Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Douglas Adams

I have, for just about forever, been on the lookout for matching covers of these books and finally they have been found! That's really the only reason I haven't started this series before now. It's a classic science fiction series that has always been, in my mind, something I need to read before I die. It's also been a nice experience to begin these while in London (it means I can go buy a towel at Marks & Spencers if nothing else, hehe), because it strikes me as a rather British book.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Unearthed

Unearthed
Amie Kaufman & Megan Spooner

I received a copy of this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

This is my first Kaufman/Spooner book that I've read, which seems a bit like a sin considering how long I've had their other series sitting on my shelf. I've heard tons of good things and I also loved Illuminae, which Kaufman had a hand in. This book, though, was a bit of a let down. I think a lot of early info was praising it as Indiana Jones/Tomb Raider in space, which it essentially is, and which is actually a great idea, but just didn't do much for me. A side note before the proper review: even though I had an egalley of this, I actually listened to it on audiobook, which I can strongly recommend because I thought the two voice actors were pretty fantastic.

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Girl in the Tower

The Girl in the Tower
Katherine Arden

I received a copy of this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

A few notes: It was an exciting day when an ARC of this book came in the mail because I couldn't wait to dig right in. But I had a few other books lined up first and few months before the release so I pushed it off... and right into my reading slump. Sadly I couldn't bring the ARC with me to London, but I did have a copy on my kindle and was able to read a finished copy. I also want to make clear that the rating for this falls a lot closer to 4.5 than 5, because this has been the first book this year to make my heart rage and love and cry this much.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch
Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett

I'm a big fan of both Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (RIP) so the fact that I never got around to picking up one of their greatest works, if not one of the greatest works in all of literature (don't @ me), is a bit sad. I had only high expectations going into this and I was not let down. Where did it start for me: my car, evening, some gushers, and a half hour break from work. Not even a page into the story and laughing so hard the car is shaking. I won't tell you why, I won't ruin the joke. Let me tell you, I did not stop laughing the entire time. It was a wonderful rollercoaster good time, even as the Bad Times were happening. And don't let that make you think there isn't an emotional underpinning that will absolutely gut you. As I turned the last page and ventured into the author notes I did so with wet cheeks and blurry vision. This is a book you should read and should read now.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The King of Bones and Ashes

JD Horn
Release Date: January 23rd, 2018

I received an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Reading this book could not have come at a more perfect time for me! I was craving something really autumn-y and early winter-y and witches were on my mind quite a bit. I requested this book way before I realized how badly I wanted a good witch story but I'm so glad I did because it really filled the gap I was looking for. Something I do want to mention before I go further-- I'm pretty sure this is a companion series and not a spinoff series to JD Horn's Witching Savannah series. That one has actually been on my TBR for a while and now I'm more keen than ever to pick it up.

Since it is a companion series there's little to no info-dump world building and I loved that. The reader is immediately thrust into the world and the lives of these witches and not even given that much information on how magic even works or what it can do, but because it plays by pretty familiar "witch-rules" it's pretty unnecessary. The author takes advantage of the pop culture idea of a witch and both plays into that magic system and works their own as they go. The politics between the different groups was also not spelled out for readers, as it shouldn't be, and is unravelled naturally and well. The subtle world building works so well here, also, because it is more urban fantasy than  straight-up paranormal story.

As I tend to say with every review-- it is the characters that make or break a book for me-- and I have to lean towards... they make the book for me. There are several narrators and the one I loved most was Alice. For me she was both the most interesting and most promising in terms of storytelling. The other narrators were good... but there were so many of them! I don't have an issue with multiple narrators (and in fact, I loved all the female power these women narrators had!) but sometimes I had a hard time connecting with them or figuring out why they were really important, or at least important enough to warned POV chapters. That being said, every narrator had a very clear and defined voice that I truly appreciated, as sometimes authors can get bogged down telling the story and not defining character voices. Something I find incredibly interesting is that I often loved the side characters and connected with them more than the main characters (looking at you Lucy, the real MVP of this book) and felt like sometimes they were even more three dimensional than those whose minds we got to peek into. One last note on characters: the diversity among them was so great! It's so lovely to read about women from all types of walks of life, from race to sexuality to class, without feeling like they were forced in there as token's for the white hero.

