Archive for February, 2015

Good afternoon!  I’m sorry for the lack of posts in the last couple of weeks, but I have been on vacation.  It was a very relaxing vacation spent visiting family and I got to read a whole bunch, which was excellent.  With being on holiday, I added so much to my library.

I was really in the mood for a quirky contemporary romance, so I added Rainbow Rowell’s Landline to my collection and read and finished it straight away.  It was an excellent choice and I devoured it straight up.  I loved the main character, Georgie McCool – what an awesome name! – and adored how her relationship with her husband was explored in both past and present.  Definitely worth picking up.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard has been promoted very heavily recently, and I gave in and bought it.  I ended up really enjoying it and will write a full review soon.

Despite not being blown over by Bloodlines by Richelle Mead, I was really in the mood for that kind of book and after leafing through Golden Lily in a bookstore I picked it up in Kindle format.  I did enjoy it more than the first book in the series, but not enough to want to go out and buy the rest of the series immediately as I did with Vampire Academy.  I will probably continue the series at some point but not immediately.

One of my most anticipated releases of March was Victoria Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic.  I’d been hooked from the sneak preview I saw and had it downloaded to my Kindle on release day, February 23rd.  I’ve already finished it and will be writing a full review soon.

One of my favourite YA series is the Gem trilogy by Kerstin Gier – Ruby Red, Sapphire Blue and Emerald Green.  The German Blu Ray of Sapphire Blue comes out next week and I have ordered it from Amazon Germany.  Amazon also has the first five chapters for free of the English translation for Gier’s newest series Dream a Little Dream.  It has the same engaging narrative style as the Gem trilogy and although the first five chapters were not enough to give a real sense of the story, I will probably check it out.

Katytastic. one of my favourite booktubers, recently has started reviewing the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson and this has inspired me to pick up the books in audiobook format – read by the fantastic Michael Kramer – for a reread.  Excellent books, all, and I can’t wait for Kat’s thoughts on Hero of the Ages.

I also borrowed a few books from the library.  One of these was Golden Son by Pierce Brown.  I wasn’t really blown away by Red Rising, but Golden Son has been getting rave reviews so I thought I should check it out.  I’ll be honest and say I just couldn’t get into it.  I did spend an Audible credit to have it in my library, so I may try to go back to it again.

Another book I borrowed was Shopaholic in Hollywood by Sophie Kinsella which I borrowed in audiobook format. It was a lot of fun at first, but I found I got rather bored of the same situations coming up again and again and lack of character development for Becky.  I didn’t bother finishing it.

One borrowed book I did finish was Loki’s Wolves by K. L. Armstrong and M. A. Marr.  This is a kind of poor man’s Rick Riordan with teens being linked to Norse gods and having to save the world.  It was a lot of fun, but probably not enough for me to continue the series.  I’d rather wait and see Riordan’s take o the Norse mythology.

Upcoming releases in March

There are quite a few books coming out in March about which I am excited:

Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs.  This is the fourth book in her Alpha and Omega series.  I do enjoy these so I have preordered this in Kindle format.  Dead Heat is released on March 3rd.

The Lost Herondale – Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy.  This is the second in a series of novellas from Cassandra Clare and Robin Wasserman and follows Simon Lewis as he continues Shadowhunter training.  If it’s like the first one, it’s fun, but not particularly deep.  Still it will pass an enjoyable couple of hours and ease the wait for Lady Midnight.  I’ll pick this up in Kindle format on March 17th.

The Skull Throne by Peter V. Brett.  This is the fourth in the Demon Cycle series.  I’m honestly surprised that I’ve not heard more buzz about this one.  I really enjoy Brett’s worldbuilding and the narrative he is developing.  It’s not yet available on Audible but I will be picking this up in both audiobook and Kindle format.  The Skull Throne is released on March 30th.

On March 31st Danielle Paige’s sequel to Dorothy Must Die, The Wicked Will Rise, will be released.  Now, I did have some serious issues with the first book, but the world is intriguing enough for me to want to continue the story.  I’ll pick this up in both Audible and Kindle formats.

One expensive splurge I’m making on March 31st is the updated version of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlandish Companion.  At $21 it’s quite expensive, but I do enjoy the series – both books and TV – and will enjoy learning more about the background.  It will be available in Kindle format.

My work hours have changed now, and I’ll have to go back to nightshifts very shortly about which I am pretty bummed.  The only bright spot is that I will be able to get through a lot of audiobooks.  Any recommendations for me?

Have a good week – until next time.

The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon – ReviewThe Mime Order by Samantha Shannon
Also in this series: The Bone Season
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Alana Kerr
Length: 16 hours and 28 minutes
Genres: Contemporary Fantasy, Dystopian
Buy from AmazonKoboiTunesAudible
Evelynne’s rating:

four-half-stars

The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon is the second in her dystopian fantasy series – it is the follow on to The Bone Season which I have read and reviewed.  It follows straight on from the ending of The Bone Season and deals with the aftermath of the events of that novel.  I will say straight off that I enjoyed The Mime Order much more than the series opener.  Much of the heavy lifting in terms of worldbuilding has been done – although there is naturally much more to learn – so Shannon is able to concentrate on weaving a strong narrative.

