Thursday, March 31, 2011

Fool For Books Giveaway Hop

Thanks for stopping by the Fool For Books Giveaway Hop!   Please fill out the form below to be entered to win one of the prize packs shown (ends on April 2nd at midnight).  Please note that all of the books being given away in this hop are Advanced Reading Copies (ARCs).  You can click on the picture below to learn more about this blog hop.

Also please see the linky tool below to link to some other great sites that are participating in this blog.

Again thanks for stopping by!

Young Adult Pack
Nobody's Princess (Princesses of Myth)EntwinedThe Memory Bank
Nobody's Princess by Esther Friesner (ARC)
Entwined by Heather Dixon (ARC)
The Memory Bank by Coman Shepperson (ARC)

Adult Pack
After the Golden AgeMidnight RiotKraken
After the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn (ARC)
Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch (ARC)
Kraken by China Mieville (ARC)

Early Review - Camera Obscura by Lavie Tidhar (4.5/5 stars)

Camera Obscura (Angry Robot)Reading level: Adult
Genre: Steampunk/Fantasy
Size: 416 pages
Publisher:  Angry Robot
Release Date: April 26, 2011
ISBN-13: 978-0857660947
Stand Alone or Series: 2nd in Bookman series
Source: E-Galley from
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

I got an e-galley of this book through  I was drawn to the interesting description and the mysterious title of the book.  This was an absolutely fantastic book, but definitely not something everyone will enjoy.  Those who like quirky characters and worlds that are gritty and a bit ambiguous will find a lot here to love.  Those who like their stories happy with well-defined storylines should probably look elsewhere.  I didn't know it when I picked this up but this is the second book in this series: the first is The Bookman.   This book seemed to provide a good stand alone story; but I am sure I missed some background by not reading the first novel in the series.

The Lady DeWinter works for the Quiet Council as an investigator.  Her current assignment is to find the whereabouts of a jade statue for them.  But then people start turning up dead and DeWinter is being hunted by shadows.  There are a lot of factions in town looking for this jade statue and none of them are afraid to kill for it.  When the Phantom (a fellow agent gone serial killer) starts on the trail he may be the biggest and deadliest thing standing between DeWinter and her goal.  This book is set in a Victorian like France, where a lizard-like people rule Great Britain, and automatons roam the streets.  There are small sections of the book that are told from a boy named Kai's point of view; he is the one who originally has the jade statue.

The book moves quickly and is incredibly engaging; it was very hard to put this book down and I found myself staying up way too late reading it.  Tidhar does an excellent job with description; making the surroundings and characters easy to picture.  The world built is incredibly interesting.  You have Great Britain occupied by a race of lizard people and complex politics woven around all of that.  The action scenes are plentiful and exceedingly well done.

The characters are all quirky, unique and very interesting.  That being said there isn't a lot of emotion in this book; DeWinter never really has a love interest and that is just not what this book is about.  This book is more about the investigation going on and finding deeper hidden truths beneath all of the layers of deceit that DeWinter comes up against.   It is also about creating a unqiue and intriguing world.  People who are very into emotionally driven stories may not enjoy this book as much.

The setting throughout the novel is very dark and gritty.  DeWinters is constantly scrapping through the underworld and in a state of almost being completely run down.  Again this dark style may be a turn off to some.  The plot is very complex involving multiple factions and layers of intrigue and I really enjoyed it.  The book ends well and wraps things up nicely.

In general this is a strange book, but midway through it gets even stranger.  This is the only part of the book that gave me pause.  Midway through our heroine goes through massive destruction; I am not sure why this had to happen.  I do believe DeWinter came out the other side of it all more interesting, but the emotional damage she would have gained from that trauma wasn't represented all that well (as I said not an emotional book).  Things get even stranger toward the end and start involving alien space travel and gates to other realities.  I really like weird books; but towards the end this book bending towards the too weird region of weird for me.  It was getting to the point where the story was a bit contrived and outlandish...luckily it never got to that point for me but it was close.  Some readers may not enjoy the absolutely strange twists and turns; but if nothing else the book will keep you guessing.

