i'm darkness and light, bubbles and faerie wings. i am sparkles and glitter, shadows and clouds. i love purple, and faeries, and books, and music.

Ramblings by Category

Ramblings by Year

Cress

Cress (Lunar Chronicles, #3)
by Marissa Meyer

Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair—or her guard.

In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker—unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can. (goodreads.com)

Release date: February 4, 2014

I don’t normally like to post too early about soon to be published books, but I figure a month and half (ish) isn’t too bad… Also I need to just be able to read and blog when I am able to these days. So you’re getting an early review of Cress. I shall try not to spoil anything, but I suggest you continue reading at your own risk. 😉

My gosh. I started this post a week ago…but I’m just not feeling the book blogging mood anymore. Ugh.

I might be in the minority, but I found Cress started off really slow and I wasn’t entirely certain I was going to like the book in the end. Turns out I started liking the story a lot more by the second half, which made me happy.

With each book being about a different main character, it’s bound to happen that a reader might not connect much with a specific story. This is how I felt about Cress. I didn’t particularly like her. There was nothing special about her personality that I can blame on my dislike of her. Maybe it’s that I felt she didn’t actually have any personality. She seemed sort of one dimensional and bland. Can’t say I blame her for it. I gather her circumstances lead to her blandness, but maybe she could have been written a little more endearingly or something.

I didn’t hate her. I just didn’t care anything about her. That actually makes me sad because I’d much rather hate a character than be indifferent to one. With the hatred I know they have been portrayed in a way that makes them more realistic and well-rounded.

On the flip side, this book had a lot of Captain Thorne and I adore his character. He always makes me laugh. I like that he got to expand from his side-kick, comic relief role a little and we get to know more about him. Even if it’s with Cress.

And really, I liked Cress slightly more by the end of the story. But I still like the other characters more. Heck, I even adore Iko more and she’s a robot.

However I am seriously looking forward to the fourth and final book – Winter. Because the brief glimpse we have of that character was enough to make me exclaim, “ooo, this is going to be GOOD!” when I was done reading.

Even though I received an ARC of this book (not for review, as gift) I am going to purchase the hard cover when it comes out in February because I do love this series. I love this sci-fi, fantasy take on Fairy Tales I know and love so well. The writing is excellent and the stories are captivating. The cover art for these books is just beautiful as well and they are books I will be happy to have in my collection for ever and ever.

The Lunar Chronicles

  1. Cinder
  2. Scarlet
  3. Cress
  4. Winter – 2015

The Bone Season

The Bone Season (book 1)
by Samantha Shannon

It is the year 2059. Several major world cities are under the control of a security force called Scion. Paige Mahoney works in the criminal underworld of Scion London, part of a secret cell known as the Seven Seals. The work she does is unusual: scouting for information by breaking into others’ minds. Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clairvoyant, and in this world, the voyants commit treason simply by breathing.

But when Paige is captured and arrested, she encounters a power more sinister even than Scion. The voyant prison is a separate city—Oxford, erased from the map two centuries ago and now controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. These creatures, the Rephaim, value the voyants highly—as soldiers in their army.

Paige is assigned to a Rephaite keeper, Warden, who will be in charge of her care and training. He is her master. Her natural enemy. But if she wants to regain her freedom, Paige will have to learn something of his mind and his own mysterious motives. (goodreads.com)

DISCLAIMER: You are about to see this book pop up everywhere. On every blog. On morning TV programs. On late night TV programs. In the news. In the paper. In magazines. It will be EVERYWHERE. And you will probably find yourself in one of two camps. Camp One: OMG! It looks AMAZEBALLS! I NEED to get this! Camp Two: OMG! *eye roll* I hate hyped books. It will suck. I refuse to even acknowledge it exists! So I will tell you right now that while I am about to write a post on how much I enjoyed this book and that it was sent to me unsolicited by the publisher, my post is 100% honest. If you have been reading my blog for a while you will know that I don’t say I like something if I don’t. If I didn’t like it I would tell you.

So while you might get sick of seeing this book show up everywhere, all over the internet and other media, I urge to you not roll your eyes and pass it by because this is, in fact, a very solid and entertaining book. Give it a chance. 😉

Also, this will be rather long.

And now on to the meat of the post. No spoilers, at least not intentionally. Read at your own rick.

This book showed up completely out of the blue (and I had to drive to the middle of nowhere to pick it up due to not being home when it was first delivered). I had no idea what it was or what it was about. I read the publicity insert and the inside flap of the book and thought, “Huh. This sounds interesting.” But as you know from the lack of posts on this blog lately and the content of the posts that have gone up, I haven’t been reading much. Nothing is holding my attention. It’s a bloody miracle when something does.

