Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday Finds - February 28th

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Welcome to another edition of Friday Finds. I know I've not had these up for while, but I have been trying to avoid any new books until I make progress on the ones I've got. Yeah, that worked about as well as you'd expect... Anyways, on to the books:

Full Steam Ahead
The Butler Who Laughed

The Treachery of Beautiful Things
The Spymaster's Lady

Stolen Songbird
Romancing the Duke

Would now be a good time to mention I'm actually not a big reader of romance novels? Seriously, romance novels and I just don't get along. So, why are there so many on this list? Well, the first one just seems too cute to pass up (sounds like my kind of guy, too) and the second one reminds me of those old Emilie Loring books that were always so fun to read. As for the fourth one... It's not my fault that of late I have become completely obsessed with spies. Not my fault at all... And, finally, the sixth one merely comes from reading a review at Goodreads that use quotes from the book and those quotes had me laughing out loud. So, of course I have to buy it. The other two books are young adult novels that both just sound lovely.

My plans for the weekend include playing some computer games, doing some minor household cleaning and, hopefully, finishing Cinder. Have a good weekend.

Challenges General Update for February

High King's Tomb (Green Rider #3) by Kristen Britain
(Read as part of the following challenges: Book Bingo & Lucky No.14)

Invoking the Darkness (Passing of the Techno-Mages #3) by Jeanne Cavelos
(Read as part of the following challenges: Book Bingo & Key Words & Series)

Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms #1) by Morgan Rhodes
(Read as part of the following challenges: Book Bingo)

The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles #1) by Kady Cross
(Read as part of the following challenges: Book Bingo)

Wintertide (Riyria Revelations #5) by Michael J. Sullivan
(Read as part of the following challenges: Book Bingo & Series)

Links to my main challenge page:
Book Bingo Challenge
Key Word Challenge
Fairy Tales Retold Challenge
Lucky No.14 Challenge
Series Challenge

Review: Wintertide by Michael J. Sullivan

Wintertide by Michael J. Sullivan
Series: Riyria Revelations #5
Published by Ridan Publishing
Pages: 317
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: Awesome, Awesome, Awesome (this book was just so wow)
Add on Goodreads

A duel execution for two traitors to the New Empire looms during the Wintertide holiday. However, Royce and Hadrian have something to say about these executions: one is the true heir of Novron. The other, Princess Arista - better known as the Witch of Melengar, and friend of Riyria.

'"This sword belongs to another time and place. It is part of a grand and glorious world where knights were different, loftier - virtuous. It rests in this false scabbard because the proper one has been lost, or perhaps, it waits for a quest yet to be finished. It longs for that single moment when it can shine forth in all its brilliance."'

Yes Hadrian, listen to the dapper man. He knows what he's talking about.

This book continues the story of Riyria. Sadly, Hadrian and Royce spent a great deal of this book apart, so I did miss the good-natured pokes they tend to make at each other. However, things really started shaping up in this book and you can really feel the wheels being set in motion for a bang-up finale.

Really, more than any other book in the series yet, the established characters have their own little part to play in the overarching plot of this book. Hadrian and Royce do get a small group of supporting characters for their part in the story and other characters (I won't say who lest I spoil the other books in the series) get their own little groups for themselves. The book based a lot on the individuals and, I will admit, loudly, they didn't disappoint.

Nearly every single character - especially those of the 'good guys' - had their 'moment'. As we've come to expect from the main guys, they were wonderful, but I also have a steadily climbing impression of Arista and the Empress. Oh, the Empress is so totally cool and amazing. Even one of the not-so-good-guys had a moment that I kind of started to adore him for what he did.

However, while all these people were just steadily increasing in my estimation... We then have the 'Heir of Novron'. I refuse to get into the mess that is the question of who the heir is. I can feel something being set up, but I cannot quite make out what. But, this will be talking about the heir according to Esrahaddon. (Mostly.) Degan Gaunt. Seriously, if this guy is the true heir of Novron, please somebody, kill him. Ugh. He was fine, until we actually had to deal with a face-to-face conversation with him and another person. I was going 'no'. I wouldn't want him manager of a mini-mart, much less ruler of an empire.

I especially liked getting to deal with the knights tourney for Wintertide. I've concluded that I have a bit of a thing for knights. Real knights, much like the ones Nimbus describes: all honor and kindness and those that would do anything for their liege. In fact, there is an absolutely adorable burgeoning romance between a lady and a knight and you can completely see why she is so taken with him. (And he with her because she's surprisingly tough and quite adorable.)

