Karissa E. (ophelia99) - Reviews

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100 Ghosts: A Gallery of Harmless Haunts
100 Ghosts: A Gallery of Harmless Haunts
Author: Doogie Horner
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 8/5/2013
Helpful Score: 1


I got a copy of this from Quirk Books in exchange for an honest review. This is a very cute little book that is a fun and quick read. It would make a good gift or table top book for ghost lovers.

The book basically features a picture of a ghost on one page and then a description of the ghost on the adjoining page. For example there is an R2-D2 ghost, surprised ghost, pirate ghost etc.

There is a short foreword that is pretty funny about why the author decided to make this cute little guide to different types of ghost. The book is not at all scary but more cute and humorous.

The book is nicely put together with a cloth-like cover and nice thick paper. The drawings of the ghosts are funny and adorable. It is a very very quick read. It took me maybe 15 minutes tops to page through and read all the ghost types.

This is pretty much meant as a curiosity or gift. As mentioned above it is a fun book to set out on the coffee table so that guests can pick up something cute and funny to read. Its also a good book to pick up at a party and say Oh, look at this ghost, thats so funny!

Overall I enjoyed paging through this. Theres not a ton of content here just cute/funny pictures of ghosts. Some of the pictures are very ironic in nature. The book is appropriate for all ages and I know my son (6 years old) got a kick out of looking through it. Recommended to those who like ghost humor, or cute little tabletop types of books.


The 13 Clocks
The 13 Clocks
Author: James Thurber
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 9
Review Date: 9/17/2009
Helpful Score: 2


I wasn't sure what to expect when I got this book. It is definitely a children's chapter book; it took me maybe 20 minutes to read. Overall though it was a very good read.

This book tells the somewhat classic tale of a princess locked up by her evil father. Any price who comes to woo the princess is given an impossible task to perform, in order to win her hand in marriage. That is until a minstrel comes along and with the help of an elven/dwarfish prankster, tricks the old king in his own game.

This was a great classic fairy tale with some humorous quirks thrown. It is cleverly written and would sound wonderful read out-loud. The characters are a bit stereo-typed but each have their own unique quirks. There is a sharp sense of humor throughout the book. The pictures throughout are down in a dark medieval style that somehow still has a bit of humor in it.

Overall I think everyone would enjoy this book; no matter what your age. Kids will enjoy the castles, knights, and general fairy tale aspects of it; adults will enjoy the clever word play and interesting plot. I am glad I read it and it is a book that I will keep on my shelf to read to my son when he gets old enough to sit still for 30 minutes at a time :-)


14
14
Author: Peter Clines
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 14
Review Date: 1/12/2013
Helpful Score: 1


I have read a few of Peter Clines books (Ex-Heroes and Ex-Patriots) and enjoyed them. I was eager to see what this new book was about. This was a very well done mystery/thriller/sci-fi/paranormal read. It is completely engaging and really keeps the reader on the edge of their seat.

I got a copy of this to listen to on audiobook. The audiobook was very, very well done. I enjoyed listening to this even more than I think I would have enjoyed reading it.

Nate has a bad job and no girlfriend and needs a new place to live after his roommates move out. One of his buddies from work tells him about this apartment that is a great deal. Nate calls and there just happens to be a unit available. Its super cheap, clean, and utilities are included. It seems like a dream come true until Nate notices strange things...like the glowing green cockroaches, the kitchen light that turns every light bulb into a black light, and the padlocks on apartment 14. Nate is drying to unravel the mystery...but at what cost?

This was a very well done and creepy book about a strange apartment that has secrets within it that are centuries old. The mystery is built slowly over time and is absolutely engaging. The characters are just regular people...kind of. As Nate talks to his neighbors he starts finding out that everyone has a few strange things in their apartment.

I really enjoyed watching the characters investigate all of the strange things they found and enjoyed how they had to piece everything together. You just never knew what strange thing would pop up next. Then you were forced to try and figure out how the heck it fit in with all the other strange things.

The mystery is absolutely engrossing. It was so hard to stop reading this story.

The characters are all great too. In the beginning they all seem like just normal people with not a lot of money who are dependent on the low rent the apartment building offers. As the book continues you find out they all have special skill sets and these skill sets may be exactly what is needed to unravel all these secrets.

The book is well written and easy to read. Its a blend of lot of different genres; thriller, paranormal, sci-fi, steampunk. I am not going to say a lot more about the plot because it would ruin the story.

Overall I absolutely loved this book. The mystery is so well done and makes it impossible to put the book down. The characters are just ordinary people put into an extraordinary scenario where they have to use the skills they are best at to solve this mystery. Really really loved this one. I am eager to see what Clines writes about next.


5 Worlds Book 1: The Sand Warrior
5 Worlds Book 1: The Sand Warrior
Author: Mark Siegel, Alexis Siegel
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 6/4/2017


I got this book through the Amazon Vine program to review. I was very excited to see a new middle grade graphic novel series being released and hoped that this would be in the same vein as the âAmuletâ series by Kazu Kibuishi or the âCleopatra in Spaceâ series by Mike Maihack. The story ended up being okay but I felt like the writing was awkward and dumbed down. I also wasn't a huge fan of the curvy illustration style; additionally it's a bit hard to follow what is going on at points.

