Hi there! I’m Kay: an opinionated book blogger enamoured with the world of novels. Reader of Speculative Fiction (the posh word for Sci-Fi/Fantasy) and Young Adult (don’t judge, it’s brilliant). Believer in the many uses of the towel, the science of deduction and other fandom in-jokes.

 

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Recent Reviews

Magic Burns by Ilona AndrewsAurelia by Anne OsterlundUprooted by Naomi NovikShadow Study by Maria V. SnyderThis Shattered World by Amie Kaufman, Meagan SpoonerUnited We Spy by Ally CarterAll Fall Down by Ally CarterEve and Adam by Katherine Applegate, Michael GrantHex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Booking Through Thursday: Reading Preferences

booking through thursday

Which do you prefer? (Quick answers–more detail at some later date)

Reading something frivolous? Or something serious?
Serious.

Paperbacks? Or hardcovers?
Paperbacks.

Fiction? Or Nonfiction?
Fiction

Poetry? Or Prose?
Prose.

Biographies? Or Autobiographies?
Biographies.

History? Or Historical Fiction?
History.

Series? Or Stand-alones?
Hmmm… Series.

Classics? Or best-sellers?
Classics.

Lurid, fruity prose? Or straight-forward, basic prose?
Lurid and fruity.

Plots? Or Stream-of-Consciousness?
Plots.

Long books? Or Short?
LONG. EPIC IF POSSIBLE.

Illustrated? Or Non-illustrated?
Non-illustrated.

Borrowed? Or Owned?
OWNED.

New? Or Used?
Used

Review: Stray by Rachel Vincent

Review: Stray by Rachel VincentStray by Rachel Vincent
Series: Shifters #1
Published by MIRA
Pages: 624
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchased myself
Add to Goodreads
Rating:
Also in this series: Rogue, Pride

The difference between the movies and reality? In real life, I was the monster.

Faythe Sanders looks like an ordinary student, but she’s hiding a dark secret: she is a werecat, a powerful supernatural predator. Yet headstrong, independent Faythe resents her power, heading to college to escape her family and her overprotective ex, Marc.

That is until a stray – a dangerous werecat without a pride or territory – catches her scent. With two werecat girls already missing, Faythe is summoned home for her own protection.

But Faythe will do whatever it takes to find her kidnapped kin. She has claws – and she’s not afraid to use them.

Rec for people who love: Cats, kick-ass females, and cats (loving cats is kinda key for this book).

First Line: The moment the door opened I knew an ass–kicking was inevitable.

Thoughts: Let me start out by saying that I did enjoy this book. Quite a bit by the end. But I am still pretty conflicted about the main character, Faythe. The book opened with her being as a rebellious werecat, pretty flighty and, erm, completely irrational. The only thing that made me feel better was the fact that she realized how juvenile she often sounded – but was just unable to hold herself back.

Also, her relationship with Marc, the overprotective ex in the summary, was bizarre. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Marc. He is exactly the type of traumatized-but-noble hero that I fall in love with. But she just kept flip flopping between being furious with him (for no particular reason) and being completely understanding. It drove me slightly mad.

Her behavior towards her family – her father in particular – was also irrational. Especially considering how much danger she knew she was in. While I understood that she felt like she was trapped by her family – and she was, literally at times – she also understood their motivation. To me, if you understand the motivation and even agree with it, shouldn’t you approve?

Well, I continued reading the book despite this rather intense dislike. I felt they really couldn’t do anything to make me dislike her any more, so the only way forward was up.

Let’s just say I was right. Without giving away too much of the plot, Faythe grows up quite a bit by the end of the 600 page novel. It’s a natural development that keeps her tough-as-nails personality intact – which even I appreciated. By the end of the book, I actually liked Faythe – so if you dislike her while reading, I would recommend you stick it out.

On a different note, this was a pretty violent book. Death, rape, kidnapping, torture – the whole shebang. I expected it to be since, hello, werecats? But I know that some people will be pretty disturbed by a lot of the themes. Some of which – women in cages, raped and brutalized – will probably resonate more with female readers. Vincent does an amazing job describing violence without loosing the reader – to either the fear or to the plain old “but I thought he had a broken arm” confusion. I could really visualize what Faythe goes through from the sound of breaking bones, to the smell of blood. Let’s just say the excruciating pain seeped naturally out of the pages. But unlike some horror authors, the trauma was bearable and won’t turn your stomach.

At least, hopefully it won’t.

I will be getting to the next books in her series. Although I might wait a month or so. There is only so much werecat I can take.

I really am more of a dog person.

Book Talk: Sex and Language in YA fantasy [TSS]

I have been reading a mix of YA fantasy this week – the Morganville Vampire Series by Rachel Caine and the House of Night Series by P.C. and Kristin Cast – and I am amazed by the differences between them despite both being meant for Young Adults. The difference in language and sex in particular. There are no spoilers in this, just vague unspecific references.

In the House of Night Series, P.C. and Kristin write the way teenagers talk, not the way teenagers get talked to. For a fantasy series, it is painfully realistic – there were many instances where the books seemed more explicit than adult fantasy. There is a lot more swearing, drinking and sex – although the main characters usually aren’t involved. It’s like reading old-school HP fanfiction, where the writer delineates everything we usually just assume is going on in the background.

