Book Review – Hero

Title: Hero

Author: Alethea Kontis

Format: Hardback

Year Published: 2013

Hero is the sequel/companion to Enchanted, which I reviewed last week. Hero follows Saturday Woodcutter, the only “ordinary” member of the Woodcutter family, and well-aware of it. Only then she creates an ocean in the backyard.

Saturday is then off on an adventure, from her sister’s Pirate ship to being kidnapped by a witch and taken to the Top of the World. Once there, she meets Peregrine – the Earl of Starburn, who had run afoul of the witch’s daughter and cursed to take her place. Together, they must defeat the witch and save the world (and in the process, fall in love).

Hero is a solid book that does not fall prey to the problems of Enchanted. The story scales back the number of fairy-tales-though there are still all there-to focus on the core stories, which makes the book much easier to follow. There are also no “what just happened?” moments, such as occurred in the previous novel.

I enjoyed Saturday a lot – she’s this universe’s crotchety character that I love. She is much more proactive than her sister, as well, determined to find her own way, and determined to do it on her own terms. Peregrine is a bit more weak – he’s a very passive character for the most part, willing to allow others to impose their will on him. In some cases, this fits in with how he grew up, but in others, it’s frustrating – he has the opportunity to leave, but chooses not to? WHY? (Also, it never once occurs to him that a lot of time has passed? Really? When that was the first thing I thought of?) Betwixt, the chimera that has befriended Peregrine, was awesome.

A solid story, with good action sequences and characters. 4/5 stars

Book Review – Fruits Basket vol 2 by Natsuki Takaya

Title: Fruits Basket vol 2

Author/Illustrator: Natsuki Takaya

Format: Paperback

Published: 2004

 

As I have delved into the story of Fruits Basket it has been an absolute delight.  When I’m not reading the books I struggle to find the gumption to pick up the next book and yet while I’m in the book reading it I’m filled with warm fuzzies.  It is like wrapping a blanket around you while sipping a cup of hot chocolate.  I enjoy the books they are cute and amuzing and help me to relive the joy I had when first watching the anime.  Usually I’m a stickler for book then movie but that opportunity wasn’t available to me in a lot of ways so I’m doing it in reverse and I know the books are different than the anime and things will happen differently at some point but thus far practically everything between the book and the anime is almost identical.

 

I look forward to seeing what else may come from the books as I read through and pick up the next book in the series that is actually sitting on my desk with a figurative label on it that shouts out ‘Read me!’ as do the other two books that are currently sitting in my bag.  Of course there will be a bit time between this review and the review for the next book as I have other books that I have read recently that deserve some attention.  But over all the book was good it tells a great story of how Yuki and Kyo are becoming close to Tohru and how she sees them for wonderful people that they fail to see themselves as.  Additionally more of the Sohma members who are cursed with the Zodiac are introduced such as Kagura Momiji and Hotari.  All of them unique and rather entertaining.  Truth be told I do look forward to meeting other characters that I have met before in the anime and the other members of the zodiac that did not make it into the Anime. Overall, I would rate the book as a 4 out 5 pages.

Book Review – Enchanted

Book Review – Alice in the Country of Hearts – My Fantastic Rabbit vol 2

Title: Alice in the Country of Hearts – My Fantastic Rabbit vol. 2

Author: QuinRose

Illustrator: Delico Psyche

Format: Paperback

Published: 2013

 

So the Alice obsession continues and it is official between this book and the other books I have read some of them already reviewed others I have not reviewed yet, my favorite pairing from the series has changed.  Boris was my favorite with Alice but that has dwindled as I read through the Cheshire Cat Waltz.  As I’ve stated with other books with Eliot he has grown to become a very strong favorite.  This book as sealed things for me and Alice and Eliot is my favorite couple from the series.  While Eliot is rough on the edges and a hit man and number two in the mafia he has a sweet side that is adorable.

 

This book had me from the start as we learn more about Eliot that I had never known such as how he had purposefully broken a clock of his best friend so they couldn’t be replaced. The story goes on and Alice determines to go home so as not to hurt Eliot as she thought she had and she felt bad for leaving her sister.  What happens as she follows this path is both shocking and had me on the edge of my seat and almost ready to cry.  I will not state what happened because that is way too big of a reveal to spoil in any way, but it made the book a must read for me.  It was very well done and had the perfect ending.

