Url Phantomhive

Url Phantomhive

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

Snakes And Ladders Master Post

I'll be updating this post as I move along the board.

 

This looks like a lot of fun and just the kind of thing I was looking for at the moment. Now, that I see everyone playing snakes and ladders, I suddenly understand why yesterday I got a notification of a like of a years-old review of Seanan McGuire's short story, Snakes and Ladders. ;)

 

As I'm usually reading multiple books at the same time, I think I will try to always fit books to the squares I'll land on.

 

I remember I hated Snakes and Ladders as a kid, since I never seemed to land on a ladder. I hope I'll have better luck this time around.

 

 

1. Author is a woman - The Thorn and The Sinking Stone - CJ Dushinski

 

12. Author's last name begins with the letters T, U, V, W, X, Y, or Z. (I'm currently reading Vivatera by Candace J. Thomas, so that fits.)

Review
2 Stars
The Thorn And The Sinking Stone
The Thorn and the Sinking Stone (Entangled Teen) - CJ Dushinski

It's been a while since The Thorn and the Sinking Stone was added to my shelves, so the details of the blurb were a bit blurry at the start but it became clear very quickly it was based on Romeo and Juliet. Now, I like Shakespeare, but have always been unable to like that insta-romance between two teenagers.

The book has a dystopian setting, but it's good you're reminded about it every now and then, since the world building is so sparse that you would completely forget. Apparently a Final War has raged and the survivors go about as warring gangs. What happened with the rest of the world remains unclear, though they would have enough means of transportation to figure it out. Another consequence of this war, at least that was what was claimed by the dystopian government, was the introduction of the Cursed, people with enhanced abilities. Which you can test for with a blood sample and which, as good old dystopian governments are wont to do with everything they don't fully understand/control, needs to be exterminated. It is a shame, because I for one would have liked to read more about the world and how it came to be.

Instead, the book is filled with the (blooming) romance between the children of two of the warring gangs, who immediately feel, after a kind of Peeta-and-the-bread moment, that the other is so special that they would die for each other. Luckily both are both Cursed with some useful abilities, or they wouldn't have lasted long. It was insta-love, and overall I felt the romance played too big a role in the story.

With a bit more world building and a lot less insta-love, I think I really would have liked the story. Now, unfortunately, it 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! 

 

--------

 

This was my read for square 1 of Snakes and Ladders, since the author is female, I get to roll two dice:

This brings me to square 12. Author's last name begins with the letters T, U, V, W, X, Y, or Z. I'm currently reading Vivatera by Candace J. Thomas, so that fits.

 

 

Review
3 Stars
Timepiece
Timepiece - Heather Albano


I read time travel, so count me in. There's an introduction in the book about the special setting where, from our POV, people from one historical setting visit another one. Besides it is set in an alternative steampunk London where monsters and the machines that were meant to keep them in check roam around.

This is a good example of how thing gradually became worse, with the solution being even worse than the problem and this for several problems. Luckily there is a bunch of time traveling pocket watches available and some young people who are willing to use it to rid the world once and for all of these problems. Our main characters are from Georgian England and it is clear that HG Wells and the like have not yet been around, because of course they should have realized right from the start that History doesn't want to be changed and that these things NEVER end well.

The story was a bit slower than I expected. While they do jump around in time quite some, I was perhaps still used to the mayhem that is St Mary's in that other Time Travel series that I'm reading. I'm however, not entirely on board with the rules of the time travel in this one, especially since they glance over (or at least give a unsatisfactory answer) to two of the most important paradoxes of time travel. I hope this will be resolved a bit better in the next book, which I hope to read soon.

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

Review
2.5 Stars
Sea Of Stars
Sea of Stars (The Kricket Series Book 2) - Amy A. Bartol

It's been a while since I read the first book in the series, so some of the details were a bit blurry when I started Sea of Stars. Kricket, the main character with the most *uhm* special name and also her very special character of course, has found her way up in the stars between two (or possibly more) warring alien species/gangs. (I say alien because that is what they say in the book, and they make tiny, stupid human jokes. However, the physical appearance of said aliens is like humans, but ultimately better, obviously).

Where in the first book I was mainly annoyed by A) annoying Kricket and B) the human-like, human-feeling aliens, this time around there was little time for any of that as the story is immediately in full swing. Jumping around from one fight to the next while all that she wants to do is bunk down with her (new?) (insta?) love interest (I seriously can't remember him from the first book, if he was in there). Near the end, the typical end of the second book in a series great revelation is revealed, which will carry the story to the concluding book, which I will probably read sometime soon.

