Url Phantomhive

Url Phantomhive

Trying to shed a light on the wonderful maze of books...

Review
4 Stars
The Timeseer's Gambit
The Timeseer's Gambit (The Faraday Files Book 2) - Kate McIntyre

In my review of the first book in the series, The Deathsniffer's Assistant, I remarked on Olivia's general unpleasantness, but I'm glad to be able to say that during this book she thaws somewhat and becomes bearable.

 

Another crime to solve, this one is more special in the sense that it has to do with the magical system of this alternative England. Young priests (those without a categorization) are being murdered by loose spirits, but why and by whom? This is set against the background of a very important trial that is also taking place.

 

I still liked the world best, it is so different but also not at the same time. Many nice details, like the Three and Three and there seems to be no end to what categorization people can get. Also, I feel it is only the tip of the iceberg. The only thing I think is not necessary, and slightly annoying is the renaming of the days. That just doesn't make sense to me.

 

Would certainly recommend, but start with the first book!

 

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
2 Stars
After: The Shock
After: The Shock - Scott Nicholson

I was severely underwhelmed by this take on the zombie apocalypse. And it was not even due to the zombies, or Zapheads as they are called, either. (But seriously, what is wrong with calling a zombie a zombie?)

Solar flares have destroyed all technology and also most of mankind. The surviving few notice that some of them are human no more, instead they are killing everything in their path. For fun, apparently as they don't seem to eat them.

In this mess we find several group of survivors, all trying to adjust to this new world, called After. And here is my biggest problem with the book: the characters are all so terribly clichéd that it almost physically hurt me. I can't even begin to describe all of them but it caused a lot of eye rolls. Also, the ending is very, very abrupt, or even close to there no being an ending at all. The book just ends, with nothing resolved and no questions answered, and you'll have to continue with the second book.

I think I'll pass...

Review
2 Stars
After The Saucers Landed
After the Saucers Landed - Douglas Lain

To start with the good: It is unlike any other alien invasion books I've ever come across. It provides an answer to the question which bother us all: what if the discovery of aliens showed that they were nothing but completely underwhelming, with their jumpsuits and new age-y religion.

The bad: I had a constant feeling when I was reading this that it was trying to convey something to me, but I couldn't find out what. It is partly a criticism on society I suppose, but I didn't think it was a particular strong one.

The ugly: I was bored. A lot. Part of the book is really confusing, and while I think that's intentional, it made that I could never get invested in the story. Basically, I was counting the percentages I still had to read on my Kindle.

All in all, an interesting concept, but its execution didn't work for me.

Thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
3.5 Stars
The Song of Orpheus
The Song of Orpheus: The Greatest Greek Myths You Never Heard - Tracy Barrett

The Song of Orpheus has a fun way of connecting a number of lesser known Greek myths together through the story of Orpheus, who has to tell a lot of stories before the sun sets.

For those readers that are rather unfamiliar with Greek mythology, but would like to read some of the lesser known stories, this is a wonderful book. For those, who like myself, took some classes into Classic Greek -- well, let's just say that Orpheus would still be a stone... Most of the stories though I hadn't heard before, although there were some where it was not hard to discover why they aren't better known nowadays.

Lovely, quick read. Would recommend.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

TBR Thursday #100

Moonlight Reader started the TBR Thursday, and I think it's a good way to a) show what new books I've got and b) confront myself with my inability to lower my TBR. In fact, since I started recording it, it has risen significantly. I get the feeling I'm doing something wrong here...

 

All covers link back to the respective GR page.

 

New Additions

 

  

 

What I've Read

 

    

 

What I'm Currently Reading

 

      

 

Also Reading

 

      

Review
4 Stars
Dark Matter
Dark Matter: A Novel - Blake Crouch

I'm at a loss for words. Dark Matter was one hell of a book. Last year I read Abandon, one of Blake Crouch's previous books, but Dark Matter was a completely different book. In a good way.

 

I don't want to say too much about the story, because finding out what was happening was in fact the best part of the story. I had no clue whatsoever when I started and therefor I was kept guessing for a while. It is important to keep your head with the book, because otherwise you will get lost in the maze that's been created.

 

I expected just another thriller, or maybe something like Abandon but I certainly wasn't prepared for this rollercoaster. It features some very interesting ideas in a new and engaging way that I appreciated a lot. In the middle there was a part where I was trying to fit everything together and see where it would go from there, but I couldn't have guessed the outcome.

 

Dark Matter is a very fast and engaging read that will make you think even about the smallest choices in life.

 

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

The 24in48 Disaster

I'm sure I'm not made for read-a-thons. Last week I wanted to participate in 24in48 which sounded great and I was at home so why not. But of course, it didn't work that way and instead of reading 24 hours in 2 days, I read way less than on any other day.

 

Final stats:

*Read: maybe 4 hours

*Finished: only one book that I was already reading :(

 

If anyone has some tips for future read-a-thons, please share.

Review
3 Stars
I Am Number Four
I Am Number Four - Pittacus Lore

I've seldom seen books about which my friends' opinions differ as much as with I Am Number Four. They either seem to hate or love it. For me it is more complicated though.

 

The story is not very original but features two types of aliens battling their war on Earth. Of one of the parties, only a handful survive: nine Gardes and their companions who have to train the Gardes while they -obviously- develop a set of super powers. Another complication, these nine Gardes all have a number and can only be killed in that order. One, Two and Three have been killed. The main character is Number Four.

 

It was a very fast read, but at times it was far too much of a soppy teen drama instead of the sci-fi book I wanted to read. A large part of it is filled with the romance between two not too interesting characters. I could certainly do without that. But somehow, it didn't feel as a bad read because it was so fast so I continued the series.

