Monday, August 31, 2015

Sci-Fi Month | November 2015


I love the fall. The weather gets cooler, the leaves turn all sorts of beautiful colors, and I get a couple of my favorite holidays. No, not Halloween and Thanksgiving. I'm talking the Dewey Readathon (October) and Sci-Fi Month (November)!

Last year was my first encounter with Sci-Fi Month and I absolutely loved it! So when I heard that it was coming back for November 2015 all I could think was:

Last year I was only able to do a couple of book reviews about sci-fi books, and that's all I've promised to do this year as well. However, I am hoping I can push myself a little bit more and maybe figure out how to do a sci-fi based quiz on my blog.

One of the greatest things about Sci-Fi Month, though, is that, even if I screw up and am only able to do so much, I will still be accepted! 

So, if you are a Sci-Fi fan, please check out Sci-Fi Month's website. You don't have to be a blogger or a die hard fan to join in and I'd love to see you there during the Twitter Parties!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Armada | Ernest Cline

*Book provided by Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.


Zachary Lightman is a high school senior whose dad died when he was a baby and he spends most of his days either playing video games or working at a video game store. Imagine his surprise when a spaceship that looks exactly like his ship in the video game Armada shows up at his high school to take him away. Turns out, some of the most popular video games over the years are actually simulations for actual encounters with aliens who are threatening to take out the world. And the aliens have just stepped up their game.


I'll admit, I got more caught up in this story than I thought I would. A big part of this is probably the fast pace that begins in Chapter 7. The majority of this book takes place in the span of 8-10 hours. There's always something for Zack to be doing, so there's always something to be reading.

Probably another reason I got caught up iin this book is the characters. Yes, one or two tropes are in the book, but I loved that Cline showed that gaming can, and does, transcend things like race, gender, age, economics, etc. One character is kinda the stereotypical, lives-in-his-mom's-basement gamer, but then another of the top ten players is a Christian mother of three from Minnesota, 

Most importantly, I appreciate how much common sense and critical thinking Cline gave the characters, especially Zack. So many books don't live up to their potential because their teenage characters are the stereotypical act-now-think-later types. Yes, Zack has moments of this, but I appreciate that he picks up on the inconsistencies with the EDA's stories and the aliens' actions. I like that Cline has his characters discuss/argue about these as well. It made me feel like I didn't have to smack some common sense into any of them. 

Personally, I'm not sure this book is for me. I appreciated several of the references, but I'm just not that much of a Sci-Fi geek, especially 70's and 80's Sci-Fi. That being said, I told my mother about some of the references and it led to a nice discussion.* So I'm going to loan her, an original Sci-Fi fan, the book and see what she thinks. 

Still, I have no problems giving Armada by Ernest Cline 4 hoots. It was engaging, fun, and geek centric. 

                Hoot! Hoot!

*Did you know Jaws 3D was a thing? Wasn't a good thing, apparently, but it was still a thing.

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Flux | Ferrett Steinmetz

*Image and book provided by NetGalley


Paul Tsabo lives in a world where magic exists. He should know, he's a bureaucromancer. There are many 'mancers in the world who use magic. It manifests itself in ways that reflect the person's personality. His 8 year-old-daughter is a videogamemancer. Unfortunately, practice of magic is illegal and, if caught, Paul and his daughter Aliyah, will be brainwashed by the government and shoved into a hive mind used to hunt down even more 'mancers. 


I did not know when I got this book that The Flux is actually a sequel to Flex. Many fellow readers can attest that many times this leaves the reader feeling out-of-the-loop. That said, THIS WAS AN AMAZING BOOK! HOW DID I NOT HEAR ABOUT THIS BEFORE?!

The world this book takes place in is absolutely amazing! Yes, it's based on our own reality, but there is so much more to it! I was practically begging to become a bibliomancer! The interactions between magic and reality are so amazing and so consistent! You can't use magic without there being consequences and the stronger the magic you use, the greater the personal consequences are. 

Steinmetz does a wonderful job of making me empathize with his characters. Paul's concern for his daughter is entirely genuine. Aliyah's love for her father and her confusion over right-and-wrong are realistic for a 9 year old mentality. Valentine's need to interact with others and be challenged is invigorating. You love the good characters and eagerly await a literal boss fight between heroes and villains. There was even a point with the characters that, had I not been in a public place, I would have started bawling my eyes out!* And it's the dialogue that does so much of it. Yes, the narration itself is great for character building but the dialogue does so much more and I LOVE it!

I cannot express this enough, THIS BOOK MUST BE READ! I'm going to go get a copy of the first book because this world is just too fascinating to let it go at just one book. I'm SO glad Steinmetz is already working on a third book. 5 HOOTS!!!!

                Hoot! Hoot!

