31 July 2013

Fruits Basket, Volume 3

Author: Natsuki Takaya
Series: Fruits Basket #3
Rating: 3 / 5 stars
Verdict: Buy

Valentine's Day... oh my.  Here comes the return of crazy Kagura, determined to spend V Day with Kyo.  Actually, she isn't too annoying in this volume.  Now, the lady at the spa bath thingie is a completely different story (ditto on the editor lady).  She is incredibly annoying with her serial killer text dialogue and fifty shades of bat crazy facial expressions.  Doesn't matter if she is weak from whatever and acts nice to Tohru, she is still le annoying.

Nothing too much happens in this volume though; apart from Tohru's introduction to Haru.  His "fight" with Kyo in the beginning is rather hilarious though.  And we find out Yuki has a health condition of his own, though it still hasn't been explained why yet.

30 July 2013

Away Laughing on a Fast Camel

Author: Louise Rennison
Series: Confessions of Georgia Nicolson #5
Rating: 3.5 / 5 stars
Verdict: Buy

Oh Georgia, you and the Ace Gang (and that crazy family of yours) never disappoints.  The lezzie love/hate relationship of Georgia and Jas plays a big role in this one when Jas ignores Georgia in her time of need (ie her wallowing that SG has left to go snog some sheep and save the planet, etc) and then feels the hump herself when veggie boy decides to go join his brother for a few months.

And with one SG gone, another needed to enter the scene to occupy Georgia's thoughts at all times.  So here comes the Italian Mosimo, the new lead singer of the band.  Half Italian, half American, full time center of Georgia's attention.  With the Cosmic Horn in full swing once again (and between snog fests with Dave the Laugh), Georgia tries to use her mom's book on how to entrap men to snag herself a replacement SG.

And since Libs and Angus are as much of a hoot as Georgia and gang, enter Gordy - the newest member of the family.  Far more laughs than Mosimo, this cross eyed kitty takes just after his daddy.

The last line of this book is the perfection of Georgia Nicolson and makes me roll in literal laughter every single time.

Fruits Basket, Volume 2

Author: Natsuki Takaya
Series: Fruits Basket #2
Rating: 3.5 / 5 stars
Verdict: Buy

The second volume in the series dives a little deeper into the Sohma family.  With New Years approaching, the Sohma family is preparing for the biggest event of the year.  Meanwhile, Tohru meets a few more members of the family - Momiji and Hatori.  And even gets a glimpse at the elusive Akito.

Family tensions start to heat up when Kyo and Yuki decide to skip the annual New Years celebration in favor of keeping Tohru company for her first New Years without her mother.  Tensions between Kyo and Yuki aren't simmering down either, as they both secretly are envious of one another and both are starting to show feelings for Tohru.

And Tohru, for her part, is as lovable and scatter brained as her usual self.

A good addition to the series, continuing to set up the plot and the characters as we dive deeper into the Sohma family curse.

29 July 2013

Death Note, Volume 3

Author: Tsugumi Ohba
Series: Death Note #3
Rating: 4 / 5 stars
Verdict: Borrow

And so the plot thickens further.  The physical tennis match between L and Light in this volume is a perfect reflection of the mental tennis match they are both playing out in their minds as they navigate through the minefield of their.... "friendship".  L isn't sure is Light is Kira or not.  Light isn't sure if L truly suspects him of being Kira or not.

Then, Kira sends a set of videotapes to a local news station, and things really begin to heat up.  With a new character added in the mix on top of everything else, the next volume is sure to be pulse pounding fun as well.  The game has turned into a race, and it's only a matter of time before one of them wins.

26 July 2013

Death Note, Volume 2

Author: Tsugumi Ohba
Series: Death Note #2
Rating: 4 / 5 stars
Verdict: Borrow

The tension is starting to ramp up!  L is starting to feel the pressure.  With the FBI keeping him under surveillance, Light hatches a plan to discover the names and reveal the faces of all the FBI agents in Japan in order to eliminate them as a potential problem.

