Thursday, March 20, 2014

Book Review: Disney After Dark (Kingdom Keepers #1)

Book: Disney After Dark (Kingdom Keepers #1)
Author: Ridley Pearson
Genre: adventure, mystery, fantasy (middle-grade)
Rating: 4/5
Publication Date: August 25th, 2009
Date Finished: May 14th

Story Notion: Huh. I might finish this series, I do have book two...

Plot: (from Goodreads):
In this fantastical thriller, five young teens tapped as models for theme park "guides" find themselves pitted against Disney villains and witches that threaten both the future of Walt Disney World and the stability of the world outside its walls. Using a cutting-edge technology called DHI--which stands for both Disney Host Interactive and Daylight Hologram Imaging--Finn Whitman, an Orlando teen, and four other kids are transformed into hologram projections that guide guests through the park. The new technology turns out, however, to have unexpected effects that are both thrilling and scary. Soon Finn finds himself transported in his DHI form into the Magic Kingdom at night. Is it real? Is he dreaming? Finn's confusion only increases when he encounters Wayne, an elderly Imagineer who tells him that the park is in grave danger. Led by the scheming witch, Maleficent, a mysterious group of characters called the Overtakers is plotting to destroy Disney's beloved realm, and maybe more. This gripping high-tech tale will thrill every kid who has ever dreamed of sneaking into Walt Disney World after hours and wondered what happens at night, when the park is closed.

I wasn't really sure about this book. I bought it on a whim the year before last, I think. We were at Disney after a convention and it was next to the cash register and I'd probably had less sleep that whole week then ever before, so I bought it, for something to read on the plane. Obviously, that didn't happen. What actually happened, if I remember correctly, is I passed out on the plane - unsurprisingly. (LeakyCon wears you out).

I didn't end up picking it up until, as writing this review, last year. I've just reread it recently and realized I'd never reviewed it in any sense. I definitely, now having read all the books out, think that this is definitely the weakest of them. It's setting things up, the start to a long series, but - I still really enjoyed it.

It surprised me the first time I read it, I wasn't honestly expecting much out of it, but I was immediately sold and so glad I had the next book in the series ready to go. I wanted to know what was going to happen next, without pause.

Overall it's a good start to a fantastic series. I love the characters and the plot, and all the weird things that happen that will probably make me never look at certain rides the same way again. The characters are definitely a little underdeveloped a bit at first, but not enough it bothered me.

If you're a Disney fan, or if you're not because I'm actually not a giant Disney fan, more casual, then you should give this series a chance. Or - adventure mystery fan.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

2014: Book Reviews (5)

And more of these mini-book review posts! I really enjoy these, and sometimes they make me realize I do have enough to say for a full review on a book, which is always great. I honestly love reviewing books but mostly just blogging in general, even if it's just kind of for me at points. Anyway - books to review!

This Star Won't Go Out: The Words of Esther Grace Earl by Esther Earl and many others (5/5)
I did a full review on this. But, just to push on you how much you need to read this book, it's heartbreaking and beautiful and very real and very raw. And my copy has tear stains on a few pages, so please pick this book up and check into the charity that her parents set up in her name.

The Assassin's Curse (The Assassin's Curse #1) by Cassandra Rose Clarke (4/5)
I had some issues with it, mostly the severe lack of world building, but I did mostly just really enjoy it. It was kind of a light read, which was what I needed to be able to dip into during my Harry Potter reread. I liked the characters and I'm planning on picking up the second book (and the short stories) at some point. Hopefully soon.

The Search for WondLa (WondLa #1) by Tony DiTerlizzi (5/5)
How much I loved this book was a complete shock. I've got a review in the works for this one, but definitely check it out and give it a go (the pictures, friend, the illustrations are gorgeous). Possible review to come, we'll see, I'm trying to write it.

A Wizard of EarthSea (Earthsea Cycle #1) by Usulua K. Le Guin (?)
I didn't actually rate this one and I have no idea what to say about it. It's one that I have a lot to say and nothing to say about it at the same time. Overall - I'd say I enjoyed it, though I couldn't stand the beginning, and still am a tad angry with it. But, besides that, I think it's stayed around so long for a reason, and that you should give it a try, even just to be bewildered by it like I am. I don't think I've never just not rated a book before (personally or on GR).

Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2) by Richelle Meade (3/5)
It was - eh. It felt like the definition of a filler episode of a TV show until like the last fifty pages or so, maybe only thirty even. And I always want to just fly through all the books while I'm midway through it, apparently, then don't have the want to once I'm finished. I do like the series, mostly, but I also don't think it's worth all the hype it's been getting.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Book Review: Wool Omnibus (Silo #1)

Title: Wool Omnibus (Silo #1)
Author: Hugh Howey
Genre: SciFi/Fantasy, Dystopian
Rating: 5/5
Pages: 539 (Paperback)
Publication Date: first published 2011

Story Notion: What... is happening? Oh my god.

Plot: (Goodreads)
Contains WOOLs 1 - 5.

