Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Book Review: Nine by Night pt. 1

I received Nine by Night for review from Netgalley. Since it is nine books long, I will periodically post some short reviews for the books included in the collection. Here are the first two:

Witch Hunt  (Preternatural Affairs, #1)Witch Hunt by S.M. Reine
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
 This was okay, but I didn't love it. It's different reading an urban fantasy from a male POV, so I guess that was nice. The romance, what there was of it, was annoying to me. I didn't buy it, and it happened way too fast. Which I guess was my main problem with the book as a whole, is everything moved so fast. There was a lot of plot, but not a ton of world or character building.

Death's Servant (The V V Inn, #0.1)Death's Servant by C.J. Ellisson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I read this as part of the larger Nine by Night collection that I got for review from Netgalley. I really feel like this will only appeal to fans of the V V Inn series, which I had never heard of before reading this novella. I don't think it's aimed at all as an introduction to the series, because it just didn't seem to be written in a way for the reader to meet and connect with these characters.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Book Review: I'm Dreaming of an Undead Christmas

I'm Dreaming of an Undead Christmas (Half-Moon Hollow, #2.7)I'm Dreaming of an Undead Christmas by Molly Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publication Date: December 2013 on audio, November 17, 2014 on ebook
Source: Netgalley review copy

College co-ed Gigi is headed home to Half-Moon Hollow for her first Christmas since her sister, Iris, was turned into a vampire by her beloved undead husband, Cal. Iris is working overtime to make this holiday as normal and special as possible. After all, it’s taken her months of working with Jane Jameson and the Hollow’s vampires to convince herself that she won’t bite her baby sister on sight.

Gigi has her own worries. She’s falling out of love with her high school sweetheart, Ben, and has no idea how to tell him. She’s got a secret job interview with terrifying teen Council official, Ophelia Lambert. And there’s a handsome but cagey vampire following her around town and then disappearing before Gigi can confirm that he’s not, in fact, a figment of her fertile imagination. Holidays with family are complicated. Christmas with an undead family can be downright dangerous.

This was a really fun read for the holidays, when you're busy and you don't have a whole lot of time or brainpower. It was really short, and I did feel like it ended rather abruptly. I realize it's a short story, and part of a larger series, but I really thought that we would at least find out who the mystery vampire was. Granted, I haven't read any of the other books in this series, so maybe it made more sense to those who had. I have read the Jane Jameson series, though. So this world wasn't entirely new to me.

I enjoy reading this author's books, and they always make me laugh, or at least smile.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Book Review: Storm Siren

Storm Siren (Storm Siren, #1)Storm Siren by Mary Weber
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Publication Date: August 2014
Source: Netgalley review copy

In a world at war, a slave girl’s lethal curse could become one kingdom’s weapon of salvation. If the curse—and the girl—can be controlled.

As a slave in the war-weary kingdom of Faelen, seventeen-year-old Nym isn’t merely devoid of rights, her Elemental kind are only born male and always killed at birth — meaning, she shouldn’t even exist.

Standing on the auction block beneath smoke-drenched mountains, Nym faces her fifteenth sell. But when her hood is removed and her storm-summoning killing curse revealed, Nym is snatched up by a court advisor and given a choice: be trained as the weapon Faelen needs to win the war, or be killed.

Choosing the former, Nym is unleashed into a world of politics, bizarre parties, and rumors of an evil more sinister than she’s being prepared to fight . . . not to mention the handsome trainer whose dark secrets lie behind a mysterious ability to calm every lightning strike she summons.

But what if she doesn’t want to be the weapon they’ve all been waiting for?

I don't think this story was necessarily bad, but something about it just didn't click for me. I the the plot idea was fine. The characters all seemed well thought out. I just didn't connect with either the characters or the story.

And there were a couple of quirks that the writer had, that once I noticed seemed to happen every few pages and really drew me out of the story. The most noticeable was the counting. The narrator would say something like: I took one, two, three steps over towards him.

Also, this being the second in my recent reading history to be written in first person, present tense, I've realized I don't care for that style of writing.

Still, as I said, this is not a bad book. There are some interesting things going on, and some good twists and turns. It just wasn't for me, and I won't be continuing with the series.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Book Review: This Is Your Afterlife

This Is Your AfterlifeThis Is Your Afterlife by Vanessa Barneveld
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publication Date: October 21, 2014
Source: Netgalley review copy

Keira is a high school girl who suddenly has the ghost of a classmate show up in her room. He has been missing for a few days, so obviously they figure out he must have died. Her and the boy, Jimmy, decide that have to find out how he died in order for him to "move on". She enlists the help of Jimmy's brother, Dan, who she has been friends with for a long time.