Now, this was actually kind of a nice read, all things considered. It was an easy read, and the things that bothered my in the first book, didn't bother me so much any more. While I had the feeling not a lot happened in the book, it was exciting enough for me to keep reading. It was an easy and quick read and sometimes these are just what you need.

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
Skewed
Skewed - Anne McAneny


Skewed had to grow on me. In the beginning I was intrigued, but although I never really got into the story for a while, it kept nagging me at the back of my mind wondering how it was going to end.

Janie has been famous and followed all her life, but not for the right reasons. Her mother was the supposedly last victim of the famous Haiku Killer and killed while Janie was in utero . When Janie starts receiving photographs of the old case and the murderer, her father, is about to be released things will get complicated quickly, especially since he has always claimed to be innocent.

This one really had me guessing until the end, and it has been a while since that happened. In hindsight one can see the hints that are being dropped, but that I didn't take on at first. The main character had a witty sort of sarcasm that I kind of liked. What I was not a big fan of was the second story from Janie's mother's POV which leads up to the murder but didn't add a lot to the story. But, all in all, a nice read that did take some time to get into but it does pay off in the end.

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

Review
2.5 Stars
Book Learnin'
Book Learnin': A Pie Comics Collection - John McNamee

Like most comics collections I read, I was not really familiar with Pie Comics yet. The title and the cover however suggested that it had to do with books, so I just had to read it.

It was not what I expected. I'm not sure what I did expect, but it was more than I got. Sure, some of the comics were quite funny, but many were mwah and they were not about books unfortunately. While it wasn't for me, I'm sure fans of the comic will appreciate it.

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

Review
2.5 Stars
Division
Division: A Collection of Science Fiction Fairytales - Lee S. Hawke

I hesitate to call the stories in this collection Fairy tales because they never gave off the fairy tale vibe for me. It was a collection of short stories set in different dystopian/high tech futures. And while they are dealing with diverse aspects of possible dystopian futures, I was left wanting something more.

Some of the stories had interesting topics, which I think would have worked better in a longer story where the story/world could have been fleshed out a bit more. I quite liked the writing however, so I might pick up more a longer story by Lee S. Hawke.

Review
3.5 Stars
Shutterspeed (And A Bit On Flemish Literature)
Shutterspeed - Erwin Mortier

Flemish literature and I are not what you would call a happy couple. We more or less tolerate each other as long as we stay away and don't try to mingle. How I ended up reading a Flemish book in English translation beats me, but I am glad I did because this one might save me a trauma.

For those of you unfamiliar with Flemish literature, the main theme is often the coming of age of the main character who's spending the final time of their innocent lives. Some of my previous ventures into the genre ended not so great with me being either bored out of mind after reading a mess of a book (The Sorrow Of Belgium, hailed as one of masterworks of Flemish literature I kept thinking it needed a proper editor) or being disgusted out of my mind also by reading a mess of a book (The Melting, I didn't want to read it but it was the only book people were talking about and kept asking me why I hadn't read it since 'I read books'. The book basically just throws everything it can think of in terms of uneasy/gross things in hope of shocking the audience, but I felt beaten with this cheap trick to incite emotions). Also, the fact that my first thought on finishing Shutterspeed was ' Luckily this one didn't involve a rape '  accounts for something.

Shutterspeed while following the path of the coming of age and his last innocent summer, was much nicer to read. The story is rather slow and I had a slight feeling that had I been reading the book in Dutch I would have found the writing too melodramatic, but in English for some reason I'm more permissive. It's a short read and I would definitely try something else by Erwin Mortier.

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
Merlin's Shakespeare
Merlin's Shakespeare - Carol Anne Douglas

Merlin's Shakespeare sounded like something right up my alley. Unfortunately, I couldn't get into it. Beth as the main character is obsessed with Shakespeare's work and of lately also has some magical powers after a rather wonderful production of A Midsummer's Night Dream. She is then cornered by Merlin who asks her to travel back in order to track down a lost play.

Like I said, these are all things I like. I like time travel, I like Shakespeare, I really do, but I found Beth so annoying. Her obsession is unhealthy and it is weird it is supported by the adults. She acts like a small child, making it feel like it was written for a very young audience, although at the same time there is quite some death and cruelty along the way.

The whole reason for looking for the supposedly lost play was rather thin and the story jumped around a lot, focusing then on these and then on those characters. The characters from the plays were in my opinion the most interesting aspects of the story, only their dialogue was often very cranky (not like Shakespeare at all) and also the rules with which they lived and acted were unclear to me.