*No spoilers. You MUST read the book!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Bout of Books - Book Scavenger Hunt

Bout of Books

For today's Bout of Books post, the Book Monsters have posted a scavenger hunt. It's meant to be more of an instagram challenge, but I don't mind adding more pictures to my blog. ^_^ I've also added a challenge to only use books that are within arm's reach of where I'm sitting. Fortunately I've just moved to a new apartment so that's a lot easier to do than it would have a few weeks ago.

1) A book that begins with "B" - Okay, it's a bit of a stretch, but it was all I had within arms reach.

2) A book you're currently reading for Bout of Books - Just got it in the mail today!

3) Blue book - Yes, this counts as a book!

4) A book from my favorite genre - Because anyone who knows me knows I love superhero books.

5) A book from my TBR shelf - This is one of MANY books I found while moving that I had bought but never read.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Bout of Books 2015

Bout of Books

Okay, enough debating with myself. I NEED a read-a-thon. I've been needing to just dive into books and leave out all other distractions and Bout of Books seems as good a time to do so as any.

My Goals:

1) Bring up my NetGalley Percentage by finishing off all four books I have still to read.

    a) These books are:
        i) The Flux by Ferrett Steinmetz
        ii) Adventures in Human Being by Gavin Francis
        iii) Manga Classics: Emma by  Po Tse, Crystle S Chan, Stacy King
        iv) The Little Red Fish by James Moffitt and Bizhan Khodabandeh

    b) The last two books are relatively quick reads, hence their inclusion on the goal list.

2) Socialize.

    a) I won't be able to do all the blog posts, nor will I be able to attend tonight's Twitter Party (work hours being what they are) but I will try to do as many as I can. I will also try to visit other blogs and I will DEFINITELY be attending the Saturday morning Twitter Party.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Blood and Salt | Kim Liggett

Blood and Salt by Kim Liggett
*Image and ebook provided for free in exchange for an honest review. 

Ashley and her twin brother Rhys go searching for their mother in her home of Quivira, described to her kids as a bit of a hippie/cult town. 


I'll admit, I kept going back and forth between wanting to like this book and wanting to hate it. A lot of the plot twists were easy to see, the characters were, at most, 1 dimensional, but I still felt it was pretty good read.

There is a lot of blood, a lot of magic, and a lot of creepy scenes that kept me reading. I'm not generally interested in love stories, so I am grateful to Liggett for including some other elements in the story.

If you're at all interested in paranormal romance you'll have a better time with this book than I did. 2.5 hoots.


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Meta | Tom Reynolds

*Image courtesy of author's website.


A decade after the first wave of Metas (superheroes) went into hiding or were killed off, Connor Connolly, orphaned by Metas, finds himself with superpowers. Metas are coming back, but not all of them have good intentions. 


This was a fun book. I was a little worried about reading yet another story about a teenage boy who finds himself with incredible powers, but Reynolds keeps the book interesting. There were even a few moments that I did not predict, so full credit to Reynolds for that.

Meta is a relatively short book (240 pages) so world building is relatively quick, yet well done. Exposition is given in the form of cautionary tales about where previous metas went wrong, keeping the world building interesting and relevant. The characters are a bit typical of this genre and story line, but the dialogue is still entertaining and has a few surprises.

Overall, I did enjoy this book and will be purchasing the next book, The Second Wave. If you're looking for a good story about superheroes and super villains, I recommend Meta. 4 hoots!

                Hoot! Hoot!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Trollhunters | Guillermo del Toro & Daniel Kraus

*Image and book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 


Jim Sturges Jr. has an overprotective father and no social status at school. He can't bring himself to excel at anything. But when he starts seeing creatures in the dark corners of the town and kids start to go missing, Jim is brought into the ancient world of trolls, literally kicking and screaming. 


I don't often get to say this, especially with books for younger readers, but HOLY WAH! THIS WAS TOTALLY AWESOME! I NEED TO BUY THIS BOOK!

Ahem. Sorry about that.

I'll admit, a lot of the plot points were predictable, but the characters are so engaging and the world their in is so mesmerizing you don't care! This world is so complex and has such a rich history that I am eagerly looking forward to the sequel that was hinted at in the last chapter. Yes, some people may have seen the history as an exposition dump, but I saw it as the greatest Troll Scholar gladly showing off his knowledge because someone is actually listening to him. The characters only add to the richness of this world and you want to see all of them make it through.

With regards to the intended audience, this book would easily be too scary for middle-grade students. I strongly recommend it for junior-high or older and not just because of the content. There are so many new vocabulary words that I had to look up. But if you are at all interested in monsters vs heroes or monsters as heroes, this is a great book. It is a wonderful combination of adventure, action, horror and coming-of-age. I give full credit to del Toro and Kraus for finding just the right balance of each element. 

If you've looked at my Rating System and my rating history, you know that, while I give a lot of fours, I reserve five hoots for those books that I'm willing to yell at people to read. GET THIS BOOK! YOU WILL LOVE IT! 5 HOOTS!

                Hoot! Hoot!