Size Doesn’t Matter (6): Mini Reviews from a Lazy Blogger

Size Doesn’t Matter (6): Mini Reviews from a Lazy BloggerNova by Margaret Fortune
Series: Spectre War #1
Published by DAW on June 2, 2015
Genres: Science Fiction, Romance, Thriller
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: Gifted
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Goodreads
three-half-stars

*36:00:00*

The clock activates so suddenly in my mind, my head involuntarily jerks a bit to the side. The fog vanishes, dissipated in an instant as though it never was. Memories come slotting into place, their edges sharp enough to leave furrows, and suddenly I know. I know exactly who I am.

My name is Lia Johansen, and I was named for a prisoner of war. She lived in the Tiersten Internment Colony for two years, and when they negotiated the return of the prisoners, I was given her memories and sent back in her place.

And I am a genetically engineered human bomb.

Lia Johansen was created for only one purpose: to slip onto the strategically placed New Sol Space Station and explode. But her mission goes to hell when her clock malfunctions, freezing her countdown with just two minutes to go. With no Plan B, no memories of her past, and no identity besides a name stolen from a dead POW, Lia has no idea what to do next. Her life gets even more complicated when she meets Michael Sorenson, the real Lia’s childhood best friend.

Drawn to Michael and his family against her better judgment, Lia starts learning what it means to live and love, and to be human. It is only when her countdown clock begins sporadically losing time that she realizes even duds can still blow up. If she wants any chance at a future, she must find a way to unlock the secrets of her past and stop her clock. But as Lia digs into her origins, she begins to suspect there’s far more to her mission and to this war, than meets the eye. With the fate of not just a space station but an entire empire hanging in the balance, Lia races to find the truth before her time—literally—runs out.

First of all, thanks to Lindsay Ribar for sending this to me; you were right and it’s definitely up my alley. Nova is not a book that would have been on my radar without Lindsay. The cover’s boring and, published by an adult fantasy imprint, Nova‘s not got much hype in my corner of the bookverse.

Nova however IS a young adult novel, one that mostly maintains a really fast pace (though there was a lull in the middle for me). This is one of those rare books I appreciate more for plot and world building than I do for character. I love when books surprise me in a good way, and yeah. I’m hard-pressed to say much of anything about Nova that isn’t seriously spoilery tbh.

Nova’s a human bomb with a malfunctioning timer. From the beginning, I was wondering how Fortune would handle this premise and skeptical that it would be handled in a way that didn’t feel like an easy out. I won’t say how she solved it (outside of spoiler tags anyway), but it worked well. View Spoiler »

I received this book for free from BEA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (6): Mini Reviews from a Lazy BloggerA Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano
Series: Pram #1
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on September 1, 2015
Genres: Paranormal, Horror
Pages: 240
Format: ARC
Source: BEA
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three-stars

Pram Bellamy is special--she can talk to ghosts. She doesn't have too many friends amongst the living, but that's all right. She has her books, she has her aunts, and she has her best friend, the ghostly Felix.

Then Pram meets Clarence, a boy from school who has also lost a parent and is looking for answers. Together they arrive at the door of the mysterious Lady Savant, who promises to help. But this spiritualist knows the true nature of Pram's power, and what she has planned is more terrifying than any ghost.

Despite my loathing for the name Pram (which is apparently short for Pragmatic) and DeStefano’s previous work, I couldn’t resist. I had a feeling that DeStefano might do a good job with dark, creepy middle grade, given her lovely lyrical prose. Turns out, I was right. A Curious Tale of the In-Between has great atmosphere and I quite enjoyed it, so much so that I’ll be reading the second.

Though it’s not the most character-focused book I’ve ever read, the middle grade “love triangle” is pretty freaking adorable. Don’t freak out, because it’s not really romance; it’s more like they would have crushes if they were ever so slightly older and right now things are just sort of awkward. I don’t know why but I am a total sucker for that. So cute.

Doesn’t hurt at all that Pram’s halfway between life and death, since she was born dead and then rescued by the doctors, and raised by her two kooky aunts. Where have I encountered something like that before?

gif pushing daisies witches

Oh right. Anything that reminds me of a Bryan Fuller show is probably a good thing. I’d like to see more characterization in the next one, but the writing and story were enough to keep me interested so far.

