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review 2018-10-21 12:19
Rambling Thoughts: Discount Armageddon
Discount Armageddon - Seanan McGuire

Discount Armageddon

by Seanan McGuire
Book 1 of InCryptid

Ghoulies.  Ghosties.  Long-legged beasties.  Things that go bump in the night... and that's just the beginning.  The Price family has spent generations studying the monsters of the world, working to protect them from humanity—and humanity from them.  Enter Verity Price.  Despite being trained from birth as a cryptozoologist, she'd rather dance a tango than tangle with a demon, and is spending a year in Manhattan while she pursues her career in professional ballroom dance.

Sounds pretty simple, right?  It would be, if it weren't for the talking mice, the telepathic mathematicians, the asbestos supermodels, and the trained monster-hunter sent by the Price family's old enemies, the Covenant of St. George.  To complicate matters further, local cryptids are disappearing, strange lizard-men are appearing in the sewers, and someone's spreading rumors about a dragon sleeping underneath the city...

A lifetime of training isn't enough to prepare Verity for what's ahead—especially not for Dominic De Luca, the Covenant's newest operative.  When a Price girl meets a Covenant boy, high stakes, high heels, and a lot of collateral damage are almost guaranteed. 

I haven't been so giddy about a book, or a series, even, in a very long time.  Well... I take that back.  I'm sure I've had this reaction about a lot of other books recently, but Discount Armageddon just hit all the right spots so well that I ended up absolutely loving it!  This book was just so, so much fun to read, and I'm glad I picked it up for this year's Halloween Bingo game!

I'm a little abashed to admit that for a few seconds I vacillated between a 4.0 Star rating and what I eventually ended up giving this book: 4.5 Stars!  I'm not sure what the exact workings are in my mind, but I decided to just go on FEELS, and my FEELS told me that this book was worth ALL THE STARS.

This book isn't perfect, by any means, but it's darn near perfect enough to satisfy all of my particular needs.

I'm actually quite happy about this, to be honest, if only because I've never truly had a great standing with urban fantasies, as much as I would have loved to have a better relationship with them.  I love the concept of urban fantasies, and I've always wanted to find a great book series that would work for me.  I've always wanted to find a great television series in the urban fantasy genre that would work for me.

Obviously, I haven't been really looking in the right places.  As Discount Armageddon would prove, there's an urban fantasy out there for me after all.  Not that I've gone through a whole lot of them, but the ones I have tried to start never really stuck.  Even if I liked the first book, it was never compelling enough for me to continue the series, for one reason or another.  Namely, the romances never sit well with me, and a lot of times the side characters seem like a group of background cardboard cutouts.

The last urban fantasy I tried to start reading had a broody jackass of a male love interest that really didn't do anything for me.  And then I committed the ultimate sin of perusing reviews and summaries of the next few books just to find out that the jackass of a male love interest gets swapped out for a different jackass love interest...  Needless to say, that ruined my expectations and I never went back to that particular series.

But that is neither here, nor there, now.

Discount Armageddon had all the right elements that kept me wanting more, and had me wanting to find the next book and continue into the series--which, at the posting of this review, is exactly what has already happened!

Verity is the typical sassy, sarcastic, kickass female you will see in most urban fantasy stories.  But what I loved about her the most is that she also seems pretty down-to-earth, with the right amount of kickass, the right amount of sarcastic, and the right amount of just simple regular girl-next-door... if girl-next-door is a cryptozoologist who hunts monsters by night, waits tables at a strip club by day, and enters the occasional ballroom dance competitions.

Her random quips and one-liners sometimes got a little much, but were still extremely appreciated.

On top of having a great heroine in Verity, the rest of the characters were all unique and fun and interesting in their own right.  They didn't just hang around in the background, waiting to be part of the story, they were absolutely there as part of the world.  Everyone from Sarah, Verity's adopted cousin who is a Cuckoo; to Candy, the arrogant and grudge-holding Dragon Princess; to Verity's entire family; to even Dominic, the love interest.

