Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I Would Elect President

A weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Politics aside, maybe we should like a fictional character take a turn running our country. I mean it can’t be any worse, right?

1.) Hermione Granger in The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling - Add to Goodreads
I mean I know she's British but he is also an incredible leader, smart, heroic, and amazing. I mean I have a Granger/Lovegood political t-shirt and there is a reason why. Hermione would make a great president.
 
2.) Dorian Havilard in the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas - Add to Goodreads
He's already Emperor so I think he's halfway, or like more than way, there. Plus he's just generally fun and cool and I would feel incredibly proud to say he was my president.
 
3.) Sansa Stark in the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin - Add to Goodreads
I will fight anyone who thinks that Sansa would not make the best leader out of all the characters in this series. All she's ever wanted is to be in charge of a house and she's good at it. How about the White House?
 
4.) Sierra Santiago in the Shadowshaper Cipher by Daniel Jose Older - Add to Goodreads
I just read the second book in this series and it was amazing. I really love Sierra and she is a fantastic leader. She really shined in Shadowhouse Fall. Plus I think I would agree with her platform.
 
5.) Elend Venture in the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson - Add to Goodreads
I was originally going to pick Kelsier who is the leader of the crew in Mistborn but then I realized that no, I would much rather have Elend. He's similar to Dorian in that he is already Emperor. But also if he was the President then Vin would be First Lady.
 
6.) Richard Gansey III in The Raven Cycle by Maggie Steifvater - Add to Goodreads
Gansey is the blue blood private school son of a Congressperson. That has future president written all over it. But honestly, I think Gansey would make a great President. He's empathetic, brave, curious, and makes a great leader.
 
7.) Greta Gustafson Stuart in The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow - Add to Goodreads
Greta, like a lot of people on this list, is the heir to a throne. She is supposed to become Empress one day but is also a Prisoner of Peace so she understands the cost of being a leader. Plus she has already shown that she can make the tough decisions.
 
8.) Mark Watney in The Martian by Andy Weir - Add to Goodreads
An astronaut running for president wouldn't be totally off base. I mean John Glenn was a Senator. Plus he's a hero and people would totally love hearing about his experience out on the stump. Plus Mark is super funny and I would love that in a president.
 
9.) Petra in Beauty Queens by Libba Bray - Add to Goodreads
I don't think a beauty queen running for office is totally out of character. Especially for Petra. I feel like she would definitely end up running mostly because she wants to prove a point but I would support her in that.
 
10.) Kestrel in The Winners Trilogy by Marie Rutkowski  - Add to Goodreads
I think Kestrel would be a great choice because she is one of those characters who is an incredibly strategic thinker who is constantly under-estimated. I think this would make her a great leader and is one of the reasons I would elect her president.

There you go, all the fictional characters I would elect president. What characters would make your list? Leave me a comment with your thoguhts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Audiobook Review: La Belle Sauvage by Phillip Pullman

Title: La Belle Sauvage
Series: The Book of Dust #1
Written by: Phillip Pullman

Published: October 19, 2017 by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers (Random House)

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: Eleven-year-old Malcolm Polstead and his dæmon, Asta, live with his parents at the Trout Inn near Oxford. Across the River Thames (which Malcolm navigates often using his beloved canoe, a boat by the name of La Belle Sauvage) is the Godstow Priory where the nuns live. Malcolm learns they have a guest with them, a baby by the name of Lyra Belacqua . . .

When you hear that there is a new book in one of your all-time favorite series your first thought is always going to be excitement followed by an incredible amount of worry that it’s not as good as the original. And while La Belle Sauvage is no His Dark Materials, it was totally amazing.

For one thing this book had the amazing world that Phillip Pullman created in the His Dark Materials. I am such a huge fan of that world that seriously anything you give me with that setting I will read. Seriously. I’ve read all the novella in addition to the original series multiple times. The world is just so creative and imaginative. In La Belle Sauvage we explore the world a little more but it’s actually a very narrow area. Most of the book is spent in Oxford (although not the actual university) and a little bit in London. And yet we still learn so much more about the world. I love the way this series perfectly combines science fiction and fantasy to make something all its own. La Belle Sauvage absolutely did that. But I’d say this one leaned a little bit more on the fantasy aspects of the world. There was a real magic to it all and I loved that. But I loved everything about the world. It was imaginative and immersive.

