Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Book Review: The Mark of the Dragonfly

The Mark of the DragonflyThe Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Publication Date:  March 2014
Source: Netgalley

Piper has never seen the Mark of the Dragonfly until she finds the girl amid the wreckage of a caravan in the Meteor Fields.
   The girl doesn't remember a thing about her life, but the intricate tattoo on her arm is proof that she's from the Dragonfly Territories and that she's protected by the king. Which means a reward for Piper if she can get the girl home.
   The one sure way to the Territories is the 401, a great old beauty of a train. But a ticket costs more coin than Piper could make in a year. And stowing away is a difficult prospect--everyone knows that getting past the peculiar green-eyed boy who stands guard is nearly impossible.
   Life for Piper just turned dangerous. A little bit magical. And very exciting, if she can manage to survive the journey.

I'm just not quite sure how to rate this, or even really review it. I think it's aimed at middle grade readers, but I also think they'd find it a bit boring. It definitely reads "young". There were some interesting concepts here, and I thought at the beginning of the book that it was going to be better than it was.

The meteor showers dropping stuff from other worlds seemed really interesting. And then what we got was a chase with a train ride, a bit of a reveal at the end, and that's about it. I kept waiting for more, but it just wasn't delivered.

The world building could have used a lot more work. And I never really connected very much with the characters. A lot of my disappoint could be that I'm reading at the same time Brandon Sanderson's Words of Radiance. And this just extremely pales in comparison with the richness of his writing. But at the same time, I think I would have been disappointed in this one regardless.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Book Review: Honor Among Thieves

Honor Among Thieves (Star Wars: Empire and Rebellion, #2)Honor Among Thieves by James S.A. Corey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publication Date: March 2014
Source: Netgalley

 When the mission is to extract a high-level rebel spy from the very heart of the Empire, Leia Organa knows the best man for the job is Han Solo—something the princess and the smuggler can finally agree on. After all, for a guy who broke into an Imperial cell block and helped destroy the Death Star, the assignment sounds simple enough.

But when Han locates the brash rebel agent, Scarlet Hark, she’s determined to stay behind enemy lines. A pirate plans to sell a cache of stolen secrets that the Empire would destroy entire worlds to protect—including the planet where Leia is currently meeting with rebel sympathizers. Scarlet wants to track down the thief and steal the bounty herself, and Han has no choice but to go along if he’s to keep everyone involved from getting themselves killed. From teeming city streets to a lethal jungle to a trap-filled alien temple, Han, Chewbacca, Leia, and their daring new comrade confront one ambush, double cross, and firestorm after another as they try to keep crucial intel out of Imperial hands.

But even with the crack support of Luke Skywalker’s x-wing squadron, the Alliance heroes may be hopelessly outgunned in their final battle for the highest of stakes: the power to liberate the galaxy from tyranny or ensure the Empire’s reign of darkness forever.

This is the first Star Wars book I've ever read, and I liked it pretty well. Thing is, I like Star Wars, but I don't LOVE Star Wars, and this was about like watching a Star Wars movie. The characters all seemed true to how they should be. The plot was pretty fun, if a bit predictable. It was a pretty good introduction to this kind of book.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Book Review: Bubble

BubbleBubble by Anders de la Motte
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Publication Date: February 2014
Source: Netgalley

The stunning conclusion to the groundbreaking Scandinavian crime trilogy featuring a deadly game that blurs reality and fiction in a world obsessed with social media.

This all turned out to be a bit much, with too many characters and too many things going on to keep track of what's going on. And that's not even mentioning the confusing nature of the book to begin with. There is not a likable character to be found in these books. HP in particular is completely unlikable. And somehow he manages to survive anything that happens to him, and get out of any scrape he's in. He's like a superhero, except there's no reason why he should be. It's just that's the way things needed to go for the author to advance his story. It was all way too out there to be believable in the slightest.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Book Review: Buzz

Buzz (HP Pettersson, #2)Buzz by Anders de la Motte
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publication Date: January 2014
Source: Netgalley

It’s been four months since he was dragged into the Alternative Reality Game that nearly cost him his life, and HP is still on the run. He has everything he ever wished for—freedom, money, and no responsibilities, but he still isn’t happy. Plagued by insomnia and paranoia, HP misses the rush and attention of The Game. Sometimes he almost wishes the Game Master would find him.

In Dubai, HP meets Anna Argos, a sophisticated and beautiful Swedish IT millionaire. When she disappears, HP is questioned by the police. Fearing he has been found by The Game, HP returns to Sweden after being released from custody. Determined to uncover the truth about Anna’s disappearance, HP uses a fake identity to apply for a job at ArgosEye, the company Anna worked for. In the business of online information management, ArgosEye is involved in some questionable practices, under the control of Anna’s husband, the CEO Philip Argos.

Meanwhile, HP’s sister Rebecca has started dating Philip Argos. When she unknowingly reveals her brother’s real identity to Philip, the police try to bring HP in for questioning again. On the run again, HP refuses to give up and tries to uncover what is really happening at ArgosEye. Before he can find the truth, HP is stopped in his tracks. Thinking he’s about to be thrown in prison, HP is taken to the outskirts of the city and left in the woods, where an elderly man hands him a piece of paper. HP believes the game is over, but is it really just beginning?

This book is pretty gripping, and one exciting thing happens after another, keeping you turning pages. However, I can't say that it is a fun read. There is really nothing happy that happens in this book, it's all pretty depressing.

