Tess M. (duplica123) - , - Reviews

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After Magic
After Magic
Author: Bruce Boston
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.7/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 2/4/2009
Helpful Score: 1


I just finished this, and I'm still thinking it over. The story is about two people seeking to enhance their magic. One is a circus magician who longs for real magic and the other is a fake medium who has some real talent if only she could develope it. Their stories combine in a strange way. The characters are quirky, and some of the prose reads almost like poetry. The artwork is really interesting, too. It's been too long since I read a book with pictures ^_^.

I recommend it to anyone who likes Victorian England and fantasy. The story is both funny and thoughtful with interesting characters.


All I Want for Christmas is a Vampire (Love at Stake, Bk 5)
All I Want for Christmas is a Vampire (Love at Stake, Bk 5)
Author: Kerrelyn Sparks
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 15
Review Date: 1/6/2012


this was pretty good. I enjoyed reading Ian as a side character, but he felt a little flat as a main character. I was interested in reading how Sparks was going to use the daylight drug Roman developed. As much as I *love* this series, they are getting a bit formulaic. A great read for fans of the series, but don't start with this one.


All That Pikachu! Animanga
All That Pikachu! Animanga
Author: Hideki Sonoda
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.3/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 2/17/2014


Cute. Mostly pictures and pokemon sounds - Not much in the way of "reading" for kids. All Pokemon - no trainers or humans at all.


The Aluria Chronicles (Yaoi)
The Aluria Chronicles (Yaoi)
Author: Calissa Leigh, Yishan Li
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.5/5 Stars.
 10
Review Date: 1/13/2009


I saw this for $5 at Graham Cracker Comics, a comic book store chain in Illinois. On 1/5/09 one of the downtown Chicago stores had a copy, here is a link to their site: http://www.grahamcrackers.com/chstore.htm. This location also had a ton of other Yaoi books for $5 if anyone in the area wants to check them out.

I didn't buy it because the art looked terrible. And the dialogue seemed to just be a bunch of "Oh no!" and "It's me!" - little plot, bad drawing... I just didn't think it looked that interesting after all. As I'm writing this review, no one has rated the manga. Since I didn't actually read the book, I just paged through it, I can't say if it was as boring as it looked.


Among the Hidden (Shadow Children, Bk 1)
Among the Hidden (Shadow Children, Bk 1)
Author: Margaret Peterson Haddix
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 6
Review Date: 5/16/2009


This author always has an interesting view on things. Her book "running out of time" was a great story which I read back in grade school. When the suspense/horror film "the Village" came out I wondered if she got any credit for coming up with the idea first.

In this, "Among the Hidden," I felt like the outline of the book was good, but the story itself felt unfinished. The idea of a government creating a law against more than two children is real - in the example of China and the one child law. I wanted to see what this author could do with an idea that isn't science fiction any more.

Luke, a "shadow child" - an illegal third child, is a strange character because we just have to take for granted that he could live for twelve years completely hidden from everyone else outside his family. He lives completely separated from the rest of the world and when houses begin being built close to his home he spends almost a year without ever leaving his home or his attic room. That in itself is hard to believe. Throw in the strange hierarchy of rich "Barons" and poor farmers; the world seems too unbalanced to have lasted so long. After finishing it, I felt that "Among the Hidden" needed more flesh to make the story believable. The whole book felt like it was just the beginning of a good idea.
Luckily, it is just the first in a series of books about these so-called Shadow Children. I have not yet read any others, but I hope they do make the world more believable.
Read this if you are a fan of this author or a fan of YA distopias.


Aquarian Age - Juvenile Orion, Volume 1
Aquarian Age - Juvenile Orion, Volume 1
Author: Sakurako Gokurakuin, Marekatsu Nakai
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 45
Review Date: 1/18/2009


pretty interesting beginning, but i don't think i'll read any more of the series. It looks like the manga was based on a card game. the manga has a list of cards and instructions for playing.


ArchEnemy (Looking Glass Wars, Bk 3)
ArchEnemy (Looking Glass Wars, Bk 3)
Author: Frank Beddor
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 29
Review Date: 1/3/2010
Helpful Score: 3


This was a disappointing end to what was a very creative take on Alice in Wonderland.

The characters all felt very flat. Dodge and Alyss weren't at all romantic, or even that into each other. Redd's evil was comical and Arch was dispassionate. What could have been amazing battles were just confusions of nonsense weapons. The mystery of the Everqueen was frustrating (how could Beddor add yet another queen into the mix?!).

