Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Amersham Rubies by Rhys Bowen

Read: November 27, 2011
read in 30 minutes
pages ?

Just a sad excuse for a short teaser story and an introduction to the Molly Murphy series. The young girl makes these ridiculous jumps to conclusions that the reader can't even begin to understand due to the lack of evidence. How the character made her assumptions, that she believed to be right and to solve the "mystery" is not made very clear. And given the mediocre writing, I'm not sure had it been much longer of a story that the writer could have accomplished showing how the character made her leaps in the first place.

Although there was a teaser chapter included with the free download, I didn't bother. This was supposed to be set in the late 19th century but it does not read as such whether in the way the characters speak, nor in the attitude of the characters. It appears that aside from a pretty cover this story did little to encourage further reading. Thank goodness it was a freebie for the kindle!

Retro Demonology by Jana Oliver

Read: November 27, 2011
read in an hour
pages: ?

Retro Demonology (The Demon Trappers, #0.5)

This is a very short story that introduces the Demon Trapper series and includes a bonus of the first two chapters of Forsaken. Setting is 2018, Atlanta, GA. A time where demons terrorize the city. These are no ordinary demons, but demons hell bent on destroying books. These are some foul mouthed little creatures, at least the ones introduced in this story and the beginning of book one, who flip the bird and pee on the trapper and other victims. There are 5 grades of demon, and given that the main character is just starting out, she is only confronting grade one. In order to stun the little suckers you read to them. Weapon of choice for main character Riley, the 17 year old the series follows, is Moby Dick. Apparently romance novels do nothing but piss them off even more so you go for the meatier denser type stuff. After reading a few sentences the demon begins to pass out and the trapper then captures the demon in a little sippy cup. Crazy concept, but from the short intro the story is interesting enough that I could give the first book a read and see whether I'd care to read the rest.

From what I get from the story the "retro" part of the title comes from the characters being able to opt for a particular decade and stick permanently within that era. Stereotypical though in the characteristics of each era that is described to be honest. The couple in the short story were sixties hippy childs who worshiped Jim Morrison to the point of having a large altar in the room that the demon was causing havoc in.

It seems that there is alot going on in the story and I am interested in whether the author can successfully wrap it all together nicely. The society seems to have broken down economically and has little stability. I remember thinking hey this sounds a little familiar when for instance the author mentions the rocketing gas prices causing people to use any mode of transport other than car.

Overall not a terrible read for a free purchase on my kindle.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Strange Case of Finley Jayne (Steampunk Chronicles 0.5) by Kady Cross

Read: November 25, 2011
read in approximately 2.5-3 hours
pages: 78

The Strange Case of Finley Jayne (Steampunk Chronicles, #0.5)

This was a super quick read. An excellent introduction to the Steampunk Chronicles series! I'm looking forward to reading more by the author both in this series and anything else she has written. This snippet includes many elements I really enjoy like the historical aspect of being set in the Victorian era, the manners of the time and a strong female lead.

I'd highly recommend the book and potentially the Steampunk Chronicles series if you enjoyed Cassandra Clare's Infernal Devices - very much in the same vein. Fast paced and action packed with genuinely great characters! AND a kick ass heroine to boot!!

Marked by P.C. Cast and Kristen Cast

Read: November 23-25, 2011
read in 3 days
pages: 306

This has been on my potenial to-read list for quite sometime. I remembering it being checked out a lot when I was working at the library. It always made me wonder how good it was. The cover is attractive so that could be why some kids were picking it up. And it doesn't hurt that it is about some vampires. Wait let me correct my spelling its not "vampires" it is vampyres". Like changing the spelling makes THIS series different and somehow more special than the others out there right now.

I have to say if you read the Twilight series and were at all annoyed by how irritating Bella Swan was, well prepare yourself there is another character that makes Bella seem an interesting character. No joke. Bella is am improvement over this character. This book is following the thought process of 16 year old Zoey who has been Marked to be a vampyre fledgling. She is not a vampyre yet, but after this finishing school, and the education she isaquiring, provided she survives the change, she will be a vampyre. She honestly has the mental capacity of a little child. The use of the word "boobies" and "poopie" was too much for me. I couldn't take the character remotely serious when she mentioned the word "boobies" and then "laughed" to herself in her head with "hee hee". UGH. As if another example was needed of her lack of maturity, it was glaringly obvious with her comparison to her arch enemy Aphrodite, that she had boobies too so she too was not a child. Aside from the physical attributes that make a girl a woman is boobies, but sheesh this does not equal maturity. The novel reads like what it sounds like watching a movie with the commentary turned on. Yes like that only with a whiny, snarky teenage who laughs at words like "boobies".