Besides that, I don't like any of the characters. They are just not very good people. I also found it a little hard to follow at times when the POV would shift, basically from paragraph to paragraph. No chapter break, or even some kind of sign, you just have to figure it out as you go.

All that said, I will read the next one, because the story is interesting, and I'd like to see where it all goes.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Book Review: The Tyrant's Daughter

The Tyrant's DaughterThe Tyrant's Daughter by J.C. Carleson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Netgalley

When her father is killed in a coup, 15-year-old Laila flees from the war-torn middle east to a life of exile and anonymity in the U.S. Gradually she adjusts to a new school, new friends, and a new culture, but while Laila sees opportunity in her new life, her mother is focused on the past. She’s conspiring with CIA operatives and rebel factions to regain the throne their family lost. Laila can’t bear to stand still as an international crisis takes shape around her, but how can one girl stop a conflict that spans generations?

This was a really interesting book. It was a quick, easy read, despite the subject matter not being very light. Despite this not being my usual genre, I would read more by this author, and would recommend this book.

Book Review: Full-Blood Half-Breed

Full-Blood Half-BreedFull-Blood Half-Breed by Cleve Lamison
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publication Date: March 11, 2014
Source: Netgalley

 It’s been two thousand years since the bastard spawn of the god Creador lost their war to enslave humankind, transforming the Thirteen Kingdoms into a violent world where the martial arts are exalted as sacred gifts from the gods—and honor is won through arena blood sport.

Paladin Del Darkdrag√≥n, a sixteen-year-old warrior-in-training, is a “half-breed.” His battle against pure-blood bullies like Fox the Runt has forced him to master the four fighting forms. But when he blends them, he is condemned as a heretic by authorities and banished from the training temples. Seeking redemption, he enrolls in the arena games, savage trials that end in death.

This year’s games mask an old plot driven by a new prophet. With a horde of Creador’s Bastards and an army of fanatics led by Fox the Runt at his command, the Prophet will bend the world to his will or burn it to ash.

Paladin faces an impossible choice: redeem his honor in a fight he can’t hope to survive, or abandon his loved ones to perish in the sweeping holy war consuming the Kingdoms.

There were a lot of good things in this book. It was different, not really at all like a lot of other fantasy. The pacing was a bit uneven. Some parts seemed really exciting, and I had a hard time putting it down. But then other times the story seemed to almost come to a screeching halt, and I got quite bored.

I wish the story had been longer. It seems like as soon as things really got going, the story ended. It seemed pretty obvious there will be more books, but I like it when authors do a little better job of finding a good stopping point. This was definitely not the worst I've read in that respect, but could have been better.

Maybe it's just my weariness of series that is coloring my view here. There are just so many of them, and by the time the next books come out, I've forgotten what happened previously, and there is no way I have time for constant re-reads.

Anyway, this was pretty good, and I would recommend it to certain readers, but I don't think all fantasy readers will love it.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Book Review: Backward Compatible

Backward Compatible: A Geek Love StoryBackward Compatible: A Geek Love Story by Sarah Daltry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A YA Gamer Geek Comedy in the vein of Scott Pilgrim and Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. Ideal for fans of The Big Bang Theory, The Guild, and all things Joss Whedon.

WARNING: There is no sex in this book. Your Kindle or other device will remain at a pleasant room temperature. At no point will your panties drop. Your significant other will be allowed to snore in peace as you read. You may, however, laugh yourself out of commission.

Not too long ago, in a town that, depending on your current location, is either not super far or actually quite close... (insert Star Wars theme music here...)

It is a time of chaotic hormones.

Two nerdy gents home for winter break have discovered a female gamer at a midnight release.

During the break, the gamer trio manages to reveal the game's secret boss, a hidden enemy with enough power to destroy anything in its path.

Pursued by other gamers who want to be the first to beat this boss, George and Katie race to level up, and, in so doing, restore decency and sexual activity to their personal galaxy...

This was just a heck of a lot of fun. I really enjoyed reading it. If you're not into geek culture, you would probably hate this book. But if you like video games, sci-fi and fantasy books and movies, and that sort of thing, this might be right up your alley if you're looking for a bit of fluff.

Reader warning: there is a lot of swearing and overall crude humor.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Book Review: Heroic Age

Heroic AgeHeroic Age by Brian Michael Bendis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

 Witness the Marvel Universe triumph over its greatest challenges ever as the Heroic Age ignites! Still lurking in the shadows are forces of evil and cosmic-level threats-but a new spirit of hope, courage and the selfl essness at theheart of heroism will rise up. The most extraordinary taleswill be told in the Heroic Age of the Marvel Universe. From the tone of the storylines, to the stunning art, the Heroic Ageushers in a dramatic new vision of the Marvel Universe. Featuring Marvel's most elite characters-including IronMan, Captain America, Thor, the Avengers and more-as they embark on bold new adventures, this volume is the perfect jumping-on point for the Heroic Age.

This was just little snippets of different story lines, with no real story arc to connect them all together. Some things I really liked a lot, and will look for more in those series, like Avengers Academy and The Incredible Hercules, The New Prince of Power. I also liked the Hawkeye and Mockingbird story, which I can't find a continuation of at my library.

On the other hand, there were some really bad ones. I was bored at times, which doesn't usually happen for me with Marvel comics. All in all, I don't think I'd necessarily recommend this, but there was definitely some good to be found here.