Url Phantomhive

Url Phantomhive

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

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.

Review
4 Stars
Letter 44: Vol. 1
Letter 44: Volume 1 - Charles Soule, Alberto Alburquerque, Guy Major, Dan Jackson

When newly elected President Blades entered office, he didn't think life would be easy. He didn't expect to learn about aliens, possibly/probably planning some kind of invasion, and a secret space mission to study the aliens.

This was surprisingly good. I was a bit skeptical, because lately I wasn't having to much luck with my comics, but this story really good capture my attention. It's part political intrigue and part space mission, and the latter was the most interesting one for me. The crew has been in space for several years and new problems have arisen. Not to mention the pregnancy of one of the crewmembers.

Maybe not the most original work out there, but I enjoyed myself a lot while reading it and I'm curious as to how this will continue.

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
A Man With One Of Those Faces
A Man With One of Those Faces - Caimh McDonnell

It is not often that I immediately decide to buy a book based on a single review, but after (I believe it was) Magdalena's review for the second book of the series, I couldn't resist. It just sounded like the thing I would most definitely like, and I did.

Paul is a man with one of those faces, they blend in very easily and are often mistaken for those of others. As such, he's doing a volunteer job at a hospice as the 'granny whisperer', talking to dying patients and pretending to be their relative so they feel less lonely. That is, until one of them tries to kill him.

What follows is a very funny pursuit in which Paul, together with Nurse Brigit try to stay out of the hands of the Dublin underworld. I liked it a lot. I expected to like it, but still, there needs to be some kind of connection and luckily it was there. The characters are very witty and the there's enough making fun of the clichés that it actually doesn't matter not everything is super original. I truly felt sorry for both Paul and Brigit as their lives haven't always been easy and they made some difficult decisions.

To be honest, for me was it not the laugh-out-loud experience that other people said it was, but I did smirk from time to time, and I truly enjoyed reading it.

Review
3 Stars
Chest Of Bone
Chest of Bone (The Afterworld Chronicles Book 1) - Vicki Stiefel

Sometimes you're reading a novel and you're 30% through it and only then realize that you still don't have a clue about what the book is about. That happened to me with Chest of Bone.

I expected something more of a fantasy novel, but it was more or less a murder mystery with some fantasy elements thrown into it. This is not necessarily a bad thing of course, as I certainly like my murder mysteries from time to time. However, the writing was also quite strange. I can't really explain it but felt different, and I think it was one of the reasons why I couldn't get into the story for a long time.

The story itself was quite interesting (mostly the part about the 'exotic' food) but the main ideas have been done before, a number of times. The jury is still out whether or not to continue with this series in the future.

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

Review
4 Stars
Hogwarts: An Incomplete And Unreliable Guide
Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide (Pottermore Presents) - J.K. Rowling

Hogwarts has arguably been my favorite magical school. Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide, the third in the Pottermore Presents series, provides, much like its predecessors little bits and pieces of the wizarding world.

Can you enjoy the series without reading this? Sure you can. Can you enjoy Hogwarts without reading this guide? Absolutely.

But if you don't want the magic to stop and don't mind the fact that it is rather short and offers only some new information, give it a try. Since I never ventured into Pottermore, I don't know if it holds anything new for users of Pottermore.

Review
4 Stars
Short Stories From Hogwarts Of Power, Politics And Pesky Poltergeists
Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists (Pottermore Presents) - J.K. Rowling

As with the previous book, Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists, gives some much awaited insights into the wizarding world.

While it was fun to read, I particularly liked the listing of all the Ministers of Magic and some information on them, as it was clearly some information not necessarily needed for the series. Also, some history.

One thing I did notice, as with the previous book is that it is clear which characters JK Rowling likes best, because some of the teachers deserved a better/longer chapter.

Review
4 Stars
Short Stories From Hogwarts Of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies
Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies (Pottermore Presents) - J.K. Rowling

Pottermore Presents currently three ebooks with collected extra writings from JK Rowling about the wizarding world. While they are not essential to the series, they provide just a little bit extra, which I liked a lot.

This first book collects the stories on Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies. Some chapters were very strong, like the ones about McGonagall and Lupin. Others, like the one about Trelawney could have been improved.

Still, I enjoyed it a lot.

Review
5 Stars
March: Book One
March (Book One) - Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell, John Robert Lewis

When I read Maus last year, I was surprised at how well a graphic novel is able to tell a story with such an impact. Reading March: Book One, I'm strengthened in my beliefs that it is a very good medium for these kind of stories.

I happened to get this book as a surprise (for signing up to a newsletter), so at first I didn't know what to expect. But once I read a bit about it, and then started reading it, I couldn't put it down (and I didn't since it was only 130 or so pages).

I think the racial segregation is one of the black pages in American history and it's very important that people learn about it. This book is a powerful way to do so. Would recommend!

Review
3 Stars
White As A Raven's Wing
White as a Raven's Wing - Seanan McGuire

This is (so far) the last part about Ryan and Istas, but I would like to see more of them in the future. This story features Istas and the cruel world that she came from.

Interesting short read.

Review
3 Stars
Black As Blood
Black as Blood - Seanan McGuire

Not focusing on the Price family, this short story rather follows Istas and Ryan as they go through a daunting phase in any relationship, let alone when being two different kinds of Cryptids.

Another nice story, but I didn't like it too much as some of the characters were extremely prejudiced.

Review
3 Stars
My Last Name
My Last Name - Seanan McGuire

My Last Name and most of the other short stories from the InCryptid series can be found for free on the authors website.

This (too) short story bridges the gap between Waking Up in Vegas and the beginning of Chaos Choreography, where Verity and Dominic return to the Oregon compound and Verity hasn't told anyone yet of her recent marriage.

A nice short, although I would have loved it to be a bit longer, because I think this is the last of Verity we'll see for some time.

Review
4 Stars
Waking Up In Vegas
Waking Up In Vegas - Seanan McGuire

Verity is trying to bring her boyfriend Dominic home without her parents killing her. For her, this plan involves getting secretly married by Elvis.

In the mean time, a sinister plot is taking place featuring the Aeslin mice, still my favourites in the series.

Review
4 Stars
Swamp Bromeliad
Swamp Bromeliad - Seanan McGuire

This short story I really liked. It brings Verity and Dominic back to where it all started for the Healy/Price family. There was a nice story (perhaps because it was slightly longer than most of the other shorts) but it was sad to see what had become of the house.

Still, I would certainly recommend it.

Follow on Bloglovin Challenge Participant Free counters!