Everyone had a colorful background, everyone had a purpose, and everyone is interesting enough on their own that I'd love to read books about all of them.

I can't wait to meet Antimony, Verity's baby sister; the baby sister who spent her childhood terrorizing her elder siblings by setting traps and snares on them for fun.  I'm not as interested in Alex--he didn't have as many fun traits as Antimony was described to have, but we'll see when we get to his books.

Coming back to the love interest, I found I really came to like Dominic.  As Verity had mentioned, he's got a learning curve and is willing to open his mind outside of what he's learned from growing up in the Covenant.  He starts off as kind of a jackass, but that was coming from his lifetime of ignorance.  I like that he's developing, step-by-step, and doesn't just sweep into the book as an asshole out to be an asshole just because he can.  And I like that Verity doesn't immediately start falling for him; that it takes that little bit-by-bit revelation that Dominic can be convinced to be open-minded and start understanding the world without Covenant-colored glasses.

The story itself didn't have a lot of direction in it until a good ways into the books.  Once it did, the action kept going at a fast enough pace to be exciting until the very end.  It's a nice intriguing mystery to go with the book, focusing on the missing female cryptids, and ending on an interesting bang.  I'm extremely looking forward to what the next book brings with the looming threat of the Covenant's possible purging of cryptid's from Manhattan hanging there.

Finally, as I bring this chaotic rambling to a close, I'm just going to say one last thing:

Aeslin mice.  Everyone should have their own colony of them.  Because I haven't been as enamored of a fictional, fantasy creature since Jayne Castle's dust bunnies were a thing.





Halloween Bingo 2018
(any supernatural creature, from Ammit to Ziz)

Other possible squares:  Shifters; Supernatural; Amateur Sleuth; Terrifying Women



Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/10/rambling-thoughts-discount-armageddon.html
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review 2018-10-21 08:54
#55 - Cinder by Marissa Meyer (reread)
Cinder - Marissa Meyer

I decided to re-read the Lunar Chronicles because it is one of my favourite series ever. And I still love it as much as the first time I read it.


I fell in love with this story and its characters all over again. If you have never read this series I totally recommend it to you. If you love sci-fi and YA, you won’t be disappointed!


The whole series is inspired by fairy tales (Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel & Snow White, but there are also a lot of things that reminded me of Star Wars in there!)


I don’t really know what more to say about it, I think I already wrote a review that you can probably find on the blog. Also, as I have already finished the entire series there are things I know are going to happen so I am afraid of revealing spoilers.


I definitely recommend this series if you have not read it yet because it is totally amazing.

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review 2018-10-20 19:26
A feasting soucouyant?
White is for Witching - Helen Oyeyemi


White is for witching, a colour to be worn so that all other colours can enter you, so that you may use them.


Creepy, intriguing, mysterious, frustrating, and melancholy, White is for Witching had a very strong start that sagged a bit in the middle and then ultimately puttered out into its own enigmatic mysteries.


Miranda can’t come in today Miranda has a condition called pica she has eaten a great deal of chalk—she really can’t help herself—she has been very ill—Miranda has pica she can’t come in today, she is stretched out inside a wall she is feasting on plaster she has pica try again:


To me, the house (and any real or imagined non-human inhabitants) is the sun with Miranda being Mercury, her twin brother Eliot as Venus, and their father Earth. Secondary characters such as a friend Miranda makes at college called Ore would be a moon of Mercury and the housemaid Sade could be a comet. This is an odd way to place the characters but I don't want to spoil too much of the story but still give an idea of the story's placement of characters.


The way this story is written and structured is different, povs from mainly Miranda, Eliot, and the house (yes, the house has a pov), flow in and out with blips from Sade, Ore, and maybe a couple other minor ones I am forgetting. You need to be on your game to fully understand who is talking but even then, things can get confusing with possible unreliable narrators and not knowing what is real and mental health issues.


