Monday, April 29, 2013

The Girl in the Steel Corset

The Girl in the Steel Corse...
Today’s post is on “The Girl in the Steel Corset” by Kady Cross. It is 473 pages long and is published by Harlequin Teen. The cover has the main character with her back to the reader in a red dress with the steel corset showing. It is the first book of the Steampunk chronicles. It is Young Adult but anyone who likes Steampunk, girls with personality, or just fun plot will like this. There is nothing in this to offend anyone, there are some scenes with excitement but not very graphic and no sexuality or language.

From the dust jacket- In 1897 England, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one… except the “thing” inside her.
When a young lord tries to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But no normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch…
Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she’s special, says she’s one of them. The orphaned duke takes her inform the gaslit streets against the wishes of his band of misfits: Emily, who has her own special abilities and an unrequited love for Sam, who is part robot; and Jasper, an American cowboy with a shadowy secret.
Griffin’s investigating a criminal called The Machinist, the mastermind behind several recent crimes by automatons. Finley thinks she can help- and finally be a part of something, finally fit in.
But The Machinist wants to tear Griff’s little company of strays apart, and it isn’t long before trust is tested on all sides. At least Finley knows whose side she’s on- even if it seem no one believes her.

Review- It was a fun, quick read. I know that almost 500 pages is not really ‘quick’ to most but I found no trouble just putting this book away. The characters are interesting but the most interesting thing in my opinion is not even talked about in the blurb. Jack Dandy is an underworld boss and he is fun and interesting. He is part of the love triangle between Finley and Griffin but he is so much more than that. I did ask who the villain was very quickly but that is not a bad thing. Cross has a good grasp of pacing, dialog and plot. The only problem I have is that I feel the character development was a little too fast. Finley just rolled in and everything started happening but there is just not enough time really for me to buy all the development that happens in the story. Finley goes from hating and fearing her other self to integrating with it in about 100 pages. Maybe she was just that ready to deal with it but I did not get that feeling from the story itself. That said, that is the only problem I have with the story. I liked everything else. Cross is an excellent writer and she knows her books; if you are a classics reader then you will enjoy the references that she makes.

I give this book Four solid stars out of Five. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.

Friday, April 26, 2013


Stormdancer (The Lotus War, #1)Today’s post is ‘Stormdancer’ by Jay Kristoff. It is 324 pages long including a dictionary and a glossary. It is published by Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s press. The cover has a pretty Asian girl with a beautiful tattoo of a fox with nine tails on her arm and above her is a griffin or as they are called in the book arashitora flying the red and gray skies. The intended reader is a fan of fantasy, Asian culture, in particular Japan, and should be adult. There is some sexuality and the descriptions of what has and is happening to both the people and the land can be disturbing. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- The first in an epic new fantasy series, introducing an unforgettable heroine and a stunningly original dystopian Steampunk world with a flavor of feudal Japan.
A DYING LANDThe Shima Imperium verges on the brink on environmental collapse; an island nation once rich in tradition and myth, now decimated by clockwork industrialization and the machine-worshipers of the Lotus Guild. The skies are red as blood, the land is choked with toxic pollution, and the great spirit animals that once roamed its wilds have departed forever.
The hunters of Shima’s imperial court are charged by their Shogun to capture a thunder tiger- a legendary creature, half-eagle, half-tiger. But any fool knows the beasts have been extinct for more than a century, and the price of failing the Shogun is death.
Yukiko is a child of the Fox clan, possessed of a talent that, is discovered would see her executed by the Lotus Guild. Accompanying her father on the Shogun’s hunt, she finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in Shima’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled thunder tiger for company. Even though she can hear his thoughts, even though she saved his life, all she knows for certain is that he’s rather see her dead than help her.
But together the pair will form an indomitable friendship, and rise to challenge the might of an empire.

Review- This is a strong first novel but I have watched a lot go anime over the years and Kristoff pulls from anime liberally. It is not a bad thing but if you have watched as much anime as I have the plot as points were not surprising. But if you have not watched much anime or any at all in this book is going to be a wonderful ride for you. Yukiko is likable, she is brave, and at 16 she is pretty selfless. The book is told in third person far and it does jump from one character to another but it is not jarring and it helps the reader to see the story from different angles. The reason I do not give this five stars is that he is very good at descriptions, so good that some of them turned my stomach, but Kristoff is very good at them and in fact they are the high point of the novel. At points I had to push myself to keep reading. I do not know if I will the next one but I am not sorry that I have read this one. The characters are not uninteresting but again I have watched so much anime that I have met them before.

I give this one Four stars out of Five. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.