Size Doesn’t Matter (6): Mini Reviews from a Lazy BloggerThe Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
Series: The Queen's Thief #2
Published by Greenwillow on January 24, 2006
Genres: Fantasy, Adventure, Romance
Pages: 362
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
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Goodreads
three-stars

Revenge
When Eugenides, the Thief of Eddis, stole Hamiathes's Gift, the Queen of Attolia lost more than a mythical relic. She lost face. Everyone knew that Eugenides had outwitted and escaped her. To restore her reputation and reassert her power, the Queen of Attolia will go to any length and accept any help that is offered...she will risk her country to execute the perfect revenge.

...but
Eugenides can steal anything. And he taunts the Queen of Attolia, moving through her strongholds seemingly at will. So Attolia waits, secure in the knowledge that the Thief will slip, that he will haunt her palace one too many times.

...at what price?
When Eugenides finds his small mountain country at war with Attolia, he must steal a man, he must steal a queen, he must steal peace. But his greatest triumph, and his greatest loss, comes in capturing something that the Queen of Attolia thought she had sacrificed long ago...

FINALLY. Finally I get why people love this series. Finally there is romance and even one whole kiss. Praise Gansey.

NGL, The Queen’s Thief series has been a serious struggle for me so far. Objectively, I’ve been able to appreciate that it’s good, but Turner’s very into details of political maneuverings and I am just not.

Turner’s endings are amazing. I saw a lot of the twists coming, but, still, everything came together into an unexpected whole. The endings are brilliant really. I only wish I hadn’t been bored for over half of the book once again. Still, the promised ship FINALLY came and I actually do care about it, though I hope there’s more payoff in the next book in the series. I could still care about the characters more than I do; I feel like closeness to the characters is sacrificed for the epic plot twists, because so much of them is kept intentionally removed from the reader.

The last 150 pages of The Queen of Attolia truly grabbed me, though, and I’m actually excited to start the next book, which I was really afraid would not happen. *crosses fingers that book three doesn’t have to bore me until the ending*

Also, bless Shae for talking this series out with me. Classy fangirl right there who can be supportive when I’m struggling with a favorite. At least it paid off in the end. 😀

Size Doesn’t Matter (6): Mini Reviews from a Lazy BloggerNot Quite Dead by Lyla Payne
Series: Lowcountry Mysteries #1
Published by Author on March 27, 2014
Genres: Paranormal, Mystery, Romance
Pages: 379
Format: Paperback
Source: Author
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two-half-stars

A broken engagement sends Graciela Harper crawling back to Heron Creek with her tail between her legs, but finds the sleepy little town too changed to set her life right. Not even her budding drinking problem can obscure her Gramps’s failing health, or erase the mental picture of her first love happily married to her childhood best friend. To top it all off, she’s having a heck of time convincing the town’s dashing young mayor of her unfit-for-dating status.

When the ghost of 18th century lady pirate Anne Bonny starts insisting on a near daily audience, Graciela has to confront something else she never expected—being certifiably nuts at twenty-five years old.

Her brand new "I don't give a crap" attitude makes it easy to dismiss the mysterious threats that seem to be tied to her search for more information on the long dead pirate, but when her family becomes a target, Gracie knows she needs to find out why the ghost insists on being a constant, reeking companion.

If Graciela can put aside her prejudice against people without a pulse, she may discover that Anne Bonny’s problems are intricately linked with her own. The past harbors answers could help the cantankerous spirit find closure, but she is, after all, already dead. If Graciela doesn’t move fast, she might find herself doing the haunting, instead of the other way around.

Trisha/Lyla is a good friend of mine; I even met her in person once. She’s really great and I actually really liked reading this book, don’t let the rating fool you. To put it all up front, I thought Not Quite Dead was a super fun paranormal mystery with a fabulous setting, but I had an issue with the way the mystery resolved that was big enough I had to rate down to 2.5, which is my mixed feelings love/hate rating.

What I Liked: Not Quite Dead has a total Hart of Dixie vibe. Graciela’s come to live in Heron Creek to care for her grandfather in his declining years. She spent much of her childhood in Heron Creek and left her first love behind there. Now reeling from the horrendous ending of her engagement, Graciela’s back. I loved her relationship with her grandfather a lot. I also love that, like in Hart of Dixie, there are a bunch of romantic options (Trisha’s good about this). There’s her ex and first love, Will, who is now married to her best friend and who, I’m happy to report, doesn’t seem to be a viable romantic choice. Thank goodness because he would be the George if he was. Then there’s the mayor, Beau, who is sexy and very into Graciela. I’m pro them for the time being, but eventually I’m hoping she hooks up with her former childhood rival because I can see him being the good side of Wade. YES, PLEASE.

