Url Phantomhive

Url Phantomhive

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

Review
2.5 Stars
The Petrified Flesh
The Petrified Flesh (Reckless Book 1) - Cornelia Funke, Oliver Latsch

The Petrified Flesh (or Reckless as it used to be called), is a series by Cornelia Funke that I have seen in the bookstore about a million times. Something, however, stopped me from reading it previously. I can't even begin to explain why, because her Inkworld trilogy is one of my favorite children's books and The Thief Lord I also enjoyed a lot.

Maybe it was just a warning from myself, because now that I read it, it didn't feel right and I can't say that I enjoyed it. It felt part like a cheaper version of Inkworld, with another world behind the mirror, and also the characters didn't come to life for me (pun intended). It was not truly bad either, but just very forgettable.

I was disappointed, and I haven't decided yet wether or not to continue with the series.

Review
4 Stars
Kasper Mützenmacher's Cursed Hat
Kasper Mützenmacher's Cursed Hat (Life Indigo Book 1) - Keith R. Fentonmiller

I’m not sure how to classify Kasper Mützenmacher’s Cursed Hat, it is at the same time so many different things. Based on the title, one would guess a fantasy novel about the ‘cursed hat’ which is also a teleportation device. Based on the cover, a second world war novel about Nazi Germany. But in the end, it was more than even a combination of those two.

 

Spanning most of the lifetime of Kasper Mützenmacher, the story for me fell apart to several distinct pieces. First there is Kasper and Isana, then Kasper as a single father (with Rosamund), then America. They all felt like really different pieces for most of the time. I liked the story best when they were still in Germany, the American part felt rushed, with certain things that just happened so quick that it didn’t feel synchronised with the rest of the story (although some of it is explained through the -plot convenient-  curse).

 

While I enjoyed the book, and am certainly curious towards the rest of series (not in the least because I’m wondering what it will be about as this seemed a rather closed story), there were some things I didn’t like. One was the ending, it was rather absurd and I didn’t think it gave a good closure to the Klaus plot. Another was the curse placed upon the Lux women, because I didn’t get why they would have to be cursed as well. Seemed Apollo sure liked to curse families until eternity…

 

This book is probably quite different from the rest you’ve read this year. Would recommend to those who like to read something else for a change.

 

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

Review
2 Stars
The Twilight Zone: Shadow And Substance
Twilight Zone: Shadow & Substance - Mark Rahner, Tom Peyer, John Layman

I haven't seen Twilight Zone, so that might be one of the reasons why I believed this comic to be so confusing, and frankly not very good.

I didn't like the story, and most of it was so weird, that about halfway through, I just lost interest. It was really not for me, but perhaps there are others who will get what I assume are references or inside jokes and will appreciate it a lot more than I did.

It just wasn't for me.

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 Inkblots
The Inkblots: Hermann Rorschach, His Iconic Test, and The Power of Seeing - Damion Searls

This title immediately interested me, even though I've always been skeptical about the Rorschach test. I've however never taken one, and I hold a degree in neither psychiatry nor psychology. But I'm a scientist, so the parts where Rorschach is optimizing his test (stating he needs many more subjects both healthy and diseases, blind interpretation of tests and a standardized form of scoring good and bad answers) were among my favorites, as it seemed quite far ahead of his time.

The book however, is more of a dual biography of Rorschach but especially his test. I liked the first part (also see above) which focused on Rorschach as he's developing his test. After his untimely death in the 1920s (which is only halfway through the book) the focus changes to what happened to the test afterwards.

This latter part had great trouble to hold my interest. It seemed to contain a series of always new people quarreling about who is the new Rorschach. It is here that the test starts to falter in the hands of people who all want to prove themselves (some trying to standardize it but resulting in over diagnosis of most everyone), although I was quite shocked to find out it can be used as evidence in court (since it is not an unquestioned test). This part is also filled with quite a lot of other test and terms from personality testing, not all of it is explained well enough that it is not confusing.

All in all, I really enjoyed the biography of Rorschach, I didn't quite like the one about his test as much.

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

Review
4 Stars
How We Weep And Laugh At The Same Thing
How We Weep and Laugh at the Same Thing (Little Black Classics #29) - Michel de Montaigne

Michel de Montaigne was apparently one the most important French Renaissance philosophers, but I had never heard of the good man before picking up this Little Black Classic which bundles six of his essays.

I was pleasantly surprised. His ideas were not particularly shocking (at least not today) but the meandering way in which it was written made for a nice read. However, while I liked this, I'm not really inclined into reading more of his essays.

