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Alicia Wright Brewster

Bear with me here. I haven't figured out this BookLikes thing yet.

Currently reading

Steelheart
Brandon Sanderson
Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas
John Scalzi, Wil Wheaton
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
Stephen King
A Princess of Mars (Barsoom, #1)
Edgar Rice Burroughs
Steelheart (Reckoners, #1)
Brandon Sanderson
Olympus Confidential (Plato Jones #2)
Robert B. Warren
VIcious - Victoria Schwab, V. E. Schwab Vicious was so incredibly refreshing. It was everything I hoped it would be.

When the story opens, Victor and his buddies are digging up a grave. And their task has something to do with getting Eli's attention. As far as I'm concerned, a story that starts like that--death and mystery right from the start--skyrockets my expectations. And, lucky for me, it never disappointed.

Victor and Eli both became EOs (ExtraOrdinaries) when they were best friends in college, thanks to some dangerous experimentation they performed on themselves. Years after college, they are on opposite sides. In a way, it's a classic story--two friends who become enemies. One of them is viewed as a hero, and the other wants to take the hero down. What's wonderful about this story is that neither is a hero. They have their own agendas, and they'll get rid of anyone who tries to stop them.

By the end of the book, I knew these main characters. I understood them. Eli: the one who thinks he's on a mission to save the world from EOs. And Victor: who has his own reasons for trying to stop Eli. You know that saying about how "power corrupts"? How about the one saying that great power means "great responsibility"? Well, both of these men feel they have responsibilities, and both are thoroughly corrupted. The result is something dark, and twisted, and beautiful.

I will almost certainly pick up another book by Schwab.

Footnote: Some folks have this shelved as young adult. This is not a young adult book--not even a little. It's not a new adult book either. There are some scenes that take place while the main characters are in college, but even those few scenes have an adult vibe to them.
Grave Peril (The Dresden Files, #3) - Jim Butcher 4.5 stars
Have You Been Hexed?: Recognizing and Breaking Curses - Alexandra Chauran My five-star rating is based on the assumption that the information presented in this book is accurate. I don't know enough about magic to judge this for myself. Based on that assumption, in my opinion, this is a great reference for anyone who has experienced a string of misfortunes and is open-minded about the existence of hexes.

There's some guidance here about how to determine whether you've been hexed: what to look for, what tasks may be performed to test for hexes, and what circumstances indicate lack of a hex. There's also guidance about how to remove hexes and how to deal with psychics so you don't get cheated when it comes to determining whether you have been hexed and, if so, removing the hex. Should you determine that your misfortune is not the result of hex after all, there's also some guidance about how to deal with negative energy that may be causing your misfortune.

Overall, I found this to be a great reference for the lay-person. It uses understandable terms and presents logical steps for approaching the problem. Most of all, I appreciate the general focus of the book on, first, determining whether a hex exists before addressing it. A less cautious author might have jumped right into how to remove hexes, but the approach taken here seems more trustworthy.

Thanks to the publisher for the free review copy, provided through NetGalley.
Rot & Ruin (Benny Imura, #1) - Jonathan Maberry I'm not into zombies--mostly because I think they are gross and icky with all the people-eating. Ew.

But I saw this author on a couple panels. and he seemed like a down-to-earth guy. Plus, most of Goodreads buds who read this one enjoyed it. So I'll give it a shot.
Midnight Girls Series #1: Scent of Evil - Melissa Darnell My blog's September book of the month, chosen by Ren.
When the World Was Flat (and we were in love) - Ingrid Jonach September 9th blog tour stop.
Archetype - M.D. Waters Picked up a print ARC at Dragon*Con.
The Goodreads Killer - Dave Franklin It's free and I'm curious. Don't judge me.
Gunmetal Magic (Kate Daniels, #5.5) - Ilona Andrews This rating is probably unfair. If this weren't a Kate Daniels World novel, I might give it five stars. But since it is, I missed Kate and Curran a lot. It's hard for me to give a book five stars when it felt like something was missing. Kate and Curran made some appearances, once or twice as a couple, and then Kate was involved in an action scene at one point. I wanted more!

I adored the mating game between Andrea and Raphael. Back in the earlier books, when Curran was courting Kate, we got to see how shapeshifters handle dating--basically, pranks and invasion of personal space mean "I love you." Now, with Andrea and Raphael, I got to see more of that. These were hilarious and fun moments.

The plot was excellent and well-executed, as I've come to expect of a Kate Daniels World novel. To avoid spoilers, I won't go into that. But I'll say only that I had no complaints about plot.

Outside of not seeing Kate and Curran as much as I'd like, my only other complaint came up toward the beginning of the book. In the first two action scenes, Andrea fought some kind of giant insects and then a giant blue beast. If you read the prior Andrea-Raphael novel, you'll recall that Andrea fought a giant dog in that one. So toward the beginning of this book, I was thinking: Is Andrea only going to fight giant creatures? I mean, the occasional giant creature is exciting. But after three (including the novella), it begins to look like a series of video game bosses. There are merits in fights between beings of similar size; for instance, the technique can be more refined. However, after the first third of the novel, the bad guys were more normal-sized (and hard-core in their own ways). So my concerns went away.
Vitro - Jessica Khoury I already have more review copies than I can handle at the moment, so I'm going to restrain myself from requesting this on Edelweiss.

I already have more review copies than I can handle at the moment, so I'm going to restrain myself from requesting this on Edelweiss.

