Thursday, April 30, 2015

Review:: Innocence, by Dean Koontz

Title: Innocence
Author: Dean Koontz
Format: Hardcover
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Overt moralism, a painfully predictable plot, and characters that made me want to roll my eyes? Yeah, those are all ways to make me hate a book. The worst part about Innocence, though, was that it was honestly intriguing for a few pages, before devolving into a rather boring Biblical tale. Oh, spoilers everywhere in the review, plus mentions of rape.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Review:: Infidel, by Kameron Hurley

Title: Infidel
Author: Kameron Hurley
Series: Bel Dame Apocrypha, #2
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Previously: God's War

Action. Tasty worldbuilding. Nihilistic tendencies. Diversity. Politics. Magic and science. Plus, a lot of fun. It'd be hard for me to hate a book with all of these qualities. Needless to say, I really enjoyed Infidel.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Review:: Portrait in Sepia, by Isabel Allende

Title: Portrait in Sepia
Author: Isabel Allende
Format: Hardcover
Rating: ★★☆☆☆

With ties to Daughter of Fortune and The House of the Spirits, Portrait in Sepia had a lot of potential. Unfortunately, it's never lived up to. With most of the magical realism thrown to the wayside and a meandering narrative, Portrait in Sepia doesn't manage the attain the sting of Allende's other works.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Review:: The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin

Title: The Dispossessed
Author: Ursula K. LeGuin
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★★☆

Thoughtful, but without overt judgement, The Dispossessed highlights the problems that must constantly be fought within anarchy. Never does it try to glorify the stateless state, instead, painting it in stark terms. Slow, without a build, The Dispossessed simply is, rather than trying to be.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Review:: Blameless, by Gail Carriger

Title: Blameless
Author: Gail Carriger
Series: Parasol Protectorate, #3
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Rating: ★★★★☆


In Changeless, Gail Carriger abandoned the supernatural romance setup we're given in Soulless. In Blameless, she forgoes the predictable "mystery" plot convention I hate, just letting Alexia go on adventures and be dramatic. With gears. All in all, it's a fun time.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Review:: Island Beneath the Sea, by Isabel Allende

Title: Island Beneath the Sea
Author: Isabel Allende
Format: Hardcover
Rating: ★★★☆☆

I really love Isabel Allende. Her beautiful, evocative prose. Her stories that predominantly cast strong, capable women. Her blurring of reality, wishes, and spirituality. Island Beneath the Sea was a wonderful (but difficult) read, however, I feel like it doesn't hold a candle to some of her other works.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Review:: Redshirts, by John Scalzi

Title: Redshirts
Author: John Scalzi
Format: Hardcover
Rating: ★★★★☆

After reading All Clear, this was the perfect pick-me-up. Smart, genre-savvy, self-aware, and not taking itself too seriously, Redshirts isn't going to tax your grey matter, but it'll certainly put a smile on your face.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Review:: All Clear, by Connie Willis

Title: All Clear
Author: Connie Willis
Format: eBook
Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Previously: Blackout

I actually really hate when I can predict a book's ending too early. When I can predict it from the very beginning, I am even more annoyed. That's not to say there isn't some good in All Clear. Serious spoilers in the review.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Review:: World War Z, by Max Brooks

Title: World War Z
Author: Max Brooks
Format: Hardcover
Rating: ★★☆☆☆

I can't put my finger on what exactly it was that made me so "meh" about this book. I don't hate zombies. It had well-developed characters. It felt well-researched. I think the biggest problem was that there was almost no tension: you know how it ends from the start.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

News and Stuff:: Cut Pages from A Wrinkle in Time Published in WSJ

I don't know what my childhood would have been like without A Wrinkle in Time. There's a lot of significance placed on that book for me, beyond what's simply in the pages. Talking on the phone with my mother, another L'Engle fan, she told me that some pages that never made it to publication had been uncovered. They were too political.