Meanwhile, L continues to be only a few steps behind, and he refuses to give up the chase.

Throw into the mix someone with an FBI background with a personal interest in solving the case, and Light finds himself for the first time truly at a mad scramble in order to cover his tracks and keep his identity concealed.  His calm facade is starting to show a few cracks.

He is too close to the case and too cocky to ever admit defeat.  He sees himself as a God, and yet he is turning into a monster before our very eyes.  He is even giving up the pretense (at least in my eyes) of trying to rid the world of evil and only allow those he deems worthy of continuing the species - he has no issues adding anyone to the death book that stands in his way now.

The action and suspense are definitely heating up as the game of cat and mouse continues to circle around our two main characters.

The Arctic Incident

Author: Eoin Colfer
Series: Artemis Fowl #2
Rating: 3.5 / 5 stars
Verdict: Buy

This one starts out a little slow, giving parallel timelines between Artemis and the LEP.  With the revival of his mom, thanks to the deal he made with Holly following his ransom, the next logical step was - of course - for him to continue the hunt for his father.  And with little Fowl using his genius for good, and Holly working the beat, this novel took a while to really ramp up my interest.

Now, once all heck starts to break loose down below, things start to get interesting.  After all, a human causing havoc in the fae world?  Of course Artemis is the logical first choice for the enemy.  And once Holly comes a knocking on his door to inquire, well that is where the fun begins.

This book is great because this is the novel in the series where Artemis really starts to make a progression into personal growth.  His evil scheming is put on the back burner as he allies himself with Holly and Root in order to take down the true evil doer.  In return, Root and Holly help Artemis track down his long lost father.  With the return of Diggums, comedy is ensured.  With Colfer's unique story telling characteristics, the second half of this book breezes by in a whirlwind of adventure as the friendships that last the remainder of the series form.

Catching Fire

Author: Suzanne Collins
Series: The Hunger Games #2
Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars
Verdict: Buy

Oh, Katniss, it's good to see you opening your heart.  Sure, you are as jaded and cynical as you were in The Hunger Games, but how can we blame you?  You fought for your life, you watched Rue die, you finally made it out of the arena.  Then you held up a facade, you pretended to love the bread boy when you can't seem to sort out your feelings yourself.  And all for what?  To be thrown right back into the mix with a bunch of older, more experienced veterans?  Yeah, I would hold a grudge too.

What I love most about Catching Fire is that we don't just see Katniss as this girl hell bent on self preservation anymore.  Sure, her world sucks, and yes, she is still doing all she can to survive and protect the ones she loves.  But the fact that she decides she is going to do any and everything within her power to protect Peeta this time around - that trust and that bound she has formed - show us that perhaps she isn't as destined to be alone as she thinks she is.  Granted, the prospects don't look high.  Even with allies this time around, she still has a target that takes up her entire back, put there by the president of the entire country.  But Catching Fire doesn't just give us hope that she will somehow find a way to survive, just as she did the first time around; it gives up hope that perhaps she can see a life after the Games and the rebellion.  Maybe with Peeta, maybe with Gale, maybe with someone else - who the heck knows (ok, I know, but I don't want to spoil it!)?  But she hasn't given into the system yet, and she is starting to see a silver lining, no matter how bleak the circumstances look.  And that just makes me love her even more.  Somehow, it makes her even more BA than before, because it shows an entire new type of rebellion, a new type of hope.

The ending of the book is kind of deflating, since it goes from action packed, and then it kind of stalls, and then it bombs you with a cliffhanger.  Unlike The Hunger Games, it does not draw to a nice conclusion that still leaves it open ended; Catching Fire's ending is completely open ended, making you bang your head against the desk until Mockingjay is available (at least the first time I read it, back in the day).

With just as many heartbreaking and breath stealing moments as The Hunger Games (one word - Cinna), it does not disappoint, and it sets up for one hell of a final ride in Mockingjay.