Stakes have seriously been raised though. This series has never been particularity bloodless and, after a certain character died in The Emerald Storm, I thought I was prepared for anything. However, I wasn't prepared for this. It seemed like that with this series, if a character survived the book of their introduction, they would likely make it until the end - or at least the final battle. (Of course, that's not taking into consideration the 'I thought they were already dead' that I experienced last book.) But the people that died in this book... Weren't exactly minor characters.

While I won't miss one of the characters (and can't help but to clap in a certain person's direction for the way that was handled) another of the recent casualties was a person I seriously thought was going to make it to the end of the series. Really, I did. It will be interesting to see how things are handled - there's specifically two characters that shouldn't come away from these deaths unscathed.

The last couple chapters of this book were quite a roller coaster for me, filled with ups and downs, but ultimately I love this series all the more for not taking the easy way out and giving me a lot of excitement for the next and final book in the series.

Please ignore any crazy-ness in this review, along with my gushing and (perhaps) not making much sense. This is what happens when I try to write a review of a book that I love that is also in the middle of a series that I don't want to spoil for those that haven't read it. This review is also a perfect example of what happens when I start using the word 'really' too much.

Read as part of the following challenges: Goodread & Book Bingo & Series

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Review: The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross
Series: The Steampunk Chronicles #1
Published by Harlequin Teen
Pages: 377
Genre: Steam punk (YA)
Rating: Awesome
Add on Goodreads

Finley Jayne isn't normal. A normal girl couldn't knock a full grown man out with just one punch. A normal girl wouldn't have an alternate personality inside her - one that takes over in moments of high stress and danger. A normal girl couldn't survive a collision with a velocycle. Finley Jayne isn't normal.

And that's exactly why she is offered the chance to be a part of something. To join a group of other uniquely talented people. To save the day.

'Pencils were excellent for hairstyling. They also made a very effective weapon if the need arose.'

If I had heard the author's concept for this book being a cross between the X-Men and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen I would have probably felt a lot more secure going into it. However, I didn't. Instead I had heard so many mixed review that I entered this story with a high level of trepidation.

I needn't have worried as I loved this book.

Finley is a very entertaining lead character. Early on in the book her two personalities are fighting for dominance - one of them being very sweet and rather subservient and the other being anything but. I do love the fact that this storyline wasn't dragged out the way I thought it was going to be, especially once I realized that book two follows the same group of people. While I didn't love Finley at first, her personality taking a while to truly grow on me, I really began to adore the girl when her split personality issues started getting resolved. That actually turned her into a very well rounded character - even if it was rather lazy characterization and (for as much as I liked her, I will admit) Finley has something of a Mary-Sue about her.

I look forward to seeing the other characters in the book fleshed out because they were also very fun and I wound up liking every single one of them more than I had expected. First we have Griffin, the leader of our little band of superheroes society misfits. He's a real sweetheart, and it's obvious early on how much he cares for his team. He's also obscenely rich but doesn't act like an entitled bastard. Odd, huh? Then there's Sam, his best friend. He's not the brightest, and tends towards racing into a fight without thinking. And he suffers from being a bit of a hothead. Those are the two guys, along with Finley, that share the narration of the story and I feel that the author did a good job nailing down their voices.

Our other characters consist of: Emily, a young lady that's a mechanical genius - and who, for some reason, reminded me of Kaylee from Firefly. Jack Dandy, a criminal overlord - or is that underlord? - with a habit of butchering the English language. And Jasper, a genuine gun-toting American cowboy that is only a little out-of-place in London. Honestly, as those last three are my personal favorites, I look forward to getting to know more about them and - hopefully - getting inside their heads in the sequels.

The plotline was a mystery/conspiracy that, I will admit, it took the characters way too long to figure out. Add to that the rather cartoonish villain and the book starts feeling more and more like some of those X-Men cartoons from the nineties. Of course, I was never one to watch those cartoons for an amazing plotline, instead focusing on the interplay of the characters as they got along or squabbled. This book works much the same way for me.

While these people were - at least, mostly - friends, that doesn't mean they always get along. It was interesting to see how disagreements would play out and how relationships were formed. As this is a YA novel, there is certainly some romance. Mostly, in this first outing, between two of the supporting characters. While Finley does find herself in a bit of a love triangle, I thought it was handled wonderfully.

You see, Finley actually finds herself more attracted to a different guy depending on which personality of hers is predominate. I'm not sure it would actually work that way, but it's an interesting idea. Everyone involved, from both 'love interests' to Finley herself, are quite aware of how common it is for the girl to choose the 'bad boy' type. For bonus points, they also all realize how bad of an idea that usually is. As a reader that has read just enough YA novels to get feed up with the girl choosing the bad boy in the end because he changed for her/she can change him, it was really nice to see allusions to that in this book. I would like to add that there doesn't seem to be much of a love triangle at the end of this book.