 

I really feel that this book is a 5 out of 5 pages that was how much I enjoyed the story, and I encourage you that once you have a feel for the world which you might have from reading a number of my reviews you can delve into My Fantastic Rabbit volume 1 and follow it up with this volume which was absolutely superb.

Book Review – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Writer Wednesday – Bibi Rizer

1. Who are you? (A name would be good here…preferably the one you write under)
Bibi Rizer

2. What type of stuff do you write? (Besides shopping lists)
I write steamy to erotic romance, mostly in the New Adult category and in several genres.

3. What do you want to pimp right now? (May it be your newest, your work-in-progress, your favorite or even your first)
The first book in my Vikings of Vinland series. This historical New Adult series surrounds the adventures of twin sisters Gull and Katla Grimsdottir who, after being cruelly separated, face challenges and come of age in Viking era Europe and North America. The first book is called The Shieldmaiden’s Revenge.

4. What is your favorite book? (Okay, or two or three or… I know how writers are as readers.)
Literature – Cat’s eye by Margaret Atwood and The World According to Garp by John Irving.
Fun – Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings.
Smut – I love Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series, Delphine Dryden’s  The Science of Temptation series.


5. What other hats do you wear besides the writer hat?
I’m a cover designer and a busy mom

6. What link can we find you at? (One or two please; don’t go overboard here!)
www.bibirizer.com
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bibi-Rizer/845707895448516

*


On Writing…


I know it’s fashionable to be very supportive in our field, especially of beginners, but I’ve got to say, I’ve been asked for advice from a few people who seem to have no aptitude for writing whatsoever. I try to be nice but I’m often left wondering what on earth made this person think they should be a writer? They claim to be “passionate” about it (but often lack enough passion to do even very cursory research into the field) but where on earth does this passion come from? It would be as though I suddenly developed a passion for ballet dancing or playing Aussie Rules Football. I do think that writing can be learned (as can ballet and football) but surely that learning should build on some innate talent that it already there? I mean, this is why I took up writing.

People often ask me “why do you write?” They formulate this question in many of different ways, and I think there is a lot of dewy eyed fascination about writers and their “passion”. The truth is, many of the most successful writers will happily tell you they write because it’s the only thing know how to do, because it’s the best way for them to earn money and because they’re good at it. Why do I write? Because I’m good at it. I won the first short story contest I ever entered. I sold my very first screenplay for six figures. I got a two book deal on my first YA book.

I’ve tried a lot of other things I’m “passionate” about. I love psychology and helping people and I tried to be a counselor but I suck at it. I’m into business, computer programs all that office management stuff like Powerpoint and Excel but I suck at office work – I’m far too anti-social and disorganized. I love fashion but I can’t follow a pattern. I love love LOVE performing music, but I’m really not that great a singer.

But I’m a good writer, and late in life I’ve discovered that I don’t suck at book cover design. Who knew?

So my advice, not just to newbie writers but to everyone, is this: find something you’re good at, and be passionate at that.

Book Review – Carved in Bone

Title: Carved in Bone

Author: Jefferson Bass (Jon Jefferson and Bill Bass)

Format: Hardback

Publish:2006

Where do I begin…Carved in Bones is the first of seven books. Amazing books based on the Body Farm in Knoxville TN. Spending the last 11 years in Nashville TN I have heard repeated stories about the body farm. I was curious about it and even drove by where the farm is. Unfortunately you can’t get close enough to see but on a interesting day when the wind is right you can smell it. Its not a bad smell just unusual.

Carved in Bone is not what I expected.. I picked up the first one out of curiosity. I was expecting a bit of a dry read more medical terminology than story. I was so very wrong. I was drawn in by life like characters. They were appealing and you grow to care about them. The writing was well done and I didn’t have any trouble with being yanked out of the narrative like some books.

The story is wonderfully written and entertaining. I can not recommend this book series enough. That’s right I am recommending all seven books. I have read quite a few series and usually after the first few the story can get a little stagnant and I can lose interest, but I have read them all and am sad that there isn’t any more planned to my knowledge. If Jefferson Bass happen to drop by and read this review. I will happily make you cookies for life if you write another seven or more books.

I give this book a 4.5 out of 5.

Book Review – Alice in the country of Diamonds Wonderful Wonder World Official Visual Fan Book

Title: Alice in the country of Diamonds Wonderful Wonder World Official Visual Fan Book

Author: QuinRose

Illustrator: Mamenosuke Fujimaru

Format: Paperback

Published: 2014

 

After reading through Bet on My Heart I was absolutely in love with Alice in the country of Diamonds I had to know, if there were other novels.  My obsession with this manga had increased because of that book.  I saw that the library was getting this book in and I jumped on it without question.  I got the book just before a slow day at work and every spare minute was devoted to this book as it was amazing.

