Friday, October 11, 2013

Seeds of Earth - Review

Title: Seeds of Earth  
Author: Michael Cobley
Series: Humanity’s Fire #1  

Synopsis: “The first intelligent species to encounter mankind attacked without warning.  With little hope of halting the invasion, Earth’s last roll of the dice was to dispatch three colony ships, seeds of earth, to different parts of the galaxy.  The human race would live on … somewhere.
          “150 years later, the planet Darien hosts a thriving human settlement, which enjoys a peaceful relationship with an indigenous race the scholarly Uvovo.  But there are secrets buried on Darien’s forest moon.  Secrets that go back to an apocalyptic battle fought between ancient races at the dawn of galactic civilization.  Unknown to its colonists, Darien is about to become the focus of an intergalactic power struggle where the true stakes are beyond their comprehension.  And what choices will the Uvovo make when their true nature is revealed and the skies grow dark with the enemy?”

Review: I have made no secret of the fact that Science Fiction is my favorite genre.  It is also the genre about which I am the pickiest.  I like a certain type of Science Fiction.  Julie E. Czerneda, David Brin, and Elizabeth Bear are my favorites, and I’ve generally been really pleased with everything I’ve read from Orbit Publishing.  Strong characters and a well developed world are vital; the actual science is secondary to me.  If you tell a strong story with an emphasis on character and world building I won’t even notice if your science is a little weak or even unrealistic.  (I was an English literature major, science is not my strong suit.) 
          That said.  I liked Seeds of Earth.  I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it either.  Cobley obviously put a lot of thought into his world building, and character development.  I love the Uvovo and wish that I could go live with them for a time.  I love the back story of the three ships leaving earth, the “seeds of earth” and how the colonists on Darien hate AI tech because of the betrayal by their AI.  The worlds of Darien and its forest moon are complex and I love it.  However, I feel as if Cobley tried to do too much with Seeds of Earth.  There is too much crammed into this novel and it began to get a bit tedious.  The storyline jumps around between many different characters which got a bit confusing, and there are several different stories being told within this one novel.  It made my brain hurt and I had to keep taking reading breaks because I was getting jolted out of the story and had to think too hard to keep track of everything that was going on.
          Overall I recommend Seeds of Earth, and I will be reading the rest of the Humanity's Fire series, but be prepared because this isn’t a relaxing, lose yourself in another world kind of read.

Publisher: Orbit
ISBN: 978- 0316213981

If you like this book you may want to read:

Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse #1) by James S. A. Corey

Survival (Species Imperative #1) Julie E. Czerneda

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Outside - Review

Title: The Outside
Author: Laura Bickle
Series: Sequel to The Hallowed Ones

Synopsis: “The world is not what it once was.  Two thirds of the population has been killed by a plague of vampires, and the survivors hide out in isolated territories – both protected and trapped by forces beyond their understanding. 
          Exiled from her Amish community and shunned for her refusal to adhere to the new rules of survival, Katie enters an outside world of unspeakable violence with only her two “English” friends and a horse by her side.  Together they seek answers wherever they can find them – but each sunset brings the threat of vampire attack, and each sunrise, the threat of starvation.
          “And yet through this darkness come the shining ones: luminescent men and women with the power to deflect vampires and survive the night.  But can these new people be trusted, and are they even people at all?
          “In this thrilling sequel to The Hallowed Ones, it’s up to one Amish girl to save her family, her community, and the boy she loves.  But what will she have to leave behind in return?”

Review:  First of all, if you haven’t read The Hallowed Ones stop reading this and go read my review of that one.  Then go read that book first.  I mean it.  Go now.
          Okay, is everyone who hasn't read The Hallowed Ones gone?  Good.  Here we go.   This book continues the story that was started in The Hallowed Ones.  Katie, Alex, Ginger and Horace (the horse) are struggling to survive after being cast out of the Amish Community that Katie called home.  I stayed up way past my bedtime to read this book.  I should have known better, but I love to read in bed before going to sleep and so I started reading The Outside about an hour before I absolutely had to go to sleep.  I finished 4 hours later.  It was 345am.  I was so very tired at work the next day.  I was grumpy, and I’m almost never grumpy.  Laura Bickle owes my boyfriend and my work peeps an apology.  The Outside was amazing.  I am an animal lover, to the extreme (I’ll post pics of my spoiled rotten cats for you sometime), and so when animals appear in the cast of characters for a novel I get nervous.  When authors cruelly kill off those fuzzy characters I get very upset and generally will avoid novels by those authors in the future, and so I got nervous when Katie and her crew came across the private “zoo” with the caged animals.  I know many people feel the same way I do about animals, so I will go ahead and say read The Outside.  There’s a crazy preacher man, undead bikers, and glow in the dark scientists, how awesome is all that? I was caught up in the spell of this story and could not put it down until I had reached the end, no matter how tired I was.  Read it, read it, read it!

