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text 2017-02-04 15:13
January Roundup
The Keeper's Price - Marion Zimmer Bradley,Jacqueline Lichtenberg,Jean Lorrah,Diana L. Paxson,Kathleen Williams,Elisabeth Waters,Linda Frankel,Susan M. Schwartz,Linda MacKendrick,Patricia Shaw Mathews,Cynthia McQuillin,Penny Ziegler,Paula Crunk,Eileen Ledbetter
Affaire Royale - Nora Roberts
Bay of Sighs (Guardians Trilogy) - Nora Roberts
Silver Phoenix - Cindy Pon
One Week in the Library - W Maxwell Prince,John Amor
Murder in Montparnasse - Kerry Greenwood
Mistletoe and Murder - Carola Dunn
The Witch's Daughter - Paula Brackston
The Witches of New York - Ami McKay
An Expert in Murder - Nicola Upson

So January's books... 33 in all

 

Fiction: 

The Keeper's Price by Marion Zimmer Bradley et al. Reminded me of a lot of what I enjoyed about Darkover, I kinda want to revisit...

 

Nora Roberts featured a few times, Affaire Royale, Command Performance and Playboy Prince were actually a 3-in-one copy; Bay of Sighs is a newer book and I found it interesting. 

 

Small Gods the Graphic Novel made me want to revisit the book.

 

Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon was a good read, interesting to read a story set in China.

 

The Discerning Gentleman's Guide by Virginia Heath was a good historical romance, though the title did make me snigger a little.

 

 

One Week in the library was somewhat underwhelming, I wanted more.

 

Murder in Montparnasse by Kerry Greenwood was not the best Phryne Fisher story but not bad either, you learn more about Phryne's past.

 

Mistletoe and Murder by Carola Dunn, the framing story was a bit strained but an interesting murder mystery.

 

Paula Brackston's The Witch's Daughter is an interesting twist on the long-lived supernatural, for a change set in England.

 

Awakening the Shy Miss by Bronwyn Scott was an okay historical romance.

 

House of Shadows by Jen Christie was a time-travelling paranormal romance.

 

Captivating the Witch by Michele Hauf was a paranormal romance between a demon and a witch.

 

Witches of New York by Ami McKay took a long time for me to get into and then left me a little underwhelmed.

 

The Lie by C.L. Taylor was a story of learning about real friendship, and how things can go terribly wrong.

 

An Expert in Murder by Nicola Upson was an interesting murder mystery featuring Josephine Tey and her friends.

 

Scarlet Widow by Graham Masterton featured some problematic sex.

 

The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents: Terry Pratchett does the Pied Piper.

 

Bound by Duty by Diane Gaston was a good historical romance.

 

A-Force Presents volume 1 - the first new introductions to female superheroes. Very mixed but interesting.

 

Lucifer - Mike Carey Volume 1 - I prefer the TV series

 

Lady Emma's Revenge - Fenella J Miller - a murder mystery wrapped in a historical romance.

 

A Match for Marcus Cynster - Stephanie Laurens A man discovers that he doesn't need to belittle a woman to be strong, enjoyed this one a lot.

 

Lascar's Dagger by Glenda Larke - interesting world with a cleric discovering a dagger has a mind of it's own.

 

Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart - based on fact it's an interesting read.

 

Non-Fiction:

Sink Reflections by Marla "Flylady" Cilley I found underwhelming.

 

Not my shame by T.O. Walker almost broke my heart, a woman facing up to her abuse.

 

The Awakening by Colm O'Connor was a very reflective piece and I found it made me think a lot about living.

 

Other-Wordly by Yee-Lum Mak was charming, illustrated unusual words from around the world.

 

Healing Fatty Liver Disease - exactly what it says.

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review 2016-10-25 23:00
Sacrifice
Sacrifice - Cindy Pon Sacrifice is the follow up to Serpentine, and it’s a nice continuation of the story. It’s an enjoyable story, and the setting is unique and well developed.

I'm annoyed that the focus of the story shifted from the friendship between Zhen Ni and Skybright to a love triangle between Skybright, Stone, and Kai Sen. One of the things I really liked about the first novel was the depiction of female friendship, so to see that shifted in favor of romance was irritating. I don’t generally mind love triangles in YA, I find that they’re good short-hand for the conflict going on inside the protagonist, however they are a bit cliche at this point.

