Posted in blog stuff, Weekly Reading

What I’m Reading Jan 24

As of today, I’ve read 12 books this month. I think I’m on a pretty good pace to meet my annual goal, especially for those occasional reading slumps that I get into throughout the year. Goodreads says that I’m eight books ahead of schedule. Woot!

Currently, I’m kinda sorta in the middle of four different reads. I say, “kinda, sorta” because two of them I haven’t touched in a couple months. Did you hear my sigh? I’m going to work from my most current read back. Click on the links to read more about the books. These are just my opinions of them so far.

The BookwormFirst up, I’m reading The Bookworm by Mitch Silver. This is a Netgalley book and I’m about 10% into it. I’m enjoying it so far. It has historical elements, mystery, and some violence to it. It’s also a little bit political, which makes me wary and we’ll see where Silver goes with that. It seems to bounce back and forth in time from 1940 to 2017 with the focus being on WWII, Nazis, and Russia. This is, according to my memory, my first book dealing with this subject matter. Where history is concerned, I tend to gravitate towards older stuff. Only being 10% into it, I haven’t formed a concrete opinion, but the character development is solid and the building of the suspenseful atmosphere is great.

The Bear and the NightingaleNext, I’m reading The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden. This is a pretty popular book and I’m sure most everyone has heard something about it. I guess I wasn’t listening close enough because I didn’t realize this was the first book in a trilogy. Normally, I love trilogies and series, but I wasn’t looking to get into a new one, especially an unfinished one. That being said, I’m probably about 10% into this one too and I like it so far. Again, the character development and atmosphere building is great. It’s also a book set in Russia (what’s up with that??) but medieval Russia this time. I’ve found the storyline and characters compelling enough that I’ve been looking up names and events mentioned to learn more about this period in Russia’s history, of which I know nothing. The fantasy elements add to the story and have kept me engrossed in the book enough that I have to make myself put it down to do other things. I love the lyrical, mystical quality to Arden’s storytelling.

I’ve mentioned these next two books in a past post and because I haven’t actually gotten any further in them since that post, I’m just going to mention the titles here. I’m stillllll reading Monstress, Vol. 1 by Marjorie M. Liu and Queens of the Conquest by Alison Weir. The reasons why I’ve stagnated on these books are that Monstress just didn’t hold my attention and I haven’t had the time and focus to devote to Queens that it deserves. I’ll get back to them both, but I’m not sure when.

What are you currently reading? What do you do when you’re really enjoying a book but have put it aside for whatever reason? Do you still consider it a “current read”?

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Posted in Weekly Reading

What I’m Reading Oct 4

So, I decided to get back to blogging and then came down with the flu. I missed all of the Banned Book Week activities, getting started with Dewey’s pre-readathon challenge, and National Coffee Day. Talk about a major bummer. The only good thing to come of being a walking zombie is getting unlimited reading time in, guilt-free, which means I was able to start a few books while being laid up.

MontstressFirst off, I started a new graphic novel, Monstress, Vol. 1 by Marjorie M. Liu and artist Sana Takeda. I’m only a couple pages in, so I haven’t formed an opinion yet. The artwork, however, is impressive and compelling. I thought this graphic novel would be a perfect accompaniment for this time of year. From Goodreads:

Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900’s Asia, in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steam punk, MONSTRESS tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, a connection that will transform them both and make them the target of both human and otherworldly powers.

grey mask Secondly, I began an eBook by Patricia Wentworth titled Grey Mask. It’s supposed to be a cozy mystery type of book. Set in London, post-war (I haven’t read any indications which war, but I’m assuming WWI. I could be wrong though. It’s really hard to tell from the context clues or lack thereof.) this is a tale of Charles, who has returned to his childhood home after being jilted by his fiance. His father has passed away and he’s returned home from abroad to claim his inheritance. Upon his arrival, he happens upon several uninvited guests in his house discussing some scheme or conspiracy. Deciding to remain hidden, Charles hires a lady detective, Miss Silver, to try and sort out the mystery on his own rather than go to the police.

