Review: The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

Many thanks to Orbit/Hachette for sending me this review copy via NetGalley!

Hands down? This was the best zombie novel I have read in a very long time. I rank it highly, placing it among the likes of Mira Grant and her Newsflesh series.

So, what makes this book so great?

A well thought out zombie virus parasite. The research is superb, and there was very little “just because” going on. This was the thing that put The Girl With All the Gifts in the same league as Newsflesh for me. I actually had to check to see if it was Mira Grant writing under another pseudonym, but it wasn’t.

There were a few things that fell short for me. One was the multiple POVs. I really am not a fan of books that swap POVs frequently, as I prefer to live inside (or at least near) one character’s head. It allows me to form a bond with that character. Also, there were some plot points that were abandoned fairly quickly after being used.

The ending? Oh for the love of sparkly things that ending. It was very intense.

Bottom Line: It is always hard to talk about the books you love, and man did I love this book. I recommend it to any fans of zombie or post-apocalyptic books.

Posted by The Bluestocking Bookworm in Books, Books I've Read, Reading, Reviews, 0 comments

DNF Review: Glitch by Brenda Pandos

Even though I didn’t finish it, many thanks to All Night Reads for the review copy via NetGalley!

Looking at the synopsis for this series, I was just ITCHING to have it in my hands. It had a lot of elements that I just really enjoyed: time travel, a dystopian setting, and a mysterious stranger. Not to mention paper is illegal and that is super intriguing.

One of the things the synopsis doesn’t mention is the band every person wears that shows their date of death. It changes based on people’s actions, etc. So if you turn onto a street and are going to get into an accident, it would flip down to like, 10 minutes instead of 50 years. The idea is flawed, but intriguing, and I really wanted to see how Brenda Pandos handled it.

However, I didn’t get very far into Glitch. 65 pages to be exact, which was about 20% of my copy.

So why didn’t I finish it? The writing was really shaky, at best. The narrative voice was not the strongest and there were quite a few errors in the text – more so than I would expect from many well-edited ARCs. (Usually even a proof copy only has one or two errors in the whole book, this was several per chapter). The main character, Abigail, was really unintelligent. She had things thrust upon her, everything to put some things together and still she was wandering around all “Lalalala everything is grand!”

But the thing that really did Glitch in for me, moving it to a DNF, is that Brenda Pandos threw too many elements together. There was the countdown timer, there was time travel, there was the blue eyes thing, the illegal paper thing, and then on top of that we had zombies… and the cherry on top which I could not handle was the mention of a Sasquatch. I didn’t read it further enough to know if it was a real Sasquatch or if the main character just thought it was a Sasquatch, but the comparison was enough for me to give up on Glitch completely.

From the 65 pages I did read, I would not recommend this book to anyone.

Posted by The Bluestocking Bookworm in Books, Books I've Read, Reading, Reviews, 0 comments

Review: One Plus One by JoJo Moyes

Many thanks to Penguin Viking for the ARC I received via NetGalley.

I had never read a JoJo Moyes novel before I read One Plus One, and boy was I missing out! The characters are very well written. They are flawed, funny and just wholly human. The writing isn’t award-winning, but it is readable, which is the really important thing.

The entirety of One Plus One reads like the movie Little Miss Sunshine. There is a little girl who is uprooting her family for something very important. There is a whole comedy of errors on the way. The family bond is the centre of the story, with a touch of romance. There is laughter, there is tragedy, and in the end there is one great story.

One Plus One lost a star because I had some trouble connecting to the book, and it was a little longer read for me. There wasn’t as much romance as I wanted, and I wasn’t 100% sold on the classification of “Women’s Fiction”.

I don’t feel like I can comment further on this book without spoiling the story. I have another JoJo Moyes book from NetGalley to read and review, and I have my eye on her other two from the library, so One Plus One has definitely been a gateway to a new author for me!

Bottom Line: An extremely readable tale of family bonds and family struggles with a dash of good deed and romance thrown in. I recommend it to anyone who liked the movie Little Miss Sunshine.

Posted by The Bluestocking Bookworm in Books, Books I've Read, Reading, Reviews, 0 comments

The Rebirth of TBR Thursday

A while ago, I had started a weekly post called “TBR Thursday”. Every Thursday I would talk about a book on my TBR pile. It didn’t really seem to excite many people, though, so I have re-imagined it!

tumblr_inline_n7fk4zlYnF1s6xxd4
(The old graphic)

Starting on Thursday, October 9, 2014 – TBR Thursday will be as follows:

I will pull a book from my TBR jar, and I will read it before next Thursday rolls around. So sometime in the next week (not likely today because I have a massive NetGalley on the go right now) I will pick a book from my TBR jar and I will read it and then on TBR Thursday I will post about it, and I will pick a new book.

