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Filling the Shelf – 245

Posted by on March 20, 2017 1:32 am in Book talk | 10 comments

Welcome to Filling the Shelf, or as many of you know it, Mailbox Monday! If you’re interested in joining the fun or seeing what other bloggers added to their shelves, click away! (but beware, visiting other mailboxes will probably add to your neverending wishlist!)

Good Monday everyone!

Hope you all had a good week! We had a huge snowstorm and it was beautiful. So much snow! Working from home, I was able to set some time aside to watch it fall while reading The Bear and the Nightingale (loved it so much!), as well as I spent some time with the man shoveling outside. I count myself lucky though, because it’s easy to enjoy the sight of winter’s coat when you don’t have to get out. Just out of the city, about 300 people were trapped for up to 13 hours on the highway. Yes, 13 hours! What a nightmare! :(

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Our snowy streets, cars & trees hiding under a coat of snow.

And now, about books!

This week I wrote a review for Caraval. It was disappointing for me, unfortunately, though it did have a few interesting aspects.

I also added some books to my shelf! Crosstalk excepted, these are all YA fantasy. I loved Rin Chupeco’s YA horror novel The Girl from the Well (though I still have to read the sequel) so I knew I’d want to get my hands on her new YA fantasy as soon as it came out. I can’t wait to read it! As for Crosstalk, it is also speculative fiction, and with a really fun premise. It sounds a bit like a romcom taking place in a not too distant future, and I’ve been wanting to read Connie Willis for a while. Sounds like a good one to start with!

And they sort of make a nice group together!

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Crosstalk by Connie Willis – Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas

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The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco – Rise of Fire by Sophie Jordan (audio)

What books did you recently add to your shelves?

 

Review : Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Posted by on March 18, 2017 1:39 am in 2.5 stars reads | 3 comments

caravalCaraval by Stephanie Garber
Pages :
 407
Genre : YA, Fantasy
Series : Caraval, book 1
My Rating : 2.5/5

About the Book  :

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

My Thoughts 

I started Caraval with what I believe to be reasonable expectations, especially since there had been a bit of hype around it, and I still managed to be mostly disappointed.

Caraval comes with a sparkling cover and the promise of a fascinating adventure through a larger-than-life magical game. I really liked how quickly the story started and the beginning of the story. I loved the two sisters and their relationship, and their difference in personality.

But almost as soon as they left their native island, I started to lose interest. The world felt undefined and lacked depth : Caraval exists in a fantasy land rather than an alternative history (I think?) but some places and names are in Spanish, for some reason? That’s never clearly defined, like many other aspects of the book. And it’s not that I believe that every fantasy novel should have the equivalent of ASoIaF’s politics defining its world, but I really didn’t have any sense of space and context.

I also had a problem with Scarlett herself (too naive), and the insta-lust romance she gets into(predictable). But mostly, I got a bit irritated  by the author’s writing. She constantly describes Scarlett’s emotions as colors, and colors as flavors, and for a while I thought Scarlett might have some form of (possibly magical) synesthesia… but it never results in anything. I guess the author was trying for an evocative writing style, but it constantly pulled me out of the story.

I realize I’m mostly writing about the negative aspects of Caraval, but I did enjoy some of it. Ignoring her colorful metaphors, Stephanie Garber’s writing flows nicely and is really easy to get into. The story has lots of twists and surprises, and the uncertainty between what’s real and what isn’t keeps you guessing continuously.

If you ignore the very last page, Caraval can pretty much be considered a standalone. Which works for me, as I don’t plan on continuing with the series. Not everything works for everyone, right?But Caraval has a colorful world to offer and I am sure it will find its lot of readers along the way! :)

Filling the Shelf – 244

Posted by on March 13, 2017 2:45 am in Book talk | 8 comments

Welcome to Filling the Shelf, or as many of you know it, Mailbox Monday! If you’re interested in joining the fun or seeing what other bloggers added to their shelves, click away! (but beware, visiting other mailboxes will probably add to your neverending wishlist!)

Hello everyone!

Another Monday, another mailbox post!

My health has been acting up again this week and I’ve been real lazy about blogging. Not answering comments, not visiting blogs, nothing. I’m hoping to do better this week. I did read a lot though while I rested (mostly I started a lot of books, but didn’t finish many), and managed to finally post a review yesterday for Six Wakes. It was such a fun sci-fi thriller, I’d happily recommend it!

I also got some new books this week, and I am so excited for them! I am completely in love with the UK covers for The Bear and the Nightingale and Homegoing. Bonus points for also being cheaper than the copies I could find here. And The Devourers had been on my wishlist since it came out, I’m glad to finally have my own copy.  Shapeshifters in India? That sounds so different, I can’t wait to read it!

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The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden – A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab – Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

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The Devourers by Indra Das – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling (audio) – 5 to 1 by Holly Bodger

What books did you recently add to your shelves?

 

Review : Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty

Posted by on March 12, 2017 1:41 pm in 4 stars reads | 0 comments

six wakesSix Wakes by Mur Lafferty
Pages :
 352
Genre : Sci-fi
Stand alone
My Rating : 4/5

About the Book  :

A space adventure set on a lone ship where the murdered crew are resurrected through cloning to discover who their killer was — and the secret to their mission.

It was not common to awaken in a cloning vat streaked with drying blood.

At least, Maria had never experienced it. She had no memory of how she died. That was also new; before, when she had awakened as a new clone, her first memory was of how she died, from illness once and from injury once…

Maria’s vat was in the front of six vats, each one holding the clone of a crew member of the starship Pituitary, each clone waiting for its previous incarnation to die so it could awaken. Apparently Maria wasn’t the only one to die recently.

My Thoughts 

I was in the mood for a different type of thriller when I picked Six Wakes, and it turned out to be exactly what I needed.

If you’re looking for fanciful prose and to slowly immerse yourself into a new world, this isn’t it : Six Wakes is a fast paced sci-fi thriller with efficient writing. Its complexity lies in its characters and its constantly surprising plot, but also in its questioning of ethics regarding technology and human life. Mur Lafferty’s thriller is clever and gives you a lot to think about other than “Who did it?”

Because of its pace and down-to-earth (ha! love to use that particular expression here!) writing, the story unfolded itself in a very cinematic way. The plot was so pleasantly intricate. The clones each have their own motivation to be on this ship. Their secrets made for exciting revelations, but they also meant it was impossible to easily predict who was guilty or not. Through the story we get multiple flashbacks to decades (and centuries) earlier, glimpses to the clones’ previous lives, and each of them revealed important clues and details, some that would only come together later in the story. It was cleverly done and perfectly gripping.

I also appreciated how realistic the context felt. So much seemed possible in the futuristic wold of Six Wakes, but it wasn’t a complete utopia or dystopia. The way humanity had reacted to cloning and subsequent technologies felt true, which made the story all the more compelling.

The characters were well written and multi-dimensional, especially Maria and Hiro, but I can honestly say I loved discovering all of them – including secondary characters who were part of the past.

Six Wakes was such a positive experience for me. There was never a boring moment, each word felt necessary and the constant flow of revelations and twists was greatly supported by the meat of the story.  It’s a thriller that had me glued to the page, but left a lasting impression because of its questioning on the worth of a human life (and related topics). Something that was missing from my most recent reading. Now I only need to find some friends to discuss it with! :)