Death Note, Volume 1

Author: Tsugumi Ohba
Series: Death Note #1
Rating: 3.5 / 5 Stars
Verdict: Borrow

Ahh, the battle of wits between L and Light.  The game is afoot!  Getting past the hard to believe death gods (one of which is bored out of its mind so it decides to drop its notebook for a human to find to stir up a little fun) and a notebook that can kill anyone, anywhere, anytime (with only a few provisions), this series is a masterful game of cat and mouse.

We have Light, which is an ironic name is there ever was one, who wants to be a human god and purge the world of evil criminals.  He is set upon creating a new world, with the type of people of his choosing.  Then we have the mysterious L, who only takes cases to help the police if he is interested in them.

I have read the entire series before, but I don't remember how it all plays out as it has been several years and the first time I read them I was under bed rest, heavily sedated for my wisdom teeth removal.  Reading through this first volume again, I realize just how much I have forgotten.  But that only makes this reread that much more entertaining!

25 July 2013

Dancing in My Nuddy-Pants

Author: Louise Rennison
Series: Confessions of Georgia Nicolson #4
Rating: 3 / 5 Stars
Verdict: Buy

Oh Georgia.  Do I hate to love you or love to hate you, you big ole loon?  It is hard to tell sometimes.  Georgia's red bottom is at it again (although now she fears she has the General Horn or, worse yet, the Cosmic Horn), and she just can't seem to stay away from Dave the Laugh.  He is, after all, such a laugh.

Georgia won't be winning any friend of the year awards by any means, but I do have to say she has her moments, shining every once in a while.  These moments, however, cannot compare to the rest of her life, in which she is such a hysterical train wreck.

Libby and Angus, and even Vatti and mom, add some great humor into this installment of the book.  And the trip to Froggieland is tres amusing.

While I may not agree with Georgia's personality or her actions or really her life in general, I do have to say this - she continues to be a laugh page after page after page.  There are literally too many "favorite" quotes to list them all here.

Now I must be off.  I am away laughing on a fast camel to the airport with the next book in tow.

24 July 2013

Fruits Basket, Volume 1

Author: Natsuki Takaya
Series: Fruits Basket #1
Rating: 3.5 / 5 Stars
Verdict: Buy

Oh, Tohru.  I have probably read this series three of four times already, but it never seems to get old.  Sure, some of the character traits can start to bug me a little, but it is hardly cause to put the book down.

Tohru is such a lovable spaz.  Her friends are such lovable outcasts.  Kagura is as bat crap crazy as they come, bipolar to the extreme when it comes to Kyo, but even she is likable once in a blue moon.

The first volume of the Fruits Basket series gets the ball rolling, throwing a lot of characters and plot points at you.  While it suggests there is a family member for each zodiac sign, at least Takaya doesn't introduce them all in this first volume; that would have been too much (and taken away the fun in guessing!).

The first volume starts off strong, introducing the main Sohma characters - Kyo, Yuki and Shigure.  Tohru is a little bit hard to believe sometimes - living in a tent by herself out in the back of the Sohma property because her extended family she is living with since her mother passed away is remodeling their house.  And Kyo and Kagura can be quite extreme and hard to imagine sometimes... but then I remind myself this is a manga, after all.

I cannot wait for the next in the series to get here to read.  This series definitely gets better and better and sucks you in deeper and deeper the further you get into it.

Dr. Horrible and Other Horrible Stories

Story by: Zack Whedon
Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars
Verdict: Buy

If you loved Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog, chances are you will enjoy this graphic novel.  While it doesn't have the witty, amazing songs as the movie does, and while it is hard to picture Dr. Horrible without Neil Patrick Harris, this graphic novel does a great job of staying true to the characters created in the movie.  It serves as a great prequel to the movie, and I can easily see them blending the different chapters together and making it into another movie, complete with score and lyrics, of course!

Short and easy to read, it will make you laugh aloud or at least chuckle.  I have added it to my list of books to buy for the bathroom.  My only wish is that I hope they make more!


