Ice Massacre (Mermaids of Eriana Kwai #1) REVIEW

22718724Ice Massacre by Tiana Warner

Published September 18th 2014

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 375

Source: Netgalley – in exchange for an honest review

A mermaid’s supernatural beauty serves one purpose: to lure a sailor to his death.
The Massacre is supposed to bring peace to Eriana Kwai. Every year, the island sends its warriors to battle these hostile sea demons. Every year, the warriors fail to return. Desperate for survival, the island must decide on a new strategy. Now, the fate of Eriana Kwai lies in the hands of twenty battle-trained girls and their resistance to a mermaid’s allure.
Eighteen-year-old Meela has already lost her brother to the Massacre, and she has lived with a secret that’s haunted her since childhood. For any hope of survival, she must overcome the demons of her past and become a ruthless mermaid killer.
For the first time, Eriana Kwai’s Massacre warriors are female, and Meela must fight for her people’s freedom on the Pacific Ocean’s deadliest battleground.

This book is about Meela, an eighteen year old girl trained to kill mermaids. She leaves her Island, Eriana Kwai, with another twenty trained girls for their Massacre where they have to kill as many mermaids as they can. The problem is that Meela’s hiding a secret from the other girls, when confronted with the past, she must make a choice.

The main character, Meela, is wonderfully written. The reader gets to know her struggles as she’s forced to kill the mermaids that attack their ship, and see how she changes as the Massacre goes on. Dani, on the other hand, the grand antagonist, felt forced. She was a villain, no doubt about that, but some of her actions didn’t add up, in my opinion, to her objective.

Now, the plot. Since the majority of this book is about a group of girls in a ship, I thought it would get repetitive and boring really soon…but it didn’t. The mixture of masterfully written fight scenes and engaging dialog kep me reading until the very end. I ended up enjoying this book a lot more than I thought I would. The plot is pretty predictable but it is still na enjoyable book. I recommend it.

Rating: 4,5 stars

Thatonenerdygirl and I did a Book Club discussion of this book. Here’s the link. Check it out! Just keep in mind that it has SPOILERS.

“I liked the sea better than the earth and I sooner would’ve taken care of a snail than a baby.”

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Death at La Fenice (Commissario Brunetti #1) REVIEW

68099Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon

Published in 1992

Genre: Mystery Thriller

Pages:  270

Source: Bought it

There is little violent crime in Venice, a serenely beautiful floating city of mystery and magic, history and decay. But the evil that does occasionally rear its head is the jurisdiction of Guido Brunetti, the suave, urbane vice-commissario of police and a genius at detection. Now all of his admirable abilities must come into play in the deadly affair of Maestro Helmut Wellauer, a world-renowned conductor who died painfully from cyanide poisoning during an intermission at La Fenice. 

But as the investigation unfolds, a chilling picture slowly begins to take shape–a detailed portrait of revenge painted with vivid strokes of hatred and shocking depravity. And the dilemma for Guido Brunetti will not be finding a murder suspect, but rather narrowing the choices down to one. . . 

When Wellauer dies in the middle of na opera, Guido Brunetti has to uncover the truth about the musician’s death.

This book was set in Venice and it was wonderful to read about such a city and how it Works. I got to know more about it and its people, and I loved it.

The characters were brilliant. They were complex and captivating which made the book so much better. I loved the main character, Guido Brunetti, and liked the fact that he had a loving family (a wife and two kids) because, usually, in this type of novels, detectives can’t maintain a relationship nor raise children.

The plot was good. Most of the book focused on Guido having conversations with people but it was still interesting to read, even though there were some dull parts.

Rating: 3,5 stars

 

