Thursday, July 28, 2016

Throwback Thursday - Anno Dracula

This wasn't an easy week for me to pick a Throwback Read.  Some of my friends in the book world threw me some ideas, but all I managed to do was odd more things to my TBR.  Apparently I haven't read as many of the Classics as I thought.  Finally, while giving another friend some book ideas I thought would be his alley, Anno Dracula came up.  This is probably one of my favorite Half Price Books finds.  I do enjoy Kim Newman's writing style very much.

Original Release Date: 1992
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Ltd.
Author: Kim Newman

It is 1888 and Queen Victoria has remarried, taking as her new consort Vlad Tepes, the Wallachian Prince infamously known as Count Dracula. Peppered with familiar characters from Victorian history and fiction, the novel follows vampire Geneviève Dieudonné and Charles Beauregard of the Diogenes Club as they strive to solve the mystery of the Ripper murders.

Anno Dracula is the story of what would have happened if the end of Bram Stoker's Dracula would have ended a little bit differently.  This is the London that would have been created.  This is the first book of a four part series.  Each book starts in a different era, but all see focus around Miss Kate Reed.  Of all the books Anno Dracula is probably my favorite.  I usually add this to the must read list of all my friends who enjoyed Dracula, or anything a little weird with a lot of violence.  These books do get a little bloody.

Any other good takes on the Count I should look out for?

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday - Nevernight

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming release that book bloggers are eagerly anticipating.

Release Datee:  August 9th 2016
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Author: Jay Kristoff

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.
Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

So this will be the second book that I have read by Jay Kristoff, the first was Illuminae.  I have to say I'm pretty excited about it.  Not only does the synopsis sounds awesome, cover is pretty fantastic. Basically I'm waiting for this one to arrive.  Luckily my wait is almost over!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Throwback Thursday - Alanna

Some of my more bookish friends and I got to talking about Young Adult books a few days ago, and of course we started throwing out books that everyone should read.  Which lead me to throw out Tamora Pierce's books.  I discovered her book Trickster's Choice not long after it came out while on vacation.  Since then I've devoured her books because I adore her characters so much.  It also got me thinking I've never finished Pierce's books either. This week I picked up her Protector of the Small series which I started years ago but never finished for whatever reason.  With that, it seemed only fitting for her first book to be my Throwback Read of the week. 

Published By: Atheneum Books
Original Release Date: September 1, 1983
Author:  Tamora Pierce

So young Alanna of Trebond begins the journey to knighthood. Though a girl, Alanna has always craved the adventure and daring allowed only for boys; her twin brother, Thom, yearns to learn the art of magic. So one day they decide to switch places: Thom heads for the convent to learn magic; Alanna, pretending to be a boy, is on her way to the castle of King Roald to begin her training as a page.

While pulling images and everything up for this post and moving stuff around on Goodreads, I did stumble across the fact that Tamora Pierce will have a new book being published next year!  Not only is based in the land of Tortall, but it is all about Numair!  I have no words to describe how excited I am about this.  Numair is one of my favorites!  I highly recommend her books.  They are a super fun read full colorful characters that you can't help but fall in love.  Oh, there's usually a cat, guiding someone somewhere.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

First Test - Review

Published: May 23rd 2000
Author: Tamora Pierce
Series: Protector of the Small

In the medieval and fantastic realm of Tortall, Keladry of Mindelan is the first girl to take advantage of the decree that permits females to train for knighthood. Up against the traditional hazing of pages and a grueling schedule, Kel faces only one real roadblock: Lord Wyldon, the training master of pages and squires. He is absolutely against girls becoming knights. So while he is forced to train her, Wyldon puts her on probation for one year. It is a trial period that no male page has ever had to endure and one that separates the good natured Kel even more from her fellow trainees during the tough first year. But Kel Is not a girl to underestimate, as everyone is about to find out...
As I mentioned in a previous post, Tamora Pierce's books came up in conversation recently.  Which got me thinking about how I've never finished this series, The Protector of the Small.  I honestly can't remember why I stopped after the first book.  Probably college, it's the reason I didn't finish a lot of series I started in the summer.  So, with a Reread square on our BINGO boards this year, I figured it was time to pick this series back up.