23 July 2013

The Social Code

Author: Sadie Hayes
Series: The Start-Up #1
Rating: 2 / 5 Stars
Verdict: Bury

I received a galley of this book from the publisher for review.  When I read the description of the book, I thought it was going to be amazing.  Cut throat, edge of your seat, big business corruption amazing.  I could not have been further from the truth.  This novel is just another cliche YA romance with one dimensional characters with just a hint of technology thrown in.  Reading this novel, I came to the conclusion that Hayes has little to no background in the state of the art of current technology, and didn't bother with too much research in the subject before writing this novel.  Granted, my background is in mechanical engineering, not computer science or software engineering, but even the fundamentals I have of electrical engineering and programming caused me to scratch my head while reading about this so called revolutionary app.

Not only is the whole premise of her app absurd, based on how Hayes decides it works, but then the explanation given for how it works is the CEO of Apple describes that the technology is impossible, and yet he is holding it in his hands and it is working.  Yeah, sure, now I'm going to believe this app could exist with the current state of the iPhone (also, I am wondering if the author got a kickback from Apple every time she mentioned one of their products in her book.  Reading this book felt like watching a blockbuster film with product placement galore).  Even if I could be convinced this young hotshot developed this program using only coding and her current iPhone, it wouldn't matter because I still wouldn't care about the 'plot'.

Nothing exciting happens in this novel.  All the love triangles are obnoxious, just like the characters.  And, to make matters worse, I got through all 300 pages of this book and it still left a lot unresolved.  Not that it mattered.  I have no plans of continuing this series.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Author: C.S. Lewis
Series: The Chronicles of Narnia #2
Rating: 2.5 / 5 Stars
Verdict: Borrow

I think I would have enjoyed this book more as a child, but I'm not 100% positive.  While the movie was ridiculously long and quite boring at some points, it did seem to have a lot more action and adventure in it than the novel did.  Perhaps it is because of C.S. Lewis's narration style.  Perhaps it is because the book is meant to be easy to read and short for the younger target audience.  Either way, though, the plot seems to be all over the place (without much explanation for anything) and a lot of gaps exist where the fun and excitement could be.

Overall, it isn't bad for a young reader's novel.  It seems to have a lot less religious undertones than The Magician's Nephew had, and it definitely is a better read than the first.  Once I get through the series this time, I doubt I will read it again.  The book seems to lose its magic with time.

The one thing about this book that I can never get over is the Turkish delight.  I went on vacation in Canada years ago and while in a candy store there I happened upon some Turkish delight.  Because I remembered Edmund's obsession with the Turkish delight in this book, I decided I must have a taste of it, since he seems so enamored with it.  It was awful.  I have never truly forgiven Edmund lol.

22 July 2013

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy

Author: Ally Carter
Series: Gallagher Girls #2
Rating: 2.5 / 5 Stars
Verdict: Borrow

I am still finding it difficult to get into this series, but I want to try because I loved the Heist Society novels.  But while Heist Society is filled with over the top, non stop action and suspense, this books just land flat.  For a bunch of girls who go to a spy boarding school, their lives seem rather boring.  The Gallagher Girls are pretty much the same as any other teenage girl - boy crazy and worried about their looks and clothes.

This book, like the first in the series, centers a lot of its focus on, you guessed it, teenage boys.  Now that Josh is kind-of-sort-of out of the picture, Cammie quickly finds herself with another boy in her life and - surprise - she doesn't really know what to do about it.

If they were going on actual missions outside of the school, working in cahoots with the CIA or FBI or any three letter abbreviation, then I would enjoy these books a lot more.  But the way they stand now, with little action besides "assignments"/fieldwork training for Covert Ops class, this book does little to hold my excitement and even causes me to roll my eyes every once and a while here or there.  The only spying work that seems to take place in this book is on each other and on the boys.

I am going to read the third in the series because I truly give up.  Hopefully the third time is the charm.