Part of why I think the book was so immersive is that I listened to the audiobook. And seriously, it was an amazing audio. My last reread of the His Dark Materials series was via audio and I loved that it was a full cast. I was nervous about one narrator in this one, but it was amazing. Michael Sheen was a completely fantastic narrator. It didn’t matter who the character he was narrating for he completely embodied them. He did such a good job that sometimes I even find got it was only one narrator. Not to mention he did that amazing thing where when the plot got more thrilling he sped up his narration. He pulled me in and didn’t let me go until the very end.

But that’s a good way to describe this plot. It definitely pulled me in. I wasn’t exactly sure what this book was going to be about (not like I cared) but I did know it was a prequel for the original series. And that’s what this book was. It was sort of an origin story for Lyra. She wasn’t our main character but she was a huge part of the plot. We learned about how things got to be the way it was when we first entered he world but it was still a story all on its own. And it felt like a very topical story. Pullman has always done a great job making social commentary interesting and subtle while still making you think. With everything that is going on in today’s world it’s rife for this sort of thing. And it was completely fantastic in that way. But all that aside, this was a thrilling read. There was so much tension and drama. It had me on the edge of my seat and caught me by surprise many times. Pullman knows how to write a thrilling book and this was no exception.

As far as the characters they were everything I expect in a Phillip Pullman book. They were complex and sympathetic. I was a little nervous about reading a new book without Lyra as the main character but I don’t know why I was worried. Pullman did just as amazing a job of getting me to fall for Malcolm. He was such a great main character. Fiercely loyal, brave, smart, resourceful, willing to help anyone and everyone. Seriously, he was such a Hufflepuff. But I think the best thing about him was that he loved Lyra just as much as I do. Because yes, Lyra was a big part of this book. Baby Lyra. And she wasn’t the only character from the original series. We got to see the origins of a few other characters I love and love to hate. It was great seeing them pop up and learn how they got to be where they are when we first meet them. That includes some of the more odious characters like Lord Azriel and Ms. Coulter, but they were not the only odious characters. This is a book with plenty of characters who I wasn’t sure if I should trust or not. Those are the kinds of characters I love and I love that about this book too.

My one criticism however is with the pacing. It’s a thrilling book, yes, but it’s a little bit slow at first. I know that it takes awhile before we can get to the good stuff but this book felt like two different stories. Honestly it was similar to The Golden Compass in that way. The first part was just a “wandering around where we are” exposition before we go off on an adventure. I know we need those slower parts but I just don’t enjoy them as much as the actual adventure.

But all in all this was an absolutely amazing read. I loved being able to dive back into the world of His Dark Materials. It had an engrossing world, compelling characters, and a thrilling plot. It was everything I was hoping it would be.

I give La Belle Sauvage by Phillip Pullman 9.5 out of 10 stars


Buy/Borrow/Bypass: BUY! If you are a fan of the original series then you NEED to read this book. And if you haven’t read His Dark Materials and you like science fiction and/or fantasy you must read this series. I wouldn’t start here, but I would come back to it eventually.

Have you read La Belle Sauvage? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Friday, November 3, 2017

ARC Review: This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada Blog Tour and Giveaway

 

ABOUT THE BOOK:

This Mortal Coil
by Emily Suvada
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: November 7th 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Fiction

 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg

Links: Goodreads - AmazonB&NBook DepositoryiBooksKobo -  IndieBound -

Synopsis:

In this gripping debut novel, seventeen-year-old Cat must use her gene-hac king skills to decode her late father ’ s message concealing a vaccine to a horrifying plague.

Catarina Agatta is a hacker. She can cripple mainframes and crash through firewalls, but that’s not what makes her special. In Cat’s world, people are implanted with technology to recode their DNA, allowing them to change their bodies in any way they want. And Cat happens to be a gene-hacking genius.

That’s no surprise, since Cat ’ s father is Dr. Lachlan Agatta, a legendary geneticist who may be the last hope for defeating a plague that has brought humanity to the brink of extinction. But during the outbreak, Lachlan was kidnapped by a shadowy organization called Cartaxus, leaving Cat to survive the last two years on her own.

When a Cartaxus soldier, Cole, arrives with news that her father has been ki lled, Cat ’ s instincts tell her it ’ s just another Cartaxus lie. But Cole also brings a message: before Lachlan died, he managed to create a vaccine, and Cole needs Cat ’ s help to release it and save the human race.

Now Cat must decide who she can trust: The soldier with secrets of his own? The father who made her promise to hide from Cartaxus at all costs? In a world where nature itself can be rewritten, how much ca n she even trust herself?




