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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Top Ten Hyped Books I've Never Read



SUMMER IS HERE!


Summer is officially here, and though neither Tori and I
can say that it means we get a break from our regular schedules
at least it FEELS like we're on vacation sometimes! And just
because we're not totally basking by the beach doesn't mean we
aren't completely in to our summer reading. *books books everywhere*

 Are you getting your summer read on yet?


Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. For future Top Ten Tuesday topics & info on how to participate, click here!

This week's top ten topic is: 
  Top Ten Hyped Books I've Never Read
  1. - "Eleanor and Park" by Rainbow Rowel

I've thought about picking this up at my library multiple times, but always there is something else that seems more interesting and I bypass it. Maybe someday I'll read this work, but it's not on the top of my TBR list for now.


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2. "Divergent" by Veronica Roth

 I have absolutely zero interest in this series. Don't ask me why, because to be honest I couldn't give you the kind of detailed explanation you might be looking for.  It just doesn't ring my bell.

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3. "City of Bones" by Cassandra Clare

Another book I've been meaning to read but just haven't gotten around to. I know it's a best seller and it's got stellar reviews all over the place, but I've never heard any of my actual book-friends talk about it, which may be the reason it's not exactly on my radar. Perhaps someday. 

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 4. "The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green

Because I don't want to cry myself to sleep every night for the rest of my life, okay?

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5.  "Graceling" by Kirstin Cashore
 I started it and lost interest a few pages in. So, obviously, I haven't read it.

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6. "Vampire Academy" by Richelle Mead

Nope. This one's just a nope. I do actually have friends who swear by this series but I have never once been interested... and generally I'm a fan of vampires. Generally.

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7.  "The Selection" by Kira Cass
UGH! I just can't. Beautiful cover, though.

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8.  "Splintered"by A.G. Howard

I want to read this! I SERIOUSLY DO! I was initially put off by the bug murdering. That was kind of a "no" for me, but I'm hoping if I get past that disturbing past time of the main character I can get in to the book.

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9.  "Ravenboys" by Maggie Stiefvater

Another one I was very excited about initially and then just couldn't get in to. Maybe I'll give it another try.

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10. "Throne of Glass"

This is one I definitely want to read, but just haven't gotten around to yet. 

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What are your Top Ten this week?

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Sunday, July 5, 2015

Review: "Jackaby" by William Ritter



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Title: Jackaby

Author: William Ritter

Genre: Victorian Supernatural

Publication: May 9, 2015

Pages: 361



Summary: 

“Miss Rook, I am not an occultist,” Jackaby said. “I have a gift that allows me to see truth where others see the illusion--and there are many illusions. All the world’s a stage, as they say, and I seem to have the only seat in the house with a view behind the curtain.”

Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job, Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary--including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby’s assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced it’s an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain it’s a nonhuman creature, whose existence the police--with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane--deny.

Doctor Who meets Sherlock in William Ritter’s debut novel, which features a detective of the paranormal as seen through the eyes of his adventurous and intelligent assistant in a tale brimming with cheeky humor and a dose of the macabre.



Auggie's Review
    

Entertaining/ Pleasant Read
The entire book read like an extremely long Dr. Who episode. In fact, I had the distinct feeling that Matt Smith's Dr. Who character must have been inspiration for Jackaby. If not, then they most certainly have an almost identical personality. I would like to state that I had not heard that this book was being considered very much a Dr. Who X Sherlock mashup. Just discovered that little tidbit in the other reviews on Goodreads (Even though it was apparently listed QUITE OBVIOUSLY in the synopsis on Goodreads. It seems I pay little attention). I felt like the Dr. Who part of it was way more obvious than the Sherlock. Abigail definitely felt more like a companion than a Watson.

Jackaby was the only interesting character, and though it's narrated by the quite plain Abigail the book is most certainly about the peculiar detective. That explains the title of the book, I suppose.

Abigail herself was almost achingly drab in comparison to her surroundings. That may have been the point, as Jackaby points out on at least two separate occasions that her penchant for noticing the uninteresting and dull was helpful. I felt like this book could have been a rather solid short story without all of the fluff in between.

