Monday, April 30, 2018

Another 52 - March/April Edition

Braeby where have you been? 
I know, I know. I haven't been posting much, but even still, I usually update my reading list. What can I say other than school was crazy these last few months and I barley had time to finish my homework, let alone blog. Even my book reading wasn't all that extensive. I mostly listened to audiobook s in transit and read comics when I was too tired to pick up an actual book. And since I didn't get March out in time, I've decided to merge it with April and see if I can remember my thoughts about those past books. Wish me luck.


by Chris Roberson, Mike Allred, Laura Allred & Todd Klein

144 Pages

Told from a female zombie’s perspective, this smart, witty detective series mixes urban fantasy and romantic dramedy.
Gwendolyn “Gwen” Dylan is a 20-something gravedigger in an eco-friendly cemetery. Once a month she must eat a human brain to keep from losing her memories, but in the process she becomes consumed with the thoughts and personality of the dead person – until she eats her next brain. She sets out to fulfill the dead person’s last request, solve a crime or right a wrong.
Our zombie girl detective is joined by a radical supporting cast: her best friend Eleanor, who happens to be a swinging ’60s ghost, a posse of paintball blasting vampires, a smitten were-dog and a hot but demented mummy.
Collects issues #1-5

I picked this up because I love the show. I figured that I should check out the source material, hoping that I would love it too, since the book is usually better, right? Well, not so much in this case. I will say this and feel a little shame while doing it. I like the show better. The characters are totally different the plot is totally different. Don't get me wrong, The comic has it's charm and I want to read them, I just will also continue to enjoy the show.

by Ally Condie

367 Pages (9:51 Hours)

In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky — taken by the Society to his certain death — only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.
Cassia's quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander — who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia's heart — change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.

I really enjoyed this series, but this book made me wonder if I would finish it. Although the first book was amazing, the second was lackluster. The first book was all about being duped by society and realizing that everything you know is wrong and that was fascinating. The second one is about wandering through a canyon with other characters that I didn't really like.

by Leigh Bardugo

422 Pages (11:00 Hours)

The capital has fallen.
The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.
Now the nation's fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.
Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.
Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova's amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling's secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

After the second book, I wasn't sure I cared about finishing this series, but I decided to give it another chance. I'm glad I did. The last book was well worth reading. I enjoyed the twists and turns it took and I'm glad I got to know some of the other characters better. 

by Juliet Marillier

429 Pages

Award-winning author Juliet Marillier “weaves magic, mythology, and folklore into every sentence on the page” (The Book Smugglers). Now she begins an all-new and enchanting series that will transport readers to a magical vision of ancient Ireland....
In exchange for help escaping her long and wrongful imprisonment, embittered magical healer Blackthorn has vowed to set aside her bid for vengeance against the man who destroyed all that she once held dear. Followed by a former prison mate, a silent hulk of a man named Grim, she travels north to Dalriada. There she’ll live on the fringe of a mysterious forest, duty bound for seven years to assist anyone who asks for her help.
Oran, crown prince of Dalriada, has waited anxiously for the arrival of his future bride, Lady Flidais. He knows her only from a portrait and sweetly poetic correspondence that have convinced him Flidais is his destined true love. But Oran discovers letters can lie. For although his intended exactly resembles her portrait, her brutality upon arrival proves she is nothing like the sensitive woman of the letters.
With the strategic marriage imminent, Oran sees no way out of his dilemma. Word has spread that Blackthorn possesses a remarkable gift for solving knotty problems, so the prince asks her for help. To save Oran from his treacherous nuptials, Blackthorn and Grim will need all their resources: courage, ingenuity, leaps of deduction, and more than a little magic.

This was a really good book. I really enjoyed the characters and their developments. Although I rarely enjoy books that revolve around rape, I thought this one handled all sides of it with thought and compassion and that to me is saying something. It wasn't just a trite plot device, it was actually thought out and discussed properly. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series and how these characters continue to grow and learn.

by Amanda Lovelace

199 Pages

"Ah, life- the thing that happens to us while we're off somewhere else blowing on dandelions & wishing ourselves into the pages of our favorite fairy tales."
A poetry collection divided into four different parts: the princess, the damsel, the queen, & you. the princess, the damsel, & the queen piece together the life of the author in three stages, while you serves as a note to the reader & all of humankind. Explores life & all of its love, loss, grief, healing, empowerment, & inspirations.

