A Wild Erin Appears!

Alternate Title: I am really sorry I disappeared for so long, but I was really sick. Also, I promise to catch up on promised reviews. And lastly, Happy Holidays to anyone who was kind enough to stick around, even though I didn’t post anything new for a long time.

Phew.

So the last few months have been really bad, health wise. It sounds like an excuse, and I suppose in some ways it is. But in terms of spoons, I was running on 1-2 a day, which doesn’t leave much for anything besides breathing and existing. I am still unwell, of course, but things are looking up (hopefully… fingers crossed).

In the last few months I have spent a lot of time on medicine that makes me not want to do things, medicine that wrecks my body one component at a time, and medicine that just doesn’t work. I have been to more doctors appointments than I am capable of remembering, and I have had the unwavering support of my husband to see me through. I got a medic alert bracelet. I napped… a lot. I have done things that it would take a great amount of money for me to detail here. But most importantly, I read.

There were days when I was too sick to read, when all I could manage was the bare necessities. But for the most part, I have devoured book after book, because it helped me escape the otherwise inescapable… my health situation.

I am currently at 125 books read for the year, and there is still over a week left. I am pretty proud of that. I am toying with the idea of making my blog a self-hosted in the new year. I am wanting to invest in a tablet to further help combat blogger fatigue.

All in all, even though I disappeared for a while, things are starting to look up. I can’t promise I am back, but I can promise that I am trying to be.

I miss my followers. I miss talking to you. I miss posting reviews instead of just stars on Goodreads. So, I am trying.

Currently Reading: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (finally)

In Honor of NaNo… Have some Fiction!

So, I have been gone for a long time, and I am so very sorry for that. My health got bad again, and it is, in truth, still bad. Because of this, I didn’t do NaNo this year.

However, I did stumble upon some short fiction I wrote a while ago for a contest. It is fanfiction, as the characters are based in WoW. It has had very little editing done, as I wrote it like, a day before the contest closed. I didn’t win, but I hope you enjoy. (Constructive criticism is always welcome.)

I don’t own the characters, but the writing is mine, so don’t be a jerk, ok?

The Rise of Scholomance

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NetGalley Review: A Study in Silks by Emma Jane Holloway

Study in SilksA Study in Silks by Emma Jane Holloway
Read: August 24 – September 6, 2013
NetGalley Selection.

Many thanks to Random House Publishing Group/Del Ray for granting me this review copy via NetGalley!

Publication Date: September 24, 2013
ISBN: 9780345537188
Price: $7.99 USD
Format: Mass Market Paperback

Goodreads Book Blurb: Evelina Cooper, the niece of the great Sherlock Holmes, is poised to enjoy her first Season in London’s high society. But there’s a murderer to deal with—not to mention missing automatons, a sorcerer, and a talking mouse.
 
In a Victorian era ruled by a council of ruthless steam barons, mechanical power is the real monarch, and sorcery the demon enemy of the empire. Nevertheless, the most coveted weapon is magic that can run machines—something Evelina has secretly mastered. But rather than making her fortune, her special talents could mean death or an eternity as a guest of Her Majesty’s secret laboratories. What’s a polite young lady to do but mind her manners and pray she’s never found out?
 
But then there’s that murder. As Sherlock’s niece, Evelina should be able to find the answers, but she has a lot to learn. And the first decision she has to make is whether to trust the handsome, clever rake who makes her breath come faster, or the dashing trick rider who would dare anything for her if she would only just ask.

My Opinion: I adored this book! It was shades of Soulless by Gail Carriger all over again. But without the paranormal aspect. Evelina is a plucky heroine, though at times she wasn’t entirely likeable.

One thing Holloway got very right in A Study In Silks is the world building. The London ruled by Steam Barons is very interesting, and the magic was quite unique. That alone was enough to leave me salivating for book two (which won’t be out until October!).

I felt like Evelina could have been someone other than Sherlock Holmes’ niece, and that that little piece of frippery was added as an eye-catcher. It worked for me, but in the grand scheme of things, Mr. Holmes plays such a minimal part that it is the literary equivalent of name dropping.

One thing that really didn’t sit well with me was the romantic aspects. I didn’t believe them from either side. They came across as very plot-devicey.

