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How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu

>>Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Title: How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe
Author: Charles Yu
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 234
Genre: Science Fiction, Time Travel
Publication Date: September 7th, 201
Publisher: Pantheon
Rating: 6

Summary:
From Goodreads: National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 Award winner Charles Yu delivers his debut novel, a razor-sharp, ridiculously funny, and utterly touching story of a son searching for his father . . . through quantum space–time.

Minor Universe 31 is a vast story-space on the outskirts of fiction, where paradox fluctuates like the stock market, lonely sexbots beckon failed protagonists, and time travel is serious business. Every day, people get into time machines and try to do the one thing they should never do: change the past. That’s where Charles Yu, time travel technician—part counselor, part gadget repair man—steps in. He helps save people from themselves. Literally. When he’s not taking client calls or consoling his boss, Phil, who could really use an upgrade, Yu visits his mother (stuck in a one-hour cycle of time, she makes dinner over and over and over) and searches for his father, who invented time travel and then vanished. Accompanied by TAMMY, an operating system with low self-esteem, and Ed, a nonexistent but ontologically valid dog, Yu sets out, and back, and beyond, in order to find the one day where he and his father can meet in memory. He learns that the key may be found in a book he got from his future self. It’s called How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, and he’s the author. And somewhere inside it is the information that could help him—in fact it may even save his life.

Wildly new and adventurous, Yu’s debut is certain to send shock waves of wonder through literary space–time.


Why did I read this book? It's the very first selection for Calico Reaction's Theme Park book club!

Source: Library

My Review
This is such a weird book. I don't even know how to write a review for this because I still don't know what I was reading. I'll try my best to explain. Charles Yu is the main protagonist in the book, who sort of rescues people who get lost in their time travelling adventures. One day, he runs into his future self and shoots him and creates a time loop. He spends part of that loop reading/writing a book called How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe which also happens to be the book YOUR reading. Brain 'splode.

Meanwhile, the book has another major plot: Yu and his relationship with his parents, in particular, his father. His father is lost in time and he's trying to find him while also trying to come to terms with their past together.

To be honest, for the first 80 pages or so, I wanted to quit. I think every 3 pages I thought seriously about putting the book down. It was just because it was so dense, so introspective and lacking in any action that I couldn't find myself interested in the story. While I enjoyed Yu's science fictional universe and his clever concepts, I just didn't care. Then the time loop occurs and it gets more interesting. Charles tells so much about his past that I just got lost in it all. It was hard to grab onto any character, except maybe TAMMY, the computer program.

There is some great stuff here though. The writing shows a lot of skill and the time traveling quite fabulous. I loved the interaction of reading the same book that the character is reading inside the story. At one point Charles flips to the back of the book to see what happens and then I did as well. We had the same result and it was pretty awesome.I just wish there was more to the plot than Charles finding his father and working out his thoughts and memories. When characters (even if they were computers) conversed, it really set off for me, but unfortunately there wasn't a lot of that.

Rating: 6
I’m sorry if this doesn’t seem like much of a review, but it’s a tough book to qualify. All I can say is, if you’re looking for out-of-the-box science fiction, funky time travel and/or a story about a boy and his father, then give this a shot.

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Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

>>Sunday, January 29, 2012

Title: Cinder
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: Lunar Chronicles #1
Format: eARC
Pages: 390
Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Publication Date: January 3rd, 2012
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Rating: 7.5

Summary:
From Goodreads: Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.


Why did I read this book? It’s a retelling of Cinderella as a cyborg. ‘Nuff said.

Source: eARC from Netgalley

My Review
Honestly, I was really excited to read this book. Then some reviews came out from some of my trusted sources that kind of tempered my excitement, since I usually wholeheartedly agree with said sources. Not to mention, I tend not to become so enchanted with the hyped young adult releases as others do. So I sat down to finally read Cinder and to my surprised I actually kind of fell in love with this book.

Let’s start with everything I loved. Cinder is a cyborg who is living with her stepmother and two stepsisters in New Beijing. Because of her situation as a cyborg, this means she has fewer rights than “regular” humans and so is treated very poorly by her family (except for one sister, Peony). Cinder herself is a pretty awesome heroine – she’s a skilled mechanic, clever, interested in boys yet not an imbecile. She dreams of a better life, but most often, that doesn’t necesssarily mean a life dependant on a man. Then there’s her friend, the family android, Iko who is completely lovable and the perfect companion for Cinder.

