Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books that Were Totally Deceiving (To Me, That Is)

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the awesome people over at The Broke and the Bookish.

Disclaimer: It’s not that hard to deceive me. I often buy books based off of the cover and the summary blurb without really looking inside. Your Mileage May Vary.

1. Cinder by Marissa Meyer


Why: The red shoes are in the forefront of the cover, which made me think that this was going to be more of a fairy tale.

From the cover, I kind of assumed this was more of a fairytale, less of a sci-fi. I was okay with it, but it just wasn’t what I was expecting. (Also, I still have an unfortunate association for the name Meyer. Why, Stephanie? Why??

2. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White


Why: Stock YA cover with stock YA Paranormal summary on a pretty unique book.

From the cover and blurb, this book looks pretty run-of-the-mill. However, once you start reading, run-of-the-mill goes out the window, to be replaced with awesomeness!

3. I‘d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You and sequels by Ally Carter

Why: Stock YA covers on awesome books

Again,the covers on these are unremarkable. Their content, however, wows and amazes pretty consistently.

4. Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Why: Cover is more creepy in tone than content.

The cover is creepy. That girl feels like she’s staring right into your soul. But the content is more urban adventure fantasy than horror.

5. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Why: Cover looks like a Gothic/Victorian novel, not a modern paranormal.

This cover is so beautiful…. but there’s something distinctly Victorian about it, and aside from the Jack the Ripper plotline, very little Victoriana in the actual book.

6.  Romances in General

Why: The covers on pretty much every romance suck.

Julie at TBAB already mentioned these, but I thought they deserved another mention. There are a lot of romance authors who I actually quite like, but it’s hard to weed out good from bad when every cover and summary looks the same.

7. Vacations From Hell by Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Maureen Johnson, Claudia Gray, and Sarah Mlynowski

Why: The cover fails at being relevant.

I don’t remember ANY of these stories being about a pink flower. That said, I might have forgotten…. (Overall, these stories themselves are pretty unremarkable, but check out Bray and Johnson’s contributions if you do ever pick it up. They were both awesome.)

8. Pretty much every cover for the manga Ghost Hunt by Fuyumi Ono and Shiho Inada

Why: The covers are very shojo and don’t really do a good job of conveying the things that Ono and Inada are good at it.

Again, a pretty cool series falls prey to Stock Cover Syndrome. Ono is good at constructing a creepy narrative that’s still definitely aimed at girls, and Inada is pretty adept when it comes to capturing that with her art. Also, while Mai does have damsel-in-distress tendencies at times, she does take a level in badass as the series goes on– the cover of the volume 11, which I own, does not capture that progression very well. At this point, Mai’s doing less staring at beasties with a deer-in-the-headlights expression and more saving-everyone’s-bacon.

9. The new covers for Tamora Pierce’s Alanna series.

Why: Stock Cover Syndrome again.

I used to own copies of the original Immortals quartet with the nice cover art. They were destroyed in a move, when a box of books was soaked through, and I bought new copies that had new covers that I simply didn’t like as much. Then, I saw the new covers for the Alanna books and began frantically picking up copies with the original covers wherever I could, because if the Immortals covers were meh, then the new Alanna covers are just BAD. The clothing on the models looks too modern, and the hulking Twilight male leads brooding on the cover of the third book don’t look Jon or George-like (also, Alanna would have clunked their heads together for flanking her like that.) This series is very dear to my heart, and while I appreciate that the publishers are trying to make them more marketable, I really did like the old fashioned girl-with-a-horse-and-sword covers– I feel like they captured the spirit of the series, whereas teh new covers are simply flimsy window dressing.

10. Illuminate by Aimee Agresti

Why: Cover is beautiful, summary is engaging– content is blah.

Disclaimer: I have not yet finished Illuminate– mainly because of the following:

a.) It’s an angel book– with none of the things that make angel books awesome. No flaming swords, no kicking ass and taking names, no Raffe-and-Penryn style badassery, no wings, no awesome powers, no intense moral qaundary– just a main character who sleeps a lot and takes instruction from a notebook that generates writing for her.

b.) It drags terribly for the first 3/4, making it hard to get through.