I really like the way the world was handled. Instead of being as localized as most English steampunk series are, this one explores the world outside England a little. We have the aforementioned American character as well as a decent amount of Asian influenced clothing. There were even mentions of specific martial arts (Kung Fu (which originates in China) and Jujitsu (which originated with the samurai of feudal Japan) if I remember rightly). Considering how most English steampunk - Victorian era or otherwise - tends to forget that the rest of the world even exists, this was very nice indeed.

Now, as much as I liked this book and as much as I can over look these things, there were some minor issues I had. First, Finley. I love the name. I personally have created no less than three characters bearing that name in stories I've started writing. Eventually I will find the perfect fit - even though I think I already have... Anyway, cool name. Awesome name. However, the chances of anyone actually naming their daughter this in c. 1870 is so tiny as to be, basically, nonexistent. It was moderately popular thirty years later as a boys name, but alongside names that can pass as old fashioned - even if they may not be - it seems very anachronistic. While I know that's what steampunk is all about, this was just very odd.

Second issue: The front cover. Beautiful, isn't it? Problem is, that isn't Finley on the cover. So, who is it, you ask. No clue. It could have been Finley... With several changes. For example: The only fancy dress Finley ever wears is blue and green. Or something along those lines. (Honestly, the only thing I remember about that dress was that they kept comparing it to a Peacock.) That gorgeous jewelry that Finley's wearing was never mentioned or even alluded to in the book. To the best of my knowledge, she never wears jewelry and the only thing mentioned that even vaguely resembles this is a pair of totally cool brass knuckles. Finally, and perhaps most telling, that's not the color of Finley's hair. She is blonde. I do believe it was described as honey blonde. Maybe not. I always pictured her as strawberry blonde myself - though I would say we had quite enough red heads in this book. But there was a minor plotpoint in the book that was based on her not having dark hair.

Read as part of the following challenges: Goodreads & Book Bingo

Cover Reveal: Prudence by Gail Carriger

A shiny new series featuring a marauding team of outrageous miscreants in a high tech dirigible charging about fixing things, loudly and mainly with tea. (from goodreads)
On Goodreads

That, ladies and gents, is the cover for the first in Ms. C.'s upcoming series about Alexia and Conall's daughter, Prudence. The release date has been updated to March 17th of 2015 for this gorgeous hardback edition. I really hope they don't change the cover as this one is just so lovely. And who wouldn't just love the series title: The Custard Protocol.

I love the looks of Prudence on this cover. She looks just as sassy as you'd expect from Alexia and Conall's daughter. And her clothes are beautiful - seriously, I kind of want that hat. It couldn't be... That's not the Taj Mahal in the background. Is it? So... Does that mean Prudence goes to India? The original tentative title for this series was, after all, The Parasol Protectorate Abroad. If this does take place around the world, that'll be so awesome.

Even though I am enjoying Ms. C.'s Finishing School series, I am still totally looking forward to this series. Book two's title is supposed to be Imprudence. (Now isn't that just too cute.)

So, what do you think of the cover?

Booking through Thursday: Feb 27th

Hosted here.

What do you think of fanfiction? In general—do you think it’s a fun thing or a trespass on an author/producer’s world? And of course, obviously specific authors have very firm and very differing opinions about this, yet it’s getting more popular and more mainstream all the time. Do you ever read or write it yourself?

As a whole, I think it's mostly fun and harmless. People usually write fanfiction because they love the world and the characters so much. I do read it occasionally, though not as much now as I used to. There are some fanfic's I've come across that aren't so pleasant and with those I can understand why some author's/creator's put their foot down about fanfic. I've also read some fanfictions that just weren't well written at all. I know that internet literature - if we can use that term - holds to a different standard than published works, but I would really love to see more truly high quality fanfic. After all, if you're going to write, shouldn't it be the best it can be?

I personally don't write fanfiction. Well, I have dabbled in it, but never even posted anything on the internet or - indeed - even shared it with anyone. When I create a character in my own writing, I'm very comfortable with them. With pre-designed characters, fanfiction's large staple, I'm never sure I have their personality down right. So I'm usually not comfortable enough to share my work with anyone. Which does bring me to one more point. I have read some fanfictions that only seem to have the character names in common with the original work. Those are some fanfic I actually have the most problems with. It just seems like the writer thought the character looked good - but they didn't really have the personality correct.

All in all, I do understand why some authors/creators have firm opinions on this - and even why some don't want fanfiction of their work made - but I really think that as long as the fanfiction authors aren't making profit (and they seem to never) I don't have any major problems with it.

