Books I've Read

Book Review: Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

I’m really excited for this review, mostly because I waited three years for this book to come out. The first book in this series was so clever and interesting, and ended on a huge cliffhanger, so the second book had a lot to live up to. Did it meet my expectations? Why yes, yes it did. Here is my review of Hollow City by Ransom Riggs,

Slight spoilers fo Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. You have been warned.

hollow city

This book picks up immediately after book one’s conclusion. Jacob and the peculiars have left the island and their time loop that had kept them safe for so long and are on their way to the mainland in three rickety boats. And it’s not smooth sailing. They came out of the loop in 1940, the year it had been created, and there’s a little war going on. World War II. Bomber planes are in the air, submarines are in the water, and the wights are still chasing them.

Also – their guardian, or ymbryne, Miss Peregrine, is trapped in the form of a bird and can’t change back. She can’t help them or communicate in any way.

So the peculiars head for London, hoping to find another ymbryne who hasn’t been captured yet who can help Miss Peregrine. We get to meet a whole bunch of new peculiars along the way, including gypsies, circus performers, and talking animals. Wights and hollows chase them at every turn and nowhere is safe.

Tying everything together is the collection of vintage photographs that provide the illustrations for the story. I still love this idea and it still worked well in this book, just like it did in Miss Peregrine’s.

Here’s the thing that impresses me most about these books – the plot twist. Riggs did this to me in the first book – threw a crazy twist into the story that turns the whole thing upside down and . . . I never saw it coming. Not a hint. I like to think that since I read so much, I have gotten at least a little savvy about these sort of things. It’s easy to spot clues when you see similar ones over and over. Hollow City’s plot twist threw me for a loop and had me questioning every single character. It was really well done.

So overall, these books are great. I love the mythology that Riggs has developed about the peculiars, I love the photography, and I love the story. I can’t wait to see what the third book brings (not that they’ve announced a third book, but WE CAN’T LEAVE IT THERE!). If you haven’t read Miss Peregrine’s, you definitely need to start there, but I recommend that you read both of them. They are excellent.

Teaser Tuesday · Top Ten Tuesdays

Teasers and Top Tens for January 28th

It is so hard to get back into the swing of things after taking time off blogging! Besides that, I won’t have much to review since I’m primarily focusing on the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin, and A). I’ve already talked about how much I love them, and B). they’re so massive, there’s no way a review of mine could do them justice. I can, however, keep up with my weekly memes, which is what brings me here today.

Teaser TuesdayTeaser Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by MizB at “Should Be Reading.” Here are the rules if you want to play along:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Tyrion allowed himself a moment to feel sorry for the boy. Another fool, and a weakling as well, but he doesn’t not deserve what Cersei and I are doing to him. It was a kindness that his uncle Kevan had two other sons; this one was unlikely to live out the year.

A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

These books are so good, but hard to pull quotes from. It’s all amazing stuff.

toptentuesday2Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the folks over at “The Broke and the Bookish.” This week’s topic:

Top Ten Worlds We’d Never Want to Live In

Since I read a lot of fantasy/sci-fi, this one comes with a lot of choices for me. Throw in all the dystopian stuff that’s so popular at the moment and you can add a bunch more to this list. For today, however, I will narrow this list down to seven choices.

1. Westeros (A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin) – Let’s keep the GRRM love coming! While I love his work, I would hate to live in his world, only because I would probably die very quickly. I’m not devious enough to survive.

2. Panem (The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins) – Another place where I probably wouldn’t survive. My hometown is smack dab in the middle of District 12.

3. The NeverNever (The Iron Fey by Julie Kagawa) – This really goes for all fairy realms really, but Kagawa shows just how dangerous and devious a place it is. Fairies are beautiful, but you don’t want to live among them!

4. The United States (as portrayed in Ready Player One by Ernest Cline) – While I practically live online anyway, I don’t want that to be the only place on Earth worth living. And I don’t want to live in a stack of trailers either.

5. The United States (as portrayed in the Newsflesh series by Mira Grant) – Zombies everywhere, the government not to be trusted, the people sent to protect you actually trying to kill you instead. Yeah. No thanks.

6. The United States (as portrayed in Pawn by Aimee Carter) – While I was always good at taking tests in school, I don’t want my entire future based on the results of one of them. And the things they can do you if you fail? *shivers*

7. Deepgate (Scar Night by Alan Campbell) – You’d think a book with angels in it would be uplifting, right? Wrong! This city is suspended over deep pit by thick chains. I’m too clumsy to live there! One wrong step and . . . AAAAAhhhhhhhhh!