In short, this is the opposite of Stock Cover Syndrome– this book has Boring Content Syndrome, wrapped up in a nice cover and an exciting summary.

What books are in your Top Ten? Let me know in the comments! 😀

 

 

Waiting on Wednesday: “Girl of Nightmares” by Kendare Blake (Anna #2)

 

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Jill over at Breaking The Spine and showcases releases we just can’t wait to get our hands on. 😀

Title: Girl of Nightmares (Click the cover to add to your Goodreads!)

Author: Kendare Blake

Expected Publication Date: Aug 7th, 2012

Summary from Goodreads: In this follow-up to Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas begins seeing Anna everywhere: sometimes when he’s asleep, and sometimes in waking nightmares. But something is very wrong. These aren’t just daydreams. Anna seems tortured, torn apart in new and ever more gruesome ways every time she appears.

Cas doesn’t know what happened to Anna when she disappeared into Hell, but he knows she doesn’t deserve whatever is happening to her now. Anna saved Cas more than once, and it’s time for him to return the favor.

 Why I’m Waiting:
I haven’t gotten my review for ADIB up yet, since my life has been crazy, but I really, really enjoyed it and book #2 looks like it’s shaping up to be just as good. The hell aspect intrigues me, and I can’t wait to find out how Cas intends to grip her tight and raise her from perdition save Anna.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday? Comment below and let me know/link me back to your WoW post. :)

TV Review: Supernatural 7.18 “Party On, Garth”

So I guess I’m going to have to eat my words from last week concerning this episode. Was it an excuse to put in as much alcohol consumption as The CW Standards & Practices would allow? Yes. Was it a plot device to bring Garth back in for a bit of cheap comic relief before the usual angst-fest that is the last few episodes of any season of SPN? Yes. Was it a bit of a comedown after last week’s insane rush? Yes.

Was it a bad episode because of these factors?

HELL NO.

I’m having trouble organizing my thoughts on this episode, so I’m going to make headers for each element that I wanted to comment on, so that I don’t forget anything. 😀

Dean in His Role as The Caretaker

I swear to God, sometimes being Dean Winchester seems a lot like parenting a whole bunch of wayward children, and Dean is definitely showing it in this episode. He almost seems to be stretched a little thin at times, torn between watching Sam and worrying about Cas and trying to keep Garth from falling on his head and dying in some random twist of fate– but at the same time, it puts Dean in his element. This episode, Dean is getting sh*t done, even when he’s three sheets to the wind after consuming some questionable liquor at the brewery. Is he sad? Yeah, definitely. Is he angry/bitter/lonely? Yes. Is he still kind of depressed? YES. But Dean is a man of action, and recent events have kind of put the ball back in his court– and damn it if he’s not going to take advantage of that.

Garth: New Fan Favorite in the Making?

Oh, Garth. The first episode that Garth was in made me want to stab myself in the eyeball, and I was not alone. This episode definitely allowed DJ Qaulls a little more leeway to develop the character and attempt to connect with the difficult-to-please SPN audience, and I would definitely say that he has more or less accomplished that. Garth’s comic potential is/has always been enormous, and there were so many parts of this episode that just made me giggle uncontrollably. Mr Fizzles certainly seemed to be a winner with fans– I haven’t checked the writer’s credits on the episode, but that definitely had a bit of Ben Edlund’s quirky touch to it– and Garth’s bumbling, good-natured personality really won me over this episode. It does not escape my notice, either, that the writers/directors sandwiched him right in between the long-anticipated returns of TWO current fan favorites, almost as if to say “Here’s a new one for fans to hate/love/fixate on.”*

Which Leads Me To….

BOBBY.

OHMYGODGUYSBOBBY.

It’s a totally cliched plot, similar to the whole amnesia!Cas concept, but I just can’t dismiss it.

Because, guys…. you know what this means, right?

What I Liked:

  • Garth
  • Mr Fizzles, who really deserves his own spin-off.
  • Dean being all responsible.
  • The situation with Cas wasn’t pushed aside as easily as I thought it would be.
  • BOBBY.

