Sunday, May 31, 2015

The New 52 - May Edition

May is finally done and we can move from Spring into Summer! That means even more opportunities to read outside! YAY! With the 5th month of the year over, I'm making really good progress on my challenge. I'm already 10 books ahead of schedule!

Here's what I read this month:

by Ann Aguirre

310 Pages

Perdition is under siege. Mercenaries have boarded the station with orders to take control of the facility—and execute the prisoners. Their commander is offering full pardons to the first five inmates willing to help the mercs complete their mission.
Dresdemona “Dred” Devos hasn’t survived hard time just to surrender to the Conglomerate’s armored thugs. Leading a ragtag army of inmates, Dred and her champion, Jael, wage a bloody guerilla war of chaos and carnage against impossible odds. But no matter how dire the outlook, the Dread Queen never backs down…

I've been really enjoying this series. It can be pretty rough around the edges (%), but sadly that makes sense. Living with the worst of the worst will do that to people. This book reads very much like an action movie and I LOVE it! Invaders, no-escape, fight 'til there's no one left! Awesome! And like any good action movie, there's still time amidst the chaos to find love.... 

by Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris

402 Pages

In Victorian England, Londoners wash up dead on Thames, drained of blood and bone. Clandestine Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences is forbidden to investigate. But Eliza Braun, with bulletproof corset, fondness for dynamite, remarkable devices, drags along timorous new partner Wellington Books, of encyclopedic brain, against Phoenix intent on enslaving Britons.

I really like Phillipa Ballantine, so I thought I would pick up this series by her and her husband and give Steampunk another chance. I don't know why I keep giving Steampunk a chance. I've given it many chances and it always lets me down. Maybe it's the oppression of women or the stupid Victorian era propriety teamed with out of place machinery, but I just don't get it. If I want automatons, I should just stick to Sci-fi. Maybe I just haven't found really quality stories yet.
This book was ok, not the greatest or worst book I've ever read.
 It was more like a bad buddy-cop movie; two unlikely heroes (Books and Braun? Really?) are partnered together on an unlikely adventure and hi-jinks ensue that force them to work together to save the day... Also, they have to go to an orgy, because, you know, steampunk or something (%)
I will probably read the rest of the series, but only because the books are badly labeled and I bought the 3rd one by accident and had to go back and get the 1st one and I'm sort of interested in what happens.

by Alice Hoffman

352 Pages

Alice Hoffman’s previous novel, The Third Angel, was hailed as "an unforgettable portrait of the depth of true love" (USA Today), "stunning" (Jodi Picoult), and "spellbinding" (Miami Herald). Her new novel, The Story Sisters, charts the lives of three sisters–Elv, Claire, and Meg. Each has a fate she must meet alone: one on a country road, one in the streets of Paris, and one in the corridors of her own imagination. Inhabiting their world are a charismatic man who cannot tell the truth, a neighbor who is not who he appears to be, a clumsy boy in Paris who falls in love and stays there, a detective who finds his heart’s desire, and a demon who will not let go.
What does a mother do when one of her children goes astray? How does she save one daughter without sacrificing the others? How deep can love go, and how far can it take you? These are the questions this luminous novel asks. 
At once a coming-of-age tale, a family saga, and a love story of erotic longing, The Story Sisters sifts through the miraculous and the mundane as the girls become women and their choices haunt them, change them and, finally, redeem them. It confirms Alice Hoffman’s reputation as "a writer whose keen ear for the measure struck by the beat of the human heart is unparalleled"

This book is not as exciting as the the back makes it sound. This book is just sad. It's about a family that starts to fall apart due to bad things (%) and it never gets happier. It just get sadder. She does resolve some of the sad things and then just introduces new sad things that make everyone even sadder. Finally found some happiness? Good luck with that, it's not going to last.
This book was engaging enough that it was easy to read, but left me feeling hopeless and distraught after every time I put it down. I was really glad to finish it so I could move onto something happier.
This is the reason I read fantasy; real life is too depressing...

by Mercedes Lackey, Tanith Lee & C.E. Murphy

400 pages

Mercedes Lackey
In an isolated land where the lure of the "Moontide" leads to shipwrecks, a woman is torn between obeying her father or her king. When she chooses to follow a Fool, she discovers magic she'd never expected . . . at a price that might be too high . . .

Tanith Lee
Struggling under the curse of a dead comrade, Clirando, a warrior priestess unready to face the powers trapped within her, must face "The Heart of the Moon" to reveal what has been hidden . . .

C.E. Murphy
In "Banshee Cries," ritual murders under a full moon lead Jo Walker to confront a Harbinger of Death. Maybe this "gift" she has is one she shouldn't ignore -- because the next life she has to save might be her own!

This was one of my tbr books for the year. It's a book of 3 short stories that I picked up quite a few years ago and never got around to reading. I'm not much of a short story or novella fan, due to the fact that there is never quite enough. I always want just a little more or for events to last longer. That was the case with these, well, the first 2. 

Mercedes Lackey is always golden and the reason I bought the book in the first place. I really would've enjoyed if this story has been full length. It just didn't quite seem flushed out enough.  She also throws the main character into a weird marriage to the "good guy" that doesn't really quite work given the timeline (&) to save her from a bad arranged marriage to the "evil dude" (%). They must take the evil dude down before the Moontide can claim the King's life.