I read this in one sitting. It was horrible and beautiful and filled with so many feelings that it broke my heart and mended it over and over again. Worth reading, but do so with caution if sensitive to such matters.

by Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, Jared K. Fletcher, Maris Wicks & Babs Tarr

176 Pages

Barbara Gordon is no stranger to dusting herself off when disaster strikes, so when a fire destroys everything she owns, she spots the opportunity for a new lease on life – and seizes it! Following the rest of Gotham City’s young adults to the hip border district of Burnside, Barbara sets about building an all-new Batgirl…and discovers new threats preying on her peers! As the new hero of Burnside, Batgirl gets started by facing twin sister assassins on motorcycles!

I picked this up thinking it was the first in the series, although apparently it was not. It was still hella fun though, but I wanted to know more about what was going on before this all happened.

by Gail Simone, Ardian Syaf & Vicente Cifuentes

144 Pages

As a part of the acclaimed DC Comics—The New 52 event of September 2011, Barbara Gordon is finally back as Batgirl!
The nightmare-inducing brute known as Mirror is destroying the lives of Gotham City citizens seemingly at random. Will Barbara be able to survive her explosive confrontation with this new villain, as well as facing dark secrets from her past? A new chapter in the riveting adventures of Batgirl continue in stunning fashion, with script by fan-favorite Gail Simone and stellar art by superstar Ardian Syaf!
This volume collects issues 1-6 of Batgirl, part of the DC Comics—The New 52 event.

This one actually is the first one and it explains how Babs went from Oracle back to Batgirl. I've been wanting to read this since they revamped the New 52. I know there was a lot of controversy about giving Babs the use of her legs back and I can't totally understand where they are coming from. I'm glad the included the struggle that she herself goes through.

by Kurtis J. Wiebe & Roc Upchurch

128 Pages

Who are the Rat Queens? 
They're a pack of booze-guzzling, death-dealing battle maidens-for-hire and they're in the business of killing all the god's creatures for profit. Meet Hannah the Rockabilly Elven Mage, Violet the Hipster Dwarven Fighter, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric and Betty the Hippy Smidgen Thief. 
This modern spin on an old school genre is a violent, monster-killing epic that is like Buffy meets Tank Girl in a Lord of the Rings world on crack! 
Collecting Rat Queens #1-5!

This was a ridiculously fun read about a band of asshole adventurers who never really get anything right and tend to cause more problems then they solve. Reminds me of playing D&D. 

by Sarah J. Maas

101 Pages

When the King of the Assassins gives Celaena Sardothien a special assignment that will help fight slavery in the kingdom, she jumps at the chance to strike a blow against an evil practice. The mission is a dark and deadly affair which takes Celaena from the rooftops of the city to the bottom of the sewer--and she doesn't like what she finds there.

I honestly don't really know what to say about this short story without giving anything away. The only real interesting plot point is the twist, so I'll just say I liked it and leave it at that.

by Ally Condie

512 Pages (13:15 Hours)

Cassia's journey began with an error, a momentary glitch in the otherwise perfect facade of the Society. After crossing canyons to break free, she waits, silk and paper smuggled against her skin, ready for the final chapter.
The wait is over.
One young woman has raged against those who threaten to keep away what matters most—family, love, choice. Her quiet revolution is about to explode into full-scale rebellion.
With exquisite prose, the emotionally gripping conclusion to the international bestselling Matched trilogy returns Cassia, Ky, and Xander to the Society to save the one thing they have been denied for so long: the power to choose.

After the let down of the second book, I wasn't sure what to expect from the last book in this series. I ended up really enjoying the last book as it filled almost all my needs for a dystopian novel series. The only thing that I didn't like was that everyone seemed to be in love with everyone else and that was kind of annoying. I mean, I know their teenagers and everything, but still.
Anyway, it was worth seeing through to the end and I will for sure pick up other books by her in the future.