Gameboard of the Gods - Richelle Mead Discussion about this book on my blog: http://www.fantasyfloozies.com/2013/08/book-of-month-chat-gameboard-of-gods-by.html.

This was my blog's July book of the month, so a chat discussion between me and three other reviewers will be posted on my blog in about a week. Spoiler: it appeared that none of us particularly enjoyed it.

I've been going back and forth about whether to write my own review on this, separate from what I said in our soon-to-be-posted discussion. In the end, I've decided to do a sort of mini-review.

There were some great things and some not so great things about this book. Let's start with the great things, because I'm feeling generous. There is some pretty complex world-building here. The various regions of the world have created different alliances and cultures than we have in reality. Most of the story takes place in the RUNA, which appears to be North America or thereabouts. The RUNA is big on their high-tech. Some of the citizens who come from smaller, purer gene pools suffer from a genetic disease. The lower classes have to follow breeding guidelines, which help them to avoid this disease. And since the story starts outside of the RUNA, there is plenty of opportunity to contrast RUNA culture with elsewhere culture. Mead created a brand new world here, and I appreciate that.

Another plus is that there's a sex scene pretty early in the book. :)

Now the negatives: The world-building, as extensive as it was, was also disorganized. Lots of terms were made up (as expected), and in some cases, multiple terms were used to refer to same things. Given that there was a lot about the world that needed to be presented, it would have been nice if there had been some effort to stick to common terms throughout. Perhaps some of the made-up terms could have been more clearly based on well-known words, or the duplicate-meaning terms could have been nixed. Also, for most of the story, I wondered: What's the point of all these details?

In the end, most of the details came together, and they were pretty much all relevant to the conclusion. But if I spend 75% of a story thinking "So what?" I think that's an issue.

There were three POV characters: the hero, the heroine, and some random kid. I kept waiting for the kid's POV to be relevant. It never was, as far as I could tell.

Now I have things to say about the romance. Okay, I have only one thing to say: lukewarm. I just didn't feel the heat. All the frustration I was supposed to feel that these two people couldn't stop upsetting each other--I felt that. But there wasn't any heat in their arguments. There wasn't any of that I-hate-you-but-I-totally-wanna-do-you tension. There were just two people who believed they were attracted to each other but couldn't be honest about it.

Okay, so this didn't turn out to be a mini-review after all.
Panic - Lauren Oliver Requested an ARC on Edelweiss.
House of Ivy & Sorrow - Natalie Whipple Requested on Edelweiss. Fingers crossed!
All Our Yesterdays - Cristin Terrill I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

When the story opens, we find the main character, Em, held captive in a cell, staring at a drain. This may sound dull, but I found the tension to be wonderfully done. As captive, held in a dark room, Em found something to obsess about. It was dark and psychological, and I was immediately hooked. Then she finds a message that a prior version of herself left for her, saying she has to kill him.

Em goes back in time to do as the note says. I figured out pretty much right away who Em goes back in time to kill, but that's fine. I don't think it was meant to be a big secret. I was still invested in the story and in watching it unravel.

You won't find any Mary Sues here. Em was conflicted every step of the way. She was a good person, on a mission to do a bad thing. I found her struggle with her task to be both believable and compelling.

This book had just the right amount of romance--enough that I could latch onto it and root for it, but not so much that I got frustrated with the emphasis on romance as opposed to important, world-saving tasks. I found Em's love interest, Finn, to be likable in both his past and future selves. He was loyal and considerate, but tough enough to give Em a kick in the pants when she needed it.

I will admit though: On a couple occasions, I referred to Finn in my head as "cool Peeta." He has some similarities to Peeta from the Hunger Games, but I liked Finn better. Finn and Peeta are both blond, and both play sidekick to their love interests. But Finn was plenty kick-ass on his own, hence the "cool" label even though I found myself comparing him to a character in a different book.

I think it's a given with a serious time travel story that there will be paradoxes. All Our Yesterdays does a solid job of laying the groundwork with respect to how paradoxes are handled. And this groundwork starts early in the story, which adds some credibility to the resolution of paradoxes after the book's conclusion. I appreciate that.



An excellent book. One of my favorite reads of 2013! I'll be looking for more work by Cristin Terrill.

My thanks to Disney Hyperion for the free review copy.


Nit-Picking Alert!

A couple little things seemed a bit too easy, but they didn't affect my enjoyment of the novel. So I'm adding them to my review only as footnotes.

1. Finn was able to set the time machine to show a false date because he "knew a code." As a former programmer, I have yet to see a standard code that can simply be entered into an unknown program (specifically, a program heavily guarded and which must therefore have some kind of digital security, having been built by a genius and all) from the graphical user interface, in the span of only a few seconds, to make the program provide false information. A little farfetched.

2. There's a lot of chatter about how time is sentient and resolves its paradoxes. The characters were willing to go back in time and kill someone, thus creating a shit-ton of paradoxes (which would be resolved by sentient time), but they had to wait until a certain date because any date prior to that would create too big a paradox. This seemed like a bit of a cop-out way to pick a date that would create some sense of urgency, as opposed to, say, killing the guy two days earlier in a more relaxed timeframe.

3. I'm not convinced the time paradoxes created in the climax scene would have resolved themselves the way they did. But I guess there were a lot ways that could have gone.
Wishing Stars: Space Opera Fairytales - Nenia Campbell Aliens + Fairy Tales = Cool