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vnorthw

vnorthw

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Prodigal Summer
Barbara Kingsolver
Freakangels, Volume 1
Warren Ellis, Paul Duffield
Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches' Guide to Romance Novels
Sarah Wendell, Candy Tan
The World Without Us
Alan Weisman
Looking for Group, Volume 1
Ryan Sohmer, Lar Desouza
Doubleblind  - Ann Aguirre I'm going to make this simple. The world building of the Ithtorian race and world was great and I loved getting to know more about Vel, he's such an interesting character!

I was a little upset with the March arc. I felt like the resolution to it was a little anti-climactic, I was expecting more crazy.

On to the next!

Blood Song (Raven's Shadow, #1)

Blood Song (Raven's Shadow, #1) - Anthony  Ryan Notes on the Audiobook at the End

Blood Song has some great things going with it, but it failed for me in the sense that it is clearly part one of a larger story. We learn many things in passing about Vaelin Al Sorna and his world, but not many of them are resolved.

The novel begins in the present day as Vaelin Al Sorna begins to recount his story. In the sense that his story ends in the present day, it is complete. But there are so many loose ends needing to be tied up that I was a little dissatisfied with it.

I am definitely curious to see where Vaelin goes from here and will likely continue to read the series.

Audiobook Notes: The novel was narrated by Steven Brand and it was definitely above average. I would listen to more narrated by him.

Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy (Bloody Jack, #1)

Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy  - L.A. Meyer, Katherine Kellgren Bloody Jack is a coming of age story about a young girl who dresses up like a boy and signs up as a Ship Boy for the Royal Navy. Aboard the HMS Dolphin she falls in love, earns the nickname "Bloody Jack", and gets her first period (which promptly makes her thing she's dying of a plague!).

It was a fun adventure and it had some great characters, but I did have some issues with the book.

I felt like it was a little older than the target range. I wouldn't say that the book is graphic, but it contains a fair share of violent deaths. Jacky herself claims to be about 12 or 13 and while this is around the time most kids are getting interested in the way of a gentleman with a lady, so to speak, I found the book to be very forward in this. On top of that, one of the sailors turns out to be a sodomite and made for some very awkward scenes.

I wish that Jacky had been a bit more of a role model. She's got an independent adventure that would be a great read for young girls, but she was a bit too self-conscious.

I listened to the audiobook and it was fantastic, but I can't imagine reading the book in text form. The book takes place in London in the late 1790s and, as an orphan, Jacky has that very rough street dialect of English. A quote from the beginning of the book:
"...he's right 'cause me mum and me sister both goes off the next day and the men come back and takes me mum and puts her in the cart, her legs all danglin' over the side and not covered up proper, but it's Muck that comes and picks up me poor little sister and throws her all limp over his shoulder. I din't know 'im as Muck then, but I do later, and it's Muck what takes me out all bawlin' to the street and sets me on the curb."


Contemplating continuing the series, but not feeling like I have to right this second.
Whodunnit? Murder in Mystery Manor - Anthony E. Zuiker I was mildly interested in the TV series Whodunnit, so when I saw this for free on Audible I grabbed it. I wasn't really expecting much out of it, so I can't exactly say that I was disappointed, but it could have been better.

This novel is meant as a prequel to the TV series and introduces us to the show's host butler, Giles. It does not correlate directly with the first season of the show.

I enjoyed the beginning part where we learn why Giles comes to the manor, but once the guests started to arrive I started to lose interest. It reads, quite literally, like a novelization of a reality TV show. I'm sure this was intentional, but I can't say the format translates well to paper.
Storm Front  - Jim Butcher, James Marsters I'm going to have to go with a resounding "meh" on this one, unfortunately.

The Dresden Files have been on my TBR radar for quite a while, it happened to fit for a challenge and be a $3 daily deal on Audible, so I snatched it up for a car ride listen.

It was a fun listen, I liked Harry Dresden and I think there is definitely some room for some interesting scenarios throughout the series as the world and characters get more fleshed out. But I don't really feel any sort of desire to continue with the series. I might one day, if I have nothing else to read, but for now I think I'll leave it at this.
The Underwater Welder - Jeff Lemire, Steve Wands, Chris Ross, Brett Warnock, Chris Staros The Underwater Welder is one part Twilight Zone and one part hard human emotion.

Jack Joseph lives in a maritime town in Nova Scotia with his wife who is 9 months pregnant. The pressure of impending fatherhood send Jack on a Twilight Zone adventure through his past and his relationship with his.

The art is very simple black and white, but I found it an appropriate reflection of the simplicity and monotony of Jack's life. The characters were real and the story itself is filled with great emotion. Well worth the read.


Metatropolis: The Dawn of Uncivilization - Jay Lake, Elizabeth Bear, John Scalzi, Karl Schroeder I picked up Metatropolis as a freebie from Audible. Who can say no to free? The collection contains 5 short stories all based in a shared universe that was a collaboration of the authors.

The world itself was interesting. The world takes on a city-state like appearance and is a bit more low-tech in the sense that the technology and power that exists isn't as readily available as it is today. There are also some environmentalist undertones with vertical farming taking a front row spot in the worlds agriculture.

