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Still Useless
in every way
30th-Jun-2012 01:36 pm - Book #17: Trickster's Queen

Trickster's Queen by Tamora Pierce

Quote: "Well, I have good news and better news," she told them. "The good news is that Topabaw has a spy in this household." As they stiffened she quickly added, "The better news is that it's me."

It was so much easier to get into this sequel than it was the first book. Rebellion, intrigue, deception, cute little magical beings that help Aly spy! Nawat was mainly absent in this one as he left to help the rebellions on the other island so he could become his own person and came back all manly and such. I love cute confused crow/man Nawat but that's ok, he had to develop eventually.

Aly proved herself a capable spy master. And while I knew that she would end up staying with her new family, I'm a little disappointed. Her whole motivation was to get home but she didn't want to leave these people with a mess. Then she cleaned up the mess and decides that she's going to stay anyway. Whateves, didn't really love that.
20th-Jun-2012 08:53 pm - Book #18: Princess of Glass
Ballgown Fight

Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George

Quote: "But why are you so filthy? Did Mrs. Hanks tell you to clean out all the chimneys in the middle of the night?"
Ellen's tears dried as if by magic, and a sly, closed look came over her face. "Just trying to do my duty," she said stiffly.

I really liked Princess of the Midnight Ball, a retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses (my fav) so I thought I'd give this retelling of Cinderella a chance. Pretty simple reading, which I enjoy about it! And there's some continuation of the last book which I didn't think was going to happen. I'm not personally fond of Ellen (the Cinderella character) and her random mood swings and motivations but since it was mostly Poppy's (one of the twelve dancing princesses) story of trying to figure out what was going on in this strange kingdom, I didn't mind it too much.
20th-Jun-2012 10:17 am - Book #19: Tinker (Elfhome, Book 1)
Merlin Disapproves

Tinker (Elfhome, Book 1) by Wen Spencer

No quote cause I have misplaced the book and just want to move on. Tinker is the story of a girl genius(Tinker) who lives in Pittsburgh. A Pittsburgh that bounces between Earth and a planet (?) called Elfhome. She's (a bio engineered) human until she sleeps with an elf who uses magic and his sperm to turn her into an elf as well. Yup. That happens. She's super smart so people are after her to create more portals that will transfer them between worlds. Or something. I wasn't very happy with this book after the transformation sex so I will admit to checking out after that. There's also a lot of instances where male characters are really pushy and rape-y scenarios. It was not a fun book at all.
19th-Jun-2012 11:38 am - Book #20: Oracles of Delphi Keep

Oracles of Delphi Keep by Victoria Laurie

Quote: "Legend has it that Laodamia was able to foretell future events so accurately that her word was undisputed. Her powers were said to have been miraculous; she was credited with healing the sick, predicting the outcome of any Greek campaign, and moving objects without touching them, and her ability to predict incoming storms and yearly rainfall was uncanny."

A fun adventure story about children from a prophecy questing to rid the world of an evil God and his four horseman-esque children in Europe on the cusp of WWII (Hitler is part of the evil things plans). These kids aren't stupid so that makes me happy.
9th-Jun-2012 12:51 am - Book #21: The Empty Mile
Stormy skies

The Empty Mile by Matthew Stokoe

Quote: He nestled against his pillow and for a moment I saw him as a young boy again and was freshly overcome with a sense of loss for all the time that had passed while we were not together.

Sometimes I like to read things that are depressingly domestic. I thought this one was something like that, man returns to his small hometown after finding himself abroad and deals with the dysfunction he's left behind. This one takes the dysfunction to a new level with an old gf-turned prostitute, then she's no longer a prostitute but the guy she was seeing before Johnny (johnny's best friend) blackmails her into doing odd prostituting jobs, a revenge plot against Johnny and his family for causing someone to die even though he didn't, a special needs brother, murder, and the history of the Gold Rush and the possibility of undiscovered gold in a plot of land called The Empty Mile.

