Wednesday, April 30, 2014

52 Review - April Edition

4 months down, 8 more to go. 19 books read, 33 more to read.
I'm doing pretty good so far with this challenge. So far I'm managing to stay a few books ahead of schedule, even when I get sick or a book is crappy and I fall behind a bit, I've got a bit of a buffer. It's also kind of fun to keep track of what I'm reading and what I think of it.
Here's is what I read in April;

by Ann Aguirre

353 Pages
Sirantha Jax is a “Jumper,” a woman who possesses the unique genetic makeup needed to navigate faster than light ships through grimspace. With no tolerance for political diplomacy, she quits her ambassador post so she can get back to saving the universe the way she does best—by mouthing off and kicking butt.
And her tactics are needed more than ever. Flesh-eating aliens are attacking stations on the outskirts of space, and for many people, the Conglomerate’s forces are arriving too late to serve and protect them.
Now, Jax must take matters into her own hands by recruiting a militia to defend the frontiers—out of the worst criminals, mercenaries, and raiders that ever traveled through grimspace…

After reading book 3 in this series, I couldn't wait to pick up the next book. The problem is, with the World's Biggest Bookstore, the store where they keep at least one copy of every book, closing last month (so many feels...) I'm having a hard time finding all the books in any of the series that I'm reading, this one included. After searching for a few months, I finally found books 4-6 in this series and snatched them up, not knowing if I'd ever see them again.
This books isn't as good as 3, but it's still really good. The on-again-off-again relationship that she has with March can be grating at times, but the longer it goes on, the more I feel I understand it. This book is more military based, which is a neat trade off after reading about the diplomacy delegation of the last book. It's more to the vain of the first 2 books, but has all the deep relationships that have formed and really make the story for me.

by Ann Aguirre

307 Pages

Sirantha Jax has the right genes—ones that enable her to “jump” faster-than-light ships through grimspace. But it’s also in her genetic makeup to go it alone. It’s a character trait that has gotten her into—and out of—hot water time and time again, but now she’s caused one of the most horrific events in military history…
During the war against murderous, flesh-eating aliens, Sirantha went AWOL and shifted grimspace beacons to keep the enemy from invading humanity’s homeworld. The cost of her actions: the destruction of modern interstellar travel—and the lives of six hundred Conglomerate soldiers.
Accused of dereliction of duty, desertion, mass murder, and high treason, Sirantha is on trial for her life. And only time will tell if she’s one of the Conglomerate’s greatest heroes—or most infamous criminals…

Ok, totally not fair to leave book 4 in a cliff hanger like that. I was glad that I had book 5 on hand so I could immediately pick it up and find out what happened. It's unlike me, as of late, to read more than 1 book of a series at a time, but I just couldn't help it in this case. I wanted to know what happened. And I wasn't disappointed. This installment was sad and beautiful. Sirantha's friendship with Vel continues to grow through tragedy and fills my heart with so many feelings. Knowing that there is only 1 more book in the series is evident, as the author starts to wrap up all the small and large side stories. She could have easily ended it with this book, but I can see where she wants to go with the last one before it ends.
I wanted to read the last book right away, but I decided to give it a bit of a break and read some junk food instead.

by Dakota Cassidy

344 Pages

He was just looking for a night of fun. After a wild work-sponsored Halloween party, entomologist Sam McLean wakes up with a spotty memory—and a pointy set of fangs. Sam’s one-night stand wasn’t just dressed as a vampire; she had the bite to match. Somehow, Sam's unconscious body ends up at the OOPS office, where paranormal crisis counselors Nina, Marty and Wanda give him the down-low on accidentally becoming a creature of the night.
 What he got was an eternity of trouble. Dealing with a newbie like Sam is no easy task, but things get even more crazy when Phoebe Reynolds—a woman who claims to be Nina’s sister—storms into the office and causes a catfight that ends when Phoebe is accidently bitten by Sam’s recently formed fangs. Now, the OOPS girls have two fledgling vamps on their hands, and their powers—and the attraction building between them—are unlike anything they’ve seen before…

After the last book, I needed something light and fun and weirdly entertaining.
Cue up The Accidental Friends series. Yes, there are now 9 books in this series, although I'm only through the first 6.
It's a very odd series of books and total junk food reading (easy, convenient, but not very satisfying in the long run). This series is still very formulaic, even 6 books in;