Even though there isn’t a single character in the series I identify with, I remember the swooning over guys… the parties where every one is trashed… the rumours of lewd sexual activities people were up to… and it is almost painful to remind myself of it all. Even though I was reading – and probably saying – a lot worse than that at 16… if I were a parent I wouldn’t buy these books for my teenage daughter.

The Morganville Vampire Series, on the other hand, is almost a different genre. While it deals with issues a lot, er, older than the House of Night Series – the main characters live without parental supervision, and have mature sexual relationships, and there is swearing all over the place – it is a series I would actually give to a teenager. There is a lot of emphasis on the importance of maturity. Basically, if you want to act like an adult – no matter your age – you should think like one too.

Also, Caine brings up what I consider an extremely important issue for YAs: having sex with minors even if you don’t consider yourself a “major”. Without getting into too many spoilers, Caine’s characters are quick to remember that even a one year age difference (i.e. 17-year old and an 18-year-old) is enough to constitute statutory rape. Admittedly, the likelihood of it being an issue is slim in real life, but I appreciate her bringing it up. I have met the extreme of the issue (13-year-olds dating 19-year-olds) and no matter what you say about maturity, it is so very illegal.

Anyhow, going from one series to the other really made me ponder.

Booking Through Thursday: TBR

booking through thursday

Do you keep all your unread books together, like books in a waiting room? Or are they scattered throughout your shelves, mingling like party-goers waiting for the host to come along?

My TBR books are all over the place – mostly because I am a compulsive book buyer and own far more books than I have actually read. Because I generally get my books from second-hand shops and charity stores, I tend to buy almost anything. It is a great way of discovering authors I haven’t heard of but it also means I have a lot of books that sit on my selves waiting for the day I will be interested in them. Stacy D’Erasmos’s Tea, which I got for 50p btw, sat on my shelf over a year before I opened it – and ended up adoring it to ickle pieces.

Anyhow, all these books means that I have no choice but to mix them with books I have already read. I do, however, keep a pile of books that I am reading next to my bed. I am not consistent about how many books I read at once, but at the moment there are ten next to my bed that I am half way through! I guess that is almost like a TBR pile…?

Review: Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella

Review: Remember Me? by Sophie KinsellaRemember Me? by Sophie Kinsella
Published by Bantam Books, Dial
Pages: 448
Source: Purchased myself
Add to Goodreads
Rating:

When twenty-eight-year-old Lexi Smart wakes up in a London hospital, she’s in for a big surprise. Her teeth are perfect. Her body is toned. Her handbag is Vuitton. Having survived a car accident—in a Mercedes no less—Lexi has lost a big chunk of her memory, three years to be exact, and she’s about to find out just how much things have changed.

Somehow Lexi went from a twenty-five-year-old working girl to a corporate big shot with a sleek new loft, a personal assistant, a carb-free diet, and a set of glamorous new friends. And who is this gorgeous husband—who also happens to be a multimillionaire? With her mind still stuck three years in reverse, Lexi greets this brave new world determined to be the person she…well, seems to be. That is, until an adorably disheveled architect drops the biggest bombshell of all.

Suddenly Lexi is scrambling to catch her balance. Her new life, it turns out, comes complete with secrets, schemes, and intrigue. How on earth did all this happen? Will she ever remember? And what will happen when she does?

Rec for people who love: Page turners with a good laugh!

Thoughts: This was the first so-called “chick lit” book I have ever read. To be honest, I have always been somewhat skeptical about their quality. But after listening to an interview that Barnes and Noble did with Sophie Kinsella, I had to read something of hers. She was witty, intelligent and extremely British. So stumbling upon her book in a charity shop the same day seemed like fate. However, the summary left a lot to love.

It took about a hundred pages for me to really start liking the book. The main character, Lexi, at first seems painfully typical – the get-pissed-and-pull girl I went to school with. But I quickly realized there was a lot more to her than that, and she turned out to be a funny, bright and fiercely loyal lady.

I read the book in two sittings, which is highly unusual for me, even when I love a book. But I couldn’t help but trying to will Lexi into realizing her new life is not really hers. As if the faster I read, the sooner she would realize.

It is really easy from my point of view, of course, but Sophie Kinsella goes about the realization in a way that stays true to character. Things go from horribly awkward, to just down right horrible for Lexi (I actually cried at one point, which was extremely odd considering no one had died). Just as I was about to call my own life as miserable as Lexi’s…. Kinsella turns the mood around to brightly comic in a half page. It was genius – and it completely turned around my view about the genre.

I am not saying it is literary genius, but it was one hell of a story. Kinsella can spin a tale extremely well, and just because it happens to be a tale about a young, single woman is kinda irrelevant. If you are a fan of chick-lit, I am pretty sure you already have this on your TBR pile. But if you, like me, tend to shy away from anything with a cartoon twentysomething on the cover… well… reconsider. Kinsella spun together a story for pure escapism, and I for one plan to buy more of her tales!

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