Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The World of Poo - Terry Pratchett

Title: Miss Felicity Beedle's - The World of Poo
Author: Terry Pratchett
Series: Disc World #39.5
Publisher: Doubleday
Original Publication Date: June 7, 2012
Source: Edelweiss

I wanted to like this book more than I did...really.  After all of the praise that I have heard about Terry Pratchett's Disc World series I thought this would be a good book to start with.  I figured that since it was short it would be a good way to introduce myself to Pratchett's writing style.  Until now I had only read one book that he co-authored with Neil Gaiman.  A book I happened to enjoy a lot by the way.

This short novel is about a boy named Geoffrey and his love of poo.  Geoffrey is visiting his grandmama when he discovers his new passion with poo.  A bird happens to poop on his head and the groundskeeper tells him that it is lucky for that to happen.  From this little incident Geoffrey's love of poo is born.  He wants to collect all different sorts of poo from all sorts of animals.  Birds, dogs, cats, worms, dragons, gargoyles, if it exists in his world he wants the poo.  He desires to open up a museum in a shed in his grandmama's yard that will house the largest collection of poo in the world.

I guess I figured that this book would be more filled with humor than it actually was due to its title.  That, or Pratchett's humor went right over my head, as I did not really find this story very funny.  I guess I could be totally wrong and there wasn't supposed to be humor in this book.  I honestly do not know.

Even though it was short, I found it hard to get myself to finish it.  I did manage it though.  Sadly, in the end I must give 2 out of 5 stars.

This review is based off of an advanced reading copy provided by the publisher, Doubleday, via Edelweiss.

Isle of the Lost - Melissa De La Cruz

Title: The Isle of the Lost
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Series: Descendants #1
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
Source: Purchased

Disney villains have kids?!  Who would have ever thought that!  Apparently Melissa De La Cruz did, and she did a fantastic job with creating them and the world they live in.

This story follows along 4 children of the most notorious Disney villains.  First there is Mal, the daughter of Malificent.  She has the desire to be just as evil as her mother, but doesn't know if she can ever live up to Malificent's expectations.  Then there is Jay, the son of Jafar.  He is sneaky pick pocket, but no matter what he seems to steal it is not good enough for his father.  As well, there is Evie (my favorite villain child), the daughter of the Evil Queen.  No matter what she does, Evie just cannot seem to be pretty enough for her mothers high standards.  And we cannot forget about Carlos, the son of Cruella DeVille.  Her love is strong for her precious fur coats, but not for her highly intelligent son.\

We also get to meet Ben, the son of King Beast and Queen Belle.  He is our view into what Auradon is like.

Ben's father, King Beast, is also the reason all the villains and their children have been exiled to the Isle of the Lost for all eternity.  He has trapped them there under a dome that prevents them from doing any type of magic.  The Isle of the Lost is a desolate place.  The villains get the left over and rotten scraps of Auradon to survive off of.  We are not told in this story if the citizens of Auradon are aware of how the villains are forced to live life on the isle or not.

This particular story is more or less how the four gt together.  It is a nice introductory to the world and the main characters.  The next installment of this story is to come in the form of a movie on the Disney Channel.  It will be very interesting to see how this works, especially if more books for this series are in the works.  I hope it flows well, as I do want to visit this world and see what happens with these villain offspring.

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.  I did want more than what was essentially and introduction to the world, but it was fun filled nonetheless.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Spelled - Betsy Schow

Title: Spelled
Author: Betsy Schow
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: June 2, 2015
Source: Netgalley

It is hard to describe this novel.  At times it can be rather strange and weird, making you wonder how Betsy Schow ever came up with that part of the story.  Other parts were full of magic and wonder.  Over all, Spelled is creative, innovative, and a fantastic story.

One can only wonder how Betsy Schow was able to come up with this story.  Spelled is meant to be her retelling of Dorthy and her adventures in the Wizard of Oz.  However, at times it felt much more like the story was inspired by L. Frank Baum's Wizard of Oz more than anything.  Either way you view this book and its relationship with the original Wizard of Oz story, you will not be disappointed.

The story revolves around Princess Dorthea.  A stuck up self involved princess who has never been allowed outside of her castle because of a family curse.  Then one night she receives a wishing star from a fairy godmother in training.  That same night she discovers she has been betrothed to Prince Kato.  Prince Kato is not very princely looking.  He is dirty and has an attitude that Princess Dorthea finds repulsive.  Princess Dorthea, who hates being told what to do, gets angry at this prospect and makes her wish on her wishing star.  The wish goes haywire and destroys the rules of fairy tales.  Everything is turned upside down and magic doesn't work right.  Worst of all, the Wicked Witch Griz appears and has the desire to take over and to kill Princess Dorthea.

Princess Dorthea ends up going on a wild adventure.  Unfortunately for her she gets stuck with Prince Kato and Rexi - a very snarky handmaiden that likes to take anything not glued down.  The three have to learn to get a long with one another while trying to figure out how to undo Princess Dorthea's wish.

