Book Review: “Katana” by Cole Gibsen

This cover is badass, despite her completely incorrect and impractical grip on those swords.

Title: Katana (Click the cover to add it to your Goodreads!)

Author: Cole Gibsen

Available In: Paperback, eBook for Kindle, eBook for Nook.

Maturity Level: 16+. Some racy content, violence, vaguely referenced twincest.

You May Like This Book if: you like anime/manga series such as Bleach, Naruto, Ouran High School Host Club, and Rurouni Kenshin; if you were/are a fan of Buffy; if you enjoy reincarnation stories; if you favor action over plot/characters.

You May NOT Like This Book if: you don’t read YA; you don’t like slightly dim main characters; you have a problem with reincarnation plots.

Rileigh Martin didn’t want to start hearing voices in her head. She certainly didn’t want those voices to tell her how to fight. And she MOST CERTAINLY did NOT want a long-dead samurai chick controlling her body. Finding out that she is the reincarnation of said samurai chick? RIGHT OUT.

She doesn’t really mind being able to defend herself from skeeveballs, though. And even though she struggles against it, she can’t really bring herself to mind too much when her new samurai mentor turns out to be Kim Gimhae, hot martial arts instructor… even though the depth of her feelings for him frightens her because they just might not be hers.

I have a feeling that I’m going to catch a lot of flak if I try to argue that this book is great YA literature. In many ways, it reads like a paperback romance novel. Many of the plot points are predictable, and the love triangle is downright laughable and it is very evident early on what is happening. Rileigh’s voice is a little stilted at times—Gibsen just doesn’t have the same easygoing style as, say, Kiersten White’s Evie from Paranormalcy—and the prose is touch-and-go in many places.

And to be honest, I did spend the first fifty pages rolling my eyes at Rileigh because she’s kind of dumb. She’s feisty, for sure, but she just doesn’t have the brain-power to back it up until she really starts to struggle with her dual identity as Rileigh-Senshi. In many ways, this book reminded me of Buffy, and this was one of the not-so-good ways that it did.

But, guys? I just can’t bring myself to hate this book.

Because I usually hate reincarnation stories, but I LOVED this one. The way in which this particular plot element was handled was pretty close to genius. Furthermore, this book was just fun. I really loved the flashback sequences, and applaud Gibsen’s bravery in the whole Michelle/Braden plotline, which is still pretty taboo here and was handled with taste and dignity. Kim makes a good romantic lead, and Quentin a good sidekick (despite his over-the-top and overly stereotypical behavior—in that way, he reminded me a lot of Dante from Illuminate).

(Also, for the record, Rileigh does take a Level in Badass by the end, so all that whining that she does in earlier parts of the book does pay off.)

Overall, I found this book quite amusing, and I’d love to see what Gibsen does next—I have a feeling that she’s one of those writers who will improve with time.

Pros

  • Senshi. I wasn’t really a fan of Rileigh, but Senshi was a badass.
  • The flashbacks were nicely handled.
  • Kim ❤
  • Michelle/Braden. I liked the slightly twincest-y twist on the soulmates concept. Kudos to Gibsen for being brave enough to incorporate this element.
  • Drew and Kim’s bromance :3

Cons

  • Quentin is overly stereotypical, ala Dante from Illuminate.
  • Rileigh is…. Not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
  • The love triangle was pretty clichéd. I would have been just as happy if it was just Kim(Yoshido)/Rileigh(Senshi).

Favorite Scene (s):

  • Pg 125-127. Senshi kills things with her “ki” or “spiritual pressure”. It’s totally clichéd but I love it.
  • Pg 209-214. I really liked the deft, tasteful way that the whole Michelle/Braden thing was handled.
  • Pg 251. Love, love, LOVE this scene. So hot. ❤

Favorite Line (s):

  • “You better leave a tip. 30% should keep the Nair out.”~ pg 144
  • “I couldn’t have been more surprised if the President of the United States walked into the café and did his own personal rendition of Lord of the Dance.”~ pg 281

Star Rating on Goodreads: 3.5 stars, rounded up for fun factor. :3

Fun Factor (1 being blegh, 10 being ROFLMAO): 8

Final Grade:  B. Amusing enough to make up for its flaws.