Monday, April 22, 2013


EntwinedToday’s post is on ‘Entwined’ by Heather Dixon. It is 472 pages long and is published by Greenwillow books. The cover has a young woman moving always from the reader with her back turned to the camera, she is dressed in a beautiful full ball gown with silver ivy all around the cover of the book. The intended reader is a YA but anyone who likes retelling of fairy tales should love this one. There is no sex, no language but there is some fantasy volience just to warn you. Thhe story is told from third person close point-of-view with the focus on Azalea. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dusk jacket- Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her… beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing… it’s taken away. All of it.
The Keeper understands. He’s trapped too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation.
Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest.
But there is a cost.
Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

Review- The twelve dancing princess is one of my favorite fairy tales and this retelling is very interesting and well done. She is the eldest of the all the princesses; she is a likable character. She has faults and flaws but they can be forgiven because she is only eighteen and with the death of her mother she is the primary caregiver for her sisters. She the one who deal with the King or Sir as they all call him. She is the one who is trying to help them handle their grief and she is one who is teaching them to dance like their mother did for her before her death. The story takes place over a year with the royal family in mourning but that does not stop the older sisters from falling in love or getting little problems. The villain is scary and very powerful. In the end the only thing that the girls have is there love for each other and their unwillingness to abandon each other for any reason. It is a heartwarming story about family love and forgiveness. This story is easy to read, easy to enjoy, and I personally am hoping that Dixon writes more retellings. The only problem I had was it seems to lag at times and I think that it took too long for Azalea to figure out who the bad guy is when she is shown to be intelligent.

I give this Four and half stars out of Five. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.

Friday, April 19, 2013


Onyx (Lux, #2)
Today’s post is on ‘Onyx’ by Jennifer L. Armentrout and is the second in her Lux series. It is 366 pages long not including bonus material at the end. It is published by Entangled Publishing, LLC. The cover is violet with the two main characters looking the reader. Daemon’s very green eyes standout and Katy is leaning into him. The intended reader is YA but anyone who likes hot aliens, super powered humans, and conspiracy. There are more very hot make-out scenes so no-one under the age of sixteen should read it. It is still told in first person POV by Katy. The extra chapter at the end is told from Daemon’s like in the first one. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book-
Being connected to Daemon Black sucks…
Thanks to his alien mojo, Daemon’s determined to prove what he feels for me is more than a product of our bizarro connection. So I’ve sworn him off, even though he’s running more hot than cold these days. But we’ve got bigger problems.
Something worse than the Arum has come to town…
The Department of Defense is here. If the ever find out what Daemon can do and there we’re linked, I’m a goner. So is he. And there’s this new boy in school who’s got a secret of his own. He knows what’s happened to me and he can help, but to do so, I have to lie to Daemon and stay away from him. Like that’s possible. Against all common sense, I’m falling for Daemon. Hard.
But the everything changes…
I’ve seen someone who shouldn’t be alive. And I have to tell Daemon, even though I know he’s never going to stop searching until he gets the truth. What happened to his brother? Who betrayed him? And what does the DOD want from them- from me?
No one is who they seem. And not everyone will survive the lies…

Review- This is a strong second book but it does have some problems. It moves a little slow in the beginning but the scenes with Katy and Daemon are still really hot. The new boy is Blake and he is mysterious and knows more than he is telling but there never was any doubt about Katy choosing Daemon. Daemon is a lot less of a jerk in this one which is very nice. It is very nice to watch Katy getting stronger with her new alien powers. There is more side story development with the other Luxen but the last hundred pages just fly by with action, romance, and surprises. I did not see the traitor coming until just before Katy did. The only real fiction in this book is that Katy is a book blogger, not a big name sort of like me but younger, prettier and has a really hot guy in her life, but people comment on her blog. As a book reviewer like Katy and I know that is fantasy; sadly.
I give this one Four stars out of Five. I get nothing for this review and I borrowed this book from my local library but one day I plan to buy the series it is just that good.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Shadow and Bone

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1)
Today’s post is on ‘Shadow and Bone’ by Leigh Bardugo and it is the first book in a new trilogy. It is 356 pages long and is published by Henry Holt and Company. The cover has beautiful stylized Russian palace on it with smoke and alters in black and white. The prologue and the epilogue are told in third person but the rest of the book is told in first person from Alina’s perspective. The intended reader is Young Adult but adults who like interesting ways to take Russian lore into a fantasy novel will enjoy it. There is nothing in this book to upset any parents. On the inside before the book starts there is a wonderful two page map of the area that the story takes place in; I would love to see it in color but in black and white is nice too. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- Alina Starkov doesn’t expect much from life. Orphaned by the Border Wars, the one thing she could rely on was her best friend and fellow refugee, Mal. And lately not even that seems certain. Drafted into the army of their war-torn homeland, they’re sent on a dangerous mission into the Fold, a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh.
When their convoy is attacked, all seems lost until Alina reveals a dormant power that not even she knew existed. Ripped from everything she knows, she is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. He believes she is the answer the people have been waiting for: the one person with the power to destroy the Fold.
Swept up in a world of luxury and illusion, envied as the Darkling’s favorite, Alina struggles to fit into her new life without Mal by her side. But as the threat to the kingdom mounts, Alina uncovers a secret that sets her on a collision course with the most powerful forces in the kingdom. Now only her past can save her… and only she can save the future.