I will note that the review copy I got was mostly in black and white (there were only a few pages of color) and I felt like the black and white portions were really lacking in depth. I think having the review copy in black and white made it a lot harder to follow.

I also think too many characters were introduced too rapidly (and then in some cases we never saw the characters again). You get a pretty good feel for Oona (out main heroine) and her background but everyone else's introduction is pretty quick. The story just felt so shallow despite the increasing complexity as it continued.

Overall this was an okay middle grade fantasy novel but I didn't love it. I just thought it was too hard to follow and that the story and characters weren't engaging enough. Additionally I wasn't a huge fan of the artwork. I wouldn't recommend and won't be continuing with the series.


Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Author: Seth Grahame-Smith
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 152
Review Date: 6/17/2010
Helpful Score: 3


I have previously read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Grahame-Smith and enjoyed it. So when I saw this book released I was interested in reading it. I listened to this on audio book which I wouldn't recommend. The narrator and Abraham Lincoln have similar voices so it is hard to tell when they switch, also I didn't get to benefit from any of the pictures that the book has. Overall it was a well done book, although it was more of a biography than a story.

I am not a huge Abraham Lincoln fan but I have read a couple books about him so I knew some of his background. Grahame-Smith has done a very good job of adding vampires to Abe Lincoln's story without hugely altering Lincoln's past. The audio book had a short interview at the end and I agree with what Grahame-Smith said when he mentioned that Abe Lincoln's history hardly needs vampires added to be incredibly interesting. The book itself switches between a narrator and actual entries from Lincoln's journals.

Saying that vampires came to the USA because of the slave trade is an interesting idea and was a good way to tie in vampirism with slavery. Grahame-Smith did a good job of making Lincoln's story very personable and he really featured what happened with Lincoln's family more than I had read in previous books. The inclusion of Lincoln's family made this book much more engaging than it would have been otherwise.

The only thing that bothered me is that I was expected more of a story about Lincoln and vampires and what I got was more of a biography. At times it got a bit boring, I didn't really want to listen to a biography. I also thought that the part added on after Lincoln's assassination was odd; but after thinking about it for a while I think it was appropriate to the rest of the story.

Overall this book is well done and interesting. Not something I would read again, but interesting all the same. You can really tell Grahame-Smith did his research and he did a good job integrating vampires with Lincoln's life story. Just be warned that this is a biography and reads more like that than a fiction novel.


Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (Audio CD) (Unabridged)
Review Date: 6/17/2010
Helpful Score: 4


I have previously read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Grahame-Smith and enjoyed it. So when I saw this book released I was interested in reading it. I listened to this on audio book which I wouldn't recommend. The narrator and Abraham Lincoln have similar voices so it is hard to tell when they switch, also I didn't get to benefit from any of the pictures that the book has. Overall it was a well done book, although it was more of a biography than a story.

I am not a huge Abraham Lincoln fan but I have read a couple books about him so I knew some of his background. Grahame-Smith has done a very good job of adding vampires to Abe Lincoln's story without hugely altering Lincoln's past. The audio book had a short interview at the end and I agree with what Grahame-Smith said when he mentioned that Abe Lincoln's history hardly needs vampires added to be incredibly interesting. The book itself switches between a narrator and actual entries from Lincoln's journals.

Saying that vampires came to the USA because of the slave trade is an interesting idea and was a good way to tie in vampirism with slavery. Grahame-Smith did a good job of making Lincoln's story very personable and he really featured what happened with Lincoln's family more than I had read in previous books. The inclusion of Lincoln's family made this book much more engaging than it would have been otherwise.

The only thing that bothered me is that I was expected more of a story about Lincoln and vampires and what I got was more of a biography. At times it got a bit boring, I didn't really want to listen to a biography. I also thought that the part added on after Lincoln's assassination was odd; but after thinking about it for a while I think it was appropriate to the rest of the story.

Overall this book is well done and interesting. Not something I would read again, but interesting all the same. You can really tell Grahame-Smith did his research and he did a good job integrating vampires with Lincoln's life story. Just be warned that this is a biography and reads more like that than a fiction novel.


Absent
Absent
Author: Katie Williams
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 4/16/2013
Helpful Score: 2


I got a copy of this book to review through Librarythings Early Reviewer program. Thanks to Chronicles Books and Librarything for giving me a chance to review this book. This was an interesting, engaging and short read.

Paige is dead after slipping off the roof of her high school during physics class. She finds herself haunting the high school with two other ghosts, a girl named Brooke and a boy name Evan. When rumors start circulating that Paiges death was a suicide, not an accident, Paige decides theses rumors must stop. When she finds she can possess her classmates she decides to take drastic measures to correct the rumors.

Paige isnt a nice character. She is selfish and ignorant, and does a number of seedy things as a ghost to take revenge on those who have hurt her. That doesnt mean shes evil...it just means she is a ghost and confused and in pain. She is your pretty typical teenager...except shes dead.

The irony behind it all is that sometimes when she takes over people and makes them do things they wouldnt normally end up doing....welll....their lives actually end up a bit better.

This story however isnt all about Paige and her revenge. Isnt it strange that so many kids have died at one high school? There is something going on at this high school and it is up to Paige and her ghost friends to figure it out before more students die.

This was a quick read. It was engaging and decently written. One of those books that you breeze through and think, huh, well that was interesting. There isnt a lot thats super original here, but it is well done. The book also does a good job of exploring the high school landscape and the cruelties that happen there.