Book Review: “Partials” by Dan Wells (Partials #1)

Title: Partials (Partials #1) (Click to add to your Goodreads!)

Author: Dan Wells

Available In: Hardcover, eBook for Kindle, eBook for Nook

Maturity Level: Upper YA. Teen pregnancy, a relationship between an older man and a teenage girl, and violence.

You May Like This Book if: you enjoy books about plagues; if you enjoyed Cinder; if you like cyborgs and/or genetic engineering; if you enjoy straight sci-fi with no paranormal elements.

You May NOT Like This Book if: you have triggers related to teen pregnancy and/or relationships in which one partner is significantly older/more experienced than the other.

The world of Partials certainly looks, from afar, like an intriguing one. After a war with the biologically engineered Partials, humanity is very nearly extinct. The survivors live on an island, and fight daily against the harsh realities of life in a post-apocalyptic world. To top it all off, the weaponized virus that killed the majority of the population still continues to kill every baby that’s born, forcing the government to take drastic action in the form of pregnancy laws. Kira is a medic. She watches all of this go on every day, and she’s determined to find a cure for the virus—even if that means coming into close contact with the deadly Partials themselves.

My main problem with this book is that it felt like set-up. I feel like the first half could easily have been condensed, and maybe some of the plot points that will hopefully be addressed in the sequel could have made it into this one. I also disliked the “evil evil government” cliché, as well as the creepy relationship between one of Kira’s teenage friends and her boss, a senator.

Overall, though, it was decent. I enjoyed it, for sure, but it just didn’t have any “wow” factor for me. Hopefully book #2 will be a little more engaging.

Pros

  • I love the world, especially the literal “urban jungle” of New York.
  • I happen to think the Partials are a pretty cool concept.
  • Kira’s definitely got some badass qualities.
  • The characters. They all have differing, complex motivations and this flavors their interactions in a very interesting way.

Cons

  • I thought this was a bit mature for YA—I’m not saying that we should sensor YA, by any means, but I think this book would be pretty alienating to the younger end of the YA readership.
  • I’m a little tired of the Orwellian government being so prominent in sci-fi.
  • Marcus is a total douchewad. Was so glad when Kira gave him the boot about halfway through.

Favorite Line (s): “You could get high on his farts.”~pg 41.

Star Rating on Goodreads: 3.5

Final Grade: B

Book Review: “Artemis Fowl and the Atlantis Complex” by Eoin Colfer (Artemis Fowl, #7)

I do adore this cover, both for the color balance and for a full profile of Artemis. 😀

Title: Artemis Fowl and the Atlantis Complex

Author: Eoin Colfer

Available In: Hardback, eBook for Nook, eBook for Kindle, Audiobook.

Maturity Level: All Ages. Very light romance, some swearing but nothing too terrible.

You May Like This Book if: you enjoy science fiction, humor, and genii, or if you’re a fan of the Artemis Fowl series as a whole.

You May NOT Like This Book if: you haven’t read the previous books in the series.

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS, OPINIONS, AND FANGIRLING. A LOT OF FANGIRLING.

Mild spoilers ahead!

Artemis Fowl has come a long way from the 12 year old evil super-genius that we were introduced to in the first book. He’s battled manically evil pixies, the LEP, fellow megalomaniacs, his younger self, and demons hell-bent* on destroying humanity. But can he win when the grounds of the fight lie within his own mind?

This does definitely seem to be the main plot of The Atlantis Complex, despite the usual trappings of Colfer’s books. I certainly enjoyed this installment, in particular the portrayal of Artemis as he sinks deeper and deeper into his own pathos (something that Colfer has always pulled off pretty damn well, considering that he is a humorous writer). Still, something about this book bothers me—it’s just kind of flat compared to the ones that came before it. I have a feeling that it’s just because the series has run for so long, and I’m hoping that Colfer pulls out all the stops in the finale, but it definitely wasn’t as mind-meltingly awesome as, say, The Eternity Code or The Lost Colony.

Overall, though, this was a solid addition to Artemis Fowl canon. I loved that it ended the way it did, setting up what has the potential to be a brilliant finale.  

*I should no longer be allowed to make puns. I am obviously terrible at it. 😛

VERY VERY spoiler-y material ahead! You have been warned!

 

Pros

  • Butler and Juliet. Awesome sibling dynamic between two badasses of epic proportions. I like.
  • Artemis and Holly.  I love the slightly awkward romance that turns a little sweet towards the end. I really would like to see the two of them get a real resolution in the final book. 🙂
  • Atlantis Complex.
  • Certain events were sort of connected back to the alcoholic sprite that started the events of book 1. The continuity nerd in me loved this 🙂
  • The ending. I love that Artemis is most assuredly not all right—I’ve always been very intrigued by Colfer’s delicate treatment of mental illness, and in this regard he does not disappoint.

Cons

  • Colfer kind of seems like he’s trying too hard with his witticisms in this one.
  • Plots are getting kind of tired. Oh, look, there are criminals. Mulch Diggums is back. Holly pilots an unlikely vehicle and saves everybody. I’ve just seen it too many times.
  • I didn’t find Turnball to be a very convincing villain.

Favorite Scene (s):

  • Pg 183: Orion/Artemis going on about smiting and the reactions of Holly and Foaly 😀
  • Pg 191: Holly punching Orion/Artemis.
  • Pg 351-353: Artemis and Holly are my OTP, okay? ❤

Favorite Line (s): “If he asks you to look for birthmarks, say no immediately.”~ pg 181, Foaly to Holly concerning Orion’s… erm… intentions. 😀

Star Rating on Goodreads: 3.5 stars.

Final Grade: B. Enjoyed it because it’s AF, but it wasn’t as thrilling as previous books. Am holding out for the final book in the series in hopes that it  will bring the dazzle back.

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.

Book Review: “Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children” by Ransom Riggs (Miss Peregrine #1)

Title: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Author: Ransom Riggs

Available In: Hardcover, Audiobook, eBook for Nook, eBook for Kindle.

Maturity Level: 16+. There’s very little sexual content, but there’s a quite a lot of gore and violence.

You May Like This Book if: you enjoy dark, brooding, vaguely Lynchian  settings and time travel.

You May NOT Like This Book if: you don’t like fantasy or YA, or if you’re averse to violence and gore.

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

Jacob has it all, really. His mother is heiress to a massive drug/convenience store chain, and he’s grown up not really having to want for much. However, the only things from his childhood that he truly values are the times he spent with his grandfather and his stories about strange children and wondrous sights. When his grandfather is killed in mysterious circumstances, Jacob decides to take a trip to the island where it all began, off the coast of Wales, and uncovers a secret that he will fight to the death to protect.

Overall, I was fond of this book, but the one thing that made it nigh impossible for me to get through it sometimes was Jacob’s attitude. He is something of a brat. He whines too much. I felt very little sympathy for him when he ended up in dangerous situations, and at times I had to put the book down because I just couldn’t stand his entitled, superior, slightly emo mentality. He also doesn’t appear to change very much over the course of the story—he simply becomes more dramatic and annoying.

That aside, I really did like this book. The peculiar children, the time loops, and the Lynchian setting are all right up my alley. It would have gotten a full four stars and moved up a letter grade had the MC been more likable, but I still enjoyed it.

Pros

  • I love the photos! I’m a ghost photography buff, so the effects were quite interesting to see. They did break up the flow of the book a little bit, but I didn’t really care.
  • Lynchian setting.
  • Nerdy references to shows such as Father Ted.
  • Miss Peregrine. Who is awesome. ‘Nough said.
  • The peculiar children. Who are awesome. Again.
  • The Nazi-Hollowghast parallels.
  • The concept of the time loops.

Cons

  • Plot is kind of slowmoving—I was over halfway through the book before it really caught me.
  • I really didn’t like Jacob, which made it difficult to connect with him.
  • All adults are jerks here (aside from Miss Peregrine, who can still occasionally be a jerk).
  • Romance was kind of squicky.

Favorite Scene (s)

  • Pg 192-194, when Jacob is just kind of hanging with the peculiar children.
  • Pg 238-239, when Emma and Jacob are exploring the sunken ship.

Favorite Line (s): “We cling to our fairytales until the price for believing them becomes too high.”~ pg 16 of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Star Rating on Goodreads:  3.5 stars out of 5.

Final Grade: B. Might reread, will probably read other books in series even though I feel like this stands better on its own.

Book Review: “Luck of the Devil” (Speak of the Devil, #1) by Patricia Eimer

Title: Luck of the Devil (Speak of the Devil, #1)

Author: Patricia Eimer

Available In: Paperback, eBook for Kindle, eBook for Nook

Warnings: R for sexuality and explosions.

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS, STRONG OPINIONS, AND FRANK DISCUSSION OF SEXUAL SCENES. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

To be honest, my expectations for Luck of the Devil were not very high. I’m not really a fan of cozy romances, and that’s what it seemed like it was going to be. In the end, it still was—complete with a slightly tepid Happily Ever After ending—but I enjoyed it way more than I thought I would.

Our heroine, Faith Bettincourt, is the one of the multiple daughters of Satan—yes, that guy with the flaming pitchforks—and with that, there comes a certain amount of chaos, which she never misses a chance to duck. Unfortunately, it’s hard to act oblivious when your demon half-brother is courting your succubus roommate, your hippy-dippy Mom and Lucifer Morningstar are busy trying to salvage the pieces of their tumultuous romance, and the guy downstairs is not only hot in a nerdy kind of way, but also a Nephilim caught up in the strange politics of angels and humans. What’s a demoness to do?

This book had some laugh out loud moments, and I loved everything that had to do with Faith Bettincourt and the wacky family that she is surrounded by. The romance was pretty stereotypical but sweet, and  the pacing was neatly handled. Overall, it was a diverting PNR read with less of the noir tendency that the genre has borrowed from urban fantasy and more sunshine, and is certainly worth a look for those who like their romances sweet and funny.

Pros

  • I hated Tolliver, but at the same time, I found his ridiculous entitlement quite amusing. So I guess in the end I really didn’t hate everything about him. Hmph.
  • Malachi. Gotta love shape-shifting demons and their wryly humorous insights.
  • Matt/Faith. I liked them as individual characters, and I absolutely loved them as a couple, which leads me too…
  • Wing!lovin’. I honestly have never seen this trope outside of fanfiction, so I don’t really have any other scenes to pit it against for reference, but it was a nice, sensual scene to begin with and I felt like the wing/power aspects were very neatly handled, giving us a definite reminder that they aren’t humans.
  • The casual, irreverent tone. What’s not to love about two hugely powerful multidimensional beings determined to crush one another at Wii Mario Kart?
  • Faith’s family is quite possibly the most amusing group EVER.

Cons

  • Whereas many writers use too many dialogue tags, Eimer uses too few to identify who is speaking in some of the more rapid-fire conversations.
  • There were a few moments where instead of ACTING, a character would SAY what they were going to do, and I felt like this slowed things down a bit.
  • Some of the kitschy “chick-lit” elements were overly stereotypical.
  • I personally find Tolliver/Lisa kind of creepy as a pairing, and I don’t feel that them getting together was necessary. We have Matt and Faith for that, and I feel like they have a far healthier couple’s dynamic.

Star Rating on Goodreads: 3.5 stars, rounded up for the fun factor.

Final Grade: B. Might reread, will read other books in series.