Double Cross & Head Rush by Carolyn Crane

A great continuation of the series, with v. disappointing ending.

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No Rabbit Jokes, Please!

Velveteen Vs. the Junior Super Patriots

velveteen

First Look:

This is one of those covers that will probably catch your eye (she’s wearing a bunny tail, for goodness’ sake!), but you probably can’t fully appreciate until you’ve actually read the book.  It’s very funny, trust me.

Jacket Copy:

Velveteen: How dare you? I never asked for you to hunt me down!

No, Velma Martinez hadn’t. But when you had once been Velveteen, child super-heroine and one of The Junior Super Patriots, West Coast Division, you were never going to be free, even if your only power was to bring toys to life. The Marketing Department would be sure of that.

So it all came down to this. One young woman and an army of misfit toys vs. the assembled might of the nine members of The Junior Super Patriots, West Coast Division who had come to take her down.

They never had a chance.

Velveteen lives in a world of super-heroes and magic, where men can fly and where young girls can be abducted to the Autumn Land to save Halloween. Velma lives from paycheck to paycheck and copes with her broken-down car as she tries to escape from her old life.

It’s all the same world. It’s all real. And figuring out how to be both Velveteen and Velma is the biggest challenge of her life, because being super-human means you’re still human in the end.

Join us as award-winning author Seanan McGuire takes us through the first volume of Velveteen’s — and Velma’s — adventure. Continue reading

Quick Takes #4

Princess Academy: Palace of Stone, Thirsty, Cat Girl’s Day Off, Saga (1&2), The Lost Boy, The King’s Guard

I’ve been feeling awfully lazy about blogging lately, and I only have about 10 more books to review before I’m close to real time.  Plus, several of these are giving me some headaches as to what to say about them.  So, without further ado, Quick Takes #4!

Princess Academy: Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale

palaceofstone

The continuing adventures of Miri and crew (but mostly Miri).  They go to the capital for their friend’s wedding, and manage to stumble onto revolution.  Also, a love triangle.

How It Made Me Feel:

belle

It was sweet, and cute, but not as subtle as its predecessor.  I did like the difficulty of the revolution, because it can’t be easy to find a balance between not really changing anything, and French Revolution bloodbath.  Mostly, the book just made me wistful for the first one.

Thirsty by M.T. Anderson

thirsty

Chris is slowly turning into a vampire, and doesn’t know what to do about it.  Should he trust his friends and family?  Can anyone save him?

How It Made Me Feel:

confused tennant

I enjoyed the ride, but I was totally confused the whole time, up to and including right now.  I know that this was on purpose, because it was what Chris was feeling most of the time.  I read the book as a metaphor for puberty, although some have read it as a questioning/coming out metaphor.  Not my favorite M.T. Anderson, but still worth reading.

Cat Girl’s Day Off by Kimberly Pauley

catgirl

Natalie’s family are all geniuses/superpowered with flashy powers.  Natalie herself?  Can communicate with cats (and sometimes basic Dog phrases).  She doesn’t want people to know that she has such a lame power, so she’s told almost no one.  But today, she might save someone’s life with her talent!

How It Made Me Feel:

golfclap

It’s a great concept, but in execution–the cats should be funnier, for one thing.  It sounds madcap, and the outline of the plot is, but somehow the writing is just not snappy enough to fit with the action.

Saga, Volumes 1 & 2, by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

saga

Two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending war fall in love and start a family.

How It Made Me Feel:

Beatles

I was already a fan of Brian K. Vaughan’s writing, and after this, I’m a huge fan of Fiona Staples’ art.  Honestly, the reason I’m putting Saga in this post is not because I don’t have anything to say: it’s because others have already said it.  Just read, ASAP.

The Lost Boy by Greg Ruth

(ARC review: book available August 27th, 2013.)

lost boy

Nate just moved with his family to a small town, and strange things are happening around his house.  He finds a tape recorder with tapes recorded by a boy who mysteriously disappeared a long time ago, and begins to unravel the mystery.

How It Made Me Feel:

dizzy

It started out very strong, with creepy characters, and intriguing mysteries.  There is also very strong art, which doesn’t change throughout the book.  But when action started to speed up, new worldbuilding elements and characters started to be introduced at a bewildering rate, and things were moving way too fast.  Suddenly, the story was wrapped up without me having a chance to even process it.  I really think this should have been expanded and stretched into several volumes.

