Book Mail for the week ending February 4, 2017

This week’s book mail was all requests for upcoming reviews. Continue reading

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Children of Icarus by Caighlan Smith Switch Press US cover

Micro-Review: CHILDREN OF ICARUS by Caighlan Smith

I probably shouldn’t have expected much from a book that drew cover comparisons to The Hunger Games (which I hated) and The Maze Runner (which looks boring to me).

The narrator of the book somehow managed to weave a web of lies and deceit, despite making no active decisions until the second half of the book. Much of the plot required more suspension of belief than should be expected, and despite the title, there are few aspects of the original tale of Icarus beyond shallow, almost cosmetic references.

If you absolutely want to read more of the exhausted YA dystopian genre, this is probably a good book to check out, but otherwise, Children of Icarus offers nothing new or interesting for the subgenre.

Link

New Review at Girls in Capes

I’m stoked about my newest review on Girls in Capes!

Lois Lane: Fallout is a contemporary YA with a touch of sci-fi focusing on Superman’s love interest, Lois, as a high school student before she ever meets Clark Kent. It’s one of my favorite books I’ve read this year.

I fangirled so hard that Switch Press even posted about it on Twitter:

[tweet https://twitter.com/SwitchPressPub/status/589109009283551232]

Definitely check out this review — and I would highly recommend the book itself to all my friends.

New review at Girls in Capes: THE WALLED CITY by Ryan Graudin

18196040I’ve got something new up at Girls in Capes!

Today’s review is for the YA novel THE WALLED CITY by Ryan Graudin, which follows three teens — Dai, Jin, and Mei Yee — who live in the eponymous walled city of Hak Nam.

While I absolutely loved this book, it took me three months (!) to actually finish reading it — which, for me, is an amazingly long time.  It’s a beautiful book, and heart-breakingly difficult.

But you can read all about that over at GiC.  An excerpt:

When I originally picked up The Walled City and read the back, I assumed it was a typical (and for me, boring) YA dystopian novel set in a Chinese or Chinese-inspired futuristic setting.

Spoiler alert: it’s not.

Read the full review right now over at Girls in Capes.

Flash Review, Issue #005

Here are a few short reviews of books I’ve read in the past month.

The Screaming Divas by Suzanne Kamata

Provided by the publisher for review. Find Suzanne’s interview at Girls in Capes.

When I started this book, I was expecting something more along the lines of a book about a band, with a lot of practicing and concerts, but the book ended up reading more like The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants except with a punk band instead of magic jeans.

Originally, I’d set this book aside because the first chapter didn’t hook me, but I’m glad I ended up following through, because as it turns out, the character (Trudy) whose point of view is shown in the first chapter is the least interesting and relatable.  I enjoyed each of the other three girls’ plotlines, especially Esther’s, and I found some of my own life experiences reflected in Harumi.  Cassie was my favorite of the girls, though I didn’t quite like the progression of her plot.

The Screaming Divas was a fascinating read after that initial bump, but the strange change of pace towards the end and the overall plot wasn’t really for me.  However, the book has fascinating diversity and represents each character in what I find to be a very fair way.

3 out of 5 stars

Kindred by Octavia Butler

Purchased for the Girls in Capes book club.

Octavia Butler’s been on my list a long time, and KINDRED was an incredible introduction to this prolific science fiction author.  Following a woman as she gets yanked back and forth in time between the present day (1976) and the antebellum South, the novel is harsh and emotionally difficult in the best kind of way.

Its emotional difficulty will turn many readers off, but this book is an important one to read, especially for those interested in history.  Despite its genre, KINDRED is an obviously well-researched and deeply thoughtful read.

5 out of 5 stars

Flash Review, Issue #004

Here are a few short reviews of the books I’ve been reading recently.

 The String Diaries by Stephen Lloyd Jones

This book was practically impossible to tear myself away from to do otherwise unimportant things like eating, sleeping, or going to my job.  Blending elements of thriller, historical fiction, and the supernatural, THE STRING DIARIES is first and foremost the story of a line of women with the desire to survive in the face of unimaginable danger and, secondarily, about the lovers and family members willing to do anything to ensure they can do just that.

There’s little I can say without giving away key elements of the story, but this is one novel that doesn’t hesitate to make its characters pay heavy prices, and even its relatively “happy” ending has enough foundation built so much earlier in the story that it doesn’t feel oddly deus ex machina.  Definitely a recommended read.

Black and White (Noughts & Crosses) by Malorie Blackman

My official Goodreads review for this book is very simple:

The only thing I can really say about this book without giving up a lot of spoilers is that it makes me want to lay on the floor in a ball and cry in the best way possible.

The only thing I’d want to add is that I feel this book is very important for people with racial privilege to understand the base level of racism in the US.  I feel Blackman’s attention to detail really digs in to make the reader understand, on both a conscious and unconscious level, what discrimination feels like.

Books to Look Forward To in 2014

I’m kind of a big reader: I’ve been doing it since I was three, and I can be completely ridiculous about things I like.  Last year, I crammed 85 books into my spare time (yes, it exists) and hopefully can fit even more this year, especially adult science fiction – which I love but never get enough time to read.

That said, though, there are tons of books I’m looking forward to reading (or re-reading) this year, many of them sequels.

Honor’s Knight by Rachel Bach is the sequel to 2013’s Fortune’s Pawn, which I reviewed for Girls in Capes.  While it wasn’t as mind-blowing as other SFF series I read in 2013, Fortune’s Pawn was an exciting and adventurous ride with a hilarious narrator with a great voice.  This title is out soon from Orbit Books.

The Enceladus Crisis by Michael J. Martinez is the sequel to his debut, The Daedalus Incident. Set in a simultaneous alternate history and possible future, Daedalus is a quirky and swashbuckling science fantasy treat, and I can’t wait to see what the next adventure will be. (More on Enceladus here.)

Marie Lu’s new series, The Young Elites, is a high fantasy series with the first book out Fall 2014.  She describes it as “X-Men meets Assassin’s Creed meets Game of Thrones.”  With my intense love for Lu’s series LEGEND and the fact that I enjoy all three of those comparative titles, how could I NOT look forward to this  series?  In fact, a better question is probably how I’ll make it through most of 2014 WITHOUT reading it.

And as I mentioned, I’m stoked to re-read some excellent 2013 titles as well (though in some cases mainly to stave off my hunger for the yet-unannounced sequels).  This year, I plan to re-read Rainbow Rowell‘s third novel, Fangirl, one of my absolute favorites of 2013.  I also want to read all three books in the LEGEND series as well, maybe before Young Elites #1 comes out.

I also want to re-read some of my adult speculative favorites, including Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice and my annual re-read, Neal Stephenson‘s 900-page epic Anathem.  (Yes, I try and re-read a 900-page book every year.  Maybe this is why I never manage to read 100 books…)

What new releases are you looking forward to during 2014?  What re-reads are you most excited for?