Angels and Demons REVIEW

960Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

Published May 1st 2000

Genre: Thriller

Pages: 736

Source: Borrowed it

An ancient secret brotherhood.
A devastating new weapon of destruction.
An unthinkable target…
When world-renowned Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to a Swiss research facility to analyze a mysterious symbol — seared into the chest of a murdered physicist — he discovers evidence of the unimaginable: the resurgence of an ancient secret brotherhood known as the Illuminati… the most powerful underground organization ever to walk the earth. The Illuminati has surfaced from the shadows to carry out the final phase of its legendary vendetta against its most hated enemy… the Catholic Church.
Langdon’s worst fears are confirmed on the eve of the Vatican’s holy conclave, when a messenger of the Illuminati announces he has hidden an unstoppable time bomb at the very heart of Vatican City. With the countdown under way, Langdon jets to Rome to join forces with Vittoria Vetra, a beautiful and mysterious Italian scientist, to assist the Vatican in a desperate bid for survival.
Embarking on a frantic hunt through sealed crypts, dangerous catacombs, deserted cathedrals, and even to the heart of the most secretive vault on earth, Langdon and Vetra follow a 400-year old trail of ancient symbols that snakes across Rome toward the long-forgotten Illuminati lair… a secret location that contains the only hope for Vatican salvation.
An explosive international thriller, Angels & Demons careens from enlightening epiphanies to dark truths as the battle between science and religion turns to war.

I feel like everyone and their mom have already read Angels and Demons, except me. Still, I read it and now I’m reviewing it, even though I’m a few years late to the party.

In this book, the Illuminati have re-surged and want to stop religious influence in science. A hired assassin kills Leonardo Vetra, an acclaimed CERN scientist whose main objective is to connect science and religion. The assassin also steals his most recent discovery, antimatter. Then, the Illuminati hide it in the Vatican, where it can only last 24 hours before it explodes, and kidnap the four preferiti, the four cardinals that are most likely to be elected Pope during the Conclave. To help solve Leonardo’s death, save the preferiti and prevent the destruction of the Vatican City, CERN’s director, Kohler, calls Robert Langdon, an expert symbologist, that travels to Rome with Leonardo Vetra’s daughter, Vittoria, another scientist that helped in the discovery of the antimatter. Together, they have to solve the ancient mysteries to save the Cardinals and discover the location of the antimatter before it explodes.

Let’s start with the characters. Robert Langdon, the main character, knew a lot about almost every topic. For this book, this kind of character was needed or else the Vatican would just blow up, but it wasn’t really realistic. Still, I enjoyed Langdon. He’s not someone I would ever meet in real life but someone whose knowledge I can admire.
Vittoria Vetra was the sexy female sidekick. She and her father created the antimatter and that was almost all she did in the novel. She also helps Langdon, of course, but her contribution to the flow of the plot is minimal. Her personality didn’t captivate me but she was still a good character.
The characters that Dan Brown completely nailed were the villains. They were brilliant, well-developed characters that made the book much better.

Now, the plot. The story was dense. There were several points of view but what really made me enjoy the book so much was the fact that there was always something relevant to the plot happening. The novel was action packed to the point where I got tired just from reading it.

Another aspect of the book that I absolutely loved was the fact that, as Langdon and Vittoria visited different monuments, the reader got to know its story and who designed them. Because of this book, I learned a lot about some of Rome’s monuments.

The one aspect of the book that bothered me was the fact that Langdon couldn’t help but fall in love with Vittoria, that was described as attractive and sexy, even though he’d only met her a few hours before. It perpetuates the idea that two people from opposite sexes can’t be only friends if they’re attractive, which is sad. I understand that the author wanted something light (such as romance) to compensate for the heavy plot but it just felt unnecessary.

In the end, even with all its flaws, I still enjoyed the book and learned more about History, Christianity and Art.

If you’re traveling to Rome, I recommend reading this book because it gives you a set of important places to visit and teaches you their History.

If you’re not into Art nor History, you should still read this book because it features debates that are still relevant today.

Rating: 4 stars

“Our minds sometimes see what our hearts wish were true.”

The Selfish Gene REVIEW

61535The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins

Published 1976

Genre: Science

Pages: 360

Source: Bought it

Inheriting the mantle of revolutionary biologist from Darwin, Watson, and Crick, Richard Dawkins forced an enormous change in the way we see ourselves and the world with the publication of The Selfish Gene. Suppose, instead of thinking about organisms using genes to reproduce themselves, as we had since Mendel’s work was rediscovered, we turn it around and imagine that “our” genes build and maintain us in order to make more genes. That simple reversal seems to answer many puzzlers which had stumped scientists for years, and we haven’t thought of evolution in the same way since.
Why are there miles and miles of “unused” DNA within each of our bodies? Why should a bee give up its own chance to reproduce to help raise her sisters and brothers? With a prophet’s clarity, Dawkins told us the answers from the perspective of molecules competing for limited space and resources to produce more of their own kind. Drawing fascinating examples from every field of biology, he paved the way for a serious re-evaluation of evolution. He also introduced the concept of self-reproducing ideas, or memes, which (seemingly) use humans exclusively for their propagation. If we are puppets, he says, at least we can try to understand our strings. -Rob Lightner

In this book, Dawkins defends the Selfish Gene theory. He uses several examples to illustrate his theory and creates excellent analogies to explain various concepts. I’m familiar with most of those concepts but it was still interesting to read his explanations.