- Get turned into whatever (check)
- Freak out (check)
- Try and find a way to fix it (check)
- Lean on friends for support (sister and her friends, check)
- Fall in love with guy who did the turning (check)
- Come up against other paranormal woman who is willing to kill to get their man back (well, a evil corporation who wants to turn people into vampires and are willing to kill for it, check)
- At least 3 long sex scenes (middle, 3/4, and end of book), live happily forever after (check)
This book was a lot more aggressive than the other ones, which kind of weirded me out, especially with the main couple. Their interaction with one another often made me cringe; especially when this little gem came out of the main character's mouth;
"No is no. Even for girls."
Wait... what?
No Means No For EVERYONE! Always!
There were actually a lot of gender stereotypes in this book that made me want to scream, but that one was the worst.  I didn't enjoy this book nearly as much as I'd hope to, which is kind of sad, since I really wasn't expecting much to begin with. I was actually considering washing my hands of this series entirely, but the only reason that I'm still reading them is because I really want to get to The Accidental Dragon. I mean, come on... she gets turned into a Dragon! Sadly, it's still 3 books away.

by Naomi Novik

342 Pages

Aerial combat brings a thrilling new dimension to the Napoleonic Wars as valiant warriors ride mighty fighting dragons, bred for size or speed. When HMS Reliant captures a French frigate and seizes the precious cargo, an unhatched dragon egg, fate sweeps Captain Will Laurence from his seafaring life into an uncertain future – and an unexpected kinship with a most extraordinary creature. 
Thrust into the rarified world of the Aerial Corps as master of the dragon Temeraire, he will face a crash course in the daring tactics of airborne battle. For as France’s own dragon-borne forces rally to breach British soil in Bonaparte’s boldest gambit, Laurence and Temeraire must soar into their own baptism of fire.

Speaking of Dragons, this book was full of them. Intelligent ones, in fact. I've read books before about hatching and caring for Dragons that would then be trained for battle, but this one was much better than any of the other ones. I really love the different personalities of all the dragons. They make me happy. I'm not much of a history buff, but I find that this makes me want to read up about it so I have a better understanding of the time period.
This is book 1 of 7 . It was recommended to me by Adam, who has devoured the entire series over the last month and can't stop raving about them. I can see why.
I also found out about half way through, that this book (or possibly books) is being made into a movie, with none other than Peter Jackson directing. He and Naomi Novik are writing the screenplay together, which makes me happy. If anyone will stay true to the book it's the author and Jackson. I'm expecting good things from this.
by José Saramago

you totally can't see the skull on my copy of this book.
It's kind of weird to know it's there and not be able to see it...

238 Pages

Nobel Prize-winner Jose Saramago's brilliant new novel poses the question -- what happens when the grim reaper decides there will be no more death? On the first day of the new year, no one dies. This of course causes consternation among politicians, religious leaders, morticians, and doctors. Among the general public, on the other hand, there is initially celebration—flags are hung out on balconies, people dance in the streets. They have achieved the great goal of humanity: eternal life. Then reality hits home—families are left to care for the permanently dying, life-insurance policies become meaningless, and funeral parlors are reduced to arranging burials for pet dogs, cats, hamsters, and parrots.
Death sits in her chilly apartment, where she lives alone with scythe and filing cabinets, and contemplates her experiment: What if no one ever died again? What if she, death with a small "d" became human and were to fall in love?

This was my TBR book for the month. I bought this book years ago after reading Blindness (which is a must read) and have kept looking at it on my shelf and never picking up. I lent it to my Mother, who loved it, so I thought I would give it a shot.
It was really hard to read.
There are a few reasons for this. It's translated from Portuguese and sometimes looses a bit in translation. The writing structure is super confusing, but I'm pretty sure that is just how the writer writes. An entire conversation with take place in one long, run-on, sentence. The only way you can tell that the speakers have changed are with commas and a Capital letter. Unless you are paying close attention, it's really hard to follow what's going on. This is especially true in the first half of the book, where there is no main character. It jumps to all sorts of different people and their reactions to the fact that death seems to have stopped taking people.
The second half of the book is really good. Once they finally focus on death as the main character, it's really quite engrossing, although the format is still confusing at times.
Unlike Blindness (you should really read it), which is gritty and dark, Death With Interruptions is light and quirky. Even when things are falling apart, everyone is still super polite to one another, which seems to make it even more unbelievable than it already it.
I liked this book, but I'd be hesitant to recommend it to anyone.
But seriously, go read Blindness.

Books that I am currently reading

The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories
by H.P. Lovecraft
Page 16 of 360
(Still the same)

A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire #3)
by George R.R. Martin
Page 395 of 1128
(I still have 8 more months to finish it. I can do it... I think...)

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Hitchhiker's Guide, #2)
by Douglas Adams
Page 15 of 256
(I'm still looking for a smaller version of this book and not the big clunky one I have)

The Palace Job
by Patrick Weekes
Page 162 of 423

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