Cinder eventually meets Prince Kai, son of the Commonwealth’s emperor when he shows up at her shop with a android for her to fix. This sparks a romance which is sort of doomed from the start – Cinder is an cyborg, so believes she could never be accepted, not even by the Prince.

Then there’s the whole other part of the story: the Lunars. These are people who live on the moon and are governed by Queen Levana. Lunars possess advanced technology which is perceived as magic by the humans of earth. They even possess ‘magical abilities’- able to make people see what they want them to see and feel what they want to feel – but this is really a biological thing, the ability to alter the bioelectricity of others. I really liked the play between science and magic; it all really depends on the person who perceives it. Cinder often calls this magic while others call it biology.

Queen Levana wants to pretty much take over the Earth and is trying to go through Prince Kai to do it. It’s hard for me to explain all the side plots of the story since it’s quite extensive. Meyer does an excellent job of taking all the iconic aspects of Cinderella and using just enough of it to create an original and engaging science fiction fantasy.

Meyer does a pretty good job with the world-building, but there are times that I felt that it could have gone even further than it did. I had many questions, such as: why doesn’t the Queen just take over the world if she’s so powerful? Why are cyborgs seen as lesser beings? How do people live on the moon? Also, I did question the reasoning behind making Cinder Caucasian when this story is set in a futuristic Chinese setting. Sometimes these questions would interrupt my immersion in the story.

Lastly, I have to mention that there is NO LOVE TRIANGLE. The romance is more of a “star-crossed lovers” story, and I enjoyed this a lot. There are threats to their romance, including other people, but I don’t think there was ever a question about whether Kai and Cinder had feelings for each other. Cinder also isn’t empty-headed or unreasonable when it comes to her feelings for Prince Kai.

Rating: 7.5
So, yeah. I definitely liked Cinder and found it to be one of the most enjoyable young adult novels I read in a long time. It had everything I look for: good world-building, no love triangle and bonus: it’s science fiction rather than paranormal. Warning: the story ends with a major cliffhanger. The sequel, Scarlet comes out next year.

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New Rating System

I'm excited to announce my new rating system. I'm scrapping the letter grade (I felt letter grades have too much negative connotations) for the 10 point system. But I'm not going with just 'points'...well, check out my updated Rating System page to see what the new system is!

I'm going to retrofit all my old reviews eventually. I'll slowly go through and convert all my letter grades to the new system since I foresee I'll keep this system for quite a long time. I hope this will allow me more flexibility and diversity when rating books.

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2012 Releases I’m Excited to Read and Why You Should be Too (Part 1)

>>Friday, January 27, 2012

Hello everyone! I decided to start a new series here focusing my most anticipated releases of the year. All of these titles are considered must-haves for me and I think I've come up with a pretty awesome first batch! But don't worry, I have more to come in the next months. Be sure to let me know what you think and what your must-haves this year are in the comments!

Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire
InCryptid #1 | March 6th, 2012 | DAW

I haven’t read much from McGuire (she has a popular urban fantasy series, October Daye ,that I really need to read) but I’ve kept my eyes on her projects and this one looks awesome. It sounds original, fun and there’s even a Field Guide to some of the cryptids of the series available on McGuire’s website.  With illustrations! That’s dedication… and freakin’ amazing.

From the author's website:
Discount Armageddon introduces us to Verity Price, journeyman cryptozoologist, ballroom dancer, and former reality television star. She's on assignment in Manhattan, researching the local cryptid community while she pursues her dance career. It's a cushy assignment...at least until local cryptids start disappearing, and all signs start pointing to a man from the Covenant of St. George. But is Dominic De Luca really to blame? And if she casts her suspicions in the wrong place, is she going to survive the experience?

Blue Magic by A.M. Dellamonica
Astrid Lethewood #2 | April 10th, 2012 | Tor Books

Blue Magic is the sequel to Indigo Springs (review), one of my favourite reads of 2011. To me, it’s a must read for those who like unconventional fantasy. Read it. I’ll wait.

Done? Good. Now you’re ready for Blue Magic.