I really wanted to love this book. It had so much promise and I was so excited to read it. But unfortunately it never quite delivered on that promise. It was an okay read but I just didn’t love it.

The one really good thing about this book was the world. It was a fantastic science fiction world. You can absolutely tell that the author is a scientist. And if she’s not she sure did her research. If she is, she sure did her research. There are some really elaborate and intricate parts of this world that give it a heavy science fiction feel to it. But there are also some really good dystopian parts of this world. It’s one of those books where society is basically in chaos because of a virus. I love when my dystopia keeps the sci-do feel and I appreciated that about this book. It was an interesting and engaging world.

That being said, I didn’t totally love the world building. There was a lot to this world. A lot of different concepts and technology. Whole that’s a good thing it did make for a world building that kind had to tell you instead of show you what was going on. It definitely had a bad case of the info dumps. Especially in the beginning of the book. I like a complex world but if you’re going to have to explain everything it is going to take me out of the book and impact my enjoyment. Unfortunately that is what happened here.

I think the complexity problem all extended into the plot as well. I never thought there would come a day that I thought a plot was too complex but that day is today. Because there was seriously just too going on here. At times it felt like it was just manufactured conflict to make things intense. While at other times it felt like the big moments weren’t given the amount of time needed for it to sink in. It just moved from point to point so quickly that nothing was really hitting in the way I wanted it. Like even when huge reveals and surprises came around. I was surprised and invested, but then we just moved on to the next thing. By the end of the book I kind of stopped caring a little bit because I just couldn’t devote any more attention to the plot I knew was just going to move on in a few pages anyway.

But I do think a lot of the book was redeemed by the characters. There were some very interesting and complex characters here. Most of you probably know I like my characters dark and odious. That is exactly what I found here. Like most good dystopia there are shady pseudo-government agencies, splinter groups branded as terrorists, and plenty of people whose true allegiance you don’t really know. It made for some fun reveals and character twists. But thankfully the one character who I was rooting for was the main character of Catarina. She was a good main character in that she was determined and smart but still vulnerable. Bad things kept happening to her and you didn’t want them to. She was really likable and made me keep reading. All the characters is what made me keep reading. I wanted to know where they stood in the end.

All in all this was an okay read. I honestly think it was just entirely too complex. If the world was toned down a little bit, the plot was given enough time to percolate, and the characters were given time to develop it would have been great.

I give This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada 7.5 out of 10 stars
 


Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Borrow/Bypass. I would recommend this to fans of YA dystopia with a heavy science fiction element. It’s not the best of the genre that I’ve read but I think fans looking for one more book like that will like it.

Have you read This Mortal Coil? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Favorite Quotes
 
"A breeze dances through the knee-high grass, sweeping in across the water, carrying the cries of the pigeon, the chill of the evening, and the rich deep scent of the forest." (e-ARC p.7)
 
"Like, despite the apocalypse, I'm somehow supposed to be pretty. It feels stupid even thinking about it, but I still find myself tilting my head back and forth in the light from the naked bulb overhead, searching for an angle that makes me look good." (e-ARC p. 64)
 
"Most people are afraid of the guy with the gun, but the person they should be afraid of is the one with the genkit cable. It's software that runs the show in this world, not hardware. People like you are always in control." (e-ARC p.81)
 
"We live in evil times, Catarina. Sometimes we need to embrace that to survive." (e-ARC p. 242)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

 


Emily Suvada was born and raised in Australia, where she went on to study mathematics and astrophysics. She previously worked as a data scientist, and still spends hours writing algorithms to perform tasks which would only take minutes to complete on her own. When not writing, she can be found hiking, cycling, and conducting chemistry experiments in her kitchen. She currently lives in Portland, OR, with her husband.
FOLLOW THE TOUR:

 
http://fantasticflyingbookclub.blogspot.com/2017/10/tour-schedule-this-mortal-coil-by-emily.html



• 1 Copy of This Mortal Coil by EMily Suvada
• US Only

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

October Wrap Up and November TBR

Read in September: Magical Realism

Just as I suspected, it was a rough month for reading. Between my move to Rhode Island and my starting of my new job, I haven't been able to read much. But of I am being entirely honest I kind of underestimated just how little time. Although I think maybe that was because the past few months have been really good so in comparison this seems really slow. But I read a total of 7 books this month. But the good news is that most of them were really good reads. Although I did DNF one book, so there's that/