Little Black Classics ~ 29

Review
3 Stars
Bob's Burgers: Well Done
Bob's Burgers: Well Done - Loren Bouchard, Ben Dickerson, Jeff Drake, Rachel Hastings

I have a confession to make: I STILL haven't watched the tv show. I know, it's bad. Ever since I once got a single issue of the Bob's Burgers comics I've been told (and also I've really been meaning) to watch the series as I've enjoyed the comics.

I've heard that if you love the series, you will also love the comics. I can add to that: even if you haven't seen the series, you can still have a lot of fun with the comics. It contains sort of constant parts (like Tina's Erotic Friend Fiction and Gene's Musicals) together with some more random parts.

Looking forward to the next one!

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

Review
2 Stars
Femme Fatale
Femme Fatale (Little Black Classics #15) - Guy de Maupassant

Femme Fatale combines the title story and three other short stories from French author Guy de Maupassant. I can only say that they felt rather explicit and openly contained lesbianism which quite surprised me since it was being written in Victorian times. Something else I notices was that it had a French-ness that I can't really explain any better.

The stories themselves were okay, but none of them left a real impression with me. Rather, they felt quite flat, but I'm not sure some of it was lost in translation. Since I don't read in French, it would have to be in translation again, so I don't think I will be reading more of this author.

Little Black Classic ~ 15

Review
4 Stars
Brother's Ruin
Brother's Ruin - Emma Newman

Brother's Ruin was a wonderful short book and a great start to the Industrial Magic series, which kept myself asking only one thing: Where/When can I get the next one? and Is it going to be a full length book? (Okay, these are in fact multiple things but certainly show my enthusiasm).

It had everything in it to make it a very nice read for me. Set in a Victorian England with a Royal Society which enlists everyone with magical abilities, I knew from the start I was going to like it. The Gunns have fallen on some hard times, as a good price is paid for a talented mage, their worries seem to be over when their son Ben seems to develop magical abilities. He's eager to try out, but what he doesn't know is that he's not the mage, his sister is, and she's been hiding it for years.

I was surprised at how much story fitted in the limited amount of pages this book has. Still, I would have loved to see it as a full length novel. The scene was set nicely, and you can see Charlotte struggling between the desire to keep herself safe (and her life predictable) and helping her family. I'm extremely looking forward to the next novel. I would certainly recommend it.

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

Review
4 Stars
Big Mushy Happy Lump
Big Mushy Happy Lump: A Sarah's Scribbles Collection - Sarah Andersen

Last year I read Adulthood Is A Myth, which was my introduction to Sarah Andersen, but it almost felt like being old friends, as a lot of her short comics were so relatable.

So, when I came across Big Mushy Happy Lump, my expectations were quite high, but I need not to worry, because it was as nice as the first one. I think the comics are very relatable to a lot of people, but besides the way they are drawn is also helping making these so popular, is my guess.

Much of what I said in my review of Adulthood Is A Myth still stands, and I'm pretty sure that if you enjoyed that one, you'll like Big Mushy Happy Lump as well.

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 Dragon Engine
The Dragon Engine (The Blood Dragon Empire) - Andy Remic

The Dragon Engine was my first book by Andy Remic, so I was completely unfamiliar with the world presented in The Blood Dragon Empire. However, since it had a nice old fantasy feel to it, it didn't feel like it was a great loss, or that you should have read the previous series (as I also understood that it features other characters).

Here, we are introduced to a band of war veterans, coming together one final time to steal that one final, huge, treasure. What they don't know is that the Dwarves who said treasure belongs to are not quite as extinct as expected, and they are headed by the main villain Skalg, Cardinal of the Church of Hate.

Indeed, it has been done before, and most certainly, there were some cringe worthy, eye-rolling scenes for sure, but still I mostly enjoyed reading The Dragon Engine. The dynamics between the heroes of the stories was nice, as they felt like old friends. The story was very raw, very dark, which is why I think it will not appeal to everyone. But I for one, am looking forward to reading the sequel.

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

Review
4 Stars
Britannia
Britannia - Peter Milligan

I was pleasantly surprised by Britannia, the new graphic novel (now in trade paperback) from Peter Milligan. Recently not all my graphic novel experiences have been so good, so my expectations were not so high, but this turned out to be without reason.

Set during the rule of Nero both in Rome and in Britannia it follows Antonius Axia, who is called the first detective. He doesn’t do that much of detecting, but since he Sherlocks his way through life by being observing I guess the title is not that far off. However, it is mostly a horror story, so the detective-part wasn’t big enough for my liking. It is still quite a complete story in the limited amount of pages.

What I did like was that every issue was followed by a short essay on different aspects of the stories, like the Vestal virgins, Nero and life in Roman Britain.