Also, the mystery is all centered around the ghost of a lady pirate, which yes to that also. It’s so much fun and kinda light-hearted for the most part, as mysteries go. It’s got this great light tone and I love Graciela’s grumpiness a whole lot.

What I Did Not Like: Unfortunately, I can’t get past the unfortunate diversity here. So far as I can tell, almost everyone in this novel is white (perhaps some were not explicitly stated or I missed something, but). The only diverse characters are black and are not portrayed in a favorable light. View Spoiler »

That aside, I did really like the rest of the book and may carry on with it at some point in the future, though current bandwidth is sort of limited because of the mountain of BEA books.

Size Doesn’t Matter (6): Mini Reviews from a Lazy BloggerThe King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
Series: The Queen's Thief #3
Published by Greenwillow on June 12, 2007
Genres: Fantasy, Adventure
Pages: 432
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads
three-half-stars

By scheming and theft, the Thief of Eddis has become King of Attolia. Eugenides wanted the queen, not the crown, but he finds himself trapped in a web of his own making.

Then he drags a naive young guard into the center of the political maelstrom. Poor Costis knows he is the victim of the king's caprice, but his contempt for Eugenides slowly turns to grudging respect. Though struggling against his fate, the newly crowned king is much more than he appears. Soon the corrupt Attolian court will learn that its subtle and dangerous intrigue is no match for Eugenides.

FINALLY. The King of Attolia didn’t do the thing where I was bored to tears for over half and only into it right at the end. Unsurprisingly, it’s also the least plot-driven of the novels so far. It’s definitely doing that thing where it moves pieces into place for the following book. There are definitely some plot twists, but they’re not on the scale of the other two books’ endings and they come throughout the book.

Gen’s a delight, more so the longer I spend with him. I feel like Turner is finally letting me get a real look at him, which is great. I also really like both queens, Attolia and Eddis. I am, however, greatly frustrated by how little the reader really gets of the romance; you have to infer most of it. The thing is that the little touches would be nice if I really knew anything for certain, but I don’t. For all I know, they’ve never had sex, which seems like a really weird thing to not know. I mean, they surely have. Right? Gah.

Also, MWT is an author like Tolkien, by which I mean that all the male friendships she writes feel more like romances. I really don’t crackship that often, but holy crap the boys in this series really want to make out with each other. This would be a HUGE plus for me if there were any canon confirmation. Surely Aris and Costis are lovers. Right? GAH.

gif i gots to know himym

 

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4 responses to “Size Doesn’t Matter (6): Mini Reviews from a Lazy Blogger”

  1. Bekka says:

    Finally someone commented on Pram’s terrible name. Pram is a) not short for anything, much less Pragmatic, and b) just terrible anyway.

  2. Brandy says:

    I am fascinated by your uncertainty about sex between two certain people in King of Attolia. I’ve always been confident they’re having quite a lot of it. It’s part of why I love that book so much. I love the subtext and find the subtlety even sexier than being told details. But it’s possible I just have an actively dirty mind? Probably. 🙂

    I’m happy you are enjoying them more as you go. They are definitely not to everyone’s taste, but it was interesting to read your updates and perspective on the series.
    Brandy recently posted…A Nearer MoonMy Profile

  3. Like you, I struggled through The Thief and then got spoiled (by the freaking GoodReads description) for book 2, so I was very meh about reading it. BUT when I finally did, King of Attolia turned out to be my favorite and the feels were INSANE. I wouldn’t recommend reading book 4 right away, at least not until MWT writes books 5 and 6. Sophos’ story was just … boring. I barely remember anything about it. I had to go back and look for his name, he was so boring on his own. Maybe MWT’s series all take some time to ratchet up to the good parts?
    Terri @ Reading By Starlight recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Finished Series That I Haven’t FinishedMy Profile

  4. shae says:

    I’m tellin’ ya, these are the books that blow your mind in the rereads. And yes, they have had sex. Lots of it. (And I’m glad I could help and not scare you. 🙂 )

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