Overall I really, really enjoyed this book.   The completely unique world and the crazy twisting plot really pulled me in.  The characters are interesting and unique (if never really emotionally involved) and the mystery and action absolutely spot on.  The dark tone to the book and the strangeness of it all towards the end of the book may be a turn-off for some readers.  If you like dark stories, with a little amibiguity, and a lot of strange this is definitely the book for you.  It was very well done and very well thought out.  I will definitely be picking up more books by Tidhar in the future.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- 100+ Reading Challenge
- Get Steampunked!
- E-book Reading Challenge

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Graphic Novel Review - The Wake (Sandman, Book 10) by Neil Gaiman (5/5 stars)

The Sandman Vol. 10: The WakeReading level: Adult
Genre: Graphic Novel/Fantasy
Size: 192 pages
Publisher:  Vertigo
Release Date: July 1, 1997
ISBN-13: 978-0865680975
Stand Alone or Series: 10th in Sandman series
Source: Bought
Rating: 5/5 stars

This is the tenth and final book in the Sandman series by Gaiman and various illustrators.  It was a wonderful conclusion to the series and I really enjoyed it.

The first two parts of this graphic novel deal with the death of Morpheus.  We watch as the Endless prepare for his Wake and as people travel to the Dreaming to attend.  There is much reminiscing.  The last parts deal more with the new Morpheus and the affects of him taking over the dreaming.

This was a stunning closure to the series.  After the heart-breaking ending in book 9 where Morpheus chooses Death over continuing to run the Dreaming, this book was good closure for readers.  It was nice to reminisce along with the other characters about things that had happened previously and about how Morpheus affected everyone's lives.  It was good to watch the new Morpheus take-over and see life continue.  It really drove home the point of the Endless...which is that they are...well...endless.

Some of the illustration throughout was absolutely stunning.  The scenes from Morpheus's Wake are just breathtaking.  Some of the later sections are done in a more stylized way and are just as breathtaking for their simplicity.

Overall this was a fantastic conclusion to this series; although I am bit sad to reach the end of it.  I kind of want to start reading it all over again right now.  If you have been enjoying the Sandman series thus far, you definitely will love this final installment.

This book went towards the following reading challenges:
- Graphic Novels Challenge List
- 100+ Reading Challenge

The Sandman Vol. 10: The Wake 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Teaser Tuesday - 3/29

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

- 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!

This week's teaser is from Dark Life by Kat Falls.
Dark Life

Here it is: "Water surrounded the elevator, giving the interior an eerie glow.  Frozen in place, I registered every detail of the outlaw." Pg. 159

Graphic Novel Review - Lost and Found: Three by Shaun Tan (5/5 stars)

Lost and Found: Three by Shaun Tan (Lost and Found Omnibus)Reading level: Middle Grade
Genre: Graphic Novel/Fantasy
Size: 128 pages
Publisher: Signet
Release Date: March 1, 2011
ISBN-13: 978-0545229241
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: Amazon Vine
Rating: 5/5 stars

Previously I have read The Arrival by Shaun Tan I was amazed by both the artwork and the depth of the story in that book.  So when I was offered Lost and Found through the Amazon Vine program I was super excited to read it.  This is a fantastic book; it appeals to both kids and adults, contains stories accessable on many levels, and has just absolutely enchanting artwork.

This book consists of three stories.  The first is The Red Tree which tells the story of a young girl dealing with troubles only to find hope at the end of her trials.  The second is The Lost Thing which tells of a boy who finds a Lost Thing on the beach and tries to find a place where it belongs.  The third is written by John Marsden and is called The Rabbits.   This is a story about white rabbits who take over a world and eventually destroy it.

All of the stories have the story itself and then a deeper meaning as well.  My son who is four years old enjoyed The Lost Thing the most; he was fascinated with the strangeness of the Lost Thing and was interested in the idea of finding strange things that don't belong in the world.  This story will also touch a chord with adults as it addresses the idea that as you get older you see less of wonder and strangeness in the world.  My favorite was the Red Tree; I loved the complex art work in this one and the depth of the story despite it being very sparse on words.