It was a lot. Not bad though but probably not a book I'd return to unless I want to be horrified and depressed.
7th-Jun-2012 10:36 pm - Book #22: Agnes and the Hitman

Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer

Quote: cranky agnes column #62
"Just Like Mother Used to Fake"
Many of us have a recipe passed down to us by our own mothers that pretty much sums up our childhood memories in an ingredient list. In my case, it was "One chilled glass, two parts Tanqueray, wave at the vermouth bottle, stir clockwise if you're north of the equator, and for God's sake, Agnes, don't bruise the gin." Yours was probably a can of cream of mushroom soup poured over a can of green beans. That mother who made baked Alaska from scratch? She also screamed, "No wire hangers!" Those overachievers always have a dark side.

These little blurbs from Cranky Agnes' columns on each of the chapter pages are delightful. I also really enjoyed the mob intrigue but for most part it was just a lot of chaos to prop up Agnes and the Hitman falling for each other in like 2 days and having sex a lot. I...don't know why I don't read reviews/blurbs properly, I could probably prevent this stuff from happening more. Luckily, I have seen too much and poorly written love scenes are the least of the horrors.

Curse of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz

Revenge of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz

Quote: "First of all, Rae, you keep that to yourself or I will make your life a living hell. And second of all, sometimes things don't work out the way you want them to."

"I don't know about that. Things usually work out exactly the way I want them to," Rae said with more conviction than you could possibly imagine.

I love these books so much, they really don't deserve condensed reviews but 1. I'm behind again and have like 6ish books to review and 2. I love these books so much, I don't know how to express myself. I am much more comfortable when I can rant about things I hate, I guess!

In Curse, Izzy is obsessed with her family's neighbor and gets herself arrested multiple times for various attempts at discovering his secrets (breaking and entering, violating a restraining order, etc). It's crazy and wonderful.

In Revenge, Izzy is taking a break from the family business and must deal with court-ordered therapy (it's very hard on her), secretly living in her brother's basement and figuring out why he's been acting so weird, and Rae being Rae.
14th-May-2012 09:37 pm - Book #25: The King of Attolia

The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

Quote: Costis closed his eyes in shame. All the events of the day, which had been so nightmarish and unreal, were terribly, terribly true, the mark beside the king's mouth unmistakable, and incontrovertible, every knuckle of Costis's fist indelibly represented there.

Eugenides said, "You did swear less than two months ago to defend my self and my throne with your life- didn't you?"

He'd gone down like a rag doll.

I love clever books. It's hard to explain but they're the books that inspire me the most. Eugenides has pretty much tricked me every book so far. I was really really fooled by the way he was acting in this one. I questioned it, because it was so weird, but the narrative gave reasons and I ultimately let myself accept it. And then his plans were revealed and it's awesome.

Poor Costis, though. He was such a pawn.
VampireBill disapproves

Dead Reckoning (Sookie Stackhouse, Book 11) by Charlaine Harris

Quote: The ice pack had done all the good it was going to, and I removed it from my yahoo palace and put it on the table.

YAHOO PALACE YOU GUYS. I don't know what happened to these books. They were fun and I enjoyed the mysteries but now I can barely get through it at all. And then she has to throw yahoo palace at me. Also having to put an ice pack on your vagina after sex. It's just too much. I can't deal with it. It took me like 2 years to read another one of these (I think I didn't even read number 10.) and now I'm pretty sure I won't be reading the last two, whenever they come out. They've really lost focus.
13th-May-2012 03:53 pm - Book #27: The River
Bored Tyra

The River by Mary Jane Beaufrand

Quote: Come, dip your toes in my glacial goodness. I will rock you to sleep, and then dash your head against a submerged boulder.

I'd heard the river angry, I'd heard the river playful, but until that morning I'd never heard the river grieve.

