Book #82: Dragonfly in Amber

Diana Gabaldon, Dragonfly in Amber, 2001, 743p

Hello giant beastly huge book with a giant beastly huge Scotsman! Hubba.

This one took me A LOOOOONG time to read.

a) Because of said mentioned beastly length
annnnnnd
b) Because this one was harder to get into than Outlander. Like seriously, it took me like 300 pages to be like ‘okay, this is aight’

I get it. I get it. We sort of need all the historical backstory to get to the spoilery ending. But, my new Outlander motto is: MORE JAMIE, LESS ERRRYTHING ELSE.

We met Claire again in present day – well as present day as 1968 is – with her fire-haired daughter Brianna (hmmm…I wonder where she gets that from…) as they head back to Scotland. Claire plans to reveal to Brianna once and for all the unfathomable details about her heritage. Told through present day Revelations and beautiful, Highlander-filled flashbacks, we learn more about Claire and Jamie’s quest to change history and where it led them.

The cliffhanger ending somewhat made up for the slow start. I have yet to pick up Voyager, cause I’m worried it will be much the same. I feel like this a series that is going to take me a decade to read, but I’ll slog through it one giant tome at a time.

Cause Jamie.

Book #81: Career of Evil

Robert Galbraith, Career of Evil, 2015, 489p

Since kicking off this blogging adventure, I have read all three of Galbraith (aka Rowling)’s books. (see reviews here and here.) One I enjoyed, the other not so much. So I was interested to see if the third time was the charm.  (Yes, Prisoner of Azkaban was actually my favourite of the series, so I had high hopes.)

In this case, book three seems to be my sweet spot.

Our unlikely heroes Strike and Ellacott are at it again. When Robin receives a severed leg in the mail, the daring duo set out to find the sicko killer, all while the police department put it on the back burner. Strike soon realizes this case is personal and narrows it down to three suspects – all from his deep dark past.

I REALLY liked that we got to know Cormoran and Robin better in this book. Robin always seemed flat to me until this book. The will they?/won’t they? game is STRONG with this one – culminating in a cliffhanger ending. (Is it all really over?!? Obvi not, when there is a fourth book in the works). And FINALLY Cormoran has given up on Charlotte – which is refreshing.

All in all, I liked this book best of the series. Character development ALWAYS wins out for me over grossness.

 

 

Book #78: The Jewel

Amy Ewing, The Jewel, 2014, 358p

If you have read ANY of my blog posts or if you even remotely have discussed books with me at any time, you will know that I’m beyond addicted to dystopian teen fiction. It is my book crack. I tried to count up the number of dystopian series I have read and the list was crazy long.

I like what I like. And I liked The Jewel. Is it cheesy and predictable? You bet. But it was an entertaining quick read, yo.

The first book in the “Lone City” series, the Jewel follows Violet, a powerful surrogate purchased by royalty to essentially propagate human kind. The royal bloodlines are tainted. In order to have healthy children, the rich purchase surrogates from the poorest communities – but these are no ordinary girls. Each have special powers over the “auguries”– being able to change somethings colour, change its shape, and encourage it to grow. Violet, now know simply as #197, is purchased by the Duchess of the Lake and is isolated and beaten. She is simply trying to survive, until she meets Ash – a paid companion to the Duchess’ niece. While the forbidden romance grows between Violet and Ash, the other surrogates begin dying after childbirth. Violet attempts to escape her fate, but things become much more complicated when she realizes she is pregnant…

If you’re reading this blog and are like “wait haven’t I read something like this before?”, the answer is clearly yes. Is this a new age, low grade version of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale? Obviously. Are there any new stories out there? Likely not. Is this going to be a classic? No. But I read it and will devour the rest of the series like a bag of chips.

Book #73: Grave Mercy

Robin LaFevers, Grave Mercy, (2012), 550p

Welcome back, teen fiction. I have missed you a little, while trying to be a quasi adult and read adult-like things (well, not adult like things, cause I haven’t read anything really dirty in a while).

Ismae is only a young pup when she is sold to a disgusting, abusive man to be his wife. When he discovers her secret (a nasty red scar on her back that marks her as Death’s daughter), he flips his shit. Ismae is whisked away to safety and brought to the coolest convent ever – St. Mortain’s, where they serve Death. Ismae is trained to become an assassin to serve Death however is deemed necessary and is given a smattering of murderous goodies, including garrote bracelets (Bad ass!). Her first mission: spy on Duval, a handsome dude smackdab in the center of a political uprising. The catch? She also may have to assassinate him. The other catch? She kinda digs him.