I’m just short of halfway through the book and so far, it’s ok. The dialogue comes off as being written for a screenplay rather than a book so it’s different, but not hard to follow. The characters are a little one dimensional. I’m waiting to see if some development will occur as the story goes on. As for the mystery itself, I have no idea what’s going on, so I guess it’s a good one, lol. This is supposed to be the first book in the Miss Silver series, but it’s really hard to believe that an entire series is centered on Miss Silver whom we only see sporadically in the novel. She seems like a tertiary character rather than the main one. We’ll see, I guess.

Queens Lastly, I started Queens of the Conquest:  England’s Medieval Queens by Alison Weir. I am a huge fan of Weir’s and appreciate and respect her writing, opinions, and history that she imparts expertly about England’s monarchy. Her biography about Henry VIII was what started my journey into learning more about England’s history, which blossomed into learning about other nations and periods in history. Anyway, I’ve only just started this book and between being really tired and having to take notes on every page (because I can’t help myself), I’m only in the first chapter, lol. I’m enjoying it so far though and can’t wait to really get into the meat of it. Please click on the book’s title for a link to the Goodreads page. I didn’t want to include a lengthy description here.

How’d you bring in the month of October? Are you reading anything you’d recommend?

Posted in Weekly Reading

Mid-Week Update: 11/9/16

This is going to be a very quick post. I need to leave to drive to the Mobile airport in about five minutes from now, heheh.

Now for What Are You Reading Wednesdays hosted by It’s a Reading Thing.

whatareyoureadingwed

Grab the book you are currently reading and answer three questions:
1. What’s the name of your current read?
2. Go to page 34 in your book or 34% in your eBook and share a couple of sentences.
3. Would you like to live in the world that exists within your book? Why or why not?

  1. The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco.
  2. At 34% we have:  “I have a blunt personality, more likely to say what I mean instead of sparing someone’s feelings.” This passage and the fact that I found it at 34% is uncanny. Chupeco could’ve been talking about me when she wrote it.
  3. I’m actually 41% into this book so I’m somewhat familiar with the world. It’s fantasy and at this point, the main character is going through her witch’s training. So far, it’s been an entertaining read. I don’t think I’d mind living in this world so long as I could be a witch too, lol. I don’t think I’d want to be a bone witch though as they are feared and ostracized.

On a side note, I put this book down to read The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon yesterday. It was a one sitting, can’t put it down book and I loved it. I am feeling the need to talk about it so look for a review in the next couple of days. Till then…

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: Iron Cast

iron-cast

Title:  Iron Cast

Author:  Destiny Soria

Publisher:  Harry N. Abrams

Pages:  384

Genre:  Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Fantasy

Setting:  1919 Boston, MA

Source:    I received a copy of this novel from SocialBookCo in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Publication Date:  Oct 11, 2016

Blurb:

It’s Boston, 1919, and the Cast Iron club is packed. On stage, hemopaths—whose “afflicted” blood gives them the ability to create illusions through art—captivate their audience. Corinne and Ada have been best friends ever since infamous gangster Johnny Dervish recruited them into his circle. By night they perform for Johnny’s crowds, and by day they con Boston’s elite. When a job goes wrong and Ada is imprisoned, they realize how precarious their position is. After she escapes, two of the Cast Iron’s hires are shot, and Johnny disappears. With the law closing in, Corinne and Ada are forced to hunt for answers, even as betrayal faces them at every turn.

What I Say:

What I liked about this book:

  • It has a diverse cast of characters.
  • The pace is steady.
  • It talks about racism, both real and with the fictional hemopaths.
  • The dialogue and use of period colloquialisms.
  • The cover is beautiful.
  • Soria’s writing makes you care about the characters.

What I didn’t like about this novel:

  • Having finished this book, I am still unclear as to what hemopaths are and the extent of their “powers”.
  • Some of the plot twists were predictable.

Iron Cast takes place during such an interesting time in U.S. history. In 1919, World War I has ended, but people are still scarred and recovering. It’s also on the cusp of the Roaring 20s. Prohibition is getting ready to pass, jazz and new dances are all the rage, fashion is beautiful and expressive of the atmosphere of the time and the slang and lingo is outstanding and fun. This story is about Corinne and Ada who had very different backgrounds growing up, but their hemopath affliction threw them together and they become thick as thieves…literally.

I liked both girls but Corinne is my favorite. She’s the spoiled rich girl in the story, but she’s also dynamic, funny, and Soria gives her more depth than she does Ava. Ava is the daughter of African immigrants and she knows nothing of a life of privilege. Together, she and Corinne are spunky, brave, and adventurous but alone, Ava is a bit one dimensional, which is a shame.

