Sunday, August 31, 2014

52 Review - August Edition

I love this picture and I feel like it really shows what most people's book shelves look like. Including mine. 80% of the book on my shelf are read and the other 20% are intending to read. I don't have books that I pretended that I've read. The only purely for show books I have are the hard covers of all of Wheel of Time (I have soft covers for when I actually reread them again), but I've read over half the series in hard cover the first time around. My half-read books aren't on the shelf at all, but strategically placed around my apartment as if trying to entice me to pick them back up. The wish I hadn't read books are mostly gone at this point. I take them to book exchanges or put them in my laundry room in case anyone else wants to read them. With the challenge in full swing, I have a few saving for when I have more time books until closer to the end when I know I have extra time to read a few really long books. I'm slowly trying to read my will never read pile with the TBR challenge. The thing about reading as much as I do is that more and more of my books become read, but can't remember a single thing about it. This will often lead to me rereading series to refresh my memory.
Right now my bookshelf is extremely bare, as all my books are packed and read for my upcoming move. It's very sad looking. But don't worry, I've left enough books out to get me by until I can unpack them at my new place.

Here's what I read (and then promptly packed) this month

by Philippa Ballantine

309 Pages

In the Empire of Arkaym, the Order of Deacons protects and shelters the citizens from the attacks of the unliving. All are sworn to fight the evil forces of the geists—and to keep the world safe from the power of the Otherside… 
Although she is one of the most powerful Deacons in the Order, Sorcha Faris is still unable to move or speak after her last battle. Even her partner, Merrick Chambers, cannot reach her through their shared Bond. Yet there are those who still fear Sorcha and the mystery of her hidden past. 
Meanwhile, Merrick has been asked to investigate a new member of the Emperor’s Court. But when Sorcha is abducted by men seeking Raed Rossin, the shapeshifting rival to the throne, Merrick must choose where his loyalties lie.

I really enjoy this book series because I never have any idea where it will take me. As soon as I think I know what's going to happen, something throws me for a complete loop! I had a hard time putting this book down. The characters have such great chemistry together, which is why it was saddening that they spent most of the book on their own. But when they do get together... Wow... it's awesome. I can't wait to find the 4th book and finish the series, although this series is really hard to find. I may have to order it in.

by John Shirley

430 Pages

It's the end of World War II. FDR's New Deal has redefined American politics. Taxes are at an all-time high. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki has brought a fear of total annihilation. The rise of secret government agencies and sanctions on business has many watching their backs. America's sense of freedom is diminishing…and many are desperate to take that freedom back.
Among them is a great dreamer, an immigrant who pulled himself from the depths of poverty to become one of the wealthiest and admired men in the world. That man is Andrew Ryan, and he believed that great men and women deserve better. And so he set out to create the impossible, a utopia free from government, censorship, and moral restrictions on science—where what you give is what you get. He created Rapture—the shining city below the sea.
But as we all know, this utopia suffered a great tragedy. This is the story of how it all came to be…and how it all ended

Adam and I recently played through Bioshock. Well, he played and I watched (and sometimes played Pokémon) It's not the type of game that I would be able to play on my own, but I like watching it and I found I was quite interested in the story. But there just wasn't enough of it, or I miss parts due to low volume and no subtitles. I really wanted to know more. When I came across this book, I just had to have it. I was not disappointed. It's not traditionally how I like my books. It spreads its self out over 15 years, which gives you an amazing overview, but doesn't really allow you to get to know any of the characters intimately. But it's not really about knowing them, it's about the rise and fall of Rapture and that is done extremely well.
It can be a little heavy handed at times. It really wants you to get the point it's trying to make. It can be almost groan worthy. Luckily, that only happens a few times.

Dream London
by Tony Ballantyne

404 Pages

In Dream London the city changes a little every night and the people change a little every day. Captain Jim Wedderburn has looks, style and courage by the bucketful. He’s adored by women, respected by men and feared by his enemies. He’s the man to find out who has twisted London into this strange new world, and he knows it. But the towers are growing taller, the parks have hidden themselves away and the streets form themselves into strange new patterns. There are people sailing in from new lands down the river, new criminals emerging in the East End and a path spiralling down to another world. Everyone is changing, no one is who they seem to be, and Captain Jim Wedderburn is beginning to understand that he’s not the man he thought he was...

Why didn't I throw this book in the trash after the first chapter? I really should've. But I didn't. I read the whole damn thing, wondering after every sitting why I still wasn't throwing it in the trash.
I had such high hopes for this book. It sounded as if it could be amazing, but it was terrible and extremely misogynistic. The only women in Dream London were  prostitutes, waitresses and secretaries that you would expect to see in a porno movie, a "jail bate" schoolgirl, old fortune telling crones, a desperate drunk housewife and the virgin queen surrounded by cats. It was extremely sickening. They seemed to know that this was wrong and I was hoping that with the revolution of Dream London, that the women would take a stand and fight for their freedom, proving that these stereotypes were all wrong, but they didn't. The main character is a Pimp and an asshole and I hated him from beginning to end. They make it out as if he is going to be the long lost hero of Dream London, but when he is no longer of any use, he mopes around because he realizes that he's not. He doesn't try and help after that, he just lets everyone else fight the revolution without him.
And you want to know what the kicker was? The reason Dream London was like it was, was because it was bought and being run and sold by otherworldly ants... yup... ants...
When I was done, I actually did throw this book in the trash. I thought about passing it along to a book drop or something, but realized that I didn't want to subject anyone else to this garbage.
Don't waste your time with this book, I wish I hadn't.

