The Happiest Reading Challenge: Updates

Just call me Scatter Brain McGee over here, because I’ve been meaning to (and forgetting to) talk about what I thought of Six of Crows after I read it! Oops! Shame on me, I know. As I’d mentioned before, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo was my May book selection for the Happiest Reading Challenge I’m taking part in, started by super-friendly blogger, The Happiest Pixel.

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Cover and Author of Six of Crows.

Despite what my lack of a timely review might indicate, I was absolutely head over heels infatuated with this book! It was seriously never a dull moment with criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker and his crew. From start to finish this book kept me intrigued and guessing as it surprised me time and time again with twist after delightful twist.

As is a very important thing for me when reading a book, I also loved the characters. They’re quite the mixed bag, and Bardugo manages to hop from POV to POV effortlessly throughout the tale in a way that never seems jarring or off-putting in the slightest. I myself have absolutely no problem with books with multiple POV shifts throughout the chapters, but I know some people who do, and I doubt even they would have minded in this book. It flows very nicely.

I’ve talked before about how beautiful I think the actual book is with its black-edged pages and gorgeous cover, so I won’t get much into that, other than to say that the writing is just as lovely as the book itself.

I could just keep on going on about how enjoyable of a read this was, but I’m gonna keep it brief and say: If you like a good heist story and want to read a book that lives up to all the hype, this is a damn good one to go with. Can’t wait to read the next one.

So, that covers May’s part of the challenge, but what about June so far? I mentioned already that I would be reading The Lies of Locke Lamora for this portion of the challenge, but believe it or not, I cannot find where I put the book!! *GASP* Like, what the hell? Did it just sprout legs and bound off somewhere? There is a possibility that I may have taken it to my boyfriend’s and left it there, but as my brain has been busy forgetting to post about Six of Crows it also took on the task of forgetting to ask my bf about the M.I.A. book as well. Sigh . . . one day I’ll get it all together, but today is not that day.

In the mean time, I’ve begun reading Gail Carriger’s first book in The Parasol Protectorate series, Soulless.

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Cover and Author of Soulless.

I’ve already read and reviewed the manga trilogy based off of this series of paranormal steampunk novels, so I knew what I was getting into already. And that is a witty historical fiction series set in Victorian England. I’m interested to see how the manga series (which was only three volumes) will compare and differ to the source material, which is five novels.

Those are my updates for the reading challenge so far. How’s your reading going at the moment? Into any interesting books right now?

Lantern City, Vol. 1

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“The city above is the city we love.”

“The Greys provide so we survive.”

“The guard protects so we may serve.”

“The actions of ONE are the actions of ALL.”

“In Grey we trust . . . “

These are the words drilled into your head if you’re born into the lower class of Lantern City, a steampunk dystopia walled off from the outside world. The place has a very “Big Brother is watching you” vibe to it, and you can (and will be) punished harshly if you act so boldly as to step out of line. Even by doing something as simple as singing as you work.

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It’s no wonder the main character, Sander, is reluctant when his brother-in-law tries to pull him into the rebellion. He has a family to consider, but it’s for this very reason that he knows things must change whether he is afraid or not.

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With little time to even think about what he is doing, Sander is thrust into the rebellion headfirst as he infiltrates the Guard, posing as one of their own. Forced to think on his feet, he must learn quickly and stay one step ahead of his enemies if he hopes to keep not only himself, but also his family, alive.

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So, let’s talk pros and cons.

The Pros:

  • This hardcover beauty has some nice artwork and lovely extras at the end of the book about the world itself. I’m a sucker for worldbuilding so I thought this was pretty cool.
  • A clear, solid plot with good narration and very easy to follow panels.
  • The world is intriguing and leaves you curious and wanting to explore more of it.

The Cons:

  • I couldn’t help but feel that Sander had too easy of a time infiltrating the Guard. Not only did he seamlessly (with the exception of one person who just wasn’t buying it) step into the shoes of another man, but it was a captain no less. A highly trained captain. Somehow, despite having no proper training, Sander breezes through just about any obstacle thrown his way.
  • The characters didn’t really leave as much of an impact on me as I would have liked.

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All in all I liked my first visit to the world of Lantern City, and I would check out volume 2 in the future. I’d give the start of this series 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Next up on my comic reading list? Volume 2 of DC Bombshells. I’m really excited to read it. How about you? Reading anything good lately? Let’s talk about it! 😀

 

No Spoiler Review- Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening

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I just love it when a book lives up to all the hype surrounding it, and Monstress delivered this and then some. Hands down, this story has the best worldbuilding I have ever seen in comic form. It’s a beautiful blend of magic and horror from beginning to end.

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“Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900’s Asia, in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steam punk, MONSTRESS tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, a connection that will transform them both and make them the target of both human and otherworldly powers.” Goodreads

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Between Marjorie M. Liu’s dark and intriguing writing, and Sana Takeda’s consistently gorgeous and impeccably detailed artwork, it’s hard NOT to fall in love with Monstress. The only reasons I can imagine anyone complaining would be if:

A.) They get squeamish over blood and violence.

