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Ramblings by Category

Ramblings by Year

Mini Reviews (2): The Evolution of Mara Dyer, Everneath & Etiquette & Espionage

Because I am so behind in writing up posts for the entire month of June, I am breaking down and writing another Mini Review post to get caught up. I have not read much this month, and I am hoping to at least break LAST June’s pathetic 5 book record. I am up to 4 this month. It’s not looking good to get much more read since I just can’t get into anything I start reading! But enough about my reading misery – on to the mini reviews!

The Evolution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #2)
by Michelle Hodkin

Mara Dyer knows she isn’t crazy. She knows that she can kill with her mind, and that Noah can heal with his. Mara also knows that somehow, Jude is not a hallucination. He is alive. Unfortunately, convincing her family and doctors that she’s not unstable and doesn’t need to be hospitalised isn’t easy. The only person who actually believes her is Noah. But being with Noah is dangerous and Mara is in constant fear that she might hurt him. She needs to learn how to control her power, and fast! Together, Mara and Noah must try and figure out exactly how Jude survived when the asylum collapsed, and how he knows so much about her strange ability…before anyone else ends up dead! (goodreads.com)

Last year I was wowed by The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and eagerly awaited the sequel. Unfortunately the sequel came out while I was in the middle of NOT reading and doing a lot more studying and work stuff so it took me a while to pick this book up. I was not disappointed when I finally did buy and read it. This book was part of my awesome book groove that started in May, except I just didn’t have time to finish it before the end of the month. I could not put the book down and I was on the edge of my seat and holding my breath almost all the way through it. The fact that Mara was being stalked by a dead person was so creepy and made me suspicious of everyone in the story – except for Noah. I still hold fast to my swooning reaction to Noah from the first book. I am not one to get gooey over fictional characters but every once in a while there’s a male protagonist who floats my boat, or is my cup of tea or some other odd clich?d thing. Noah is one of them. Sigh. (Although I will admit to feeling a little creepy crushing on a teen character. Please do not send me to jail. I help myself feel better about this realizing that if this were a TV show, he’d probably be played by some guy in his mid-to-late 20s and then it’s not so bad. *cough*) I didn’t realize this was a trilogy (no idea why) so I was completely stunned by the ending. Bottom line? I WOULD LIKE BOOK THREE NOW, PLEASE!

Everneath (Everneath, #1)
by Brodi Ashton

Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath. Now she’s returned—to her old life, her family, her boyfriend—before she’s banished back to the underworld . . . this time forever. She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can’t find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these precious months forgetting the Everneath and trying to reconnect with her boyfriend, Jack, the person most devastated by her disappearance—and the one person she loves more than anything. But there’s just one problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who enticed her to the Everneath in the first place, has followed Nikki home. Cole wants to take over the throne in the underworld and is convinced Nikki is the key to making it happen. And he’ll do whatever it takes to bring her back, this time as his queen. As Nikki’s time on the Surface draws to a close and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she is forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole’s queen. (goodreads.com)

Everneath is a sort of modern-day retelling of Persephone and Hades and I am not entirely sure what I thought of it. I read it pretty quickly and I didn’t dislike it, but I wasn’t WOWed by it either. I think I liked it enough to want to read the next books though. It took me a while to warm up to the characters and I really didn’t like Cole. The relationships in this story were walking the edge of the All Consuming Teen Infatuation line that insta-love falls into. Of course Nikki and Jack have a relationship before you meet her and it’s nothing at all like insta-love but I am just not fan of stories where the characters’ every waking and breathing moments are consumed with each other. On one hand, I get that Nikki’s anchor is Jake and this is what helps her live, but I’m just a cranky old lady and I don’t LIKE romance novels. 😉 It became way more interesting once we learned about the Daughters of Persephone and that’s when I decided I wanted to read the other books in the series. Eventually.

Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School, #1)
by Gail Carriger

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners—and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine’s, young ladies learn to finish…everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but they also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage—in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year’s education. (goodreads.com)

I am a huge fan of the Parasol Protectorate series, so of course I was excited about this debut YA series set in the same world. Unfortunately I didn’t enjoy this book at all. It was difficult for me to get through but I did because I was hoping at some point it would start to appeal to me. Sadly, that wasn’t the case. One of the things I loved about the adult series were the little bits of ridiculousness scattered throughout the normal (or what went for normal in that world). The main problem I had with this YA series was that EVERYTHING was ridiculous. Almost as if it was in there because that’s what people loved about the original series. You take the one thing that people loved and just over-saturate the next thing with it, making it not enjoyable and not funny at all. Comedy movies do the same thing all the time and I think that’s where they go wrong. You need the balance of normal and silly to make the silly work properly. Every single character name in this book was strange and silly. I just gave up on trying to pronounce the names because it was getting on my nerves. Everything had a silly name for it and with the exception of Bumbersnoot the mechanimal (I liked THAT!) I felt it was just way too over the top. It was almost like every little aspect of this book had to be some sort of gag. It made me cranky more than amused me and I didn’t laugh out loud once, I just sighed in exasperation many times. I really, truly wanted to love this book but I didn’t and I don’t think I will be continuing with the series at all. This makes me very sad. 🙁

Mini-Reviews: Dark Places, This Dark Endeavour & Every Day

Not only have I not been reading much, I have been blogging even less. (You know, in case you haven’t noticed…) I highly doubt that I will read another 6 books between now and the end of the month, which makes me sad because I won’t have met my 100 book goal on Goodreads. As it is, I’d already cut that goal from 125 to 100 earlier in the Fall, thinking I’d at least get to 100! No such luck. Because I’d like to make sure I chronicle the books I have read, I’m doing another quickie mini-review post. Enjoy!

Dark Places
by Gillian Flynn

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” As her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived–and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well-wishers who’ve long forgotten her.

The Kill Club is a macabre secret society obsessed with notorious crimes. When they locate Libby and pump her for details–proof they hope may free Ben–Libby hatches a plan to profit off her tragic history. For a fee, she’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club . . . and maybe she’ll admit her testimony wasn’t so solid after all.

As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the narrative flashes back to January 2, 1985. The events of that day are relayed through the eyes of Libby’s doomed family members–including Ben, a loner whose rage over his shiftless father and their failing farm have driven him into a disturbing friendship with the new girl in town. Piece by piece, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started–on the run from a killer. (goodreads.com)

Read: October 2012

After being blown away by Gone Girl, I had made it my personal goal to read all of Gillian Flynn’s novels. I did this in October when the nights were cold and blustery and the atmosphere was just right for scary stories. I will admit that I was highly disturbed by this novel and although it didn’t match the awesome that I felt reading Gone Girl, it certainly messed with my head and kept me turning the pages. I thought Dark Places started off rather slow, though, but just when I was telling myself I might be bored with the book, I realized I could NOT stop turning those pages and I NEEDED to know what the heck was going on. Libby’s family and her history are messed up, boy. Messed. The heck. Up. I did enjoy how the chapters alternated between Libby in the present and her family members in the past. I was glued to those flashback chapters like watching a train wreck. The mystery was unfolding very mysteriously (shush, I can’t think of a better description) and it was gnawing at my brain. Of course, hands down, Gone Girl is my favourite of Ms. Flynn’s novels.

This Dark Endeavour (The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein, #1)
by Kenneth Oppel

Victor and Konrad are the twin brothers Frankenstein. They are nearly inseparable. Growing up, their lives are filled with imaginary adventures…until the day their adventures turn all too real. They stumble upon The Dark Library, and secret books of alchemy and ancient remedies are discovered. Father forbids that they ever enter the room again, but this only peaks Victor’s curiosity more. When Konrad falls gravely ill, Victor is not be satisfied with the various doctors his parents have called in to help. He is drawn back to The Dark Library where he uncovers an ancient formula for the Elixir of Life. Elizabeth, Henry, and Victor immediately set out to find assistance in a man who was once known for his alchemical works to help create the formula.