What I liked

Very strong narrative.  For me this worked very well in this book.  Our protagonist has a clear, logical goal towards which she is working – the uniting of the clairvoyant underworld to provide a viable opposition to the Raphaim – and while there are lots of twists and turns in the way, it remains the backbone of the story.  Personally, I was invested in this plotline and enjoyed watching it coming to fruition.  I also felt Shannon kept the plot moving on briskly and had me wanting to keep turning the pages.

Engaging protagonist.  The more time I spent with Paige the more I liked her and was invested in her goals.  She is clearly a smart cookie and I look forward to continuing her story.

Mix of genres.  I enjoyed that the novel crossed quite a few genres.  We had the dystopian fantasy (which took a bit of a back seat this time), a murder mystery, mafia crime novel and a bit of romance.

Audiobook narration.  I listened to The Mime Order primarily in audiobook and once again Irish actress Alana Kerr took on narration duties.  I really enjoyed her interpretation of the book and will certainly continue to follow this series in audiobook because of her excellent narration.  Here’s a sample:


http://samples.audible.com/bk/adbl/020334/bk_adbl_020334_sample.mp3

What I didn’t like

Lots of jargon.  This was one of my biggest gripes about The Bone Season and that continues in the sequel  After a while I gave up trying to work out what kind of clairvoyant particular characters were and where they stood in the clairvoyant hierarchy.

The relationship between Paige and Warden.  I really couldn’t get behind this relationship at all in this book.  As Paige’s friends kept pointing out to her, Warden did keep her captive for several months and exercised the power of death over her.  I just didn’t feel that his aid at the end of The Bone Season justified the level of trust Paige placed in him.  I keep thinking Paige, sweetie, jump online and do a quick Google of Stockholm syndrome please.  It’s also very clear that the way their relationship developed in The Mime Order is going to come back and bite them on the butt very, very soon.

All in all I really loved The Mime Order.  I gave it four and a half stars out of five and will certainly continue with this series.

 buy from Amazon, Kobo, iTunes, Audible

four-half-stars

Fairest – Levana’s Story by Marissa Meyer – ReviewFairest – Levana’s Story by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #0.5
Genres: Contemporary Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Rebecca Soler
Length: 6 hours 36 minutes
Buy from AmazonKoboiTunesAudible
three-half-stars

Fairest – Levana’s Story by Marissa Meyer is a prequel to her fairytale reimagining series The Lunar Chronicles.  It provides the backstory to series antagonist Queen Levana Blackburn of Luna.  If you are new to The Lunar Chronicles, PLEASE don’t start with this book – go read Cinder, Scarlet and Cress and then come back to it.  It will be more engaging in that way.

This book is a very focussed character study of Queen Levana and how she turned from a naive, self absorbed young girl into the tyrant our heroines are trying to depose.  There is little in the way of worldbuilding or major plot development.  It remains mostly confined to the Lunar Royal Palace.

What I liked

Character development.  This is the focus of the book and is excellently done.  We follow Levana’s progression from a self absorbed, naive young girl to the vicious despot of the later books. I appreciated how each step and decision she took along that path was small and logical at the time but each developed her character as it turned out to be.  I found her an interesting character, and at many points she gained my sympathy for what she went through.

Character cameos.  Many of the characters from the later books made cameo appearances as their younger selves.  Even if they weren’t specifically named as such it was great fun to spot Cinder, Cress, Kai and other characters.

Audiobook narration.  Once again narration is provided by Rebecca Soler who did the narration for the other books in the series.  She does a brilliant job of capturing the characters’ voices and I hope she continues for Winter, the final book in the series.

Here’s a sample:


http://samples.audible.com/bk/aren/001819/bk_aren_001819_sample.mp3

What I didn’t like

Very expensive for such a short book.  This book is really a novella – barely 272 pages or 6 hours and 36 minutes of audiobook – and yet is was priced comparatively expensively.  I paid the price but a bit more resentfully than for other books.

No chapter breaks.  The book is written in one long narrative unbroken into chapters.  Now, I am a working woman and I don’t have the luxury of settling down to long chunks of several hours’ reading.  For me, the chapter breaks are valuable to give me a good place to stop.

Not Whispersync for Voice compatible.  In other words, the ebook and the audiobook didn’t sync.  Combined with the lack of chapter breaks, it made switching between ebook and audiobook a very frustrating experience.  If you’re only enjoying the book in one medium this won’t be an issue for you, but I did contribute to my lack of enjoyment.

Less engaging protagonist.  Yes, Levana is a fascinating character and yes, I enjoyed learning about her backstory.  However, it cannot be said that she is immediately likeable or engaging in the way that Cinder, Scarlet and Cress are.

Less humour.  One of the fun parts of The Lunar Chronicles is the banter that is exchanged between our main characters.  This was missing from Fairest – Levana’s Story.  Thinking back, it’s because in this book we spend very little time with characters who actually like and respect each other.  This book contains the first few chapters of Winter, which I listened to, including a scene on the Rampion and I immediately felt “yes, THIS is the Lunar Chronicles I know and love!”

To summarise, while I enjoyed Fairest – Levana’s Story, for me it wasn’t a must-read part of The Lunar Chronicles.  Certainly, it shouldn’t be the first book you read in the series.  It does provide an interesting expansion to the series though.

I gave Fairest – Levana’s Story 3.5 stars out of five.