Monday, October 26, 2015

Stone in the Sky

by Cecil Castellucci

Story summary: Meh, I'm lazy. It was fun to read this book, but not fun enough to get the energy necessary to write a story summary.  I'm going to use the Goodreads description:
"In this thrilling follow-up to Tin Star, Tula will need to rely on more than just her wits to save her only home in the sky.
After escaping death a second time, Tula Bane is now even thirstier for revenge. She spends much of her time in the Tin Star Café on the Yertina Feray—the space station she calls home. But when it's discovered that the desolate and abandoned planet near the station has high quantities of a precious resource, the once sleepy space station becomes a major player in intergalactic politics. In the spirit of the Gold Rush, aliens from all over the galaxy race to cash in—including Tula's worst enemy."
Sequel to Tin Star.

Why You Will Like This Book:
  • Traveling the galaxy! Multitudes of alien species! Even alien romance!
  • In other words, it's fun scifi/space opera.

And Why You Might Not:
  • It was too short to fit in all that it tried to fit in, and felt a bit too busy and lacking in build-up.
  • There was a love triangle I found annoying.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Tin Star

by Cecil Castellucci

Story Summary: Thula is beaten and left for dead by a cult leader to whom she was just a little too clear-thinking. Stuck in a space station outpost with no money, friends, family, food, anything, she has to build up her life from the ground up, while navigating the tricky world of inter-species relations.

Why You Will Like This Book:
  • Survival on a space station! How Thula learned to survive in the gutters of a space station is probably my favourite part of the book.
  • Interesting and well-developed alien races! The galaxy has an interesting political system too.
  • Quite unexpected romance! (There's also some quite expected romance, but that's for the second set of points below.)

And Why You Might Not:
  • As I mentioned above, some of the romance seems a bit cliched YA to me. It was all about "he makes my heart race!" and nothing about his actual character in any way.
  • It's quite short. Some changes seemed a bit abrupt because of that. Could have used a bit more build for a few things.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Capt. Hook

by J. V. Hart

Story summary: I only read a few chapters of this one before deciding I was going to leave it unfinished (at least for now), so I don't feel like I can properly summarize it. Goodreads it is:

"With his long black curls, a shadowy family tree, and an affinity for pet spiders, James Matthew bears little resemblance to his starched-collar, blue-blooded peers at Eton. Dubbed King Jas., he stops at nothing to become the most notorious underclassman in the prestigious school's history. For James, sword fighting, falling in love with an Ottoman Sultana, and challenging the Queen of England are all in a day's skullduggery. But when he sets sail on a ship with a mysterious mission, King Jas.' dream of discovering a magical island quickly turns into an unimaginable nightmare.
Screenwriter J. V. Hart traces the evolution of J. M. Barrie's classic villain from an eccentric outcast to the scourge of Neverland."

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Last Ever After

by Soman Chainani

Story summary: I lazily stole the Goodreads description for the first two books--of course I'm going to do it for the third. Here it is, slightly rearranged to avoid spoilers:
"[A]s [former best friends Sophie and Agatha] settle into their new lives, their story begs to be re-written, and this time, theirs isn’t the only one. With the girls apart, Evil has taken over and the villains of the past have come back to change their tales and turn the world of Good and Evil upside down.
[E]verything old is new again as Sophie and Agatha fight the past as well as the present to find the perfect end to their story. This extraordinary conclusion delivers more action, adventure, laughter, romance and fairy tale twists and turns than you could ever dream of!"
Sequel to The School for Good and Evil and A World Without Princes.

Why You Will Like This Book:
  • Epic fairy tale battles.
  • Epic friendships and romances.
  • Epic secret organizations of really old retired people.

And Why You Might Not:
  • Boy, the relationships in this series are really intertwined and convoluted.
  • And these relationship twists pretty much take up the first half of the book. It's a thick book, and could have been cut in half and been much better.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Gay and Catholic

by Eve Tushnet

Why You Will Like This Book:
  • Orthodox Catholic, yet gritty and real.
  • Written in an amusing and engaging style, drawing much from her own experiences.
  • Discusses really important topics to our times: love, community, friendship. All of which are under appreciated or misunderstood these days.

