Thursday, June 21, 2018

Book Review: Curtsies and Conspiracies by Gail Carriger

Curtsies & Conspiracies (Finishing School, #2)Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Delightful read as always from Carriger. These books aren't rich literature, but are fully entertaining.

The Good: Such a fun story! I love the whole idea of a girl's finishing school that teaches them to be spies. Carriger weaves the location, school setting, and an adventure together expertly. Beyond plot, I think that these fierce girls are something to be admired and are a delightful addition to many of today's novels. I'm not sure why these books are not more well-known, but I enjoy them none-the-less.

The Bad: Honestly, since I was listening to these books the girls' names could be easier to remember. They are all so unusual and difficult to remember who is who (especially when it has been awhile since I read the first book). Also, the book gets a bit wordy here and there and I find myself "tuning out" of the story and paying attention to other things. This isn't normally a problem I have with audio books, but when the story begins to lag I get distracted.

Overall I'll continue with the series, it is the perfect fill-in when I don't have any books checked out :) These are usually available on audio from my library :)

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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Book Review: Everless by Sara Holland

Everless (Everless, #1)Everless by Sara  Holland
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh dear, this book was so much better than I had anticipated. The rating might be slightly inflated, but we will get to that.

I got this book in my ShelfLove Crate a couple months ago and really approached it with no expectations. In fact, I thought it would be average at best. The dust jacket overview was not that captivating for me and I didn't expect to really like it.

In fact, as I started reading, and it started a little slow, I really didn't have great expectations. I considered putting it down about 20 pages in because I didn't really care.

However, HOWEVER, I kept reading and somewhere around a 1/3 of the way through the book, I was hooked. All of the sudden the book was exciting, there was so much going on, so many little mysteries ... I was actually shouting at the book, don't do that. But I digress.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Book Review: King's Cage

King's Cage (Red Queen, #3)King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I hate to admit it, but I kinda love this story. Is the world building terrible? Yes. Do I dislike most of the main characters? Yes. Can I still not get enough? YAAASSSSSS.

I read this book for one reason (MAVEN) and that one reason didn't disappoint (MAVEN IS AWESOME). There is something strange about rooting for the "bad guy" in these stories. But he isn't really the bad guy is he? I mean, if his mother hadn't messed around in his head ALL THE TIME he wouldn't be so messed up?

Right? I am right, right? This isn't Stockholm syndrome is it?

Friday, February 16, 2018

Book Review: The Last Samsara

The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Asha isn't just a girl. You know how when you start books you think, well, there is this girl. But she isn't a girl. The book opens with her fighting a dragon, pretty much by herself, because it is her job. She is the princess ... well, no she isn't, but her father is the King. Okay, let's talk about this before I make a mess of the structure.

Asha is the Iskari - the death bringer, the destroyer, the dragon-fighter whose life is not peaches and sunshine. Actually, there are no peaches and sunshine is in short supply. As the Iskari, Asha cannot be touched, people fear her, and no one is to make eye contact.

Luckily, her BFF and cousin ignores these rules, when they are alone, so Asha isn't totally isolated.

BUT, Asha's job is to hunt dragons. Even though she is Iskari and is essentially an outcast, her father has helped her, trained her, molded her into a dragon hunter. She is fierce and amazing! Best of all, in defiance to her father, she calls them with STORIES. Brilliant.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Book Review: Nevernight

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was a gift from Camille for Christmas. I've been listening to so many audio books that I forgot what a slow reader I was, haha. But there is something nice about getting tied up in slowing down and reading actual words on a page.

As with any book I throughly enjoyed, I'm going to be vicious in my review ;)

Mia, a fierce orphan bound and determined to avenge her father's killer sets out on a journey to train and join a league of assassins. After a dangerous journey through the desert where she and Tric almost die, they arrive at a school of sorts. But, before this sounds like every other school based story you've read, know that Mia is darken, which means she can control shadows and has a cat shaped shadow named Mister Kindly that follows her around and eats her fear. Intrigued? Well, you should also know that these students aren't getting punished Dumbledore style, but just die when they make mistakes. Want to keep reading? I thought so.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Book Review: Beaty and the Beast, Lost in a Book

Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What to say, what to say.

I've read to many retellings lately. I'm overwhelmed with how they fall short of the original stories. That isn't really their fault, but rather that I need more variety in my reading choices.