The story touches on a number of teenage issues; suicide, GLBT issues, bullying, and stereotyping. For the most part it does just that...touches...none of these issues are really explored in depth.

Overall a good read. Its super short, but I enjoyed it. Its an engaging story that moves quickly and has a couple good twists in the plot. Recommended to those who like high school haunting types of stories.


An Abundance of Katherines
An Abundance of Katherines
Author: John Green
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 25
Review Date: 5/11/2010
Helpful Score: 1


I read Paper Towns by Green and absolutely loved it. So, I decided to read his previous books as well. This was a great coming-of-age/road trip story that was quirky and entertaining. A highly recommended read. I did like Paper Towns a bit better than this book, but this book was still a great read.

Colin is a child prodigy; he learned to read at an incredibly early age, knows a magnitude of strange random facts, and is constantly anagramming in his head. He also has a quirky thing for Katherines; he has dated 19 of them and been dumped by them all. After being dumped by Katherine 19 he has fallen into a funk; his buddy Hassan decides what Colin needs is a road trip. So off they go on a road trip. Colin is determined to use the time on the road to develop a mathematical theorem that will predict how long a relationship will last.

This was a fun read. Full of interesting footnotes and quirky mathematical equations; as well as interesting characters. All of the characters are exceedingly well done. Green's writing is superb. He does a great job of putting a lot of interesting facts, a lot of quirkiness, great humor, and some coming of age lessons into this interesting read.

The book was very engaging; I never got bored. I liked all the funny facts that Colin knew, I also enjoyed Colin's struggle to work through the mathematics to predict the relationship equation.

There wasn't much that I didn't like about this book. But I did like Green's book Paper Towns better than this one, I think it is mainly the characters that make the difference. This book isn't quite as adventurous or mysterious as Paper Towns was. I never really liked Colin all that much, he was a bit self-centered...that made a difference in how I liked the book overall.

Overall this was a great read. I didn't like it as much as Paper Towns but it was close. I look forward to reading the only John Green book I haven't read yet "Looking for Alaska".


The Accidental Demon Slayer (Demon Slayers, Bk 1)
The Accidental Demon Slayer (Demon Slayers, Bk 1)
Author: Angie Fox
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 294
Review Date: 12/12/2015


This is the first book in the Demon Slayer series by Fox. Right now there are seven books in this series. I got this for free on my Kindle a couple years ago and am just finally getting around to reading it. This was an okay read; it reminds a lot of Molly Harper books but with demons.

Lizzie Brown works at the Happy Hands preschool and her life is completely changed when she comes to find a demon on her toilet. Then her biker grandma enters the scenes and tells Lizzie she's a powerful demon slayer and in horrible danger. After that her dog starts talking to her and the sexy shapeshifting griffin, Dimitri Kallinikos, claims he is protector. That's when things start to really go downhill fast.

This book reminds a bit of a Molly Harper book but featuring demons instead of vamps or werewolves (although there are werewolves in this story too). Although I didn't think it was as funny as the Molly Harper books or quite as well written.

The story is a bit campy and over the top. It was okay but not really my thing. It was an okay humorous paranormal romance read.

Lizzie kind of fell flat for me as a character; she comes across as a bit ditzy and whiny. I didn't really like her insta-love with Dimitri either. Her biker gma and her witch coven were just a bit too silly for me as well. Additionally I found Lizzie's talk dog Pirate to be more annoying than funny (usually I am a fan of the talking animal sidekick but it didn't work here).

I did like the idea of demon slayer genes being inherited (not completely original but interesting). I also liked that Fox included a shapeshifting griffin, that was kind of neat and different. Aside from those things though the book was just okay.

Overall an okay goofy paranormal romance read. Fans of Molly Harper might want to check it out although it's not as funny or as well written as Harper's series. I didn't hate the book, but I didn't really like it all that much either...just okay all around.


ACID
ACID
Author: Emma Pass
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 4/27/2014
Helpful Score: 1


I got a copy of this to review through the Amazon Vine program. Honestly I was drawn to this book because of the awesome cover and the synopsis that promised an action-packed novel. Then when I figured out it was another YA dystopian read I was a bit worried...I am kind of sick of that genre right now. However, I was pleasantly surprised...I really really loved this book. It was incredibly engaging and very fast-paced.

In 2113 ACID rules the world, they are a military police-like organization that is ruling what used to be Great Britain. Jenna Strong has been sent to prison for life by ACID for murdering her parents. Then suddenly Jenna finds herself broken out of prison by a rebel group. She gets a new identity and a new agenda. While she is grateful to be out of prison Jenna is still struggling to figure out what is really going on and who is really on her side.

I actually really enjoyed this dystopian science fiction thriller. The book is really well written and flows well. It is also absolutely packed with action and impossible to put down...I read the whole thing in two sittings.

Jenna is one of the toughest heroines I have ever read about. She spends most of her time in prison lifting weights and exercising and it has left her extremely buff. She gets ample chances to us her skills on all of the other male inmates. Not only is she physically tough but she is emotionally tough too. This poor heroine goes through more awful things than any character should ever have to deal with. She is one of those characters that I admire but would never ever want to trade places with.

Shes surrounded by a lot of other interesting characters. Although I will say I think the side characters were probably the weakest part of this book. Because the whole book is told from Jennas POV, the side characters are a bit underdeveloped and at times lack depth.