Honestly, though, despite how slow I felt some parts were I did appreciate the touching upon myth and lore, though there certainly was no deeper discussion about it. Superficial but entertaining.

I rather like Jackaby as a character, though. He carried the entire book on his shoulders, which again, may have been the point of titling the book after him.

The writing wasn't even nearly bad so I did enjoy the read and I hope that the next book allows us a closer look at Abigail and her own peculiarities. I would like to see her come into herself and be extraordinary, instead of the dull, shy, and unsure woman that she seemed to be despite all of her put on assuredness and assertions that she was indeed an adventurer. I very much hope to see that side of her in the next installment.



Auggie is the 28 year old whirlwind owner of Auggie-Talk. A Teen Librarian and bibliobibuli by nature as well as a (potentially obsessive) lover of Diana Wynne Jones and Neil Gaiman. One can normally find Auggie neck deep in reading, writing, or daydreaming (sometimes all three at once).  She's also been known to drink too much caffeine and eat too many lemon flavored sweets.




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Friday, July 3, 2015

Review: "Mechanica" by Betsy Cornwell



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Title: Mechanica

Author: Betsy Cornwell

Genre: YA Fairytale Retell/Fantasy

Publication: August 5, 2015

Pages: 304



Summary: 

Nicolette’s awful stepsisters call her “Mechanica” to demean her, but the nickname fits: she learned to be an inventor at her mother’s knee. Her mom is gone now, though, and the Steps have turned her into a servant in her own home.

But on her sixteenth birthday, Nicolette discovers a secret workshop in the cellar and begins to dare to imagine a new life for herself. Could the mysterious books and tools hidden there—and the mechanical menagerie, led by a tiny metal horse named Jules—be the key to escaping her dreary existence? With a technological exposition and royal ball on the horizon, the timing might just be perfect for Nicolette to earn her freedom at last.

Gorgeous prose and themes of social justice and family shine in this richly imagined Cinderella retelling about an indomitable inventor who finds her prince . . . but realizes she doesn't want a fairy tale happy ending after all.



Auggie's Review
    
Very Enjoyable Read!

As many reviewers have already stated: This is not Cinder. I'm actually a little disappointed that fanatic readers everywhere would immediately assume that this book WAS a copy of Cinder. They have very few similarities other than that they are Cinderella retellings and that advanced technology is in someway (but entirely different ways) involved.

Where Cinder is a cyborg steam-punk sci-fi adventure, Mechanica is a straight-up fantasy with steam-punk elements and lots and LOTS of magic. Truth be told, I feel that Mechanica stayed much closer to the fairytale than Cinder ever did (though that's not a complaint or a praise, because I loved both books, I'm just noting differences here).

I wanted to give this book a 5, but upon the approach of the end I felt the rating falling. Things were happening too fast, whereas the rest of the book had been building and taking time to explain, and show, and create. The ride was going great and then it just... stopped. Like, BOOM! Horse threw a shoe and now we're stuck on the side of the road going "Well, what now?"

So, it lost a star for its sudden and uncomfortable ending, though I do look forward to the next installment. I had thought it was a standalone until the end of the book, which left no room to doubt it's a series.

Some thoughts:

Mechanica is a phenomenal heroine. The relationship between herself and the number of characters are fascinating, and in some cases absolutely relatable. The author makes you question your prejudices and surprises you with twists that keep you on your toes.

This is not your typical "Happily Ever After". In fact, you very much doubt at several points in the work that there will be a happy anything! But our main gal Mechanica pushes through, learning her own lessons and working for everything she gains.

Romance... I don't want to ruin it for you but this book's perspective on love is refreshing and more realistic than I've seen in a YA novel for a long while.

Fairytale? Well, perhaps. A kick ass story of overcoming adversity and growing into a real person, with passionate dreams, and solid goals? Absolutely.



