Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year

Okay, so I'm a bit early, but nonetheless, I'm wishing you all a Happy New Year when it comes ^_^

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Review for The Lazarus Machine (Tweed & Nightingale Adventures) by Paul Crilley

The Lazarus Machine (Tweed & Nightingale Adventures, #1)The Lazarus Machine by Paul Crilley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An alternate 1895... a world where Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace perfected the Difference engine. Where steam and tesla-powered computers are everywhere. Where automatons powered by human souls venture out into the sprawling London streets. Where the Ministry, a secretive government agency, seeks to control everything in the name of the Queen.

It is in this claustrophobic, paranoid city that seventeen-year-old Sebastian Tweed and his conman father struggle to eke out a living.

But all is not well...

A murderous, masked gang has moved into London, spreading terror through the criminal ranks as they take over the underworld. as the gang carves up more and more of the city, a single name comes to be uttered in fearful whispers.

Professor Moriarty.

When Tweed’s father is kidnapped by Moriarty, he is forced to team up with information broker Octavia Nightingale to track him down. But he soon realizes that his father’s disappearance is just a tiny piece of a political conspiracy that could destroy the British Empire and plunge the world into a horrific war.

3.5 stars

Well this was a fun read, not exactly a light read, but definitely a fun read indeed.

I've never read any of Mr. Crilley's books before, but the world that he created in The Lazarus Machine is very rich, and if you're looking for a steampunk book that definitely shows the steampunkness (not a word I know) then this book is good bet. You can see the use of these unique machines in everyday life. There are also some models which have a certain "feature" which ties up into the story.

The plot was tight, and I think well paced. There weren't any parts where it seemed to drag. I don't really want to say much else, in the event that I reveal something that ought not to be. I must say I really do like this web that Mr. Crilley has spun.

The characters were fun, they had their own quirks. There was Barnaby, the father that had a taste for flair, logical and rational Sebastian Tweed but still naive in some ways, Octavia Nightingale who really I think was a quite strong character, in terms of how she kept her hope for so long, Carter and Jenny, such a lively couple XD, and then there was Stepp the programming genius. The banter throughout was witty and fun. I'm not sure whose I like more, Carter and Jenny or Octavia and Tweed.

That said there was something that, although this book scored high on the major points, was missing. I didn't quite feel myself, really pulled in until midway. (Although, the banter did draw a chuckle out of me a couple of times), but after that things seemed to have drawn me in, so in my mind this added up to the higher end of the 3 star rating, hence the round up.

The book end is pretty satisfying. It should be noted however, that there are still some more things left to be resolved, though it is nothing major to warrant a cliffhanger.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Review for My Lady Mage (Warriors of the Mist #1) by Alexis Morgan

My Lady Mage (Warriors of the Mist, #1)My Lady Mage by Alexis Morgan
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A cursed destiny. A band of warriors. And one troubled kingdom.

It is whispered in Agathia that the legendary warriors of the mist—cursed by the gods—can be summoned only when a champion is needed and the cause is just. Gideon, their captain, knows this to be the one path that will lead his men to redemption—lest they face an eternity of damnation.

Years have passed since anyone has journeyed to the river's edge, but times are desperate. Oppressed by a cruel guardian whose dark magic threatens to destroy her people, the beautiful and courageous Merewen calls upon the bespelled warriors. In Gideon she finds more than a champion, and in his arms, more than protection. However, their enemies are fighting with a power darker than anything than they imagined, and should Gideon fail, she will lose everything she holds dear—including her heart

2 - 2.5 rating...

Honestly, I suppose this was an okay read, well that's what two stars stands for, but for me, it never really clicked. Maybe it was because I was expecting something along the lines of C.L. Wilson's Tairen Soul, and was really psyched to read it.

However throughout the story (except for a brief period towards the end) I was thinking to myself, "when will this end?"

