Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Spring TBR Update AND Summer TBR

I am so super proud of myself this season! At least, in the 'how much I read of my quarterly TBR' because, if I had to be honest, I picked out some books that I didn't like at all. But, let's take a look at them.

Downbelow Station by C.J. Cherryh - DNF
This really sucks because I was so looking forward to this book. But so many times in the first 20 or so pages, I had to reread a sentence at least once to understand what was being said. The narration style doesn't work for me and, even though I hear great things about the author, I probably won't be trying again.

Gilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodge - ***
Honestly, my take away impression of this novella is a resounding 'meh'. And the feel that this author just isn't for me.

The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas - DNF
This book made me want to exercise! It made me want to do anything other than read it - so I was putting it down every couple of pages, looking for something else, anything else, to do. This is definitely a book that spoke to me and it told me that if I kept reading, I'd be bored out of my mind.

Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce - ***
I just wasn't feeling this story and was very surprised how much a chore it felt like reading it. I don't like the setting choice that was made. I also admit that I checked into the third book while I was still reading this one, just the synopsis, and never should have done that because...I think my dislike of the direction that book seems to be headed in might have colored my opinion of this one just a bit.

The Glass Sentence by S.E. Grove - DNF
I'd love to be proved wrong, but there was just this undefinable something about this book that sat my teeth on edge. Like I was waiting for the other shoe to drop and the book to turn into something I'd hate. (And there's also the fact that the writing style reminds me a bit of The Hunchback Assignments.) So, once I realized I was bracing myself, waiting for that moment and not getting any enjoyment out of it, I quit.

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor - **
I liked this book a lot - except for one thing: Karou. For as much as I thought she was awesome in the first book, in this one, it feels like she's just letting the other characters carry her along with their expectations of her and what they want. And also the romance is getting kind of...icky.

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson - ***
I didn't love this book and I didn't hate it and, in fact, my biggest takeaway emotion was boredom. My favorite thing was definitely the setting. I really need to find a non-medieval & European set fantasy book that I love. Because the ones I've found I've been disappointed in.

Frozen Tides by Morgan Rhodes - **
Well, I finished it. Mostly because I'd already invested 3 books into this series and felt compelled to not stop in the middle of this one. If we're talking about enjoyment though... ... Honestly, I don't know. I really have such mixed feelings about this book.

Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines - ***
I'm sure this is a perfectly good - I might even say wonderful - urban fantasy. But I don't like urban fantasy. I thought I'd give it another go because this book sounded awesome and I adore the author's Princess series - and think the author is very cool. But, I really, really think I just start avoiding urban fantasy books completely.

The Spirit Eater by Rachel Aaron
I'm actually in the middle of reading this one right now. It seems to be just as good as the first two, but, sadly, I've just not been feeling it enough to really get into it.

Summer TBR
So excited to think about what I want to read for the next three months. And I really, really hope I can read all of them just like my Spring TBR - only I also hope that they turn out better for me! (Also, this should be quite a hodge-podge as several of these books were chosen because they just missed my June TBR list.)

Warrior Mage by Lindsay Buroker
His mother was one of the most powerful wizards in the Nurian Empire until she abandoned her people to become a notorious pirate. That choice doomed the family she left behind to a life of disgrace.

Yanko White Fox doesn’t remember his mother, but as the only gifted child in the family, he is expected to erase the mark she left on them all. With an affinity for earth magic and communicating with animals, he’s not the most natural candidate to become a warrior mage, but it’s the only sure route back into the Great Chief’s good graces. He has resigned himself to training for that destiny, whether it matches his passions or not.

Long before he’s ready for his first battle, insurrection comes to his distant corner of the empire. Rebels take over the salt mine his family manages and slay the only relative who ever supported Yanko. On the heels of the tragedy, a courier brings a message from the Great Chief’s son. Whether he is prepared or not, Yanko must undertake a quest, one that could save millions of lives… or fail utterly, leaving him dead, his family forgotten, and his people the victims of starvation and endless war.

Red Hood's Revenge by Jim C. Hines
Wars may end. But vengeance is forever. 

Roudette's story was a simple one. A red cape. A wolf. A hunter. Her mother told her she would be safe, so long as she kept to the path. But sometimes the path leads to dark places. Roudette is the hunter now, an assassin known throughout the world as the Lady of the Red Hood. Her mission will take her to the country of Arathea and an ancient fairy threat. At the heart of the conflict between humans and fairies stands the woman Roudette has been hired to kill, the only human ever to have fought the Lady of the Red Hood and survived-the princess known as Sleeping Beauty.

A Tyranny of Petticoats - Anthology
From an impressive sisterhood of YA writers comes an edge-of-your-seat anthology of historical fiction and fantasy featuring a diverse array of daring heroines.