I digress. This edition of Beauty and the Beast takes place mid-story in the Disney version. Right after the Beast gifts Belle with the library two new characters, Love and Death, begin a dangerous game. Love who has sent her sorceress to curse the Beast to begin with and Death, who finds that she does not want to lose to her sister and sends and enchanted book to Belle's library.

Belle finds said book, escapes into the pages, and begins an amazing second life there, where she feels free and not alone. However, Death is attempting to trap her there so she cannot fall in love the with Beast and break his curse (thus, losing the bet).

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Book Review: Three Dark Crowns

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Oh, I'm having a hard time choosing a rating for this one. Part of me thinks, it was great, fun story, interesting plot and the other part of me is sitting here thinking ... who was who again?

So, I started this about five months ago and got about 20% of the way through it only to stop reading. Why? Because I couldn't keep track of the characters. There are too many. There cannot be three main characters in a book and each of those characters have 3-5 important secondary characters along with building a new world. Even without the world building, which was adequate I think, I don't think one can keep track of that many characters. This isn't a Game of Thrones, this is a YA novel.

My number one complaint in adult Fantasy novels is that the characters get totally out of hand, and that is the problem here. Is each character interesting, each plot line holds my attention ... but I was still confused so much of the time.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Book Review: Queen of Hearts

Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Okay, I need to quit with the Wonderland themed books because they are getting worse as I go.

So, I love wonderland. I mean, my blog is called Lizz in Bookland and I'm currently wearing leggings with Alice on them. Seriously. Give me all the Wonderland. HOWEVER, there is a slight problem, most Wonderland retellings AREN'T Alice in Wonderland and I'm left disappointed.

This book is lacking though, even more on the Wonderland bit. I actually liked the sneaky bits of Wonderland that were brought into this story. But there wasn't much of a story. There wasn't much plot. Like the writing was rushed but the whole time I felt like calling out "where are we going" and then end was just kinda like, "eh, it's over, oh well."

Friday, January 26, 2018

Book Review: Stalking Jack the Ripper

Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper, #1)Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Do you ever start a book thinking it is going to be okay. Like, a middle-of-the-road book. A book that you neither stay up late reading nor put down and forget about. When I saw that this book was recommended by James Patterson that is what I was expecting.

Not that there is anything wrong with James Patterson, but seriously, that is how his books makes me feel (and I have a sneaking suspicion that he isn't actually writing any books anymore, but that is a topic for another blog entry).

Anywho, back to the story. I was surprised. No, I was shocked at how good this was. My sister, whom I should probably listen to more often, don't tell her I said that. Anyway, my sister was like, "well, I've heard great things about it." Seriously? I hadn't heard anything about it. I just am enjoying these historical YA books lately. That's how it ended up on my list. Well, and it had an interesting cover.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Book Review: Girls Made of Snow and Glass

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I love Snow White. It is actually my favorite of the Disney version fairy tales. It someone hadn't told me that this was a retelling of that original favorite, I probably wouldn't have guessed. It might just have been a little thought in the back of my mind, which honestly would have been better.

I expected Snow White, I was watching for Snow White ... I didn't get Snow White. Blah.

The story was good, I didn't ever really care for Lynet. I tried to like her, but her perfect face and her sweet attitude made her too flat of a character to love. There was no depth to her. I never really cared: lived, died, miserable, happy. It didn't matter.

Mina was brilliant and even with her own character flaws, she was my favorite. The whole "I want to be queen" bit was shallow and undeveloped. But she wasn't evil 100% of the time and wasn't good 100% of the time and was INTERESTING all the time.

The whole story with the snow magic, blood magic, and glass magic was interesting, but also undeveloped.

I never looked forward to reading this. That's always a bad sign. If I had more of a drive to read the book then I probably would have given it four stars. But I just didn't care that much about the story. It moved a little too slow.

Okay, so slow and undeveloped, weak characters and poor translation of Snow White. The story was still interesting, I mean, I read the whole thing. Partly because I am trying to read more genres and this was on my LGBTQ list.

Ummmm.... as far as romance goes this totally falls flat. I expected something MORE. I don't know what more, but if it were a boy and a girl I would have expected more angst, people figuring out what they wanted sooner, just more. I felt like the lesbian "romance" in this story was more of a plot point to help sell the book than an important part of the story. It was always awkward and strange, like the author was uncomfortable writing the words, which made reading feel strange and weird.

