Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer- Lish McBride

Now that I have read this awesome book, I think to myself, "why did I not read you earlier, Hold Me Closer, Necromancer?  You're so full of awesome!"

But the truth is, I didn't know HOW MUCH awesome was in this book.

I started out reading Necromancer: A Novella, which is a free e-book containing the first two chapters and a short story involving one of the characters. And I thought to myself, 'hmm, this sounds promising.  I think I shall read the entire book now."

So that is what I did.

Sherman Alexie thought this book was scary funny, and I think he is accurate in his summation of the book.  You shall laugh, but there are also zombies and death and stuff which are not so funny but kind of scary.  If you're scared of that type of thing, that is.

There are also all sorts of other fun  mythical creatures, such as gnomes, cats who talk, ghosts, werewolves, fey hounds, witches, and talking heads.

Oh, and necromancers, of course.  There's this one jerk off necromancer named Douglas, and then Sam, the Main Character, finds out he himself is also a necromancer, and this becomes a cause of contention.  You see, Douglas is one of those people who doesn't like other people with power and likes to hog it to himself.  So he doesn't like Sam.

Sam also comes complete with a cast of funtastic friends, such as Ramon, Frank, and Brooke.  And his family, of course. Not to mention the old woman in the apartment next door who drives a bangin' hot Mustang.

So Lish McBride took all these characters and threw them in Seattle, mixed them up, and came out with a piece of brilliance. I don't know how she did it.  She is truly amazing.

There is quite a lot of action.  There is also romance.  There is also Evil.  And let's not forget the potatoes in tail lights.

Each chapter is titled with song lyrics and the ending leaves you wanting more.  Today I was thinking, "hmm, what happens to . . ." or, "I hope that  . . . comes back," or, "She better be writing a sequel, dammit!"

So please, Lish McBride, if you are reading this, will you please write a sequel?

Try it for yourself for free here:

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Beauty Queens- Libba Bray

There is so much awesome in this book that it practically reads itself.
Not only are there teenage beauty queens on a desert island, but there are sorts of other creatures living on this island, such as a giant snake, an ornithologist, and a bunch of coporate lackeys doing business with a rogue dictator inside a volcano.
We get some of the traditional beauty queen type girls, such as the dumb blondes from Alabama--or Mississippi, maybe--as well as the Miss Texas (there's always a Miss Texas in the Top Ten!) and the girl-born-of-immigrant-parents-but-with-lots-of-American-pride. The one, and only one, African American contestant, and of course the girl with a 'handicap,' in this case, she's deaf.
Then we have the more, erm, controversial beauty queens, such as the lesbian mechanic who loves comic books and the transgender/former boy band singer.
Then there are the beauty queens who get trays stuck in their foreheads, or who think the beauty pageant is bollocks and want to overthrow the whole thing.
Of course, other fascinating/bizarre characters show up, such as the rogue dictator, the former Miss Teen Dream, some reality TV pirates, and of course, the people in the commercial breaks!
YES, THIS BOOK HAS COMMERCIAL BREAKS.  Otherwise, how would we know what Lady 'Stache Off is used for?  I mean, this is important business here; you can't just TELL us what it is, you have to demonstrate its importance in society with an advertisement. Of course.
So what other types of awesome are in this book?

Well, we get to learn about feminism, tolerance, sexuality, and how to turn beauty products into deadly weapons.
And these are very important things to learn.  But it isn't just the reader who learns interesting things, the characters are all dynamic and their stint on a desert island has an effect on every one of them.

And here are some random quotes from the final edition:

"You scaly bitch!"
"Otherwise you look like Gothzilla."
"Tiara, don't scare the nice pirates away."
"Am I not gorgeous?  I want to snog myself.  I'm like a postmodern Lord Byron."
"I think my balls are in a shade of blue they could never put in a Crayola box."
"You are the femur of my institution, Ladybird Hope."

If that doesn't make you want to read this book, then I'm sorry.  You're just hopeless.
Don't forget to read this earlier piece of brilliance by Libba Bray:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Misguided Angel- Melissa de la Cruz

So this book is one of my first audiobook experiences in years.  I decided that I simply don't have time to read as much as I want to, so I'm listening to audiobooks in my car so I can accomplish getting from place to place AND reading at the same time. It's quite fun, except when my husband goes and messes up the CDs.

So, Misguided Angel.  The latest book in the Blue Bloods series that is NOT a collection of short stories continues the saga of Schuyler, Jack, Oliver, and Mimi, and throws in some new characters as well.  But unfortunately, there is no mention of Bliss anymore. Alas.

In case you are unfamiliar with this series, you can check out my reviews of the earlier books in the corresponding links:

Blue Bloods
The Van Alen Legacy

We do meet new a slew of new characters. A Chinese Venator shows up at Duchesne, trying to discover who killed a Blue Blood student and posted it on the internet.  She has help from other students as well as some of the local New York Venators. This whole death thing has everyone who knows about it up in arms, which would mainly be Mimi, who is currently Regent.  Mimi as Regent is not nearly as annoying as Mimi as Duchesne student with too much money, but I still don't like her.  Call it a grudge, perhaps. One interesting twist is that Oliver of the Awesome Last Name (Hazard-Perry) becomes one of Mimi's closest advisers (this happens early on, so it's not really a spoiler). Mimi is still irritable about the events which occurred in The Van Alen Legacy, which I have decided not to give away (you have to read it, sorry). 