The artwork is fantastic.  Again the Lost Thing has the type of artwork that I most associate with Shaun Tan; pictures of strange fantastical beings that are part fantasy, part machine, and part sci-fi.  I love Shaun Tan's art; you can look at these pictures for a long amount of time and continually see new things...they are complex and fascinating.  There is definitely a bit of steampunk theme throughout; the stories are a bit darker and feature beings made of both monstrous and mechanical parts meshed together.

Overall this is just and absolutely stellar book.  I really enjoyed it and my son did as well.  Wonderful stories that are accessible at different levels and mean different things to children and adults, complex and fantastical artwork, this was just a super interesting and engaging book.  I can't wait to see what Tan comes up with next.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:

Monday, March 28, 2011

Review - Steamed: A Steampunk Romance by Katie MacAlister (2/5 stars)

Steamed: A Steampunk Romance (Paranormal Romance (Signet))Reading level: Adult
Genre: Steampunk/Romance
Size: 352 pages

Publisher: Signet
Release Date: February 2, 2010
ISBN-13: 978-0451229311
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: Bought
Rating: 2/5 stars

I originally bought this book because I was getting into reading Steampunk, had just finished MacAlister's Aisling Grey series and found it amusing, and was looking for a light fun read.  This book overall was a disappointment.  I finished it because I was sitting on a plane for three hours and had nothing else to read.  It started out kind of amusing but the plot got so convoluted and then wrapped up in such a contrived way I just had to roll my eyes.

Jack Fletcher and his sister Hallie are zapped into an alternate reality when a lab experiment goes wrong.  They find themselves on the airship of Captain Octavia Pye.  Sparks fly between Jack and Octavia, but Octavia is wrapped up in a number of political schemes that entangle her whole crew in a fight for their lives.

The book started out kind of amusing.  Jack is a geek with a rep for being a ladies man and Octavia appears to be a straight-laced women commander who doesn't take Jacks advances at all kindly.  Of course this book being what it is, that eventually changes and Jack and Octavia couldn't get enough of each other.

The world is loosely steampunk.  That is to say there are some automatons, a Europe and Asia still stuck in war, lots of airships and a Victorian feel to it all.  Given that the world felt a bit incomplete.  There was a lot of political stuff going on in this book but most of it seemed contrived and all of it was tied to men that Octavia had slept with.  This really wasn't in keeping with Octavia's supposed stuffiness.  Most of the plot seemed loosely thrown together in a way that enabled Jack and Octavia to have more sex.

Jack was obnoxious as a character and I wasn't at all intrigued by him.  His sister Hallie was a doorstop more than anything else, oh and she was a bit of a plot device since she got lost and had to be tracked down.  I am really not at all sure why she was even in the book.

The potential for Jack and Octavia to have a steaming hot relationship was there, but puttered out pretty quick.  Octavia gives into Jack quickly and from there out they were pretty uninspiring.  There wasn't a lot to keep the characters apart and, given that this book focused mainly on their relationship, it made things pretty boring for the remainder of the story.  There was so much potential here for a steamy romance set in a steampunk Victoria era and it just wasn't realized.  I felt like MacAlister wrote this over a weekend for fun and didn't bother really making her characters, plot, or world all that filled out.

Given all of the above, the story was slightly amusing.  I was stuck on a plane and didn't have much else to do so I finished it; although I have to admit I had trouble getting through the last third of the book even though I had absolutely nothing else to do....

Overall my recommendation would be to skip this book.  If you want to read something by MacAlister pick up her Aisling Grey Guardian series, it is much much better than this book.  Keep in mind that MacAlister writes light fluffly, funny, paranormal romance.  If you want to read a steampunk paranormal romance that is awesome pick up The Iron Duke by Meljean Brooke; The Iron Duke has an actual plot, awesome characters, and an absolutely fantastic world.  If you feel like you still absolutely need to read this book do yourself a favor and get it from the library.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After Book Trailer

Quirk books shared the following trailer with me. This is the final installment in the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies series: Dreadfully Ever After.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After

Have fun watching!

Review - The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver (5/5 stars)

The Demon Trapper's Daughter: A Demon Trappers Novel (Demon Trapper Novels)
Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Size: 368 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: February 1, 2011
ISBN-13: 978-0312614782
Stand Alone or Series: 1st in Demon Trapper's series
Source: Loan from a friend
Rating: 5/5 stars

I got this book on loan from a friend.  This is the first book in Oliver's new Demon Trapper series; right now Oliver is contracted for three books in this series.  The book started off a bit shaky for me but I was quickly drawn into the story after that and ended up absolutely loving it.