Please leave your teasers and top ten lists in comments!

Books I've Read

Book Review: Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor

Whew! It’s been a rather crazy time at my house, mostly because everyone has been sick. Including me, unfortunately, which is why I disappeared from the blogging world for a bit. Starting to get back in the swing of things, thank goodness.

Time to get caught up on some book reviews. Today’s review is Days if Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor. You may remember my love for the first book in this series, Daughter of Smoke & Bone, and book two did not disappoint. It was so so good! Unfortunately, it’s hard to talk about book two without spoiling book one, so the rest of the review will be below the picture. Don’t read on if you don’t want to be spoiled!

days of blood & starlight

First off, I want to say that not only do I love the cover art for these books, I just love the titles. Book two has a lot going on, which is good, but there was one main thing I was worried about going into it. Book one relied heavily on the mystery of Karou’s identity – how she came to work with Brimstone, where she came from, her strange connection to Akiva. Now, we know exactly who (and what) she is: she’s a chimaera, reborn into human form, who had been executed for falling in love with an angel, the chimaeras’ sworn enemies. Karou has rejoined her people and is working in Brimstone’s stead as their resurrectionist, but none of them trust her. Particularly not Thiago, the White Wolf, her one time suitor who was incensed that she rejected him. Karou doesn’t know when they will decide that she has outlived her usefulness, but for now, she tries to help rebuild their army.

And then there’s Akiva, who thinks for a good portion of the book that Karou is dead. He is tired of fighting, tired of being nothing but a drone in the army of angels, despite the fact that this was the life he was created for. Most of all, he misses the dream of peace and happiness that Karou represented. Once he discovers that Karou is alive, the whole book changes, and it is full steam ahead.

This was an excellent book, a great sequel to Daughter of Smoke & Bone. The third book, Dreams of Gods & Monsters, comes out in April and I will be anxiously awaiting its release. I love the story, the mythology, and most of all the characters. Good stuff.

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday for January 15th

www_wednesdays4

How is it already the middle of January?!? Wasn’t Christmas just last week?!?

WWW Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by MizB at “Should Be Reading.” Three questions, three answers. Go!

What are you currently reading?

As you probably guessed from my excitement yesterday, I am currently reading Hollow City by Ransom Riggs. It’s really good so far! I’m also re-reading the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin, so I’m also about halfway through A Game of Thrones. For such big books, they sure do read fast! So much is going on! It’s been a really long time since I’ve read them, and I never finished the newest one, mostly because I had forgotten a bunch of stuff and started getting lost.

What did you recently finish reading?

Recently finished Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, in preparation to read Hollow City. You can read my review of Miss Peregrine’s here. I also finished reading Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor and will hopefully get a review of that one up this weekend.

What do you think you’ll read next?

This is always so hard to pick. Definitely the second George R.R. Martin book, A Clash of Kings. Other than that, I might start The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau. It’s been sitting on my TBR shelf for a while, so I can count it towards that challenge.

Please leave your answers in comments!

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday for January 14th

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by MizB at “Should Be Reading.” The rules are simple if you want to play along:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Today I am really really really excited because a new book just popped up on my Kindle – Hollow City by Ransom Riggs! I haven’t even started it yet, but for my teaser, I shall share with you the first two sentences.

We rowed out through the harbor, past bobbing boats weeping rust from their seams, past juries of silent seabirds roosting atop the barnacled remains of sunken docks, past fishermen who lowered their nets to stare frozenly as we slipped by, uncertain whether we were real or imagined; a procession of waterborne ghosts, or ghosts soon to be. We were ten children and one bird in three small and unsteady boats, rowing with  quiet intensity straight out to sea, the only safe harbor for miles receding quickly behind us, craggy and magical in the blue-gold light of dawn.

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

Wow. Okay, so it looks like this picks up right where Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children left off. Holy crap, I can’t wait to read this!

Ahem. Sorry. I’m just a little bit excited.

So if you have any teasers for today, please leave them in comments. No Top Ten Tuesday for me today, since the topic is about 2014 debuts and I really couldn’t think of very many.