This answer ignores fanfiction that gets turned into published books because I don't know what to make of that.

What are your feelings toward fanfiction?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Review: Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes
Series: Falling Kingdoms #1
Published by Penguin Group
Pages: 412
Genre: Fantasy (YA)
Rating: Good
Add on Goodreads

The lands of Mytica was once one. United. That was before goddesses squabbled over power. Before the lands started to fail. Now, Mytica holds three warring kingdoms - each determined to come out the victor in the brewing war. Four young lives are irrevocably intertwined: Princess, Rebel, Sorceress and Heir. With three country's going to war, can anyone win?

"Even in the darkest and most cruel person, there is still a kernel of good. And within the most perfect champion, there is also darkness. The question is, will one give into the dark or the light? It's something we decide with every choice we make, every day we exist. What might not be evil to you could be evil to someone else."

Argh! I don't know how to review this book. To understand my frustration, I'm going to have to give you a little background on my reading. I first saw this book at my local department store and fell in love with the cover. The book sounded good. (Right up my alley, in fact.) However, I waited to buy it, doing my best to convince myself it probably wasn't for me. It didn't work. I bought the book and sat down and started reading it. I was almost immediately disappointed. I made it to around page one hundred eighty-five before stopping and putting it up on my shelf. There it sat (well, actually, I shoved it under my chair...) for I don't even know how long.

However, I never really did get this book out of my head. Finally I picked it back up, dusted the dust-bunnies off it and started up where I left off. Honestly? I'm not sure what my problems were the first time. Maybe I was having a bad day. Maybe I was trying to read this on the heels of a bad book. I don't really know because this book's actually kind of fun. It's not high literature, which is good because as soon as a fantasy starts trying to be high literature, I usually quit enjoying it much.

This book follows four people in the days before war. Tension is simmering just below the surface and everyone can tell this peace won't last long. There's political machinations in the works, as well as a healthy dose of bigotry in the form of people that think citizens of the other two countries are below them in ever way imaginable.

I had really thought that the four characters were going to meet early in the story and then kind of team-up to bring prosperity to all the lands. Yeah... I kind of go for that idealistic stuff, I guess. Instead, what I found was hatred and discontent between the four. Except, noticeably, the two in the story that actually grew up together. And their relationship was just messed up from the start.

The world building was...quite strange. The land of Mytica is an island - vaguely shaped like England and Scotland - that holds the three kingdoms. The northern kingdom is cold. Very cold. Like an ice world. The southern kingdom is prosperous and very religious. The middle kingdom is poor, with lands that cannot grow crops. And... Uh, that's pretty much it. (Oh, if only geography was clearly divided by country lines... 'course I'm guilty of doing the same thing in the stories I write so...) Besides those problems, travel between one capital and the bordering country's capital apparently takes so little time that it doesn't need to be mentioned and can be completely glossed over. Which, I will admit, could easily be a blessing in disguise as I've never really liked those 'endless journey' stories.

In fact, one character actually said something along the line of 'give it a week and I'll come back' while they're in another kingdom and they were on their way home. That's right. Want to invade your neighbors? Three days travel, tops. At least that'll cut down on having to organize an army march.

The characters were quite a mixed bag for me. I hated Jonas. The whole 'consumed-by-revenge' thing is just not for me. I sort of liked Lucia, but more than anything I felt indifferent to her. She was interesting, but besides one moment when she really got to shine, didn't actually do much. The fact that I liked Cleo surprises me. Yes, she's a spoiled, pampered little brat but, for some reason, I cannot bring myself to hate her. Maybe because she tries and doesn't just sit around and whine. That brings us to Magnus who I found deeply fascinating even though he was totally screwed up in the head. (Okay, I probably found him as interesting as I did because he was screwed up in the head, but shh.)

I like the idea of a bodyguard crush, only in reverse where the guy doing the guarding - preferably of someone so far out of his station that he doesn't have a prayer - falls in love with his charge. That was the romance I was following and - well... It worked out about how I expected. Beyond that, the only other romance we dealt with was pretty much stepped on - along with the heart of someone. I do imagine there will be more romance in the subsequent books, but it was rather nice that it wasn't forced down your throat that these two are in love with each other. Quite a breath of fresh air.

Now, with everything I have said, why didn't I hate this book? Honestly? Hell if I know. The characters weren't original. (I'm sure if you've read many fantasy novels you've already come across their stereotypes before.) The countries were geographically way too close together. (But, seriously, what burgeoning fantasy author hasn't made that mistake. Besides, it's like putting every little issue into a very small pressure cooker.) While the romance wasn't of the 'love-at-first-sight' type, it was the raison d'etre behind several notable character changes.