Jenna does have a love interest, I wont say much about him because of spoilers. I did enjoy how their relationship developed and how mature they both were about everything in the end. While this relationship drives some of the story, this is definitely not a romance heavy book.

The book is seriously fast-paced and incredibly engaging. There were parts where I literally had to put the book down for a second because it was so intense that I was out of breath. The story just sucks you in and doesnt let up.

As far as the dystopian world here, it is pretty typical of other dystopian worlds weve read about. People are forced to Life Partner with people the government chooses for them and they are forced to work the jobs the government thinks they are best suited for. A lot of freedoms have been taken away. As with all Dystopians the government is hiding a lot of dirty secrets. I didnt feel like the world was really anything spectacular, but it was still decently done.

This story is definitely action driven and it is Jennas pure will to survive and her ability to make things work for her, that really make this a great read. I also loved that the story appear to be confined to this one book. Everything is tied up in a realistic way and there werent really any ends left hanging at the end of the story.

Overall I was really surprised at how much I loved this book because I am a bit worn out on dystopian types of book. I loved Jennas character and I loved the fast pace of the book. The book was action packed, engaging, and had me on the edge of my seat the whole time. Definitely recommended if you are looking for an action-packed dystopian thriller. I will be keeping an eye on Emma Pass and checking out what she writes next.


Across the Great Barrier (Frontier Magic, Bk 2)
Across the Great Barrier (Frontier Magic, Bk 2)
Author: Patricia C. Wrede
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 11
Review Date: 3/4/2014
Helpful Score: 1


This is the second book in the Frontier Magic trilogy by Wrede. I enjoyed it. It moves at the same deliberate pace that the first book did. I really enjoy the characters and the interesting concept of the Great Magic Barrier and a magical creature infested frontier.

I listened to this on audiobook and I have really been enjoying the audiobooks for this series. The narrator does an excellent job with character voices and emotions. The narrator sounds exactly like I imagine Eff really would sound. I definitely recommend these audiobooks if you like listening to audiobooks.

Eff is struggling with what she wants to do after school. She ends up getting the opportunity to ride across the great barrier with Professor Torgeson. Professor Torgeson wants Effs help in cataloguing and assessing the plants and wildlife in the Settlements. They would like to figure out how everything is recovering after the trouble with the mirror bugs in the first book. They would also like to prevent another disaster like that from occurring.

I enjoyed this second book in the Frontier Magic series. It moves at a pace similar to the first book, which is to say deliberate and a bit slower than I normally like my books. However I enjoyed the mystery and adventuring as Eff and crew try to figure out the newest threat that is threatening the Settlements out beyond the Great Barrier.

I really enjoy Eff as a character. She is very down-to-earth and really is trying to figure out who she wants to be and what she wants to do with her life. She has decided to do what she wants to do rather than try to live up to the expectations of her brother Lan and those around her. She is still struggling with her magic, but learns a lot about her magic in this book too and that was fun to watch. I love that Eff has to work at things to succeed at them and that she is trying to make a life for herself that follows what is important to her.

Professor Torgeson was a wonderful addition to the story as well. She is a female professor that has strong dedication to the science she wants to learn and doesnt take trouble from anyone. She is funny, witty, and very plucky. She is a good role model for Eff, and her and Eff work really well as a team.

We also spend a lot of time with circuit magician Wash Morris. He is a character I really loved from the first book and I enjoyed watching him guide Eff and Professor Torgeson through the dangerous settlements. I was a bit disappointed that William and Lan are absent, off at school, for most of the story. Lan does come back into the story for the last third or so of the book. I hope the the third book William, Lan, and Eff get to go adventuring together.

I like the different schools of magic and the interesting magical beasts that are discovered. I also enjoyed the scientific way that the character go about studying the magical Frontier animals and plants. You never know what weird magical creature you are going to be hearing about.

I love the Western setting blended with the magic...it is unique and interesting to read about. I really havent read a lot of fantasy novels with a Western tone to them. I also enjoyed how elements from the first book and this book are coming together to hint at a much larger problem with magic out in the Far West. I am excited to see how all these little elements come together in the final book of this series.

Overall a very enjoyable read. The book does move at a pretty slow and deliberate pace, and there is a lot of day to day stuff going on in here. Still, I really love the world, the characters, and the way the mystery behind the magic is slowly unraveling. I cant wait to see where this story goes in the third book in the series, The Far West. Recommended to those who are interested in a unique fantasy tale with a Western flavor to it.


Across the Universe
Across the Universe
Author: Beth Revis
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 56
Review Date: 12/7/2014


This is a young adult science fiction/dystopian book. I have been overloaded on dystopias over the last couple years and have stopped reading a lot of them. However, I really enjoyed this one. It was well written, engaging, and had a very intriguing premise. This is the first book in a trilogy, all of the books in the trilogy have been released.

Amy is seventeen years old and has decided to join her parents as cargo on the spaceship Godspeed. In three hundred years Godspeed is supposed to reach a new planet for humans to colonize. Many centuries have past and a sixteen year old boy known as Elder is being groomed to take over leadership of Godspeed from the Eldest. However when Amy is accidentally awoken early things change for both her and Elder. Whoever woke Amy was trying to kill her and she needs to figure who the potential murderer was. Amy and Elder struggle to unravel the secrets behind the society of Godspeed.