I will be running a linky widget, and I hope you will join me in this endeavor to read something every week from my TBR pile. Don’t have  TBR jar? You can still participate! Just pick something you have been meaning to read, and read it!

tumblr_ncovroe9m51sdg3p7o1_1280 tumblr_ncovroe9m51sdg3p7o2_1280
(Check out my cute TBR jar! The paper is scrapbooking paper!)

Stay bookish, awesome nerds!

Posted by The Bluestocking Bookworm in Books, Reading, 1 comment

#LoveYourShelf

books-and-cookies and bluestockingbookworm are proud to present the Love Your Shelf Challenge!

As bookworms, we often neglect our shelves when it comes to reading. We go to the libraries, we read e-books, we buy EVEN MORE books. And this results in a massive TBR pile that will only grow and grow.

So, we have started a campaign that we named Love Your Shelf to encourage bookworms everywhere to prioritize the books you already own over anything else.

Make it fun! Start a TBR jar with the books you own and go from there! Have a race with a friend to see who can read more of their owned books first.

To make it clear, participating in this will not mean a book buying ban (we know those are hard to keep :P)

But by liking or reblogging this, you have made the pledge that for every new book you buy/borrow, you’ll read something from your shelf. It’s that easy!

Want to show off your commitment? We have a pledge icon for you to save and display proudly to let everyone know that you LOVE YOUR SHELF!

Want to share updates on how you are doing? FANTASTIC! Use the tag #loveyourshelf so everyone can feel the love.

Stay bookish, and cookies for everyone!
-Erin and Mary (bluestockingbookworm and books-and-cookies)

Posted by The Bluestocking Bookworm in Books, Reading, 0 comments

A Very Bluestocking Bookworm Update!

I have been focused on my Tumblr presence so much lately, and I really need to remedy that. I need to find the balance between Tumblr and my .com sites. Because I have so many exciting things to share with you, my followers!

Of course, as soon as I came to this conclusion, the computer housing all of my blog materials died on me. Then my desktop quickly followed suit. I recently got a new laptop, which is VERY AWESOME, but it means I am very behind.

So, what are some of the exciting things?

First off, reviews. I have SO MANY wonderful reviews to share with you! I have been reading so many books lately, and I have blown through my goal of 100 for the year. Some of the reviews I have coming up soon include:
The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey
The Butcher by Jennifer Hillier
The Lost by Sarah Beth Durst
Deliah’s Shadow by Jamie Lee Moyer
Look Behind You by Sibel Hodge

and so many more!

I have also decided, I think, to start doing some booktubing. I think I will do this for my monthly reading round ups to start, and go from there. I am excited about this, too, because it gives me an opportunity to share with everyone my love of books. It lets me talk about books I like without having to write a full review, which is actually really hard lately.

So. Are you with me?

Stay bookish, awesome nerds!

Posted by The Bluestocking Bookworm in Books, Personal, Random Thoughts, 2 comments

Review: The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

With so much hype around this book, I was wary to read The Queen of the Tearling. I was right to be wary.

The characters were really well developed, and looking at it as a character-driven story, it is a solid 5-star. Kelsea goes through some serious growth throughout the book, from young and somewhat spoiled, to a worldly woman who is trying to do the best by her newly inherited kingdom. The supporting cast is also well-done. Mace and the other Queen’s Guards all take on their own personalities and lives. The Fetch is steeped in mystery, dark and foreboding. Even some of the characters we only see briefly leave a lasting impression, such as Marguerite.

However, I really felt like Erika Johansen fell flat when it came to the setting and the world. I spent a good portion of the book so very confused about what The Crossing was, and I actually had to track down an alternate book blurb to find out! I don’t expect a book to give up all of its secrets at once, but it would be nice if such a central plot point had been fleshed out a little (or a lot) better.

I don’t know that I would classify this book as young adult, though everyone seems to. Personally, I would rather my (extremely fictional) children weren’t exposed to some of the subject matter in The Queen of the TearlingErika Johansen hasn’t shied away from sex, gore, or mentions of rape and slavery. Not to mention her head-on tackling of current world issues such as sexism, racism, religion vs. state, delicate politics, affordable basic necessities (healthcare, education, housing, safety, etc.) and much more.

While I am not trying to belittle young adult readers, I think this book is so much more than the protagonist’s age, and that some of this subject matter may be beyond the true grasp of the younger readers who may try to tackle it.

There was some minor repeat-shit-itis going on, especially when Kelsea was addressing her ability with a sword, how much her boobs hurt while wearing armor, and how plain she was. One thing I did appreciate was that there was none of the “I’m so plain” from her, and then “You are stunning” from men. The men call her plain, too.