From Goodreads::
This powerful sequel to the A.M. Dellamonica's Sunburst Award–winning contemporary fantasy Indigo Springs starts in the small town in Oregon where Astrid Lethewood discovered an underground river of blue liquid—Vitagua—that is pure magic. Everything it touches is changed. The secret is out—and the world will never be the same. Astrid’s best friend, Sahara, has been corrupted by the blue magic, and now leads a cult that seeks to rule the world. Astrid, on the other hand, tries to heal the world.

Conflicting ambitions, star-crossed lovers, and those who fear and hate magic combine in a terrible conflagration, pitting friend against friend, magic against magic, and the power of nations against a small band of zealots, with the fate of the world at stake.

Blue Magic is a powerful story of private lives changed by earthshaking events that will ensnare readers in its poignant tale of a world touched by magic and plagued by its consequences.

Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear
Eternal Sky #1 | March 27th, 2012 | Tor Books

Out of all the authors on this list so far, I’ve read the most books by Bear. I’ve read a science fiction, a science fiction-fantasy, and an urban fantasy/alternate history. This is the first epic fantasy and I can’t wait to see what Bear does with the genre since she’s so good at introducing new ideas. Alyx Dellamonica also wrote a great review of it.

From Goodreads:
Temur, grandson of the Great Khan, is walking away from a battlefield where he was left for dead. All around lie the fallen armies of his cousin and his brother, who made war to rule the Khaganate. Temur is now the legitimate heir by blood to his grandfather’s throne, but he is not the strongest. Going into exile is the only way to survive his ruthless cousin.

Once-Princess Samarkar is climbing the thousand steps of the Citadel of the Wizards of Tsarepheth. She was heir to the Rasan Empire until her father got a son on a new wife. Then she was sent to be the wife of a Prince in Song, but that marriage ended in battle and blood. Now she has renounced her worldly power to seek the magical power of the wizards. These two will come together to stand against the hidden cult that has so carefully brought all the empires of the Celadon Highway to strife and civil war through guile and deceit and sorcerous power.

The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin
Dreamblood  #1 | May 1st, 2012 | Orbit

Jemisin is pretty much a must-read author for me, simply based on her Inheritance Trilogy (The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, The Broken Kingdoms, The Kingdom of Gods). This year she is releasing a duology, The Killing Moon being the first and The Shadowed Sun the second. Jemisin recently had a Q&A on her blog about the series. You can check that out here.

In the city-state of Gujaareh, peace is the only law. Along its ancient stone streets, where time is marked by the river’s floods, there is no crime or violence. Within the city’s colored shadows, priests of the dream-goddess harvest the wild power of the sleeping mind as magic, using it to heal, soothe… and kill. 

But when corruption blooms at the heart of Gujaareh’s great temple, Ehiru — most famous of the city’s Gatherers — cannot defeat it alone. With the aid of his cold-eyed apprentice and a beautiful foreign spy, he must thwart a conspiracy whose roots lie in his own past. And to prevent the unleashing of deadly forbidden magic, he must somehow defeat a Gatherer’s most terrifying nemesis: the Reaper.

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Waiting on Wednesday: Blood Kin by M.J. Scott

>>Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Welcome back to another installment of Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Breaking the Spine. This is the second installment of The Half-Light City series, of which the debut, Shadow Kin, I really liked (review). The main characters seem to have changed for this book, but it still looks pretty good. It's also a good example of gaslight fantasy.

Blood Kin by M.J. Scott
Publisher: Roc
Publication Date: June 5th, 2012

From Goodreads:

Imagine a city divided. A city where human and Fae magic rests uneasily next to the vampire Blood and the shapeshifting Beasts. A city where a fragile peace is brokered by a treaty that set the laws for all four races… a treaty that is faltering day by day. 

I didn’t plan on becoming a thief and a spy. But options are limited for the half-breed daughter of a Fae lord. My father abandoned me but at least I inherited some of his magic, and my skills with charms and glamours mean that few are as good at uncovering secrets others wish to hide. Right now the city has many secrets. And those who seek them pay so well… 

I never expected to stumble across a Templar Knight in my part of the city. Guy DuCaine is sworn to duty and honor and loyalty — all the things I’m not. I may have aroused more than his suspicion but he belongs to the Order and the human world. So when treachery and violence spill threaten both our kind, learning to trust each other might be the only thing that saves us. 