 

This was more of an art book rather than a story or a novel but it was amazing full color art work when most of my manga is in black and white.  The art work was gorgeous.  I loved every second of it looking at all the pictures.  In addition to the amazing pictures that made me want to book just for that there were detailed  character bios where I learned more about the characters in detail and saw more about their outfits than I had ever known or noticed.

 

Of course that wasn’t all when it came to the book,  it also went through every possible outcome of this particular game.  What paths and ends you could achieve.  It was amazing because this was the closest I could get to playing the game as it has not jumped the language barrier yet.  It was so interesting to see the different turns the story could take for the Country of Diamonds it made me adore the new characters such as Jerhico Bermuda (the Dodo bird) and Sydney Black, characters I only got to know in small ways in the first book. Not only that but with this book, I learned that there are deeper levels to the game and world as well.

In addition to all of that the book also came with two bonus manga chapters.  I got half way through the book and had to flip to the end to start reading the manga.  It was a real treat and a joy to be honest.  I was glad that they kept with classic manga with the bonus chapters.  The first chapter was a story about Sydney Black and it was overly sweet and cute – I find that Sydney is a charming and endearing character who works well with Alice, though I wouldn’t say that he is my favorite to be with Alice.

 

The other chapter plays off of a spoiler for one of the end games with the Blood Twins as her chosen romance.  This was the most powerful and very well done.  To explain how amazing it was I would have to spoil one of the possible ends.  So if you don’t wish to be spoiled skip to the next paragraph and you’ll be safe. In one of the possible ends Alice is killed and she is left dying by heartless twins who remark how they are bored and ready to go play at the park and Alice’s life ebbs away as she wishes for the twins to return not the present ones who are walking away but the ones that she loves and misses.  It continues from that point where the twins realize they miss her and then Alice wakes up and is meeting the twins for the first time and they are all crying and they don’t know why as this is their first meeting.  The best part is when there is a possible fight the twins look to Alice and say we won’t let you down this time, and wonder why they said that.  The way it is written and drawn just pulls at the heart strings and makes me love the book all the more.

 

Over all, I would give this book a 5 pages out of 5  particularly if you are an Alice Fan like I am.  I would try to rank it for those who are not fans but I don’t think I can.  It is hard to say where this would rank for a person who doesn’t enjoy the series like I do.

Book Review – Karen Memory

Title: Karen Memory

Author: Elizabeth Bear

Format: Hardback

Year Published: 2015

I’m pretty sure I first heard about this book on John Scalzi’s blog (or at least, that’s what made me add it to my hold list at the library). I started it and was somewhat dismayed at the POV (first-person– you all know my feelings on that by now), but because it had been getting great reviews, I kept going and soon had forgotten that it was written in first-person.

Karen Memory is about Karen , a “seamstress” (read: prostitute) who finds herself embroiled in a series of adventures when prostitutes start turning up dead. Karen launches herself into the investigation, working with Marshall Bass Reeves who has been tracking the murderer across the United States and the Territories. (One of the most refreshing parts of the whole book was that there was no romantic angle between Reeves and Karen – in fact, Reeves continually holds steadfast to his wife back home.)

While the prostitutes are being murdered, the Hôtel Mon Cherie is being threatened by Peter Bantle, who wants to control all of the city and has a beef against the proprietor, Madame Damnable. To make matters worse, Bantle has a mind control device that he isn’t shy about using – not only on Karen and the other girls, but on their customers, and on potential voters.

The main issue I had with the story is that you have two connected but distinct storylines – the threat to the Hôtel Mon Cherie by Bantle and his men and the threat to the prostitutes by the serial killer. This means that when all of the characters are acting together, sometimes it’s hard to see why this benefits both sides. You get all of the adventure – the nightly escapades, the roof adventures – which benefits one side, but not necessarily the other. Once the storylines start to dovetail, however, my quibble with that goes away.

Populated by all sorts of people – from Asians to blacks to transpeople – the world is rich and intriguing. Karen’s not incredibly racially aware, but when she missteps and is corrected, she takes the correction well, showing that she is far more naive than she is prejudiced. The steampunk (did I mention this book had steampunk?) is just an accepted part of the world. Karen talks about the contraptions but doesn’t do so in a “look at this strange thing” way but rather in a “oh that’s so cool that you did that” way.