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 978-0544000131

If you like this book you may want to read:

 Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter (review coming soon) ISBN: 978-0373210893

Plague Town by Dana Fredsti ISBN: 978-0857686350

Upcoming Releases - October 2013

I love books.  I get excited about upcoming releases like other people, normal people, get excited about movie releases.  Here are the releases I am most anticipating this month.

Second book in the series, and I loved the first one.  See my review here.

Because Valdemar, that's why.

Who doesn't want to read a book with a cover like this?

Computers trying to kill humanity?  Yes please.

Steampunk awesomeness. 

I saved the best for last.  Mira Grant is my favorite author.  Go read Feed.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Be a Hero

I’m a hermit. This will not come as a surprise to anyone who knows me. It’s not that I don’t like other people; it’s that I don’t feel the need to spend large chunks of time with them. Also, I don’t like to have people in my space. You might be mean to my cats, or my books, and having you there makes me uncomfortable. If I invite you over to my apartment it means I really like you and am willing to make myself uncomfortable for you. To be quite honest, the thought of a quiet intimate dinner with anyone other than my family, or my boyfriend, makes me feel quite panicky (and it took almost a whole year to be okay with the boyfriend). This isn't a recent development. I've been this way for as far back as I can remember. I had trouble in school because I was so worried about how to act around so many other people that there was no energy left for learning. Being home schooled was a big blessing. Finally I could stop worrying and start learning! Part of it is anxiety related. I frequently don’t know how to respond in social situations and worry that I will say something inappropriate or just plain wrong.

 Part of it is just that I would rather be at home reading a book, writing or playing with my cats. I like to be alone. No offense, but those are the things that make me happy. I don't need other people around to make me happy.  Work is fine. I know what is socially expected of me at work and I’m good at what I do. I smile. I count their pills. I’m sweet, and sympathetic, and customers like me. 

 Occasionally someone will tell me that this sounds like social anxiety and ask why I don’t just take medication. My response to that is this: Firstly, have you read up on those medications? I have. The possible side effects are not worth the possible “gain” that those pills would give me. Secondly, and most importantly, I am not unhappy. Why should I change myself when I am fine with the way that I am? It is other people that have a problem with the fact that I am a hermit, and the people that care about me accept me just the way that I am. Quite frankly, I wouldn't want to be around someone who felt the need to change me and would not accept me as I am. I have learned from reading that it is our differences that make us special. The hero in the story is always the one who refuses to conform to the rest of society. 

 The moral of this story: Always be yourself, that’s what makes you a hero.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Grave Sight - Review

Title:  Grave Sight
Author:  Charlaine Harris
SeriesHarper Connelly Mysteries Book 1

Synopsis:  “Harper and her stepbrother Tolliver are experts at getting in, getting paid, and then getting out of town fast, because the people who hire Harper have a funny habit of not really wanting to know what she has to tell them.  At first, the little Ozarks town of Sarne seems like no exception.  A teenage girl has gone missing, and Harper knows almost immediately that this girl is dead.  But the secrets of her death, and the secrets of the town, are deep enough that even Harper’s special ability can’t uncover them.  With hostility welling up all around them, she and Tolliver would like nothing better than to be on their way.  But then another woman is murdered.  And the killer’s not finished yet…”

Review:  I feel silly.  I had no idea that Charlaine Harris had written anything other than the Sookie Stackhouse series.  I found this gem by chance while perusing the shelves of a local used bookstore.  I snatched it right up!  Grave Sight was a really good book.  It wasn't a "stop everything and read until it’s done" kind of book that sucks you in and doesn't let go, but it was enjoyable.  Harper’s connection with the dead and her codependent relationship with Tolliver was well thought out and interesting.  The personal relationships that complicated things in Sarne, while rather predictable, were intriguing and kept me reading.  I recommend this light read and will be seeking out the rest of the series on my next trip to the used bookstore. 