TBR Thursday #99

Moonlight Reader started the TBR Thursday, and I think it's a good way to a) show what new books I've got and b) confront myself with my inability to lower my TBR. In fact, since I started recording it, it has risen significantly. I get the feeling I'm doing something wrong here...

 

All covers link back to the respective GR page.

 

New Additions

 

 

What I've Read

 

    

 

What I'm Currently Reading

 

   

 

Also Reading

 

 

Review
4 Stars
All About Miserable Me
Grumpy Cat's All About Miserable Me: A Doodle Journal for Everything Awful - Jimi Bonogofsky-Gronseth

This is a weird little book following the apparent trend of books that want you to do things. This one asks a number of questions and suggestions for drawings and other little creative things to do.

 

Since it's grumpy cat, many of the questions are grumpy, about stuff that you don't like. This is interspersed with nicer questions, like what your favorite magic spell is and the like. I can imagine a child really liking this collection.

 

However, do not expects a lot of comics or text in this book, you'll not find it.

 

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
3 Stars
City of Swords
City of Swords - Mary Hoffman

As a kid I loved the first three books of the Stravaganza series. But as I grew older I felt it wasn't really a series that grows with you when I was reading the second trilogy. It took several years to finally finish the series.

 

It was a super fast read, I finished it within four hours of returning home from the library (and cooked in between as well!). I've always liked the series, but was a bit wary to read this last book. All books have followed the same kind of formula, and I've grown a bit tired of it. In this book they emphasize how much everything is the same for all of them, but it made me sigh. The story was interesting as ever, there is very little which can ruin a renaissance Italy setting for me. Expect lots of intrigues (fun!) and a lot of not so subtle explaining of the intrigues (not fun).

 

I do think that if I was twelve years old again and reading this complete series, I would have loved it from start to finish. But as it is, I've become way more critical of my reads than I was ten years ago and also it still really has the feel of a children's book over it.

 

Books I've also reviewed by Mary Hoffman:

City of Masks (Stravaganza #1)

City of Stars (Stravaganza #2)

City of Flowers (Stravaganza #3)

City of Secrets (Stravaganza #4)

City of Ships (Stravaganza #5)

Review
2 Stars
The Wit And Wisdom Of Tyrion Lannister
The Wit & Wisdom of Tyrion Lannister - George R.R. Martin

Tyrion is my favorite character in A Song of Ice and Fire, and after watching the sixth season of Game of Thrones I was looking for something to fill the gap that I was left in. What I didn't realize was that the complete book would consist of Tyrion's quotes. Only quotes (and some little drawings).

 

And while Tyrion is awesome and his quotes are great. But a complete book with it, and that for a series that isn't completed yet, I'm not sure. I mostly didn't really see what the meaning of this book is (except for making more money).

 

Nevertheless the quotes are good, but the book is unnecessary.

 

 

Review
4.5 Stars
Maus
The Complete Maus - Art Spiegelman

This work combines the two parts 'My father bleeds history' and 'And here my troubles began'.

 

Even when I was reading Maus I knew it would not be easy to write a review of it. Many things, if not everything has been said about it, so I will just focus on explaining some of my thoughts while I was reading it.

 

I think it is an incredibly strong work, it tells a terrible story and somehow I feel the graphics add an extra layer to the story that made that I couldn't shake loose from it even when I was not reading it. Even more so than other holocaust stories that I read before.

 

To emphasize the ridiculousness of racism, all characters from a same group are drawn the same, with the Jews being the mice and the Nazis cats. The French are frogs, the Polish pigs and the Americans dogs. While this makes it rather difficult to distinguish between the characters, it goes to show how dangerous it is to look at groups instead of individuals. 

 

Very strong graphic novel that I would certainly recommend!

Review
2 Stars
Shadows And Dreams
Shadows and Dreams - Matthew  Cody, E.C. Myers, Kiersten White, Carrie Harris, Andrea  Phillips, Gwenda Bond

This first episode of Remade was so short that it failed to really capture my attention even though the premise sounded really good.

 

Yes, it starts with a bang, which is good. But after that I only felt confused and then the episode was already over, leaving me with the feeling that I had no clue what I just finished.

 

Therefore, I don't know yet whether to continue. I just don't know of the idea of serials really works for me. I like to read the complete story, these 'bitesized' chunks are not enough for me to get invested in a story. Maybe I'll try some more of Remade when there are more episodes available.

 

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
3 Stars
The Twelve
The Twelve - Justin Cronin

I remember The Passage as an incredible fast read and with the City of Mirrors being published recently, it was more than time to finally read The Twelve.

 

It more or less follows after The Passage, but also goes back in time to for example the first days of the outbreak. I thought that after the ending of the first novel they would go and hunt down the Twelve, but really that is just a minor point of the book.

 

I think it is fair to say I'm disappointed, at least a little bit. It was not what I was expecting, but mainly it was confusing with all the new characters that were thrown on me only to disappear quickly after that. At least the first 150-200 pages I was wondering what I was reading and I wasn't enjoying myself. It became better as I went on, but there were times I felt I had to push myself to continue reading. The final part with Sarah and co. certainly was my favorite part. And now that I've finished, I keep wondering if anything really happened in the book. I hope The City of Mirrors will be more like The Passage.

Review
3 Stars
The Mice Of Bistrot Des Sept Frères
The Mice of Bistrot des Sept Freres - Marie LeTourneau

I'll just admit it. I had seen this little book so many times on Netgalley and I thought the cover was really cute. Besides, thinking mice and cooking, I couldn't help but think of Ratatouille.

 

And while the inside was also nice, it can best be read with (very) small children. They will probably enjoy the story a lot with all the food that flies around all the time. The drawings are nice and there is also an opportunity to learn some French.

 

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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