Criss-cross America — on dogsleds and ships, stagecoaches and trains — from pirate ships off the coast of the Carolinas to the peace, love, and protests of 1960s Chicago. Join fifteen of today’s most talented writers of young adult literature on a thrill ride through history with American girls charting their own course. They are monsters and mediums, bodyguards and barkeeps, screenwriters and schoolteachers, heiresses and hobos. They're making their own way in often-hostile lands, using every weapon in their arsenals, facing down murderers and marriage proposals. And they all have a story to tell.

Ravenous by MarcyKate Connolly
A witch has come to the city of Bryre. She travels in a hut that has chicken feet, and is ravenous for children. And once she gets what she desires, she never lets it go.

But when the witch captures Hans, Greta’s little brother, Greta refuses to let her have him. The two strike up a bargain. Greta will retrieve something the witch desires in exchange for her brother’s freedom.

To get the prize Greta must travel to Belladoma—a city where she was once held captive—which brings back terrible memories. With the help of a new friend, Dalen, a magical half-boy and half-horse, Greta embarks on the journey and tries to overcome both foes and her own weaknesses.

The Summoner by Gail Z. Martin
The comfortable world of Martris Drayke, second son of King Bricen of Margolan, is shattered when his older half-brother, Jared, and Jared’s dark mage, Foor Arontala, kill the king and seize the throne. Tris is the only surviving member of the royal family aside from Jared the traitor. Tris flees with three friends: Soterius, captain of the guard; Carroway, the court’s master bard; and Harrtuck, a member of the royal guard. Tris harbors a deep secret. In a land where spirits walk openly and influence the affairs of the living, he suspects he may be the mage heir to the power of his grandmother, Bava K’aa, once the greatest sorceress of her age. Such magic would make Tris a Summoner, the rarest of magic gifts, capable of arbitrating between the living and the dead.

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

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

Masque by W.R. Gingell
Beauty met the Beast and there was . . . Bloody murder? 

It’s the Annual Ambassadorial Ball in Glause, and Lady Isabella Farrah, the daughter of New Civet’s Ambassador, is feeling pleasantly scintillated. 
In the library is Lord Pecus, a charming gentleman whose double mask hides a beastly face, and who has decided that Isabella is the very person to break the Pecus curse. 
In the ball-room is young Lord Topher, who is rapidly falling in love with an older woman. 
And in the card-room, lying in a pool of his own blood, is the body of one of Isabella’s oldest friends: Raoul, Civet’s Head Guardsman. The papers sewn into his sash seem to suggest espionage gone wrong, but Isabella is not so certain. 
Lord Pecus, as Commander of the Watch, is of the opinion that Isabella should keep out of the investigation and out of danger. Isabella is of the opinion that it is her murder to investigate, and that what a certain Beast-Lord doesn’t know won’t hurt him. . . . 

Will Isabella find the murderer before Lord Pecus does, or will she end her investigation as a bloody spatter on the parlour floor?

The Paladin Caper by Patrick Weekes
A thief’s good deeds are never done.

Loch and her crew are determined to stop the ancients from returning to reclaim the world they once ruled, but a kidnapped friend throws their plans awry. When a desperate rescue turns into a shocking reunion, the ancients return and seize power. Determined to stop them, Loch and the crew look for a way to close the gate to the ancients’ world, but this time, they find themselves up against an enemy that has insinuated itself into the highest ranks of the Republic. Cruel, cunning, and connected, the ancients target the crew’s families and histories, threatening to tear friendships apart.

If that weren’t bad enough, Loch must deal with her treacherous assassin sister, her turncoat ancient friend, and a daemon who has sworn to hunt her to the ends of the earth. In order to save the Republic and pull off her largest con ever, Loch will need her friends…and maybe her enemies too.

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Winning what you want may cost you everything you love
They were never meant to be together. As a general's daughter, seventeen-year-old Kestrel enjoys an extravagant and privileged life. Arin has nothing but the clothes on his back. Then Kestrel makes an impulsive decision that binds Arin to her. Though they try to fight it, they can't help but fall in love. In order to be together, they must betray their people . . . but to be loyal to their country, they must betray each other.

Set in a new world, The Winner's Curse is a story of rebellion, duels, ballroom dances, wicked rumors, dirty secrets, and games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell
Nicolette’s awful stepsisters call her “Mechanica” to demean her, but the nickname fits: she learned to be an inventor at her mother’s knee. Her mom is gone now, though, and the Steps have turned her into a servant in her own home. 

But on her sixteenth birthday, Nicolette discovers a secret workshop in the cellar and begins to dare to imagine a new life for herself. Could the mysterious books and tools hidden there—and the mechanical menagerie, led by a tiny metal horse named Jules—be the key to escaping her dreary existence? With a technological exposition and royal ball on the horizon, the timing might just be perfect for Nicolette to earn her freedom at last.

Gorgeous prose and themes of social justice and family shine in this richly imagined Cinderella retelling about an indomitable inventor who finds her prince . . . but realizes she doesn't want a fairy tale happy ending after all.

Which one/s should I start with? (And, naturally, this is all subject to change, but I really hope I can get them all read.)