A fairly simplistic story about a girl from the city moving out to the middle of nowhere and a local girl is found dead in the river. It turns into some kind of strange drug bust situation but was pretty much forgettable.
25th-Apr-2012 06:43 pm - Book #28: The Spellman Files

The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz

Quote: After reminding Rae that he really wasn't evil and that she really did have cavities, Daniel said to me, "That was the most juvenile thing I've ever done."
"Are you counting even when you were a juvenile?" I replied, annoyed. "If you agree to participate in a fake drug deal, don't complain about it later."

I really really really loved this book about a quirky family of P.I.s. Izzy is a bit of a fuck up but is really good at the family business of invading other people's privacy. The book is written out of timeline order. Basically Izzy's little sister Rae is missing and to tell the Inspector how they got to this point, Izzy recounts, in a wonderfully meandering way, her life from childhood to the interview room. This family is insane and I love it so very much!

I have two more from this series on their way now~

Storm Front (The Dresden Files, Book 1) by Jim Butcher

Quote: Murphy glared at me. "You keep saying 'she,'" she challenged me. "Why the hell do you think that?"
I gesture toward the room. "Because you can't do something that bad without a whole lot of hate," I said. "Woman are better at hating than men. They can focus it better, let it go better. Hell, witches are just plain meaner than wizards. This feels like feminine vengeance of some kind to me."
"But a man could have done it," Murphy said.
"Well," I hedged.
"Christ, you are a chauvinist pig, Dresden. Is it something only a woman could have done?"
"Well. No. I don't think so."

I thought perhaps what I needed was a male protagonist. It hasn't exactly been LONG since I've read books with male leads (Inspector Sejer novels, Floating Islands) but for my challenge this year the books have been extremely girl heavy. This was my thought process as I took to amazon again for a new shipment of books and chose Storm Front. As I was very quick to learn, a male lead does not solve my problems. Especially when he and his supporting cast are dumb as shit.

I absolutely hated it and will not be subjecting myself to the 14+ books in this series. As we have learned in the past (Vampire Diaries, Cirque Du Freak, Percy Jackson, Bride's Kimono etc) I am filled with intense rage when supporting characters have to be really dumb to make the plot work and/or make the lead look smarter.

It doesn't work in this book, since I still come away with feeling Dresden is an idiot and the most boring lead character in the world. My eyes kept glazing over as he explained. fucking. everything. He also writes off his sexism as he's just an old fashioned guy. The above quote illustrates it fairly well. Also the killer is a man, so he's wrong.

Magic Slays (Kate Daniels, Book 5) by Ilona Andrews

Quote: "I bet the people of Palmetto would've screamed too, if you had given them the chance," I said softly. "What do you say we do it again? I bet I can turn your hair gray before lunch."

The last of the Kate Daniels books until next year and a good one. The stakes may not exactly be higher than her rampaging God of an aunt in the last book but they're equally impossible. I'm still a bit annoyed with the swooning love story which is why I started reading this next book...
16th-Apr-2012 11:58 pm - Book #31: Clarity
Bored Tyra

Clarity by Kim Harrington

I held my sandals, and walked barefoot on the warm sand, avoiding areas dense with people.I didn't want to risk seeing any one from school. Word about Perry was probably spreading like an STD.

Probably the easiest read all challenge and really really dull. Clarity is a psychic, she can read objects and see what the person touching it saw. Or something vaguely like that. When there's a murder in her small town she is recruited, very reluctantly, as part of an unofficial investigation team with the police detective's son and the mayor's son. It doesn't make sense to me either. But they're all touching crime scenes and dead bodies and such.

Clarity is written in a annoying manner. Social outcast but the mayor's hot popular son is in love with her, and then the new detective's hot son is interested, and so is the son of the richest family in town. But Clare has no girlfriends, she just hangs out with her brother and his friend Nate...who also seems to have a thing going. It was pretty boring.
Ballgown Fight

Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews

Quote: "Finally, thank you very much to Jeaniene Frost and Jill Myles. This book does have sex in it. Please don't hit me anymore."