Publisher:  Berkley Crime
ISBN:  078-0425212899

If you like this book you may want to read: 

Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse Book 1) by Charlaine Harris

Don of the Dead (Pepper Martin Mysteries Book 1) by Casey Daniels

Sunday, April 7, 2013

New Habits

BookGirl is trying to make some changes.  As part of my new life, post-graduation, I am trying to develop some new habits.  These habits include:
                                           1. More Exercise
                                           2. More Reading/Writing
                                           3. Less TV/Video Games
                                           4. Being less of a clutter bug and more of a clean freak.
                                           5.  Eat healthier
                                           6.  Less Worrying About Things I Cannot Change

  As we all know, old habits are hard to break and new habits are hard to fall into.  I'm not really an exercise for fun kind of person, I'm more of a lay on the couch watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer while eating cheetos and drinking soda kind of person.  But let's face it, I'm not getting any younger or thinner doing that. And then I feel bad later because I'm not making an headway toward my ultimate life goal of being a bestselling author.  I'm sick of feeling bad.  I'm sick of not being productive with my free time.  So that means it's time for a change.
  In my search for motivation I came across several blogs that I wanted to share with everyone.  No matter what you need motivation or inspiration for I'm reasonably sure you will find something useful here.  So here they are:

1.  Zen Habits
     Posts That Made an Impact On Me:
          Get Off Your Butt: 16 Ways to Get Motivated When You're in a Slump
          The Zen of Doing
          4 Simple Steps to Start the Exercise Habit

2.  Active is Attractive: An Ambitious Journey from Flab to Fab
     This is a new blog that I discovered.  The post that caught my primary attention so far is:
          Starting Fresh... Again

3. Pick the Brain
     Posts That Made an Impact On Me:
          8 Steps to Breaking Your Procrastination Habit
          10 Ways to Starting Living a Meaningful Life Right Now
          Can You Sacrifice Temporary Pleasure for Longterm Gain

4. Personal Excellence
     Posts That Made an Impact On Me:
          How Can I Stop Worrying About Things I Cannot Control?
          Top 10 Reasons You Should Stop Watching TV
  **Note: I am not saying that I am going to stop watching TV.  Merely that I am going to watch less of it.**
          Cultivate Life Transforming Habits in 21 Days

5.  LifeHack
     Posts That Made an Impact On Me:
          Thirteen Tricks to Motivate Yourself
          Claim Your Day of Rest for Improved Health and Productivity

6.  SimplyEnough
     Posts That Made an Impact On Me:
          How Do You Use Your Little Gifts and Talents?
          Why Is Healthy Eating So Hard?
          Be Still

The Warded Man - Review

Title: The Warded Man
Author: Peter V. Brett
Series: The Demon Cycle Book 1

Synopsis: “As darkness falls after sunset, the corelings rise – demons who possess supernatural powers and burn with a consuming hatred of humanity.  For hundreds of years the demons have terrorized the night, slowly culling the human herd that shelters behind magical wards – symbols of power whose origins are lost in myth and whose protection is terrifyingly fragile.  It was not always this way.  Once, men and women battled the corelings on equal terms, but those days are gone.  Night by night the demons grow stronger, while human numbers dwindling under their relentless assault.  Now, with hope for the future fading, three young survivors of vicious demon attacks will dare the impossible, stepping beyond the crumbling safety of the wards to risk everything in a desperate quest to regain the secrets of the past.  Together, they will stand against the night.”

Review:  Every once in awhile a book comes along that I don’t want to end.  I just want to keep reading forever about the characters in stay in the author’s make-believe world forever.  Peter V. Brett’s The Warded Man was one of those novels.  I bought this novel on a whim during my birthday shopping spree (decribed here).  I saw the cover of the third book in this series first and picked it up.  