The book was well written and his arguments were really strong.

I had never read anything by Richard Dawkins but now that I did, I will surely read more.

I recommend this book to anyone that is interested in Biology or wants to know more about Dawkins’ theory.

Rating: 5 stars

“We are survival machines – robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes. This is a truth which still fills me with astonishment.”

December Book Haul

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These are the books I got this month:

  • The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
  • Agatha: The Real Life of Agatha Christie by  Anne Martinetti, Guillaume Lebeau and Alexandre Franc
  • The Bat by Jo Nesbo
  • Fireman and Horns by Joe Hill
  • Bird Box by Josh Malerman
  • Cleopatra’s Shadows by Emily Holleman
  • The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
  • Nightfall by Jake Halpern and Peter Kujawinski
  • Roma by Steven Saylor

 

Let me know in the comments if you read or are planning on reading any of these books and what books you bought this month!

Best Books of 2017

This is the list of the best books I read in 2017.

I’d say this was a pretty good Reading year. I discovered some new favorite series and ended up Reading over 100 books in total. I didn’t read as much 2017 releases as I wanted but I’m still happy with the books I read.

The list is not in any particular order since all of these books received a 5 star rating from me. Let’s start!

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Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day by Seanan McGuire

This book came out in the beginning of 2017 and, even though this is from Seanan McGuire, the famous author of the Wayward Children series, I didn’t hear any buzz around it when it came out. I didn’t know anything about this book but I’m glad I picked it up! It had a really intriguing story and an interesting take on ghosts. If you want to know more, check out my review here.

 

 

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Vigil by Angela Slatter

This book came out in 2016 and I had already heard something about it when I picked it up. I wasn’t expecting to like it so much, though. It is the story of Verity Fassbinder, half human, half Weyrd that solves mysteries and helps people from both worlds. I really enjoyed the story. If you want to know more, check out my review here.

 

 

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Tremontaine

This is a series from Serial Box that started to come out in 2015. It is a fantasy series with political intrigue and LGBT characters. I had already read Bookburners from Serial Box and really enjoyed it but wasn’t expecting to like Tremontaine this much. It has captivating characters and a wonderfully written plot. If you want to know more, you can read my review of the first episode here.

 

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The Hitchcock Murders by Gavin Collinson

This book came out in 2015 and is a pretty unpopular book. At the time I’m writing this, it only has 22 ratings on goodreads. It is about a series of murders mimicking Hitchcock’s movies. The story completely absorbed me and I couldn’t put the book down. If you want to know more about my thoughts on it, check out my review here.

 

 

 

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton21070479

This book came out in 2014 and is set in Amsterdam in the 17th century. The main character, Nella, travels from the country to the city to marry a rich Merchant but her marriage is not as she thought it would be. With Johannes’ absence, she distracts herself with a doll house. Nella orders some dolls from the miniaturist to add to her house but the figures that start coming in the mail show more than she asked for. I borrowed this book from the library and it completely surprised me. I couldn’t stop reading it. The plot, the characters, everything grabbed me. If you want to know more about this book, check out my review here.

 

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Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

This book first came out in 1934 and I’ve had it on my radar for a few years. It was just this year, with the new movie coming out, that I finally picked it up from my shelf. During a snowstorm, the Orient Express is forced to stop. In the morning, one of the passengers is found dead and Poirot has to solve the impossible mystery of his murder. I adored this book and it encouraged me to read more of Agatha Christie’s works. If you want to know more about it, read my review here.

 

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The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson

This novella came out in 2012. I bought it after reading and loving Elantris (REVIEW). It is about Shai, a forger that is asked to forge the Emperor’s Soul in Exchange for her freedom. I was fascinated by this novella. Everything in it made me want to read more of Sanderson’s books. If you want to know more, check out my review here.

 

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The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley

This book first came out in 1982 and it is a fantasy retelling of the Legend of King Arthur. This book had such a rich story. It had plenty of characters to love and hate. I think this is going to be one of those stories that won’t leave my head for a while. If you want to know more, check out my review here.