Determination and the unthinkable outcome of losing his brother spur Victor on in the quest for the three ingredients that will save Konrads life. After scaling the highest trees in the Strumwald, diving into the deepest lake caves, and sacrificing one’s own body part, the three fearless friends risk their lives to save another. (goodreads.com)

Read: December 2012

I am going to admit here, on the internet, for all to see, that I read an eBook. In fact, This Dark Endeavour is the first ebook I have ever read cover to cover. Er, well, metaphorically I suppose. What with there not being covers on an ebook and all. This book had a few firsts wrapped up in it, this is also the first book by Kenneth Oppel I have ever read – even though his book, Silverwing was always on school reading lists when I worked in a bookstore, AND that I loved to read kids books, I just never picked it up. One day in the summer (fall?) Harper Collins posted about a book deal on Kobo for this book and I bought it. I don’t know why, I think because I had just seen the sequel in the stores and the title caught my fancy. So even though this was a book I’d never normally buy AND it was a ebook, I bought it and read it months later. I started out thinking that I wouldn’t like it at all and, like the book I wrote about above, it soon became apparent that I was fully invested in the story. This was a strange read for me, outside of my comfort zone – a male protagonist, a male author and a historical paranormal tale about Frankenstein. I knew once I’d finished this book that I was going to have to read the sequel. I will be buying that sequel – on my ereader! – with a gift card I got at Christmas. I look forward to spending more time with young Frankenstein and watching him slip into darkness. I recommend this book immensely!

Every Day
by David Levithan

Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.

There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day. (goodreads.com)

Read: December 2012

I have no lack of books that I need to read in my house. Books are piled everywhere, collecting dust in some cases and tripping us as we walk from room to room. So why would I go and buy an ebook last week from an author I have never read and about a subject I probably wouldn’t have read about? Well, I saw Melissa (YABookshelf – um, her blog still seems to be under the weather) and Lenore (Presenting Lenore) discussing this book on twitter one day and I was very curious about this book they were both raving about. I trust Melissa’s opinion on books wholeheartedly and Lenore  has never lead me astray either, so… I bought it. I then started reading this book to and from work – miracle of miracles, the girl who can’t even read a text message on her phone while on the bus is able to read her KOBO on the bus without barfing. (You win this round, ereader! But I’ll get you back one day!) This book made me think. It made me ponder. It made me talk about the plot with my husband numerous times and always ended in a discussion of what it would be like to be a different person every day. The potential, the loss, the excitement, the tragedy… all of it. So much thinking. The concept for this story was so unique and intriguing to me that it almost helped me forget that A pins for Rhiannon every. single. day. Pine, pine, pine. I couldn’t shake my regular reaction to books where there’s so much pining going on. I do not like that one bit. I do not like that, Sam I Am! However, in the case of Every Day I could totally see HOW and WHY and it made sense. You know your soulmate when you find them and A was just that – a soul. A soul in a different body every single day.  I loved how Rhiannon could spot A as days passed and she’d know it was him regardless of the body. I hated how their relationship was doomed no matter what. I hated that I was enjoying a freaking relationship story! But, oh, this book is so much more than that. So very much more. There are so many layers to this story and they all work perfectly together, even with the annoying PINING going on. I get it. I got it. I loved that this wasn’t just a boy meets girl story, because A isn’t boy or girl. At least, not really, he saw people as souls not genders. It was all the same to him and I loved how this was described and at the same time not. It just wasn’t a big deal. It just was. So, I am happy that I read out of my comfort zone for this book, I am super happy that I latched on to that twitter conversation and discovered something new. I don’t adore this book as much as others seem to, but I did enjoy it immensely and feel sort of like a better, more rounded person, having read it.