For challenges, I am doing okay but not as well as I would hope on some of the individual challenges. I made my Goodreads goal 120 books for the year and that was a really good decision because I am really close to finishing it. I wanted to finish it by the end of this month but that didn't work out so well. But I will definitely finish it in November. I was on track for the Debut Author Challenge of 25 debuts, but this month I didn't read any debuts, making my total for the year stil at 19. I'm not going to finish it but I'll probably end up with 20. For the Netgalley/Edelweiss Challenge, I read 1 book this months which makes my total to 31 for the year. My goal of 36 for the year is still doable as all I'll have to do is read 2 a month until the end of the year. For the Rock My TBR Challenge I didn't read any books for that this month towards my goal of 25 for the year bringing my totally up to 12 for the year. I'm definitely behind on this one but I might be able to meet the actual challenge goal of 15. My slow reading month definitely got in the way of me completing these goals as well.

The Books

1.) Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore Rating: 8 out of 10 [My Review]
2.) Bad Dreams by R.L. Stine Rating: 6 out of 10 [Podcast Review]
 3.) All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Steifvater 
Rating 8.5 out of 10 [My Review]
4.) Wonder Woman Vol. 3: The Truth by Greg Rucka, Liam Sharp 
and Laura Martin Rating: 9 out of 10
5.) Shadowhouse Fall by Daniel Jose Older
Rating: 9 out of 10 stars [My Review]
6.) Retribution Rails by Erin Bowman Rating: 9 out of 10 [My Review]
7.) La Belle Sauvage by Phillip Pullman Rating: 9.5 out of 10 stars [Review to Come]

Other Posts

To Be Read in October: Science Fiction

I am hoping to have more time to read in November but I remain cautiously realistic in the fact that I am probably not going to be able to read much more than last month. But there are some books coming out that I am super excited about. Some that are among my most anticipated for the year. Plus I am excited to shift to a different theme as I have been reading a lot of fantasy and historical books lately.

Books for Review


This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada - Add to Goodreads
I'm part of the blog tour for this book and am super excited to read it. I wanted a copy at ALA but I wasn't able to get one so I'm excited to be on the blog tour.

Artemis by Andy Weir Add to Goodreads
I have been wanting another book from Andy Weir since I read The Martian over two years ago. Plus even if it wasn't Weir I'd want to read this book because it's about a female thief on the moon.

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao  - Add to Goodreads
I read the first chapter of this last month but didn't have the time to finish it. But I liked it and I have heard good things and I want to read more.

Renegades by Marissa Meyers - Add to Goodreads
I am so excited to read this book. I love books about super heroes, I love Marissa Meyers, so could the two combined be anything but amazing!

 
The Knowing by Sharon Cameron - Add to Goodreads
I LOVED The Forgetting and I am super pumped that there is another book in this series. I wanted to read this last month but I didn't have the time. This month I am making time!

The Inevitable Victorian Thing by J. AcrumAdd to Goodreads
This is another perfect read for the Halloween season. It sounds really interesting and I know a few people who have read it and loved it.

Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray - Add to Goodreads
I have had a copy of this book for a very long time and I still haven't read it. I mean they did archive the book before I could download it and then randomly didn't after awhile.

New Releases

The Empress by S.J. Kincaid - Add to Goodreads
I LOVED The Diabolic and I was so excited about more. The second book comes out today and I am super excited to read it. I made sure I finished the audio for La Belle Sauvage before today so I could start it immediately.

Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray - Add to Goodreads
I started this book last weekend after seeing the delightful Libba Bray again. It's a pretty hefty read so I haven't been able to finish it so I'm still reading.

Backlist Books


Imprudence by Gail Carriger - Add to Goodreads
I planned to listen to the audiobook for Imprudence this month but I didn't get the chance. I still do want to read it and I think it fits this month's theme enough so I'll try again.

There you have it. Some of the books I hope to read in November. As always, these are subject to change. I may read all of these or I may only read a few and then read a bunch of different ones. But honestly I think this list I can stick to. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Monday, October 30, 2017

ARC Review: Retribution Rails by Erin Bowman

Title: Retribution Rails
Series: Vengeance Road #2
Written by: Erin Bowman
Published: November 7, 2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: REDEMPTION IS NEVER FREE

When Reece Murphy is forcibly dragged into the Rose Riders gang because of a mysterious gold coin in his possession, he vows to find the man who gave him the piece and turn him over to the gang in exchange for freedom. Never does he expect a lead to come from an aspiring female journalist. But when Reece's path crosses with Charlotte Vaughn after a botched train robbery and she mentions a promising rumor about a gunslinger from Prescott, it becomes apparent that she will be his ticket to freedom—or a noose. As the two manipulate each other for their own ends, past secrets are unearthed, reviving a decade-old quest for revenge that may be impossible to settle.