Moral of the story really is that Mina was a great character and made me finish the book. The romance falls flat, the plot is thin, the character under developed, and pretty much no emotional depth. I mean, I read the whole thing, but writing this review I'm wondering why.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Book Review: After Alice

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Strange, delightfully strange. If you are a lover of Wonderland and all the stories that go along with this, you'll adore this story by master-storyteller Gregory Maguire. If, however, you aren't much of a fan and don't know the real, original version (aka, not Disney but Lewis Carroll), you might feel a tad bit lost.

At the beginning I was a smidge annoyed, feeling like Ada's adventure into Wonderland was simply a retelling of Alice's adventure. Even worse, Ada is an unfortunate character with all sorts of physical issues and a total lack of imagination. I nearly stopped reading. Obviously Ada's adventure was going to tire me out.

However, bouncing back and forth to the "real world" and Wonderland made the journey feel so much more realistic. After all, not that much was happening, but it was only a mere afternoon.

I suppose Alice's original journey was much the same, but it felt longer.

I digress. Although Ada isn't much of a stellar character at the beginning, she definitely grows on you and becomes quite the heroine. In fact, the end was a bit delightful.

The book isn't long, but was fun. I enjoyed it.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Book Review: A Corner of White

A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

DNF (Did Not Finish) at 53%

Okay, this book is beautiful. The language is lovely and the world is interesting ... but there are a million characters, who don't seem to be connected. Plus, here we have an issue of ZERO PLOT.

I just can't keep reading. There is nothing driving me forward. I even got to the point of the little papers, but I still don't care.

If you are looking for a winter read that is beautiful, beautiful descriptions and writing, then this is your book. But if you are concerned about plot and knowing what is going on then this one to skip.

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Saturday, January 6, 2018

All the Books in 2018

Oh 2018, you are bringing so many amazing books that I know I will be well entertained. Here are some of my favorites that are coming out soon.

Aces of Shades / Amanda Foody
          Proper young lady has to partner with a street lord to find her mother in the "city of sin"
Ash Princess / Laura Sebastian
          The protagonist has been compared to Sansa Stark ... yes please!
Between the Blade and the Heart / Amanda Hocking
          Malin is a Valkyrie ... her mom does something crazy, a guy needs help ... it's bound to be angsty and wonderful.
The Boneless Mercies / April Genevieve Tucholke
          A reimagining of Beowulf? Yep, I'm there.

Book Review: Birthmarked

Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was FANTASTIC. I don't want to oversell it, but seriously it was good!

I actually skipped a Target trip to read this ... yep, I couldn't put it down.

Okay, so it is a semi-typical Dystopian world where there are two major class differences, those inside of the wall, and those outside of the wall. However, in a horrifying turn of events, the people outside of the wall have to "advance" the first three babies born each month into the city. Seriously.

2018 Reading Goals

Why do I do this every year? Probably because GoodReads prompts for it, but I do like tracking things. Last year I was TERRIBLY short of my goal, but that was mostly because of life getting in the way.

This year I plan to attack my goal and conquer it totally. Well, we shall see.

My goal this year is 100 books. What's yours?

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Book Review: As Old As Time

As Old As Time by Liz Braswell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was SO much better than I expected it to be! I expected it to be just a silly retelling, but it was more than that. I expected it to be somewhat terrible like the Aladdin retelling, but it WASN'T.

Okay, about the story.

So the backstory part is BRILLIANT. Maybe that happens in the old French tale, I don't remember it, but that doesn't mean it isn't there. The detail and setting to build up to the story we all know and love is exactly the kind of "fleshing out" fairy tales need for adults to enjoy them. I was blow away by how Maurice and Belle's mother (sheesh, her name escapes me right now) met.

About Belle. She is a lot like the movie version, curious and brave. She is very princess-y in that she cares for everyone and everything. She is not the most interesting character here, but I think that is because we KNOW her so well.

First Book of the New Year: Midnight at the Electric

Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What an unlikely story. When I originally added this to my TBR I was adding anything that looked like a Circus themed story (there is a lesson here about judging a book by it's cover).

Although nothing alike, this reminds me of when I read Wink, Poppy, Midnight last year, because it totally took me off guard and even further commits me to reading more books outside of my preferred genre this year.

Anyway, Midnight at the Electric takes place in three different women's lives in the past, present (I think), and future (she's getting ready to go to Mars, this one I'm fairly confident on). The storyline was unexpected but quite delightful.