It was interesting to see the beginning of the rebellion against Imagination, but there wasn't enough follow through. Alyss never really settles the dissonance between the Wonderlandians who have imaginations vs. those who don't have imagination.

Everything in the story should have been interesting, but really it just all fell flat, or felt like Beddor was pressed for time. Maybe he was?


Arm of Kannon, Vol. 1
Arm of Kannon, Vol. 1
Author: Masakazu Yamaguchi
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.5/5 Stars.
 9
Review Date: 11/1/2010


Dark and creepy, and way more sexual than I had realized it would be. The story was hard to follow but seemed like it would be interesting if you got into it. Almost as violent as "Berserk!," 1980's style art, and a creature that gets created sort of like "Akira."


Ars Magica
Ars Magica
Author: Judith Tarr
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 10
Review Date: 4/23/2008


This is a historical fantasy of how a young peasant monk rose to be the Roman Catholic Pope in the 10th and 11th century. Ms. Tarr based almost all her characters on real people and real historical events. History also records rumors which said Pope Sylvester II, known to the readers as Gilbert, used magic and the forbidden Arts. Ms. Tarr took this rumor and turned it into a fascinating story of a young monk's rise to power helped by friends, his own resourcefulness and dedication, as well as a little help from his study of magic. The story also emphasizes that nothing comes without a price, as Gilbert is always haunted by death and suspicion.
A great story, especially if you enjoy historical fantasy. Anyone who knows the time period would probably love Ms. Tarr's references to historical information.


The Awakening (Darkest Powers, Bk 2)
The Awakening (Darkest Powers, Bk 2)
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 153
Review Date: 12/29/2009


I loved the first book in the series, however I felt that The Awakening was very slow and not much was accomplished. Chloe still has practically no idea what she can do with her powers and she hasn't met anyone who can help her. In #1 the kids run from a group home, in #2 they run from the bad guys' lair, and at the end they still haven't found a safe haven. They also don't seem any closer to wrapping up the mystery and/or defeating said bad guys.
If this is really going to be a trilogy, book three will have a ton to wrap up for me to find it satisfying. If it is really just the first trilogy in a longer series, I hope that the books don't continue to string the reader along.

I really enjoy her Women of the Otherworld series, and thought that the Darkest Powers trilogy started well, but The Awakening has hit the same second-in-series slump so many trilogies do. I only hope #3 wraps everything up well, or at least introduces a continuation of a larger YA series.


The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Bk 1) (Audio Cassette) (Unabridged)
Review Date: 8/6/2008


The audio recording is great! Tim Curry does great voices for the characters.
This has an interview with the author at the end of the story, which was very interesting to hear
I was excited to see credit listed for a band I liked, The Gothic Archies, however when the music starts playing at the very end of the tape, Tim Curry starts reading the credits and talks right over the song!


Banewreaker (The Sundering, Bk 1)
Banewreaker (The Sundering, Bk 1)
Author: Jacqueline Carey
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 89
Review Date: 7/20/2008
Helpful Score: 7


I don't even know where to begin with this review. Overall the series was interesting and exciting, but the end was disappointing. It is worth reading once. Banewreaker was my favorite in the two books series.
Good: Ms. Carey is a great author. She has awesome character descriptions and creates a very vivid world. Her idea to tell a Lord of the Rings type of epic from the "bad guys'" point of view is amazing. I have always ended up liking the bad guys, and this story just proves you can see things from so many different angles. I also loved how she challenged the validity of following a Prophecy just because some ancient god set it up.

Bad: This series was so hard to get into. I got Banewreaker and couldn't get more than 20 pages into for months. But once I did sit down with it, I got really into the story. It just took a while. Also, the characters were a bit too preachy on the whole "you have to see it from OUR point of view. What makes YOU so right?" I thought that was the whole point of the story, so why do they have to repeat that message so many times? Another bad thing, about the series overall, was that it did not end the way I wanted it to. I was soooo sure it would turn out one way, and it totally didn't. grr.

So, with the good and the bad, I still think this was a great series to read once. It is an awesome epic fantasy with a great premise by an author I really like.


Banner O'Brien (Corbin, Bk 1)
Banner O'Brien (Corbin, Bk 1)
Author: Linda Lael Miller
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 65
Review Date: 9/2/2012


Couldn't finish it. Characters fell in love too fast. Adam was too changeable - not believing Banner is a doc, then insisting she become part if the family. Then bidding her around again and embarassing her. I skimmed ahead and events just got more and more preposterous. Will not finish. Will not read rest of series.