There is also some really icky consent issues in the latter half of the novel. It’s a side part of the story, and there’s a weak attempt to justify it at the end, but I don’t think the justification negates the consent issue. Charm magic is used against one of the characters to make said character more fond of another character. It is later described as a real, loving relationship even though the character acknowledges that it started with a charm spell. It’s gross. However, as I said this story line isn’t really touched on with any depth. It’s a side story and the love in question isn’t romantic love, so Pon ignores the issues of consent that the story raises. Honestly, it was quite a sour note in the story and I wish that it had been better dealt with.
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review 2016-06-24 00:38
I was just kinda meh...
Serpentine - Cindy Pon

I got through about 67% of this book and just kinda of lost interest. After dragging my feet finishing it, I decided to DNF. I loved the world created and it had a lot of potential, but I felt like it was not fully realized and that at points, things were just being thrown at us...demons, ghosts, zombies....whatever else could be thrown in. I also like the characters..in concept...but I felt like while I am told about them and they are explained to me...I did not really FEEL them. Like I just felt a bit disconnected from the characters. It started of fine...but as it slowly went along....it just felt like I was apart from them. And with stories, you want to feel like you are there with that character. You want to feel something...whether it is love, hate, anger, annoyance at them...you want to feel it. I did not. At least not how I normally do. The writing of each character had a type of "sameness" They were spots of brightness and individuality, but not enough to make me feel kinda meh about all of the action. Don't know if I make sense...but bottom line...the story and characters did not pull me in enough for me to care one way or the other. I didn't hate it, I didn't love it. It was ok. Nothing really stood out to me. So it lead to a blah reading experience for me. I know plenty of people who loved this book, and highly rec it..so it might be just me. Bad timing. Wrong time to read it. Who knows. Just didn't work for me. But if someone wants more strong female characters, LGBTQ stories, and stories about POC set in someplace other than some European backdrop, then this might be for them.

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url 2016-04-29 02:22
Big News: I'm Going to Be in a Book!


HUGE news! I am going to be in a book! Specifically, I’m participating in the YA villain-themed anthology, Because You Love to Hate Me curated by Ameriie, which is being published in July 2017 by Bloomsbury simultaneously in the US and UK, and as an audiobook in the US and UK. I’m not participating as an author but as a booktuber/blogger. More information below the cut! Aaaah!



You can check out Ameriie's announcement video here (and the others at their individual channels & spaces). Also theofficial Publisher's Weekly announcement here.

Add Because You Love to Hate Me to your Goodreads shelf here.

THE AUTHORS INVOLVED:

  • Sarah Enni: Sarah is the creator & host of the First Draft Podcast, and will be making her debut YA writing appearance in BYLTM. 
 
You’d think that might be all the contributors to the anthology, but Because You Love to Hate Me is different from most anthologies. The above authors will be writing short stories based on villain-themed prompts provided by booktubers!

THE BOOKTUBERS INVOLVED: 

All booktubers will be paired with one author. They will write an introduction to that author’s story, and we’ve all already provided prompts for our authors to use as inspiration. You'll find out later who is paired with whom, and which villains are being used :).

Let me rave about this anthology. Can I just say how much I love this sort of creative collaboration among readers and authors? We’ve seen it in the community for things like Litographs fanart T-shirts, extra content based on reader votes / input, paperback pages printed as appreciation for reviewers, etc., but this is first story collaboration that I know of, and I think that’s really neat.