So why didn't I hate the book?

Because it was a fun book. Because it was entertaining. The frequent POV changes (all told from third person!) were an added bonus as they changed pretty much every chapter and those type of setups usually works out well for me. All in all, I do look forward to the next book in the series, but it will probably be a long time before I get to it.

Read as part of the following challenges: Goodreads & Book Bingo.

Goodreads Tag


1) What’s the last book you marked as read on Goodreads?
The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

2) What book are you currently reading?
Wintertide by Michael J. Sullivan

3) What is the last book you marked as to-read?
Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare

4) What book do you plan to read next?
Cinder by Marissa Meyer

5) Do you use a star rating system?
Yup, although my ratings are kind of wonky in the best of times. You see, my opinions of books (and everything else, honestly) tends to change from right after I finished to being away from it for a week or two to being away from it for years to rereading it.

6) Are you doing a 2014 reading challenge?
Yes. A fifty books challenge. I do hope to get five ore ten more than that read, but I'm aiming for fifty first.

7) Do you have a wish list?
Not a wish list, per say, but my to-read list functions as one. Sort of. All books must fit one of three categories though: to-read, not interested and read. I don't know what to do with those books that are recommended to me that I'm not sure about.

8) What book do you want to buy next?
Either Star of the Morning by Lynn Kurland or Shadow's Son by Jon Sprunk

9) Do you have any favorite quotations? Please state them.
Nope, sorry. Quotes tend to not stick with me very long. Besides, my favorite excerpts from books are usually set up and then quotable quotation. You miss so much if you just go with the last part.

10) Do you have any favorite authors?
Mmm... Elizabeth Peters & Michael J. Sullivan. If the series by Sarah J. Maas holds up, she too will be on this list.

11) Have you joined any groups? 
I have, but I've not actually introduced myself yet. Oh no! I'm a stalker, aren't I.

I Tag:

You. Yes, you. The one sitting in front of the computer screen.

I was tagged by Overflowing Bookshelves.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Top Ten Series I Have Yet To Finish

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Top Ten Series I Have Yet To Finish

This week was a 'rewind' week, where we look back over the previous topics and choose one. I narrowed this down to three choices quite easily, but then I started having some problems. What to pick, what to pick. Finally, I jumped aboard with this one. So here we go. (Roughly in order of my least favorite to my favorite.)

10) The Lord of the Rings Series by J.R.R. Tolkien
Even though I loved the movies and fantasy is my genre, I met the first book in this series with a 'meh' response. I do plan on reading the rest - if only to say I have.

9) Study Series by Maria V. Snyder
I found the first book to be good, but not great, and have put off buying any more in the series because of all the people that thought the first book was the best in the series.

8) Magnificent Devices Series by Shelley Adina
While I do love this series, I'm beginning to wish the books would finally wrap up - or at least the romance that it getting dragged out nearly endlessly would be resolved.

7) Finishing School Series by Gail Carriger
I've read and enjoyed the first two in this series and am just waiting for the third one that releases at the end of this year.

6) Tales of the Ketty Jay Series by Chris Wooding
Although we got off to a bumpy start, I wound up really enjoying the first book in the series and am excited to see what happens next.

5) The Emperor's Edge Series by Lindsay Buroker
I've only read the first one, but it was such a fun book that I'm really looking forward to the next one. And it's not like I was infatuated with an assassin or anything.

4) The Rithmatist Series by Brandon Sanderson
Bought the book. Loved the book. Realized that the second in the series doesn't release until 2015. Felt like I was going to die.

3) Ice Age Cycle Series by Jeff Grubb
Although I loved, seriously loved, the first two books in the series, the third and final is so ridiculously expensive - as it is out of print - that I haven't gotten to read it yet. 

2) Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas
The first book in this series was so awesome and I am really, really looking forward to clearing a couple more books from my shelf so I can read the second one.

1) The Riyria Revelations Series by Michael J. Sullivan
I love this series. Right from the first book (Crown Conspiracy) I knew I was on to something great. For me, this is exactly what I love in my fantasy novels. We've got a pair of wonderful Heterosexual Life Partners in Hadrian and Royce, lots of sword fights and battle scenes and an eclectic cast of secondary characters.