16 July 2013

The Hunger Games

Author: Suzanne Collins
Series: The Hunger Games #1
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Verdict: Buy

I am a repeat offender with this book.  I believe it is the third time I've read it, although it might be the fourth (or fifth).  It is close to perfection for YA dystopian fiction, and it is a quick and easy read that will keep you up until all hours of the night to get through it in one sitting.  The first time I read the series, I finished the entire series in less than three days.

This reading is the first time I've read it that I didn't finish it within a day or two, thanks to real life getting in the way.  I have to say, spanning the reading over a longer period actually helped me enjoy it more because I had time to debate the plot and scenes in my head in between reading times (and also compare it against the movie, I will admit).  The fact that I also have read the entire series a few times also helps me enjoy it, because I catch new connections and foreshadows each and every time I read it.

I am not usually a fan of YA romance, but Collins makes the love triangle in this series work.  I love Peeta, I do.  And my heart breaks for him every time I read this novel.  And I love Gale too, which is why I think I don't mind the romance, especially since while it is a main theme to the story, it isn't overpowering and isn't the entire plot.

And then you have Katniss.  She is a badass, but also a little jaded.  Although, if I lived in her world, I would be to.  She's had a rough life and the events in this book certainly aren't making her life easier.  But she is strong and independent and doesn't need a guy to save her like most of the female characters in YA novels these days that drive me crazy (yet, it isn't too far over the top, because I still believe she could be a real person).  In fact, she is the savior, a la Peeta.  Their dynamic is so powerful and beautiful.  And yeah, sometimes she seems like a heartless biotch, and sure, sometimes he seems like a pansy, but whatever!  I love them all.

Even the side characters are lovable.  Haymitch and Cinna, just to name two.

This is one of the few books that I can read over and over again and still enjoy each and every single time.  I hate writing this review now because I seem like I am hoping on the bandwagon with all the crazed fans now, but if it looks that way then so be it.

07 July 2013

The Magician's Nephew

Author: C.S. Lewis
Series: The Chronicles of Narnia #1
Rating: 2 / 5 stars
Verdict: Bury

So I have never read through the entire series of The Chronicles of Narnia, but I wanted to, so I decided to start again from the beginning.  I have read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe a few times now, and have read The Magician's Nephew once before.  As I read through it again, however, I realized I didn't remember much.

It definitely seems to have some religious undertones now that I read it at an older age.  Aslan is a metaphorical God, creating a planet from nothing in a few days time from nothing but his roar/song.  Then, to create the Tree for Narnia, young Digory (who ends up on newly formed Narnia via time/space travel with some magical rings his uncle creates) and Polly (his neighbor who sneaks with him through a tunnel that connects their houses to start their crazy adventures) must get an apple from another tree.  Once they get to the tree, the evil snake (oh, I'm sorry, the witch) tries to convince Digory to take an apple for himself to help heal his sick mother, even though he knows he is not to use the apple for personal gain.  Lucky for himself and all of Narnia, he and Polly are smarter than Adam and Eve.

I wanted to reread this story because it is the birth of Narnia, but it really isn't necessary to understand The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe any better.  I doubt it is insightful to any of the other books as well.  It does explain how the magical wardrobe came to be, but you only need to read about the last two pages of the 202 to get this.  The rest of the book is kind of just "bleh".  I realize it is a story written for a younger audience, but it is one I doubt I would have enjoyed even ten years ago.  Hopefully the rest of the series will be better.

Artemis Fowl

Author: Eoin Colfer
Series: Artemis Fowl #1
Rating: 4 /5 stars
Verdict: Buy

Ahh, now I remember why I loved this series so much growing up (and why I still do).  It's a roller coaster of a ride straight out of the gate, and sets up a wonderful world full of vibrant characters for the rest of the series to come.

In the first installment of the Artemis Fowl series, young Artemis gets his hands on a copy of the Book, which holds the secrets to the magic of the fae kind.  With this book at his disposal, he develops a plan to steal a buttload of gold from the fairy folks, by holding Holly hostage.