Isn’t it pretty?  I put it back down when I realized that it was the third book in a series I had not read.  But I kept thinking about it, so I went looking for the first book.  Luckily Barnes and Noble had it.  Has anyone else noticed that they are notorious for not having a full series in stock?  Anyway, they had it.  I picked it up.  I almost purchased the whole series that day but didn't.  Now I am angry with myself.  I’m glad I bought The Warded Man, and upset that I talked myself out of the whole series.  Now I have to wait until I save up some more book shopping money before I can read the second and third books in this awesome series!  Brett sucked me into his world and will do the same for you.  Go read this book!

Publisher: Del Rey
ISBN: 978-0345518705

If you like this book you may want to read:

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

Hounded (Iron Druid Chronicles Book 1) by Kevin Hearne (See my review here)

Assassin’s Apprentice
(The Farseer Trilogy Book 1) by Robin Hobb

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Book Frenzy

I have moments like this frequently.  "Too many books and not enough time!"  There are so many books that I want to read and I can feel the minutes ticking away, I know that I will never be able to read them all and it drives me crazy!

Watch this hilarious video clip.

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Hallowed Ones - Review

Title:  The Hallowed Ones
Author: Laura Bickle

Synopsis:  “Katie is on the verge of her Rumspringa, the time in Amish life when teenagers are free to experience non-Amish culture before officially joining the church.  But before Rumspringa arrives, Katie’s safe world starts to crumble.  It begins with a fiery helicopter crash in the cornfields, followed by rumors of massive unrest and the disappearance of huge numbers of people all over the world.  Something is out there … and it is making a killing.
          “Unsure why they haven’t yet been attacked, the Amish Elders make a decree: No one goes outside their community, and no one is allowed in.  But when Katie finds a gravely injured young man lying just outside the boundary of their land, she can’t leave him to die.  She refuses to submit to the Elders’ rule and secretly brings the stranger into her community – but what else is she bringing in with him?”

Review:  I spent all of my teenage years in a Mennonite Community.  I walked the walk, talked the talk, dressed the dress… whatever you want to call it.  I immersed myself in the culture and I loved it.  We still had cars and telephones, although back then hardly anyone had cell phones, so it wasn't as extreme as the Amish.  I tell you this so you understand that when I saw the cover of The Hallowed Ones I absolutely had to have it.  Some of my family still follows many of the Mennonite ways, although I am no longer living in the Mennonite Community for those of you that wonder.  My Mother’s nearest neighbors are Amish, and I am very familiar with their beliefs and customs.  I understand that each Amish community is a bit different, but I was a tad disappointed in Bickle’s portrayal of the Amish.  Two points: 1) The Amish do not pray out loud at meals.  They pray silently before and after a meal.  2) The Amish do not believe that they can know they are going to heaven as this would lead to pride.  Now I understand that this may garner me some flack as each community is different.  However I have been led to understand, by the Amish that I know, that these are rigid rules and beliefs that should be the same in every community.  I also understand that there is such a thing as poetic license which is why I will not let this small disappointment tarnish my love of this book.
          I did love The Hallowed Ones.  I read it in less than a day.  It was my birthday and I treated myself to a trip to Barnes and Noble.  I bought a lot of books.  At one point a salesperson offered me a basket.  I declined because my rule is that I can’t buy more books than I can carry.  A few minutes later another salesperson offered to take some of the books to a register for me.  She looked very concerned for my safety.  I can carry a lot of books!  Okay, back to the book.  The cover of The Hallowed Ones grabbed my attention right away.  I didn’t really pay attention to what it was about until I got home; I just knew that I needed this book with the Amish girl on the cover. 
The Hallowed Ones is a horror novel about an apocalypse told from the perspective of an Amish teenager.  It was wonderful.  I was sad when I finished it.  It made me angry and it made me sad.  It made me smile and it made my heart pound.  I loved Katie and the fact that she didn’t just blindly follow along with what the Elders told everyone to do like a sheep.  She loved her community but wanted to understand the reasons that they did things the way that they did.  She knew that she would most likely end up choosing the Amish life but wanted to experience life outside of the community first and all of that was ruined by this disaster. 
When we read and write novels about apocalypse or dystopian earth we rarely consider what would happen to these people who already live apart from the rest of society.  With no phones, no television and no radio, these communities would be the last to know about a disaster and the least affected by one.  The Hallowed Ones was very original and told a story that many of us have not really considered before now. 