To be honest it had been so long since I originally picked up First Test I couldn't honestly remembered what happened in the book.  I did remember  Kel and Neal, and the fact it takes places several years after the last book about Alanna.  The rest of the details were a little blurry.  Like I honestly forgot how much I wanted that spidren to eat Joren.  The farther into the story I got, the more I started to remember.  I had to force myself to put the book down to go to work yesterday, and it was the first thing I picked up tonight when I finally crawled out of traffic.

It was great to be back in Tortall and remembering all the reasons I love Tamora Pierce's writing style.  True to form, Tamora Pierce doesn't waste any time getting to the point.  From the first page your thrown into the start of the story, the first girl since Alannah has signed up to be a Page. Without hitting a bump the plot doesn't stop its steady pace forward as we meet our main character, Keladry as she gets the news of the conditions of her becoming a Page. The rest of the story is told from her point of view.

I didn't mind how quickly the plot moved throughout First Test.  The book targets for a much younger crowd, and I think the pace is meant to keep them interested.  While I wouldn't mind a few more chapters to set up the world around Tortall, I never felt like I wasn't getting backstory as the plot moved.  

All of the characters are wonderfully written.  We know the most about Keladry and slowly start to learn more about the other characters as they start to become important to Kel.  Though we were never bogged down with backstory.  It was little things that happened as the plot unfolded that we'd learn about the Pages as they came into Kel's life.

One of the things I do remember about reading this book the first time is really liking Kel.  She stands up to the bully's, even if she knows it'll be downfall as first year Page on probation, and through this she starts to earn some of the other Pages respect.  Rereading it now, a little older, I found I spent a great amount of the book wishing she'd get over the differences setting her apart: whether was her actually being a girl or living with on the Yamani Islands.  There were a great number of moments where she got in her own way and I wished I could have shaken her told her to suck it up.  

However, I did have to remind myself Kel is ten during the First Test, so there's bound to be a bit of that.  

Nealan, though.  I still adore him.  Mostly because he's kind of my spirit animal.  Nearly decade has passed since I first read First Test, and I still adore this characters. 

 I really could go on and on about this book, and any other book by Tamora Pierce.  While Protector of the Small isn't my favorite series, I didn't enjoy this book.  It was a quick, fun read, with a female lead who finds her own way without simpering and needing someone to love her.  It's about standing up to the bullies and realizes people should never forget who you are.  I think a lot of young girls should read her books, and I always push her books on my friends when they want a fun YA book. So three stars, because Nealan is amazing, Kel kind of grew on me, and Numair popped his wonderful head in for just a tiny little moment.

Buy or Burrow: Burrow this one!  It's a good read, but I don't think it'll be one of her books I come back to any time soon.

Waiting on Wednesday - The Last Days of New Paris

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming release that book bloggers are eagerly anticipating.

Published By: Del Rey
Release Date: August 9, 2016
Author: China Mieville

THE LAST DAYS OF NEW PARIS is an intense and gripping tale set in an alternative universe: June 1940 following Paris’ fall to the Germans, the villa of Air-Bel in Marsailles, is filled with Trotskyists, anti-fascists, exiled artists, and surrealists. One Air-Bel dissident decides the best way to fight the Nazis is to construct a surrealist bomb. When the bomb is accidentally detonated, surrealist Cataclysm sweeps Paris and transforms it according to a violent, weaponized dream logic.

I'm a huge China Mieville fan!  I discovered him just this last year when I picked up the Dail H, comic book on a recommendation  from a friend who knows I like weird stories.  Since then I've been meaning to pick up one of Mieville's actual books. The Last Days of New Paris his is newest book and I do enjoy alternate universes.  Plus is has to do with the art world around the 1940s which held some pretty odd ducks in actual reality. So I'm thinking I might start with this one! 

So, what's everyone else waiting on this week?  Anything else based in an alternative reality getting ready to hit shelves soon? 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

This Monstrous Thing - Review

Published: September 22, 2015
Author: Machenzi Lee

In 1818 Geneva, men built with clockwork parts live hidden away from society, cared for only by illegal mechanics called Shadow Boys. Two years ago, Shadow Boy Alasdair Finch’s life shattered to bits.  Heart-broken and desperate, Alasdair does the unthinkable: He brings Oliver back from the dead.                                                                                                                                                                                                   .

Buy it Book Info

This Monstrous Thing is set in an alternative steampunk version Geneva where people are patched together by clockwork pieces by illegal mechanics called, Shadow Boys.  It is a retelling of the classic Gothic Novel, Frankenstein.  In fact this is the story of how this version of Mary Shelly came up with story and maybe almost started a movement.  Because life as a clockwork person, not so great.

