Heavenly Bodies (Tremontaine S1 Ep3) REVIEW

27797821Heavenly Bodies by Joel Derfner

Published November 11th 2015

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 51

Source: Netgalley – in exchange for an honest review

Rafe and Kaab look for love in all the wrong places. Diane cuts a deal.
Rafe’s academic troubles grow worse, but he finds comfort in surprising places. When Micah plunges into mathematical calculations that threaten to expose trade secrets long held close by Kaab’s people, Kaab must do some quick thinking of her own. Meanwhile, Diane seeks to involve the house Balam in her intrigues, and the river yields up a mystery of its own.

In this episode, the characters’ stories start to intertwine.

The plot is starting to develop but there’s still a huge mystery surrounding some of the characters’ actions.

There were some interesting developments that are making me want to read the next episode right now.

Each episode is part of a bigger story that the reader doesn’t know much about.

The characters are amazing and this episode was funnier than I thought it would be.

I recommend this series to fantasy fans, just keep in mind that the first episodes might be a bit slow.

Rating: 4,5 stars

Arrivals (Tremontaine S1 Ep1) REVIEW

The North Side of the Sun (Tremontaine S1 Ep2) REVIEW

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The North Side of the Sun (Tremontaine S1 Ep2) REVIEW

27424053The North Side of the Sun by Alaya Dawn Johnson

Published November 4th 2015

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 45

Source: Netgalley – in exchange for an honest review

This “Fantasy of Manners” follows the lives and intrigues of four very different characters as they maneuver the cobblestone streets and glittering ballrooms of a city that never was. Nameless, but inspired by Elizabethan London, 18th century Paris, 1980s New York, and many others great cities both real and fictional, the setting of Tremontaine comes alive behind the colorful figures of Micah, Rafe Fenton, Ixkaab Balam, and of course: Diane, the Duchess of Tremontaine, a character well-met in the original series, but whose history has remained a mystery until now.

This episode focused more on Kaab and the customs of her people.

There’s still a lot of world building going on but the plot is starting to develop. In this episode, the reader discovers some of the conflicts going on in the city and some of the nobility’s gossip.

The plot is still slow but I’m really enjoying getting to know more about the characters so that, when something big happens, I won’t get lost.

I think this series has real potential ans I’m eager to read the next episodes.

Rating: 3,5 stars

Arrivals (Tremontaine S1 Ep1) REVIEW

Heavenly Bodies (Tremontaine S1 Ep3) REVIEW

Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet REVIEW

28418764Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet by Charlie N. Holmberg

Published June 28th 2016

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 306

Source: Netgalley – in exchange for an honest review

Maire is a baker with an extraordinary gift: she can infuse her treats with emotions and abilities, which are then passed on to those who eat them. She doesn’t know why she can do this and remembers nothing of who she is or where she came from.

When marauders raid her town, Maire is captured and sold to the eccentric Allemas, who enslaves her and demands that she produce sinister confections, including a witch’s gingerbread cottage, a living cookie boy, and size-altering cakes.

During her captivity, Maire is visited by Fyel, a ghostly being who is reluctant to reveal his connection to her. The more often they meet, the more her memories return, and she begins to piece together who and what she really is—as well as past mistakes that yield cosmic consequences.

This book is about Maire, a woman that can infuse emotions into baked goods. She has lost her memory of her life and spends the whole book trying to remember. When Carmine is attacked, she’s sold to Allemas, a strange man that seems to know her , even though she has no memory of him. While in his care, a spirit, named Fyel, appears whenever she’s alone. He knows her story but refuses to tell Maire any details because, if he tells her and she doesn’t believe it, he’ll be stuck outside this world, unable to help her.

I have to start the review by saying that the premise of the novel sounds amazing. It shows a different approach to magic that intrigued me and made me want to read this book as soon as I could. Sadly, the book wasn’t able to deliver. It started slow but promising. I kept reading, forcing myself to continue because, surely, something interesting would happen. It did… but only on the last chapter. It felt like the whole story was just to fill the pages between the beginning and the ending.

The book focused a lot on her baking process but its detailed description felt odd and out of place becoming, sometimes, nauseating while reading in the morning.