Fables, Vol. 1: Legends in Exile (Fables #1)
by Bill Willingham, Lan Medina, Steve Leialoha, Craig Hamilton & James Jean

128 Pages

When a savage creature known only as the Adversary conquered the fabled lands of legends and fairy tales, all of the infamous inhabitants of folklore were forced into exile. Disguised among the normal citizens of modern-day New York, these magical characters have created their own peaceful and secret society within an exclusive luxury apartment building called Fabletown. But when Snow White's party-girl sister, Rose Red, is apparently murdered, it is up to Fabletown's sheriff, a reformed and pardoned Big Bad Wolf (Bigby Wolf), to determine if the killer is Bluebeard, Rose's ex-lover and notorious wife killer, or Jack, her current live-in boyfriend and former beanstalk-climber.
Collecting: Fables 1-5

I've heard and seen a lot about these book over the years and I was glad that I got the chance to finally read them. It's certainly an odd series, but enjoyable. It's a neat twist to fairy tales and I love that. Instead of rewriting them, they have been imagined well after their fairy tales end, relocated to modern day earth. What a great spin!

by Leigh Bardugo

364 Pages (11:55 Hours)

She will become one of the world’s greatest heroes: WONDER WOMAN. But first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning. . . .
Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mere mortal. Even worse, Alia Keralis is no ordinary girl and with this single brave act, Diana may have doomed the world.
Alia just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.
Together, Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. If they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.

I love Leigh Bardugo, so I was super happy when she headed up the first book in a new collection of DC Superhero stories, and Wonder Woman, no less! I love Wonder Woman, so I was really excited. I originally thought that it would be another origin story when it started, but it's really not. I appreciated that Diana took on the role of trying to save the Warbringer, Alia, instead of trying to kill her, which would've been much easier. I'm glad to know that Bardugo is all about making Diana a strong female character that's compassionate and amazing and fights for what is right no matter the cost to her.

by Kate Locke

400 Pages

The first in an alternate fantasy series where vampires, werewolves, and goblins rule London. 
Queen Victoria rules with an immortal fist. 
The undead matriarch presides over a Britain where the Aristocracy is made up of werewolves and vampires, where goblins live underground and mothers know better than to let their children out after dark. It's a world where the nobility are infected with the Plague (side-effects include undeath), Hysteria is the popular affliction of the day, and leeches are considered a delicacy. And a world where technology lives side by side with magic. The year is 2012 and Pax Britannia still reigns.
Xandra Vardan is a member of the elite Royal Guard, and it is her duty to protect the Aristocracy. But when her sister goes missing, Xandra will set out on a path that undermines everything she believed in and uncover a conspiracy that threatens to topple the empire. And she is the key -- the prize -- in a very dangerous struggle.

This was a really strange book. I'll be honest, I bought it because the cover art is amazing and I wanted to read about Vampire Queen Vic. Well, she is hardly in it and the steampunk world is weird. It's modern day steampunk. As in, if steampunk had taken hold and progressed to this day and age. Yeah, weird. Some things are the same, and others have changed drastically. So, not being a huge steampunk fan, it's hard for me to decide if I like it or it's necessary or not, and it's a fine line. I kept thinking about putting it down (as I have done with a lot of other books lately) but decided to persevere. I'm glad I did. I ended up getting really into it and loving the characters and weird plot lines. I actually think I will pick up the rest, just for fun.


by Sarah J. Maas

94 Pages

Celaena Sardothien is the assassin with everything: a place to call her own, the love of handsome Sam, and, best of all, freedom. Yet, she won’t be truly free until she is far away from her old master, Arobynn Hamel; Celaena must take one last daring assignment that will liberate her forever. But having it all, means you have a lot to lose . . .

This is the end of the short stories and I find myself tired of reading them. Don't get me wrong, they were good. I just wish they were all in one volume and I could've read them all together. It ends as you know it must if you've read the other books. That kind of sucks to know the ending and still not want it to happen.

by Marjorie M. Liu, Sana Takeda, Rus Wooton & Jennifer M. Smith

192 Pages

Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900's Asia, in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steam punk, MONSTRESS tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, a connection that will transform them both and make them the target of both human and otherworldly powers. Collects MONSTRESS #1-6

This was a really neat comic that I found. It's messed up and weird, but fascinating and the art in incredible. I really want to know more about the world that it takes place in and how everything came to be. I'd actually love for this to be in book form and not just comic form.

by Kendare Blake

421 Pages (9:52 Hours)

In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.
But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.
The last queen standing gets the crown.