And this book seems to be really hyped right now and I am so, so, so very wary about Over-hyped books. (I’m in Camp Two above.) But I had just finished Lauren DeStefano’s Perfect Ruin and I thought, why not try this book out. So I did.

First thing that hooked me was – A MAP! Oh, how I love when fantasy, dystopian, or sci-fi books have MAPS! I can continuously refer back to the map as details come out in the story and I can have a better time visualizing the scene. There is also a very complicated org chart of all the different types of Clairvoyants. There are many. It was overwhelming at first and I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the story. And yes, it took me a little while to get a feel for this alternate reality in 2059 England. Not too long, mind you, I just had to adjust my way of thinking to what I was seeing on the page.

I was worried about a lack of originality, because that’s my current mood phase, and I was happy to discover that The Bone Season wasn’t just a rehash of some other YA or fantasy novel I’d read. I wouldn’t even say this was YA, to be honest. But I’ll get into the categorization issue later on in this post. I was blown away by the world that Samantha Shannon had created. It was solid and deep, certainly very well-thought out. The flow of the story is wonderfully honed so that present actions and flash-backs/memories are woven together in a fluid, easy to follow manner. You learn a lot about Paige and the world of 2059 England as you read and it doesn’t feel at all like you’re being TOLD what is going on. The progression of the story and all the information between those pages feels natural. Almost like real life or watching a movie unfold.

Once Paige is sent to Oxford the action really starts and one thing stuck out at me. I have read books before where the details and backstory are attempted to be told through dialogue between characters. I often find that method clunky and obvious. It sort of seems like a Q&A added into the story to tell the reader what they need to know in a very obvious manner. Sometimes the explanations and details are told in a subtle manner, through very normal, interesting dialogue. The Bone Season presents the plot and details in this manner. Sure there are many question and answer periods between Paige and the Warden, but I realized as I’d read through a few conversations that I was just presented with a ton of information and backstory and I didn’t even feel like it. I wasn’t lectured, it wasn’t told in a manner that made me say “Ugh, stop trying to tell us things like we’re simpletons!”. I’m probably not explaining this well, but I’m trying to say that the amount of information and story told through dialogue in this book is well-crafted and seamless. Very well done. Kudos. Thank you for not making me cranky and want throw my book across the room in frustration!

So, we have epic world and character building in The Bone Season. We have a MAP (yay!) We have likeable characters and enjoyable dialogue. There is action and plotting and snarking and emotion. It’s a pretty meaty novel and it managed to capture my attention for an entire day. This is a pretty Big Deal these days with my reading apathy. Also for coming down from an amazing story in Perfect Ruin, I wasn’t sure how easily I’d slip into another world. This is one majorly enjoyable novel.

Now, the press is trumpeting that Samantha Shannon is the next J.K. Rowling. She has a 6-figure book deal for three books (with a possible 7 in total) and the promotion is pretty intense for this debut novel. Do I think she’s a new J.K. Rowling? Not really. I don’t really see a connection there. Is the book excellent for a debut novel? Yes, it pretty much is. But I’d say it’s no more epic that Veronica Roth’s debut of Divergent a few years backI don’t get the same sense of wonder and whimsy that I had with the Harry Potter books. Although, Shannon’s world is pretty well crafted. It doesn’t seem to be as deep as Rowling’s Potter Universe. And by making the Rowling comparison, my mind (at least) goes right to “a book for kids” whereas this book has a weird cross-over vibe between Young Adult and Adult in the fantasy/sci-fi/dystopian ranges. I can’t quite put my finger on how I want to categorize it because there are elements of all three in this book. It’s like Alternate Reality Fantastical Science Fiction in a Dystopian world. Yes?

So whether you want to think of it as YA or want to think of it as an adult novel (Paige is 19 in the story and many of the characters are a lot older. Some younger.) I highly recommend you give this a try if you like this genre of novel. It is very well written. It is not fluff. It is amazingly imaginative and action-packed. It had already had rights optioned for a movie (and  I will admit this story would be pretty great to see on screen, assuming they don’t change it completely for the movie version) and is being published in 21 countries right off the bat. You don’t put that much effort into a debut novel that is poorly written and crafted. The publishers know what they are doing here, The Bone Season is something special. I am exceptionally happy that this showed up out of the blue one day because I might have passed it by otherwise. Give it a try! It should be out in a bookstore or library near you RIGHT NOW!