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B.) They’re offended by cuss words, and when cats are the ones uttering said cuss words.

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Or C.) They don’t like monsters. Or ghosts. Or the ghosts of monstrous gods.

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Another thing I really enjoyed about Monstress were the characters. Maika (the main character) has seen some shit in her seventeen years of life. She had to become tough to live through the things she’s been through. She has scars both mentally and physically that prove her to be a survivor. The world she lives in is not kind, with war, slavery, and murderous and power-hungry witch-nuns only providing a taste of the dangers that has left most of the population wounded and desperate no matter what “side” they are on. Also, if you are seeking a story that represents strong women, this one’s for you. I mean the pages are literally filled with them. Unlike most stories where male characters tend to vastly outnumber the female characters, Monstress actually flips this concept.

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This is the sort of story that slowly unravels with time, but not in a way that ever leaves the reader bored. It simply has layers. Layers upon layers. Like onions. And ogres. (You’re damn right I just made a Shrek reference there.)

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This first volume did a great job at introducing the readers to the world, characters, and story, but it definitely leaves us with questions. Which is honestly just fine with me because I am really looking forward to reading more when volume 2 comes out this summer! 🙂 Definitely a 5/5 star beginning to what will no doubt be an incredibly epic story.

2017 Reading Plans

As is the case with many readers, I have this habit of obtaining more books to read while others continue to sit on the shelf yet to be read. I know, I know. First world problems, right?

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The struggle is real.

Well, it’s time to focus on some of the books I already own and  put a major  dent in those. (Disclaimer: I am going to indulge in other books too,  I am in a book club after all, and a girl can only resist new books so much.) 😉

These are maybe a third of my poor, neglected books that I’m going to try to make my reading priority in 2017:

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo- Having read and thoroughly enjoyed Bardugo’s The Grisha Trilogy, I just could not resist buying this book when it first came out. Not to mention, this novel with black-edged pages is pretty damn gorgeous-looking. I know they say not to judge a book by its cover, but I did. I judged it hard and took that baby home no questions asked. And yet for some reason, it remains unread (well, my bff happily read it, so at least there’s that.)

Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues by Diana Rowland- This is the second novel of the White Trash Zombie series. (Another series with eye-catching covers. Especially the first one, My Life as a White Trash Zombie.)

Boneshaker by Cherie Priest- Another book I pined for and obtained only for it to wind up unread for far too long. Like, criminally long. Steampunk + Zombies = Why in the hell haven’t I gotten around to reading this yet??

Fevre Dream by George RR Martin- this book will be my first adventure with GRRM outside the world he wove for A Song of Ice and Fire. It will be pretty interesting reading something completely different by him.

Handling the Undead by John Ajvide Lindqvist- this is probably the book that has been on my shelf the longest among this list. Why? I can’t say. I really enjoyed the author’s other book, Let the Right One In. Hopefully I’ll like this one just as much.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs- Alas, a book I started and got sidetracked with. A crime all too common for me. Once I finish reading this one I’ll have to watch the movie to see how it holds up to the book.

Watership Down by Richard Adams- Another that I’ll have to watch the movie for after I read the book. I saw recently that both Pierce Brown and Joe Hill (2 authors that have both written books on this list) gave it 5/5 stars so that seems promising.

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill- I’ve read Joe Hill’s graphic novels that make up the series Locke and Key, and I’ve seen the film adaptation of his book Horns, but this will be my first actual novel I’ve read by him and I’m excited for it.

Golden Son by Pierce Brown- this one is especially important to finish up soon as I am borrowing it from the lovely Cupcakes and Machetes and would like to get it back to her asap. ❤

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch- A book I started reading over a year ago and was impressed with right off the bat, but somehow never finished reading. The shame. >__<

What are some of your reading goals for the new year? How are you fairing against your own TBR shelves of books?

 

Manga Review: Soulless

Having just finished reading volume 3 of the manga series Soulless, I have to take some time to babble on about how much I adore it.

It’s always a treat to read the continuing adventures of the characters in this series. I adore them. Gail Carriger creates such a wonderfully crafted world by blowing the dust off Victorian England (and other exciting locations) and adding some paranormal and steampunk flair into it.
The social dynamics between the different types of beings in this series always proves to be interesting. Social protocols and conflicting, heated rivalries make for tense and often humorous interactions between werewolves and vampires and other supernaturals/preternaturals and humans.
If you enjoy historical fiction and paranormal romance you should rather enjoy this. One of my favorite things about the romance in this is that it is not all-consuming or perfect. People make mistakes and squabble like they would in real life. They still have lives and interests/goals and friendships outside of their romances.
It has adventure, humor, thrills, romance, well-written and likeable characters, and wonderful ar
t. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

My only regret is that there won’t be any more of the manga. Fortunately, there is also the Parasol Protectorate series of novels written by Gail Carriger that came before the manga, featuring the same characters and more adventures to be read.

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Vol. 1
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Vol. 2
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Vol. 3