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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-11-03 21:41
Reading Anniversaries & First-in-a-Series — July Edition

 

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

 

2017

20898019

 

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson

 

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.

 

Read my reviews of other volumes here and here.

 

180995

 

Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes by Thomas Cathcart, Daniel Klein

 

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.

 

2015

 

18748058

 

Alex + Ada by Jonathan Luna

 

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.

 

2014

 

6931246

 

Kraken by China Miéville

 

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!

 

13480659

 

Helens of Troy by Janine MsCaw

 

** spoiler alert **


What I liked: T
he 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: T
he 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!

17235026

 

The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

 

** 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!

 

2013

 

41804

 

I, Robot by Isaac Asimov

 

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.

 

 

13239822

 

Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson

 

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.

 

 

8442457

 

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

 

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.

 

2213661

 

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

 

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.

 

 

11

 

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

 

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.

 

5470

 

1984 by George Orwell

 

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.

 

2012

 

13627273

 

Wastes of Space by Darcy Town

 

Wow!
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!

 

 

155421

 

Something from the Nightside by Simon R. Green

 

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!

 

More reviews here and here.

 

 

8390526

 

Akhet by H.L. Reasby

 

** 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.

 

13538873

 

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

 

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.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-10-03 10:56
Reading Anniversaries & First-in-a-Series — June Edition

 

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

 

 

2018

 

12033364

 

 

Soulless: The Manga, Vol. 1 by Gail Carriger

 

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.

 

2015

 

4961959

 

The Dresden Files: Storm Front, Volume 1: The Gathering Storm by Jim Butcher

 

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

 

2013

 

421129

 

Undead and Unwed by MaryJanice Davidson

 

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!

 

 

9591398

 

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

 

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!

 

 

15783514

 

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

 

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.

 

 

218677

 

Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon by Spider Robinson

 

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.

 

2012

 

13455284

 

The Emerald City by J.A. Beard

 

** 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.

 

 

13297514

 

Undermountain by Eric Kent Edstrom

 

** 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!

2011

 

8366402

 

The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht

 

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!

 

So those were my faves from various Junes of various years. Hope you had fun reading about it!

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-08-24 14:12
Reading Anniversaries & First-in-a-Series — May Edition

 

Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on August 24, 2018. 

 

2017

 

18665033

 

The Gospel of Loki by Joanne Harris

 

My review said it all but if it didn’t, check out my love for Loki here!

 

 

38447

 

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

 

My review can be found here.

 

 

2015

 

19000898

 

The Dinosaur Lords by Victor Milán

 

Find the review here!

 

2013

 

28187

 

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

 

The Percy Jackson series remains a favorite. Here’s why

 

2012

 

297929

 

Urban Shaman by C. E. Murphy

 

My review of this series is here.

 

 

7945523

 

Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi

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.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-03-13 06:17
Reading Anniversaries: First in a Series & Singles – March Edition

 

Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on March 12, 2018.

 

2017

 

15195

 

The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman

Find my review here

 

 

 

25667918

 

 

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

Review here

 

16029965

 

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

 My review

 

 

234225

 

Dune by Frank Herbert

FirstSecondThird, and Fourth parts.

 

 

2892446

 

All Flesh Is Grass by Clifford D. Simak

The review

 

 

2016

 

668473

 

The Chameleon’s Shadow by Minette Walters

I love reading books by this author because they portray human interaction in all its forms. They bring out what most of us would prefer that it remained hidden the darkest corners of her hearts. The stories show how people are capable of kindness in the unlikeliest of situations. But they also show what we’d do when we think no one is watching. With issues like the mistreatment of transgenderschild rape, and oppression of women, these stories hit you like a sledgehammer. You realize there is nothing fictional about her fiction. This story is no different. It deals with the fragmentation of a person’s psyche after returning home from a war. War breaks something inside you, no matter which side you are on.

 

 

2015

 

6567017

 

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green

Really fun book!

 

 

47510

 

The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones

I don’t remember much about this one but the fact that it makes fun of everything that has become cliché in epic fantasy.

 

 

2013

 

 

4137

 

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Sedaris books are funny af.

 

 

2012

 

12993240

 

How Gods Bleed by Shane Porteous

An old review:

 

Loved this book!
the book is about people belonging to a city that is the first line of defense for humans. If the werewolves ever tried to take over the human empire, this would be where the first battle would take place. Naturally, the people living in such a place have to be extraordinary-always alert and ready to defend. Add to that a king who would do anything to ensure his people’s survival and warriors who worship him. Could it be more awesome?Yes, it can. The king not only wants to win every war, he also plans to make the werewolves fear him and his warriors. The tricks and maneuvers that the king uses to instill fear in the werewolves are just.. wow! Then there is Cada Varl- the coolest immortal you’ll ever read about. He’s the best and yet he never gloats but just goes on being his rockin’ self! And of course, the 6 Helluvan warriors (poor 7th best warrior) were just that..one helluva adventure!

 

 

13417545

 

Zombie Killa by Jason Z. Christie

I got this book for free from Making Connections to read and review:
I started the book and almost gave up right then. Not only did it start slow-but then Shaun of the Dead did too-it also had a lot of jargon and big nerdy words that I couldn’t get at all. And the first mention of Router wasn’t all that, either. Then the book picked up its pace and proved me wrong. Zombies, Pirates, Ninjas, Nerds, Smart-mouthed women..the story had everything! And it was exactly the right length. The humor was just my type and despite some (okay, many) references that I didn’t get, I loved it! Zombie fans, you just can’t miss this one!