I tried years ago to read a book by Tanith Lee and didn't get very far into it before putting it down. I really didn't know what to expect from this one, but was surprised that I started to enjoy it once it got going. The main character is forced on a magic quest that helps her to find herself and come to terms with the choices that she's made in the past. I would've enjoyed if it were longer, but it held its own as a short story.

C.E. Murphy writes a series called Walker Papers, which is shockingly 9 books long! This short story takes place between books 1 & 2 and makes very little sense to someone who hasn't read any of the other books. From what little I grasped of the 1st book, Jo has magical powers thanks to her Irish and/or Native American heritage (¥) that she has no idea how to use and needs to harness this power so she can help out on the police force? I don't really know. In this short story, she's contacted by the ghost of her mother both as the woman who just passed and as a young woman who is pregnant with the main character. It's very confusing and not very good. It's also the only story that is urban fantasy instead of regular fantasy, so it doesn't fit with the other stories at all. 

305 Pages

It's 1940, and Europe is ravaged by World War II -- an ideal environment for two gleefully destructive monsters. Drusilla's birthday -- that is, the anniversary of her resurrection as a vampire -- impends and her devoted paramour Spike wants to celebrate in style. What more perfect a gift than the legendary necklace known as Freyja's Strand-- a chain of metal so potently magical that it instantly imbues its wearer with the ability to shape-shift at will? The problem is, no one's sure that the bauble even exists.
Until Spike learns of a demon named Skrymir, who claims not only to possess the necklace, but is willing to trade.
Skrymir's true desire is to be rid of the most persistent thorns in his side, the Watchers' Council and the Slayer, so that he can implement his vision of world domination. Spike's task is to infiltrate Council head-quarters and get his hands on the list of all young women currently in training to take over as Slayer should they be called. In exchange for the necklace, Spike must kill the current Slayer, a brazen young woman named Sophie, as well as all of the Slayers-in-Waiting that exist -- the "pretty maids all in a row."
To Spike, this sounds like fun, and he sets off on a spree.
Sophie and her Watcher, Yanna, are determined to stop whoever has been slaughtering all of the potential Slayers. If Spike and Drusilla succeed with their plans of bloodlust and power, it could mean the end of the Chosen One -- "all" of the Chosen Ones -- forever...

This book wasn't too bad. I really wanted a Buffy book to read, but she's not in this one at all. It's still fun, in that TV-to-book kind of way. you get the characters that you love and a little bit of history to those casually mentioned lines in the show. I love Spike and Dru, but they don't really have the character to carry a sory all on their own, so I was happy that it got into the heads of the Slayer and some of the Slayer's in training. The one think it really sparked in me was wanting to re-watch Buffy and I've been thoroughly enjoying that. 

by Brandon Sanderson 

1258 Pages (45:33 hours)

I long for the days before the Last Desolation. Before the Heralds abandoned us and the Knights Radiant turned against us. When there was still magic in Roshar and honor in the hearts of men.
In the end, not war but victory proved the greater test. Did our foes see that the harder they fought, the fiercer our resistance? Fire and hammer forge a sword; time and neglect rust it away. So we won the world, yet lost it.
Now there are four whom we watch: the surgeon, forced to forsake healing and fight in the most brutal war of our time; the assassin, who weeps as he kills; the liar; who wears her scholar's mantle over a thief's heart; and the prince, whose eyes open to the ancient past as his thirst for battle wanes. 
One of them may redeem us. One of them will destroy us.

This book was sooooooo good! It's another book from my tbr pile. It's quite a long book and I never really felt like picking it up. I really wished that I had done so sooner. I ended up listening to this as an audio book. It took me a little bit to get use to the reader's voices, but after awhile if just sounded natural. This took me 45 hours to listen to! 45 hours! That's a lot of cooking and cleaning and shopping and walking! In the end, I ended up looking for excuses to put it on so that I could find out what happened next! This book has a lot of clever dialog which actually had me chuckling to myself in the grocery store and confusing the people around me. As far as Brandon Sanderson goes, I would say that this is his best book yet and that's really saying something! I see on Goodreads that he's planning to make this an epic 10 book series! I want to read all of them! I will make this my new Wheel of Time and wait for each book to come out with anticipation! 

by Veronica Roth

526 Pages

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered - fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she's known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.
But Tris's new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningliess. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend to complexities of human nature - and of herself - while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

This was the 3rd book in this series and was pretty good. Not as good as the others perhaps, but good in it's own way. It's very strange to have everything in the last books to build up so much, just to find out that everything that made them special doesn't mean anything at all. I really love how they dealt with that concept individually. One of the things that I love the most about these book is that complication of human emotions; love isn't perfect, but is what we have enough? Just because the words that make us special aren't real, are we not still special? What is worth fighting for? When is it worth dying for or living for? Do these things change us or were we already these people?

Books that I am currently reading

by H.P. Lovecraft
Page 119 of 360

The Great Hunt (The Wheel of Time #2)
by Robert Jordan
Page 168 of 705
(7:05 of 24:48 hours)

Mercury in Retrograde
by Paula Froelich
Page 36 of 272

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