This book focuses way more on the new characters than the old ones.  There's surprising little of Schuyler, and there's a whole lot of Deming, the Chinese Venator.  It's quite a change from the other books, but I'm hoping that the next installment gives us more of the characters we know and love (or hate). Plus, it ended on this HUGE cliffhanger, so I hope Melissa de la Cruz gets right on Blue Bloods #6 so that I'm not stuck in one of those "OMG WHEN IS THE NEXT HARRY POTTER BOOK COMING OUT AHHHHHH!" type of unpleasant states.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Strange Case of Finley Jayne- Kady Cross

I never knew Steampunk could be so badass.
Okay, so I was a little way of reading this book.  I'm not seriously into Steampunk, mainly because I've seen lots of bad Steampunk costumes (I swear, sometimes they just glue gears on things that make no sense).  But this book?  Awesome.
The Strange Case of Finley Jayne is a free (for now!) e-novella from Harlequin Teen.  It's the prequel to the soon to be released The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles), due out May 24th.  And let me tell you, this novella does NOT disappoint.
Finley is a seriously awesome character.  She's like a Victorian Wonder Woman, punching people in the mouth til they swallow their own teeth.  She can jump two stories to the ground and land on her feet.  She's fiercely protective, likeable, and immensely strong.
But besides the badassery of the main character, the plot is excellent too.  This was a read in one sitting book, not just because it was short, but because it was suspenseful, action packed, and mysterious.  Finley becomes a maid to a proper aristocratic young lady named Phoebe who is unfortunately betrothed to one of those creepy older Victorian rich guys.  Phoebe's mother, who hires Finley, suspects there is something not quite right about her daughter's fiance, and wants Finley to find out what.  And what she finds is rather, well, creepy. Added to that is the weirdness of Victorian London society (but with steam powered automatons and metal horses!) and Finley's 'other' self, which she doesn't understand and can't quite explain.
Finley's world is a mix of history (she reads both Mary Shelley and Jane Austen) and fantasy, with surprises left and right. And since this book is currently free, you have no reason not to check it out.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Van Alen Legacy- Melissa de la Cruz

Why can't I quit this series?!  There's all these characters I don't like, and I've never heard of the fashion designers mentioned, and--and I absolutely love it!
So maybe in the first book there was a bunch of snotty high school stuff going on, like Mimi hating on everyone and talking about her clothes too much. So the first book had way too much designer name dropping.  And there was some in the second book as well. But the third book you could tell was heading in a different direction.
And the series has moved WAY beyond all that.  For instance, in The Van Alen Legacy , most of it takes place OUTSIDE of high school.  There's serious issues going on that do not involve which designers Mimi likes best.  In fact, Mimi goes off on a mission with a bunch of other people and has to wear regulation clothing and even destroys a pair of stiletto boots that probably cost more than I make in a year.
Schuyler, on the other hand, is on the run because she's convinced she's going to be convicted of some heinous crime she didn't commit, so she's hopping around the world with Oliver Hazard-Perry (otherwise known as Red Blood of the Awesome Last Name) and running into Blue Bloods and Silver Bloods every once in a while (even Jack! OMG!) and seems to be developing epileptic fits (except it's not epilepsy; it's some blood thing because she's a half blood and all). And there is of course a major threat from the Silver Bloods, and mysteries abound!
What's cool is that you don't know who is good and evil, and some people are both, and some people are posessed, and some people's souls live inside other people's bodies and like to come visit them every once in a while, and there's this whole thing with Lucifer and Caligula and Leviathan and hidden cities, so there's way more suspense than there was in the first book.
I think this series is progressing quite well.  Sometimes, Mimi is even almost likeable.  Almost.
Very much looking forward to Misguided Angel (Blue Bloods, Book 5).

And if you need to start the series, here's book one:

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Rage- Jackie Morse Kessler

Instead of tackling the issues of eating disorders as she did in Hunger (Riders of the Apocalypse), this time Kessler is going for the subject of self-mutilation.
Missy cuts herself to let out her inner pain.  As a result, she has scars all over her body, and most people see this as a reason to ridicule her.
This subject is hard for a lot of people to handle.  It's just not something people typically understand.  However, I do.
I personally struggled with cutting for years, so I was worried that this book wouldn't get it right.  And while my reasons for cutting were not the same as Missy's, I found her case to be believable and realistic.
Of course, I never became a Horseman of the Apocalypse and I was better at hiding my self harm than Missy is in the book.  Since Missy's ex-boyfriend pretty much tells everyone about her cutting, the whole school knows (another problem I never had; I was invisible in high school).
After a rather humiliating episode at a party, Missy is greeted by Death, who looks a lot like Kurt Cobain, and is given the opportunity to become War, the Red Rider of the Apocalypse.  She's given a blade.  And though this is a sword and not a razor, she knows how to wield it.
Most of this book chronicles Missy's inner struggle with rage, bitterness, and pain.  The horseman mantle she picks up brings her struggles to the surface and gives her something outside her body to fight. At first she uses her newfound power to get back at her peers, but soon she learns the greater scope of War's influence.
This book is quite a bit different from Hunger. The story takes a different route and Missy has a harder time grasping her role than did Lisa as Famine.  I was afraid that Kessler would go for the same type of ending as she did in Hunger, but Rage does end on a different note. To avoid spoilers, let's just say that Lisa and Missy come to terms with their issues in different ways.
Rage is definitely a good read, and there are plenty of characters you'll love to hate.  I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand self harm more because it gives you a clear view of the issue while adding in the fun supernatural bit.  I'm looking forward to the next titles in this series.