I thought that the characters of this story were very well done.  I had no trouble imagining them as I read the story.  My favorite character was Prince Kato.  I don't really know what it was about him.  If it was his sarcastic attitude or what, but I really enjoyed him.  Though to be fair, I don't think there was really a character in the story I didn't like how they were created and portrayed.

I have no idea how Betsy Schow managed to imagine up this universe, but I am so glad she did.  It was fun reading all the little bits of different fairy tales she snuck in throughout the story even though it was Wizard of Oz based.

I give Spelled 4 out of 5 stars and I cannot wait to see where the next installment (there better be one!) of this story takes us!

This review is based on an advanced reading copy provided by the publisher, Sourcebooks Fire, through Netgalley.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) - Felicia Day

Title: You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)
Author: Felicia Day
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Touchstone
Publication Date: August 11, 2015
Source: Edelweiss

I am going to be honest with you, I only vaguely knew who Felicia Day was before reading this book.  I new she was from that internet show The Guild, that she was in that weird movie with Neil Patrick Harris, and that she liked video games.  So why did I decide to read this book?  I think it was the title and that I also liked video games.

I am so happy I decided to go ahead and read this.  I typically do not find time to read many non-fiction books.  I get around to maybe 1 or 2 a year.  I always tend towards fictional books.  I love magical elements, mystical creatures and the such.  You know, things that aren't necessarily real.  It is a fault of mine that I try year after year to change.  I always tell myself "this year I am going to read more nonfiction books" and it never happens.

I am glad that if I do not manage to read another nonfiction book this year, that the one I did end up reading was this one.  You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) is a book that is going to stick with me for a long long time.

You may be thinking "but this is just a memoir of a red headed geeky chick, how can you possibly be that happy you read this?"  And it is true, it is a memoir of hers.  However, when you read it you will discover she had a greater purpose for writing this book than just to let her fans know that she was a weird home schooled kid, a musical prodigy, and a lover of video games.

In this book Felicia Day takes you on a journey of her self discovery.  It seems at first like it is going to be a fluffy light hearted read with some geeky humor thrown in.  That she will not get into anything too personal or too dark, but she does take you there and I thank her for doing so.

In a way, when she takes you to the darker stuff, she takes you with her.  By the time you get there, you have related to her on so many different levels.  There were so many times during my reading of this book where I found myself going "OMG that happened to her too?!" or "yup I have been there before."  And let us not forget the ever wonderful "I TOTALLY REMEMBER THAT HAPPENING" moment.  My major one of those happened when I was reading about her World of Warcraft gaming.

With this memoir, Felicia Day has a very important message for those who choose to read it and to listen.  I do not want to tell you what the message is.  I want you to discover it for yourself like I did.  I do not want to deny anyone this journey.

Please take the time to read it.  What Felicia Day has to tell you is worth it.

Review based on an advanced reading copy made available from the publisher through Edelweiss.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Insignia - S.J. Kincaid

The characters are what really make this novel great.  The relationships between characters, the interactions they have with one another, are what makes the story.  It isn't really the underlying plot (though it is fantastic).

Everyone will be able to find a character that they can relate to in this story.  My personal favorite was Wyatt aka "Man Hands."  She was easily the character I could relate to the best in the story, socially awkward as she was.  Then there was Heather.  She was my least favorite, even more so than Karl.  Those girls who always appear to get everything they want have always found ways to get under my skin.  Heather is no exception.

Then there are the villains of this story, of which there are layers.  The first layer were the characters themselves such as Karl and Dalton.  Dalton specifically was exceptionally slimy and evil.  The second layer was the corporations and the governments involved in the war.  It was this second layer that really made this story for me.  It was this layer that forced me to compare things are in the world today to how things are going on in the world of the story.  I was able to see how this would could easily become the world that Insignia takes place in.

It is being able to see how our world could turn into the world of the story that makes a dystopian novel and Insignia does that and then some.  This book delivers excitement, action, and friendship.  I know I will be looking out for the sequel and anything else S.J. Kincaid writes.


5 out of 5 stars!

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Dearly, Departed - Lia Habel

Steampunk meets zombies.

Sounds interesting right?

You have two types of zombies, the evil ones and the good ones. Then there are the living, most of which don't know the zombies exist.

The heroine of the story is almost captured by the evil ones to only be captured by the good ones. Things happen after that.

In reality, this book really is only slightly interesting. I found myself bored with it.

There is a lot of world building, which is good considering this is to be the first book in a series. However, there is A LOT of world building. Really, this whole book feels as though the world is just being built for us. There is only a small bit of action and a whole lot of talking.

The cool thing is, you do get to see the story from multiple different perspectives. The not so cool thing is, your heroine Nora is probably one of the most boring characters of the lot.

There were also numerous other things I found slightly annoying. An example of one of them is you have two "tribes" the New Victorians and the Punks. Now if you read really closely you will find Nora saying that the Punks figured out how to use STEAM for for inventions. Yes, the author did go there. Can you believe it?