What I Didn’t Like:

  • We still don’t know what the hell the Leviathan are up to.
  • Sam is just miraculously better, which is what I was kind of afraid of as soon as they brought Cas in to heal him. I mean, come on. Even with “the crazy” “passed on”, Sam should be experiencing some lingering paranoia/disturbed sleep patterns/etc.

Final Verdict: A- for Garth feat. Mr. Fizzles and Bobby. The rest was kind of meh, but whatever.

Coming Up Next: Next episode is going to be awesome. Enough said. But we’re going to have to wait until April 20th…. 😦

*For the record, I would really like to see Garth and Cas meet at some point. Maybe Cas will finally get a damn hug.

TV Review: Supernatural 7.17 “The Born Again Identity”

IN CASE YOU DID NOT PAY ATTENTION TO THE ABOVE WARNING, THERE ARE MASSIVE SPOILERS HERE. ALSO, MUCH SOBBING AND PENULTIMATE FANGIRLING. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

In case you aren’t aware of the depths of my Cas obsession, dear readers, I’m going to give you a little backstory so that you’ll understand how much this episode meant to me.

When Cas first showed up, he was kind of a bastard. I wasn’t very fond of him– dramatic entrance aside, I was pretty ticked about the whole burning-out-Pamela’s-eyes stunt. I mean, I LIKED him because I enjoy it when SPN actually does their research, and to me he fit the mold of a Biblical angel to a T: ruthless, emotionally barren, and basically an obedient tin soldier. Halfway through season 4, however, I started seeing something a little different in him, compared to the other angels; it was a bit of a softening, if that’s the right word to use, as he became more and more attached to the Winchester brothers. By season 5, I was totally smitten, as Cas started to show more and more of the loyalty, naivete, and clueless humor that has so endeared him to both new and old fans of the series. This was also when I started to identify personally with the poor little angel: I understand how it feels to put all of your faith in a father who is less than perfect, and how lost and alone you feel when that connection is severed. Season 6? I think EVERYONE EVER understands what it’s like to be on a track that you KNOW will end badly, but that you stick with because you’re pretty sure it’s the best thing for everyone.

Likewise, I think most people understand, at least to some extent, what it’s like to make a mistake that you could never, EVER fix, and just how hard it can be to make amends–which brings me to Friday’s episode, “The Born Again Identity”.

The episode begins with Sam having sunk to the depths of his Lucifer-induced insanity. You can’t blame him– Mark Pellegrino is flawless here as the annoying, sadistic thorn in Jared Padalecki’s side, not allowing Sam to sleep even under the influence of various pills, drugs, and alcohol. He gets hit by a car and admitted to the hospital, where they almost immediately place him in a locked psych ward. Dean, meanwhile, is doing exactly what Dean does: fighting with doctors, fighting with Sam about how they’re going to fix him, fighting, fighting, fighting. Sam just wants to sleep. Dean, however, immediately begins doing something else he does well: he begins researching faith healers and various alternatives to “modern medicine”, with the help of Bobby’s old books (and, perhaps, the help of Bobby himself– yes, Dean’s Vanishing Drink is also in a Special Guest Star role this episode). All of this leads him to this guy who heals the sick and the crazy like it’s no big deal; he goes by Emanuel and is, as Meg aptly puts it, “the spitting image of poor dead Castiel”.

What you don't see here is that there was a rather awkward butt-shot right before this. Umm, producers? Fanservice much? (Not that I mind...)

Oh, yes, Meg. Yeah, she’s in there too. Haters procede to hate. I actually like Meg, and I feel like she should get kudos for having been the only woman to survive 7 seasons of SPN. Bravo, Meg Masters. Bravo.

So, opinion time. Hang tight, people. I have a lot of feelings and opinions about this episode, and even after two rewatches I’m still having a hard time expressing all of them, so.