The King’s Guard by Rae Carson

kingsguard

 

A prequel digital novella about Hector, and how he earned his place on the King’s Guard.

How It Made Me Feel:

dreamy

 

I love this series, and I love Hector, so…yeah, loved it!

Disclosure:

Borrowed all from work, with the exception of The King’s Guard, which I bought, and The Lost Boy, which I got for free at work.  I have every intention of buying Saga when I am in a better place, financially.

Superpowered in Minneapolis

Dark Star by Bethany Frenette

dark star

First Look:

At first glance, it looks pretty cliche, but a) she has a face, b) the setting makes sense, and c) so does her outfit!  I like it.

Jacket Copy:

[Honestly, I’m not sure there’s anything in the description that isn’t a spoiler.  Here’s what I think you need to know.]

Audrey’s mom is a superhero; only Audrey, her childhood best friend, and her mom’s teen sidekick, Leon, know her mom’s real identity…although there has been a certain cop hanging around and dropping hints lately.  Her mom may be keeping the Twin Cities safe, but superpower-less Audrey just wants to have some fun with her friends–but their night out almost turns deadly.  What Audrey discovers threatens not only her worldview, but the safety of everyone she loves, and even the entire world!

[May be more cliche, but at least it doesn’t tell you every plot element, Disney Hyperion.]

Sequel?

Yep, first in a series.  Author’s website has no info yet on how many volumes, but Book 2 should be out this fall.

Worth Reading?

wonderwoman

Um, there is a female superhero who is the most powerful person in town!  What’s not to love?  Seriously, it’s a lightning-fast read, competently written, with worldbuilding that has some new twists to it, and is internally consistent.

Notable Things:

mpls

Minneapolis!  My home city!  I must admit, though, this brings up one of my complaints.  If you are going to set an action-focused story in a real place, then maybe make it a little more emphatically real.  Name names and streets and neighborhoods!

misfits

Superpowers!  Some of which don’t get used very wisely!  I love the idea that superpowers don’t come with a training manual, and sometimes you just have to figure it out as you go.

friends

Different kinds of relationships!  Audrey of course has her mom, and she has friends (unlike many a teen heroine these days), and gains more friends as the story moves on, and of course, there is a crush as well.

Elaboration:

Dark Star  was cute, entertaining, and I quite liked it.  It didn’t steal my heart, exactly, but it was fun, and the book did get bonus points for being set in the Twin Cities.  I can see a lot of potential for future volumes to develop on the interesting mythology, because I thought the concepts behind the mythology were interesting, but felt that some aspects were underdeveloped.  I will read the next one, hoping that it improves on its amusing predecessor.  Audrey is a relatable young teen, and I’d like to find out more about her.  I’ve read some other reviews complaining that “It’s not a superhero book, because xy [spoiler about the origin of Audrey’s mom’s powers],” and I don’t really understand what they mean.  A superhero(ine) is someone who has superpowers and uses them to fight the forces of evil.  There are many different traditional origin stories, and I don’t think the origin has a bearing on whether or not someone is a superhero. So there’s my two cents.

Disclosure:

Borrowed.

Learning to Live (Again)

Faerie Winter by Janni Lee Simner

First Look:

Just like the first one, this cover is beautifully stark (and lacks a fancy gown, hurrah!), somehow managing to convey an unsettling feeling while sticking with a nature theme.  Bottom line: I love these covers.

Note: this is the second volume in a series: spoilers below!

Jacket Copy:

The long-awaited sequel to Janni Lee Simner’s breathtaking YA fantasy debut, Bones of Faerie.

Liza is a summoner. She can draw life to herself, even from beyond the grave. And because magic works both ways, she can drive life away. Months ago, she used her powers to banish her dangerous father and to rescue her mother, lost in dreams, from the ruined land of Faerie.

Born in the wake of the war between humanity and Faerie, Liza lived in a world where green things never slept, where trees sought to root in living flesh and bone. But now the forests have fallen silent. Even the evergreens’ branches are bare. Winter crops won’t grow, and the threat of starvation looms. And deep in the forest a dark, malevolent will is at work. To face it, Liza will have to find within herself something more powerful than magic alone.

Here at last is the sequel to Bones of Faerie, for all those fans of dark fantasy and dystopian adventure who thrilled to Janni Lee Simner’s unique vision of a postapocalyptic world infused with magic. Continue reading