And Why You Might Not:
  • She doesn't try to explain the Catholic teachings on sexuality. If you're looking for a good way to convince people or yourself, this is not it.
  • Some of this might bother you, whether you agree or don't agree with the teachings of the Church on human sexuality. She is upfront enough with her sexuality, and compassionate to other LGBTQ people, that a traditional Catholic could be uncomfortable (though she is completely orthodox herself), and she is Catholic enough that a normal, non-homophobic, non-Catholic person could think her ideas lacking in tolerance.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Retro Friday Review: Sir Hereward and Mister Fitz

by Garth Nix

Retro Friday Introduction:

Retro Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Angie @ Angieville and focuses on reviewing books from the past. This can be a favourite, an under the radar book you think deserves more attention, something woefully out of print etc.

Garth Nix is a decently well known Australian fantasy author, probably most famous for his Sabriel series (which is also fabulous). I think all of Garth Nix's books are more under the radar than they should be (despite him being well-known among young-adult fantasy aficionados), but this little book is probably the worst off. However, it is also among my favourite collections of short stories I have ever read. Perfect book for a Retro Friday.

Story summary: In these three short stories, a young soldier and his magical puppet sidekick* travel the land on their mysterious business, having adventures with giant starfish, duels, beautiful soldier women, cannibalistic pirates, and god-possessed captains.

Why You Will Like This Book:
  • The world-building is amazing and so cool and gives this sense of vast history. Plus it's just fun. I want mooooooore.
  • It has all the adventure and brotherhood and Classic writing style of The Three Musketeers within the world of an epic and original fantasy series.
  • Short stories can sometimes pack a greater emotional punch for me, as everything is concentrated and everything superfluous cut out. So it is with these.

And Why You Might Not:
  • This is written in the old-fashioned, Three-Musketeers-type-adventure style, the worst part of which is the "sleeping with every pretty woman" aspect. Fortunately, the women are fascinating, well-written characters, so this ends up actually being mostly a benefit.
  • I love this book whole-heartedly, so I had to look up other people's reviews to find some possible criticisms for this section. (Apparently not everyone has the same taste as me! Who knew!) Mainly some people thought it was too dark, and some didn't like the format of short stories and thought it would work better with more information and story. Both of which I could see as being legitimate reasons not to like it, if you were a person-who-is-not-me.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


by R. J. Anderson

Story summary: Knife is a faery, a befriender of dangerous humans, a hunter of Crows. And when it becomes clear that something mysterious is very wrong in the Oak, she isn't going to stay in safety and ignorance.

Why You Will Like This Book:
  • Stars a fiercely inquisitive heroine whose name is Knife. (I mean come on, awesome name, no?)
  • For me as a Catholic, I love Anderson's tiny references to her Faith. (Though don't worry if you're not religious; it's a very, very small part and not at all distracting.)

And Why You Might Not:
  • It's a little simpler than I'd like, especially with regards to the growth of Knife and Paul's relationship (which I liked--I just wanted more exploration of it).

Saturday, October 3, 2015

A Wicked Thing

by Rhiannon Thomas

Story summary: What would it really be like to be awoken by a kiss from a stranger after sleeping 100 years? Startling, upsetting, lonely, confusing. Aurora awakes to a long-dead family, a marriage with an unknown prince, and future-queenship to a city completely changed from the one she knows--filled with unease and hints of rebellion.

Why You Will Like This Book:
  • Focuses on a girl's realistic reaction to the extreme events of a fairy tale.
  • The female characters are great; all of the main ones are interesting and complex and not clichéd "strong female characters".

And Why You Might Not:
  • There were three separate guys with a possibility for romance, which is two too many. This was mitigated by the fact that it became clear she was really not in love with one of them, and romance with another became unlikely due to certain events. But still...
  • Despite the inward focus, it is still a fairly light book.