For one, the world seemed to be thinly developed, in terms of, for this type of book, I was expecting it to be high-fantasy. There's magic in here (no that alone doesn't make a high-fanatsy but bear with me), with these ancient warriors, who have been curse by the gods (by the way we know next to nothing about these gods) and they can be summoned in times of danger. There's an evil person practicing dark magic. But we never get the feeling of it. That's my problem right there, for something that's classified as fantasy-romance, I have never seen the world. It's just oh, "let me mention about magic here and there, and never explain anything, or show it in motion." Yes, Merewen uses magic, but we never get the sense/feel of it. Heck we don't know what it is really. But then again, that can be something the author plans on explaining later.

Which brings me to Merewen herself, much like the story, I didn't get any sense of personality itself and I felt that she was made out to be this perfect being. Oh everyone loves her, oh she does things that warms my heart, oh...she is so brave. Okay, fine, say that she is all those things, show it. Don't make her do something minor and then turn it into a big whoop-ti-do-da. It's like the author is telling us this character is so great, but I am yet to see great feats from her.

Gideon is another blah character, but at least we're not being bombarded the wonders of his everything.

In fact the more interesting characters in this book seemed to be the side characters and (more than anything else) the animals.

The writing, as I said before, seemed to be more of a telling than showing nature...or at least that's how it felt to me. And everything else was probably average...I'm probably in the minority here though, seeing as this has an average 4.01.

I didn't hate it though (aside from merewen's character..and it's more dislike than hate) so I won't rate it a one star.

Will I be checking out the other books? maybe, I still want to know what's going on (I'm a glutton for punishment), but I won't be breaking my neck to get a copy.

View all my reviews

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Review for Quintana of Charyn (Lumatere Chronicles #3) by Melina Marchetta

Quintana of Charyn (Lumatere Chronicles, #3)Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"There's a babe in my belly that whispers the valley, Froi. I follow the whispers and come to the road . . ."

Separated from the girl he loves and has sworn to protect, Froi must travel through Charyn to search for Quintana, the mother of Charyn's unborn king, and protect her against those who will do anything to gain power. But what happens when loyalty to family and country conflict? When the forces marshalled in Charyn's war gather and threaten to involve the whole of the land, including Lumatere, only Froi can set things right, with the help of those he loves.

Melina Marchetta, you have slain completely and utterly until there’s no breath left in my body.
The Lumatere Chronicles has been a wonderful series, and I mean from the bottom of my boogity shoo (in the words of The Platters and whoever else sang/wrote that song).

We start off Quintana with Froi and the rest searching for Quintana and Quintana hiding in the least likely of places…but not really when you think of it. I’m trying not to give anything away and I’m not quite sure if how much more I can say without giving away anything, even if it’s the slightest, because if you’re planning on reading this series, I wouldn’t want anything to detract from your experience.

The plot was paced, I think, just right for how the story unfolds. And the characters, oh the characters. I know, I said this before in my review of Froi of the Exiles, but Froi has grown so much from the boy-who-wasn’t-really that we met in Finnikin of the Rock. He has really come into his own, and … gah… I don’t know what else to say..this book leaves me speechless.

Quintana the mad queen, the savage queen, Quintana the brave…I love you dearly…you have endeared yourself to me just as you endeared yourself to those you have forged a bond with. What you have endured, why you have endured and what you fear (really do you think you could not love your child?) just wants to make me hug you and wrap you up in a nice lil’ cotton ball.

Isaboe, Finnikin, you’re old friends that I’ve been happy to see. Froi’s family (the Charyn one – really Froi you’re definitely loved, you have two families ^_^). You’re a bit dysfunctional, but the love and loyalty has always and will always be there.

Lucian…you’re a stubborn Mont, but I love you. Phaedra, don’t let anyone tell you that you’re not useless and don’t believe it either. You ought to be called Phaedra the strong.

Really though this book was like coming home, everything tying together and did I mention the relationships between the characters. Because I think that was done beautifully, and while I would love to give you examples…I can’t.

Anyone and Everyone. Read the book. ‘Nuff said.

Granted I’d more recommend this series to those 16/17 and up.