Since I have read almost the entire series before, it is always fun rereading the first installment because of how different the characters start off.  Regardless of the changes they make over times to come, and the adventures that await them further down the road, this book is still a YA classic in my eyes, and is a great stand alone story too, if you don't want to invest in the entire series.  Although, I can't imagine getting through this book without being completely hooked.  After all, who doesn't love:

A twelve-year-old criminal mastermind?

A kick butt Butler?

Holly?

Foaly, the smartest centaur in the world?

A dwarf like Mulch, who expels dirt in explosions from his rear end, and can find a way to weasel his way out of trouble?

And every one else that makes this series such a lovable collection.

Now, on to the next one!

06 July 2013

Viral Nation

Author: Shaunta Grimes
Series: Viral Nation #1
Rating: 3.5 / 5 stars
Verdict: Borrow

I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher for an honest review.  I missed the publication date by a few days, but not from a lack of trying!

This book takes off like a rocket and keeps on chugging.  It is definitely a high speed ride, although not as action packed as that might lead you to believe.  Even though the prologue drops you sixteen years before the story starts, you feel like you are still being plunged into the middle of the action.  Not only does the prologue introduce you to the fundamentals behind the viral epidemic, but it immediately hooks you to the characters, chalk full of empathy.  The pace doesn't slow down as you flash forward sixteen years, where the story focuses on Clover and West instead of their father.

My biggest beef with this novel is the whole time travel aspect of the plot.  While it is a significant part of the story, at least it wasn't so empathized that it was unbearable.  I simply let my mind wander when I reached the parts of the book that talked about time travel, and then chose to promptly forget them once I finished.  Very few authors/people in general, really, do justice to time travel in my opinion (as humble as it may be).  (To put this matter in perspective, my boyfriend told me, after going to see Looper with me, that he would never again take me to see another movie that was even remotely related to time travel.)

For starters, they are traveling two years into the future.  They steal the technology for the cure to the virus from the future, to help get the world back on its feet two years earlier.  Just that fact alone seems like a paradox to me.  If they go to the future and steal the cure and bring it back to develop it, then the cure would have already been in place for two years at the point they traveled to.  Grimes uses "time loops" in the story, I guess to explain this, but she doesn't really explain the "time loops" themselves, so I am not buying that.  If it were only the issue of the cure, I probably wouldn't have gotten so caught up on it.

But then we get to Clover's job.  She is skipped over for the Academy because of her Autism and sent directly as a Messenger.  Her job is to travel two years into the future to pick up a disc that has information/updates of the current state of affairs in the future.  I guess if they aren't doing anything to directly change it, sure, fine, whatever, I can live with that.

But then with the whole murder/killing thing.  First it is West's supposed murder of Bridget.  They manage to divert that, but then if they change it in the present, it never would have happened in the future.  Another paradox.  And then the death of another person close to Clover, two years in the future.  It is discovered towards the end of the book who is going to kill her, and she knows she dies, but wouldn't that fact right there change the result?

Ok, I said I didn't get bogged down in the time travel paradox issues.  Perhaps that is unsure.  It certainly bothered me.  Sans time travel, this might have been one of my favorite novels so far this year.  Now, it just falls into the top-middle of the pack.  Apart from the time travel aspect, however, the book is solid.  A new(ish) spin on a dystopian society, full of lies and half truths and a handful of people trying to pay God and control the masses.  And hey, a dog as a character, which surprisingly worked out well, as well as human characters who don't annoy the hell out of you and who aren't one dimensional.

I will continue this series, at least into the next installment, to see how it turns out.  The book definitely left a lot to be discovered/resolved in a continuation.

Tidal

Author: Amanda Hocking
Series: Watersong #3
Rating: 2.5 / 5 stars
Verdict: Borrow

This book was definitely not my favorite of the series thus far.  I do have to say, I loved the cover as we finally get a peak of Daniel's ridiculous tree tattoo.  While I am not a fan of tattoos in the slightest, I do have to say - yeah, it looks kind of bitchin' on the cover.  The fact that Penn is with him, with creepy monster bird feathers floating in the wind and all, can be ignored.  And the lighthouse in the background that has never once been mentioned in the series?  Well, whatever.  Focus on the tattoo, focus on the tattoo...