 

 

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The Time Machine by H. G. Wells

This book first came out in 1895 and was the Book Club pick for December. In this novel, the Time Traveler tells the story of how he traveled to the future and met evolved humans. If you want to know more, check out my review here, and the Book Club discussion here. Just keep in mind that the last one has spoilers! If you want to read this book, it is also free on amazon.

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Chew by John Layman and Rob Guillory

The first volume of this graphic novel series came out in 2009 and, after I read it this year, I knew it would become one of my favorite series. It tells the story of Tony Chu, a detective that is Cibopathic. I love the characters of this book and the plot was completely addictive. If you want to know more, check out my review here.

 

This is it. These were my favorite books of 2017. I recommend each and every one of these books.

Still, I couldn’t read everything I wanted. There are a lot of 2017 releases that I didn’t get the chance to read and I hope that’ll change next year.

Comment below your top picks for 2017 and some of the books you want to catch up on next year.

The Wishsong of Shannara (The Sword of Shannara #3) REVIEW

76795The Wishsong of Shannara by Terry Brooks

Published April 12th 1985

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 498

Source: Bought it

Horror stalks the Four Lands. The Ildatch, immemorial book of evil spells, has stirred to eldritch life, sending its foul Mord Wraiths to accomplish at last Mankind’s destruction. Once again Allanon, ancient Druid Protector of the Races, must seek the help of a descendant of Jerle Shannara. Brin, daughter of Wil Ohmsford, born with the magic of the Wishsong which alone can open a way to the Ildatch, reluctantly joins him on his perilous journey east; meanwhile her younger brother Jair learns that Brin will fail and die, unless he can reach her in time. And as Brin walks into the trap the Ildatch has set, Jair must travel through the very heart of evil to reach her…

The Wishsong of Shannara is the third and last book of the Sword of Shannara trilogy.

The book follows the story of Brin and Jair Ohmsford, two sibling that possess the Elven magic of the Wishsong. Their parents, Wil and Eretra (protagonists of the last book, The Elfstones of Shannara) leave Shady Vale for a few weeks and, during that time, Allanon takes Brin on a journey to destroy the Ildatch, the book responsible for all evil, while Jair stays home. After Allanon leaves with Brin and Rone, the Prince of Leah, their home is attacked by a Mord Wraith, a creature of great evil, and Jair is hunted by a Gnome tracker, Slanter. They end up becoming friends and the Silver River King sends Jair on a journey of his own to save the Silver River and his sister, Brin, for the King sees that harm will come to her if he doesn’t.

I have to start the review by saying that this book, just like the first one of the series, feels like it was written using a “fantasy book formula” inspired by Tolkien’s Lord of The Rings. In the second book, Brooks was able to create something different but that didn’t happen in this one.

I loved the second book and was excited to read this one but it disappointed me. After reading The Wishsong of Shannara I don’t think I’ll continue the Shannara series. I had to force myself to read the book and finish it, something I hadn’t done with the other books of the series.

Still, the characters were good. Brin and Jair were interesting but I still didn’t like Allanon. I loved Slanter and enjoyed the unlikely companionship he created with Jair.

The plot was mediocre. It didn’t feel like an original story. Even setting aside the lack of originality, the plot was far from strong. Important plot points were easily predicted and it didn’t compel me into reading more.

It was a struggle to finish this book but, if you’re interested, check it out. Or just watch the series.

Rating: 2,5 stars

The Sword of Shannara REVIEW

The Elfstones of Shannara REVIEW

Taster’s Choice (Chew Volume #1) REVIEW

6839093Taster’s Choice by John Layman and Rob Guillory

Published December 8th 2009

Genre: Graphic Novel

Pages: 128

Source: Borrowed it

Tony Chu is a detective with a secret. A weird secret. Tony Chu is Cibopathic, which means he gets psychic impressions from whatever he eats. It also means he’s a hell of a detective, as long as he doesn’t mind nibbling on the corpse of a murder victim to figure out whodunit, and why. He’s been brought on by the Special Crimes Division of the FDA, the most powerful law enforcement agency on the planet, to investigate their strangest, sickest, and most bizarre cases.