Also, on the first chapter the author wrote “My mind is like a pan of cake torn apart by eager hands, leaving only the outer crust. It’s strange, this story of mine. A tale that starts somewhere in chapter twenty and ends who knows where.” From this excerpt, the reader gets to know that the main character, Maire, is writing the book and that, in chapter twenty, things will get juicy. Right off the bat, that’s kind of a spoiler because, now, when I reach chapter twenty, I’ll know it’ll get good and that, before that, I won’t get to know much about Maire’s story. I got a bit bothered by that but promptly ignored it and continued reading. Then, I got to chapter twenty. I was already disappointed with the book but I was hoping that this chapter would be good. It wasn’t. It just continued the narrative and sprinkled a bit of information that meant nothing to the reader.

Throughout the book, the author spread bits of fairy tales, like the “drink me” bottle and the gingerbread house. They felt out of place. The story was already weak but, at least, it was original. Those bits took some of its originality and felt out of place.

The thing that saved the book was the ending. Even though most of it was boring and frustrating, the ending was great. It tied everything together and was well-executed. Still, the author should have spread the information differently because, for most of the book, neither the reader nor the main character knew what was going on.

The characters were mediocre. Fyel and  Maire appealed to me because of their abilities but, besides them, there wasn’t anybody else standing out.

Even with the good ending, I can’t give this book more than 3 stars. It was hard to read and I had to force myself not to give up.

Rating: 2,5 stars

Don’t forget to check out the book club discussion of this book that I participated in over at https://thatonenerdygirlblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/15/book-club-discussions-magic-bitter-magic-sweet-by-charlie-n-holmberg/

Just keep in mind that it has spoilers! Hope you enjoy~

Arrivals (Tremontaine S1 Ep1) REVIEW

27311335Arrivals by Ellen Kushner

Published October 28th 2015

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 49

Source: Netgalley – in exchange for an honest review

A new sun rises on the lives and fates of four players in a high-stakes game of wit and intrigue.
In a city that never was, sex, scandal, and swordplay combine in a melodrama of manners that returns readers to the beloved world of Ellen Kushner’s Swordspoint! A Duchess whose beauty is matched only by her cunning; a passionate young Scholar with dreams beyond his reach; a Foreign spy in a playground of swordplay and secrets; and a Genius on the brink of scientific revolution—when long-buried lies threaten to come to light, the stakes are high, and more than lives may be lost. Mind your manners and enjoy the chocolate in a dance of sparkling wit and political intrigue.
Duchess Diane Tremontaine, the crowning gem of her city’s high class, sits in her manor’s window on The Hill and looks over her domain with eyes that cut and a mind that schemes. Far below, and far away from the glitz of wealth, a poor country farm girl named Micah looks only toward her family, the harvest, and the complex web of math that entrances her. At the Docks, the newly arrived Ixkaab Balam surveys the same city from the deck of her family’s merchant vessel and sees a land to manipulate for fortune and fun. And at the University, a passionate scholar named Rafe bristles at the classism constraining his ambitions and dreams of revolution.

This first episode merely introduces the characters.

Diane seems to be an intriguing person and I’m curious to see how her situation will change in the next episodes.

For now I’m enjoying the series but it is too soon to say more. I’m excited to start a new Serial Box series and I hope I’ll enjoy it.

Tremontaine is a prequel of another series but I haven’t read it yet. Because this is a prequel, I don’t think it matters.

If I enjoy the series, maybe I’ll read Swordspoint but, for now, I just want to read the next episodes.

Rating: 3,5 stars

The Bishop Murder Case REVIEW

1094333The Bishop Murder Case by S. S. Van Dine

Published 1928

Genre: Mystery

Pages: 349

Source: Bought it (in Portuguese)

Of all the criminal cases in which Philo Vance participated as an unofficial investigator, the most sinister, the most bizarre, the seemingly most incomprehensible, and certainly the most terrifying, was the one that followed the Greene murders.” So begins The Bishop Murder Case. When Joseph Cochrane Robin is found murdered in New York’s upper west side accompanied by a note quoting the nursery rhyme “Who Killed Cock Robin”, Philo Vance is called in by District Attorney Markham to help the police track down the murderer. But can Vance solve this complex case before Mother Goose claims any more victims?