Batman: Death and the Maidens
Batman: Death and the Maidens
Author: Greg Rucka, Klaus Janson
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 10/5/2008


eh. I wasn't so impressed with Nyssa's story. She is Ra's Al Ghul's Daughter from the 1700's and in Ra's weakened advanced age is plotting his death. Ra's approaches Batman to give him access to one of the Lazarus pits so he can regain his strength. Nyssa approaches Batman to help kill her father.
Through the story we see Nyssa's backstory and why she began wanting Ra's death.
And we also see Batman's internal struggle with the fact, as he movingly says, that he no longer remembers his mother's face.

I am always fascinated by Batman's psychology. But I really don't know the story between Ra's Al Ghul and Batman (besides the movie adaptation of Batman Begins). And so basically the whole main plot bored/confused me.
I'm sure someone who has avidly followed Batman novels will enjoy this one, but I think I need a little background first!


The Beasts of Valhalla
The Beasts of Valhalla
Author: George Chesbro
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 12/29/2012


A good story, but not much mystery. Far more of an adventure thriller with some Michael Crichton science and some Lord of the rings thrown in. I liked the main character a lit, and will probably read at least one more book with him.
This was not the first in the series but they gave enough background to be understandable


Being Dead
Being Dead
Author: Vivian Vande Velde
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 19
Review Date: 4/14/2009


These are great short ghost stories. I'm not really that big on horror stories as I scare easily, so these had just the right blend of creepy story without being too gory or too scary not to be able to sleep at night. I think the scariest story was the first one, "Drop by Drop." The others were a nice blend of silly, gothic, creepy, and sad.


Belong to Me
Belong to Me
Author: Marisa De Los Santos
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 185
Review Date: 4/4/2009
Helpful Score: 4


A sequel to a book I really enjoyed - Love Walked In. This was a good read, but I didn't like this story quite as much. Mostly it's because of all the things I loved about her first book.

Everything fit together far to easily. Characters had easy to spot weaknesses and not so hidden personalities. The plot twist that, in real life, would have really twisted the characters worlds was dealt with in a few dozen pages. Like a fairy tale it could have ended with "and they all lived happily ever after. The end."

Which is what I loved about "Love Walked In." But somehow, reading a second book with the same characters it lost the feeling of "anything's possible" that the first book had and really just felt impossible and very contrived.

If you loved L.W.I. definitely do read this sequel. Just know you're in for more of the same.


Birdman (Jack Caffery, Bk 1)
Birdman (Jack Caffery, Bk 1)
Author: Mo Hayder
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 29
Review Date: 12/4/2008


I enjoyed the mystery part of the book, but it was very gritty. I had a hard time through out the book understanding what the police abbreviations were, since they're British, and I was confused by a lot of the British slang. Overall a pretty good book, but I'm not sure I'd read more by the author. This was her first book.


Black Cat, Volume 1 (Black Cat (Graphic Novels))
Black Cat, Volume 1 (Black Cat (Graphic Novels))
Author: Kentaro Yabuki
Book Type: Comic
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 26
Review Date: 11/23/2010


I liked the plot, and where the characters are going. It reminds me of a slightly less angsty Cowboy Bebop - mostly the bounty hunter aspect. I like Train's character, and I enjoy Sven. I like that Sven is an inventor! The woman's character (forgot her name already...) needs to be developed more. Over all a series I'll continue to read!


Blood Rights (House of Comarre, Bk 1)
Blood Rights (House of Comarre, Bk 1)
Author: Kristen Painter
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 49
Review Date: 5/12/2014


I found the world very interesting. Dark, sexy, good intrigue, fairly sympathetic characters. Great paranormal/fantasy with a splash of romance. And while you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover... the cover *is* gorgeous.
Two problems - the world is really complex and while the author doesn't throw you in completely without a guide to the world, there really isn't as much narration as there could have been.
Second Problem - the main character, Chrysabelle, gives up comarre secrets left and right. Like, REALLY fast. I felt like that removed the mystique of the comarre way to quickly. I would have rather seen her sheltered, pampered life more beforehand, and then slowly had the house secrets be revealed.
Wait, make it three problems. Her name is Chrysabelle. Never shortened to Chris, or Belle...I don't know why I dislike her name so much, but I found myself glossing over it each time.
Overall, really interesting start to the series. I would not buy any more of the series, but I would rent them from the library, or order them from Paperbackswap.


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