In this thrilling companion to Vengeance Road, dangerous alliances are formed, old friends meet new enemies, and the West is wilder than ever.

**** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher at ALA in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. *****

I loved Vengeance Road. It was one of many YA Westerns a few years ago that I thoroughly enjoyed. It's a rare fad that when it's passed I still want more and that is Westerns for me. I still can't get enough of them and so I was super excited to here that a companion to Vengeance Road was coming out. And seriously, it was just as good.

One of my favorite things about this book is the way that it explored the historical setting. In this book we are taken ten years into the future where the "Wild West" is a little less wild and a little more settled and technologically advanced. But it was no less interesting. There was just as much great historical fiction feels to it as we were immersed in a world of train robberies, outlaws, and homesteaders. I could perfectly visualize everything and see it in away that made the setting and book really come alive. Plus once again Erin Bowman included slang and the manner of speaking that was used at the time which not only helped with characterization but also helped build the world and develop the setting. That's what this book did really well. As a fan of historical fiction, I really enjoyed the setting of this book.

The plot of Retribution Rails was just as immersive and interesting. The Old West is such an interesting period of history and you almost can't go wrong as far as the plot goes because there is bound to be plenty of exciting things like shoot outs, train robberies, narrow escapes, and many more. But I think a lot of times the stories can feel like it's the same old same old. And while this one was little bit more on the traditional side as far as Westerns go, it was still really interesting. The plot really developed in a way that had me always guessing. It kept me on the edge of my seat and surprised me more than once by the end. It was definitely a thrilling and engaging read.

But that being said, I do think that the pacing was a little slow. I feel like I'm constantly saying that books take their sweet time before getting interesting so maybe this just comes down to a personal preference thing. But for me, I want a book to really hook me in the first 50 pages or so. And while I was interested in finding out what would happen next I wasn't really hooked until halfway through the book. I feel like the beginning was just a lot of exposition and I wanted to get more into the plot. Because the plot was really good.

The best thing about this book, however, was the characters. I LOVED the characters in Vengeance Road so finding out that this was a companion novel had me a little nervous. With companions you really need to be able to connect with the new characters so you don't find yourself missing the original ones, unless they are all involved in the book. Erin Bowman was able to do both in this book. The first half of this book we got to know Charlotte and Reece. For both of them things have not been easy. But Charlotte has big dreams despite what is expected of her and I respected her for that. She is determined and smart and I really wanted her to succeed. Reece however wants to change his situation for other reasons. He is an unlikely outlaw who isn't about that life. It made his incredibly empathetic and I wanted him do just that. They both have great developments throughout the book. Erin did a good job in balancing character driven and plot driven in Retribution Rails.

On the whole, this was a fantastic read. I honestly didn't expect to like it as much as Vengeance Road and that is exactly what I did. It had a fantastic historical setting, a thrilling plot, and likable characters that you wanted to succeed.


I give Retribution Rails by Erin Bowman 9.5 out of 10 stars


Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy. If you liked the first book in this series then definitely check this one out. You will not be disappointed by what is next and you will love the new (and old) characters. And if you haven't read this series and you like historical fiction or want a thrilling book with an interesting setting then check this one out.

Have you read Retribution Rails? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Unique Book Titles

A weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish


1.) There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins - My Review
2.) I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You or basically all the Gallagher Girls book by Ally Carter - My Review
3.) To All the Boys I Loved Before and basically all the Lara Jean books by Jenny Hann - My Review
4.) Take the Key and Lock Her Up and the rest of the Embassy Row series by Ally Carter - My Review

5.) The Curious Case of the Werewolf That Wasn't by Gail Carriger - My Review
6.) Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston - My Review
7.) The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness - My Review
8.) A Tyranny of Petticoats by Jessica Spotswood et al - My Review

9.) The Smell of Other People's Houses by Bonnie by Sue Hitchcock - My Review
10.)
Enter Title Here by Rahul Kanakia - My Review
11.) Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies by Lindsay Ribar - My Review
12.) The Slow Regard of Silent Thing by Patrick Rothfuss - My Review

There you go, a handful of the books I think have unique titles. What books made your list? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!