I liked Keira well enough. She seemed to take the events that came at her fairly well. But as a detective solving a mystery she was pretty horrible. The romance that built up between Keira and Dan was nice, and it was nice to read a YA novel without a love triangle for a change.

This was a very short, easy read, which is nice if you're looking for something that doesn't require a lot of time commitment or brain power. I don't know if I'd seek out more by this author in the future, but I would be averse to reading another of her books if it sounded good.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Book Review: Trace of Magic

Trace of Magic (Diamond City Magic, #1)Trace of Magic by Diana Pharaoh Francis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publication Date: September 2014
Source: Netgalley review copy

Even the most powerful tracers can’t track you if the magical trace you leave behind is too old. But I can track almost anything, even dead trace. That makes me a unicorn, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and the Lock Ness Monster all rolled into one. In a word, I am unique. A very special snowflake. And if anyone ever finds out, I’ll be dead or a slave to one of the Tyet criminal factions.  
Riley Hollis has quietly traced kidnapped children and quietly tipped the cops to their whereabouts one too many times. Now she’s on the radar of Detective Clay Price, a cop in the pocket of a powerful magic Tyet faction. When he blackmails her into doing a dangerous trace for him, Riley will have to break every rule that keeps her safe. Or become a Tyet pawn in a deadly, magical war. 

If I think about it too much, it would be pretty easy for me to start nitpicking this book and listing all its flaws. Ignoring that, I really enjoyed reading it, and thought it was a good start of a new series. I didn't much care for the romance, and felt like the love came way too quick. But that seems to be normal for romance books, which this partly is. The magic system, and fantasy part of the book was interesting, and I'm looking forward to seeing where it all goes.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Book Review: Life is Sweet

Life is SweetLife is Sweet by Elizabeth Bass
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Publication Date: September 2014
Source: Netgalley review copy

Becca Hudson has come a long way since she was a tween starring in the sitcom Me Minus You, but as far as she’s concerned, she finally has her act together. She’s relocated to Leesburg, Virginia, owns a successful bakery, and has a great set of friends—even a friendly ex-husband. She ignores “Whatever Happened To?” speculation and the occasional overly obsessed fan, and flatly turns down a lucrative offer to appear on a reality show called Celebrities in Peril: Child Star Edition. She has an uncomfortable relationship with her Hollywood past, preferring to think of herself as more than a 1990s trivia question. Then one day a mysterious man appears and stirs up her past—all of it—in ways she never imagined...

I don't really know quite how to review this, because there was just nothing in this book that excited me. The bakery aspect was what made me request the book, but that was just thrown in there I think to give the main character something to do. It seems like it could have been anything. I never felt anything for any of the characters or their situations. It all just seemed to happen and then the next thing happened, and the next, with very little emotion felt (at least by me).

Monday, September 29, 2014

Book Review: Zomburbia

ZomburbiaZomburbia by Adam Gallardo
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Publication Date: August 2014
Source: Netgalley review copy

My name is Courtney Hart, and I'm here to tell you about things that suck. Being born in a podunk town like Salem, Oregon, for one. Living in a world infested with zombies? That, too. And the meat heads I go to school with? I think I'd actually take the undead over them most days. But I have a plan to get out of here and move to New York. I just have to keep selling Vitamin Z along with your fries at The Bully Burger. The secret ingredient? Zombie brains.

I've noticed things are getting even worse lately, if that's even possible. The zombies seem to be getting smarter and faster. If I can avoid being arrested, eaten by shufflers, or catching the eye of some stupid boy, I should be able to make it through finals week still breathing. . .

There was really nothing particularly special or memorable about this book. It's supposedly a different take on the zombie novel, but I didn't find anything all that different about it. I guess people are supposedly going on with life as usual, but they still have to fight and try to avoid zombies.

The main character is extremely unlikable. She's rude to everyone, including her father (her only family) and her friends. She's hypocritical; at one point thinking badly of one of her peers for buying a bunch of alcohol to serve to underage teens at a party, but then proceeding to drink said alcohol.

There were a couple of excitingish things that happened during the story, but for the most part it was just dull. I kept waiting for the point of the story, and didn't feel like it ever got there. Then realized at the end that this is part of a series, and I have absolutely no intention of continuing on. I wouldn't recommend this one.