I am pretty sure you won’t regret it. 😉

 

PS – this book actually happens to be AMAZEBALLS!. Just so you know.

Fractured

Fractured (Slated, #2)
by Teri Terry

How do you know where to go when you don’t remember where you came from?

Kyla’s memory has been erased,
her personality wiped blank,
her memories lost for ever.

Or so she thought.

Kyla shouldn’t be able to remember anything. But she can – and she’s beginning to realise that there are a lot of dark secrets locked away in her memories. When a mysterious man from her past comes back into her life, she thinks she’s on her way to finding the truth. But the more she learns about her history, the more confusing her future becomes… (goodreads.com)

I am at the point where I wish I could just update this blog telepathically. I compose numerous blog posts in my head as I am falling asleep – both about the books I have read and just random posts I should be posting on Beyond Elsewhere. Alas, I am just not around the computer as I am snuggling down into my pillow and drifting off to nightmare land (I don’t dream. I epically night terror.) Reading, blogging and many other things are just tiny parts of my life right now. I can’t seem to find enough time in the day for everything I want to do. I need to quit my job and become independently wealthy and that might help with my time management issues. 😉

SO… Fractured is the sequel to Slated (which I adored). It’s out in the UK now but not in North America until the fall (I think). I wasn’t as OYMYGOSHBREATHEBREATHE with the sequel as I was the first book, but I did love it to pieces and I am very anxious for the final book which will pub some time in 2014. Gah!

I felt like Slated was more sci-fi than dystopian when I read it, but Fractured feels more dystopian to me. You find out more about the world and the slating and the rebellion and revised history and whatnot. It’s very conspiracy-ish and I am suspicious of everyone. People die. People vanish. Everyone is spied on. You can’t trust anyone in this story and I love that in a book. I don’t like knowing instantly who the bad guys are or how things are going to turn out. There were a few plot twists that surprised me as I read and that’s what made me cackle with glee as I frantically turned the pages of this novel.

It’s been a while since a YA novel, especially one that’s of a dystopian-slash-paranormal setting, really gripped me. I haven’t been all that satisfied by YA novels lately. Everything I read seems so similar but this series managed to ensnare me and has me very excited for the final book to publish in 2014!

 Slated series

  1. Slated
  2. Fractured
  3. Shattered  – 2014

Slated

Slated (Book 1)
by Teri Terry

Kyla’s memory has been erased,
her personality wiped blank,
her memories lost for ever.

She’s been Slated.

The government claims she was a terrorist, and that they are giving her a second chance – as long as she plays by their rules. But echoes of the past whisper in Kyla’s mind. Someone is lying to her, and nothing is as it seems. Who can she trust in her search for the truth? (goodreads.com)

I have five books to wrote about this month and only three days left in May. Let’s see if I can do this!

An ARC of Slated made its way to me via gift from a friend and although it’s been sitting on one of my many TBR piles, I hadn’t been reading enough to get to it. Little did I know when I picked this book up that I would devour it whole in one sitting.

Seriously. I love the entire concept of having a little watch-type thing on your wrist that monitors your moods so that if you get too low on the scale you get zapped unconscious and you’re entire memory is erased and you have to start over.

And when I say I love this concept, I of course mean that it terrifies me because, well, creepy, but also because until this book I have never read anything like this idea before. Maybe it’s not new, but to me it is and I was so happily refreshed by original ideas when I read this novel.

Not to mention I thought Kyla was cool. And, yes, of course, she’s different than the rest of the Slated, but you know what? Whatever. I liked her. A lot. I loved her love of art and I love how she’s not reacting the same as all the other Slateds and well, the mystery behind why was interesting enough to keep me turning the pages.

What I was disappointed by (and only a little) was that the Big Kyla Reveal doesn’t exactly happy when I want it to and because the book was so gripping, as soon as I was finished the last page, I was on Book Depository buying the sequel. And as I was about to hit the check out and pay button, I asked my husband if he’d mind if I bought a book (I am a good wife, really!) since we’re totally not supposed to be spending money on things that aren’t technically important.

(Yes books are important, but I do think that our mortgage and utility companies and our need for food might all feel they are slightly more important than books. Especially when I still have an embarrassingly high number of them that I have not yet read. *cough*)

I suppose this book is dystopian, but kind of felt like it was a little more science-fictiony what with the erasing of people’s memories – so much so that you start out as a newborn again (mentally) and you have to relearn everything from walking to talking to potty training. So I am categorizing it as sci-fi. I don’t like books that confuse me as to where they should fit into genres. I mean, I like the books, just not the anxiety I suffer trying to classify them. And yes, I suffer anxiety over things like that. Shush.

