Tag Archives: Reading

Kate Daniels’ World

I have become completely obsessed with the Kate Daniels series and world by Ilona Andrews. 

Until now, I had completely dismissed companion novels, .5 short stories and novellas. My world has completely changed. The Ilona Andrews team has shifted my thinking and reading experiences. I engrossed into this world, enhanced through each story and perspective. 

My obsession has led me to track down short stories in obscure anthologies and cut scenes post of their blog.

The Kate Daniel’s world is rich and holistic. Even though it is set in a futuristic Atlanta where magic and technology exist in deep conflict that waves throughout the world. A world inhabited by a range of preternatural beings that are fierce, predatory and loyal. This world feels real or at least believable.

Now that my reading experience has evolved into this new sector or the market, I’m going to relive some of my favourite series. I’m starting with the Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr (another favourite author or urban fantasy). I’ve almost finished the audiobook of Desert Tales and I’m keen to find some short stories or novellas from this world.

What are your opinions of companion novels and short stories?
Are there any great series enhanced with them that I should read?

Happy reading 🙂

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Goodreads saved my sanity!

I haven’t read a printed book (dead-tree variety) in over a year. I’m a new convert to ebooks and eaudio but I’ve jumped in with both feet.

I came to ebooks through necessity rather than choice. I quite unexpectantly found myself in hospital having a baby six weeks early. I had a few complications and after 10 days I was discharged but without my baby and unable to drive. What does one do? Head to mum’s for some looking after until bubs is strong enough to come home.

As a librarian, my life is reading. My passion is for fiction. Here I was staying in TV Land not Bookville. All I was armed with was an iPad and a library card!

Overdrive is my new best friend. I ended up having over a year off work and only being paid for a quarter so my relationship with my old friends (Dead-Tree sellers) bitterly needed to come to an end.

While Overdrive, Amazon and Audible were fulfilling my appetite for fiction, I no longer had anyone with which to share my reading. I hadn’t realised how much of my day used to be dedicated to discussing reading.

Having a new baby can be isolating – more than I was prepared to encounter. I tried to look for a local bookclub but it is difficult to fit anything around baby’s sleep patterns (I use pattern figuratively!) and I mainly read Young Adult fiction because of work. Not too many (any) daytime YA book groups around. That is why Goodreads saved my sanity.

We use Goodreads at work with the students. It is a fantastic way to breech the divide that makes solitary reading a social activity. I knew all the theory about why it was good for the students and their connectedness to their peers – why did it take me so long.

After starting a new, anonymous Goodreads account, I joined a variety of online book clubs. I’ve been enjoying book of the month chats, buddy reads, challenges, scavenger hunts (my favourite) and I’ve been connecting with some fabulous people. I’ve chatted with authors and reviewed their books. I’ve won competitions and accessed ARCs. I’ve loved having recommendations made for me and meeting some new Goodreads friends.

Goodreads saved my sanity because I’m able to connect with other book lovers and feel involved without having to leave my baby (who is now an adventurist toddler).

Feel free to come and share your reading with me on Goodreads. There should be a link via the Goodreads widget.

Happy reading 🙂

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Pawn review

Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion, #1)Pawn by Aimee Carter

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Pawn is just another YA dystopian novel. If you’re really into this genre then it is worth a read. I read so many great reviews of this novel but for me it just didn’t have that wow factor. In fact, there were several aspects that got on my nerves.

Pawn is set in an American meritocracy where at seventeen, citizens are required to undertake an aptitude test. This test determines their social ranking and job. With shadows of Soylent Green but a little bit more tasteful, overpopulation is curbed by sending the infirmed, elderly and excess children to Elsewhere. The concept of Elsewhere had too many holes for me and it wasn’t really explained well. There is only so much hunting that the politicians can do!

The protagonist, Kitty, has undiagnosed dyslexia. This is why she performs poorly on the aptitude test. If this novel is supposed to be able the inequity in our schooling system and society for people with learning disorders or disabilities – it fall falls dramatically short. It also seems to waver between supporting and destroying the meritocracy. The only strong message was anti monarchy. I’m really confused about what Carter was trying to convey. Most successful dystopian novels have a clear message for society to act upon – I don’t think it was there.

The huge issue I had with Pawn was the title. There were two tacked on references to chess. They really stuck out. If the Harts had actually been a monarchy, perhaps it would have worked better. In my opinion the metaphor of the pawn failed. The other issue I had with this novel was the sheer amount of dialogue. If it is made into a film, the screen writer will have an easy job. I know the old adage of show don’t tell but sometimes paraphrasing can save ten pages!

Some people have really liked this novel. I thought it was ok. I think if you’re a fan of the genre then you should read it and form your own conclusion. I doubt that I will read the rest of the series.

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Fast Money review

Fast Money: A Shelby Nichols Adventure (Shelby Nichols #2)Fast Money: A Shelby Nichols Adventure by Colleen Helme

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This series would make a great present for my mother. I’m finding it harder and harder to find things to read that my mother would also enjoy. I hate that awkward feeling I get when she asks me what I’m reading and if she can read it when I’m done. Fast Money has everything she enjoys in a story – a relatable female protagonist, minimal explicit language, a bit of humour to keep it light, implied violence, a mystery to follow, and no graphic sex scenes – WINNER!

Fast Money has just enough humour to balance with the mystery to make this a great holiday read. The protagonist is a mother and wife. Such a different sleuth from what I usually read. I think I would enjoy this series more my children were a little older so I could empathise with Shelby more.