The guys in this novel, even though they are the same characters as before (Daniel and Alex) rubbed me the wrong way.  Alex becomes a drunk and gets into bar fights after Gemma breaks up with him a la watersong in order to protect him from the sirens.  So he loves her still, but he also hates her, but he cannot figure out why.  Needless to say, he does not deal with it well.  He also decides in the month that lapses between this novel and Lullaby that he is no longer going to go to uni and instead starts working at the docks with their dad.  As for Daniel, well he kind of turns into a douchebag towards the end of the novel... which is a major bummer.  He is the "bad boy" that turns out to not be such a "bad boy" once we get to know him.  He wants to take care of Harper - "awww" and "barffff" at the same time.  But by the end of this book, I don't really like either one of them that much anymore.  Of course, this fact could just be a side effect of my aversion to YA romance.

Marcy ahs a bigger role in this book, which is kind of fun.  But she introduces them to a friend who believes in all sorts of supernatural beings, and that rubbed me the wrong way.  Sirens is a fine theme for a fantasy novel.  Siren mermaids that also turn into monster birds... even that started pushing it for me.  Then add in a character who's grandma was a witch and who's father is a vampire... and a whole bunch of other supernatural creatures as well, including werewolves?  Now it's getting a little bit out of hand, me thinks.

But the biggest problem I have with this novel has to be how the entire plot revolves around this scroll that holds the terms of the curse, which Gemma thinks is her way of defeating the sirens even though the scroll is indestructible.  It just seems a little too convenient that there exists something that holds all the terms of the curse.  Why in the world would that be?  Seems like whoever set the curse would not want the cursed people to have a means to get out of it.  And why would the sirens keep it with them, where one of there own could gain access to it and try to take it out?  Especially since they have had this exact issue in the past with a different siren sister?  This point troubled my mind for much of the book, and kind of ruined it for me.

The surprising part was who was my favorite character at the end of this novel.  After finishing Lullaby, I'd have to say Harper was probably my favorite, even though she is such a pushover/walkover and let's every one take advantage of her because she is the anti-Grinch and has a heart three sizes too big.  Yet, at the end of Tidal, I surprised myself by saying that Thea is my favorite.  Yup, one of the very sirens that Gemma is trying to kill in order to break the curse.  Go figure.

I will, of course, be anticipating Elegy later this year, and I am interested in seeing what happens.  Hopefully the characters will come back around and I will enjoy the conclusion.  It's not a bad series, after all, but it's not one I think I would buy to read again unless the ending blows me away in the same manner that Reached did to completely changed my mind of the Matched trilogy.

05 July 2013

The Price of Paradise

Author: Colin Brake
Series: Doctor Who: New Series Adventures #12
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Verdict: Borrow

This is the first in the series I have read, since it was the only David Tennant Doctor/Rose one available from my local library.  I figured since the books are written by a bunch of different authors, it wouldn't really matter if I haven't read the first 11.  Turns out, I was right.  I don't feel like I missed out on any plot details from not reading any of the earlier ones in the series.

This book was a decent original Doctor Who story continuation.  I felt like I could visualize this story as an actual episode.  It seemed like a lot was going on at first, what with the original inhabitants of the planet Laylora as a plot line and also the private research/exploration group out looking for the Paradise Planet.  Considering the length of a novel versus an episode of the show, however, this made sense.  I also like how the two seemingly different plot lines merged and created one line by the conclusion of the novel.

My biggest beef with this novel, by far, is that Rose and the Doctor spend most of the novel apart, working with different groups on Laylora.  One of the reasons I loved the second and third series so much was their interaction, and the humour that arose from it.  You still have some quirky one liners fit for the Doctor in this book, but it lacks that wonderful relationship and interaction, which is why I didn't like the book more than three stars worth.  It is a solid novel, however, and an enjoyable read apart from that fact!