This Omnibus Edition collects the five Wool books into a single volume. It is for those who arrived late to the party and who wish to save a dollar or two while picking up the same stories in a single package.

The first Wool story was released as a standalone short in July of 2011. Due to reviewer demand, the rest of the story was released over the next six months. My thanks go out to those reviewers who clamored for more. Without you, none of this would exist. Your demand created this as much as I did.

This is the story of mankind clawing for survival, of mankind on the edge. The world outside has grown unkind, the view of it limited, talk of it forbidden. But there are always those who hope, who dream. These are the dangerous people, the residents who infect others with their optimism. Their punishment is simple. They are given the very thing they profess to want: They are allowed outside.

All of these five stories are connected, obviously considering they were put in one book, but they're also split up for a reason, I thought. It's almost to give you pause, like that part of the story is over now, or something is different.

And the first one is the shortest and the most confusing and kind of painful, they're all... painful, actually. So much stuff happens but at first it's slow going even though I felt things happening and I was pretty much terrified for the characters through this entire book. And it just got worse, actually, as it went on.

I couldn't tell you exactly why I liked this book, or collection, not exactly, but I can give you a few guesses. The characters would be number one, I'm also a character person, and these charaters are something, that's for sure, and I did enjoy them all and how they were connected and how they acted through out the series.

Also - I found the first three about books slow, because I did like the characters and the weird situation they were in, but it also kind of just meanders a bit at the beginning. And, looking back, I'm not sure it was a bad thing. If you find it too slow at first, just keep going and pushing, it's an amazing story with an interesting world that I want to learn more about and the writing is good.


Thursday, March 6, 2014

2014: Book Reviews (4 - Harry Potter edition)

I'm not going to do a full review of each Harry Potter book, I don't actually know if I could and if I did most of it would just be flailing. I already put a lot of thoughts, most of them, in my rereads of 2014 post, so I don't know what else I can share.

I did a full reread of Harry Potter in February, which I haven't done for a long time, and if you want to read more about rereading and my HP experience and such you can check out my post about Rereading books and Why I Think It's Important. So most of things I want to say about this series have been said, probably.

I love this series, I love Harry Potter. The characters, the world, the whole freaking deal, I absolutely adore it. (I go to HP conventions, this should be obvious). I'm going to keep things as vague as I can, but - there are going to be spoilers below. I'm sorry but just go and read them if you haven't already.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter #1) by J.K. Rowling (5/5)
So good and so just - lovely. This is probably the one I've reread the most recently, but it might of been Deathly Hallows. I love this first book and Harry finding out that he's a wizard and how his parents died and that he's famous. I just - love it. And it's so comforting, the whole series it, it's like... home. (Cheesy, but so true).

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter #2) by J.K. Rowling (5/5)
I normally say this is my least favorite book in the series, probably the one I've reread the least behind Goblet of Fire, but I flew through it this time alone. And I did really enjoy it. From Harry seeing the Burrow first time and really staying with the Weasley's just in general, to the flying car thing, I really enjoyed rereading this on.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter #3) by J.K. Rowling (5/5)
I love this book and, surprisingly, not just because I'm a Marauder fangirl, though that definitely is part of it. I really enjoy how at the beginning, Harry is trying to stay calm, in control, and also how he was doing his homework at night. And how he looses control, even being older now. Obviously - I love Remus teaching them and that whole end with the Shrieking Shack and the time turner, it's so good and so very clever.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter #4) by J.K. Rowling (5/5)
So, like I said, this is about tied with CoS for book I've reread the least. Which is just - awful, truly, because I loved this book rereading it. And even though it's basically twice the size of PoA, I flew through it. I just kind of love the whole thing, honestly, it's fantastic and intense as hell at parts. Also, you know, finishing that book that it's started again, and that they're just going to get darker.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter #5) by J.K. Rowling (5/5)
I don't know why  ever through CoS was my least favorite of the series, because it's definitely this one. I mean I still really enjoyed it, don't get me wrong, but Umbridge, guys. She makes me want to strange her or just bash her, or my, head against the wall. She's just so - evil, honestly, but in an almost civil way. She's clever about it but cruel, but there are still some things I love. The D.A. meetings and the twins pranks. The ending always gets me, though, I'm sure you all know why.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter #6) by J.K. Rowling (5/5)
I have no warm fuzzy feelings for Slughorn, but also not really any really negative feelings about it, I'm pretty meh. So - that was fantastic after Umbridge. And some of the scenes in this book are odd and hilarious. Overall, I love this book, with the memories of Voldemort and the problems the kids run into. And the ending, from GoF on all the endings are just - awful and amazing. (Except the Epilogue on Deathly Hallows, but shhhh).

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter #6) by J.K. Rowling (5/5)
Why do so many of my absolute favorite characters die? Ah, well, I guess it's okay. I love the whole end of this book. Except the Epilogue. Oddly enough, I didn't mind the epilogue all that much the first few times and I read it and then - the more I did and the more I thought about what it implied (I'm pretty sure I was mostly in shock still, or sobbing, especially the first time through), I just don't like it, it annoys me. But - the book is fantastic and the series is fantastic and I'm so glad I reread them now.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

March 2014 TBR

I normally end up not sticking completely to these, though I did last month if you don't count the random books I listed at the end.

