Sunday, November 2, 2014

52 Review - October Edition

Books! Books Everywhere! One of the fun things about moving is the unpacking stage. My favorite part of unpacking is reorganizing my books on my shelf. Now I realized that I had a lot of books when I was packing, but I got rid of a bunch, so I figured I was doing good for shelf space. What I didn't take into account was all the books that I bought over the course of my packing. 
Well, I don't have nearly as much room as I anticipated and my books are slowly leaking onto other shelves in the apartment. Lucky for me, Adam has quite a few of them. 
Now there are no book forts, but if we both keep reading at the same rate, we will soon.
I seem to still be reading at quite the pace, which is a feat, since my commute to work is now about half as long. I was impressed that I actually managed to read 5 books this month! The other cool thing is that I'm almost done the challenge! Only 3 more to go!
This is what I read this month

281 Pages

When it comes to crafting happily-ever-afters, the Agency is the best in the land of Kingdom. The Fairy Godfather Grimm can solve any problem—from eliminating imps to finding prince charming—as long as you can pay the price…

Working for Grimm isn’t Marissa Locks’s dream job. But when your parents trade you to a Fairy Godfather for a miracle, you don’t have many career options. To pay off her parents’ debt and earn her freedom, Marissa must do whatever Grimm asks, no matter what fairy-tale fiasco she’s called on to deal with.

Setting up a second-rate princess with a first-class prince is just another day at the office. But when the matchmaking goes wrong, Marissa and Grimm find themselves in a bigger magical muddle than ever before. Not only has the prince gone missing, but the Fae are gearing up to attack Kingdom, and a new Fairy Godmother is sniffing around Grimm’s turf, threatening Marissa with the one thing she can’t resist: her heart’s wishes.

Now Marissa will have to take on Fairies, Fae, dragons, and princesses to save the realm—or give up any hope of ever getting her happy ending...

I picked up this book on a whim and wasn't sure if it was going to be any good or not. It sort of fit with my theme from last month of urban fiction, but I didn't finish it in time to include it. It's not exactly urban fiction, but it's not really full fantasy realm either. Instead, these realms exist in the same space, but some can only be reached by magic. It was a surprisingly touching story that actually tugged at my heartstrings more than once. I wasn't expecting that at all. Marissa is a very gruff character, but you can see that she's been shaped that way due to circumstances, but she's also much more than that, which is refreshing. 
This is the first book of a new series, with the second book due out in 2015. I will be excited to see what happens in the next book.

Kinslayer (The Lotus War #2)
by Jay Kristoff

452 Pages

The mad Shōgun Yoritomo has been assassinated by the Stormdancer Yukiko, and the threat of civil war looms over the Shima Imperium. The Lotus Guild conspires to renew the nation’s broken dynasty and crush the growing rebellion simultaneously – by endorsing a new Shōgun who desires nothing more than to see Yukiko dead.

Yukiko and the mighty thunder tiger Buruu have been cast in the role of heroes by the Kagé rebellion. But Yukiko herself is blinded by rage over her father’s death, and her ability to hear the thoughts of beasts is swelling beyond her power to control. Along with Buruu, Yukiko’s anchor is Kin, the rebel Guildsman who helped her escape from Yoritomo’s clutches. But Kin has his own secrets, and is haunted by visions of a future he’d rather die than see realized.

Kagé assassins lurk within the Shōgun’s palace, plotting to end the new dynasty before it begins. A waif from Kigen’s gutters begins a friendship that could undo the entire empire. A new enemy gathers its strength, readying to push the fracturing Shima imperium into a war it cannot hope to survive. And across raging oceans, amongst islands of black glass, Yukiko and Buruu will face foes no katana or talon can defeat.
The ghosts of a blood-stained past.

I've been waiting patiently for this book to come out. I read the first one last year around this time and had to wait for what seemed like forever for this book to come out in paperback. This series is set in a Japanese steampunk setting and focuses on rebellion of the people and also the desecration of the environment. The characters, whom I loved in the first book, became sort of lackluster in the second or went in directions that I didn't really like. The people I really enjoyed reading about were the new characters. The back story of Hanna and Yoshi, the Kigen gutter waifs, was by far my favorite. Every time you think you understand them, something else is revealed that changes everything that you've assumed.
The 3rd book in this series is due out in hardcover at the end of November. Looks like it's going to be another long, but worthwhile wait. 

by Anna Godbersen

423 Pages

After bidding good-bye to New York's brightest star, Elizabeth Holland, rumors continue to fly about her untimely demise.