Review- There are many things about this book that I really like. I like all the Russian lore that the author puts into the story; I can tell all the love and research she put into it. I like the magic in this world. She creates an interesting and fun system. There are four different kinds of magic, not including the Darkling and Alina because they are the only ones with that kind, and they have their own social levels within Grisha society. They are Corporalki (The Order of the Living and the Dead) Heartrenders and Healers; Etherealki (The Order of Summoners) Squallers, Inferni, and Tidemakers; and Materialki (The Order of Fabikators) Durasts and Alkemi. I like the flow of the story until the end which I feel was rushed but I am willing to forgive because it is a first book. I like that the reader does not really understand the Darkling, who may or may not be a villain or just a man with a very faulted vision for the future. I can see where Bardugo wants to write a second novel in this world, following Alina and Mal, but if she cannot the book has a ending that is a good place to leave it. Alina has power and if she can get back to the Fold she can destroy it forever but if not that is okay too; at least from a reader’s perspective. The title is very much what the story is about there are many, many shadows and bone is needed in the end to the villain and free Alina and Mal.

I give this one three and half stars because the ending is very rushed but the Russian lore is just charming. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Diviners

The Diviners (The Diviners, #1)Today’s post is on ‘The Diviners’ by Libba Bray. It is 578 pages long and is published by Little, Brown, and Company which is an imprint of Hachette book group. The cover has a golden keyhole with an eye looking through it; with stylized sun, moon, and light swirls. The intended reader is older teen and adult because of the content. There is only hinted at sexuality but the murders are graphic and the reader spends some time in the murders’ head; so warning for some mild disturbing content. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- Do you believe there are ghosts and demons and Diviners among us?
Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City- and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.
Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.
As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened…

Review- I have read Libba Bray before but the first thing that hit me as I was reading this was how much as a writer she has grown. Her Gemma Doyle trilogy is well written but her skill at the craft has grown so much. There are four different stories going on in this book but Bray does not overwhelm the reader with them nor she is taxed as a writer by this. Another thing that I just really enjoyed is that Bray does her research. I know some about the 1920’s here in America but Bray really made herself knowledgeable about the time. The language used, both by those who are trying to be hip and those who are not, the styles of the time, the political climate of the times, and this overall feeling that life cannot stay this good. Bray uses all her skills to give us this. The characters are very interesting and that is from the first page. In the Doyle Trilogy, it felt to me, that it took some time for the characters to become interesting but not in The Diviners. From the opening line to the last scene the characters are interesting and dynamic. I worried about the characters, I am curious about where the story is going next, and I want Evie to stay in New York. If you are looking for a very well written magical historical piece this is it. For all the good in this book I think that Bray is still growing as a writer, so I am looking forward to reading her as she grows.

I give this a four and half stars. I get nothing from my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

A Lady and Her Magic

A Lady and Her Magic (Faerie, #1)
Today's post is on 'A Lady and Her Magic' by Tammy Falkner. It is 351 pages long and is published by Sourcebooks Casablanca. The cover has the two main characters looking at one another with the male lead Ashley being shirtless and Sophia leaning into him from above with her wings out behind her. The intended reader is female adult romance reader and it should stay that way. There is sexuality in it, in more than one scene, but no language or violence. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- Rules are made to be disobeyed...
Sophia Thorne is new to the Regency's glittering high society, which resembles her magical homeland only insofar as both places are filled ridiculous rules. Which means no matter she goes, she's bound for trouble...
And scandals are meant to be shocking...
The Duke of Robinsworth has flaunted and shocked society for years. In a moment of fateful mischief, Robinsworth encounters the enchanting and distinctly scandalous Sophia. Between her streak of magical and his penchant for scandal, they're about to take rule-breaking to a whole new level...

Review- It was a cute little romance story. Sophia is sent to help Anne, the Duke's young daughter, not to get his attention but she does. Anne is a little spoiled but that is because of how protective Ashley is of her. He is afraid that she will be killed like her mother. The world at large believes that he murdered his first wife but Sophia does not. Add meddling grandmothers and bothersome brothers, on both sides, and you have a cute and funny love story. It does not break any new ground but it does screw up anything either. The characters are fun but nothing new, the plot has its moments, and the dialog is cute. All in all a cute, quick read. I liked it enough that I will read the next one in the series.