As with all young adult books there is a bit of a romance in here, but it definitely wasn't the driver for the story. The largest driver was the mystery behind how the society on the spaceship had developed into what it did and all the secrets surrounding that.

There is a lot of amazing world-building and some awesome plot twists in this book. It is a very engaging story and impossible to put down. The book is mainly a mystery with heavy sci-fi and thriller overtones.

Just watching what society aboard Godspeed has evolved into is fascinating. As the mystery unravels and you see why the society was structured this way the whole thing makes a sort of creepy and eerie sense.

Amy and Elder are both incredibly engaging characters. Amy is a normal 17 year old girl who is thrust into a position of being extraordinary just because of her status of being Earth-born. Elder has basically been brain-washed by Eldest from a young age and fights against everything he has ever known to make sense of the mysteries Amy uncovers.

The book was very well written, easy to read, and very engaging. It ends at a great spot and I am super curious to see how things play out in A Million Suns.

Overall a fantastic science fiction/dystopian/mystery. I really really enjoyed it a lot. I loved the world-building on Godspeed and the engaging characters. Highly recommend to fans of YA science fiction. I really enjoyed this book and will definitely continue reading the series.


Adam
Adam
Author: Ariel Schrag
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 5/19/2014
Helpful Score: 1


I got a copy of this book to review through Amazon Vine. I had heard a lot about this book and occasionally read and enjoy GLBT contemporary fiction. So I was curious to see what this book was about. It was a decent book, very engaging and it gives interesting insight into trans-male communities.

Adam hangs with the popular crowd by virtue of his best friend, who is kind of a jerk. Adam knows he is hanging onto popularity by the tips of his fingers and when his mom offers him the chance to spend the summer in New York with his sister (who is in college) he jumps at the chance. Adam knows his sister is a lesbian (his parents dont). His sister is very involved in the GLBT scene and Adam finds himself immersed in this scene for the summer and dealing with all sorts of grey areas between gender.

Well done book about a teenage boy who spends the summer with his sister. There is a lot in here about the lesbian community and the trans-male community. Also a lot about the pains of going through your late-teenage years and early 20s.

There is, as you might expect, a lot of talking about sex...a lot a lot. That's pretty much what the story is about. Adam's number one goal on arriving to New York is to find his dream girl and have sex with her. However, this is also a coming of age story...Adam grows and learns a lot from his experiences in New York.

I am a bit conflicted about saying this appropriate for YA. There is a lot about sex toys, sex operations, and even some very graphic bondage scenes. The sex scenes are very graphic as well. Although Adam is seventeen, all of the other surrounding characters are in their 20's. So I guess I would say older YA or new adult might be the more appropriate audience for this book.

I applaud Schrag for really delving into the dirty details of the GLBT and trans-male crowd. The story is well written and engaging. However, there was sooo much sex in here that it actually got a bit numbing and boring to read about. There were a couple times where I was like..."Oh great another scene with girls doing it with a strap-on...yawn". Maybe that is the point, Adam is inundated with sooo much that he becomes a bit numb to some of it

My only complaint about the above is I think it portrays the lesbian and trans-male community in this very sex-hungry and promiscuous light. I am going to go out on a limb here (being sarcastic) and say that there are lesbians and trans-males that like their sex life private (as in not having sex in public places or in front of lots of people) and monogamous...just like there are heteros who span all sides of the arena. I wish that we had gotten to interact with some young people who were in a loving relationship for the long haul no matter what their gender or non-gender was. What is portrayed here is mainly a group of sex-hungry individuals who are struggling to define their identities...its just something I had trouble relating to. I wasnt like that and my gay friends werent like that at that age either.

Anyway, it's an interesting read. Just beware of the content if you are disturbed or offended by graphic sex scenes or bondage. The whole story ends kind of abruptly and without much closure, but that mimics real life fairly well.

Overall this is an engaging read that I enjoyed for the most part. It gives an interesting look into the lesbian and trans-male cultures of New York City and is also an interesting coming of age story about a boy finding his way. The sexual content is pretty graphic so I would recommend for older teen and new adult readers.


Adaptation
Adaptation
Author: Malinda Lo
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.1/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 3/30/2014
Helpful Score: 1


I got an eGalley of this book to review from NetGalley. I am a big fan of Malinda Lo's previous works (Huntress and Ash). I was excited when I saw she was coming out with a new series, but also a bit leery of the fact that is was more of a sci-fi thriller series. This book was okay. I enjoyed the beginning, was confused by how different the middle was, and then thought the ending was just too typical of alien conspiracy types of books.

Reese and David are returning home from a Debate competition along with their coach. At least that is the plan until birds start flying into planes by the flock and planes all over North America are crashing. With their flight canceled Reese and David decide to rent a car and drive home. After a horrible accident in the Nevada desert...Reese wakes up nearly a month later. She is trying to go about her normal life, but something is different. Her and David have strange abilities. Of course that is not the only strange thing going on.

This was an interesting read. One thing I love about Malinda Lo is her beautiful and lyrical writing style. While this style works well for fairy tale retellings, it obviously wasn't a style that would work well in this sci-fi thriller. Lo made a purposeful departure from her previous writing style for this book. I missed her lyrical writing style in this book, her style is much more stark and at times a bit hard to engage with in this book.