I finished both Vampire Academy by Richelle Meade and A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Quin. Which were two of the books that were on my main, knew/had to read list. I didn't end up finishing House of Leaves, but I'm really enjoying taking it so slow that I'm not upset about it. It's so good and it might take me a while to finish, but I'm adoring it so far. (There's also an article I ran across, called: How Not To Read House of Leaves. Which I thought was a really cool and interesting little thing, if you're thinking of giving the book a shot, but it scared you). Now - onto the actual TBR for the month of March.

There's books I'm currently reading, like House of Leaves. I'm hoping to finish them in March, probably not HoL just because whew. So I actually have a pretty good idea of what I could be reading this month.

A Way of Kings: Part One by Brandon Sanderson
The reason I'm reading the parts version of this book, well, there's various reason. One: have you tried to hold that whole thing? Jesus, I don't recommend it. Two: Less daunting/scary. Three: Pretty. Covers. All the UK covers are gorgeous for Sanderson's books while all the US ones are the normal weird as hell high fantasy covers. Anyway - I'm currently-reading this one and am about 25% into it and completely loving it so far, it's so interesting, but also one I'm taking slow.

Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2) by Richelle Meade
Just - cause, I want to continue this series. It's - light but interesting, I fly through this books. I might end up picking up the rest through the month, breaks and filler between the ridiculous amount of books that I'm taking slowly.

Princesses Behaving Badly by Linda Rodriguez McRobbie
I'm loving this book so far, currently-reading, and am about 35% through, and hoping to finish it this month. Not as fast moving as others, but it's also definitely not dry as far as history goes (and I'm a sucker for history, anyway).

Paradox by Jim Al-Khalili
This is a non-fiction book about paradoxes in physics by a quantum physicist. I'm not very far into this, almost 40 pages, but am currently really loving it. It's very interesting and extremely easy to understand, and I really like the guys matter of fact voice.

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
This is for the BookTuber Reading Buddies book club. I haven't started it yet, but I've been meaning to read it for years at this point, and I know that I'm going to completely adore it. They're also reading the first Mistborn series, but I am already reading a Sanderson book. I have Mistborn and I want to read it so badly (definitely check out that link and the group, though! Cool people there).

And besides that, I'm not really sure yet. Like I said, I might pick up more of the Vampire Academy series besides the slow cookers. Otherwise, I'm surrounded by good books I've been dying to read, so I'l probably just pick up whatever strikes my mood, which is why I read so many books at one time.

What are you planning on reading for the month of March? What did you read in the month of February? (Link me your blog/channels, love to find new ones!) And I hope you had a great February and that March will be fantastic (Anyone going to PlaylistLive by any chance?)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

February 2014 wrap-up

February was, of course, not quite as good of a reading month as January. However, I honestly never expected it to be, and I'll be very pleased and bewildered if I'm ever able to read that many books in a month ever again because whew. Not to saw February was a bad month, though - February was really awesome.

  • Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy #1) by Richelle Meade (3/5)
  • Seduction in Death (In Death #13) by J.D. Robb (5/5)
  • Reunion in Death (In Death #14) by J.D. Robb (5/5)
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter #1) by J.K. Rowling (5/5)
  • This Star Won't Go Out by Esther Earl (and others) (5/5)
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter #2) by J.K. Rowling (5/5)
  • The Assassin's Curse (The Assassin's Curse) by Cassandra Rose Clarke (4/5)
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter #3) by J.K. Rowling (5/5)
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter #4) by J.K. Rowling (5/5)
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter #5) by J.K. Rowling (5/5)
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter #6) by J.K Rowling (5/5)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter #7) by J.K. Rowling (5/5)
  • The Search for WondLa (WondLa #1) by Tony DiTerilizzi (5/5)
  • A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Cycle #1) by Ursula K. Le Quin (?)
Quite a good month for reading for me, I think. I had a sudden urge to reread Harry Potter and it was definitely a fantastic choice, it'd been way too long since I'd reread it. I've got another post coming up talking about how I felt about the series, but I've got a post up about rereading books and then one with a list of the books I've reread this year (which will be updated through the year).

I did a full review of This Star Won't Go Out, which was so amazing and there were definitely a ton of tears involved while reading it. I also didn't write full review of Vampire Academy and the two In Death books, but they're included in one of he group reviews, mini-reviews, 2014: Book Reviews (3).

And I'm still completely unsure how I felt about Wizard of Earthsea, but I think that's okay. I didn't give it a star rating on Goodreads or anywhere, as you can see from the question mark up above, because I just don't know. I do want to read the next book in the series, but I don't think right away. 

What did you read this month? Did you write a post or do a vlog of it? I'd love to check it out! I hope you had a great month.