Books I've Read

Book Review: Black Heart by Holly Black

Today’s review is not only a great book, but the final book in a really good series. It’s also one of the series that I set out to complete this year! Yay!

black heart

I’ve talked about these books before, this blending of urban fantasy and mobster story, and the last book doesn’t disappoint. Things are getting more and more complicated Cassel Sharpe as more and more people find out for sure what he is. Officially, he’s working with a branch the federal government, trying to help them further the cause of worker rights, but when they come up with a crazy scheme that could lead to Cassel being framed for a major crime, he has to think twice. He also has his mother to consider – his mother who had attempted a working on the governor himself and is now being hunted down. She’s under the protection of Zacharov, the crime family that had offered Cassel a job, that he had turned his back on.

Again, everything in these books is precarious. You never know who is going to do what, who is on your side, and who is scheming to bring you down. It makes it very hard to put the books down. There aren’t any more books listed in the series on GoodReads, but it has been left open just enough that there could be something down the road. I really hope there is. There was a little bit of a “riding off into the sunset” feeling to the end of the book, but with curse workers, nothing is ever that simple. So I guess we’ll see.

But for now, I have finished this series and I highly recommend all of the books therein. Very, very good stuff.

Reading colors your life

Books I've Read

Book Review: Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

First book review for the new year! This book is also the first book to be listed as a series I must complete before the end of 2014. Here is my review of Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor.

daughter of smoke & bone

Check out that cover. Is it not gorgeous?

Our main character is Karou, a young art student living in Prague. Outwardly, she seems to have a normal life: going to her art classes, hanging out with her friends, dealing with her crazy self-obsessed ex-boyfriend. She also has blue hair. Blue hair that grows out as blue hair. She has tons of sketchbooks full of drawings of fantastical creatures, all with names and stories to go with them: Brimstone, massive with great rams horns growing from his head; Issa, beautiful part human, part snake; Yasri, with a beak like a parrot; and Twigga, with the head of a giraffe. She talks about them conversationally, as though they were actually real and not just stories.

Because, of course, they are real.

Karou grew up in Brimstone’s workshop. She doesn’t have a real human family, just a handful of humans who work for Brimstone and who would pose as Karou’s legal guardian as needed. The portal to Brimstone’s shop can open to many different cities – Prague, Paris, Marrakesh – and Karou travels through them often to transport things for Brimstone from the various collectors he works with – namely teeth. Brimstone’s workshop is full of teeth of all kinds, human and animal. Karou doesn’t understand what he does with them, but she gets paid for her tasks in wishes, or rather, scuppies – beads that can be used for wishes.

Slightly off topic, but there’s a very funny scene towards the beginning of the book, where Karou’s ex-boyfriend is trying to get her back. He volunteers to pose for her drawing class – in the nude, of course – in order to flaunt himself in front of her. She uses the scuppies, strung on a necklace, to make him itch. Very. Badly. It gets worse and worse until he has to run from the room. It’s a really funny scene.

Enter Akiva. He’s an angel. No really. An angel. He finds Karou and knows that she is working for Brimstone, who is his enemy. They fight, and Karou is able to get away, but just barely. There is something about Karou that keeps Akiva from killing her. He has killed many people and creatures, but can’t kill her. He feels nothing inside, due to a tragedy that happened back in his past, which makes him an excellent soldier. One by one, he and his comrades burn black hand prints into the doors of Brimstone’s portals, until one day they all go up in flames. Karou now has no way of getting back to Brimstone and the others, cut off from the only family she has ever known.

Karou goes off hunting down Brimstone’s associates to get some of their wish tokens in order to try and wish herself back to Brimstone, using one of them to give herself the ability to fly. Akiva, who can’t stop thinking about her, tracks her down and tries to explain. There is something about Akiva, aside from the fact that he’s beautiful, that draws Karou to him, and the two of them start to fall in love. It’s an almost idyllic time, until Akiva sees the wishbone that Karou has around her neck. It had once belonged to Brimstone, but he had sent it to Karou just before the portals burned. Akiva now knows exactly who Karou is and, if they break the wishbone, she will know too. Which, of course, is what happens.

Throughout the whole first part of the book, you wonder who Karou is and how she happened to be part of this crazy family of strange creatures (or chimaera). Once the wishbone is snapped, there is a whole flashback sequence that explains a lot about Karou’s past and the things she can’t remember. It goes on for several chapters, which would usually annoy me, but it’s really well done here. The story is fascinating and it changes everything.

This book was fantastic. I loved every second of it and could not put it down. I had to get the second book immediately and, in fact, I’ve already finished that one too. Which means that I’ve completed this series! Well, until April when the third book comes out. But more on the second book later. You need to go out and find this book first. It is ah-ma-zing!