Thursday, May 5, 2016

Book Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Title: The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Author: Neil Gaiman

Genre: Magical Realism 
Publisher: William Morrow Books
Publication Date: June 18, 2013
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover

Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn't thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she'd claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.
Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.
A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly's wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark (goodreads). 

Confusing, but still enchanting. 
Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Amber Reads Her Shelves: May

Amber Reads Her Shelves is my attempt to actually read the books I read. Every month I will choose 3 books that have been on my shelves for at least 6 months. Voting will be open until May 18.
Friday, April 22, 2016

Book Review: Prince's Gambit

Title: Prince's Gambit (The Captive Prince #2)
Author: C.S. Pacat
Genre: Fantasy | War | M/M | Romance
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: July 7, 2015
Format: Physical
Source: Library

With their countries on the brink of war, Damen and his new master, Prince Laurent, must exchange the intrigues of the palace for the sweeping might of the battlefield as they travel to the border to avert a lethal plot.
Forced to hide his identity, Damen finds himself increasingly drawn to the dangerous, charismatic Laurent. But as the fledgling trust between the two men deepens, the truth of secrets from both their pasts is poised to deal them the crowning death blow…(goodreads).

It's ridiculous how easy it is to devour this seies in one sitting.
Thursday, April 21, 2016

Book Review: Ruined

Title: Ruined (Untitled #1)
Author: Amy Tintera
Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy | Romance
Publisher: Harperteen
Publication Date: May 3, 2016
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher

Emelina Flores has nothing. Her home in Ruina has been ravaged by war. She lacks the powers of her fellow Ruined. Worst of all, she witnessed her parents’ brutal murders and watched helplessly as her sister, Olivia, was kidnapped.
But because Em has nothing, she has nothing to lose. Driven by a blind desire for revenge, Em sets off on a dangerous journey to the enemy kingdom of Lera. Somewhere within Lera’s borders, Em hopes to find Olivia. But in order to find her, Em must infiltrate the royal family.
In a brilliant, elaborate plan of deception and murder, Em marries Prince Casimir, next in line to take Lera’s throne. If anyone in Lera discovers Em is not Casimir’s true betrothed, Em will be executed on the spot. But it’s the only way to salvage Em’s kingdom and what is left of her family.
Em is determined to succeed, but the closer she gets to the prince, the more she questions her mission. Em’s rage-filled heart begins to soften. But with her life—and her family—on the line, love could be Em’s deadliest mistake (goodreads).

Ruined misses the mark in terms of believable characters and in-depth world building. 
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Tuesday, April 19, 2016

First Thoughts [#36]

First Thoughts is a feature where I give my initial impression of my current read.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Authors Winning: Sarah Jude

Hi all! Months ago I made a blog post about Rae Carson's epic rant on the use of genitalia to represent strength and weakness. I haven't made a post like that in a while, but in a world that focuses on authors behaving badly, I always want to highlight when an author is winning.

Last week, my 2-star review for The May Queen Murders went live. I don't normally advetise my reviews on social media (because effort), so I was really surprised when the author, Sarah Jude, responded to me via tweet.

I was especially surprised because it wasn't a glowing 5-star review. I felt awkward, I didn't know what to do, but Sarah Jude handled it all with grace.

So just a major shout-out to Sarah for being awesome!

Have you ever had an author respond to one of your less-than-glowing reviews? How did you respond?

Friday, April 15, 2016

Book Review: Starflight

Title: Starflight (Starflight #1)
Author: Melissa Landers
Genre: Young Adult | Sci-Fi | Romance | Adventure
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: February 2, 2016
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased

Life in the outer realm is a lawless, dirty, hard existence, and Solara Brooks is hungry for it. Just out of the orphanage, she needs a fresh start in a place where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. She's so desperate to reach the realm that she's willing to indenture herself to Doran Spaulding, the rich and popular quarterback who made her life miserable all through high school, in exchange for passage aboard the spaceliner Zenith.
When a twist of fate lands them instead on the Banshee, a vessel of dubious repute, Doran learns he's been framed on Earth for conspiracy. As he pursues a set of mysterious coordinates rumored to hold the key to clearing his name, he and Solara must get past their enmity to work together and evade those out for their arrest. Life on the Banshee may be tumultuous, but as Solara and Doran are forced to question everything they once believed about their world—and each other—the ship becomes home, and the eccentric crew family. But what Solara and Doran discover on the mysterious Planet X has the power to not only alter their lives, but the existence of everyone in the universe..(goodreads)

This was one of the most fun adventures I've read in a long time!
Thursday, April 14, 2016

Book Review: The May Queen Murders

Title: The May Queen Murders
Author: Sarah Jude
Genre: Young Adult | Horror | Mystery
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 3, 2016
Format: e-ARC
Source: Publisher

Stay on the roads. Don’t enter the woods. Never go out at night.
Those are the rules in Rowan’s Glen, a remote farming community in the Missouri Ozarks where Ivy Templeton’s family has lived for centuries. It’s an old-fashioned way of life, full of superstition and traditions, and sixteen-year-old Ivy loves it. The other kids at school may think the Glen kids are weird, but Ivy doesn’t care—she has her cousin Heather as her best friend. The two girls share everything with each other—or so Ivy thinks. When Heather goes missing after a May Day celebration, Ivy discovers that both her best friend and her beloved hometown are as full of secrets as the woods that surround them (goodreads).

The May Queen Murders is chock full of scary images but does not excel in characterization.
Wednesday, April 13, 2016

[Meme]Waiting on Wednesday [#88]

Title: The Crown's Game (The Crown's Game #1)
Author: Evelyn Skye
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: May 17, 2016

Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.
And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.
Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?
For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.
And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love... or be killed himself.
As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear... the Crown’s Game is not one to lose (goodreads).


I'm sorry, did you not read that very last sentence? SECRETS. BETRAYAL. COURT INTRIGUE. I WANT IT ALL.