Reese and David were both kind of blah characters for me. They just didnt have much personality. This definitely wasnt a character driven story. Reese does meet a spunky girl named Amber who was a lot more fun to read about. However, even Amber comes off as your typical pixie dreamgirl type of stereotype.

The story was kind of all over the place as far as pacing goes. I was completely sucked into the beginning of the story, it was so scary and interesting and engaging. Then in the middle of the book we take a side trip into a romance between Reese and this girl she meets (Amber). It was odd to have such an abrupt switch in pacing. Then in the last third of the book we start to deal with oodles of government conspiracy, things get interesting again but a lot of this part of the plot is just so typical of alien conspiracy books.

I did like some things about this book. It was a young adult sci-fi novel that is easily accessible, it never gets too confusing or complex. There are some good ideas in here as well. I like that Lo doesn't shy away from having her main character be bi-sexual (and a bit confused about it all).

This leads me to a side comment about the romance between Reese and Amber.it was just such insta-love...I hate insta-love. I dont care who the love is between but two characters that fall immediately and desperately for each other is just soooooo typical of oodles of YA books out there.

The book wraps up okay. There is a sequel to it called Inheritance, that I probably wont be reading.

Overall my feelings were just all over the place about the quality of the story. I loved the beginning, thought the middle was boring, and thought the end was okay. The characters are a bit blah and hard to engage with. The end of the story dives straight into very typical alien conspiracy theory and had me rolling my eyes a bit. I would tentatively recommended to those who want an okay YA sci-fi book to read. I personally will not be reading the second book in this series.


The Adoration of Jenna Fox (Jenna Fox Chronicles, Bk 1)
The Adoration of Jenna Fox (Jenna Fox Chronicles, Bk 1)
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 57
Review Date: 7/6/2011


I have been wanting to read this book forever and finally got it from the library. It was an intriguing book that brings up a ton of questions about the morality of genetic engineering and tries to answer the question of how far a parent would or should go to save their child.

Jenna wakes up from a one year coma not knowing who she is or what happened. She is told by the people who say they are her parents that she got in a terrible car accident and has been in a coma for a year. Her only link to the past is a box of videos from when she grew up. Now she has a grandmother who hates her, and parents who are afraid to let her leave the house. She needs answers to some questions. Who is she really? What really happened last year?

This book is written from Jenna's viewpoint. She is a fascinating character and it was wonderful to follow her as she started to regain her memories and piece together her story. Some of the revelatoions she makes throughout the story are seriously earth-shattering. I was absolutely enthralled by this book from the first sentence to the end of the book.

The side characters are just as engaging. All of them have secrets and are fighting their own struggles. Reading and watching all the mysteries unwind was a totally engaging experience.

The plot and topic matter are complex and make you think. This book brooches some seriously deep topics. For example how far would you go to save your child? How far should you go? How much of a person can be genetically re-engineered before they aren't human? How much of an original person needs to be left for that person to still be themselves? Should these things be regulated by individuals, the government, a separate entity?

I loved the epilogue and how it tied up all of the loose ends of the story. I just got the book The Fox Inheritance through the Amazon Vine program so I look forward to reading that book as well.

Overall just an excellent and mind-blowing story. It gives you so much to think about and was such a great read. I loved this story and think everyone should read it. It is appropriate for young adult and older. Hopefully The Fox Inheritance will be just as awesome.


Adventures in Minecraft
Adventures in Minecraft
Author: David Whale, Martin O'Hanlon
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 1/24/2015


I got a copy of this book to review through the Amazon Vine program. Overall this was a good book. My computer is running ubuntu 14, and since linux wasnt expressly covered in this book, I was a little worried it might not work out well. In the end I only had to do a few extra things, like install the tk-dev package for python which wasnt included by default with apt get (sudo apt-get install tk-dev), of course I had already made python, so I had to make it again, which was a little annoying.

Other than the above, I was able to follow the instructions in the book, and it worked out (btw, idle should be in your path after the python install, so you dont double click on it in linux). The authors have a kit setup for download for the server (bukkit), which I would have liked the instructions for setup.

After the initial install, it was pretty easy to follow the instructions. This book is setup for someone who has no programming knowledge. I do java development for a living, so most of the book was just basics that I really didnt need to read. I did think that for the most part the explanations were pretty good, but like most technical books, it was a little too wordy for my taste.

I was running through this with my 8 yr old son (who is a diehard Minecraft fan) and he understood pretty quickly what was going on, though some explanations were needed. My son quickly wanted to get off track from what the book was doing, and though that is kind of fun, it made it so that once he had the basics he really wasnt interested in running through the other examples in the book. Right away he wanted to start doing other things.

My eight year old also lost interest in the programming part pretty quickly and wanted to stop putting in the code himself and have me do it. He was interested in the results and the coding held his interest for 30 minutes or so. So I would recommend for kids that are a bit older, probably 10 years or older...of course it depends on the kid.

The only other thing, is that one of the examples uses a raspberry pi board, to connect to minecrafter, we didnt do that since we didnt have one lying around, so we skipped that chapter. It looked interesting, but I didnt really see the point.

Pros:
Well written with good basic examples
Setup was pretty easy

Cons:
A little long winded at parts
No instructions for setup of the server (this is in a README file, but it would be nice to at least have it in appendix of the book itself).