I really think that I would have liked The Queen of the Tearling so much more if it was a Historical Fantasy or a true Fantasy without the Crossing element.

Posted by The Bluestocking Bookworm in Books, Books I've Read, Random Thoughts, Reading, Reviews, 0 comments

Review: The Bookstore by Deborah Meyler

Many thanks to Gallery Books for this review copy via NetGalley.

I really wanted to love this book, but in the end I pretty much hated it.

At first, Esme was great. However, it wasn’t long before she became a very weak character. She was not well written, and she made the same stupid mistakes over and over. I was looking forward to reading about her studies and her adventures in New York, but instead I was treated to many pages of her whining about the loss of a dick of a boyfriend who was walking all over her.

The secondary characters were very flat and one dimensional, and don’t even bear mentioning by name.

The bookstore itself is what drew me into the story. Having read Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore not long before, I was looking for something somewhat similar. Quirky, fun, but from a woman’s perspective. The people who worked at the book store were horrible book snobs, which is not something I enjoy in real life, so it was even harder to deal with in fiction. Plus, we didn’t get to see much about the customers, instead being introduced to the various homeless people who make the bookstore their regular haunt.

Having taken a lone art history class in college, that aspect of The Bookstore was something else I was looking forward to. Except that it was horrible and pretentious when we got there. I feel like maybe the author was trying to write “smarter” chick lit or something? But she went about it in entirely the wrong way, because in the end I felt the book just had this tone of talking down to the reader, and that didn’t sit well with me at all.

I wouldn’t recommend this book, in the end, as I can’t think of anyone who enjoys characters making stupid mistakes and writing that is very pretentious in tone. I think the author has potential if she takes some time to consider the many criticisms out there and works on something that readers can connect to, without worrying about it being branded as “chick lit”.

Posted by The Bluestocking Bookworm in Books I've Read, Reviews, 0 comments

Review: The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

Many thanks to Macmillan and NetGalley for this advance review copy!

Stories about bullying always hit close to home for me. I was bullied mercilessly as a teenager, and again as an adult. So when I saw The Truth About Alice on NetGalley, I knew I had to read it. I am so thrilled I was selected to receive an ARC. But now I have the daunting task of writing a review.

You see, for me, The Truth About Alice is one of those books that I want to sing the praises of, and I just… don’t know how.

The characters were so well written. I felt like they could have been people I went to high school with. And in some ways, it helped me gain some closure from my own experiences with bullying. Unlike other books that touch on bullying, The Truth About Alice focuses on the story from the point of view of the bullies, and then finally the bullied. We get to see their motivation. We get to see their true colours. We get to see how they justify the destruction of one person.

Alice in general is a bit of a haunting presence in the whole book, since she makes her chapter debut as the last point of view in the book. You get to make your opinions about everything before hearing from the girl herself. And when we do hear from her, the effect is staggering. She claims fault, she accepts responsibility. She hurts and she revels and she is confused at the way things are going. Alice is a very real character, and it makes the whole story hurt that much more.

The characters and the town all follow their own stereotypes, as well. In a lot of cases, this would have been a detriment to the story, and I think for people coming from larger centers it might alienate them a bit. For me, personally, it made The Truth About Alice resonate even more. I grew up in a smaller town, where the people who ruled the school were the jocks and the pretty, popular girls. If you weren’t one of them, you were nothing. You were a target. And there was no fighting back, because no one else wanted to be a target.

One thing I didn’t like about this book, probably one of the only things, is that it didn’t feel long enough to me. I feel like everyone could have had more than one chapter. I wanted to see Alice flushed out a little bit more fully, and there were a few tangents that seemed to fizzle off, where they could have been nurtured.

All in all, The Truth About Alice is a very haunting story that I think all too many people can relate to on one side or another. I will definitely be on the lookout for more from this debut author.

Posted by The Bluestocking Bookworm in Books, Books I've Read, Reading, Reviews, 1 comment

eBook Haul: June 2014

ebookhaul copy

It is no secret that I am completely baffled by eBook pricing. I don’t understand why an eBook is often priced the same or more than its physical counterpart. When I can get a hardcover book for less than an eBook, I think there is a problem. However, when eBook sales happen, I am a happy bookworm! Nothing above was more than $4.99, which if you ask me… is where eBook pricing should be. (I recognize everyone involved needs to get paid, but there is no escaping that an eBook has no actual mass, so the cost of printing, binding etc. are not factors. I also would really love some sort of system that allows discounts on eBooks if you own the physical book.)

I am very excited to get a few newer books in this haul, as well as some anthologies.

What was the last book you bought? What is your opinion on eBook pricing?

Posted by The Bluestocking Bookworm in Books, Reading, 1 comment
Load more