I've decided to crib from one of my friends and put a quote in my review thingies (they're not quite reviews, unless reviews mean unfiltered nonsense from my brain. so I feel weird about calling them reviews. And if they WERE real reviews I'd procrastinate on doing them waaaay more than I already do). My point has drifted away on me... Oh yes, I read this book before I decided to put a quote in aaaaand I probably wouldn't have found anything suitable anyway but the acknowledgments was memorable in an "oh god, I am not looking forward to this" kind of way so THERE IT IS. And there was, indeed, some sex.

I think I mentioned this in the book 3 write up but these books have grown on me since my fairly meh reaction to the first one. Kate's history and she's getting closer than ever to facing her true mission; fighting her immortal(?) father. IN this books she fights her BAMF aunt, Erra god of plague and destruction.

So Kate's dealing with that and maybe possibly being Curran's mate and alpha of the Pack with some stupid "I never thought I could have this life, I was born with one purpose and I will not survive it!" nonsense that really made me unhappy for a lot of the non-fighting/mystery aspects of the book. I'm not so sure I enjoy Kate being pack and Curran's mate but we'll see what happens. I have number 5 on the way!
11th-Apr-2012 08:35 pm - Book #33: A Killing Tide

A Killing Tide by P.J. Alderman

I was soooo disappointed in this one since I really enjoyed the Port Chatham series by this author. But I found the characters boring, the mystery boring, and the romance obnoxiously sappy. This guy professes love to the main character after like...3 days. And he hasn't been with anyone since his fiance died in a fire. BLAAAAH. I totally had to skip the sex scene because it was just so embarrassing. Do not recommend.
11th-Apr-2012 08:25 pm - Book #34: The Bride's Kimono
Flapjack Wut

The Bride's Kimono by Sujata Massey

I have a lot of thoughts and while I don't usually do so, I decided to read some amazon reviews before writing this up to see if I'm being sensitive. Learning that the author has lived in England, US, and Japan has me all sorts of confused about the characterizations in the book and it looks like I'm not alone.

I was initially very excited for this book. It's not the first book following the protagonist but it's the first I've read and will probably be my only one by this author. It's about a biracial (I only mention because her asian-american heritage is talked about CONSTANTLY) antique dealer named Rei who is enlisted to courier priceless Edo-era kimono to a museum exhibit in Washington DC from Japan. She has only lived in Japan for a few years and was previously living America (I think california, maybe) but it's like 2005 and she doesn't know how to use a computer (she uses one of these to type up her lecture notes: http://salestores.com/brdptyplwopr.html ), ebay is completely foreign to her, but she has an ipod.

One of the kimono she brings over is stolen out of her hotel room in America and in the process of solving the case she meets all kinds of terrible terrible Americans. Every American she meets is terrible and rude. From the concierge, to the police who randomly accuse her of being a prostitute after seeing her kissing a guy on a metro while wearing a kimino. It was a very weird and illogical scene. And then her bosses at the museum who almost immediately turn on her and use her notes to give their own lecture and leave Rei with only a few minutes of her allotted 30.

I don't know. There's just so much that had my hackles raised. Rei's deciding between two boyfriends. One is japanese and the other scottish and her line of thinking against the scottish one is that their babies would only be a quarter japanese and how unfair for them! But the japanese guy gets mad if she wants to spend any money at all because he's rich and she's not so anytime she wants to go out he accuses her of wanting his money. I don't know I'm having a lot of trouble with it and find this line of thinking really weird for a californian raised by mixed race parents for 20+ years.