This was really fun to put together and it made me realize that I still have quite a few series to finish.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Mini-Review: Invoking Darkness by Jeanne Cavelos

Invoking Darkness by Jeanne Cavelos
Series: The Passing of the Techno-Mages #3)
Published by Ballantine Books
Pages: 357
Genre: Sci-Fi
Rating: Good
Add on Goodreads

In this desperate, apocalyptic battle, there's no telling who will be the victor: Or if there will be any survivors at all... (from back cover)

It cannot be an easy task writing a media tie-in novel to a series like B5. This third and final installment in the Techo Mage series takes place roughly during the last half of season three of the TV show. Though I don't know when, exactly, it starts, mentions of certain battles and Anna and Z'ha'dum make that much of the timeline clear. While that in and of itself is fine, considering that most of this book has the Shadows as the main antagonist(s), you don't get a full ending - because these are battles that had to be fought on the show.

Also, this series is something of a prequel to the B5 spin-off series Crusade - as the main character is Galen, one of the main characters from Crusade. Now, Galen was my favorite character from Crusade, but I've never had the best luck with character deconstructions. Really for a prequel to work, the character has to be the same as they were in the media that you originally saw them in, but they also have to be different so you can have the chance to see how they grew into the character you know. Honestly, I never got the feeling that this was Galen. The character is very little (if at all) like he was in Crusade. At least until the last thirty or so pages when I was finally able to see the character from Crusade in his actions.. And, really, the ending just opened up even more questions for me as to what happened/happens to the Techno-Mages. Now, did I enjoy this book? Of course, it was Babylon 5. Do I think this actually added anything to the universe? Not really, no.

Read as part of the following challenges: Goodreads challenge & Book Bingo & Key Word Challenge & Series Challenge

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Mini-Review: High King's Tomb by Kristen Britain

High Kings Tomb by Kristen Britain
Series: Green Rider #3
Published by Fantasy DAW
Pages: 643
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: Meh
Add on Goodreads

Dresses could be fixed, but pride was more difficult to patch back together.

Honestly, this was a really painful book to review because while I saw flashes of brilliance in the first in the series and the second was shaping up to be a really fun series, this one feels like it just keeps repeating everything. The people are seeming to stagnate and the story itself is now moving along at a snails pace. I don't know how many times I was sitting there going 'haven't I read this before? Like forty pages ago?'. Now, I do understand that the more times something is repeated - for example, a certain obsession that one of the characters have, or maybe the fact that a Green Rider doesn't like horses - the more ingrained it is with the character. However, after awhile, all the times those thoughts/actions repeated it just started to feel like padding to make the book hit that six hundred page mark.

With the removal of the major villain at the end of the last story - gone for now, anyways - the 'bad guys' of this story seem very...tame. And human. Which leads me to wonder how stupid the 'good guys' have to be to not see what's going on and stop it. Really, the meat of this story could have been squished down to a hundred and fifty or two hundred pages, at most, without loosing anything. I guess that this book - the third in a projected five book series - suffers from that 'second-book-syndrome' that the second book of most trilogies have. I did intend to give this book a 'good' rating but then I realized that I was only doing that out of fond remembrance of the first two books in the series. I did enjoy parts of this book, but other parts felt as though they had to be slogged through. (And I won't even go into how long it took me to read this book.) I don't know when - or, in all truth, if - I'll be reading the next book in this series.

Challenges this book was read as part of: Goodreads challenge & Book Bingo & Lucky No.14

I, in fact, will not read the fourth book in this series. Out of curiosity I read a few reviews over at Goodreads about Blackveil and it has officially lost any chance of me ever reading it. No. Just no. These three books are coming off my shelf also. No reason to have them there. More of a reason not to.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Top Ten Reasons I Love Being A Blogger/Reader

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Top Ten Reasons I Love Being A Blogger/Reader

I'm fairly new at this. I just started this blog back in January, so, yeah...Newbie. Anyways, I'll give this week's list a go. (Not in order - just wrote them down as I thought of them.)

#10 I love being a blogger because:
Everyone is so friendly. This is a very open, welcoming community - and as someone new to it, I can really appreciate how willing to talk to a 'new kid' everyone has been.

#9 I love being a blogger because:
Throughout most of my life I have had one obsession: books. Giving me the opportunity to talk the ear off like-minded people is one of the best things ever.

#8 I love being a blogger because:
I have found so many new books thanks to other blogs - so many books that I never would have read otherwise.

#7 I love being a reader because:
The all encompassing reason is: living vicariously. I've always loved being transported to another world and time. I love the adventure that books hold.

#6 I love being a reader because:
I love books. Not just the printed words that they hold, but books themselves. I love the smell of new books; as well as the scent from dusty old books (just excuse my allergies if they start acting up). I love the feel of a book in my hands. I love the cover of books. I love the way a book, new or lovingly read, looks sitting on my shelf.