The Aeronaut's Windlass (The Cinder Spires, Bk 1)
The Aeronaut's Windlass (The Cinder Spires, Bk 1)
Author: Jim Butcher
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 15
Review Date: 8/28/2015
Helpful Score: 1


I was incredibly excited to get a copy of this book to review through NetGalley. I absolutely adore Butcher's Dresden Files. I also read the Codex Alera series and thought it decent. This book has more of a steampunk feel to it...and it was incredibly disappointing and boring. I finally gave up reading it 55% of the way through.

Captain Grimm commands the merchant ship the Predator, his ship has taken heavy damage during an encounter with another ship. Despite being forced out of Spire Albion's armed forces he is fiercely loyal to to Albion. When Grimm returns to port at Spire Albion to repair his ship he finds it under attack and does his best to help the people of Albion. However, the Spirearch of Albion has different plans for Grimm and asks that he accompany some young cadets and some etherists on a mission of extreme importance. Grimm agrees, but only because the Spirearch also agrees to repair the Predator to her former glory.

The story switches viewpoint between Captain Grimm and some cadets who are training to be in the military. The three cadets the story focuses on are Gwen (a noble woman determined to learn to fight), Benedict (a warriorborn who also fights and is related to Gwen), and Bridget (a young woman from a failing noble house who is struggling to keep her house afloat).

I really really struggled with reading this and finally gave up about 55% of the way through the story. Pretty much every aspect of this book is poorly done. The biggest downfall of the book for me was the sheer boredom of reading it; I seriously fell asleep every time I started reading this book...it was soooo boring.

The world seems half-formed and is hard to picture and imagine; there just isn't enough description or reference points for the reader to figure out what type of world they are in.

There are a ton of characters thrown at the reader quickly and none of them are all that interesting. They are all very stereotypical to the point of being caricatures. You have Gwen the spoiled noble woman who is petite and beautiful but tough when she needs to be; you have Folly the insane magic user, and Captain Grimm the misunderstood yet noble ship captain. I didn't find any of them to be interesting or engaging.

Then there is the story. I was halfway through the book and still have no idea what this story is about. Spire Albion was attacked and is now starting a war with another Spire who attacked them. I don't have a good idea what Spires actually are; they seem to be underground cities or enclosed cities of some sort? I was never clear on that.. Then our characters are supposed to leave Spire Albion for an important reason but we never really know what it is.

Next there are the airship battles. I am really not a fan of reading about either naval or airship battles. I always have trouble picturing what's going on unless the scenes are really well done. The scenes with Captain Grimm were especially excruciating to get through because I just could not picture what was happening. This is more of a personal preference thing..but me and ship battles just don't mix, they do not interest me even a tiny bit.

The only positive thing I can say about the story is that the writing flows well and there weren't any technical flaws with how it was written.

Overall this story was a big disappointment, especially given how excited I was to start a new Jim Butcher series. The story is boring and doesn't seem to have a point, the world is strangely undefined, and the characters are forgettable and unengaging. Every time I picked up this book and started reading I immediately got sleepy and fell asleep. I will definitely not be reading this series.

Please don't let this book be the first example of steampunk literature you read. There are a ton of great steampunk books out there. If you are interested in reading steampunk I would check out any of the following series, they are all great steampunk reads: House Immortal by Devon Monk (okay this ones not totally steampunk, but it is awesome), the Treasure Chronicles by Jordan Elizabeth, The Clockwork Dagger by Beth Cato, The Electric Empire by Viola Carr, The Iron Seas by Meljean Brook, The Baskerville Affair by Emma Jane Holloway, and the Clockwork Century series by Cherie Priest.


After the Golden Age
After the Golden Age
Author: Carrie Vaughn
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 26
Review Date: 2/22/2011
Helpful Score: 4


I am a fan of Carrie Vaughn's Kitty Norville series and have read all of the other books that she has written and enjoyed them. When I heard that she had written a new book, with super heroes I was stoked. I got an advanced reading copy of this book through the Amazon Vine program. This was an interesting and very solid book, I enjoyed reading it.

Celia West is the daughter of two very famous super heroes but doesn't have any super powers herself. As such, she is frequently kidnapped (to the point where is it almost boring) to be used against her parents. She has tried very hard to lead a life of her own and has been fairly successful at it. When an old foe of her parents', The Destructor, is up for trial she gets pulled into the whole mess again as she is called both to help with the trial through her work and to testify. Celia did something when she was younger, something that was wrong, and she has been atoning for it her whole life. Now with crime on the rise again and the Destructor's trial coming up; it looks like Celia will be in the thick of it all again...no matter how hard she tries to stay out of it.

This was a very well done book. The characters are likable and easy to relate too. Celia is very down to earth, yet determined to do what's right. I was impressed with her determination and steadfastness. The side characters in the book are well done, if not exceptional, and make for a good story.

The plot of the book was well done and has some great twists in it. This ends up being more of a mystery than anything. I did like how the plot has some focus around what happens to super heroes as they decline and I liked how there was also focus around how you can be a super hero without powers.

The story gets a bit cliched at points, for example using the old "radiation gave us our powers" plot device, but for this story it works. My only other issue is that at times the writing style comes across as a bit too straight-forward and simplistic for me; but that is a small quip since I still thoroughly enjoyed this book.