Unfortunately, this was one of those books that I liked so much I am having trouble articulating my opinions…

Bottom Line: A thoroughly enjoyable steampunk/paranormal blend that could have gone lighter on the romance. I urge you to check it out!

NetGalley Review: Dead Letter Office by Kira Snyder

Dead Letter OfficeDead Letter Office by Kira Snyder
Read: August 18 – August 20, 2013
NetGalley Selection

Many thanks to Coliloquy for sending me a review copy of this book via NetGalley!

Published: January 11, 2012
ISBN: 9781937804022
Price: $4.99 USD
Format: E-book

Goodreads Book Blurb: When Celia’s father is killed in Afghanistan, she moves with her mother to New Orleans, the city where her father grew up. Struggling to adjust and haunted by troubling dreams, Celia finds comfort in new friends like Tilly, a practicing witch, and Donovan, the son of police detective. On Halloween, bizarre supernatural occurrences rock the city. Celia meets the mysterious Luc and finds a letter, over a hundred years old, addressed to her.

The paranormal repercussions continue when Celia learns that Luc is the restless spirit of a young man murdered in 1854, only able to assume solid form at night. And then, to her shock, Celia finds that the letter, which describes the suspected murder of a man in 1870, contains uncanny parallels to the present-day death of Abel Sims, a homeless veteran.

With help from Luc, Tilly, and Donovan, Celia races to solve the murder—and the mystery of the letter—using both magical and forensic clues.

This is an Active Fiction title
“Active fiction” is a new type of e-reading experience that allows the reader and the author to interact with each other and the text in new and different ways.

My Opinion: What really piqued my interest about this book was the “active fiction” label. What is this so-called “active fiction”? It sounded really interesting and cutting-edge. Yeah. “Active fiction”? Choose your own adventure. I have nothing against choose your own adventure books, I used to love them as a kid. But it is not a new concept, and I felt really cheated. Not to mention that the way I chose, there were only (I think) three choices to make. So the whole “active fiction” thing fell really flat for me.

The rest of the book was alright, but not stellar. Case in point: I never felt like I wanted to go back and see what I was “missing” with the choices I didn’t make while choosing my adventure. I didn’t read all the choices, as my copy was running out of time.

I am not a fan of love triangles, and Dead Letter Office has one. There were other stereotypes. The father killed in Afghanistan was kind of pointless, from a reader standpoint. The popular girl versus the weird witch was very cliché. While none of it was exceptionally badly written, it was still there, and that was bad enough.

I read this book a while ago, and nothing really stuck with me to today when I am writing the review.

Bottom Line: A mediocre middle-grade choose your own adventure book riddled with cliché.

NetGalley Review: A Thousand Perfect Things by Kay Kenyon

A Thousand Perfect ThingsA Thousand Perfect Things by Kay Kenyon
Read: August 11 – August 18, 2013
NetGalley selection.

Many thanks to Premier Digital Publishing for sending me a review copy of this book via NetGalley!

Goodreads Book Blurb: In this epic new work, the award-winning Kenyon creates an alternate 19th century with two warring continents on an alternate earth: the scientific Anglica (England) and magical Bharata (India). Emboldened by her grandfather’s final whispered secret of a magical lotus, Tori Harding, a young Victorian woman and aspiring botanist, must journey to Bharata, with its magics, intrigues and ghosts, to claim her fate. There she will face a choice between two suitors and two irreconcilable realms. 

In a magic-infused world of silver tigers, demon birds and enduring gods, as a great native mutiny sweeps up the continent, Tori will find the thing she most desires, less perfect than she had hoped and stranger than she could have dreamed.

My Opinion: Where do I even start with this book? Well, let’s go with the beginning. Everything in Anglica was really cool. I followed it, and I enjoyed it. I like steampunk alternate settings. And the bridge was a really neat idea, though I got tangled in imagining our world as it is. No bridge would connect England and India in our world, as there are continents in between. But apparently not in this world.

This was the second book I read recently that made me wonder about constructed patriarchies. This one, being alternate history, probably had a little less wiggle room, but it still had some. And why is it that every time a woman wants to be her own woman she has to not want to get married? I am married, and I am still my own woman!

However, feminism is one of the lesser things that Kenyon tackles in A Thousand Perfect Things. Once the characters find themselves in Bharata, we are confronted with the heavy subject matter of cultural appropriation, which is rampant in today’s society. While I feel like this book was a decent staging ground for the battle, I found it bogged down the prose at times.