I was expecting this book to only have one main character, as in only one of the three queen prospects, but this book follows all threes and you are pretty much forced to like all of them for some reason or another. I have no idea who I want on the throne and I'm a bit worried about at least two queens getting killed off. Yet I can't wait to find out what happens next

by Marguerite Bennett, Marguerite Sauvage, Ming Doyle, Laura Braga, Maria Laura Sanapo, Marc Deering, Stephen Mooney, Ted Naifeh, Garry Brown, Mirka Andolfo, Bilquis Evely & Sandy Jarrell

144 Pages

In these stories from issues #1-6 of the hit series, learn the story behind this alternate reality where the Second World War is fought by superpowered women on the front lines and behind the scenes! It all begins with the stories of Batwoman, Wonder Woman and Supergirl.

I've wanted to read this comic since it came out and I'm glad that I finally got my hands on it. It was pretty much everything I was hoping it would be and more! The only part I was disappointed in was the Harley/Ivy story that didn't quite make sense. But I loved the rest and I want to read more of them.

by Amy A. Bartol

321 Pages (11:11 Hours)

Firstborns rule society. Secondborns are the property of the government. Thirdborns are not tolerated. Long live the Fates Republic.
On Transition Day, the second child in every family is taken by the government and forced into servitude. Roselle St. Sismode’s eighteenth birthday arrives with harsh realizations: she’s to become a soldier for the Fate of Swords military arm of the Republic during the bloodiest rebellion in history, and her elite firstborn mother is happy to see her go.
Televised since her early childhood, Roselle’s privileged upbringing has earned her the resentment of her secondborn peers. Now her decision to spare an enemy on the battlefield marks her as a traitor to the state.
But Roselle finds an ally—and more—in fellow secondborn conscript Hawthorne Trugrave. As the consequences of her actions ripple throughout the Fates Republic, can Roselle create a destiny of her own? Or will her Fate override everything she fights for—even love?

To be honest, for an 11 hour book, I can barley recall what happened in this book, The only thing that really springs to mind was that the main character was all over the place, never staying consistent. It was frustrating. And for being such a loyally bred soldier, she doesn't seem to have very much loyalty. I'm not sure I'll read the next one.

by Anne Bishop

496 Pages

After the Elders cleansed and reclaimed many human towns, Lakeside Courtyard has emerged relatively unscathed, though Simon Wolfgard, its wolf-shifter leader, and blood prophet Meg Corbyn must work with the human pack to maintain the fragile peace. But all their efforts are threatened when Lieutenant Montgomery's shady brother arrives, looking for a free ride and easy pickings.
With the humans on guard against one of their own, tensions rise, drawing the attention of the Elders, who are curious about the effect such an insignificant predator can have on a pack. But Meg knows the dangers, for she has seen in the cards how it will all end: with her standing beside a grave. . . .

I love this series and I'm glad that it continually gets better. Although I'm never one for books with shady relatives that show up and cause mischief, this book was still really, really good. I can't wait until the next book, with different characters comes out in paperback.

by Amy Ewing

362 Pages (10:12 Hours)

The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty.
But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude.
Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.
Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel's glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.
Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence . . . and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess's petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for.
Debut author Amy Ewing expertly crafts an enchanting story full of riches, rivalries, and riveting twists and turns that will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the very end.