This book starts with the murder of a man called Cock Robin. The police asks Vance, a detective, for help and they immediately join forces to solve such a bizarre murder. Then, other people are killed and, after every murder, the Bishop (as the murderer calls himself) sends letters to the press with poems about the victims or the character they represent. Vance has to uncover the true identity of the killer in order to stop the terrible killings.

The characters of the book didn’t impress me.

Belle Dillard was too vague, the reader knew she was a caring person because of the way she acted around Mrs. Drukker but there was nothing else about her worth mentioning. Almost every man in her life wanted to be romantically involved with her which doesn’t add up to her lack of personality.

Professor Dillard, Belle’s uncle, also felt flat for me. I didn’t care for him.

Arnesson was better than Belle and the Professor. I actually liked him and the unusual way he handled everything that was happening around him. Even though he was my favorite character, I still feel like there could have been more character development.

Adolf Drukker was an academic with a physical deformity that shaped the way he treated others. He came out as bitter and, sometimes, insensitive but he was a good character and his relationship with his mother gave depth to the plot.

Mrs. Drukker lived her life in constant pain because she blamed herself for her son’s deformity. She was a crazy old lady that liked Belle’s company. She was very protective of Adolf, which created some interesting plot points.

Pardee was an avid chess player that didn’t really show much of a personality, just like Belle.

The detective, Vance, was the main character of the story and had the same characteristics of most detectives in books like this.

The plot was good and the mystery was compelling. The problem was that there were some truly dull parts that affected my enjoyment of the book.

I recommend this novel to mystery fans, just keep in mind that there are better mystery books that this one. It was just an okay book for me but maybe other people will enjoy it more.

Rating: 3 stars

Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day REVIEW

31183180

Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day by Seanan McGuire

Published January 10th 2017

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal

Pages: 182

Source: Netgalley – in exchange for an honest review

When her sister Patty died, Jenna blamed herself. When Jenna died, she blamed herself for that, too. Unfortunately Jenna died too soon. Living or dead, every soul is promised a certain amount of time, and when Jenna passed she found a heavy debt of time in her record. Unwilling to simply steal that time from the living, Jenna earns every day she leeches with volunteer work at a suicide prevention hotline.
But something has come for the ghosts of New York, something beyond reason, beyond death, beyond hope; something that can bind ghosts to mirrors and make them do its bidding. Only Jenna stands in its way.

This book is about Jenna, a girl who died too soon and became a ghost in order to collect her missing time.

In this novel, people who die earlier than they were supposed to, get stuck on Earth as ghosts and are forced to take time from living beings until they reach the age they were supposed to be when they died. Jenna volunteers on a suicide help-line and only takes time from the living when she feels that she made a difference on the people who called the help-line. Because she’s so strict with the amount of time she takes, she became an old ghost.

Then, all the ghosts of New York disappear except Jenna and Delia, an even older ghost. The city needs to have at least one ghost to anchor it so Delia stays in NYC while Jenna looks for the person responsible for the disappearances.

Jenna is a heartbreaking character. I love her and I admire her for the way she deals with what she lost. Brenda and Delia are also great characters with great depth.

The plot gripping and the book is fast-paced. I liked it more than I expected and I think the plot and  characters will stick to memory for some time. It is a fast read ant it made me curious to read more of this author.

I recommend this book to everyone that likes urban fantasy and everyone that wants to read a fresh new take on ghosts and the way they interact with the living.

Rating: 4,5 stars

Suit Your Selfie REVIEW

32894544Suit your Selfie by Stephan T. Pastis

Published July 18th 2017

Genre: Graphic Novel, Humor

Pages: 176

Source: Netgalley – in exchange for an honest review

Gather ‘round the smartphone, kids! Stephan and the Pearlsgang are back with a whole album’s-worth of jokes, jabs, and cringe-worthy puns.
Even Rat cracks a smile in this fifth Pearls Before Swine collection tailored for middle-grade readers. Witty, wacky, and occasionally wise, Suit Your Selfie is more kid-friendly fun from the New York Times best-selling author of Timmy Failure.