Oh, I almost forgot “F**k you, High-C!”

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-03-06 08:07
Reading Anniversaries: First in a Series & Singles–February Edition

 

Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on March 6, 2018.

 

2015

 

24579884

 

Magno Girl by Joe Canzano

An old review:

 

What I Thought:

 

the book was about a female superhero…but the book was not from the superhero’s POV but the guy dating her!

 

some of the jokes and situations were too funny and silly — I loved them! — but the jokes did get tiring at the end

 

I enjoyed every conversation that Magno Girl had with her mother. They were all laugh out loud funny! It also made sense that Sandra would use the issues that Magno Girl had as a curse.

 

All kinds of discrimination were made fun of and I liked how the author made us see the silliness when it comes to advertising, pregnancy etc. but the MCs continuously joked about the short stature of one of the villains.

 

The character of the teenage girl who became increasingly vapid was fun to read about but her curse was made into such a big deal and then it was solved just like that!

Legalman was my favorite character — he would find a reason to sue you even if it killed him you!

 

I do not know what it was but I kept wanting to put the book away and could not gobble it in one go. I kept wanting to enjoy it and get hooked but that didn’t happen. That is why, I am rating it 2.5 rather than 3 stars. However, if you want to try something unusual and funny, Magno Girl is a good idea!

 

2014

 

15869500

 

Botanicaust by Tam Linsey

 

Another old review:

 

What I liked:

 

the concept this story was based on was really interesting and it didn’t disappoint, as I read ahead


the cover--suited!


all three races, if they can be called that, were as different as day and night but the most advanced ones-I forget what they’re called- were the scariest!


the author did research and it showed-I loved the part about telomerase and the chloroplasts, as well as the part about Ripening.


the ending wasn’t impractical-it was quite realistic


I sort of threw a tantrum when one of the little girls was taken by the cannibals-I’m pretty sure we’ll see her again, if there’s going to be a sequel but still!

 

What I didn’t like:

 

the whole people turning into cannibals part wasn’t too well-thought. If plants will grow in one place, surely people will work to grow them elsewhere.

 

If you want to read about photosynthesizing people, cannibals and an apocalyptic world, give this one a try-it doesn’t disappoint!

 

2013

 

7279365

 

Eona by Alison Goodman

 

Epic YA fantasy that is fun, not just about winning the boy, and about an imperfect protag. She also happens to have powers that have been denied to women of that world ever since the beginning of time. This series broke tradition in another way i.e. by not being a trilogy but was instead a duology! I devoured it and then reached for the second one. Recommending it recently to a friend made me realize that its magic remained in place!

 

 

8908

 

World War Z by Max Brooks

 

Huh, so I did write a review for this one back when I read it:

 

This book is all kinds of good. I love the scope of the book since it gives you a global perspective of a zombie apocalypse. It also follows the progression of the zombie infection as it spread universally. Moreover, it sketches a situation that has its roots based on reality, when talking about the aftermath of the infection.

 

An addendum:

Looking at the world today, I think it wouldn’t be remiss if I objected that the two countries to start a nuclear war would be Pakistan and India. The rest of the world presents us with more likely candidates!

 

2012

 

9361589

 

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

 

People have called it verbose and boring. But I found the writing lyrical and the magic of love…well magical! The book made quite an impression on me.

 

 

7940988

 

Zombie Nights by Tom Lichtenberg

 

An old review:

 

This is a highly entertaining short story and instantly made me want to start reading other books by the same author. The author didn’t waste time in describing things that weren’t important to the story and I loved how he was able to let us feel how dangerous the bad guys/bullies were, even while laughing at them. All I’m saying is I want more!

 

 

943402

 

Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

 

Another one:

 

Okay, so I want to rate this book 4 stars but what stopped me was my pet peeve-unnecessary details involving characters who weren’t important to the story. Other than that, the book is amazing for several reasons:


the vampire is a little girl (almost)-who wouldn’t want to read about that, right?
the vampire kills and there’s no covering that up-no sexy smooth talking vegetarians here.


you connect with both the kids intensely-when Oskar gets bullied, I wanted to go save him.


the violence and the sadness and the loneliness just gets to you..chokes you up and keeps you reading.


be warned, you WILL need Teddy Bears if you want to get through this book with the least bit of depression


the ending..well it takes the cake!

 

I haven’t seen the movie yet (any version)and will add to my review once I do.

 

 

1421990

 

Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

 

This one too:

 

Loved this book!!


The story opened in the perfect way.


I loved every bit of the action and of course, it had one of my most favorite things in it-a kick ass, smart-mouthed heroine.


I did not like Bones right away. But gradually, he became awesomer and more awesome.
Another thing which always tips the scales for me is good humor and this book had that down pat.


I also loved Spades and would want to read more about him and meet Ian.


There was no one big bad wolf until the very end and I liked that–it made the story more interesting.


Oh and I hated the mom’s guts like I was supposed to.


It was only the too-typical ending that kept me from rating this book 4 stars.

 

Onward to the next one!

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