All eyes are on those closest to the dearly departed: her mischievous sister, Diana, now the family's only hope for redemption; New York's most notorious cad, Henry Schoonmaker, the flame Elizabeth never extinguished; the seductive Penelope Hayes, poised to claim all that her best friend left behind—including Henry; even Elizabeth's scheming former maid, Lina Broud, who discovers that while money matters and breeding counts, gossip is the new currency. 

As old friends become rivals, Manhattan's most dazzling socialites find their futures threatened by whispers from the past. In this delicious sequel to The Luxe, nothing is more dangerous than a scandal... or more precious than a secret.

I read the first book in this series years ago and quite enjoyed it. I came across the 2nd and 3rd books in this series at a second hand store not long after. However, these books have sat on my shelf, never being picked up. When I decided to do my TBR challenge, this book immediately got put on the list. My reading requirements have changed a lot since I read the first one, so I was really worried that I wouldn't enjoy it. The story was actually pretty good. It picks up right after the 1st one ends and it's very good at reminding you what had happened. Being teen-fiction, it was a super quick read and never got overly complicated, despite having an intricate story line. I love Diana and Henry, hate Penelope with a passion, and feel both happy and sad for Elizabeth. I really want to read the 3rd book now, but knowing me, I probably won't get around to it for another few years.

391 Pages

Mags returns to the Collegium, but there are mixed feelings--his included--about him actually remaining there. No one doubts that he is and should be a Herald, but he is afraid that his mere presence is going to incite more danger right in the heart of Valdemar. The heads of the Collegia are afraid that coming back to his known haunt is going to give him less protection than if he went into hiding. Everyone decides that going elsewhere is the solution for now. So since he is going elsewhere--why not return to the place he was found in the first place and look for clues? And those who are closest to him, and might provide secondary targets, are going along. With Herald Jadrek, Herald Kylan (the Weaponsmaster's chosen successor), and his friends Bear, Lena, and Amily, they head for the Bastion, the hidden spot in the hills that had once been the headquarters of a powerful band of raiders that had held him and his parents prisoner. But what they find is not what anyone expected.
I was so excited that this book finally came out in paperback. This was the last book of 5 that I've been reading for at least 6 years.  Book #4 of this series was the first book that I read this year. This entire series has been relatively lackluster and I haven't really enjoyed it. The characters were boring and the plots were never very interesting. This book was probably the best of all of them. It finally gets back feeling like her old writing. I was very drawn into their circuit and the intricacies of their relationships. One of the best parts for me was when Jakyr (not Jadrek) sits Mags down and has "the talk" with him. It's pretty hilarious, if totally unnecessary. Actually, most of the story was unnecessary. There was no reason that this series should've taken 5 books. If she had left it as a stand alone it would have been great. But 5? 5 was too much. And I see that her new series that she has coming out is also based on Mags... sigh... This might be the first time I don't want to pick up a new series by her.

Harbinger (Book of the Order #4)
by Philippa Ballantine

305 Pages

The Deacons of the Order are all that stand between the wicked spirits of the Otherside and the innocent citizens of the Empire. They are sworn to protect humanity, even when they cannot protect themselves…

After the Razing of the Order, Sorcha Faris, one of the most powerful Deacons, is struggling to regain control of the runes she once wielded. The Deacons are needed more desperately than ever. The barrier between the world of the living and the world of the dead is weakening, and the Emperor has abandoned his throne, seeking to destroy those he feels have betrayed him.

Though she is haunted by the terrible truth of her past, Sorcha must lead the charge against the gathering hordes of geists seeking to cross into the Empire. But to do so, she will need to manipulate powers beyond her understanding—powers that may prove to be her undoing…

This book is the last book in this series and I am truly sorry to see it end. Book 4 of the Order continues on with the trends of the previous books; constantly keeping me on my toes and surprising me with all the different twists and turns. The revelations from the 3rd book become more important and more sinister as the plot reveals its self.
There is an amazing chapter in the middle of the book that is seen through the eyes of a child and left me feeling almost breathless, it was so well done.
The ending was satisfying and left me happy, knowing that the characters would continue on, if not the same as before, but on new and wonderful paths.
What more can you ask for?

More awesome books! That's what I can ask for!

So what are you reading these days?

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