This graphic novel is about Rat, Pig, Goat and other animals. It is about their daily life and it is quite funny.

I’ve already read some books of this series but I don’t consider that it is needed to enjoy this one.

There’s not much I can say about this book, just that it was funny and silly, just like I remember.

If you enjoy humorous graphic novels, you can try this series.  I prefer the older volumes but it might be just because they were the first ones I read.

Rating: 3 stars

Look REVIEW

32202287Look by Jon Nielsen

Published April 1st 2017

Genre: Graphic Novel

Pages: 144

Source: Netgalley – in exchange for an honest review

Artie is a droid programmed to endlessly perform a single task left in a world abandoned by humans. He is starting to wonder what meaning his task has. But when he and his only friend, Owen, a robotic bird, cast aside the only lives they’ve ever known in search of a brighter future, they encounter others that want nothing but to hold tight to the past. Join Artie the Robot and Owen the Vulture for a light-hearted, sci-fi adventure as they journey far and wide for the answer to one of life’s greatest questions: “Why are we here?”

This graphic novel is about Artie, a small robot programmed to do only one thing. One day, he gets tired of doing the same chore everyday and, with his bird friend Owen, he sets off to an adventure. He finds other robots and the encounter isn’t as good as he’d thought.

The art of this book is beautiful. It is simple and clean but I would have preferred it if it was colored.

It is amazing how the artist gave emotions to the robots using just the little ball they had as an eye.

The characters are fine, Artie and Owen are cute but that’s all.

The plot was good but sometimes predictable.

I think this is a graphic novel for younger readers so, if you like that sort of thing, you should try Look. It was enjoyable for me.

Rating: 3 stars

Mists of Avalon (Avalon #1) REVIEW

402045The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley

Published December 21st 1982

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 876

Souce: Bought it (in Portuguese)

Here is the magical legend of King Arthur, vividly retold through the eyes and lives of the women who wielded power from behind the throne. A spellbinding novel, an extraordinary literary achievement, THE MISTS OF AVALON will stay with you for a long time to come….

This book is about the legend of King Arthur, retold from various perspectives.

It is a long complex book and it focuses  mainly on Morgaine.

In the beginning, I was really invested in Igraine’s story. I felt bad for her. Then, the book developed and life became better for Igraine. Even though her story was just a small part of the immense plot, it felt good to accompany this character throughout her life.

I also likes Uther Pendragon, which made the beginning of the novel far better than I expected.

Viviane was an intriguing character but not memorable. She was responsible for most of what happened in the first parts of the book but I didn’t like her as much as Igraine or Morgaine.

Morgause played a huge part in the plot but it isn’t showed as much as I would like. She unleashed a long chain of events but it is only briefly mentioned and rapidly forgotten.

Morgaine was the main character, in my opinion. Even though it followed the story of various characters, the novel followed Morgaine’s story throughly. I loved her and I feel like she was the one that had more development in the story.

Arthur was duller than I expected. He was Morgaine’s half-brother, the son of Uther and Igraine. I didn’t care much for him because of the huge influence his wife, Gwenwyfar, had on him. He was the King and should have known she was in no way fit to be Queen. Gwenwyfar knew nothing about politics and forced Arthur to make decisions based on her religious fanaticism. She believed women had no part in ruling the kingdom and never tried to learn anything relevant to help Arthur. Even with her lack of knowledge, she forced Arthur to make not-as-wise-as-expected decisions that created a long series of conflicts and, even though she claimed to be as Christian as it could be, she committed adultery. I didn’t like her. She could have been a good and helpful Queen but she chose otherwise right from the start. Even with all their differences and beliefs, there was great character in general as we followed the life of all these characters.

The plot was really complex. Almost all the character ere connected somehow and, at some point, it was hard to keep track of all of it. Still, I truly enjoyed following the story of all these characters’ lives, some of them, since they were born.

Even though it is a relatively old book, I truly enjoyed it and recommend it to reader who enjoy fantasy and/or want to know more about the Arthurian legend. This book is just one version of it but I really liked it.

Still, I won’t give this book 5 stars because, even though I couldn’t put it down, I feel like there were some dull and unnecessary parts that could have been better.

Rating: 4,5 stars