But even if a spy and a holy knight can work together, finding the key to peace is never going to be easy…

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Guest Post: Michael Scott and Colette Freedman - 13 Most Favorite Thrilling Books (or Authors)

>>Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Hi everyone! I'm pleased to introduce Michael Scott and Colette Freedman, authors of the recently released The Thirteen Hallows (review). Since their new book is deliciously thrilling, I thought it would be nice to have them share their 13 favourite thrilling books or authors. Take it away!

My 13 most favorite thrilling books (or authors)
1. Lois Duncan "Down a Dark Hall"
2. Robert O' Brien "The Silver Crown"
3. Stephen King "Misery"
4. Robin Cook "Coma"
5. Michael Crichton's "The Andromeda Strain" (the new one, Micro is fabulous too).
6. Robert McCammon “They Thirst.”
7. Thomas Harris “The Silence of the Lambs.”
8. Shirley Jackson “The Haunting of Hill House.”
9. H.P Lovecraft – read them when you’re young and they will haunt you forever!
10. Joe R Lansdale – everything! He is THE master storyteller.
11. Matthew Reilly – the Scarecrow novels.
12. Lee Child – everything/anything. He gets better with each book.
13. Robert E Howard “Conan.” (Guess which one of us added that title!)



Irish-born Michael Scott began writing over twenty-five years ago, and is one of Ireland's most successful and prolific authors, with over one hundred titles to his credit, spanning a 
variety of genres, including Fantasy, Science Fiction and Folklore. 

He writes for both adults and young adults and is published in thirty-seven countries, in over twenty languages. 

Praised for his “unparalleled contribution to children’s literature,” by the Guide to Children’s 
Books, Michael Scott was the Writer in Residence during Dublin’s tenure as European City of Culture in 1991, and was featured in the 2006 edition of Who’s Who in Ireland as one of the 1000 most “significant Irish.” 


COLETTE FREEDMAN is an internationally produced playwright, screenwriter, and novelist who was recently named one of the Dramatist Guild’s “50 to Watch”. Her play Sister Cities (NYTE, 2009) was the hit of the 2008 Edinburgh Fringe and earned five star reviews: It has been produced around the country and internationally, including Paris (Une Ville, Une Soeur) and Rome (Le Quattro Sorelle). She has authored fifteen produced plays including Serial Killer Barbie (Brooklyn Publishers, 2004), First to the Egg (Grand prize shorts urban shorts festival), Bridesmaid # 3 (Louisville finalist 2008), and Ellipses… (Dezart Festival winner 2010), as well as a modern adaptation of Iphigenia in Aulis written in iambic pentameter. She was commissioned to write a modern adaptation of Uncle Vanya which is in preproduction and has co-written, with International bestselling novelist Jackie Collins, the play Jackie Collins Hollywood Lies, which is gearing up for National Tour. In collaboration with The New York Times best selling author Michael Scott, she has just sold the thriller The Thirteen Hallows, to Tor/Macmillan, which comes out Dec 6, 2011. She has just sold the novel The Affair to Kensington and is getting ready to shop her YA series The A+ Girls. 

Tor Books
December 6th, 2011

The Hallows. Ancient artifacts imbued with a primal and deadly power. But are they protectors of this world, or the keys to its destruction? 
A gruesome murder in London reveals a sinister plot to uncover a two-thousand-year-old secret.

For decades, the Keepers guarded these Hallows, keeping them safe and hidden and apart from each other. But now the Keepers are being brutally murdered, their prizes stolen, the ancient objects bathed in their blood. Now, only a few remain.


With her dying breath, one of the Keepers convinces Sarah Miller, a practical stranger, to deliver her Hallow—a broken sword with devastating powers—to her American nephew, Owen.  The duo quickly become suspects in a series of murders as they are chased by both the police and the sadistic Dark Man and his nubile mistress.  

As Sarah and Owen search for the surviving Keepers, they unravel the deadly secret the Keepers were charged to protect. The mystery leads Sarah and Owen on a cat-and-mouse chase through England and Wales, and history itself, as they discover that the sword may be the only thing standing between the world… and a horror beyond imagining.  