#5 I love being a reader because:
It makes me smarter. Seriously, I've learnt so many things from books. There are things I never would have known otherwise and words that I never would have been able to use. (No, I don't mean those words.)

#4 I love being a reader because:
So, you have to sit in a waiting room for five minutes? Maybe you need to pass the time as you wait for a ride? Why not grab a book. Reading makes the time fly by so much faster and it doesn't take a lot of effort to be prepared with a book.

#3 I love being a blogger because:
I'm kind of over-the-top when it comes to organizing stuff. I love being able to have a place that I can keep track of what I've read and what I thought of it. Also, very helpful in deciding what series I should continue and what book I should reread.

#2 I love being a blogger because:
I love hearing opinions on books I've read or plan to read. No one I know off the internet reads as much as I do and, honestly, they don't read many of the same types of books that I do. I love reading what others say about the books - though that usually only serves to get me more excited for the book.

#1 I love being a reader because:
I love getting to know the world and the characters that the author created. Really, when you read a really in-depth book, you learn more about the characters than you know about anyone in your life and, quite possibly, even more than you know about yourself. And the worlds...Yeah, sometimes I know more about them than I do my own as well. Seriously, as me the names of the rulers in some of my favorite fantasy books and I could talk for hours about how this person outranks this person in that regard but not in this one.

What do you love about being a blogger/reader?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Mini-Review: The Emerald Storm by Michael J. Sullivan

The Emerald Storm by Michael J. Sullivan
Series: The Riyria Revelations #4
Published by Ridan Publishing
Pages: 375
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: Awesome, Epic and Amazing (man, I just love this series so much...)

Add on Goodreads

A message is intercepted. A sinister plan launched. Two thieves stand in the way. (from Goodreads synopsis)

Okay, so I've read the three previous books in this series and loved them. I'm not surprised that this was no different. I really don't want to give much in the way of spoilers for this book or the others in the series. (Really, I'm only doing this review as part of my challenge series'.)

In this book, our thieves Hadrian and Royce find themselves in the middle of yet another huge mess. This time a good portion of the story takes place on a ship and then in a heretofore unexplored region of the land. Both points are things I really liked as it gives you a bit more information on the amazing world that Mr. Sullivan created. I also liked this because you get a little more information on one of the characters and just where she might come from. And there's a small, sadistic part of me that finds amusement in a miserable Royce. Humanizes him. (Sorry, Royce.)

Read as part of these challenges: Goodreads & Book Bingo & Series.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Wishlist Wednesday #1

Hosted here.

Synopsis: Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. 

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future. (taken from Goodreads)

I honestly cannot wait to get this book on my shelf. Next time I order books, I am buying it. So, anyway, it was probably the cover that first caught my attention - I just love the look of that robotic leg through a translucent stocking. It sounds like a rather unique take on the Cinderella story and although that wasn't one of my favorite fairy tales, this sounds beyond cool.

So, what do you think? Have you read Cinder? Liked it? Didn't like it? Interested in it but haven't read it yet?

I don't think anything you tell me would dull my interest in it, but if I hear from too many people that it was really good, by wishing for it might reach a fever pitch...

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Top Ten Books That Will Make You Swoon

Hosted here.

Top Ten Books That Will Make You Swoon

Okay, this is a little embarrassing, but I actually looked up the definition of 'swoon' in my dictionary. It said something like 'preparing to faint'. Yeah, I've adored books, but none has ever made me feel like that. However... I grabbed my trusty thesaurus and one of the words connected to swoon was 'giddy'. Okay, that one I can totally relate to. I have read books that made me giddy. Just ask the people that have to deal with me after I read them. Anyways, here we go...

10: Poison Study by Maria V. Synder
One word: Valek. This is the only book on this list solely because of the guy. Seriously, him and his relationship to Yelena are about all I remember from this book.

9: Vanish With The Rose by Barbara Michaels
I loved this book, but I also loved the relationship between the two main characters. And, it was really awesome to see a main guy with the personality that this one had. Never thought he'd get the girl.

8: Magnificent Devices by Shelley Adina
Besides having the creep finally get his comeuppance, there was also a couple of very romantic - or, at least, almost very romantic - moments between the two I certainly hope becomes a couple in the book. I just wish their relationship wasn't dragging so much...

7: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin
The only thing I can say is, perhaps I should reread this book. It's on this list because I remember how it made me feel when I first read the book. Of course, I was around fourteen at the time and, well... Quite different about romance than I am now.

6: The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
Okay, so this book isn't on the list because of any romance or 'swoon worthy' characters, though they are all awesome. This book is here because it had me enthralled from the very first page. Honestly, it's the book itself and the world that was created that I was giddy over.