Auggie is the 28 year old whirlwind owner of Auggie-Talk. A Teen Librarian and bibliobibuli by nature as well as a (potentially obsessive) lover of Diana Wynne Jones and Neil Gaiman. One can normally find Auggie neck deep in reading, writing, or daydreaming (sometimes all three at once).  She's also been known to drink too much caffeine and eat too many lemon flavored sweets.
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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Review: "Illusionarium" by Heather Dixon



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Title: Illusionarium

Author: Heather Dixon

Genre: YA Steampunk/Fantasy

Publication: May 9, 2015

Pages: 361



Summary: 

What if the world holds more dangers—and more wonders—than we have ever known? And what if there is more than one world? From Heather Dixon, author of the acclaimed Entwined, comes a brilliantly conceived adventure that sweeps us from the inner workings of our souls to the far reaches of our imaginations.

Jonathan is perfectly ordinary. But then—as every good adventure begins—the king swoops into port, and Jonathan and his father are enlisted to find the cure to a deadly plague. Jonathan discovers that he's a prodigy at working with a new chemical called fantillium, which creates shared hallucinations—or illusions. And just like that, Jonathan is knocked off his path. Through richly developed parallel worlds, vivid action, a healthy dose of humor, and gorgeous writing, Heather Dixon spins a story that calls to mind The Night Circus and Pixar movies, but is wholly its own.



Auggie's Review
    

Fantastic! Highly Recommend!
 
Oh my.... *squees with joy* I loved this book! I loved it so much! I haven't loved a YA book this much since Enchanted. Heather Dixon only has one more book out? She must write more!

This book was so wonderful! Phenomenally written, gorgeous and powerful settings, beautiful characters and fantastic language. Love love love love love. 



Jonathan's life is turned upside down when an incurable disease sweeps his world, infecting only females and killing them within three days. There is no known cure and now both his mother and his little sister are infected. The king has come to Jonathan's father, a renowned scientist, to request his help to find a cure for his dying queen. How? By using a special elemental drug that creates an alternate, and temporary, reality.

Tragedy strikes and things go awry. Jonathan is kidnapped by the very scientist who discovered the drug and whisked away to an alternate world where things have crumbled and fallen to ruin. In this world mirror images of the people he knows and loves exist in a sort of patch-work society, and none of them remember who he is. 



In order to receive an antidote to cure the illness in his own homeworld, Jonathan must embark on an adventure into a world where there are no rules, no allies, and no second chances. 




Whew! That doesn't even BEGIN to touch on this book. There's SO MUCH AWESOME going on.

Curious, quirky, and at times downright creepy... it had all the elements of a book that will truly transport you out of yourself.  Truly vivid imagery with great dialogue and a amusing inner monologue. I can envision these settings, the laboratory, the cold city in the air, the ruined mirror city in another dimension.  I try not to be too dramatic about my books, but....EPIC, UNBELIEVABLE, MUST READ *continued incoherent babbling* 


I loved the asides throughout the book that were listed as notes. They added a little pizazz and allowed me a closer look at the main character's personality. 

There were several quotes in just the first few chapters that had me either goosebumping or laughing out loud. I'll share a few: 

"You didn't crush flowers, you didn't squeeze birds, and you didn't break your mum." - Jonathan

"They say that even now, at sixty-two years old, her spine was made of steel and her heart made of the sun, and when she spoke, no one disobeyed." - Jonathan (This sounds like my own mum.)

"I'd mostly ignored Hannah's friends until one morning I woke up and they'd suddenly become funny and pretty and all shades of clever." - Jonathan. 

Very cute language usage, it's about how I'd expect a young man coming into his adult-i-ness to sound.  

Illusionarium's adventure scale was off the charts for me and not only included explosions, a seemingly incurable disease, dimension hopping, hallucinogenic drug usage (just go with me on that one), insane mutant drug addicts, and a legitimately loony girl in a pretty dress, it also had all of the steampunk elements that gives it it's fantastical feel. Cities in the sky, airships, steam technology, and of course... fancy outfits. 

I truly truly loved this work. It hit every note for me and I can't wait to read more from this author.
Very much recommend.




Auggie is the 28 year old whirlwind owner of Auggie-Talk. A Teen Librarian and bibliobibuli by nature as well as a (potentially obsessive) lover of Diana Wynne Jones and Neil Gaiman. One can normally find Auggie neck deep in reading, writing, or daydreaming (sometimes all three at once).  She's also been known to drink too much caffeine and eat too many lemon flavored sweets.
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