To be completely honest, most of what happened in Bharata was completely confusing to me. I think it got to a point where it was just… silly almost. By the end of the book I was skimming.

Tori was likeable enough in that she knew what she wanted, but I really hated her club foot. It was a crutch, both to make her imperfect and to give her something that needed healing. As someone with disabilities, I found this very unnerving.

Kenyon has a gift for description, and the scenery of A Thousand Perfect Things came alive for me… but that was pretty much it.

Bottom Line: I was lost after the characters left Anglica, and Kenyon began speaking of cultural appropriation and religion. It was too much for me, and bogged down the story.

Top Ten Tuesday – September 10

toptentuesday

It’s that time again! Top Ten Tuesday!
(Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the awesome folks over at The Broke and the Bookish. You should totally check them out!)

This week’s top ten? Top ten books I would like to see made into movies or TV shows. (Assuming this is a perfect world and they don’t get butchered all to heck and back again!)

The Name of the WindeotwNeverwhereThe Night CircusFeed

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
Do I need to say anything other than YES, PLEASE!

The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan (and later, Brandon Sanderson)
I have been working on a dream cast for this magnificent series for years.

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
I would love to see this.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
OK, words cannot describe how much I want this.

Feed by Mira Grant
If I had the money, I would fund this myself. I have multiple dream casts going of this one, too.

CinderReady Player One by Ernest ClineRedshirtsLies of Locke LamoraFionavar

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Another YES, PLEASE!

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
This one might be tough with so many pop culture references, but I think it would be cool.

Redshirts by John Scalzi
Please? So much cheek in this one, I’d love to see a TV show that breaks the fourth wall so thoroughly.

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
Really enjoyed it as a book, and I think it would make a good movie. Or maybe like, a three-part mini series. Three long parts.

The Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay
So much win in these books, would love to see them on-screen.

And now, some of the books to movie/TV adaptations I am SO EXCITED for:

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

How about you? What books would you want to see on the screen in a perfect world? What are you excited for? Link me to your TTT!

**Please note I have a specialist appointment today, so I may take some time to respond to comments and to visit your TTT, but I will get there I promise!**

NetGalley Review: Sideshow of Merit by Nicole Pietsch (Did Not Finish)

Sideshow of MeritSideshow of Merit by Nicole Pietsch
Did not finish.
NetGalley selection.

Many thanks to namelos for sending me a review copy via NetGalley.

Goodreads Book Blurb: You couldn’t call Mount Rosa Hospital a good place to be in 1957, when you were fourteen. But it’s where Tevan George was, and James Rowley too, “convalescing” from tuberculosis. And it’s where both boys were abused by an older boy–although neither of them did much talking about it, then or later. Shut up! That’s what Tevan did. James too, but he never said much about anything anyway. Nine rocky years later, on the run together since they skipped out on a medical checkup at Mount Rosa’s in 1961, Tevan and James emerge early one morning from the ’55 Chevy they’ve been living in and come across Buddy Merit setting up his “Ten in One” sideshow on a fairground in Ontario. They can’t do magic. They can’t foretell the future. They can’t swallow swords. What Tevan and James decide they can do is a stunt they’ve done only in private, in the dark-a stunt that, performed in public for the marks, takes on a life of its own and surprises even the two young men who perform it. In the company of the misfits and reprobates and losers who make up Buddy Merit’s sideshow, Tevan and James act out the central trauma of their lives until they get to a place from which they can’t go forward and they can’t go back.

My Opinion: There are a lot of negative reviews on Goodreads about this book. I hate to add mine to it, but mine will be for a different reason than subject matter.

A lot of people are not keen on the fact that Sideshow of Merit features erotic asphyxiation. Honestly, I have pretty high limits when it comes to literature, and I was willing to see how Pietsch handled the subject matter.

But the book was just so mind-numbingly slow and boring! I made it 80 pages in on a 350 page book, and very little had happened. If it had, it had happened in such a way that I just wanted something else to happen. I wasn’t drawn to the characters, I wasn’t drawn to the plot, and I kept forgetting that Sideshow of Merit was set in Canada.

Bottom Line: I was really disappointed in this book, as it completely failed to keep me engaged.