I wanted to like it, but it was not for me. For someone who doesn't know Shakespeare, it might be a nice introduction into the subject.

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
Safely Endangered
Safely Endangered - Chris McCoy

Safely Endangered was a lot of fun! I wasn't really familiar with the webcomic, but after reading the book I'm sure I've seen some before. The comics were light and observant, and there was just the right mix to keep it fresh all through the book. Nice to see the references to many books/movies/games.

Enjoyed it a lot.

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
Oh No
Oh No - Alex Norris

Oh no, this didn't work for me.

I don't follow the webcomic, but have come across a couple of them on the internet. However, I think, for me, this comic is best appreciated in small doses. There being so much repetition and them all having the same end, made that it got old very quickly for me. The style was also not really for me. But I guess it will be a nice collection if you're a big fan of the comic.

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
Mooncop
Mooncop - Tom Gauld

I picked up Mooncop because I'd previously read Baking with Kafka, a collection of comics mainly about books. Mooncop is very different but also not. It is one long story about a police officer who is running out of work (but keeps a 100% solving rate of all non-existing crime) on a dwindling moon colony. It's the futility of his work really.

It's sad but in a beautiful way, and I enjoyed it way more than I thought I would. The drawings are simple and much like the short comics, and they tell the story in the right way.

Cute book.

Review
3.5 Stars
Haphaven
Haphaven - Norma Harper, Louie Joyce

Haphaven was a nice story about a very superstitious girl who travels to Haphaven, a world filled with leprechauns harvesting salt and clovers, who tries to find out where all her bad luck is coming from.

It took some time for me to get into the story, even as Alex traveled to Haphaven, but at a certain time its charm won me over and I especially enjoyed the last part of it. There was more to the story than I at first anticipated, which was nice. The art was nice too, but not something very special or memorable.

All in all, a very nice read.

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

TBR Thursday

I'm feeling a bit under the weather at the moment and one of the consequences of this is that I've spend the long weekend quietly while reading books. So, at least good thing comes out of it. I'm on track with both my reading challenge as well the ROOT challenge, and I've managed for the first time in ages not to add anything to Mt TBR this week. It is a little early to say something but I really hope I can put a dent in it this year and so far I'm not unhappy as to how the year is progressing.

 

I'm planning on another lazy weekend the coming days and hope I will finish some more of these books.

 

TBR as of today: 1734 (-16 from last week; -10 from January 1)

 

Books read in 2019: 23 (+7)

 

Pages in 2019: 5284 (+2243)

 

What I've Read This Week

 

     

 

Currently Reading

 

On Paper

 

  

 

On eReader

 

                              

 

On Audio

 

 

Books added to Mt TBR

 

ARC

 

Nothing, yay!

 

Have you read any of these books?

Review
2 Stars
The Many Lives Of Ruby Iyer
The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer - Laxmi Hariharan

I couldn't get into The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer, and I've been struggling to find out why. Ruby gets electrocuted and while she's physically okay, from that moment she feels the power of the electricity through her body.

After that things start to get confusing. The setting is Bombay, which is very nice since you don't often read about it, but it is also very unknown and chaotic. The writing here also starts to get more confusing as bad guys and Ruby and her sort of cop buddy are running loose and it is difficult to see what the end game is going to be. I also couldn't connect with the characters, which will not have helped. It seemed interesting but in the end 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
Marked
Marked - Sarah Fine

Marked had an interesting premise. Cacy and her family have some supernatural power and the job to ferry the recently deceased to the afterlife they deserve. Since they collect Charon's coin (from the Greek mythology) for each person, they have become unnaturally rich doing so. It also aids Cacy in her role as a paramedic, because she can also see when a person is marked for death and will die for sure so it allows her to prioritize her patients well. Eli and his brilliant sister Galena enter the scene as they move to Boston and Eli soon finds himself more than just the work partner of Cacy as he is rapidly pulled into warring supernatural families.

While it didn't always made a hell lot of sense, I quite enjoyed this part of the story. It was exciting enough to keep me going and considering I have copies of the entire series, it was for the best. Unfortunately was added to that a romance. *sigh* It was love on first sight, obviously because they are both so good looking. Personally, I couldn't care less about them. Hope this is not how the story continues, I would much rather see some more ferrying.

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

currently reading

Progress: 80/394pages
The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Stories - Edgar Allan Poe
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