Monday, June 20, 2011

The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group by Catherine Jinks

The Abused Werewolf Support Group is about a boy named Toby who wakes up in a Dingo pen one morning. As this isn’t typical behavior on his part, his mother takes him for all kinds of tests. Then one day a boy and a priest show up at his door telling Toby and his mother that he is a werewolf. At first Toby doesn’t believe anything they tell him and thinks the whole thing is a crazy practical joke. Then Toby is kidnapped for a werewolf fighting pit and he slowly comes to realize that maybe he is in fact a werewolf.

When I first started reading this I was super excited and quickly became very confused. I thought this was going to be Rueben’s side of the story from The Reformed Vampire Support Group. Then as I read on I kind of realized that that definitely was not the case and had to kind of reorient my expectations.

Once I wrapped my head around the fact that this was Toby’s story and not Rueben’s I was able to enjoy it. Toby is a funny and interesting kid whose creativity and sense of adventure can often get him into way too much trouble. I really liked his character (but maybe that’s cause he reminds me of my fiancĂ© with the crazy experiments). He makes a lot of bad decisions and lets himself get talked into things by Fergus way too easily. I have to say that I loved Toby’s ingenuity. I couldn’t wait to see what he was going to come up with next. Some of the things he was able to build were just incredible and there was a part of me that was tempted to go online and see if some of the science experiments (for lack of a better term) would really work.

The story was definitely interesting and I wanted to know what was going to happen next. I also loved getting to find out what was going on with the crew from the Reformed Vampire Support Group although there was a lack of Dave I found disappointing. I also thought the ending was very creative. I always love stories that are kind of written as a “warning”. For some reason I just find it very entertaining and I like the reassurances Toby gave, that if help was needed they would find you.

My only other complaint about this book was that there was too much tell rather then show. Toby is telling the story in retrospect and because of that he would constantly tell you how he would never behave this way now and the different kinds of decisions that he would make now. I wish the author had let us see a little more clearly the life Toby was living after his adventures, so that we could see for ourselves how he was different and not have to be told that Toby no longer takes crazy risks.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

After the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn

Celia West is the daughter of Captain Olympiad and Spark, Commerce City's two greatest superheroes. Unfortunately she has no powers and is totally normal, unless you count her ability to remain calm in the face of constant kidnapping. Now her parents greatest foe The Destructor is on trial and she is the forensic accountant assigned to find his assets. Her relationship with her parents has always been strained AT BEST, the events that follow can bring them together or take them apart.

As soon as I saw the cover of this book I knew it was for me. I recently discovered a love for Carrie Vaughn and I've always adored old school comics. This dealt with the realities of being related to a super hero and how it can hurt the family dynamic. Celia's pain was often palpable and it was impressive how she pulled herself out of her own drama and grew into a strong woman.

I do admit that the mystery was easy to solve. I knew who was committing the crimes, but the impetus behind it and how it related to the trial and to the past was very unexpected (I'm hoping this is vague enough not to give anything away.) I was so excited at how everything tied together at the end.

There was one thing that kind of bugged me. Sometimes it seemed like Celia was developing powers and other times it seemed like she was picking up Dr. Mentis' powers. I think you're supposed to infer that her power is more of a mental one but I'm just not sure and it was driving me insane. I want it confirmed!
***End Spoiler***

I loved who Celia ended up with. I did see it coming but not in a "of course that's going to happen kind of way" more in the "I hope that happens kind of way." They were prefect for each other.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Red Glove (Curse Workers, #2) by Holly Black

The new year starts and Cassel is still trying to be relatively good but his family just keeps getting him into more and more trouble. Especially when Phil gets murdered and the feds try and draft Cassel into a special program for worker teens. Lila is still cursed to love him and they were trying to stay away from each other but she's at school with Cassel, which is just more complications.

I really liked this and I'm not entirely sure how to say why. Cassel tries to do the right thing but thinks that he is a bad person, and I think a lot of times as a teenager I kind of felt that way. It's not that you are intentionally trying to hurt anyone or do bad things, it's that you feel like life leaves you between to impossible choices and neither one is a great option.

The mystery is definitely not as easy to solve as I thought it would be. Early into the book I totally thought I had figured out who had killed Phil. I didn't think there was any other choice and was mildly annoyed that it was so easy to figure out. I was wrong and it was a character I hadn't even really thought about because the were not as heavily featured in this book as the previous one (although if I hadn't been so wrapped up in who I thought it was I might have thought about it.)

I still love the world that Cassel lives in. The curseworkers rights movement harkens back to the civil rights movement of the sixties and I think that Holly Black handles it well. The mobsters remind of me of those old fifties movies or Dick Tracey even though it could be related to something newer. Maybe my frame of reference is just screwy.