So, not only is this anthology cool because of the creative collaboration, but it’s also cool because OF ALL THOSE AUTHORS. Renée Ahdieh? Gorgeous, sensual writing that can add really great layers to characters and here, to a villain we love to hate! Soman Chainani? The School for Good and Evil has a great atmospheric start, and Chainani has already switched up the moral good/evil sides—I’m sure his villain will be compelling. Susan Dennard? Everyone at the Truthwitch launch had mentioned how the villain was intriguing and complex, and Susan will create something equally, if not more, exciting for this anthology! Marissa Meyer has already written a book on the villain of the Lunar Chronicles (aka Fairest), so her villain will be equally compelling. Uh, did you not see me ramble on about my love for Serpentine? Cindy Pon creates wonderful, multi-layered characters, and I can’t wait to read the villain she will write! Victoria Schwab! Vicious! Blurring the lines between what’s right and wrong, and who’s the bad guy – sounds like a recipe for creating another great villain! Samantha Shannon’s Bone Season series is on my all-time favorites list, and of course I’m excited to read about her villain! Adam Silvera has already dealt with moral ambiguity in More Happy Than Not: how does a place like the Leteo Institute exist? With his character-centric focus, Adam will create a great villain too. Andrew Smith has been compared to Kurt Vonnegut, so duh, he’ll create an awesome work. April Genevieve Tucholke has gorgeous, atmospheric writing and River from Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea was a fascinating, multi-layered morally ambiguous character, so hello awesome villain-to-be! Nicola Yoon created multi-layered characters in Everything, Everything and I’m excited to see where she’ll go next after such a powerhouse debut! Sarah Enni is making her YA fiction debut with the anthology, and that's really exciting too!

BUT YOU KNOW WHO I’M MOST EXCITED FOR? Ameriie. I’ve been Ameriie’s critique partner for about three and a half years now, and all of her work is fantastic! Great writing and characterization, fast-paced, multi-layered plots, thematic works with story at the forefront, and I can heap on so, so much more praise. She's definitely an upcoming author to watch :), and I can't wait to see what see comes up with too.

ARE YOU AS EXCITED FOR BECAUSE YOU LOVE TO HATE ME AS I AM? I hope so!
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review 2015-12-21 02:47
Serpentine by Cindy Pon
Serpentine - Cindy Pon

Oh my gosh, where do I start with this review? Serpentine by Cindy Pon was a book that reminded me of reasons why I fell in love with reading to begin with!

Author Cindy Pon’s writing completely and utterly drew me into a world filled with magic and Chinese mythology. Honestly, there wasn’t anything that I didn’t love about it. The characters all had personalities of their own that readers will love and hate, and the storyline is one that I just could not get enough of! And the action! Battles between monks and demons? Say whaaaaat? The slice of a sword, the swipe of claws, the screams of pain and the sounds of death…ugh! This book was just…perfection!

Imagine being a girl who, on her sixteenth year, learns that she is not exactly who (or what) she thought she was! That the life that she came to accept was nothing compared to the destiny that she was born to become.

All her life, Skybright has always been the handmaid to Zhen Liu, the daughter of a very wealthy and prominent family. Where, through the years, the two become as close as sisters. But when the time comes when Zhen Liu must take a husband, secrets unfold, not only for Zhen Liu, but for Skybright herself.

Unaware of who her parents were, Skybright has only known the life of being a handmaiden. But suddenly her world is turned upside down when she awakens to find herself with a tale of a serpent with her own upper body. Where rather than walking around, she is slithering along the ground and is able to smell and feel her surroundings in a completely different way.

The way in which the author describes her transformations was done on point. I could totally picture Skybright transforming from human to serpentine right before my eyes. I could imagine the pain and fear that goes through Skybright’s head. Her fear of being found out turned into my fear as well! Not only the fear of being found out by her household, but also by being found out by the man that she has feelings for.

The question of who to trust is constantly thrown in the picture which had me reading faster and faster to see which way the story would go. With Skybright finding out her lineage, to witnessing such a beautiful friendship, and watching Skybright’s acceptance of her destiny, Serpentine by Cindy Pon is a book that should be on everyone’s list of must reads. For some, the beginning may have been a slow start as the heart of the matter starts to unfold, but for me it was perfection! I was able to absorb myself slowly and more in-depth with the turn of each page.

This book is at the top of my MUST READ list. It’s amazing! You definitely need to check it out because OMG! If this book could be turned into a movie as exactly how it played out in my mind, that would be topping on the cake. Fans of fantasy and mythology will devour Serpentine by Cindy Pon. Read this book. Now. Run. Slither away and get a copy ASAP!

Source: www.chapter-by-chapter.com/blog-tour-serpentine-by-cindy-pon-interview-review-and-giveaway
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