What I Liked: 

  • Castiel’s return, obviously. Been waiting for that ever since he walked into that reservoir.
  • Meg. She’s a welcome note of humor in an otherwise heavy episode.
  • This sequence where Castiel/Emanuel regains his memories in a badass montage with lovely backing music ala “O Death”.
  • This scene. Dean’s empathy for Castiel’s situation is really visible here– after all, he’s been there.
  • Dean. He responded to a situation that was very emotionally fraught for him with the same grace and forgiveness that he extended to Sam just after the whole demon blood incident.
  • One more sequence where Cas takes on Sam’s madness in typical faith-healer I-can-take-this-in-and-deal-with-it-myself-mentality, knowing full well what it will mean.
  • Dean’s Vanishing Drink. I am now 99.9% sure this is Bobby. (The .1% is for God, in case he’s finally decided to stop being a douchebag of a dad and help out.)

What I Didn’t Like

  • There were so many plotholes in this episode that it looked kind of like Swiss Cheese by the time it was done. Hopefully the next few eps will help with that.
  • There was too much in this episode, and it went far too fast. I expected these events to be a multi-episode arc, not 45 minutes.

What I Would Have Liked to See:

  • One scene between Dean and Cas at the end. Dean reassuring him, maybe, that they WILL come back, even if Cas is busy boring a hole in Lucifer/Wall with his eyes. Just… something, between the two of them, to show that Dean has forgiven Castiel, and that once all this is over, they will slowly begin to heal what has transpired between them.
  • Maybe a scene with Dean threatening Meg. Something along the lines of “hurt him and I will end you.”

Final Verdict: Nice, solid episode that brings Castiel back into the picture, even if it didn’t help much in the overarching plot. A for some really nice, emotional performances from Jensen Ackles and Misha Collins.

Coming Up Next: After this phenom of an episode, I really am not very excited about this ep, which seems like a cheap excuse to get drunk, fight a MotW, and ignore the fact that the Leviathan are UP TO SOMETHING.

Because I Can’t Shut Up: I just have to throw in two three songs for Castiel, okay? Just ’cause. (ETA: The Raconteurs came up when I searched Mumford and Sons and it seemed appropriate.)

 

 

 

 

 

Freeform Fridays: A Love Letter to Cassandra Clare’s “Clockwork Prince”

(Hope you guys like this! You can check out my reviews of Clockwork Angel and Clockwork Prince by clicking the links.)

Dear Clockwork Prince,

You are the second book in a series. I, as a general rule, have an extremely hard time with second books. So when I finished Clockwork Angel, I was almost certain that I could wait for you to come out in paperback, allowing me to enjoy your story without laying down $19.99 on the hardcover and causing my poor bank account ultimate pain*. Duly, I shelved CA and moved on to the next book in my TBR pile.

However, you pursued me most aggressively. You enlisted the help of my friends, who told me tales of your exploits with great verve. You wooed me with your lovely cover featuring—who else? Only my favorite character in the entirety of the first book, possibly in the entirety of the series. Your 4.51 star rating on GR is what finally convinced me; still, I exercised ultimate caution for your first hundred pages, played the coy and collected one to your hopeless romantic.

Until I realized that I could not avoid your advances any longer. Until Jem started speaking Mandarin and telling Tessa she was beautiful and loved, until Will’s darkness threatened to engulf his soul, until Sophie became a badass little warrior-mouse-girl. You left me breathless and uplifted, tormented and twisted. I felt every pleasure and every pain as your characters did, and I could not avoid swooning into your arms.

And I, as a general rule, DO NOT swoon.

Also, you are never to tell anyone about that.

My point, dear CP, is that while I may have started out indifferent towards you—even cold at times—your charm has proved the winner over my cynicism. It gives me pain to shelve you, to move on to another novel, but I will do so because that is my way, and we are who we are, are we not?

Know only that I will always return to you, and when CLOCKWORK PRINCESS comes out later this year**, I will surely be torn between the two of you, even as Tessa is torn between Jem and Will.

You have my heart. You may now proceed to break it.