Nostalgia Review:: The Stainless Steel Rat, by Harry Harrison

Title: The Stainless Steel Rat
Author: Harry Harrison
Series: The Stainless Steel Rat, #1 (Publication Order)
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★★☆

Still Good?

The Stainless Steel Rat series is often called one of the hidden gems of science fiction. Originally published in 1960, the original book managed to both be a tribute to the Golden Age and pulp, without taking itself seriously at all. If there's a gentleman thief I love, it's The Stainless Steel Rat.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

State of the Reading:: Open Dyslexic Added to Overdrive!

Overdrive's last update came with something really special. Really awesome. Instead of just cleaning up the interface a bit and squashing a few bugs, they added Open Dyslexic as one of their font options. Needless to say, I'm thrilled.

Review:: Anathem, by Neal Stephenson

Title: Anathem
Author: Neal Stephenson
Format: eBook
Rating: ★★★★☆

Neal Stephenson doesn't pull any punches with Anathem. The worldbuilding is more intricate than you normally see in a standalone novel, the science is well research, and the attention to detail is astounding. Best of all, this novel is more than the sum of its parts; he manages to take all of this and combine it with a compelling plot and characters to provide the reader with more substance than you'd expect, even from nearly 1,000 pages.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Review:: ARC Riders, by David Drake And Janet Morris

Title: ARC Riders
Author: David Drake and Janet Morris
Format: eBook
Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Stock standard in so many ways, ARC Riders left little to no impression on me. In fact, I doubt I could tell you much about the plot tomorrow. It's not that it was bad. It was just supremely "meh."

Monday, April 13, 2015

Review:: Artifact, by Gregory Benford

Title: Artifact
Author: Gregory Benford
Format: eBook
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

If you can handle misogynistic, xenophobic, americancentric novels with shallow plots, poor characterization, and severe genre identity issues as long as the science is good, you will love this book! The sad part? How often you have to put up with all of that, just for a little hard scifi.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Review:: The State of the Art, by Iain M. Banks

Title: The State of the Art
Author: Iain M. Banks
Series: Culture, #4
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★★☆

The State of the Art left me cold... in a good way. Frequently bizarre and often haunting, Iain M. Banks uses the Culture setting to weave a variety of compelling (and dark) tales.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Review:: Changeless, by Gail Carriger

Title: Changeless
Author: Gail Carriger
Series: Parasol Protectorate, #2
Format: eBook
Rating: ★★★★☆


In my review of Soulless, I called it a cupcake... which it was. As I said, it was a rather enjoyable cupcake, but still not something of substance. Changeless, on the other hand, is more of a muffin. It is a cupcake masquerading as food. Breakfast food, and food we'd not normally call very healthy. But food nonetheless.

Friday, April 10, 2015

State of the Reading:: PHYSICAL BOOKS

Sorry for going MIA folks, but the truth is, that's the nature of being chronically ill and chronically in pain. The good news? I'm back in books! Yesterday, I even felt well enough to go to the library. Of course, having access to an electric wheelchair now makes a big difference in my mobility... Wanna know what I got? The list and more after the jump.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Review:: Angels' Blood, by Nalini Singh

Title: Angels' Blood
Author: Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunter, #1
Format: eBook
Rating: ★★☆☆☆

A possessive sex glitter archangel entrances a feisty silver-eyed vampire hunter he needs because of her keen sense of smell. There's a plot, but it's hidden somewhere beneath a lot of "oh god I'm so aroused" and "wow vampires are kinky."

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Review:: Angel Time, by Anne Rice

Title: Angel Time
Author: Anne Rice
Series: The Songs of the Seraphim, #1
Format: eBook
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

I'd managed never to read an Anne Rice novel before Angel Time. Now, I wish I'd kept up that streak. Angel Time graces us with completely black and white morality, poor storytelling, and an eye-rolling plot. I was anything but impressed. 

Spoilers towards the end of the review, but I saw them coming from a mile away... so they may not even be spoilery.