The Thirteen Hallows is the beginning of a spellbinding new saga, a thrilling tale of ancient magic and modern times by a New York Times bestselling author and an award-winning playwright.

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Cinder by Marissa Meyer Giveaway Winner!

>>Monday, January 23, 2012

And the winner is....


Congratulations! The winner has been notified by email and has 24 hours to reply before a new winner is chosen.

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Review: The Thirteen Hallows by Michael Scott and Colette Freedman

>>Sunday, January 22, 2012

Title: The Thirteen Hallows
Author: Michael Scott and Colette Freedman
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 349
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: December 6th, 2011
Publisher: Tor Books
Rating: C+

Summary:
From Goodreads: The Hallows. Ancient artifacts imbued with a primal and deadly power. But are they protectors of this world, or the keys to its destruction?

A gruesome murder in London reveals a sinister plot to uncover a two-thousand-year-old secret.

For decades, the Keepers guarded these Hallows, keeping them safe and hidden and apart from each other. But now the Keepers are being brutally murdered, their prizes stolen, the ancient objects bathed in their blood. Now, only a few remain.

With her dying breath, one of the Keepers convinces Sarah Miller, a practical stranger, to deliver her Hallow—a broken sword with devastating powers—to her American nephew, Owen.
The duo quickly become suspects in a series of murders as they are chased by both the police and the sadistic Dark Man and his nubile mistress.

As Sarah and Owen search for the surviving Keepers, they unravel the deadly secret the Keepers were charged to protect. The mystery leads Sarah and Owen on a cat-and-mouse chase through England and Wales, and history itself, as they discover that the sword may be the only thing standing between the world… and a horror beyond imagining.

The Thirteen Hallows is the beginning of a spellbinding new saga, a thrilling tale of ancient magic and modern times by a New York Times bestselling author and an award-winning playwright.

Why did I read this book? I was really intrigued by the premise that promised a mixture of fantasy, mythology and history. And look at that cover, it’s beautiful!

Source: Review copy provided by publisher

My Review
The Thirteen Hallows opens with a bone-chilling first chapter, one of the most exciting openings to a book that I remember reading in a long time. It really hooked me from the first page and from there I could tell that Scott and Freedman would take me on a ride of the very well-written, thrilling and shocking story of The Keepers of the Hallows and their objects.

The story follows Sarah, who, either by chance or fate, has her world turned upside down when she finds herself charged with the care of one of the thirteen hallowed objects, a sword. She must protect it from the main villain of the story, who is trying to collect all thirteen objects to pretty much take over the world. It all sounds very epic and it is. It’s also a very horrific story, one with more gore than I anticipated. But this isn’t a bad thing; I actually thought the horror of the reality of the situations Sarah finds herself in to be refreshing. The whole book spans only a few days and much happens, creating a very fast-paced and exciting journey.

I did have some issues with the plotting, though. Two major pet peeves of mine where present in this story. One of them is the Nasty Villain who gets Flunkies to do his job for him, no matter how incompetent they are, while he watches and criticizes from afar. I know this is a common trope, but watching these flunkies fail so much and take so much time doing it while the villain could just try to get something done himself annoyed me. It created a situation where I felt the villain wasn’t as scary as he should be. There were a few instances where the bad guy does appear himself and those scenes I enjoyed.

The other pet peeve was the inclusion of the police in this story. Many people are being murdered so it’s natural the police would get involved, but I felt they, for no real reason, kept trying to blame Sarah for the crimes. At some points they make some pretty extreme leaps to connect her to the crimes and I felt this was just way too unbelievable for me (someone who takes detective work pretty seriously).

Rating: C+
The Thirteen Hallows was an exciting ride, if not a slightly bumpy one for me at times. I wanted so much to see what happens to the hallowed objects. One of my favorite aspects about this novel was the inclusion of British and Christian lore. I found the prose to be deftly executed in creating an exciting and terrifying world. However, this book was not without some faults that could have improved the story a lot for me. I would recommend this with these reservations in mind to those particularly interested in British and Christian lore or who’s looking for a fast-paced story with a good helping of horror.

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Waiting on Wednesday: The King's Agent by Donna Russo Morin

>>Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Welcome back to another installment of Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Breaking the Spine. Here's a historical pick that I found out through the author. I like that there's hints of the supernatural and am interested to see where the author takes it!