Three and half stars out of five. I get nothing for my review and I won my copy in a drawing from Heroes and Heartbreakers blog.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Art of Thinking Clearly

The Art of Thinking Clearly
Today’s non-fiction is “The Art of Thinking Clearly” by Rolf Dobelli and is translated by Nicky Griffin. The cover is plain white with the title in black and the word thinking in red. It is published byHarperCollins and is 359 pages long including notes about further readings from the chapters. The intended reader is adult but anyone over the age of 15 should be fine with this book. There is no language, no sex, and no violence; this book is just about how people think. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- In engaging prose and with practical examples and anecdotes, this eye-opening look at human reasoning is essential reading for anyone with important decisions to make.

Have you ever…


·         Invested time in something that, in hindsight, just wasn’t worth it?

·         Paid too much in an eBay auction?

·         Continued to do something you knew was bad for you?

·         Sold stocks too late, or too early?

·         Taken credit for success, but blamed failure on external circumstances?

·         Back the wrong horse?

These are examples of cognitive biases, simple errors we all make in our day-to-day thinking. But by knowing what they are and how to spot them, we can avoid them and make better choices- whether dealing with a personal problems or a business  negotiation, trying to save money or make money, or working out what we do or don’t want in life.

Simple, clear, and always surprising, this indispensable book will change the way you think and transform your decision making at work, at home, every day. In ninety-nine short chapters, The Art of Thinking Clearly reveals the most common errors of judgment and how to avoid them.


Review- This is an interesting and informative book. I learned quite a bit about how people think and the most common thinking errors. That said this book is not going to change the way you think in your day-to-day life. Not because Dobelli is not a good writer and not because you, as the reader, cannot make the changes in your life. But more because there is just so much in this book that, I do not think, there is any way that you can apply all these in your everyday life. Dobelli helps the reader understand the concepts that he gives by real world examples or fables. This is a very readable informative book and I enjoyed it. Dobelli’s research is strong and the notes at the end are great for continuing if there is a subject that you are really interested in or just curious about. One thing that I like and dislike about this book is that Dobelli does not give answers about how to fight these thinking errors in every chapter. Some chapters he does and some he does not. This annoys me because I think that if you are smart enough to see a problem then you can talk about how to stop it. And it does not annoy me because I did not agree with his solutions to some of the thinking errors. If you like non-fiction or just brain stuff then give this one a try.

I give this one Four out of Five stars. I received this book from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Rosemary and Rue

Rosemary and Rue (October Daye, #1)
Today's post is on 'Rosemary and Rue' by Seanan McGuire. It is the first in the October Daye series and is published by DAW. It is 358 pages long including the first chapter of the second book 'A Local Habitation'. The cover as the main Character Toby on looking over the reader's shoulder with blood, police tape, and a feeling of despair. The intended reader is adult but other than some violence there is nothing too mature for anyone over the age of about fifteen. It is urban fantasy in the vein of the Dresden Files. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- The world of Faerie never disappeared: it merely went into hiding, continuing to exist parallel to our own. Secrecy is the key to Faerie's survival- but no secret can be kept forever, and when the fae and mortal worlds collide, changelings are born. Half-human, half-fae, outsiders from birth, these second-class children of Faerie spend their lives fighting for the respect of their immortal relations. Or, in the case of October "Toby" Daye, rejecting it completely. After getting burned by both sides of her heritage, Toby has denied the fae world, retreating into a "normal" life. Unfortunately for her, Faerie has other ideas.
The murder of Countess Evening Winterrose, one of the secret regents of the San Francisco Bay Area, pulls Toby back into the fae world. Unable to resist Evening's dying curse, which binds her to investigate, Toby is forced to resume her old position as knight errant to the Duke of Shadowed Hills and begin renewing old alliances that may prove her only ope of solving the mystery... before the curse catches up with her.

Review- McGuire did her research on all Fae lore and that is the first thing that really impressed me about this book. It is well-written and is loved by the author. The little details tell me that, the way that the author writes about Toby and the world that she created, it is full of love. It is written in the first person but McGuire is good enough to give the reader little clues about the world outside of Toby's POV. Like the fact that the King of Cats Tybalt does not hate Toby but she is just being thick about it. I did not guess who the killer was until the end when Toby does. This book takes place in three days and you feel everyday of it because Toby does. The world of the Fae is not easy to understand but McGuire gives it to us in manageable bites. It is surreal but the Fae should be. A nice solid story and I look forward to reading the next one.

Four out of five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my spouse to read.