But seriously. Read it. You’re missing out on a lot if you haven't.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Review for Poison Princess (Arcana Chronicles #1) by Kresley Cole

Poison Princess (The Arcana Chronicles, #1)Poison Princess by Kresley Cole
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

She could save the world—or destroy it.

Sixteen year old Evangeline “Evie” Greene leads a charmed life, until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future—and they’re still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Deveaux.

But she can’t do either alone.

With his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, and bad attitude, Jack is like no boy Evie has ever known. Even though he once scorned her and everything she represented, he agrees to protect Evie on her quest. She knows she can’t totally depend on Jack. If he ever cast that wicked grin her way, could she possibly resist him?

Who can Evie trust?

As Jack and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of twenty-two teens has been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it’s not always clear who is on which side….

3.5 stars...

So the premise of Poison Princess was pretty interesting, a group of teens represent the major arcana of the tarot cards, and are basically pitted against each other, every once or so century. dun dun dun. The book itself, is between two settings, A.F. (after flash) and B.F. (Before flash).
The flash was the mega solar flare, that...well if you're planning on reading this book, you'll see.
In any case the Flash turns the world into a post-apocalyptic world..and're gonna have to fight for your right to survive.

On to the characters, (I'm really just going to focus on Evie and Jack). Evie is basically as the summary of the book says a privileged girl, and so at the beginning of the book, she acts and behaves as a privileged girl would. But she's friendly enough. Oh and then of course, she desperately wants to have a normal life. Why do you ask, well she was in the nuthouse. A lot of this I think, causes her to make some not so good decisions in the beginning [honey you do not need to keep a man that badly..nuff said]. But like I said, I think it's more of -"I want to be normal. Everything's fine and so not falling a part. My boyfriend isn't a jerk. He does care for me. etc."-
But at the same time, she's the person who will try to persevere through it all, because after the flash, although she thought herself useless, she had tried her best to help and she doesn't unnecessarily complain and whine. So that's good. And she did this all while thinking herself half-crazy. kudos to you chica. Once she realised normalcy was never going to happen... well let's just say I'm interested to see what she does after this. It's a pity everything had to "crash and burn".

Jack is a mean-ass, jack-ass. I'm sorry. But yeah, he can say somethings that make me want to smack his head and toss him into the bottomless abyss. But Jack is someone with a huge-ginormous chip on his shoulder, and I think it'll take a while before he gets over that. He can come across as a bi-polar jack-ass. But he does care about Evie..he just has a thoroughly messed up way about going over it. It's like one step forward-two steps back with him. He's harsh on her. But he wants her to survive. He protects her, constantly, even when he could ditch her. He likes her, but he obviously doesn't think he's good enough for her, either that, or the distance between the two of them in terms social class really pisses him off. So he'll expect her to be snobbish towards him, etc. but she's not. And then when he acts jerkish towards her, she slams it right back at him. So it's a tug-of-war really.

And despite my...frustrating feelings of them as characters. I do like the writing. It's flippin' Kresley Cole people. And I like how she created the characters, as in you can see where they're coming from. You know them, and I do believe they're going to grow into their own selves. And after how this book ended, will I read the next book when it comes out? Yes. Plain and simple...I don't know if it comes across as I didn't like this book. But I did, the plot is really interesting, and I want to see where Cole takes it. I want to know what's going to happen with Jack and Evie, because I honestly think they both need a good sit down to just talk. I want to know more about the other Major Arcanas. I want to see Evie flip her stick again and get all thorny on those bad cards. I want to see how the events of the last chapter affected her and everyone else. That said I wouldn't call it a cliffhanger. It's just that things happened that can cause interesting repercussions.

So will I keep an eye out on this series? Yes.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Review for Seraphina (Seraphina #1) by Rachel Hartman

SeraphinaSeraphina by Rachel Hartman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

Yea, I liked this book..

