound trite (or like stock advice), but when my kids were little my husband and I read to our sons, always had a rotating stock of library books around that were age and reading-level appropriate geared towards their passion of the moment, and modeled reading because we often had a book of our own with us. We were lucky. My older son dove into Richard Scarry partway through kindergarten, my younger son got lost in the Warriors series in 3rd grade and we really haven’t had to do much to encouraging since.
Do you read one book or several at a time?
As you can see by the answer to question 1, I typically read several books at a time.
- 1 fiction in print or ebook,
- 1 audiobook for the car,
- and sometimes a non-fiction.
But the print book and the audiobook have to be different genres for me to keep track, which is fine because I like to mix things up.
Do you review all books you read? How does your review process look like?
I don’t review everything I read. I write when I have something to say and when time permits (and as you can see by the fewer and shorter reviews recently, time has recently been in short supply so I haven’t been as active).
I’m more of a book diarist than a book reviewer. I started tracking on Goodreads and blogging about books to help myself remember what I’ve read. I consider what I write to be book reactions rather than truly reviews, which is why many of my entries are a short paragraph or less, and I almost never include a synopsis of the plot. I try not to look at too many reviews before I read a book, but often look at the book page here and at other book-review sites after I finish. I typically dash off a draft over the weekend, ask my husband to copy edit it, then post the following day.
Your Shelf presents many audiobooks. Do you experience the book differently while listening to it instead of reading?
I do experience stories differently when I listen to them. Listening to an audiobook forces you to move at the narrator’s pace, which means that you can’t read too fast and miss details. Sometimes that’s an advantage, and sometimes that leads to tedium.
I’m also not one who easily builds a concrete picture of what the characters look like, or imagines what they sound like. The audiobook narrator often fills in that gap for me, especially the recent productions that turn books almost into audio plays by using multiple readers.
The experience of reading an audiobook is also different for me because I mostly listen to them in the car, while I’m driving. A story is different when experienced in 15-30 minute chunks, and with distractions.
A library or a bookstore?
Definitely a library!
While my husband and I spent many pleasant hours in used book stores as a teen and young adult (hence the collection in the basement), we almost entirely stopped buying books as part of the financial adjustment after buying our first house. We are lucky to live in an area with good libraries and I get more than 90% of what I read from the local county library consortium.
Your favorite genres are fantasy and sci-fi. Why are they so special?
SF and fantasy were initially appealing to me because of the escapism. If you’re not happy in mundane reality, SF and fantasy provide ample opportunities to imagine being a heroine elsewhere.
Now I find that SF and fantasy are special in the way that they pose questions about what makes us human.
What are your three favorite book covers?
I'll admit that I hate the share 3 book-covers question since doing most of my book “shopping” in the online library catalog, the cover isn't really something I pay much attention to. However, there’s a strong tradition of SF-related artwork. So instead of book covers I’d like to share 3 of the signed, numbered SF-related prints that I’ve bought at conventions over the years.
Menolly by Robin Wood, originally included in The People of Pern http://www.robinwood.com/Catalog/Prints/PrintPages/Menolly.html
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Virginia Poyser. Victoria is currently working under her married name of Virginia Lisi and no longer focusing on SF-related art. I couldn’t find a good copy of this picture online, but her website is https://victoria-lisi.pixels.com/
A Stitch in Time by David Cherry (brother of CJ Cherryh)
https://davidcherryart.com/prints/a-stitch-in-time/ I don’t believe this piece is connected to a specific book, but it appealed to me as someone who occasionally stitches.
A paper book or an e-book?
When I’m home, I’m a traditionalist and prefer paper. When I’m travelling, or when the library only has the ebook, I’ll happily reach for the e-reader for novels. I dislike non-fiction and graphic novels as e-books.
Three titles for a holiday break?
Did I say that I hate giving recommendations?
Fortune's Pawn by Rachel Bach and the sequels (though it looks like others who tried it here on BL haven’t liked it much)
When Dimple Met Rishi – light realistic fiction YA – definitely recommend the audiobook.
The Rook by Daniel O'Malley. Suggested in honor of the Summer of Spies.
My absolutely favorite quote is
Life is uncertain, eat dessert first.
(Often misremembered as – Life is short, Eat dessert first)
And when I was in college I spent several years doing just that.
Despite coming late to canine ownership, my favorite bookish quote is
Outside of a book, a dog is man’s best friend
Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read
Shelfie time! Please share your home library photos :)
The first two pictures are of the two bookcases in the living-room, which contain cookbooks, religion reference works and library books. Life has been so much easier, with many fewer desperate searches for the overdue or missing books since we cleared off shelves a shelf for me and a shelf for my sons to keep our library book in the right hand case.
The last picture is of a few of the 13 bookcases in the basement library. We’re in the middle of re-sorting/re-shelving/trimming the collection as we recently decided to store all fiction alphabetically by author and to stop trying to sort by genre. And while the basement is mostly fiction, there are 2 ceiling high cases full of my husband’s history references.
Have you missed previous Follow Friday talks? Use ffwithbookbloggers tag or click the interviews catch up links below: