Clip from the “Cinder” audiobook!

Hey, guys! This is just a quick PSA to inform you all that Macmillan Audio has kindly allowed me to post an excerpt of theCinderaudiobook, read by the excellent Rebecca Soler! Give it a listen, and if you like what you hear, you can purchase it directly from Macmillan Audio or through Amazon/Audible/etc.

Cinder excerpt is here under the cut! 😀

My 4-star review of Cinder is here.

 

Book Review: “Cinder” by Marissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles, #1)

I have to say, this cover is definitely one of my faves of 2012. Love the juxtaposition of the red shoe and the cyborg leg. Another plus? My mom actually picked this one up for me BASED on the cover. Said it looked like "something you'd like". So congrats, cover people. You did a good job. 🙂

ETA: Macmillan Audio has kindly allowed me to post an excerpt from the Cinder audiobook to this blog! The link is here.

Title: Cinder (Click to add to your Goodreads!)

Author: Marissa Meyer

Available In: Hardcover, eBook for Kindle, eBook for Nook, Audiobook. (If you just want to try out chapters 1-5, you can get those FREE for your Kindle/Nook here and here.)

Maturity Level: YA. Some disturbing imagery and mild language, along with the usual sci-fi trappings.

You May Like This Book if: you enjoy science fiction, Fullmetal Alchemist (there are definitely a few shoutouts in here), and fairy tales.

You May NOT Like This Book if: you expect it to closely follow the format of the original fairy tale.

Linh Cinder lives in a pretty bleak world. As a cyborg in the predominantly human New Beijing, she is shunned and hated. A deadly disease is sweeping the land, wiping people out in droves, and Earth is on the brink of war with the ruthless, extremely powerful Lunars. Cinder’s only saving grace is her skill as a mechanic, and when she is contracted by the crown prince Kai himself, she falls into a terrifying political melee—and possibly, in love with the young prince.

My biggest issue with this book is that the balance between the fairy tale and the sci-fi aspect is kind of off. Don’t get me wrong, I love sci-fi—but I went into this expecting a fairy-tale retelling with sci-fi elements, as opposed to a sci-fi with fairy tale elements. Also, the world-building could use some work. I counted at least three or four different cultures that Meyer seemed to be trying to meld into the unifying society of New Beijing, but for some reason they just kind of clashed.

Wow, reading that last paragraph, you would think I really didn’t like this book. The thing is, I really DID like it for many reasons: the plague aspect was handled really well, I really liked Cinder as an MC, etc, etc. The storytelling definitely has a cinematic edge to it—I would not be surprised to see this one made into a movie in the next five years. However, the issues I outlined above did seriously detract from the story, merely because I found them jarring and somewhat annoying.

Overall, I thought this was a pretty solid sci-fi book, though it did have some issues. I was a little nervous when I discovered that this is meant to be the first in a quartet— I thought that minus the cliffie ending it could have easily stood just fine on its own—but I will definitely pick up Scarlet when it hits shelves in 2013. J

Pros

  • The plague, obviously modeled off of the sweep of the Black Death through Europe. Very well done.
  • Cinder. I thought she was a badass, and who doesn’t love a cyborg?
  • Prince Kai
  • Dr. Erland as the fairy godmother.

Cons

  • The Lunars are weak conceptually.
  • Occasional unnecessary over-description.
  • I’m not sure if this should be a quartet.
  • Melding of cultures in New Beijing is kind of awkward and heavy-handed.

Favorite Scene (s)

  • pg 349-onward. Love this as a “ball scene”.

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

Final Grade:  B. Nice read, but had some issues that I simply couldn’t ignore.

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.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Book Covers of 2012 (So Far)

Greetings, dear readers. I apologize for being woefully absent over the weekend– there has been some rather crazy stuff going on in my life recently, and dealing with the fallout meant that I had to cut my blogging time a little :/. However, I’m back now, and so without further ado, allow me to present:

Em’s Top Ten Favorite Book Covers of 2012 (So Far!)

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the absolutely charming folks over at The Broke and the Bookish.

  1.) Cinder by Marissa Meyer

   I haven’t read Cinder yet, but the cover is definitely one of my ultimate favorites. The juxtaposition of the slightly robotic leg and the red shoe is really quite attractive, and the font is glorious.

2.) Endlessly by Kiersten White

I personally think Evie looked better in Supernaturally‘s red dress, but I love purple and the sheer saturation of the purple in this cover is really, really pretty.

   3.) Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins

     I call this one the “dime-store gothic” cover. It’s kinda corny, but I love it. :3

                                             

4.) For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

Do I really need to comment? This one is just BEAUTIFUL.

  

5.) Illuminate by Aimee Agresti

   Again, this cover is just pretty. I love the little shadow-wings and the twinkling lights 🙂

        6.) Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian by Eoin Colfer

      I have one word for you all: GOGGLES.

 7.) Faery Tales and Nightmares by Melissa Marr

  Love love love that dress. ❤

8.) Katana by Cole Gibsen

Awesome chicks, double swords, and sakura blossoms? Count me in!

  9.) The Book of Lost Fragrances by MJ Rose

  More pretty! 🙂

10.) Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

Again, SO MUCH PRETTY.

What are your favorite book covers of 2012? Comment below and let me know or link me back to your own TTT!

Book Review: “Clockwork Prince” by Cassandra Clare (The Infernal Devices, #2)

(In case you missed it, my review of Clockwork Angel is here.)

 

Title: Clockwork Prince (Click to add to your Goodreads!)

Author: Cassandra Clare

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

Maturity Level: 14+. Lots of some makeout scenes, quite a lot of violence, and disturbing imagery. Magnus Bane still exists, and Jem has  a steamy side. :3

You May Like This Book if: you like gothic romance, steampunk, or YA; if you want to read a really good portrayal of an awesome love triangle; if you’re a fan of Cassie Clare’s other work.

You May NOT Like This Book if: you will not read a love triangle NO MATTER WHAT; if you’re averse to romance in general; IF YOU HAVEN’T READ BOOK ONE, CLOCKWORK ANGEL (I cannot stress this enough!). [Though I would like to include a shout-out to those who, like me, were not really impressed with The Mortal Instruments—THIS SERIES IS UMPTEEN TIMES BETTER. CC has really grown up as a writer and it shows.]

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS AND EXCESSIVE FANGIRLING. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

Clockwork Prince. Hmm. I have a hard time being eloquent about this book—usually I dissolve into meaningless sounds and massive amounts of hand-flailing—but I’m going to try.

Clockwork Prince picks up a little after the events of Clockwork Angel. Tessa has had some time to settle into her new life at the Institute, and indeed London, and she’s beginning to find some peace. However, that peace is abruptly shattered when a plot emerges within Shadowhunter society to unseat Charlotte as the head of the Institute. The Consul gives Charlotte and her followers an ultimatum—find Mortmain and bring him to justice in the prescribed amount of time, or lose her position, leaving Tessa and the others without protection.

Overall, I really, really, REALLY loved this book. The romance/love triangle was wonderfully handled, and there were so many scenes that either made me laugh out loud or made my throat close with tears. Occasionally, Clare over-describes, but for the most part, she appears to have attained a certain degree of proficiency in her craft that she simply didn’t have when she started out. If you’re still on the fence about this series, please do read this book; it’s definitely worth your time. 😀

Pros

  • Jem/Tessa/Will. This is quite possibly the best love triangle that I’ve seen in YA for awhile—neither of the dudes are jerks*, they both appear to truly love Tessa, and Tessa kind of truly loves both of them. And also? All three of these people are sexy as hell. I can’t help but wonder if Clare intends to make this less of a triangle and more of a threesome**, which would be awesome but might make it less marketable as YA.

*Well, Will. But there’s a story behind that. I will try not to spoil too much.

**Quick scan of the GR reviews for this book shows me that I’m not the first person who thought of this. HMM. There’s also a tweet that I remember but cannot find, where Clare actually mentions threesomes. I AM SEARCHING.

  • the humor, particularly any scene with Henry :3
  • details on Ascension and parabatai. I’m guessing some of these topics are covered in TMI, but I’ve only read the first book in that series, so I appreciated the detail.
  • Sophie and Henry becoming badass.
  • DEMON POX 😀 If you’ve read it, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, then I am saying NOTHING. Find out for yourself 😀
  • Magnus! (with Camille. And Woolsey. Oh, Magnus. I love you.)

Cons

  • Occasional over-description.
  • Unwieldy exposition in places.

Favorite Scene (s)

  • Page 63, where Henry simply forgets what he was about to say. ❤
  • Page 202-205. No explanation required. If you’ve read it, you know what I’m talking about.
  • Page 327. I’m pretty sure the everyone-thinks-Will-is-a-lunatic meeting is a thing 😀

Favorite Line: “If you will not help me, I swear I will change into you and I will lift him myself. And then everyone here will see what you look like in a dress.” Tessa to Jem, pg 193 of Clockwork Prince.

Star Rating on Goodreads/Final Grade:  4.5 stars. A+.

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