I was originally drawn to this book because it was a retelling of Frankenstein, which is one of my favorites of the Gothic stories.  I can still remember how reading it for the first time in my bed, in the dark with just my book lamp, and jumping every time our housed creaked and popped.  So I'm always excited to see someone re-imagine the story.  For better or for worse.

This Monstrous Thing was for kind of the better.

I say kind of only because when I originally saw the book, and even when I picked it up, I didn't know it was a Middle Grade novel. Which wouldn't have stopped me from reading it.  Just because I'm not ten doesn't me I can't enjoy I book set for them, I did.  Like this book I mean.  It just wasn't as dark and as scary as I thought it was going be.  At least for me personally.  I could totally see my younger cousin not sleeping because of parts, or grossed out in places.

Despite that little hick-up, which wasn't really a hick-up, I liked This Monstrous Thing.  Mackenzi  Lee created a wonderful world and a strong story inside of that world.  It was easy to pick up on the political drama of this steampunk Regency world without being bogged down by it.  I didn't really see much flaw with character, keeping mind the age range this book was written for.  Oliver was always sort of a mystery, but I felt that was the point.  As a reader were only meant to see him the way Alasdair saw him.  I felt like I disliked characters because they were written to not be trusted and to be disliked.  I felt the story very quickly and there were very few moments where the story lulled.

My favorite part was the friendship between Clemence, who quickly became my favorite character, and Alasdair.  I also really liked that they weren't written in as a romantic pair.  They both sort of have what the other needs.  Clemence is a person in Alasdair's corner that helps to keep both a clever and good man.  While Alasdair is just there for Clemence without expecting anything in return by her friendship.  It was wonderful to see.

Really the only issues I had with the book was I was expecting something different from what I got.  Which really was own my fault for not noticing the fact this retelling was meant for a younger generation.  Of course I also wasn't overly fond of our main character either.  I spent most of the pick wishing he'd be brave and just make a decision about what it was in fact that he wanted.  I needed him to decided what kind of Shadow Boy he was going to be. Not sit an mope.

But, all-in-all, I liked the book.  I feel Mackenzi Lee retold this classic story wonderful for a new generation of readers, and I can't wait to share with my younger cousins who read.  I've already passed my copy on to a friend who also is big fan of Frankenstein. So three stars is my final rate of This Monstrous Thing.  It was a fun read that I enjoyed as a whole, but not something I see myself picking up again.

Though, I would like to see this become a TV show.  I think it would be wonderful on screen.

What did everyone else think of the book?  Any other Frankenstein re-tellings I should add to my TBR?

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Throwback Thursday - The Hound of the Baskervilles

My throwback for today happened while I was waiting out traffic this afternoon in Half Price Books.  I've been keeping an eye out for a new copy of Dorian Gray since my current one is in two pieces.  Only I haven't had much luck until I ran into a couple of gems in Half Price.  So I thought I'd share The Hound of the Baskervilles (my favorite Sherlock Holmes story) edition today!

Publisher: Pulp! The Classics (this edition)
Original Release: April 1902
Author: Arthur Conan Doyle

A desolate moor, a diabolical dog, and some inbred locals—Sherlock Holmes is really up against it. With the help of his trusty sidekick Dr. Watson, Holmes pieces together a mystery that has captured the imagination of readers across the decades—all while practicing a serious coffee and cocaine habit.

 Book Info

There is a pretty good chance that I may squealed when I saw these covers!  A couple of people might have given me odd looks because my first reaction was to take a photo to send one of my friends who shares my love for the Classics.  I included the link to the site where you can order all of the books they currently have available.

What's your favorite of the Classics? 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday -

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming release that book bloggers are eagerly anticipating.

Release Date: July 19, 2016

 Alex McKenna is the new Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago office of the Bureau of Paranormal Investigations—the division tasked with investigating crimes involving shades. Or vampires, as they’re more widely known. Children have been going missing, and agents are routinely being slaughtered. It’s up to McKenna, and some unlikely allies, to get to the bottom of the problem, and find the kids before it’s too late.

 Book Info PreOrder Now

 This one popped up on my Goodreads as a recommendation a few weeks ago.  I haven't read anything of Melissa Olson's other books, but this one however sounds like it might be right up my alley.