5: Voyage of the Morning Dawn by Rich Wulf
Another book that's kind of on this list for an odd reason. While I did have a bit of a thing for the main guy, I was completely and totally giddy over the technology in this book. Yeah, I know, how odd can you get. But they have airships. Powered by magic. Sort of...

4: Nyphron Rising by Michael J. Sullivan
While there were some genuinely heartbreaking moments in this book, what I remember most is the way I was in stitches of laughter. Seriously, even my mom, who happened to be around whilst I was reading at one point, has to comment about it. (Yes, it was giddy laughter.)

3: Timeless by Gail Carriger
I love it when books give the secondary characters their own storylines. It's even better when two characters that are so obviously meant for each other, each of whom have to do some healing, are paired off romantically. Besides, Ivy's hats speak for themselves (and if they don't make you faint, nothing will).

2: The Camelot Caper by Elizabeth Peters
One of the first books I ever read by this author and it still remains one of my favorites to this day. Honestly, any book by Elizabeth Peters could go on this list because I always just love the relationships between the characters in her books. And she usually has such dashing men.

1: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Oh, this book was just so much fun. Really, it was also kind of an oddity because besides having very, very awesome guys, the girl in this book was just wonderful too. This was one of those 'I love these characters' type of books for me.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Review: The Beautiful and the Cursed by Page Morgan

The Beautiful and the Cursed by Page Morgan
Series: The Dispossessed #1
Published by Delacorte Press
Pages: 341
Genre: Historical/Horror (YA)
Rating: Good, but borderline Meh
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Ingrid and Gabby have traveled to Paris with their mother. However, their brother Grayson, who left England ahead of them to find a suitable place for them to live, has gone missing. And no one seems concerned. However, with her twin connection to him, Ingrid knows Grayson's alive. And that something is wrong. Her fears don't abate when she sees the 'suitable' living arraignments he chose for them: An old, ruined abbey with gargoyle statues.

'So this was what a nightmare looked like by the light of day.'

Honestly, I don't know what to make of this book. I was doing really well with it until the last seventy-five or so pages. It seemed that everything I had been having slight problems with, but was generally able to ignore, hit me full force in those last pages. When I say that, I mostly mean Luc.

The major reason I was interested in this book - and I think this is true for many other people - was because of the gargoyles. France used to be the country I was interested in - for probably a good eight or ten years. I read a lot about its history, I studied the language a little. And yes, I read about gargoyles. I've even got two little gargoyles in my bedroom. One's a stone one that I think is supposed to be out in your yard or garden, the other is paper mache with burlap wings that I think I bought around Halloween five or six years ago. So yes, I am quite interested in gargoyles.

This book really seemed like it was going to be perfect for me. For one thing, I just mentioned wanting more groups in YA fiction (Top Ten Tuesdays: Reading Wishlist) and this story actually followed four people. That's right, there were four people whose heads we got to get inside of on a regular basis. That was probably my favorite thing about this book. Plus, there were several other major characters that we didn't get inside the head of, but that did play large parts in the story. So that was great.

I also really, really liked how things weren't kept as secrets just for secrets sake. Yeah, there were things that some of the characters didn't know, but it seemed like if something was pertinent to the situation, the people that needed to know would be told. There was no added drama because someone was keeping secrets from everyone else. So nice.

The setting was completely new to me. It's been a long time since I read a historical book without it being marketed as steampunk and I've never read a historical novel set in Paris. However, I found the world that Ms. Morgan created to be a little off-putting - just the way things were done was very unsettling for me. That being said, the book had a delightfully creepy feel. It wasn't scary (least not in my opinion) but atmospheric.

As for the characters, Gabby and Vander were my favorites. Gabby's just so vibrant and she really takes to everything splendidly. Vander is such a gentleman and a real calming influence compared to some of the other characters - plus he manages his uncle's bookstore. (Yeah, like that wasn't going to make me fall in love with him right there.)

I tolerated most of the other people, though I did think when I first met them that Ingrid would be my favorite of the girls. After all, she was the mature one, the one that likes to read... Really though, she never impressed me the way her younger sister did. Ingrid felt more like the typical leading female in a YA novel - a type I'm getting rather tired of. Speaking of tired of… Luc. I was willing to overlook his near possessiveness because of what he was but, as the story stretched on, I really started to hate him. The personality type is one I don't like and am just getting really feed up seeing.

Final notes? I can forgive a book better if the problems I have with it is dealt with early, as opposed to towards the end. This book was just clumping issues at the end for me.

Read as part of these challenges: Goodread challenge & Bingo challenge.