Tuesday, November 29, 2016

My Absence

You may have noticed that my appearance on this blog has dwindled over the past few weeks. While I was away at Yallfest earlier this month my computer, unfortunately, decided he didn't want to function any longer. And so I am now computer hunting. And writing blog posts on a tablet or phone is murder on my wrists. Plus, it's a pain getting images to work.

I should be acquiring another computer shortly and be back to regular book reviews and posts very soon. If you have any recommendations on a good laptop, feel free to comment and let me know!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Insignia~S J Kincaid

Title: Insignia (Insignia #1)
Author: S J Kincaid
Genre: YA Sciene fiction
Length: 446 Pages (Paperback)
Release: July 2012
My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Insignia has been on my reading list for years, probably since it was released in 2012. And it's one of those books that I am mad at myself for not picking up sooner. It has the same feel as several other YA sci-if books that I've read, but I always enjoy them, even with their similarities. And this was no different. 

Tom was a likable main character that it was easy to relate with. He lives in a society where technology is used for everything, including warfare. WWIII is underway in the beginning, but instead of being fought on land with human casualties, the war is fought in space. And instead of being nation against nation, it's corporation against corporation. Tom is a skilled gamer and is recruited to train for a top secret military position controlling the battleships used to fight. For Tom, who has no friends and moves from casino to casino with his father, trying to win just one more time, this is a dream come true. And this is where the real story begins.

The cast of characters in this was so much fun. Tom is cocky at times but also not perfect. He makes mistakes, isn't the smartest among his group of friends, and has flaws that make him human. Vic, Wyat, and Yuri, the friends he makes when he starts training are all a lot of fun. Each of them brings something different to the group. And watching their bonds form is great. 

The story has a lot of action and plenty of room for expansion. There are corrupt rulers and corporation executives. A lot of computer lingo and fun programming debacles. There are moments that made me shiver, considering what it would be like to potentially have someone else with the power to control me in their hands. 

This society and story are excellent. S J Kincaid is a skilled story teller and I look forward to continuing Tom's journey with him. I would highly recommend this book to those who enjoy YA sci-fi. It's not read enough and she really deserves more of an audience for her work. So do yourself a favor and pick this up.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Last Ever After~Soman Chainani | Review

Title: The Last Ever After (The School for Good and Evil #3)
Author: Soman Chainani
Genre: YA Fantasy/Fairytale
Length: 655 Pages (Hardback)
Release: July 2015
My Rating: 2/5 Stars

I had a very hard time with this series, unfortunately. The first book was very enjoyable and had some interesting and different concepts. After that I was really excited for the two books following, expecting more of the same fun and twist on fairy tales. Unfortunately, for me, that was not the case. 

The Last Ever After picks up where book two left off. Agatha and Tedros are constantly fighting, hardly able to stand each other as they share a house with Agatha's mother. Of course they end up going back into the woods to rescue Sophie and all sorts of crazy things ensue. Because the woods are very different now. Even more than they were the last time. 

One thing that really bothers me about this series is the fact that there is almost no character development. Particularly where Sophie is concerned. She's a taker and never a giver. That doesn't change, no matter how many chances she has. All that books two and three in this series do is recycle all of the old issues that were had with these characters, making them cycle back and forth, never really progressing. 

The ending was not particularly satisfying. Some of the characters made sudden decisions that didn't really seem to fit. Some of the revelations made seemed too convenient, too put together. And there was still no hint of development with certain characters. 

Agatha was my favorite throughout the books, but even she became annoying. She was a giver and never a taker, opposite of Sophie. And she just continued to let people walk all over her. 

The Agatha/Tedros relationship had some cute moments, but they were vastly overshadowed by the amount of annoying angst surrounding them. And Tedros, who could have been such an interesting character, was reduced to just another silly boy who wants people to think more of them than they do but never gives them a reason to do so. 

Dot, Anadil, and Hester were the high point in the series. They were more complex than any other characters, with both good and evil in them. And unlike everyone else, there was some development that happened with these three. 

This series is targeted at a middle grade audience, but I wouldn't personally classify it for that age range. It's written as if it's middle grade, as far as conflict resolution and overall structure, but there was too much of a focus on romance for it to really fit that age range. I definitely wouldn't recommend this to my niece and nephew who fall in that age range. 

This is unfortunately a series that I would recommend. It had a few good points but was overall a disappointment. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Crossroads of Twilight~Robert Jordan | Review

Title: Crossroads of Twilight (Wheel of Time #10)
Author: Robert Jordan
Genre: High Fantasy
Length: 847 Pages (Paperback)
Release: December 2003
My Rating: 3/5 Stars

I was really worried going into this book. I've already invested a lot of time in the series by this point, but this is the one that I've heard the worst things about. Everyone tells me they are disappointed with it. So I had low expectations and expected it to be a drag. Luckily, I did not find this to be the case. 

In the beginning of the series, Mat was my least favorite character. Now he might possibly be my favorite. He's grown more interesting while so many of the others have remained stagnant. Perrin was my favorite at the start, but I am not really a fan of what has been done with his character. Some of it I understand, but overall I don't like the direction he was taken. 

While book 9 had a lot of plot progression, this one does go back to the stagnant story lines of books 7 and 8. Plot wise, not much happens. But I still found that it flowed better than I had expected and was enjoyable to read. 

It's hard for me to connect with the characters in this series, which I don't like. Characters are the most important part for me and I don't like that I don't really care for them. Jordan's character development is very lacking for me, and is particularly bad with women (though it's really not much better with men). Almost all of the women are the exact same, which is not realistic. 

Another thing that continues to annoy me with these series are lines like these: "she folded her arms under her breasts." Really, we get it. Women have breasts and more often than not, when folding arms they do fold them under their breasts. But you don't have to point this out every single time a woman folds her arms. This would honestly cut out a few hundred pages if you went through and removed this.  

Overall this was an enjoyable read. The plot was not progressed much, but there was some interesting character exploration in portions. I am hopeful that book 11 will be an improvement.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Diabolic~S J Kincaid | Review

Title: The Diabolic
Author: S J Kincaid
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Length: 416 Pages
Release: November 2016
My Rating: 4/5 Stars

I received a copy of this novel through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I've wanted to read an S J Kincaid novel for a long time and for some reason have never picked one up. When I found this on Netgallye the premise was so promising that I had to request it. And I am very glad that I did. 

From the blurb I was not entirely sure what I would get in picking this up. In a lot of ways this exceeded my expectations greatly. Nemesis, the main character who is a Diabolic--a special type of humanoid creature created to act as a body guard for a certain individual--was a very compelling main character. She was created and taught that she could only love one person, that she could not feel regular human emotions, that she was a thing rather than a person. It was a fantastic journey as she grew and faced who she was, what she was, and who she wanted to be. 

The writing style, while not overly complex, was utterly compelling. Nemesis was forced to charade as Donia, the only person that mattered in her world, in the clutches of the society's evil emperor. The way her journey was constructed and presented was beautifully done. You could feel what she felt as she tried to come to terms with the emotions that she was never supposed to have. 

There was some romance in this, but I really liked the way it was done. It wasn't forced or overly dramatic. It was real in a way that is completely skipped over by so many novels I read these days. 

There is violence, political intrigue, and manipulation. But none of it is over the top. And it reads so seamlessly and quickly. The beginning is somewhat slow and a few things were not explained/explored as I would have liked, but that was easily trumped by all of the things that I did like. 

The ending was wonderful. It was so open. There are so many different ways that things could be interpreted and so many things that could have happened after the novel ended, some good, some bad. And I loved that about it. This was a very solid read and I look forward to reading more by S J Kincaid in the future.