While the name dropping of figures from popular culture may have impressed other readers, it reminded me of the Gossip Girl series with the constant references to designers. It didn't add to the story, but give it ten years and it will seriously date the book when the references made are no longer relevant.

I'm not fully versed in vampire lore and will not keep away from vampire books but some of the "lore" this book spouts is just ridiculous. A "physiological response to hormones"? THIS is apparently what signifies the change in teens to become potential vampyres. Hmm and scientists have been working to find the link that leads to the change.

There is an entire series that continues likely in this fashion by this mother/daughter writing team. I'm sorry to know this is the kind of junk that is being peddled to teens as "goodreads". I'm not sorry I read it because I was interested in what the hoopla was. I'm going to chalk it up to they just don't know any better. HIGHLY UNRECOMMENDED. Do not kill your brain cells unnecessarily.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

Read: November 16-20, 2011
read in 4 days
pages: 498

Yet another WOW. I know I'm overusing that word, but at this moment I don't care. I really really really enjoyed this book and CAN NOT wait to get the book once it is released. I was incredibly happy to have won the book as part of the First Reads giveaway and thankful that after having read the first novel I was able to continue the story so quickly by diving right into Clockwork Prince.

Cassandra Clare has done it AGAIN! I couldn't but this book down much like the last two of hers I read. I have literally read them back to back and was not disappointed! It has been a GREAT November for GOODREADS!!

Aside from the expected mistakes being in the advanced reader copy that has yet to be completely edited for those types of mistakes, I was EXTREMELY happy with the story. Although Clockwork Angel felt lacking for me in terms of action, Clockwork Prince DID NOT DISAPPOINT! The series seems more revolving around the characters rather than strictly focusing on what they are set out to accomplish. Much less action I would say then the Mortal Instruments series, but this is not a downfall to this series. For me I'm loving this set up, and the characters are great. I was so ecstatic to see how things worked out for Jem!!!! I LOVE this character and was happy to see the side-kick win the girl! Best played move EVER and I'm so glad Clare did not break Jem into pieces and side with the expected Will. This for me made the novel the best read. I could not stop smiling when I read the section, and was so afraid waiting for that knock on the door that was going to inevitably prevent the triumph. Incredible moment. One of my top three favorite moments! I was sorry to see Will so broken after finding out about his personal demons, and hope to see him happy before the series comes to a close.

Once again a plot twist in the end, thanks for the cliffhanger! It is killing me too now to know this is an advanced reader, THIS novel has yet to be released meaning the NEXT novel is YET to be released as well. What? When? I don't want to wait. I want to know what this twist in the end means???!!!! And most importantly I want to see this triumph come to the conclusion it DESERVES!

I would recommend this book. I do recommend it highly to any fan of the series. If you were on the fence after having read Clockwork Angel.....DO NOT HESITATE TO READ CLOCKWORK PRINCE!!!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Read November 12-15, 2011
read in 3 days
pages: 476

Wow. Okay what is it with this author and writing cliff hangers lately? I just finished City of Fallen Angles prior to reading this one and now this one is the same way! Two cliff hangers in a row. I'm not liking it since I hate to wait so long for the NEXT books!! Well actually with this series luckily I won the ARC a few weeks ago and was able to start that one the next day.

I'm not sure what kept me reading this book other than the Shadowhunter world. I'm drawn into it and fascinated. I'm not entirely sure why. The action was lacking up til the end, which of course as I said does leave you hanging, though not quite as bad as it was in City of Fallen Angels. I liked the characters through this book though and I guess that is part of the reason I kept reading. I really love Jem. Seems like a great guy. Very sweet and kind and quite a contrast to Will. Tessa she is tolerable, though nothing too fabulous either as far as heroines go. Will was a straight up jerk through the majority of this book. Sure there are flashes where you think maybe, just maybe he will change, but no he doesn't. From what I can tell in this next book, Clockwork Prince, its a front thank goodness and he at least has reason for acting the way he does. May not be the best way to go about it but he is only 17 and this is the only way he can come up with dealing with it. So I'll cut him some slack at that.`That being said I'm liking Will alot more now with Clockwork Prince. But I'm stll digging Jem more!!!

I'm interested enough to see how things turn out despite being annoyed with the cliff hanger. Proof positive that the cliff hanger maneuver will work! Not sure if the series is meant to be strictly a trilogy that mysteriously becomes a six part series or what. Knowing Clare she will have something up her sleeve to through everything all out of whack again. Leaving me wanting more!