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

Review
3.5 Stars
Camp Midnight
Camp Midnight - Steven T. Seagle, Jason Katzenstein

Skye was going to spend the summer with her Dad and step-monster, but instead they send her off to summer camp. Caring parents as they are, she ends up on the wrong bus and is forced to spend her holidays in Camp Midnight, a summer camp of the paranormal variety.

 

While this is certainly a middle-grade graphic novel I wanted to read it as Steven T Seagle was involved with Big Hero 6, an animation movie that took me completely by surprise and ended up on my all time favorites. I also enjoyed Camp Midnight a lot, and while marketed to a younger audience, I'm quite confident it is not meant to scare even them. The art worked really well with it.

 

My only problem with it was that the ending felt a bit rushed, but of course it is difficult to put too much story in a limited number of pages.

 

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

Review
2 Stars
The Panem Companion
The Panem Companion - V. Arrow

I was not completely sure what I was thinking when I decided to read a companion novel to this popular series. There were some questions that I wanted to know an answer to, but in hindsight, I think it probably wasn't really something for me.

The thing is, that I can get annoyed when people start over-analyzing something, which most certainly is the case in The Panem Companion. There are a few interesting pieces like, where in America are the different Districts located and what do they all do, but a lot of the book is actually taken up either by fan theories (which you can find online by the truckload) or metaphors which are apparently planted into the smallest details of the story.

Not for me.

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
Wondering Sight
Wondering Sight (The Extraordinaries Book 2) - Melissa McShane

Last year I read Burning Bright, the first in a new fantasy series, and to say I was excitedly awaiting the second novel, Wondering Sight, would not do it justice.

I was initially disappointed that the characters from the first book didn't show up here, and also the story has moved away from catching pirates in the Caribbean to life in Britain. Sophia has another gift completely, as she as an Extraordinary Seer, can see Dreams and Visions that teach her about past and future. When she, at the start of the novel sets out to get her revenge of the man who disgraced her, it quickly turns into obsession which will not only put herself but her friends as well in danger.

I didn't like it as much as the first book. I just couldn't really get into it, and I felt the rules of the Sight were too easily bended for Sophia's convenience. Plus, I guess I missed the ships and the pirates, since a lot of the book is filled with society gatherings and parties. I guess the focus will change to another Gift in the next book, so I hope it will be something more for me...

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

Review
3.5 Stars
The Outs
The Outs - E.S. Wesley

During the Outs, strange things happen. But it doesn't seem to matter no one can remember what happened afterwards as everything gets a reset at the end of them. However, things must be changing as Caleb realizes he's kidnapped a little girl during the last episode of the Outs.

This was such a confusing read. A little bit of that was of course to be expected when memory stealing black-outs are taking place, but even then it was too confusing. I never got a clear idea as to what happened during the Outs, and strangely I thought the 'bringing everyone who died back from the dead when the Outs end' felt a bit like cheating. It creates a world (together with some other things that I won't mention so not to spoil) in which anything can be explained so easily, it becomes very plot-convenient.

More than Caleb, Kitzi was a very interesting character. As Caleb's only friend she tries to keep him safe, but she also has a secret of her own. Also, something is wrong with Amanda, the little girl who's kidnapped.

Will it make an easy read? That depends on how much you want to be able to follow the book. For quite some time I'd no real idea of what I was reading, but I have to admit that it was a very compelling read and I wanted to know how it would end. It was definitely not your everyday read, so for who likes those, I would recommend The Outs.

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

Review
3 Stars
The Dinosaur Lords
The Dinosaur Lords - Victor Milán

O, Dinosaur Lords, how much I was looking forward to you! The idea of combining knights and dinosaurs just sounded so great, it had to be great. Then the reviews started to come in, and they were not that enthusiastic, but I held a copy in my hand, and the drawings were so nice. It had to be good. Needless to say, my expectations for this one were sky high.

It managed however to bother me from page one. It starts saying that this world in which it plays is not like Europe, and the book goes on to be one of the most Europe-like settings I've read in a long time. Admitted, it's more like Spain than England, but all the names are like in Europe, just slightly different. It would need a good story and lots and lots of Dinosaurs to make up for the bad start.

Unfortunately, at the end of The Dinosaur Lords, I felt disappointed. It was an okay story, but in a field so heavily populated as High Fantasy it is easy to get lost between all the other stories out there. You'll need something that adds to your story and there was this perfect chance: Dinosaurs. I thought they played too little a role. At times I almost forgot they were there. A shame.

While it was a fast read, it was not the book I'd hoped for.

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