Anyone read any of Olson's other books?
What's everyone else Waiting on today?

Monday, July 11, 2016

Make Me Read It Stats Post

This is where I'll be updating my progress through the Make Me Read It Readathon this week.  So check back here to see how each day has gone!   Leave a comment let me know how everyone else is doing and link me up to your progress posts.  Or, just to tell me you read something blew your mind.  My TBR is never too big!!  GOOD LUCK ALL!

Saturday June 9th - 
I read absolutely nothing today. I spent the first half of my day at work and was able to go see Victoria Schwab talk about her new book, Savage Song. Which only made me need it in my life that much quicker.

Sunday June 10th - 
Currently Reading: This Monstrous Thing
Pages Read: 50 pages

Monday June 11th -
Currently Reading: This Monstrous Thing
Pages Read: 70 pages

Tuesday June 12th -
Currently Reading: This Monstrous Thing
Pages Read: 20 pages (Was lucky enough to get to see the new Ghostbusters film last night.  So didn't get much reading down between work and that.)

Wednesday June 13th-
Currently Reading: This Monstrous Thing
Pages Read; 100 pages

Thursday June 14th - 
Currently Reading: This Monstrous Thing
Pages Read; 100 pages

Friday June 15th -
Currently Reading: This Monstrous Thing
Pages Read: 0, don't feel bad about it.  I managed to slide out of work early and enjoy an evening with friends.

Saturday June 16th - 
Finished Reading: This Monstrous Thing

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Make Me Read It Readathon!

The day is finally here!  Today is the first day of the Make Me Read It Readathon by The Innocent Smiley and Tea & Titles.

A lot of people have cast their vote on what I am going to read for the next week and in what order.  My goal is of course to get through the entire list of books, but I do have to work throughout the week of this Readathon.  So thank you to everyone who voted!  Once I'm off work today I'll be excited to jump into my first read.  

This the first book off the shelf this week!  It was a close fight between This Monstrous Thing and The Summer Dragon.  By one vote this is the book that took the win!  So as soon as I'm free from work I'll finally crack this baby open!

It's really rare for me to read one book in a week, let alone try to read 5 between work and all my other stuff.  My hope is at least make it through the first two books!   

I cannot wait to see whatever everyone will be reading over the next few days, and I will keeping an eye out for the #MakeMeRead!  Good luck to everyone and I hope your books are wonderful! 

Friday, July 8, 2016

Age of Myth - Review

Published: June 28th, 2016
Author: Michael J. Sullivan
Series: The Legends of the First Empire

Since time immemorial, humans have worshiped the gods they call Fhrey, truly a race apart: invincible in battle, masters of magic, and seemingly immortal. But when a god falls to a human blade, the balance of power between men and those they thought were gods changes forever. Now, only a few stand between humankind and annihilation: Raithe, reluctant to embrace his destiny as the God Killer, Suri, a young seer burdened by signs of impending doom, and Persephone, who must overcome personal tragedy to lead her people. The Age of Myth is over; the time of rebellion has begun.
 Age of Myth Order it now!
I should probably start out by saying I'm a huge fan of Michael J. Sullivan.  His books are some of the ones I always recommend to my friends.  In fact Royce Melborn is one of my favorite literary characters, and if I had to pick a fictional boyfriend, I'd chose him.  So I've been pretty excited to get my hands this since it was announced to be a thing that was happening.  Not only because it's a new series by Michael J. Sullivan, but because it's the prequel to a series I already love.  

Age of Myth is set three thousand years before the Riyria Series.

As usual the world created by Sullivan is amazing.  The world of Elan is nothing like in the first two series.  The land is more wild and lot more superstitious.  Michael J. Sullivan does a wonderful job of dropping into the world and making you feel like your standing there looking at it with the characters.  There's a deep contrast between the world of the Rhunes (humans) and the Fhrey (the gods).  There are ghosts and demons around every corner, and the Rhune clans are anything but united.

The characters Sullivan has created are by far the best part of the book.  I instantly fell in love with relationship between Raithe and Malcolm.  It's very reminiscent of what Hadrian and Royce have, but it's different.  Where Hadrian and Royce had to learn to trust each other; Raithe and Malcolm  didn't really have a choice.  Trusting each other meant surviving.  All of the characters however are well developed with several layers.  Even if some of those layers are more horrible than the last.  Still I don't feel like I hated any characters because they were one sided unneeded.  I hated them because they were whiny brats (our Fhrey prince) or just terrible people all around.