Title: The King's Agent
Author: Donna Russo Morin
Publisher: Kensington Books
Publication Date: March 1st, 2012

From Goodreads:

The King’s Agent is based loosely on the life of Battista della Palla-a patriotic plunderer, a religious rogue-of the 16th century, a lifelong friend to the great Michelangelo. 

As the cloistered ward of the Marquess of Mantua, Lady Aurelia is a woman with a profound duty, and a longing for adventure. In search of a relic intended for the King of France, Battista and Aurelia cross the breathtaking landscape of Renaissance Italy. Clues hide in great works of art, political forces collide, secret societies and enemies abound, and danger lurks in every challenge, those that mirror the passages of Dante's Divine Comedy. It is an adventurous quest with undercurrents of the supernatural, powers that could change the balance of supremacy throughout Europe.

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Review: Codename: Sailor V, volume 1 by Naoko Takeuchi

>>Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Title: Codename: Sailor V
Author: Naoko Takeuchi
Series: Codename: Sailor V Deluxe Editions #1
Format: Manga
Pages: 272
Genre: Shojo, Magical Girl, Comedy
Publication Date: September 13th, 2011
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Rating: C+

Summary:
From Goodreads: Like Sailor Moon, Minako Aino is a normal 13-year-old schoolgirl until a fateful day when a white cat introduces himself to her and tells her she has the power to transform into the hero, Sailor V. Using a magic pen to transform, Sailor V fights the evil agents of the Dark Agency as she strives to protect the earth.

Codename: Sailor V, created by the author before she created the mega-popular Sailor Moon, has never before been available in the U.S.


Why did I read this book? I'm a huge Sailor Moon fan. It was the first anime I ever saw and then became the first manga I ever read. Naturally, I've always wanted to read the Sailor V manga, and now I finally can!

Source: Bought

My Review
Codename: Sailor V was the predecessor to Takeuchi’s Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon and was never translated to English, until now. It’s the story of Sailor V, or Sailor Venus and how she becomes a sailor senshi. Minako Aino is a first year middle school student who loves to sleep, eat, play video games. She’s approached by a talking white cat, Artemis, who tries to get her to realize her potential as a hero.

The first thing I noticed about Minako’s story is that it’s very similar to Usagi’s (Sailor Moon). Their personalities are very similar (both love video games, not very good students, outgoing ) while some characterizations are the same as well. Minako has many references to the moon and even has a crescent –shaped compact for transforming. I even though Minako’s mother looked and acted an awful like Usagi’s. This isn’t really a bad thing, it’s actually kind of cool to see how Takeuchi developed the character of Sailor Moon and what the role this series played in that.

Reading this was reminding me all the things I loved about Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: the light-hearted shojo and school life story and the beautiful artwork. Takeuchi knows how to draw gorgeous pictures, however, some of the action scenes in this volume were lacking in detail.

As for the story – we aren’t given much substance. For many of the first chapters, the enemies and storylines felt very repetitive to the point where I was starting to wonder if the story was going to go anywhere. Luckily, the last two chapters were better. One of them was my favorite, where Sailor V wins a trip to Hawaii and hilarity ensues.

Rating: C+
Overall, I loved getting to follow along in Takeuchi’s and Minako’s journey to Sailor Moon through Codename: Sailor V. As an existing fan I enjoyed all those things I fondly remember. This volume is fun, light and features some great artwork as we know Takeuchi can do. I would mostly recommended this to those who are interested in the history of the Sailor Moon series or are particularly fond of the character Sailor V.

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The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson Giveaway Winner!

The contest is closed and the winner is....comment #7! This one:


The winner has been emailed and you have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen. Thanks to all who participated!

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Giveaway: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

>>Sunday, January 15, 2012

Hello everyone! I have for you one (1) copy of Cinder by Marissa Meyer to give away to one lucky winner thanks to Macmillan and Zeitghost Media!


Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: January 3rd, 2012

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.




Links
Marissa Meyer's Blog

Giveaway Rules and Guidelines


Leave a comment with your email address to enter!


1. Open to US and Canadian mailing addresses only. No P.O. box.
2. Need to be 13 or older to enter.
3. The winner will be announced on this blog and I will contact the winner via email and they will have 24 hours to provide their mailing address. If they don't, a new winner will be chosen.
4. The prize will be mailed by the publisher and so I will not have responsibility in getting the book to the winner.
5. Winner will be selected using Random.org
6. Giveaway ends on January 22nd 11:59 PM EST.

