Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Reading Challenges Update: July 2013

Here is where I stand with the challenges I have joined after the month of July (only challenges that I read books for this month are featured here):

Graphic Novel (5/12)
5. Zen of Wonder by Frank Beddor

100 Books in a Year (72/100)
65. The Legacy by Patricia Kiyono
66. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
67. Secrets of Catalpa Hall by Lori Lapekes
68. Ghostly Summons by John A. Karr
69. Warp World by Kristene Perron & Joshua Simpson
70. The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extense
71. Zen of Wonder by Frank Beddor
72. Fever by Lauren DeStefano

Book Blogger Recommendations (3/10)
3. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

YA Contemporary (5/10)
5. The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extense

Debut Author (2/12)
2. The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extense

Dystopia (4/15)
3. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
4. Fever by Lauren DeStefano

New Adult (5/5) - COMPLETED!
5. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

British Books (8/10)
8. The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extense

A to Z (22/26)
22. Zen of Wonder by Frank Beddor

Paranormal Fiction (4/6)
4. Ghostly Summons by John A. Karr

Elsewhere Online: July 2013

As you know from my Stacking the Shelves posts, I review for two other websites ( and As I cannot post my reviews there and here, but I would still like to count the books I read for the challenges, I am going to have a post like this at the end of the every month listing the books I reviewed and what challenges the went towards.

Title: The Universe Versus Alex Woods
Author: Gavin Extense
Challenges: YA Contemporary, Debut Author, British Book, 100 Books in a Year

Title: Zen of Wonder
Author: Frank Beddor
Challenges: Graphic Novel, A to Z, 100 Books in a Year

Title: Fever
Author: Laura DeStefano
Challenges: Dystopia, 100 Books in a Year

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Warp World

Warp World
by Kristene Perron & Joshua Simpson
published by Mint
ISBN 978-1-55120-050-7
Why Read?: Review
Challenges: 100 Books in a Year

I was expecting hardcore sci-fi when I started Warp World, instead, Kristene Perron and Joshua Simpson pleasantly surprised me with a sci-fi with a fantasy feel.

Seg is on his first mission to find vita, a fuel that is vital to saving his world but must be harvested from other worlds.  Ama is a head-strong sea captain who is about to lose her license.  When these two meet, neither had any clue the adventure that awaits that puts their very lives at stake.

What I enjoyed best about Warp World was the feel.  The plot was intriguing and complex, the world was unique and full-formed, and the characters were interesting and well-developed, but what kept me coming back to read - as this is in no way a one-sitting novel - was the mood and tone.  Perron and Simpson have created a work that is highly readable as it cocoons the reader in a time and space nothing like our own, yet totally believable.

As Warp World shows, Kristene Perron and Joshua Simpson make an excellent writing team.  I hope to see more futuristic works by this team in the future

Rating 4/5

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Ghostly Summons

Ghostly Summons 
by John A. Karr
published by Dark Continents
Why Read?: Review
Challenges: Paranormal fiction, 100 Books in a Year

In Ghostly Summons, John A. Karr puts a nice twist on the typical PI/Reporter type of mystery.

Lars Kelsen retired from the reporting business after the murder victims really began getting to him - literally.  He always thought that the ghosts he saw were his overactive imagine, especially since they left after his life fell apart and he quit the business.  Now five years later, he is living on Cape Hattaras, working part-time at the hospital.  When a body shows up in a swamp and Lars starts seeing the dead women, he knows the ghosts he has run from are back.  Agreeing to writing a story about her as a favor to a co-worker's husband, he quickly gets pulled into the mystery of her death, and soon his life is on the life.  If he is to live, he needs to figure out what the dead woman is trying to tell him, a quite difficult task as he does not believe in the supernatural.

Karr's concept really adds to what would otherwise be a typical mystery.  Lars definitely comes to life on the page, but sometimes, just a tad too much.  There are passages where it seems Karr is just trying too hard to make Lars realistic, taking him into the realm of more annoying than likeable.  For instance, yes, there are many people Lars's age who would use the word "dude", just not to the extent that it becomes a non-sense word in the reader's head in just the span of a few pages.  However, when Lars is not being annoying, he is a really good protagonist.  And he tries hard, but Karr still hits him - and the reader - with a killer out of nowhere.

Aside from a sometimes annoying protagonist, Ghostly Summons is an enjoyable read, especially for the summer.  John A. Karr really keeps the pages turning, and the paranormal aspect totally kept my interst.  I hope to see more of Lars Kelsen.

Rating 3/5

Monday, July 22, 2013

Secrets of Catalpa Hall

Title: Secrets of Catalpa Hall
Author:  Lori Lapekes
Publisher: Astraea
ISBN: 978-1-62135-027-9
Why Read?: Book Club
Challenges: 100 Books in a Year

Thoughts: This sweet romance had a bit of a gothic feel, which totally made me fall in love with it.  Although I definitely did not have the childhood she had, I could definitely relate to Melody.  I just wish that she learned the true motives of the rake she was involved with - the end felt just a tad unresolved.

Rating: 4 stars

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Ready Player One

Title: Ready Player One
Author:  Ernest Cline
Publisher: Broadway
ISBN: 978-0-307-88744-3
Why Read?: Book Club
Challenges: Book Blogger Recommendation, Dystopia, New Adult, 100 Books in a Year

Thoughts: This did start a little slow, but once Wade, aka Parzival, finds the first key, the action never stops.  The cover reviews make a lot of comparisons to other works, but really, Cline has come up with a completely novel...novel.  Gamers and 80s fans alike will find tons to love about Ready Player One.

Rating: 4 stars

Stacking the Shelves: 7/7-7/13

For possible review (here, on Bookloons and Bitten by Books):
Friday Night Alibi by Cassie Mae
Roses in Moonlight by Lynn Kurland
The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker

Sleeping in Eden by Nicole Baart

LibraryThing Early Review:
Perfect Nightmare by Norman Stanton

Sunday, July 7, 2013


Follow my blog with Bloglovin

The Legacy

Title: The Legacy
Author:  Patricia Kiyono
Publisher: Astraea
ISBN: 978-1-936852-56-7
Why Read?: Book Club
Challenges: 100 Books in a Year

Thoughts:  I like Kiyono's concepts in The Legacy, but it felt like two separate stories - one concerning Leigh and her abusive stepfather and the other concerning the swords that Andy found.  Obviously, the two characters tie the plotlines together, but it would have been stronger if Andy was the one trying to earn the legacy, not his grandfather.  However, for a shorter work, all of the characters were nicely developed.

Rating: 2 stars

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Stacking the Shelves: 6/30-7/6

For possible review (on Bookloons):
Blood of the Lamb by Sam Cabot

LibraryThing Early Review:
The One We Feed by Kristina Meister

Selections for Astraea Press Book Club:
Secrets of Catalpa Hall by Lori Lapekes
The Legacy by Patricia Kiyono

Bought on Amazon:
The Wanderer in Unknown Realms by John Connolly

Monday, July 1, 2013