Sincerely,

Em

*Note: this account has been somewhat dramatized for the purpose of good storytelling. CP was actually 13.59 on Amazon, making it something of a steal :3

** Now the release date appears to have been moved to 2013.  😛

Freeform Friday Announcement

Okay. So. I am no longer doing Friday!reads on my blog because a.) sometimes I don’t have time to round up all my books and check to see how far I’ve gotten and b.) I’ve noticed that my blog has kind of become overwhelmed with reviews. I love writing reviews, and I like that you all seem to enjoy reading them, but I like to keep other sorts of writing present on my blog as well, which is why I’m pleased to announce:

Freeform Fridays!

You might get anything. Seriously. Some weeks, it will be essays. Some weeks, it might be poetry. And sometimes, it might just be me taking a prompt and running with it for a couple of paragraphs, or pic-spamming things I like that are relevant, or talking about writing. There might be even be videos :)

So, without further ado, allow me to present my first Freeform Friday offering: A Love Letter to Cassandra Clare’s Clockwork Prince

 

 

 

Waiting on Wednesday: “Unspoken” (The Lynburn Legacy, #1) by Sarah Rees Brennan

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine and highlights upcoming releases that we just can’t wait to get our hands on. 😀

I have to say, I adore this cover. I love the juxtaposition of black on red, and the wonderfully Gothic font.

 Title: Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy, #1)

  Author:Sarah Rees-Brennan

Expected Publication Date: September 11th, 2012

  Summary from Goodreads:

 Kami Glass loves someone she’s never met . . . a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn’t silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn’t suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head.

But all that changes when the Lynburns return.

The Lynburn family has owned the spectacular and sinister manor that overlooks Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries. The mysterious twin sisters who abandoned their ancestral home a generation ago are back, along with their teenage sons, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily familiar to Kami. Kami is not one to shy away from the unknown—in fact, she’s determined to find answers for all the questions Sorry-in-the- Vale is suddenly posing. Who is responsible for the bloody deeds in the depths of the woods? What is her own mother hiding? And now that her imaginary friend has become a real boy, does she still love him? Does she hate him? Can she trust him?

Why I’m Waiting:It’s SARAH REES BRENNAN. I adore her, though I haven’t quite finished the Demon series yet (got through Lexicon and Covenant, will pick up Surrender as soon as I can). Also, it’s a Gothic romance. What’s not to love? This is on my preorder list, for sure.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday? Comment below and let me know/link me back to your WoW post. 🙂

TV Review: Supernatural 7.16 “Out With The Old”

It’s been awhile between episodes, but, dear readers, it looks like our favorite CW show about demon-hunting bros is back with a vengeance. Sam’s still struggling with the fallout of letting Halluc!Lucifer inside his mind (including 50 repetitions of Stairway to Heaven. Eeek. I feel for you, man), Dean’s trying to keep his head above water and, for the most part, succeeding (despite a very brief desire to put on some pretty deadly but totally cute toeshoes), and the Leviathan are still out there, busily setting up their increasingly convoluted endgame. Which is really what this episode is about, if you boil it all down.

It starts off masquerading as a typical Monster of the Week story– Dean and Sam head to Portland, Oregon to investigate the death of a dancer who literally danced her own feet off. (Which made a very interesting scene to start off the episode, just sayin’.) While they’re there, they discover that there is, in fact, an entire safe full of cursed objects that have just been released on the world by an idiot antiques dealer, but that’s not the worst of it, because as always, the Leviathan are also present, posing as real estate agents and killing everyone who gets in their way.

Now, I have to say, I’m not very impressed with the Leviathan plotline. I’m really not sure why they want to cure cancer (maybe to subjugate humans or inoculate them with something worse?) and while I found Levi!Joyce and her assistant amusing, I didn’t really feel the dread that we are supposed to feel.

Overall, I felt this was a very good “set-up” episode, but it didn’t really stand very well on its own. I’ll refrain from judging until I see The Born Again Identity next week. 🙂

Coming Up Next: Yeah, I was very very very excited about this promo, and still am. Can’t wait to see Cas again. 😀 I’m really interested to see what direction the show is going to take regarding Cas’ amnesia– in the promo, it kind of seems like Dean is still holding him accountable for the things he’s done, and he’s accepting it because he doesn’t know what he’s done, if that makes any sense.

