Friday, May 29, 2015

Checking In

I've been doing a lot of reviews lately so I thought I'd take a break and fill you all in on how my life outside of reading goes. I know none of you probably care and if you regularly read this blog (you are out there, right?) it's probably because I review books. But today I don't have a review for you but I have some fun news!

So I don't know if I told you all, but I got into grad school! I was waitlisted at one college and accepted in another. However, I have made the decision to take a gap year. College was so crazy and I'm just not ready to jump into the next 40 years of my career. So I want to take some time, travel, read a lot of books, write  my books, etc etc. I'm very pleased with my decision. In the weeks since I finished school a huge weight has left my shoulders and I'm much less stressed.

However, I still want to have some work while I'm off this year. I've been reading a *lot* and I've been working on Spiral and Masque (yay!) but I wanted to work. So I'm applying around for editorial positions at presses, and I got a temporary position at a press! It's not editorial and it's short-term until their new hire is able to move in, but I get to be on site at a press! It's so cool I can't even describe it. It's all happened so quickly. In three days I went from sending them my resume to interviewing to getting the job and being told I start Monday.

So, yeah, that's what's been going on with me. Sometime soon I'll do a longer post on how my books are going (spoiler: they're going well, but slowly). I just thought some of you might be interested that yesterday there was a reason I was jumping up and down in excitement and eating cheetos.

Have a great Friday, everyone!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Court of Thorns and Roses

Just this past week I celebrated my anniversary with my SO. Now there are many things to celebrate on an occasion such as, commitment, friendship. And we did all those things. But I also celebrated something else very awesome. 1) I got a TARDIS satchel. My collection of things Doctor Who related now includes a TARDIS cookie jar, said satchel, 2 rings, my 11th Doctor costume, and a set of cookie cutters. I am not ashamed of any of this. 2) A copy of Sarah J. Maas's new book, A Court of Thorns and Roses. All you have to do is look back through my reviews to know how much I love Sarah J. Maas. In my books she's right up there with Maggie Stiefvater

Retrieved from Goodreads
When nineteen-year-old Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, she has no idea the chain of events she'll set off. For that wolf was not a wolf, it was a faerie, and now the fae on the other side of the wall that separates the faeries from the humans want revenge. Feyre is swept away to the Spring Court of Tamlin, a beastly creature with immense powers. But he can also look sort of human. Feyre is to spend the rest of her life in the manor as penance for her crime. In return her family will be kept safe. But something lurks beyond the the Spring Court, sending evil creatures to nip at Tamlin's borders. There's a blight leeching the magic and life from the land, and it could easily spread to the human realm.

Oh, this book. It opens with one of the most stark descriptions of hunting and bringing food to a starving family that I've ever read. It reminded me of Leigh Bardugo's work. And then you get a whirlwind introduction to the lands of the faeries and their courts. And then...oh the romance and Feyre. She's so flawed, so strong, so unapologetically who she is. And her and Tamlin...whoo-ee. They made me blush. And just when I was missing the action and brutality of the first part of the book, everything is ripped apart and Feyre, who was just starting to soften up, has to return to the tough hunter she was back in the human realms. This book...I...can't...words. Sigh. This book has much less political intrigue and awesome outfits than the Throne of Glass books, and there's much more emphasis on the romance. And I've read some reviews bemoaning this. But honestly, I loved this book. I loved the world that Maas created, loved how the names and the people and the stories didn't seem contrived to fit the mold of a beauty and the beast story. I love that the next book will probably see the romance take a backseat to the Big Bad doing bad things. I love Maas's work and I am already foot-tapping for Queen of Shadows in September. If I had one complaint about this book, it was that the pace was not breakneck in a few places I thought it could have been. But overall, LOVE.

Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars
Up Next: Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi (I swear this time!)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Clockwork Princess

Well, that's that. So many years later I have finally finished reading the Clockwork Angel series by Cassandra Clare. It was on a whim that I picked up City of Bones in a secondhand bookstore, and I have read seven of Clare's books since that fateful day. In other news, life is busy but comfortable. I'm applying for editing jobs and reading and brainstorming Spiral and spending time with my friends and SO. I'm making sure to have fun and relax as well of course. But anyways, on with the show!

Retrieved from Goodreads
Mortmain and his clockwork army are closing in. He's bought up all the yin fen as leverage to make Tessa come to him. Without the drug, Jem is dying faster, and all he wants is to marry Tessa before he's gone. Meanwhile, Will searches for a cure for his brother in arms, but his heart in torn as he still loves Tessa. The Consul won't listen to Charlotte's evidence of Mortmain's plans, and time is running out.

The Clockwork Angel series was never about action, though the action sequences are nicely gross. Instead, this story(series) is about the relationships between the characters. Tess loves both Jem and Will, and both of them love her and have an incredibly strong bond between each other. Gideon and Gabriel Lightwood are falling for Cecily and Sophie respectively, and Charlotte is pregnant with her husband Henry's baby and has to deal with the misogynistic Consul. So it's all very romantic, and the descriptions of London make me want to go back. I did love it there. So while I mostly enjoyed this book, and the well-developed characters and world, there were a few too many declarations of undying love for my taste. And I could have used some more action, considering the consequences if the Shadowhunters lose to the clockwork army. The reveal of what Tessa is was nicely done I thought, and the fact that she is won't age is made heartbreakingly sad. A lovely audiobook. I miss British accents. The epilogue made me tear up. Hm, what else to say. My favorite book of Clare's is still City of Bones. I guess that's all I've got!

Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars
Up Next: Fever by Lauren DeStefano

Friday, May 15, 2015

Battle Magic

Tamora Pierce was the author who got me back into reading. Twice. So it's safe to say I adore her books. I have tattered copies of all her series, from the first Song of the Lioness book, to Melting Stones and Mastiff. So why, do you ask, has it taken me a year and a half to read Battle Magic, the latest Pierce book? Good Question. I guess you'll just have to read on to find out.