Burning Water (Diana Tregarde #1)
by Mercedes Lackey

this is not the cover of my copy. I have the really terrible '80s version
312 Pages

A sexy witch who writes romances and a police detective who sees more than mortal man team up to battle an ancient Aztec god!
Dallas Police Detective Mark Valdez isn't just any cop, he's a psychic who knows that the cattle mutilations and torture murders he's been investigating are somehow tied together. He also knows that his meager psychic abilities aren't enough to identify the killers, much less stop them.
Luckily, Mark has an ace up his sleeve: an attractive young romance novelist who happens to be a practicing witch. And not just any witch, either-Diana Tregarde is a Guardian, charged with protecting the Earth and all its creatures.
Using modern science and ancient magics, Diana and Mark discover that they are tailing no ordinary serial killer but the awakened avatar of an Aztec god. Tezcatlipoca and his four beautiful handmaidens are preparing for a great sacrifice that will transform North America into a new Aztec realm.
Diana isn't sure her powers are strong enough to take on those of a risen Aztec god, but she has no choice. As a Guardian, she is sworn to protect mankind, even at the cost of her own life. Luckily, she does not stand alone. Mark Valdez is more than just a cop. And Tezcatlipoca is not the only Aztec god walking in the world.

As you know from many previous posts, I love Mercedes Lackey and I've read about 90% of her work. It's only 90% and not any higher, due to one thing; I don't like how she writes urban fantasy or Bards. It's sad but it's true. This has kept me from reading a handful of her books about these things, despite the fact that these books have been sitting on my shelf for years. That is why I picked this one for my TBR challenge. I'd like to say that I wasn't disappointed by this, but that's not true. I actually started reading this before reading Dream London, but needed to take a break from it before I just totally gave up on it all together. In comparison to Dream London, I actually liked this better and the break from it made me appreciate it more.
The characters are ok, but I didn't ever feel really attached to any of them. I actually liked a few of the side characters better and wished they'd shown up more.
This book was written in the late '80s and you can totally tell from the fashion, the technology and the less than politically correct references that sometimes made me cringe.
I did, however, enjoy the detective aspect of this story, due to my love of crime dramas. For that reason I was really looking forward to the climatic ending of this, but it was also lackluster and disappointing.
Guess I'll just stick to the Mercedes Lackey series that I know and love and leave her old stuff on the shelf until I do this challenge again next year.

375 Pages

Armageddon is over. The demons won. And yet somehow…the world has continued. Survivors worship patron demons under a draconian system of tributes and rules. These laws keep the demons from warring among themselves, and the world from slipping back into chaos.

Noon Onyx grew up on the banks of the river Lethe, the daughter of a prominent politician, and a descendant of Lucifer’s warlords. Noon has a secret: She was born with waning magic, the dark, destructive, fiery power that is used to control demons and maintain the delicate peace among them. But a woman with waning magic is unheard of, and some would consider her an abomination.

Noon is summoned to attend St. Lucifer’s, a school of demon law. She must decide whether to declare her powers there…or to attempt to continue hiding them, knowing the price for doing so may be death. And once she meets the forbiddingly powerful Ari Carmine—who suspects Noon is harboring magic as deadly as his own—Noon realizes there may be more at stake than just her life.

I love the synopsis for this book. Although telling the truth, it really makes this book seem a lot more sinister than it actually is. This story is mainly a coming out story, which is kinda nice. We all harbour our own fears and having those known to the world can be a hard thing. It was interesting to see how different people handled her hiding and her coming out.
This story mainly takes place at the demon law school in a very Harry Potter-ish way. Although there are many other things going on around them, they are all just students trying to do their best and master their chosen craft.
I was expecting a very different world considering that it's post apocalypse, but other than demons and magic everywhere and a difference of worship and fashion, it's not a whole lot different. They're still just like regular law students.
Noon's relationships with both Ari and Peter worried me though. I really like Ari, but I really didn't like how they were always grabbing at her and holding her against her will.  The possessiveness got old really fast. Unlike books like Twilight, Noon became her own person and didn't need to define herself with her relationships, in fact, she's very adamant about it.
I had a hard time putting this book down, which surprised me. I found myself reading all the time, including while I was walking (I'm surprisingly good at that), instead of watching TV or packing and before bed. I can't wait to get my hands on the next one.

The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green
313 Pages
Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

OMG this book was good. I can't say I'm overly surprised, but I am glad. Back in the day when Harry Potter was all the rage and the first movie was just coming out, I was totally hating on it. People kept talking about it and the hype was driving me crazy. My mom went out and bought me the first book and told me that if I was going to hate it, then I should at least read it first so I could hate it for the right reasons. I read it and, of course, fell in love with the series. From that point on, I decided that I would do this for all the books that were big in pop culture so that I could make up my own mind. Hence why I read Twilight and why I picked up this one. It was beautifully written and the characters were amazing. I loved them all. It was extremely heartbreaking, but well worth feeling heartbroken over. I highly recommend reading this book.

Books that I am currently reading

The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories
by H.P. Lovecraft
Page 16 of 360

by George R.R. Martin
Page 465 of 1128
(I tried to pick this up and read it, but couldn't do more than a few chapters in a row. How am I ever going to finish this by the end of the year?) 

Brownies and Broomsticks (A Magical Bakery Mystery #1)
by Bailey Cates
Page 36 of 319

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