The horror of the story is that there is a house that is possibly haunted, maybe by a soucouyant (a witch in Caribbean folklore), maybe by a curse on the female line of a family, and maybe simply a daughter that lost her mother and is spiraling down a mental health destructive hole. This story centers on women, their strengths and weaknesses; Eliot plays a good sized role but he is still clearly on the sidelines along with his father who is ineffectual in his drowning grief for his wife.


They were naked except for corsets laced so tightly that their desiccated bodies dipped in and out like parchment scrolls bound around the middle. They stared at Miranda in numb agony. Padlocks were placed over their parted mouths, boring through the top lip and closing at the bottom. Miranda could see their tongues writhing.


The beginning had me captured with Eliot leading us into the story about how his mother died and how his sister is withering away because she seems only able to eat chalk. From Eliot's point of view it seems more like a mental health issue with occasional povs from the house and Miranda popping in to make you believe in the shiver going up your spine. The middle starts to transition to more of Miranda's point of view, her struggles with her mental health and the house, along with looks at Miranda's female ancestors.


When Miranda leaves the house for a little while is when the story started to lose me a bit. Sade and Ore get added to the story, I thought Ore was too late of an additive and even though she brought an outside look and probably worked to more definitively answer the mental health or truly haunted question, I missed the atmosphere of the house and Eliot with Miranda.


I’m to go home. The house wants me,” she cried. The moonlight made her look blue. It made her look as if she was dead. She opened my window and sat herself on the ledge; she dangled her bare legs over it. We were four floors up.


I don't know how many have watched the tv series The Leftovers but this story gave me the same kind of feelings. Majorly intriguing start, with questions, mysteries, and interesting characters everywhere, only to maybe out write themselves and end up leaving a lot up in the air in a way that devalues the story.


As far as giving you the heebie jeebies, this will definitely do it, some scenes had me looking hard into dark corners in my house. As far as the characters sticking with me, probably not, as they didn't quite become fully fleshed out to me. I do know I would love to see this made into a limited series, Netflix get on that, the psychomanteum room scenes would be chilling good.


That was the first and last time I’ve heard my own voice.

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review 2018-10-19 13:09
#54 - A Reaper a the Gates y Sabaa Tahir
A Reaper at the Gates - Sabaa Tahir

I remembered being really excited for this book after finishing A Torch Against The Night but then I did not pick it up directly after it came out. I also thought I would read this really fast but I also took my time reading it. I could not totally focus on this book and I can’t say why. Not because it was bad or I was not interested in the story but I was not into it as much as I would have liked to. I think it was a bad time for me to read this and I should have picked up a lighter book (that is what I did right after though). Still, I enjoyed this book!


I think this book was my least favourite of the three because I was not happy with what happens to Elias in it. I am actually kind of sad and furious about his storyline. However, after the events of the last book I was expecting to see less of Helene Aquilla and it was a great surprise to see that she was so present in the book. I love her character and I think she is really interesting. She was less torn between staying faithful to the Empire and helping Elias in this book but the poor girl has a lot of bad things happening to her. I feel like Laia wa also way less present in this book but I did not really care. I can’t say why but I am not a fan of her.


The storyline was not predictable and full of surprising events. I just think that it was a bit too slow sometimes.


This book was massive and it took me a lot of time to read it but I still really enjoyed it and I will definitely read the next one.

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review 2018-10-19 04:34
Buffy The Vampire Slayer (picture book)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Jim Smith

This was the cutest picture book. It is the perfect way to introduce a child into the world of Buffy and when they are older force them to watch all the episodes. I loved looking for the little details that would make any Buffy fan smile in delight, or in my case grin like a dork and make a giggle sound. You see familiar faces of people Buffy goes up against in the show and her little pig stuffed animal, Mr. Gordo!


The illustrations by Kim Smith are so adorable. As this is meant for children the canon is changed; it is the cute, innocent version of Buffy. I loved it. I'm an adult who still loves picture books, children books, young adult, and adult books, too. (and that will never change!)

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