I don’t think I’m too keen to read the other two books, which are both told from another girl’s perspective. It works for the Lunar Chronicle novels, but I don’t know if it will work for these ones. Not really wanting to know anything about the other girls – kinda itching to see what goes on with Ismae and Duval… cause I’m a creep, yo.

This one is wordy and long. It’s worth a read though, if you can get past some of the predictable cheesiness. Cause seriously, you should read it for the garrote bracelets and various other concealed weapons alone.

 

Book#71: The Silkworm

Robert Galbraith, The Silkworm, (2014), 455p

I don’t know how I became a fan of mysteries again. Likely due to these Cormoran Strike novels, I suppose. I used to LOVE mysteries. And by mysteries, I mean that Mary Higgins Clark used to be my preteen jam. Her Stillwatch novel was the first adult book I ever ordered from Scholastic. (But like seriously, how was that even an option to order?!?) I devoured many of her books (and typically figured out who the killer was at the beginning due to her cookie-cutter plots).

But, enough reminiscing. Back to this book.

Cormoran is back. This time, Strike and his faithful sidekick, Robin, are hired to track down the ghosted Owen Quine, super pompous writer extraordinaire, by Quine’s wife. He’s disappeared before, but typically comes home with his tail between his legs soon after. But there is more than meets the eye to this case, when Strike discovers that Quine has completed his latest novel – complete with rank and divisive characterizations of himself, his friends and coworkers. When Quine is found in a similar situation to his self-penned persona, Strike and Robin must uncover who had the most to lose.

I will admit this novel is my least favourite of the bunch. Likely due to it’s confusing as all hell characters. It reminded me of Game of Thrones, in that I needed a character cheat sheet listed in the back (Seriously, I used that list in GoT likely a million times). It was dark and twisty and angsty, but didn’t grab me like the previous book.

Still a far cry from Harry Potter though.

Book #70: Dime Store Magic

Kelley Armstrong, Dime Store Magic, (2004), 414p

If you remember, I devoured Bitten and Stolen like, well, I guess a werewolf would devour a small forest creature. Sex, violence, werewolves, other super natural beings, YES PLEASE.

I wasn’t too sure about continuing on with the Women of the Otherworld series, because the draw to me was Elena (well, mostly Clay, really…) and she isn’t the focus of this one. But I gave it a try.

Paige Winterborne is thrust into the role of coven leader AND thrust into the role of guardian to Savannah, a young witch with dark powers. When supernatural beings fight to control Savannah, Paige loses the support of her coven and puts herself in peril and danger.

Paige annoys me. There, I said it. She is whiny and childish and annoying. But I still managed to get through this book. I REALLY want to continue on with this series, but I’m not sure I can.

For now, I am going to just enjoy the cheesy Canadian tv remake of the series. They have made a ridiculous amount of changes to the series, but I think I like it better. And Paige is less annoying.

 

Book #67: Winterkill

Kate Boorman, Winterkill, (2014), 323p

Hello Alberta Readers Choice Award that was written practically for meeeee. Yes, it feels that way.

Dystopian? Check.
Questioning teen who just doesn’t quite fit in? Check.
Set in the LITERAL FROZEN TUNDRA IN WHICH I INHABIT? Check.

Like seriously. Typically when I read any Canadian award nominee lists, my eyes glaze over and flip back into my head where I dream of a world where bleek, dingy settings mix with teen drama and a sprinkling of Canadiana. Rarely do I find anything that I really, really want to read on those lists. Except this year!

Hello Winterkill!

Emmeline lives in an isolated gated community, thought to be surrounded by dark mysterious forces. The community is closely watched by the Council for acts of waywardness and uprising. Emmeline’s sixteenth birthday arrives –  and with it her opportunity to be bonded, also known as being arranged married off. Emmeline is stained by the actions of her wayward grandmother and is not really a hot commodity in the community. Somehow she catches the eye of a community leader. But, when her dark dreams encourage her to explore the woods surround the settlement – with the help of a mysterious boy named Kane –  she discovers that things may not really be as they seem.

I liked this book. A lot. The creepy religion. The mysterious lost people in the woods. The stigma and stain of family secrets. A mysterious cute boy.

I put the next book, Darkthaw, on hold and (surprisingly) it came in pretty quickly, but soon was submerged in the dark pit of my TBR pile with more pressing stories piled on top. It IS a book I will get to. Eventually. Because I’m anxious to know more about Kane. Swoon.