Retrieved from Goodreads
Set before the events of Melting Stones and The Will of the Empress, Briar, Rosethorn, and Evy travel to Yanjing. While there, they discover the emperor has plans to invade Gyongxe, the home of the first temple of the Living Circle. The three pit themselves against the vast armies of Yanjing to save Gyongxe, and in the process experience the gods as they never have before.

Short plot, huh? I thought so too. But really, that's all this book is about. And honestly, though I will forever and ever adore these characters, the story was...well...dull. There's a plot with Rosethorn that goes nowhere, a plot resolution with deus ex machina, lackluster side characters...I dunno. I love Briar and Rosethorn and Evy, and Street Magic was one of my favorite books in The Circle Opens. But the plot here just fell flat. Ambient magic easily beats all other kinds of magic, and the side characters I always end up loving didn't get developed. I was reading Goodreads reviews, trying to figure out why this book didn't resonate with me, and found a couple good points. Instead of focusing on individual fights where there are intense character interactions within a battle, Pierce showed a whole battle with the movements of the armies. So I didn't end up feeling the urgency or the horror I could have. Considering how much was known about what happened to these three in The Will of the Empress, with all three getting varying levels of PTSD, I just...didn't understand. It didn't seem that horrible, especially compared to what Kel went through in The Protector of the Small series. There was only one scene in this book that really, really got to me, and it had to do with Evy's cats. I still enjoyed reading this book because Pierce has a way of making narration invisible and developing her worlds, but I do know I'd rather read Trickster's Choice again before this one.

Goodreads Rating: 3 Stars
Up Next: Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

Monday, May 11, 2015

The House of Hades

Actually, I finished this book last week, but I'm just getting around to reviewing it now. I adore Rick Riordan. If you don't believe me, see the other, like, 10 reviews of his books I've done on this blog. He always has a cool twist on mythology, and he can make me laugh which is hard to do when you're a writer! Comedy is hard writing. So if you aren't interested in reading a positive review of the penultimate book in his Heroes of Olympus series, I suggest exiting out now. In other news, life is good, but very busy. Funny, huh? I graduate and yet life still manages to get busy. Well, here we go.

Retrieved from Goodreads
The Athena Parthenos has been rescued from Arachne, but in the process Annabeth and Percy fell into Tartarus. They have to make their way through a land that slowly kills them to the Doors of Death if they ever want to see the mortal world again. Helping them along is a Titan named Bob and his sabre-toothed kitten, Small Bob. Back in the mortal realm, the rest of the demigods on the quest are making their way to the House of Hades so they can help get Annabeth and Percy out of Tartarus. But with Gaea throwing her enemies at them to halt their journey, it isn't easy. Piper, Jason, Leo, Frank, Hazel, and Nico will have to become bigger, better, and more powerful if they hope to get to the Doors on time.

Ahh so many times in this book I laughed. A Titan named Bob? A sabre-toothed kitten named Small Bob? Like all Rick Riordan books, this book was packed with action. Riordan utilizes his technique of singling out one of his ensemble cast and giving them a couple chapters to deal with a task on their own, and each person in their own way saves the rest. Then in the end they all come together with their new-found skills to beat the Big Bad. It's a formula, sure, but it's a fun one! Several things stood out to me. 1) This book was much more about character development than achieving new powers. Each character doubts their usefulness,  and has to confront it in a very real way. 2) Percy in particular gets darker in this book. Perhaps it's because of being in Tartarus, but this generally happy go smiley guy has to shoulder a lot of pain and responsibility, and we get to see him perhaps take that pain too far in dealing with his enemies. 3) Leo and Calypso. Ship them all the way. Can't wait to see her in Blood of Olympus.

Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars
Up Next: Battle Magic by Tamora Pierce

Monday, May 4, 2015

Stitching Snow

Yeah, I know, it's been a while since I posted. I have been reading, but not very consistently. I spent the week in the 90 degree weather in California in the Happiest Place on Earth. Yup, Disneyland! It was so much fun, and I got only a little sunburned. But now I'm back home and there are a million things to do. My phone broke so I need to pick out a new one, I've got laundry and dishes to do and work to do and reading to catch up on and resumes to send out. It's insane. But I just finished off Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis and I thought I'd tell you guys about it.

Retrieved from Goodreads
Essie has been on Thanda for years, patching the mining drones and keeping herself safe with her reputation as a cage fighter. But change is blowing through the cold planet. A ship has crash landed nearby carrying Dane, an offworlder who makes Essie think about the life she escaped all those years ago. The war between the Exiles and the Crown is raging on the capital planet of Windsong, and Essie is a key player. All Essie wants is to be left alone, but the choice is about to be taken out of her hands.

The first half of this book really grabbed me. I love fairytale retellings, and a sci-fi Snow White where Snow's appearance has been genetically engineered and she has seven drones instead of seven dwarves? Awesome!! I loved reading about her cage fighting and her place on the mining planet. And I even liked it when she left Thanda and got to see other places. But...somewhere along the way, the plot got too simple for me. This book is about a system-wide war with lots of different planets and a people who can Transition into other peoples' minds and Tip their opinions. But it's not explained how, nor really taken advantage of, and the arc doesn't have an end. The possible royal coupe is so...simple. And while I really wanted to love Dane, I just couldn't. He never distinguished himself to me. So while I loved the first half of this book, the second half let me down. If ever a story needed more than one book, it was this one. I love the title, though. Adore it, and the cover.

Goodreads Rating: 3 Stars
Up Next: The House of Hades by Rick Riordan