Suffice to say that I can understand what the hype about this book is, it is pretty darn book. The world building never felt lacking, the characters were great:

Seraphina - the girl living in a world where she has to hide who she is. Growing up in that world where her remaining family wasn't one to hug or cuddle. She didn't suffer from any bouts of -I want to bash my head in the wall so badly because of your characterization- She was pretty strong heroine in her own right. And, I must point out this. It's really great to see a heroine who doesn't have to be particularly tom-boyish or I refuse to wear frills, etc. Often times we see this happening where it's emphasized that heroine of the story portrays this...In Seraphina, Seraphina is just Seraphina. She isn't -ew-dresses- nor does she exhibit any extremely feminine qualities, she is simply the person shaped by her experiences, and that's great because that makes her natural.

The plot, has one of the things I love about fantasy, the political intrigue. And in Seraphina's case we have a fragile truce between the dragons and the humans, and in the midst of all of that we have a murder, a murder of a prince that seems to be of dragon means.

You have the Seraphina, trying to help the princess and the prince, both of whom I think are pretty good characters. Lucian being the truth seeker, but of course people are more than just one facet of their chracter. He's witty and has an occasional self-deprecating humour that work. Glisselda really pulls through as a princess and knows how to stand tall, and for me, she was a very endearing character. Anyhow, Seraphina is with them, or they're with her...trying to figure out the mystery behind it all...and along the way we see Seraphina struggling with what she is, and how to really extricate herself from this web of lies that she -not started but certainly helped [not that she had much of a choice]- But it was all very real.

Orma in particular was very dear to me, because dragons are not meant to feel..yet here he is flawed and though he may not outright show his love, he certainly does express it.

All in all, the plot is solid, the characters are good, the world is great [cuz we have the politics, the different cultures and how the react/interact with each other] so I'd say..if you're looking for fantasy..Seraphina is a pretty solid bet...

Monday, 10 September 2012

Review for Enshadowed (Nevermore #1) by Kelly Creagh

 Enshadowed (Nevermore, #2)Enshadowed by Kelly Creagh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Varen Nethers is trapped in a perilous dream world -- a treacherous and desolate realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life. Isobel Lanley, plagued by strange visions and haunted by the nightmares of Varen's creation, is the only one who can save him.
Isobel knows that her only hope lies within a Baltimore cemetery. There, in the early morning hours of Edgar Allan Poe's birthday, a mysterious stranger known as the "Poe Toaster" will make his annual homage at the legendary poet's grave.
Only the Poe Toaster holds the key to the way between worlds. But even greater dangers lie ahead for Isobel. An ancient evil, draped in veils of white, is watching, challenging her for Varen's affections. When Isobel finally finds Varen, he is no longer the quiet and brooding boy who once captivated her, but a dark force, powerful and malevolent

4.5 star rating.

A freakin' hell that just cannot be it!. No Ms. Creagh, you are not doing this to me once again.

Ah Enshadowed what can I say about you that others haven't? I am at a loss for words. Seriously. But what I can tell you, who are reading this review, is that this is a must-not-miss book. You need to get it..seriously. (I've went through two seriously's. that's one you it just got real)

Agh, Isobel, I feel it for you girl (and your family -> I really do like how Ms. Creagh incorporates her family). You really went through so much, and you still are, and with how the book ended...I just don't know what to think..*bangs head* I need more..

Gwen you're the bestest bestie anyone could ever ask for. You try to keep Izzy grounded, and that's wonderful...Your wit and humour is a bright spark in this otherwise serious book.

Pinfeathers...*tears up*

Varen..*bawls* I think you've been in dreamscape so long, it's hard to tell what's real from what's not...and boy *boxes Varen* Thou shalt not belong to the ruin! I command it!...

This also brings me up to the point of the world that Ms. Creagh created. It's confusing, it's rich and and it's beautiful. The confusing is a good thing, in that we, along with Isobel, are not certain which world we're in. Everything has that dreamlike quality to it. And I'm beginning to understand what people mean by when they say, a book was written in beautiful prose, because that is definitely the case in this book.

There is also the question that pops into mind at the end of this...just because it's a dream world, does it mean that it's not real?

All in all, this was a solid not to miss book. Read it, or else...dun dun I shall go to sleep with the lights