There are bits of romance in the story, but it would be on the bottom of the list of themes in this novel. The romance added just the right amount of spice without it becoming the main focus or feeling like Soria was trotting it out just to cross off boxes. Mostly, this story is about friendship and loyalty with some fantasy thrown in, in the form of hemopaths, and action and suspense from the cons that the girls run for their gangster-type boss. When Ava becomes imprisoned, you very much feel the suspense wondering if she’ll be tortured or killed and if Corrine will be able to rescue her. It was, at the foundation, a fun read.

However, Soria was light on the details surrounding hemopaths. We know from the blurb that Corinne and Ada are able to create illusions from singing and playing instruments. We also know that their abilities come from some sort of mutation to their blood. The reader also discovers that other hemopaths have different abilities all coming from different aspects of art. But why and how and how many people? When did the mutations start? Is it hereditary? This type of fantasy writing, overall, is pretty unique. I don’t think I’ve ever read a story with characters with these type of abilities. Still, it would have been a much more satisfying story to have some of these questions answered, for Soria to have gone into more detail and background on the hemopaths.

Overall, I had fun reading this book and enjoyed it. It’s a great young adult novel and would have been fantastic with just a bit more detail. Still, for me, I read it in a couple days because I had a great time with it and I would recommend it to anyone who likes young adult novels with some unique fantasy topped off with suspense and romance. Check it out for yourself at SocialBookCo

(Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.)
Posted in Book Review

Book Review: Timekeeper

timekeeper

Title:  Timekeeper

Author:  Tara Sim

Publisher:  Sky Pony Press

Pages:  368

Genre:  Young Adult, Science Fiction/Fantasy/Steampunk?

Setting:  Victorian England

Source:    Net Galley

Publication Date:  Nov 1, 2016

Blurb:

In an alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely.

It’s a truth that seventeen-year-old clock mechanic Danny Hart knows all too well; his father has been trapped in a Stopped town east of London for three years. Though Danny is a prodigy who can repair not only clockwork, but the very fabric of time, his fixation with staging a rescue is quickly becoming a concern to his superiors.

And so they assign him to Enfield, a town where the tower seems to be forever plagued with problems. Danny’s new apprentice both annoys and intrigues him, and though the boy is eager to work, he maintains a secretive distance. Danny soon discovers why: he is the tower’s clock spirit, a mythical being that oversees Enfield’s time. Though the boys are drawn together by their loneliness, Danny knows falling in love with a clock spirit is forbidden, and means risking everything he’s fought to achieve.

But when a series of bombings at nearby towers threaten to Stop more cities, Danny must race to prevent Enfield from becoming the next target or he’ll not only lose his father, but the boy he loves, forever.

The stunning first novel in a new trilogy by debut author Tara Sim, Timekeeper is perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare and Victoria Schwab.

From Me: 

Timekeeper was an intriguing novel. Set in Victorian England, the story is about Danny who is a clock mechanic. Without Danny and others like him, clock towers would not continue to function properly and thus, time would not function properly.

On a job, Danny meets a clock’s spirit, Colton, and they fall in love. It’s kind of a star-crossed lovers type of romance.

This book has a lot of romance and suspense. It’s definitely a page turner. The writing was good and Tara Sim doesn’t lose focus despite writing about several themes:  Victorian England, LGBT, science fiction, and fantasy. Other than the clocks controlling time, this novel was pretty light on the steampunk elements, which is why I added the ? in my beginning description. The time element itself was pretty unique. I can’t recall another book that I’ve read that used this theme in quite this way.

I was mildly annoyed by the relationships that Danny had with the adults in this book. They constantly doubted him, made decisions without Danny’s input, and generally were negative aspects in Danny’s life. Sounds pretty typical when you think of a 17 year old and adults. However, at times, it felt contrived and nitpicky rather than moving the story forward. This was minor though but still felt it was worth mentioning.

Over all, I enjoyed this novel and I can see the appeal to a younger audience. It was a fast read and I was surprised when I saw that it’s almost 400 printed pages since I read it as an electronic advanced copy. I’m not sure I’ll follow this series through and read the next one though.