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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-11-30 06:19
November 2018 — A Wrap-Up

 

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Cinder by Marissa Meyer

 

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.

 

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Johannes Cabal the Necromancer by Jonathan L. Howard

 

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!

 

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Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente

 

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!

 

 

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The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

 

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
marks.

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.

 

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My Soul to Keep by Rachel Vincent

 

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.

 

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Damned by Chuck Palahniuk

 

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?

 

As you can see, I didn’t do much reading this month. How did you fare?

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-03-03 11:30
Reading Anniversaries: First in a Series & Singles–January Edition

 

 

Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on March 3, 2018.

 

2012

 

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The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

 

I don't much remember what went on in this book, except there being a plot to replace the Queen with an automaton clone. Must have made an impression on me because I rated it 4 stars on GR. Oh, and the covers in the series are beautiful! I recently and reviewed the second book in this series.

 

 

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Must Love Hellhounds by Various Authors

 

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GR tells me that I loved most of the stories from this anthology. Must have been a good collection. I remember trying it out because it also included a story by Ilona Andrews -- a favorite author couple of mine.

 

 

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Frostbite by David Wellington

 

If you don't yet know that an awesome vampire series by David Wellington's exists, then you haven't been paying attention. Like the Laura Caxton series, this one is creepy AF. My GR review tells me I recommend it to:

 

                         people who like werewolves without the romance and cheesiness

 

I loved it and I don't even like horror much! Here, let my gushing adoration convince you that you need to try Wellington's books.

 

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Stray by Rachel Vincent

 

When I first read it, one of the most annoying things about this series was its heroine. She was a whiny, selfish brat who didn't care about the consequences of her action. One of the best things about it, as I continued to plod along, is how she changed! By the end of the series, the events have transformed her into the alpha her father always knew her to be. If that doesn't float your boat, maybe stay for all the violence and the gore? Oh, and did I mention that the series is complete? You can binge read it!

 

 

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The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan

 

Maybe I have a soft spot for tortured, lonely werewolves or maybe it's something else. Either way, I just completed this series. While the first had impressed me, the second and third fell short. All I'm saying is that even with the cliffhanger at the end of the first one, it can easily be read as a standalone.

 

2013

 

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Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

 

I have had much to say about the second book in this series on this blog. All good things, I promise. Therefore, it won't come as a surprise that I loved the first one, as well! The ending blew me away even when I have become so jaded about last-minute twists that change everything. Check this one out!

 

 

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He was a Hero, He Shouldn't have Died by Kenneth Mugi

 

If you asked me to describe this book in a word, I'd probably say weird. But wait, this is what I said in my review:

 

I got this book for free, in exchange for an honest review from Making Connections. Get your copy here.

 

This book is very different from the plethora of Paranormal novels out there- it turns the idea of Dorian Gray’s picture on its head.

 

What I really liked about it was that the touch of fantasy/paranormal elements didn’t overwhelm Kasumi’s story.

Another thing to like was that if the new edited version had any errors, I couldn’t find them.

 

There is enough humor to balance the darkness in the story.

 

I would have liked to see more of Morgan but watching Kasumi grow into her powers would be exciting too.

 

Hoping that there are some fight scenes in the next book!

 

This book isn’t for everybody but if you’d like to read something unique, give this one a whirl.

 

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The Gods Among Us by D.C. Belton

An old read, an old review:

 

The author was kind enough to give me a free review copy.

You know those books that you just don't wanna put down? Not because there's something exciting happening in the story or it is a good story...not only that but mostly because the writing flows and the story is being told so smoothly that you just read on and on. This book was such a book.

 

The parts I loved the most began when Pallas is aboard the ship and meets the crew. Their humor, lightheartedness and loyalty towards each other made them lovable.

I also liked that we're set up to hate Elena in the beginning of the story but we find out she has more depth and understands political intrigue much better than her younger sisters give her credit for.

 

Othello, I feared and hated just like I was supposed to. Even when I laughed at his antics, I wasn't less creeped out by him!

 

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About the gods and their machinations: a) I'm not yet sure if they're actually deities and not humans who know what opposable thumbs are, b) they just don't care whose life they ruin, do they? Even Pallas who claims not to believe in gods & goddesses can't escape their schemes!

 

Pallas keeps mentioning how her father must miss her and I couldn't shake the feeling that there's something wrong there. Poor Pallas!

 

What would have made the book even better was a little more world building, maybe? Or a map, so we could understand what this world is like even better.

 

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Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Lovely, fun at times and sad at other times, quirky as heck read. I liked it, maybe you would too?

 

Well, those were my faves from the past years. You can also find reviews of books from 2018 that stuck with me. 

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text 2018-02-03 04:35
Reading progress update: I've read 78%.
My Soul to Keep - Rachel Vincent

"He dug in, and I watched, amused by the thought that Death had a sweet tooth."

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text 2018-02-03 02:38
Reading progress: 9%.
My Soul to Keep - Rachel Vincent

This paranormal or urban fantasy series has some interesting worldbuilding and I like the heroine's sense of self and maturity -- which usually makes up for the too-young-fir-me-high-school setting with some mean girls.  This entry is edging toward my impatience with some high school stuff and turning a blind eye to what some boys get by with.

 

I feel this, though:

"From noon to four, we’d be selling tickets and serving popcorn at the Cinemark in the never-ending quest for gas money. Which we spent going to and from work. It was a vicious cycle."

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review 2018-01-09 14:44
Book Review: Wild Card (Wildcats #3) By Rachel Vincent
Wild Card (Wildcats Book 3) - Rachel Vincent

 

This was the story I never knew I wanted, but I'm so glad to have! I love the Shifters series and this spin-off series has been a dream come true! The universe the author created is incredible and complex. I want to get to know the intricacies of it all. The characters are also so fun to get to know.

 

I didn't remember Kaci from the Shifters series because of how much time has passed since I read those books. Though I am very impressed with how she turned out and how overprotective Marc is over her. Her reality was somewhat sad and dull. It was clear no toms wanted her. She took the first opportunity she had to do something drastic and I love her for it.

 

I mentioned in my review of the second book in this series that I wanted a happy ending for Justus and I got it! I was so excited when I realized this was also his story! I like how he was patient, caring and adventurous. He would do any and everything in his power to help Kaci and he's proved it a time or two already.

 

For the next few books in this series, I'd like to see more of Titus's pack (Mississippi Valley Pack). I'd love it if a few of his enforcers/people could fall in love with a tabby or human. I love the world this author created and I want to continue reading more about it!

 

My Favorite Quotes:

 

"Sometimes things go wrong. Sometimes home isn't where you always thought it would be."

 

"Having something and losing it is worse than never having it in the first place."

 

"She's not traumatized. She's...scarred. Healed. She's strong, and she's smart."

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