Publisher: Graphia / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 978-0547859262

If you like this book you may want to read:

Obernewtyn: The Obernewtyn Chronicles book 1 by Isobelle Carmody

The Forrest of Hands and Teeth Series by Carrie Ryan

Sunday, March 10, 2013


I don't handle change well.  Even when it's good change there is a certain period of adjustment.  I am a creature of habit and like to have a semi-predictable schedule.  There have been a lot of changes in my life recently that I feel the need to catch everyone up on.

Firstly:  Book Girl has a boyfriend.  It's not that I hadn't tried, and I met some very nice people who were by all appearances perfect for me.  But, as some of you know, since my divorce the idea of a relationship is something that would strike fear into my heart and cause me to run in the other direction.  However, last May I met someone that didn't make me want to run.  It's partly the timing.  I think that I was finally ready to begin healing and moving on.  But it's also him.  He didn't push me to move faster than I was willing to go and is quite literally the absolute sweetest man I have ever met.

Secondly:  Book Girl now has a BA in English Literature.  Yeah, that's right.  I graduated in December, after much hard work, and have decided to take a break from school for now.  Sitting in class with all those 18-21 year olds made me feel old!

Thirdly:  Book Girl now has a full-time job.  I have student loans to pay back, the rent is due, someone has to buy the cat food, and there are books to be purchased and read.  The company for which I was already working hired me full-time as a pharmacy technician.  

What does this mean for you? I have discovered that the second and third changes mean that I have a lot more free time than I did previously.  Working 40 hours a week is nothing compared to working part-time and going to school full-time!  However, the boyfriend is taking up a lot of that new found time.  I am slowly settling into a schedule of working, reading, writing, blogging and cuddling. Almost every Saturday is going to be a no internet, no phone, no television day.  These days will be set aside primarily for reading, writing and getting things done around the house, ie: laundry and bathroom cleaning.  So, things should be picking up around here and falling into a somewhat more predictable schedule.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Dead City - Review

Title: Dead City
Author: Joe McKinney

Synopsis:  “Texas?  Toast.  Battered by five cataclysmic hurricanes in three weeks, the Texas Gulf Coast and half of the Lone Star State is reeling from the worst devastation in history.  Thousands are dead or dying – but the worst is only beginning.  Amid the wreckage, something unimaginable is happening: a deadly virus has broken out, returning the dead to life – with an insatiable hunger for human flesh…

     “Within hours, the plague has spread all over Texas.  San Antonio police officer Eddie Hudson finds his city overrun by a voracious army of the living dead.  Along with a small group of survivors, Eddie must fight off the savage horde in a race to save his family…

     “There’s no place to run.  No place to hide.  The zombie horde is growing as the virus runs rampant.  Eddie knows he has to find a way to destroy these walking horrors… but he doesn’t know the price he will have to pay…”

Review:  I’m sure you all know that I am obsessed with zombies.  If you haven’t realized that yet or are new to my blog check out these reviews:

You see?  I may be new to the zombie genre, but I have fallen in love with it.  I also love zombie television and have watched the first two seasons of The Walking Dead.  Unfortunately I have basic cable and don’t get AMC so I have to wait for Season 3 on DVD before I get to watch it.  So, I have read yet another zombie novel.  I loved Dead City.  Joe McKinney has created a story that at first reminded me of The Walking Dead, but then the plot and main character developed voices of their own.
          I felt bad for poor Eddie and his desperation to find his family.  Every time that something, or someone, waylaid him I got upset and wondered if he would ever find them.  I love how, with Dead City, McKinney has given us the whole time period of a zombie apocalypse.  We get to see the beginning, the middle and the long term outcome of the zombie outbreak.  Many zombie novels simply show a single snapshot, a period of time limited to a brief sample of one of those.  I will definitely be picking up more of the zombie novels available by Joe McKinney and I highly recommend Dead City to zombie and horror lovers everywhere. 

Publisher:  Pinnacle Fiction
ISBN:  978-0786023585

If you like this book you may want to read:

World War Z by Max Brooks

The Newsflesh Trilogy by Mira Grant