My recommendation is if you enjoyed the Mortal Instruments series, then give this one a shot. I don't agree with what I've read that this is pretty much the Mortal Instruments series all over again but in 1800's London. Honestly it doesn't feel that way to me. I can see the possibility of a love triangle though like that in the Mortal Instruments series, so thats a similarity beyond the Shadowhunter/werewolf/vampire/faerie/warlock world.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Battle Royale Volume 2 by Koushun Takami, Masayuki Taguchi

Read November 5-12, 2011
read in a week
pages: 656

The only reason this took a week was because I literally did not pick it up once this week. I started this late last Saturday night and read up to page 558 all on Sunday. It doesn't take all that long to read, but it does take a toll. This story is incredible intense and I sit tensed up the entire time I'm reading. Even after I read I need a little time to recover once I'm done for the evening so I've stayed away from reading it all week. I focused on my other reading and knew I'd finish this the next time I picked it up. And I did. I'm looking forward to reading more in the series. Glad a friend shared this with me despite the violence involved in it.

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

Read November 5-12, 2011
read in a week
pages: 424

Wow. Well I hate that I put off reading this as long as I did because after all I was not disappointed. I was a bit worried after I had read a few reviews. I hate that I read the reviews because sometimes they can sway my opinion without my meaning to let them. I was going into this a little frustrated with the author in the first place because she went ahead and signed on to write three more additional books to a series that was great as a trilogy and was only intended to be a trilogy. I remember reading the third book, City of Glass, thinking surely she could write more because Clary in the end is just getting exposed to this whole new world of the Shadowhunters and she really has no idea what it is all about or what it means to know she is a Shadwhunter. It would be perfect to explore that in additional books. Not to mention it would give the relationship between Clary and Jace the much deserved attention the trilogy could not give them. It drove me crazy the whole trilogy just waiting to see if the two would ever have their chance together or not.

Anyways, so it took me a while to start the book. Even as I sat down to read I couldn't really get into the book at first. I was still a bit standoffish about it really worried what would happen with the story. At first it felt that the new point of view, that now became the trio of Simon, Clary and Jace, was throwing things off because the trilogy was strictly Clary. The characters did not seem the same which given that things were from Clary's point of view originally the reader never really gets to know the other characters but in relation to her until this book. It opened things up a bit more now that we are actually in Simon's and Jace's head to where as before we really only saw them through Clary's eyes. After I commited one evening of hardcore reading to it and had gotten about 150 pages in THEN I was getting more interested. With another 50 pages I was HOOKED!! I did not want to put the book down much like I was with the first three books.

In the end the book did not disappoint me, it did intrigue me and I'm very curious to see where in the world the author is going to go now. I was worried that something might happen to one of the main characters and I honestly would have stopped with this series had that been the case. I really like these characters and had one been killed I'd have been upset with that. I won't give anything else away, I'll just say if you really enjoyed the first three and you really liked the characters then at least give this one a try. Hopefully you'll be nicely surprised as well. Unfortunately the fifth book will not be released until May 2012, and I am going to hate the wait!!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Bel Ami by Guy de Maupassant

Read: November 1-5, 2011
read in 5 days
pages: 112

Bel Ami

Well I read this so that I would have something to compare the movie too. I'm looking forward now to see Robert Pattinson in this role. It should be interesting. The book was not bad I liked it. Didn't like putting it down, so I'd say it kept my attention.

The character Bel Ami is a down right scoundrel. He is fickle and has no sincere feelings for anyone but himself at any point in the novel. I'd say he progresses over time as in he becomes more and more self-involved and more concerned for his own ego than anything else. But honestly he starts that way within the first few paragraphs of the novel. His concern is for nothing but money and position, and who can he use to get there. The triangle and what later becomes four women in this novel mean nothing to him they are mere conquests. I'm surprised he was married to Madeline as long as he was. The women are strong, with the exception of Suzanne and to an extent her mother who was involved with Bel Ami first, and while they take the crap he gives a few have conquests of their own. For example Madeline's affair works out well for her. When she makes her stipulations concerning the marriage to Bel Ami, the reader is not too surprised of the affair, and we find neither is he. What disappointed me about the affair however was that it gives him an out. He can easily get out of the marriage with Madeline to be free to be with Suzanne.

As I said I'll be really interested to see how the movie plays out, how the characters are portrayed and by how well the actors do with the roles. I've read a few interviews with Robert about the film and it seems weird that he characterizes the love scenes as disturbing and from what I gather he insinuated that the women are the ones using sex as a weapon, when from what I've read of the novel, this is very much Bel Ami's personal expertise. So we shall see what the screen writer has done with the story and how many liberties they have taken.