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Review: Empire State by Adam Christopher

>>Thursday, January 12, 2012

Title: Empire State
Author: Adam Christopher
Format: eARC
Pages: 346
Genre: Science Fiction, Noir
Publication Date: December 27th, 2012
Publisher: Angry Robot
Rating: B-

Summary:
From Goodreads: The stunning superhero-noir fantasy thriller set in the other New York.

It was the last great science hero fight, but the energy blast ripped a hole in reality, and birthed the Empire State – a young, twisted parallel prohibition-era New York.

When the rift starts to close, both worlds are threatened, and both must fight for the right to exist.

Adam Christopher’s stunning debut novel heralds the arrival of an amazing new talent.


Why did I read this book? I really enjoy being a part of Angry Robot’s Robot Army, because I get to find out about and read upcoming releases. This is how I found out about Empire State and after seeing the words super hero, noir and prohibition-era I had to read it!

Source: eARC from publisher

My Review
Empire State is not really like anything I’ve read before and I mean that in a good way. It combines so much awesomeness into one package. The story is this: two super heroes fighting in their high tech armor create a hole in reality and subsequently another reality. Our protagonist is Rad Bradley, a fedora-wearing private investigator who takes the job of finding a missing young woman. He drinks lots of illegal booze and rationed coffee because the Empire State is in Wartime against a mysterious enemy. This takes Rad to a plot to destroy the world (or worlds) as we know it. Like I said, there’s a lot of awesomeness: airships, robots, fedoras, and superheroes. Not to mention the stellar setting: Prohibition-era New York.

All these things I loved. At the center of this story is a mystery (can’t have a detective without a mystery…) and there were so many twists and betrayals I didn’t see coming. Rad is our main character and I enjoyed his subtle goodness and his determination to solve the mystery (and save the world), but there were also other characters I enjoyed. One of them is Captain Carson, a quirky old time adventurer who helps Rad throughout the story.

I may appear vague because I don’t want to give away the ending or any of the reveals about this world. What I will say is that there’s a fascinating take on the alternate reality and how this affects the people and places in our world and theirs.

Rating: B-
The only issues I had with Empire State was that I found it took some time to really get into the story. Everything takes some time to get set up but once it is, it’s pretty fast-paced. I would have also liked to have seen more women, or more of the women that are in the story. However, I found Empire State very enjoyable. Christopher melds so many ideas together: superheroes, Prohibition, noir fiction, science, alternate realities and creates a powerful fantasy package. I never once thought this world was unbelievable and I think that’s a great accomplishment.

This is Adam Christopher’s debut novel. He recently stopped by with a great guest post: The Masked Men of Empire State. Check it out!

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Waiting on Wednesday: Tooth and Nail by Jennifer Safrey

>>Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Welcome back to another installment of Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Breaking the Spine. There's a lot of faerie books out there, but this one caught my eye because it involves a boxer who finds out she's part tooth faerie. I want to see where the author takes this. The cover is very nice, too!


Title: Tooth and Nail
Author: Jennifer Safrey
Publication Date: February 7th, 2012
Publisher: Night Shade Books

From Goodreads:

Gemma Fae Cross, a tough-girl amateur boxer whose fiance is running for congress, has just made a startling discovery about herself. She is half faerie - and not just any faerie, but a tooth faerie! A hybrid of fae and human, Gemma is destined to defend the Olde Way and protect the fae - who are incapable of committing violence - from threats to their peaceful and idyllic way of life, which must be maintained by distilling innocence collected from children''s baby teeth. But when a threat to the fae mission emerges, Gemma is called upon to protect her heritage, and become a legendary fae warrior... even if it means sacrificing everything she knows about being human!

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Giveaway: The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson (audio book)

>>Saturday, January 7, 2012

Hello everyone! I have a great giveaway thanks to Macmillan Audio: one (1) copy of The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson audio book to give away! You can read my review of the book here.


The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Tor
Publication Date: November 8th, 2011

Listen to an excerpt of this audio book HERE.