Riley is a seventeen year old whose family life has been stricken by tragedy numerous times.  Riley is training under her father, Paul, to become a Demon Trapper just like him.  She is also trying to keep up with school three nights a week and deal with making ends meet in a world gone to Hell...literally.  In the futuristic version of Atlanta Riley lives in people are constantly plagued by demons and Necromancers and survival is a struggle.

I pretty much loved all of the characters in this book.  Riley is tough, smart, and sometimes takes on more than she can handle...but she does everything with a sort of honor behind it and I admired her.  She had to deal with so many bad things in this book and she came out stronger because of it all.  I love the boys who are her love interests; and there are many of them.  She is friends with a hacker geek named Peter who helps her out with both social and techie problems.  She has a strangely religious but handsome co-demon trapper apprentice named Simon to deal with.  Then there is Denver Beck, her father's apprentice who used to treat Riley like his little sister but is suddently realizing she is all grown up.  On top of this all there is a mysterious ninja-like man who pops in and out of fights constantly saves Riley's butt.

Then there are all the other Demon Trapper's; they are a diverse and interesting crew...I enjoyed them all.

The world is wonderful. I loved the gritty post-apocalyptic feel to it; the way the characters need their wits to survive.  I enjoyed the different types of demons: the Biblios (book eating fiends), the Magpies (harmless hoaders), and the GeoFiends (elemental wielding towers of power).  It has a big of a dungeon crawler feeler to it with all of the enemy encounters...but in a city.  I also love the way the Demon Trappers wield magic against these fiends.  The elemental globes and tricks they have are cleverly used and interesting to read about.  Then there are the witches and the necromancers; this book barely touches the surface of those types of characters...and I soooo want to learn more about them too.

I just pretty much loved everything about this series.  It has a bit of humor in it to keep things from getting too serious too.  I would recommend for older young adults; a lot of the other Demon Trapper's say some pretty awful sexual things to Riley because she is the only girl demon trapper.  It is also pretty grisly and violent at parts and there is some swearing

The first couple chapters were a bit slow and had me feeling like "Oh, geez this is just another young adult paranormal novel where the heroine is stuck between a couple of guys." but then things really started moving and I was totally blown away.  This book ends well, definitely open for some more books in this series and I hope there are more than two more (although right now Oliver only has two more on contract).

Overall just a fantastic young adult urban fantasy; definitely more urban fanasy than paranormal.  There are kick-butt action scenes, wonderful characters, a fantastic world, and awesome fiends and magic.   Just a wonderful, wonderful read.  I absolutely cannot wait to read the next book in this series.  Fans of urban fantasy (even adult fans) should check this series out.  Fans of strong female leads fighting against horrible odds will love this.  I really haven't read any young adult urban fantasies out there that hit this level of action and grittiness with a female heroine.  Absolutely cannot wait to read the next book in this series!

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:

The Demon Trapper's Daughter: A Demon Trappers Novel (Demon Trapper Novels)

In My Mailbox and Mailbox Monday - 3/28

IMM is a meme started at The Story Siren with some inspiration from Alea of Pop Culture Junkie.

Anyone can participate in IMM and you are not limited to only sharing books that arrive via your mailbox. You can also share books that you've bought or books that you've gotten at the library.

Mailbox Monday can be found at: The Printed Page

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks & audio books do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

This week I got four books.  I got Lost and Found by Shaun Tan through the Amazon Vine program and am super excited to read this since I love his books and art.  I also got The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross as an eARC through

In addition to that I got two books from the library.  Dark Life by Kat Falls (which I've wanted to read forever) and Monster Hunter Vendetta by Larry Correia (loved Monster Hunter International).

Hope you all got great books and have a wonderful week of reading.

For Review:
Lost and Found: Three by Shaun Tan The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles)

From Library:
Dark Life Monster Hunter Vendetta
Dark Life by Kat Falls
Monster Hunter Vendetta by Larry Correia