I hadn’t read the first book so some parts were a bit confusing. I suggest reading the synopsis of the first book, Carrots, before reading Fast Money. There were a lot of characters and at times I was confused with who was who but a strong series needs a range allies and villains. You do need to suspend belief a little bit to truly engage with this series. I found that there was quite a bit of repetition in the novel due to its stream of consciousness style. This is good if you like to read small passages over a period of time or if you often put a book down and come back to it later.

I read the audiobook edition. I really liked the narrator. She really embodied the character of Shelby. Fast Money is written from Shelby’s perspective in almost a stream of consciousness style. Through Shelby we hear what the other characters are thinking, this meant that while the narrate or differentiated character voices, she didn’t attempt any rediculous accents – YAY!

There are several plot lines that intersect in interesting ways. The novel’s conclusion sets it a promising premise for the rest of the series

Next time I’m looking for a holiday read, I will pick up the next one.

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Touch by Melissa Haag

TouchTouch by Melissa Haag

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book more than I anticipated. I think it is mostly because I was able to respect the characters. Far too often the characters in YA paranormal romances invoke a feeling of envy in the reader because of their romance/appearance/powers/wealth/circumstances etc. This was not the case. The teenagers were sensible and the adults were both loving and flawed.

Touch is about Tessa, a 16 year old who is trapped by a 200 year old family curse. While I call Touch a paranormal romance it is different from most stories in the genre. While the ‘love interest’ propels the plot, there isn’t a ‘fall in love at first sight’ overwhelming romance. I really respect Melissa Haag for this as I think it makes the novel. The complication is that Tessa, as all the women before her, must choose a partner before her 17th birthday. To assist her choice, she catches a glimpse of the future with each potential mate with just a touch. The main catch is that whomever she chooses is cursed to die young.

I want to quickly comment on the cover. While looking at the covers of all the editions, this cover is the most appealing to me. However, after reading the novel this cover is really misleading 😦

What I liked most about Touch is that I was often conflicted about what I wanted for Tessa, the protagonist. I was able to share her indecision as she battled with making decisions that would rule her future and change the lives of her family.

I am really looking forward to reading some of Melissa Haag’s other work.

Touch reminds us that the basis for the strongest relationships is friendship rather than passion.

Happy reading 🙂

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Must listen/read: The False Prince

The False Prince (The Ascendance Trilogy, #1)

Who are your favourite narrators?

Which books have you stayed up all night to finish?

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning to finish this audiobook. It was worth it! The False Prince was a surprisingly good tale. I had downloaded the audiobook a while ago and I reluctantly put it on one night for lack of anything else to listen to. I will admit that it took me a few chapters to get involved in the story.

The False Prince has the right mix – just enough intrigue, twists, predictability, surprise revelations and cunning plans to keep you engaged and eager to discover what happens next.

Charlie McWade is a brilliant narrator. His interpretation of the characters is brought to life by his dramatisation through the dialogue. He gives each character a voice that represents their personalities and role in the narrative. Often I would forget that I was listening to a narrator and not a cast representation. I also really appreciate it when narrators make you forget that you are listening to someone imitate the opposite sex – Charlie McWade achieved this. My only disappointment is that, according the Goodreads, he has only narrated a few books but I will be putting all of them on my To Listen list.

After my sleepless night, I also pleasantly surprised to discover an additional scene like a secret track on an album. What a fantastic idea! Usually when I finish a book I’m bitterly disappointed either because it is finished and I wanted more or because I had just wasted so many hours of my life. This additional scene was the perfect remedy. The additional scene that was a bit of an origin story was like an after dinner mint with my coffee – I don’t really need it but it makes the end of a meal just a little bit sweeter.

My greatest fear with The False Prince is that I cannot see how the rest of the trilogy could possibly live up to the first installment. Where does Jennifer A. Nielsen have to go with this story?

The False Prince is the thrilling first audiobook in a brand-new trilogy with danger, deceit, and hidden identities that will keep listeners hanging on to the edge of their seats.

From <http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12862980-the-false-prince>
Happy reading 🙂 

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Help it’s Friday! A new to-do list.

I can’t believe it is Friday all ready. I have managed to have a bizarrely unproductive week. I’m pretty sure the only thing I achieved was to put more things on my to-do list.

Inspired by Daily Prompt: Viral. I have come up with a first. Well, a first for me at least.

I don’t know about you but I’m not really a Monday person. I tend to put things off until Monday, then nothing gets done anyway. My new idea that I am going to trial is the Friday to-do list.

The Friday to-do list is going to be more motivating. As each Friday I am going to sit down and evaluate my achievements for the week. If I have completed most of my chores, I will try to reward myself on the weekend.

Another reason I think that Friday is the right to-do list day is that often there is some down time over the weekend. Usually what is left on the to-do list  by the weekend are the things that you really don’t want to do. By getting organised on a Friday, I am hoping that I will knock off some of the more interesting items by the end of the weekend freeing up time during the week for the more tedious jobs. 

The final reason I think this will work is that on a Friday I am often looking for some ‘busy’work to do. Jobs that make it look like I’m busy working but really are not to0 mentally stimulating. 🙂

This Friday’s To-Do list of blog related tasks include:

1. Write a review for Once by Morris Gleitzman

2. Finish my review of Metatropolis

3. Finish reading Kiera’s Quest and attempt to tackle a tasteful review.

4. Finish listening to The False Prince and write a review.

5. Finish reading Memory’s Wake by Thursday (review due the following Tuesday)

6. Download the next lot of R4R books: All Our Yesterdays, BZRK reloaded, Into the Dark: The Shadow Prince.

As always, 7. Organise my To Be Read shelves!!!

Do you find that to-do lists help?

Any recommendations on how to keep on top of Read for Review requests?

Happy reading 🙂
 

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