Three hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is now on the verge of modernity, with railroads to supplement the canals, electric lighting in the streets and the homes of the wealthy, and the first steel-framed skyscrapers racing for the clouds. 
Kelsier, Vin, Elend, Sazed, Spook, and the rest are now part of history—or religion. Yet even as science and technology are reaching new heights, the old magics of Allomancy and Feruchemy continue to play a role in this reborn world. Out in the frontier lands known as the Roughs, they are crucial tools for the brave men and women attempting to establish order and justice. 
One such is Waxillium Ladrian, a rare Twinborn, who can Push on metals with his Allomancy and use Feruchemy to become lighter or heavier at will. After twenty years in the Roughs, Wax has been forced by family tragedy to return to the metropolis of Elendel. Now he must reluctantly put away his guns and assume the duties and dignity incumbent upon the head of a noble house. Or so he thinks, until he learns the hard way that the mansions and elegant tree-lined streets of the city can be even more dangerous than the dusty plains of the Roughs.

Giveaway Rules and Guidelines


Leave a comment with your email address to enter!


1. Open to US mailing addresses only. No P.O. box.
2. Need to be 13 or older to enter.
3. The winner will be announced on this blog and I will contact the winner via email and they will have 48 hours to provide their mailing address. If they don't, a new winner will be chosen.
4. The prize will be mailed by the publisher and so I will not have responsibility in getting the book to the winner.
5. Winner will be selected using Random.org
6. Giveaway ends on January 15th 11:59 PM EST.

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Waiting on Wednesday: Blue Magic by A.M. Dellamonica

>>Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Welcome back to another installment of Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Breaking the Spine. Here is a sequel I am highly anticipating. I loved the first book, Indigo Springs, and it made my favorites list of 2011. I can't wait to get my hands on this!


Title: Blue Magic
Author: A.M. Dellamonica
Publication Date: April 10th, 2012
Publisher: Tor

From Goodreads:

The sequel to Indigo Springs, “A psychologically astute, highly original debut—complex, eerie, and utterly believable.”  —Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

This powerful sequel to the A.M. Dellamonica's Sunburst Award–winning contemporary fantasy Indigo Springs starts in the small town in Oregon where Astrid Lethewood discovered an underground river of blue liquid—Vitagua—that is pure magic. Everything it touches is changed. The secret is out—and the world will never be the same. Astrid’s best friend, Sahara, has been corrupted by the blue magic, and now leads a cult that seeks to rule the world. Astrid, on the other hand, tries to heal the world.

Conflicting ambitions, star-crossed lovers, and those who fear and hate magic combine in a terrible conflagration, pitting friend against friend, magic against magic, and the power of nations against a small band of zealots, with the fate of the world at stake.

Blue Magic is a powerful story of private lives changed by earthshaking events that will ensnare readers in its poignant tale of a world touched by magic and plagued by its consequences.

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Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2012

>>Tuesday, January 3, 2012


One of my goals this year is to take part in less challenges but to participate more fully in the ones I do join. One of those few I will join this year is the Mount TBR Reading Challenge over at My Reader's Block.

I don't have a huge TBR pile compared to come (probably under 100 books) but I tend to read slower than others, so getting through my books faster than I obtain them is a challenge for me. Also, I love buying books (which is something I'll try to control this year...). So I'm setting myself the challenge of Pike's Peak (12 books). Who knows, maybe I'll be able to get through more than that. :)

Progress:

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The Yearly Recap Post: 2011

>>Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year! Last year I did a favorites list for my end of the year review, but I think I'm going to change it up by just going with stats and my favorite reads in general. I kept track of my reading through Goodreads and I found that to be really helpful. A big thing this year was that this was my first full year of book blogging, so I have some real yearly stats to go with!

2011 Reading Stats
Reading Goal: 50 books
Books read: 49 (excluding manga)
Number of A ratings: 12 (to see complete list click here)
Number of B ratings: 19 (to see complete list click here)
Number of C ratings: 11 (to see complete list click here)
Number of D ratings: 1 (to see complete list click here)
Number of DNF: 6 (to see complete list click here)

Goals for 2012
1. Read at least 50 books
2. Make more non-review posts like discussions, interviews, etc.
3. Make a dent in my TBR
4. Join less challenges, but participate more in the ones I do join

My Most Favorite Reads of 2011 (link goes to the review)

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