 

Book Review: “Atticus for the Undead” by John Abramowitz

Title: Atticus For The Undead

Author: John  Abramowitz

Available In:  eBook for Kindle

Maturity Level: 17+. No sexual content, but quite a lot of gore and violence.

You May Like This Book if: you enjoy legal fiction, stories about zombies, and stories that do not necessarily end with a happily ever after.

You May NOT Like This Book if: you are someone who DOES enjoy a happily ever after.

Hunter Gamble is not your typical attorney. He doesn’t wear a suit, cares more about the opinion of his research assistant than the opinion of his successful father, and specializes in a very obscure branch of law—arcane defense. His stance is a humanitarian one: why should we fail to provide adequate legal representation for folks like Sam Pollard?

There’s the small matter of Sam being a zombie, but Hunter’s pretty sure that he can work around that with the help of the previously aforementioned awesome assistant, Kirsten, and a teenage wannabe-actress/legal assistant who just so happens to also be a witch.

I was enjoying this book quite a bit despite the fact that the ending kind of jumped out at me. The Austin setting, the clever mixing of society after an influx of supernatural beings, and the law aspect were all right up my alley. However, I’m not really fond of surprises, and when I started this book, I was fairly sure it was not going to be a sad!book. It also seemed like it could have been set-up for a series, which seems pretty impossible right now.

Overall, this is a fairly solid offering—technically speaking, it seems like the editing/copyediting could have been better, but that’s more a nitpick than anything else—and if you’re fond of supernatural creatures, lawyers, or the realistic nothing-is-all-right ending, than this is the book for you.

Pros

  • LOVE the law aspect.
  • The arcane/human dynamic.
  • Sam Pollard. He had such a personality, and my heart truly broke for him when he succumbed. L
  • Kristen and Sabrina. Their bickering/camaraderie was pretty awesome.
  • Police Chief Jolene Ellen Garrison. Jo Ellen. Does anyone else see the reference? Also, she’s a badass.

Cons

  • Slightly stilted dialogue.
  • Writing is full of tics, frequently used words, etc.

 

Favorite Scene (s)

  • Loc 2955-3018, when Kristen delivers her closing argument and kinda pwns everyone.

Favorite Line (s):  “Human decency isn’t the province of the rich, Dad.” ~Hunter Gamble, Atticus for the Undead, location 594.

Star Rating on Goodreads: 3.5 stars, rounded up for GR.

Final Grade: B. Enjoyable, but was a little shaken by the ending, which I didn’t see coming. Definitely a reread possibility, would love to read more books in this series, and will certainly be checking out the author’s debut, Weaver.

FridayReads 3/9/2012

So I have been skipping FridayReads most weeks, as you guys have probably noticed. I got so caught up in reviewing that I just plain forgot about it, to be honest. When I did remember, I decided it was probably time to revamp, as you can see by my nifty little graphic. It takes up less space in the post than inserting each cover picture and contains more information, and mostly, I just like fiddling around with graphics on occasion. 🙂

Without further ado, let’s go on to the ‘reads!

Cinder by Marissa Meyer: This one is not quite living up the hype, I just have to say. I kinda like it, but it feels to me like the core of the story– the Cinderella retelling– gets lost amongst all of the sci-fi trappings. Don’t get me wrong, I love sci-fi, but I did go into this expecting more of a… well, Cinderella story. Overall, though, it’s been a good, fun, fast read so far. Here’s hoping that the fairy-tale comes out a little more while still keeping all of the awesome sci-fi elements in the rest!

The Only Ones by Aaron Starmer: So far, this one is awesome. It’s a bit like City of Ember meets Lord of the Flies. Sometimes, the plotting gets a little overly convoluted, but overall, it’s proving itself to be a solid read. 😀

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner:The worldbuilding in this one is PHENOMENAL. At only 15% in, I don’t really have much to say aside from that.

What are YOU reading this Friday? Drop me a comment and let me know!

 

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