A lot of things felt like they wrapped up nicely here. It doesn't really need anymore, but I'm still hoping that there will be a third book because I really really enjoyed it.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Beautiful City of the Dead by Leander Watts

I picked this book up off the shelf over a month ago at this point. When I finally started it I couldn't entirely remember why I picked it up , but I know that I am happy that I did. When Zee starts her new school she can't find anyone who looks interesting until she meets Relly. Relly has his own band and needs a bassist and he thinks Zee is the perfect fit. The four play ghost metal a sound so big you can hear the silence in it. Then Zee finds out that there is more to Relly, herself and their band than meets the eye.

The prose of this book was extremely lyrical and poetic. It just sounded gorgeous and I loved the different places that Zee went to come up with lyrics for the band. I just felt like the whole book had a gorgeous sound to it, which is always appropriate for a book about music.

I loved the twist in the book. I know it was unexpected but I thought that that was what made it work. This is one of the first paranormal books where a lot of explanation about what is going on why people have certain abilities was left out, but to be honest it didn't feel necessary. I didn't miss it the way I normally do. The book felt full all on it's own.

The music was enough for me. I really enjoyed it and honestly I am not entirely sure I can explain why.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Steel by Carrie Vaughn

Jill loses a major fencing tournament by half a second, and it completely throws her. She goes on vacation to the Bahamas with her family and spends a lot of time trying to figure out if she wants to continue fencing, whether she can handle not winning and if it's worth it. Then she finds a broken piece of a sword, which transports her back in time to Captain Cooper's ship and becomes a member of her pirate crew who is currently embroiled in a feud over the very sword Jill found.

This book was much slower then I thought it would be. I expected that since this was a fantasy/pirate adventure it would mile a minute action, however that wasn't how it was at all, and honestly it worked. There were definitely pockets of adventure but a lot of time was spent on everyday maintenance of the ship and being in Jill's head while she tried to figure out what to do. I would say that this was a historical fiction book with a light touch of magic/fantasy.

I am a sucker for historical detail so I was very interested to learn about Jill's adjustment to being on ship. The kinds of chores that she had to do and how pirate law worked and how pirate raids could actually be kind of nothing sometimes were all really interesting to me. I was glad to find out in the afterward that she did a ton of research.

There was a light romance here as well and I was super excited that a.) it was not a triangle and b.) it wasn't the focus of the story. It was never all about the guy and the romance aspect I think it was more about showing that Jill was more a part of the crew then she thought she was. It's been a while since I've read any YA novel in any genre where the romantic aspects didn't feel like they were taking over the story.

The curse and the supernatural elements of the story were definitely interesting and the story regarding the swords creation and how it seemed to end were also aspects of the story that I really enjoyed. The story of the swords original forging was creepy. The idea of what some people are willing to do for power and to get ahead is generally terrifying to me though so I don't know how much of the credit goes to the story and how much goes to my own mind.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

May in Review

So I haven't had a chance to read as much as I've wanted to this month and I still lose the thread of posting but I figure it could be worse. Challenge-wise I am pretty much where I was last month but I've been reading a ton on my kindle so I kind of wish I had signed up for the e-books challenge.

Here's this month's books and where they came from, everything is linked to goodreads so you can add it to your to be read list. All reviews are forthcoming:

1. Excaliber The Legend of King Arthur by Tony Lee & Sam Hart (Illustrator) (library book)
2. The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group by Catherine Jinx (e book from netgalley)
3. Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer by Maureen McGowan (e book from netgalley)
4. The Strange Case of Finley Jayne by Kady Cross (ebook from amazon)
5. Tricked by Alex Robinson (library book)
6. The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross (ebook from netgalley)

What did you read in May?

Demonglass (Hex Hall, #2) by Rachel Hawkins

Sophie, Jenna and Cal go to England to stay with Sophie's father so that she can learn how to control her powers and make an informed decision about going through the removal. The Eye is still after Sophie and they still seem to be using Archer to do it. Or are they?

I still really like Sophie. She is still sarcastic and fun and watching her learn about her father and what he's like is definitely interesting. He doesn't come across as someone who would keep such a huge secret from Sophie as what she was and I do wish we had gotten some insigth into the decision.

I will say that I am extremely sick of the whole love triangle thing in YA. Archer and Sophie are star-crossed lovers. Does Cal really need to be in love with Sophie? Was it really necessary? I just felt like the whole star corssed lovers thing was enough especially when you include the developing relationship with her dad and the politics of the council. I'm also just kind of over Archer as a whole. He didn't feel as developed in this book as he did in the last and I was honestly just getting sick of him.

The Committee itself came across as interesting and dangerous. There seemed to be an extreme lack of checks and balances in the structure and I could feel both Sophie and her father's frustations with it.

The book ends on a cliffhanger and in a way that almost makes me wonder if it's a complete book or a just a bridge to a third volume. Enough happens that it definitely works as a full book, but I feel like too much happens too. It doesn't feel like it has it's own independent story because none of the plot threads feels entirely resolved (even though one kind of is.) For some reason this whole thing just felt unfinished to me and as of right now I just can't shake that feeling.