I will probably find myself one day reading the sequel to this book, but I don't see myself jumping on it. I have a lot of hopefully more entertaining books on my to read list.

Oh and also, the zombies in this book are dreadfully dull. If you are planning to read this because its OMGAZOMBIEBOOK!, I would heed this warning. Unless tofu eating zombies are your thing

Daughter of the Centaurs - Kate Klimo

The idea behind this book had such promise. Centaurs, the last human, leathery winged bat things. It all spells out excitement doesn't it?

It pains me to write a bad review, it does. But here it goes...

This story falls flat. The writing is mostly poor. It doesn't flow well. There were some points of the book, but not until after the half way point, where the author seemed to have found her flow. However, those points were few and far between. Sadly, this book probably also should have been written in the first person. I truely believe that changing the perspective that it was written in would have prevented much of the awkwardness that the writing seemed to have caused.

Now, if the flow of the writing wasn't horrible enough, the sense of time in this book was also a complete disaster. I wanted to know more about Malora after she was sent out into the wilderness, but that apparently was not going to happen. Instead, we get sprung forward a few years into the future bypassing any obvious hardships she had to have had (and these hardships were never really mentioned, so as far as the reader is concerned, Malora adapted flawlessly to her new environment).

Then there were the awkward visions. Letting us view tidbits here and there of things. Tidbits of things we get to learn nothing more about! Let us not forget to mention the plot points that were introduced that didn't go any where. I can only imagine how great the book would have been if it had followed some of those rather than the uninteresting one it did follow along. All of these unanswered bits are probably going to come up in future books in the series, but the was it was executed was absurd.

Then there are the characters. They are all flat, flat, flat. The Centaurs are so ridiculously boring and awkward. And yes, I understand Malora was supposed to have grown and changed over time, but really her character didn't seem to fit at all from the first half of the book to the second. Then, to make it worse, the author didn't really take time to take the reader through the transformation of Malora. You are just kind of there. I guess this error is thanks to the disasterous timeline flow.

And please, I do not want to hear anymore of this book being a dystopian. A good dystopian is one where you can see how the world you are in today can become the world you are reading about. Yes, this world is supposed to be the one I am in, in the future. Filled with Centaurs and other exotic creatures. Too much fantasy is built in for this to be a good dystopian, so I really hope people stop trying to say that it is one.

I give this book at most 1.5 stars out of 5.

This review based on an ARC of Daughter of the Centaurs by Kate Klimo

The Gathering Storm - Robin Bridges

A paranormal historical fiction aimed towards the teenaged group. Hit or miss? A hit.

This book is the first book in the Katerina Alexandrovna trilogy. If the name doesn't give it away, it is based in Russia. The Romanov's are in charge. There are faeries, werewolves, vampires, witches, necromancers, and other supernatural creatures all over the place. Interested yet?

The story follows along Katerina Alexandrovna. She is part of the upper class, so shes always surrounded by princesses, duchesses, princes, Queens, and all sorts of royalty. She always has to attend some ball or another, keep a sweet face, not let anyone know there is something different about her... And there is something different about her. She can raise the dead.

She hates that she can raise the dead, but then the wrong (or the right?) people discover what she can do. So now she has to stratigically plan her moves in advance and hope she puts her trust into the right people. There are fairies, multiple types of vampires, and the occasional risen dead she has to watch out for.

At some points, there is so much going on that it is hard to follow along, but it is an amazing read. Don't even try to keep track of who is related to who, it is will only give you a headache in the long run. The world is fantastic, beautifully written. The supernatural aspect of it all is wonderful (though who knew there were so many different kinds of vampires!)

There is a lot of promise for this trilogy and I hope the second one doesn't fall short like so many second books seem to do nowadays.

The book is on shelves now, so go get it!

4 out of 5 stars.

Review based on an ARC of The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges

Friday, June 19, 2015

This is Not a Test - Courtney Summers

This is a zombie apocalypse story. However, that being said, the zombie part of the story is more or less in the background. What you really have is a group of teenagers that have to depend on each other to survive.

Your main character is Sloane Price. Sloane is a defeated girl. She grew up with an abusive father, her only confidant (her older sister) ran away from home leaving her behind. She had plans to end it all, but then the end of the world happened and ruined her plans. Now she is part of a group that is fighting to survive, even though she doesn't really want to...

This story starts off with a bang. The action pulls you in. The story makes you feel as though you are a part of it all. You feel with the characters. You find yourself taking sides. You want to slap characters, to yell at them, to hug them, and to cry with them (except maybe Harrison I found him a bit too crybabyish).

I read a review about this book that really summed this book up well. It said that the book was essentially the zombie apocalypse meeting The Breakfast Club and I agree with that review whole heartedly.

It is such a great read. I highly recommend it! The gore is kept to a minimum. There is some slight use of offensive language and a small bit of sexual relations.

Review based on an ARC of This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers thanks to Netgalley