Once I finally full afternoon sit down and read, I couldn't put it down.  The pace of Age of Myth moves pretty steady between the character jumps.  I never once got confused as to who's chapter I was in, or ever fell the need to put it down because events were moving along.  While there were times I wonder why certain parts were taking place, it was later made sense as other pieces fell together.

I've seen a lot of complaints about Age of Myth that it was too cookie cutter.  That other readers had seen this set up before and found it a little predictable.  They aren't wrong, but I don't think that's a bad thing.  Did I start to piece things together throughout the story? Yup sure did.  There were moments where characters made decisions and I knew that is was going bite them later.  Which it did, spectacularly.  Did I hate that I was filling in the blanks sooner than they were being announced?  No, because while I was figure out the small parts, I missed something big.

So what did I not like the book?  That big piece I missed.  Which naturally was at the end of the book.  That little announcement, I didn't like. Not because it was poorly written, not because it didn't fit the story, but because I did not want it happen.  I saw the set up coming on the last couple of pages and was crushed.  I really liked him and now... UGH!  I always like those characters!

Anyway,  Age of Myth was one of my most anticipated books of not only June, but of 2016.  Thankfully it did not disappoint.  So, no I wait for June of next year to see trouble the gods are going to cause, and see whose going to die.  From the first chapter that was published in the book.  Probably everyone.

Buy or Burrow: Buy this, like right now!  

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Throwback Thursdays - Portrait of Dorian Gray

Aw, Thursday, you are such an awkward day.  When most people are so close to their weekend and I'm stuck in the middle of my work week.  So close to a day off, yet so far away.  Upside it means it's Throwback time! So here's my #ThrowbackRead for the week and we might be going way back.

Publisher: Alma Books (Edition shown)
Originally Published: June 20th 1890
Author:  Oscar Wilde

Dorian Gray is having his picture painted by Basil Hallward, who is charmed by his looks. But when Sir Henry Wotton visits and seduces Dorian into the worship of youthful beauty with an intoxicating speech, Dorian makes a wish he will live to regret: that all the marks of age will now be reflected in the portrait rather than on Dorian’s own face. The stage is now set for a masterful tale about appearance, reality, art, life, truth, fiction, and the burden of conscience. Oscar Wilde’s only full-length novel is a lasting gem of sophisticated wit and playfulness, which brings together all the best elements of his talent in a reinterpretation of the Faustian myth.

 Book Info! Order it!

This is the only book by Oscar Wilde that I've read, and I'm pretty sure it's one of my favorite books.  I've seen every film and TV adaptation of this character, and I honestly don't know how many times I've read the book.  Enough that I know I'm in need of better copy than the one I have.  The Portrait of Dorian Gray was my introduction into Gothic Literature and I've been soaking it ever since.  So when someone asks me for a good and frightening book, I always tell them this one.  Because eleven years have passed since I first read this book and it still freaks me out.

What other good Gothic books should make my TBR?  Anything so good I should read it this fall when I'm in the mood for a spooky read?

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday - The Wicked Boy

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming release that book bloggers are eagerly anticipating.

Publisher: Penguin Press
Author: Kate Summerscale
Release Date:  July 12, 2016

In the summer of 1895, Robert Coombes (age 13) and his brother Nattie (age 12) were seen spending lavishly around the docklands of East London -- for ten days in July, they ate out at coffee houses and took trips to the seaside and the theater. The boys told neighbors they had been left home alone while their mother visited family in Liverpool, but their aunt was suspicious. When she eventually she forced the brothers to open the house to her, she found the badly decomposed body of their mother in a bedroom upstairs. Robert and Nattie were arrested for matricide and sent for trial at the Old Bailey. 

 The Wicked Boy Pre-order The Wicked Boy

So if I haven't mentioned it before, True Crime books are my weakness, especially ones set in days past that have been generally forgotten.  Add in the fact it's a Victorian era crime and it hits all the right points.  I'm waiting on this book for two reasons.  The most obvious is that it's yet to be released, but the second is before I run off and buy another True Crime book, I should probably read the stack I already have.  We'll see how strong I am about the later if I come across this bad boy in the bookstore.

What's everyone else got this week?  Am I missing out on something golden??