The first story is "In the Forests of the Night" by Jay Lake and I have to admit I was a little lost. In a general overview the story is about a man coming into Cascadiopolis (a shared metropolis based in the Cascaida bioregion of Washington, Oregon and British Columbia). It didn't seem to really have a story and was probably my least favorite of the bunch.

"Stochasti-City" by Tobias Buckell and "The Red in the Sky is Our Blood" by Elizabeth Bear are a pair of stories both taking place in Detroit and take place within different organizations that are on the fringe of society in Detroit. "Stocasta City" focuses on a rebel group trying to have cars banned in favor of the more environmental friendly bicycle and "The Red in the Sky..." focuses on a quasi-utopian society that quietly exists within the confines of Detroit. "The Red in the Sky" was one of my favorites.

"Utere Nihil Non Extra Quiritationem Suis" by John Scalzi was next. The story was typical Scalzi in humor and tone and though I have a love/hate relationship with most of his works, I really enjoyed this one.

"To Hie from Far Cilenia" by Karl Schroeder closed out the collection. The story is about a virtual reality within a virtual reality that overlays the real world. It was wayyy out there and a little much to wrap your head around, IMO.

There is a second collection with six stories focusing on the Cascadia area and I'm slightly interested in it, but in no huge rush.
Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Search, Part 2 - Gurihiru, Gene Luen Yang, Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko, Dave Marshall The second in this arc is possibly my favorite of the Avatar graphic novels thus far. The dynamic between Azula and the rest of the group continues to be action packed and I'm curious to see how this wraps up for her.

Bring on Part 3! ...in two months. :(
Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Search, Part 1 - Dave Marshall, Gurihiru, Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko, Gene Luen Yang I was looking forward to this arc of the Avatar story since they first announced it, and it doesn't disappoint.

I love that we are getting the back story on Zuko's mother and I expect some serious character development for both Zuko and Azula based on their findings in this search. I definitely wasn't expecting the cliffhanger at the end of this volume, although it didn't surprise me over much and it explained quite a bit.
Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise, Part 3 - Gurihiru, Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko, Gene Luen Yang Finally got my hands on the last book in The Promise trilogy.

Although the ending wasn't surprising for fans who have gone on to watch Legend of Korra, it was still well done. Definitely a must for Avatar fans.
Wanderlust  - Ann Aguirre, Suzanna Duff I didn't love Wanderlust quite as much as I loved Grimspace. I felt like it was a much more depressing story, Jax spends at least 80% of the book moping around feeling sorry for herself. Granted there are some darker things going on in this book, but still. Pull up your bootstraps, carry on.

I listened to the audiobook of Wanderlust and it was pretty poor. I couldn't connect her voice with the image of Jax that I had in my head and I think that she was a little over the top with the drama which probably lead to most of my frustration over Jax being whiny in this book.

Definitely some interesting plot twists for the overarching story and I'm definitely still in for the long haul with this series.

Grimspace (Sirantha Jax, #1)

Grimspace  - Ann Aguirre, Suzanna Duff I read Grimspace over a year ago and finally decided to continue with the series. I picked up the audiobook and played it at a high speed for a crash refresher of the plot.

I wasn't super impressed with the narrator, but it is still a great book and I'm on to the next!

The Crucible (Penguin Classics Series)

The Crucible - Arthur Miller, Christopher Bigsby This is one of the few plays I remember reading in high school and I've been wanting to revisit it for a while, but never got around to it.

While it isn't entirely historically accurate, I think it is a fascinating, and somewhat frightening, look at the actions of a society in the midst of hysteria.

Definitely glad I revisited it with a more mature view of life.
Ice Land - Betsy Tobin The longer I sat on my review for this book the more I felt I should give it 4 stars instead of my original 3, so I did.

At first the book was a bit difficult to get into. It is written in the present tense which, being uncommon in novels, was a bit jarring at first. Once I got past that, I found that the prose was quite lovely and well written.

The book primarily follows Freya and Fulla in alternating story viewpoint chapters and includes a few viewpoint chapters for other characters as well. In the end all the stories intertwine quite well, but there's a fairly long build up to it. I probably spent a good 75% of the book wondering how the two stories were going to intersect each other. Once the story picked up it was a very fun read.

A Voyage Long and Strange

A Voyage Long and Strange - Tony Horwitz,  John H. Mayer I was absolutely unimpressed by this book. It claims to take us on a "thrilling and eye-opening voyage to pre-Mayflower America." Instead it took us on a boring and only slightly educational road trip to visit important places in American history.

I won't say that it was bad, it just wasn't my thing. There was too much travelogue/memoir and not enough of the history. Horwitz visit many people in the present day, from reenactors to the decedents of America's earliest explorers and settlers. I didn't find the modern day remnants of early America interesting, but you might.

The intertwining of past and present made for a very choppy timeline of events and it was hard to follow the chronology of the past as it intersected with Horwitz's present.
A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini A Thousand Splendid Suns has been on my TBR list since September of 2009. I finally got around to reading it in July of 2013 and I'm glad I did.

The book offers some great insight into the culture of Afghanistan both before, during and after the Afghan Civil War. It spans two generations of women who have all lost control of their own lives due to the circumstances they find themselves in. These women are both strong in their own way and spend everyday fighting for what's best for them, their family, their children and their country. Definitely inspiring characters and well worth the read.