While the plot was nice and tight, something I always appreciate, it wasn't the driving force of the novel for me. I never forgot what it was, mostly because it was a pretty basic plot, but I was also never quite invested in it the way I wish I could have been. There certainly weren't any tangents and I also appreciated that it took place over such a short period of time while keeping the stakes pretty high, but this is what really kept the book a step away from being truly amazing.
TL;DR If you're looking for something that reads like a good autumn night and features of diverse cast of women, then you've found the perfect book. With a tight plot, easy to understand magic system and world, and really well developed side characters, this one is a keeper. It has a few short falls, but nothing that couldn't be fixed in a sequel.
From the bestselling author of the Witching Savannah series comes the first book in a fascinating trilogy following the quest of a young witch to uncover her family’s terrifying secret history…
Magic is seeping out of the world, leaving the witches who’ve relied on it for countless centuries increasingly hopeless. While some see an inevitable end of their era, others are courting madness—willing to sacrifice former allies, friends, and family to retain the power they covet. While the other witches watch their reality unravel, young Alice Marin is using magic’s waning days to delve into the mystery of numerous disappearances in the occult circles of New Orleans. Alice disappeared once, too—caged in an asylum by blood relatives. Recently freed, she fears her family may be more involved with the growing crisis than she ever dared imagine.
Yet the more she seeks the truth about her family’s troubled history, the more she realizes her already-fragile psyche may be at risk. Discovering the cause of the vanishings, though, could be the only way to escape her mother’s reach while determining the future of all witches.
JD Horn was raised in rural Tennessee, and has since carried a bit of its red clay in him while travelling the world, from Hollywood, to Paris, to Tokyo. He studied comparative literature as an undergrad, focusing on French and Russian in particular. He also holds an MBA in international business and worked as a financial analyst before becoming a novelist. . He and his spouse, Rich, and their pets have settled (at least temporarily) outside Sisters, Oregon.
Cover linked to Goodreads; cover, description, and author bio taken from Goodreads.
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Friday, December 29, 2017

Blog Tour: Between the Blade and the Heart

Between the Blade and the Heart
Amanda Hocking
Release Date: January 2nd, 2018

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This is my first ever blog tour and I'm so honored to be on it! I thought before I reviewed the book I'd share a bit about why I wanted to participate and the other books I've read and enjoyed by Amanda Hocking. First of all, when offered the chance to participate I hadn't read the book yet but I had pretty high expectations to enjoy it. I'd seen mixed reviews but the description was really up my alley and I hadn't read a good urban fantasy in a while. Plus I've enjoyed Amanda Hocking's books in the past so I was eager to read something new of hers! A long time ago (in a bookstore far away) when I was first getting into YA I picked up Switched, the first book in the Trylle series and the only reason I never read the other two was because my friend spoiled everything (I'm not mad... any more :) ) but I really loved book one. That actually led me to reading Hollowland and Hollowmen (aka the Hollows series) which I really recommend because they're pretty good zombie apocalypse books and that's high praise since I tend to dislike both zombie books and apocalypse books. Other than that her books have more or less always sat at the top of that "I plan to read it soon" TBR pile that I never get around to. Most of them are still up there.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Practical Magic

Practical Magic
Alice Hoffman

This autumn I was in the mood for witches, witches, and more witches. But not just any kind of witches, the somewhat spooky, somewhat believable, woman-power-filled witches. Okay, cross off the spooky from this list and instead apply the idea of charming and strange and here you have this book. It's such a great relaxing read, for even though it's exciting, it's the quiet moments of family and women that build this book up and make it something work reading.