04 July 2013

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You

Author: Ally Carter
Series: Gallagher Girls #1
Rating: 3 / 5 Stars
Verdict: Borrow

So when I first got this book, I thought it was going to be a teenage version of Sydney Bristow/Alias.  After all, the girls go to a school that doesn't teach basic mathematics and English and physics; it teaches Covert Ops and Protection & Enforcement.  I thought the girls would be called out on crazy missions to save the world (just like the gang in the Heist Society series by Carter travels the world to steal invaluable artifacts).  After all, if you're going to go teenage spy novel, you might as well go all out.

Sad to say, this scenario in my mind did not play out in the novel.  In fact, the novel was more of a young girl's first love story, with just a touch of dumbed down spy terms to appeal to the YA crowd.  While romance is about my least favorite genre out there, especially with the current state of YA romance, I do have to say that Ally Carter made it easier to swallow.  In fact,  this may be the most creative way yet to shove YA romance down my throat without me gagging immediately.

If you're looking for a good spy novel, this is not it.  The attention to detail is not the greatest.  For example, the show offish Dillon says they like to jump the wall and moon the girls at the Gallagher Girl.  For a school that is supposed to have tight security to protect all the future spies of America, this does not seem like a possibility.  Also, Cammie has an awfully easy time sneaking out of the school over and over (and over and over) again to see Josh.  Again, not something you would think you could get away with at a school full of ex-spy teachers.

But I digress.  This novel, after all, is aimed for the YA crowd.  It is not supposed to be taken seriously as a spy novel.  And as a YA novel, it's not bad.  If you get over all the Cammie and Josh business, the characters are likable enough.  I dare say I can even somewhat relate to them.  The style is classic Carter; while it won't win her any legitimate literacy awards any time soon, I thoroughly enjoy it after being introduced to this author through the Heist Society novels.  And I am certainly willing to keep the series going to see where she takes it.  Maybe I will get more "legit" spy opts, apart from sneaking out of school to meet with a townie boy.  Here's to hoping!

02 July 2013

Wingman


Author: Mack Maloney
Rating: 1 / 5 Stars
Verdict: Bury

I guess I should start by saying this book was originally published in the late eighties, ie it is older than I am.  I did not know this when I started reading it, and perhaps this fact is one of the reasons I couldn't stomach it.  When I received a galley from the publisher for review, I did not realize the book was so old.  At the time I received it, it was an ARC for the ebook release.  By the time I "finished" it, the book had already been published.

I put 'finished' in quotations because I didn't actually finish this book.  Now, don't get me wrong, because I tried.  I really did try.  It took me a month and 55% of the book completed to finally call it quits.  I kept thinking I could stomach it, that it would get better, that I would finally connect with the main character, Hunter, but none of those came to pass.

One of my biggest beefs with this book is there isn't a whole lot of action for a by-the-seat-of-your-pants-fighter-pilot novel.  Now, don't get me wrong, Maloney attempted to jam some action/flying sequences in there, but they all fell flat.  Mack just did not seem like a storyteller.  The writing style of this novel reminds me of a high schooler trying to write a report by googling things and looking them up on Wikipedia and then trying to add a few adjectives so that it doesn't seem quite so researched (this book, of course, was written in the pre-Google and pre-Wikipedia era, which is ironic).  This is how Maloney describes jets.  He makes a laundry list of the features and just continues to spew out plane names, many of which aren't even main planes in today's military.  Tack on the fact that I'm supposed to believe these events are going to happen in the future after World War III and I'm just not buying it.

It isn't just the action sequences that fall flat.  The dialogue is bland and generic, and the characters are basically the stereotypical men's men - pilots that do nothing by drink, fly, and have sex.

Perhaps I would have enjoyed this book better if I were male.  Or if I were younger.  But with future military type novels, I try to take more out of my reading experience, and this one just couldn't do it for me.