I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about another YA dystopia novel, but like always, I seem to really love them. This definitely had a Handmade's Tale feel to it, mixed with your regular YA dystopia. But I fell in love with the characters and the rebellion and I want to read them all right now. 

by Becky Cloonan, Karl Kerschl & Brenden Fletcher

160 Pages

Welcome to Gotham Academy, the most prestigious school in Gotham City. Only the best and brightest students may enter its halls, study in its classrooms, explore its secret passages, summon its terrifying spirits...
Okay, so Gotham Academy isn't like other schools. But Olive Silverlock isn't like other students. After a mysterious incident over summer break, she's back at school with a bad case of amnesia, an even worse attitude...and an unexplained fear of bats.
Olive's supposed to show new student Maps Mizoguchi the ropes. Problem: Maps is the kid sister of Kyle, Olive's ex. Then there's the ghost haunting the campus...and the secret society conducting bizarre rituals. 
Can Olive and Maps ace the biggest challenge of their lives? Or are they about to get schooled?
Collects Gotham Academy #1-6

This was a weird mix of school high-jinx and Gotham history mixed into one. I wasn't sure  how it all connected, but I found myself really enjoying it anyway. Maps is adorable and quickly became a favorite for me. Can't wait to see what happens to this group of spunky kids.

by Joëlle Jones

160 Pages

The killer housewife is back! The Schuller family has moved to Cocoa Beach, Florida, where life carries on as usual. Josie continues to juggle Tupperware parties, her kids, and a few human heads. However, when someone from her past tails her on a hit, she may be in for more than she bargained for.

Like the first one, this was another great read about a housewife/assassin. Her and her family have finally started a new life but old habits are hard to break and people are not always who they seem to be. I hope there are more of these in the future.

by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

342 Pages (11:20 Hours)

When you listen to this audiobook, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are listening to a story about a jealous ex-wife.
You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement – a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love. 
You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle.
Assume nothing. 
Twisted and deliciously chilling, The Wife Between Us exposes the secret complexities of an enviable marriage - and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.
Listen for the truth between the lies.

Wow, this was a great book. I wasn't quite sure what I was getting into and didn't really know if I would like it or not. It's really not my genre after all. But this book kept me on the edge of of seat, brought up memories I don't like to think about and kept me guessing the whole time. I don't think all of the twists are necessary, but they are amazing. Worth reading.

by Chris Roberson & Mike Allred

168 Pages

Told from a female zombie’s perspective, this smart, witty detective series mixes urban fantasy and romantic dramedy.Gwendolyn “Gwen” Dylan is a 20-something gravedigger in an eco-friendly cemetery. Once a month she must eat a human brain to keep from losing her memories, but in the process she becomes consumed with the thoughts and personality of the dead person – until she eats her next brain. She sets out to fulfill the dead person’s last request, solve a crime or right a wrong.
In uVAMPIRE, Gwen dines on the grey matter of a person who knew her as a child – and things quickly get complicated. Meanwhile, ghost-girl Ellie learns a few tricks from Amon the mummy; Spot the were-terrier goes to the comics shop and meets someone from Gwen’s past, the mad scientist Galatea engages in a bit of grave-robbing; and the monster-hunters tackle the town’s vampire problem once and for all.

There is not a lot that happens plot wise in this book, but it was still good. There was a lot more background info on the secondary characters and I really liked that. Beyond that, there wasn't much to write home about.

by Patricia Briggs

291 Pages

Coyote shifter Mercy Thompson knows that life with her mate, the Alpha werewolf Adam, will never be boring, but even their wedding doesn't go as planned. Nevertheless, a ten-day honeymoon camping on the banks of the Columbia River, alone, just the two of them, should make up for it. But the trip - and the pimped-out trailer they're using - is courtesy of the fae. And nothing from the fae comes without strings attached...
Being a different breed of shapeshifter - a walker - Mercy can see ghosts, but the spirit of her long-gone father has never visited her. Until now. An evil is stirring in the depths of the Columbia River - and innocent people are dying. As other walkers make their presence know to Mercy, she must reconnect with her heritage to exorcise the world of the legend known as the river devil...

I still love this series. It's funny because that still surprises me. I always worry that they won't be good anymore, but they always are. I shouldn't be surprised. This is the first one that takes place outside the tri-state area and it's a nice change in pace. I also love the river demon and how weird and creep it is. Worth reading.

Books that I am currently reading

by Rohinton Mistry
65 of 603 Pages

by Sally Armstrong
145 of 320 Pages

The Forbidden Heir (The Four Arts #2)
by M.J. Scott
 105 of 352 Pages

The White Rose (The Lone City #2)
by Amy Ewing
6:20 of 8:31 Hours