The story wraps up nicely and I doubt we will see more books featuring Celia; although I wouldn't rule out more books set in this world. I have been finding that Vaughn always writes very solid books that are enjoyable reads. They are never exceptional and never blow me away; but they are always a solid read and I am always glad I took the time to read them.

Overall an excellent read. Loved the super hero plot elements and how Celia deals with everything even though she is powerless (so to speak). Some nice plot twists, the characters are well done and likable. If you like super heroes, or like reading about a normal person struggling in a world of powerful people this is the book for you. I will definitely be reading Vaughn's future books.


Afterlife
Afterlife
Author: Claudia Gray
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 19
Review Date: 12/13/2010
Helpful Score: 1


I got a copy of this book through Around the World ARC Tours. I was eager to read this conclusion to the Evernight series. It was a great book and concluded the series well; a lot happens in this book and there is more action than in previous books.

The third book left us at a total cliffhanger; Bianca had turned Wraith and Lucas is left for dead. Bianca has to decide to let Lucas live or to turn him. The decision happens in the first couple pages of the book (so I am not spoiling it here). Unfortunately Lucas is one of the hungry vampires and every day is a struggle for him; him and Bianca return to Evernight where Lucas seeks sanctuary. Miss Bethany eagerly grants him sanctuary, but there are other problems. Evernight is like a trap for Bianca, Bianca is being pressured by the wraiths to fulfill a higher purpose, and Miss Bethany has a dark plan afoot.

If you have read the other books in the series then you have to read this book. The third book, Hourglass, leaves you in a horrible place but this book does an excellent job resolving that.

Most of the book takes place back at Evernight as the character struggle to figure out the link between Miss Bethany and the Wraiths. All the characters that you love and adore are back and wonderful. The plot was fantastic, engaging and kept you guessing as to how everything would turn out.

There were a couple plot elements that I truly enjoyed I loved learning more about the Wraiths, how they work, and what there purpose is. I loved learning about what made Bianca special as someone who was basically born Wraith. The combination of powers between the Vampires and Wraiths and how they are interconnected was fascinating. The way everything is tied together and resolved at the end was clever and satisfying.

There were a couple small things that bugged me a bit. The pace of this novel is pretty deliberate, it is better than the first couple, but still slow. I am pretty resigned to this at this point because I think it is just how this author writes. Also some things revolving around Charity remain unresolved at the end of the book and I was hoping for some clearer resolution there.

Overall I think fans of this series will be very happy. It is an enjoyable read, very creative, nice plot twists, and an excellent ending to this series. If you are a fan of this series, pick up this book as soon as it releases!


Afterworlds
Afterworlds
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 9/8/2014


I got an eGalley of this book to review through Edelweiss. I have been a fan of Westerfelds books for quite a while. I enjoyed his Uglies series (both the full length books and the graphic novels), and adored his Leviathan series. I have yet to read his Midnighters series but its sitting on my shelf waiting for me to do so. I was very excited to see what he would write about next. Afterworlds was an interesting but ultimately somewhat disappointing read.

This book follows two storylines that alternate back and forth (something I have been seeing more and more in YA novels lately). The first storyline is the story of Darcy Patel, a seventeen year old girl who gets a novel called Afterworlds published in a dream deal. Darcy gets a huge advance for a two novel deal and ends up living in New York City, working and hobnobbing with other YA authors.

The alternating storyline is actually Patels novel Afterworlds. This storyline follows a girl named Lizzie who survives a vicious terrorist attack, but in doing so she is drawn into a world between our world and death where she meets a boy who seems to be some sort of death god. Lizzie works on learning how to use her new ability to enter this between space to see ghosts (it reminded me of the Grey from Kat Richardsons Greywalker series) and decides to try to solve a mystery surrounding the murder of a number of young girls.

Darcys story was pretty good. I enjoyed watching her struggle in New York and navigate the publishing world from the author side of things. This was an excellent coming of age story that was engaging and interesting. My only complaint is that Darcy gets this huge writing advance for Afterworlds, and Afterworlds (Darcys book) honestly kind of sucks. Much of the book is Darcy going through edits for Afterworlds and this was actually pretty interesting.

My huge problem with this book was Darcys story Afterworlds. It really isnt that good. It starts out with this awesomely intense terrorist attack and then goes downhill from there. I really really think there was no way Darcy would have gotten a huge advance for this type of story. Lizzies story (Darcys Afterworlds book) has some interesting concepts in it but isnt very well fleshed out. It honestly ends up being pretty boring. As the book continued I started dreading reading Lizzies story and Darcys story was much more engaging. The question of whether or not Darcy was going to finish her book on time was way more compelling than Lizzie solving the murder of all these little girls.

Sooo...I think the main problem here is that this is two books woven into one and it just doesnt work well. Lizzies story ends up suffering in the end and Darcys story ends up suffering in the beginning. Maybe that is the point...that somewhere along the way real life becomes more engaging than fiction. However, even if that is the point it makes for an inconsistent read throughout. I ended up not liking the story all that much and it really went slow. This was a long book and it really really felt like it.

Overall an interesting idea that didnt work out all that well. Lizzies story starts out as very engaging but then kind of fizzles as it goes on, getting drawn out and boring. Darcys story starts a bit slow and then builds momentum. In the end I felt like I was getting jerked back and forth between the two stories and I had trouble engaging with the characters. The whole thing was okay, but fell a bit flat for me. Not the best Westerfeld book out there.


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