This graphic novel is about Tony Chu, a detective that can see the life of whatever he eats. He works for the F. D. A. with his partner Mason Savoy that has the same ability.

The art of this book was beautiful. It was colorful and definitely different from what I’m used to.

The characters were great. I loved Savoy and it was interesting to see the different ways the illustrator drew him throughout the book.

The plot was captivating and I wasn’t able to put the book down.

I recommend this graphic novel to mystery lovers and to anyone that feels curious about Tony’s ability.

Rating: 4,5 stars

 

The Time Machine REVIEW

23597888The Time Machine by H. G. Wells

Published May 7th 1895

Genre: Science Fiction

Pages: 148

Source: Free on Amazon

The Time Machine tells the story of the Time Traveler, an inventor living in Victorian England. Traveling into the distant future using his time machine he encounters the descendants of humans and witnesses the end of life on earth. Wells’ first published book, The Time Machine, popularized the concept of human time travel and has influenced countless works of fiction.

In this book, the Time Traveler tells the story of how he traveled to the future and met a group of evolved humans.

Even though this book is considered a classic, it was easy to read, so there’s no need to worry about that.

The characters of this book were greatly developed. I loved Weena and her relationship with the Time Traveler. There were introduced a lot of characters in the first chapters that were just names Psychologist, Medical Man, Journalist, and so on. I didn’t see the need to introduce so many of them, since they didn’t affect the plot and were only mentioned again in the end of the book.

The plot was captivating. Wells created a fascinating future that completely hooked me to the story. I couldn’t stop reading and, when I wasn’t reading, I was thinking about the Time Traveler and what was going to happen next. This book truly surprised me, I wasn’t expecting to like it so much. It made me want to read more from H. G. Wells.

So, if you like Science Fiction and haven’t read this book, please do! I couldn’t recommend it more.

Rating: 5 stars

“Nature never appeals to intelligence until habit and instinct are useless. There is no intelligence where there is no change and no need of change.”

 

Me and thatonenerdygirl did a Book Club discussion of this book over on her blog. Check it out here. Just keep in mind that there are spoilers!

Vigil (Verity Fassbinder #1) REVIEW

28510550Vigil by Angela Slatter

Published July 7th 2016

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Pages: 351

Source: Netgalley – in exchange for an honest review

Verity Fassbinder has her feet in two worlds. The daughter of one human and one Weyrd parent, she has very little power herself, but does claim unusual strength – and the ability to walk between us and the other – as a couple of her talents. As such a rarity, she is charged with keeping the peace between both races, and ensuring the Weyrd remain hidden from us.
But now Sirens are dying, illegal wine made from the tears of human children is for sale – and in the hands of those Weyrd who hold with the old ways – and someone has released an unknown and terrifyingly destructive force on the streets of Brisbane.
And Verity must investigate – or risk ancient forces carving our world apart.

In this books there are two different kinds of people: the Normal, that are normal people, and the Weyrd, that are creatures with supernatural capabilities.. The Weyrd use customized clothes and accessories to hide their features so that they can pass for Normals. The two live mostly in peace but then wine made of children’s tears appears in the market and Sirens start showing up dead. Verity Fassbinder is half Normal, half Weyrd and has to solve the mystery and discover who’s behind it. She has to solve it fast before the tragedy spreads to the Normal.

Let’s start with the characters. Verity Fassbinder, the main character, showed character development right from the beginning. Her back story was rich and made her a strong protagonist. She was not the perfect person, which made the book a lot better for me. Morally perfect protagonist annoy me and I’m glad the author wrote Verity the way she did. I also loved the fact that she was able to work for her ex-boyfriend, Bela, without trying to get him back. She was able to get a Normal boyfriend, David, and didn’t screw it up with hidden feelings for Bela. Overall, I consider that the characters were well-thought out and wonderfully written. The author could have ruined it with overused tropes and I’m glad she didn’t.

Now, the plot. I admired the fact that something relevant was always happening. Verity was always doing something, talking to someone, in order to solve the cases she had. The plot was complex and there were a lot of things happening at the same time. Even though that ended up being a good thing in the end, there were some times that I felt lost. It made the book hard to read while tired because I just didn’t have the energy to puzzle everything together in my mind. Still, I loved the story.

The writing was simple and straight-forward, which combined well with the rich and complex plot.

If you like urban fantasy and mystery books, you should try Vigil.

Rating: 4,5 stars