Bottom line – I loved this book and I cannot wait for the sequel to show up on my doorstep in the next couple of days. Wheeee!

Slated series

  1. Slated
  2. Fractured
  3. Untitled – 2014

Quicksilver

Quicksilver (Ultraviolet, #2)
by R.J. Anderson

Back in her hometown, Tori Beaugrand had everything a teenaged girl could want—popularity, money, beauty. But she also had a secret. A secret that could change her life in an instant, or destroy it.

Now she’s left everything from her old life behind, including her real name and Alison, the one friend who truly understood her. She can’t escape who and what she is. But if she wants to have anything like a normal life, she has to blend in and hide her unusual… talents.

Plans change when the enigmatic Sebastian Faraday reappears and gives Tori some bad news: she hasn’t escaped her past. In fact, she’s attracted new interest in the form of an obsessed ex-cop turned investigator for a genetics lab.

She has one last shot at getting her enemies off her trail and winning the security and independence she’s always longed for. But saving herself will take every ounce of Tori’s incredible electronics and engineering skills—and even then, she may need to sacrifice more than she could possibly imagine if she wants to be free. (goodreads.com)

Just when I was almost caught up with posts on the books I’d read, I went and read another 5 or so and am behind again. Go, me. Really, I just keep this blog as my own personal book journal so I don’t feel guilty about not updating it, BUT I do feel out of whack when I don’t because I’m OCD like that and I want to have a written record of what I have read in the year. Each time I think, “Maybe I’ll combine the posts into multi-mini-reviews” I realize that the books I want to write about are too amazing to not have their own posts. Yes, my life is tragically difficult. I know.

SO! Quicksilver! I have been waiting forever for this book since I read Ultraviolet many moons ago. I love R.J. Anderson’s books and she always gets published in the UK first and I loooove the UK editions of her books. This one was supposed to come out earlier, but it got pushed back and ended up coming out in the US first (weird). But I’d had it on pre-order for so long, I just impatiently awaited it’s arrival. (I did actually get approved for a PDF file off Netgalley, but the font was so tiny on my ereader that I couldn’t enjoy the story, so I didn’t really read much that way.)

I remember being thrown for a loop at the end of Ultraviolet and I know I was unsure of whether or not I wanted a sequel to the story because I liked the loopy, open ending of the first book. However, as soon as I got three pages into Quicksliver I knew I wasn’t going to be disappointed. We follow a different character this time, Tori, as she and her family move far, far away (from one part of Ontario to another!) to try and escape what happened back in the first book. Tori is different and somehow her DNA was discovered in the first book as the investigation progressed. Now, a lab and an obsessed cop are after her to find out more and what REALLY happened.

I don’t recall liking Tori much in the first book, though I will admit my memory is a little foggy when it comes to her. But I honestly loved her in Quicksiver and her reluctant growing friendship with Milo. I really liked Milo, too. He was pretty chill and a good friend, who stood by Tori because he could see she was going through some stuff and rather than force her to tell him, he just stood by her when she needed someone there. Even if she didn’t think she did.  Sure, he likely had ulterior, romantic motives, but ultimately he was just a really good friend. I like books where friendship just happens and just IS, without it being a huge deal. I don’t know how to explain it better than that but it was a subtle friendship and not a bells and whistles one?

R.J. Anderson tells a story very well. I can be annoyed by characters (though not so much in this series. In the faerie series I used to get so annoyed by some of those characters!) and love characters and have my opinions of characters completely change through the course of a story. I love when characters noticeably evolve in a story (in a good way, not in a WTF just happened to this character development, sort of way) and Anderson has a knack for evolving the people within the pages of her stories. Not everyone can do that. At least not effectively that I have read.

The action in the book moves swiftly and I was glued to the book for an entire afternoon. Yes, I read this in one day. I was on a reading roll this month. 🙂 It was a truly enjoyable read and I am looking forward to anything else R.J. Anderson publishes in the future. I am never disappointed by her novels – even if they have an unlikable character or two in them. 😉 If you have not yet read anything by this lovely, Canadian author, I don’t know what you’re waiting for. Her books are out in the UK and (eventually) out in our own country and the US. Middle Grade, Young Adult, Faeries, Sci-Fi (because that’s sort of what this series is) and interesting characters surrounded by excellent writing – what more can you ask for?

Ultraviolet series

  1. Ultraviolet
  2. Quicksilver