Although Karen is a seamstress, the book contains very few racy moments – let alone scenes – and Karen’s love interest is another woman, who has escaped from Bantle’s captivity. The fact that Karen prefers girls is simply accepted by the rest of the House and is a refreshing thing to see in a story, especially given the time frame the book takes place in.

One of the reasons I think the first-person POV worked for me in this book was because the story was obviously being told as something that had already happened – the first line of the book (“You ain’t gonna like what I have to tell you, but I’m gonna tell you anyway”) sets this up – and this gives Karen the ability here and there to add more information that she may not have known at the time, but that she learned at a later date. The epilogue brings it all back around and shows us why we’re reading this book.

4/5 pages – If you like a story with fascinating characters, a refreshing narrator, and a sweet but not too saccharine love story, this is the book for you.

Book Review – Heartsick by Chelsea Cain

Title: Heartsick

Author : Chelsea Cain

Format : Hardback

Published: 2007

I must admit I love a good murder mystery. There is something intriguing about the hero racing against time to solve the mysterious crime. Finding a good mystery can be a real challenge. I don’t care for easy predictable who done its nor do I like the ones where I feel I need a college degree to solve it.

Sometimes you get lucky and find a series of books that is so well crafted that you cant put it down. Heartsick is that book. Let me go back to the beginning and tell you how I came upon this book.

My Hubby and I were huge firefly fans and when a certain company decided that only one season was necessary we were left with nothing to watch. Soon though someone told us about this show called Castle and it was staring a favorite actor. We decided to give it a shot. We loved it and began to watch it regularly. I am not sure what prompted me to pause the show at this particular scene but I am glad I did. Castle was waiting for his daughter to come home from her first date and he was reading a book.

I became curious about what he was reading. I mean what does a mystery writer read? I enlarged the image on the screen until I could make out the title and then I whipped out my Google-fu. Lo and behold it was a real book and a real writer. The very next day I made the trip to the local bookstore and came home with the first in the series.

Heartsick is a thrilling book. Not only is it a well written book but its the first one I have found that has a female serial killer as the antagonist. The protagonist draws such sorrow and pity from you that you want to rescue him however you can. The relationship between the two characters is enticing. It leaves you feeling just a tiny bit off but not in a way you can easily explain.

The book begins with our lead character Archie realizing he has been drugged and captured by Gretchen the serial killer. Its an interesting way to start a book usually this happens closer to the end not in the first paragraph. The rest of the story is like a unwinding yo yo a lot of ups and downs before it finally spins to a stop. I can not recommend this series enough. Each book leaves you wanting more. I give this book a 4 out of 5.

Title: Heartsick

Author : Chelsea Cain

Format : Hardback

Published:

I must admit I love a good murder mystery. There is something intriguing about the hero racing against time to solve the mysterious crime. Finding a good mystery can be a real challenge. I don’t care for easy predictable who done its nor do I like the ones where I feel I need a college degree to solve it.

Sometimes you get lucky and find a series of books that is so well crafted that you cant put it down. Heartsick is that book. Let me go back to the beginning and tell you how I came upon this book.

My Hubby and I were huge firefly fans and when a certain company decided that only one season was necessary we were left with nothing to watch. Soon though someone told us about this show called Castle and it was staring a favorite actor. We decided to give it a shot. We loved it and began to watch it regularly. I am not sure what prompted me to pause the show at this particular scene but I am glad I did. Castle was waiting for his daughter to come home from her first date and he was reading a book.

I became curious about what he was reading. I mean what does a mystery writer read? I enlarged the image on the screen until I could make out the title and then I whipped out my Google-fu. Lo and behold it was a real book and a real writer. The very next day I made the trip to the local bookstore and came home with the first in the series.

Heartsick is a thrilling book. Not only is it a well written book but its the first one I have found that has a female serial killer as the antagonist. The protagonist draws such sorrow and pity from you that you want to rescue him however you can. The relationship between the two characters is enticing. It leaves you feeling just a tiny bit off but not in a way you can easily explain.

The book begins with our lead character Archie realizing he has been drugged and captured by Gretchen the serial killer. Its an interesting way to start a book usually this happens closer to the end not in the first paragraph. The rest of the story is like a unwinding yo yo a lot of ups and downs before it finally spins to a stop. I can not recommend this series enough. Each book leaves you wanting more. I give this book a 4 out of 5.

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