Thursday, June 7, 2018

Blue Bloods

Picked up simply to fill the "B" in my alphabet challenge, I don't even know when or why I acquired this book to be honest. I haven't been terribly interested in vampires for a little while now. But still, I read the book, and found myself intrigued enough to want the next one.

De La Cruz approaches the subject of vamparism and immortality in a way that I had not seen before, a rare feat with the recent influx of vampire stories. She presents to us the notion that what if it was all strictly in the blood? In this series, Blue Bloods are what runs in their veins, their blue blood carrying all their memories, their abilities, their longevity. The blood is cycled, allowing 400 Blue Bloods to live while the others sleep and await their call.

While De La Cruz spins a very unique tale, I couldn't help but feel throughout that she was trying a bit too hard. The imagery of the story, while beautiful, was a bit too much for me and at times I found myself rolling my eyes and wondering why at all would I care about the designer outfits they were all wearing! It also seems that there is a lot crammed into this book. De La Cruz uses the fact that her main character, Schuyler (which took me nearly half the book to realize was pronounced Sky-ler), is just learning all about herself and the Blue Blood society as the device through which the reader learns about this world she has built. And it works. But there are those predictable moments when it feels that she is contradicting herself when in fact she is simply jumping through those pesky loopholes she didn't previously point out.

It might seem like I have a lot to hold against this book, but in fact the story itself is so captivating that I found myself willing to overlook all faults to finish as quickly as I could. Now I am eager to find the other books in an endeavor to see how it all ends!

I do recommend this book to others. The story within is simply too well thought and unique to pass up! It may not be a masterpiece, but I believe De La Cruz has great potential!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

After Death

Jacqueline E. Smith is a local (Dallas) writer whom I discovered on the shelf at a small town library. I read the first two books in her series, and while I thoroughly enjoyed the books, I didn't push the issue when we didn't go back to that library. Fast forward to a Texas Teen Book Festival as we are leaving the main room when a book catches my eye. "Hey, I've read those books. They were great! Wonder if the author is here?" I was going to just keep walking (thanks social anxiety), but my mother refuses to pass up the chance to tell an author they have a fan. Twenty minutes later, I walk out with 3 new autographed books and Jacqueline and I are mutually following each other on Instagram. Awesome day!

I meant to read this third book back in January, for the "A" in this year's alphabet challenge. But between house hunting, moving house, the end of the school year, things have been chaotic and I have finally sat down to finish a book for the first time this year!

Guys! This books was great! I already love Jacqueline's writing from the first two books, and her characters are funny, real, and just the best. So it isn't a surprise that I was immediately in love at the start of this last book. That I finished it in one day should have been expected. The story follows Michael, Kate, and Luke primarily with appearances from the always wonderful Brink as well as some truly confusing and vile lesser characters. The story left me second guessing things left and right up until the end when I was pleasantly surprised. Oh, and yes, I teared up at the end, it was beautiful. I am so glad I have this series on my shelf to revisit in the future! And of course I am looking forward to trying out her other books! Go read these, now! You will love them!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Your & My Secret vol. 1

Ok, the premise of this series caught and drew me in quickly: A girl who acts much too "boyish" and a boy much too shy that has a huge crush on her accidentally swap bodies! Crazy! Gonna be funny. Recipe for a cute romance.

Not sure that's what I am getting.

I liked the first volume well enough, although I wasn't thrilled with it. Nanako, the female lead, is not my favorite person and I'm not sure that can be changed with her attitude toward Akira, the male lead.

I'm going to give the series a chance, read a few more, and see how I feel about it then. I'll post another review with my later feelings and opinion.

If you've read the series before, let me know what you think. Is it worth finishing? I'd love to know what others thought of it!

The Good Neighbors: Kin

Holly Black in one of the best writers, in my opinion, when it comes to Fay. Almost as if she lived partially in their world herself! The Good Neighbors is no exception to her phenomenal story telling!

In graphic novel format, Black pairs with Naifeh to tell the dark and chilling story of Rue, a teenager whose mother had gone missing, father seems to have lost touch with reality, and whose own world seems to be turning into one crazed distortion of reality. Trying to get a grip on something Rue is thrown for a loop when she discovers her mother was a faerie.

This first volume in the series was incredible and gripping, just what I expect from Black! And it has me itching to reach for the next one!

Norse Mythology

Neil Gaiman is simply retelling stories that have been around for some time, stories that have inspired many, stories that are not new. And yet, the writing style of Gaiman changes the telling, makes these stories almost something unique to Gaiman. I found myself looking at a couple of the characters in these tales in a new light, something that usually only happens when an author chooses to re-imagine the stories.
I absolutely loved reading this one. It had me laughing so often and reading aloud large bits to my husband because they were just too wonderful not to share.
Whether you are new to Norse mythology, an old fan of Odin and fam, or just picking this up because of Gaiman, I think you will really enjoy this book!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

The Sleeper And The Spindle

Picked this one up to read with my 5 yr old daughter and we were both pleasantly surprised by this unique story. Gaiman does an incredible job of reshaping the tale of sleeping beauty by firstly continuing the tale here, but also twisting the nature of the spell that has been placed upon not only a young princess but eventually on the people in the lands surrounding her kingdom. The Queen of a nearby kingdom, who once slept under a similar curse for a year in a glass coffin, travels with three dwarves to discover the origin of the spell and fix things. Such a wonderfully singular tale that speaks once more to Gaiman's gift of changing everything he touches to something better. Add in the stunning artwork of Chris Riddell and this is a book that holds its audience captive!

I loved this one, would love to add it to my own shelves in the future, and encourage everyone to give it a try. It is short, and worth the read!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Jane Austen Project

Take two people from our current timeline, give them a crash course in 1815, and toss them back into the past to have them get close to one of the most prolific writers in history. What could possibly go wrong? Well for Rachel Katzman and Liam Finucane it starts with a climbing boy. Can they hope to alter the past as little as possible while trying to become friends with the Austens and get close enough to get their hands on some very personal letters and a manuscript always though unfinished? Or will they change things too much and alter the world they came from?

This was a very interesting read, guys! Flynn tells the story of two people getting to do what a lot of us avid readers wished we could do, go back and meet the writer of some of our favorite stories, get the chance to know her, try to understand her more. But we all know that playing with time travel is a dangerous game. Something Katzman and Finucane learn as soon as they arrive in 1815 and nearly have the whole thing blown over a surly inn keeper and their lack of luggage. Yet they persist.

What follows was a bit of a roller coaster for our characters as they try to balance themselves carefully into a world they really can't fully fit into while trying not to alter the course of history too much. After all they were only sent back to observe, get copies of a few letters and a manuscript, and make it home to tell their superiors what they learned. But Rachel in particular has a very hard time keeping to the mission plan.

I enjoyed the novel, despite how easily it all ended when things did go south for our travelers. It was fun to read of Rachel trying to hold back the fangirl when interacting with Jane. Watching events unfold at the end of Jane's life in a different way. And seeing that world from the eyes of someone from our own time. It all made for a great story told with a wonderful voice. Because while Rachel sometimes annoyed me enough to have me groaning and rolling my eyes, I did like the way Flynn wrote her. The book was fun! I would recommend it to anyone unable to get enough of Jane Austen of Regency era novels!