Not that there's only stupid stereotypes for the Americans! She gets stuck with some Japanese tourists because she got her airline tickets and hotel rom through a discount program and the Japanese girl she sits next to on the plane is on a vacation before her arranged marriage and is looking to have a fling with a hot american guy and SHOP SHOP SHOP and then go back home to be a stay at home wife. Rei is taken aback by this floosy but then heavily makes out with the scottish guy on a metro when she's still dating the japanese guy (and then later sleeps with him, too). I DON'T UNDERSTAND.
11th-Apr-2012 07:53 pm - Book #35: Exile (Aurelia, Book 2)
NMTB Dr Knock Knock

Exile (Aurelia, Book 2) by Anne Osterlund

I read the first one a loooong time ago but the author messaged me on Goodreads and let me know about the sequel so I decided to check it out. It's really simple fluff about a princess who has left the palace to stay away from the step-sister who tried to murder her. And she's in love with her guard and more people try to kill her and she has to flee until it is safe again.

Not a bad book, just nothing particularly memorable.
11th-Apr-2012 07:42 pm - Book #36: The Water's Edge

The Water's Edge by Karin Fossum

I really like the Inspecteor Sejer mysteries. They're translated from Norwegian so they've always been a little stiff as far as the writing goes but I found this one was particularly bad and not very engaging. This one was about a little boy who is found dead in a forest and follows the detectives as they try to solve it, the pedophile who finally gave into his urges after years of repression, and the couple who found the boy while hiking in the woods.
11th-Apr-2012 07:33 pm - Book #37: Sketch Me If You Can

Sketch Me If You Can by Sharon Pape

Rory is a police sketch artist who's uncle just died of a heart attack. OR DID HE?! She inherits his detective agency, where she quickly tries to refund all clients, and his house, which has a ghost of a western marshal hanging around trying to solve the case from the 1800s that got him killed. Unfortunately neither one of her inheritance is easy to dispose of. A client of her uncles pleads with her to take up the case of his dead sister since everyone else believes she died of an accident.

That's about as much of this book I can write about. It's so terrible. The first description of Rory is that she looks like a drawing come to life. That gives me >:( face. It's just horrible. I'm never going to find another good crime/mystery series again since Amazon only recommends these stupid kitchy grandma novels. FUUUUUUUU
My judgment is never wrong

Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels, Book 3) by Ilona Andrews

This series is really really growing on me even though this particular book revolves around the tired gladiator/fight to the death arena event! Kate's friend gets himself in trouble by trying to steal tickets to a super secret arena event called the Midnight Games in order to keep him from getting busted by the Pack, Kate agrees to attend the event with a God. While there he asks her to investigate one of the teams who appear human but have supernatural abilities beyond what they should be capable of. Chaos, as usual, ensues.
11th-Apr-2012 04:18 pm - Book #39: The Floating Islands
Stormy skies

The Floating Islands by Rachel Neumeier

I've had my eye on this one for awhile now but it was only in hardcover. I finally gave in though because of the sale price and I'm really glad I did. I LOVE it. Great young adult fantasy novel, great worldbuilding, great characters.

Trei is recently orphaned and thanks to the rejection by his paternal uncle, he travels to the Floating Islands hopeful that his mother's brother will take him in. Upon arriving at the Islands he is awestruck by the kujurai, men who fly the skies and protect the islands. His uncle's family welcomes him with a little reluctance by his cousin Araene. I think most of it was that she was worried he was going to discover her alternate identity as a boy attending the University to learn how to cook. Girls on the island are not allowed to attend or really do much of anything at all and Araene has found a way around that, for the time being.

Trei is quickly deemed sky-mad and applies for the kujurai while Araene stumbles upon the hidden school and finds out she's a mage. Fun stuff ensues until the Floating Islands are besieged by the Tolounnese and the cousins must figure out how to stop them.
11th-Apr-2012 04:03 pm - Book #40: Instruments of Darkness

Instruments of Darkness by Imogen Robertson

I'm not the biggest fan of historical mysteries but now that I don't have a Borders (something about our Barnes and Noble is really off putting to me and they have crap discounts) I've been having a really hard time finding mysteries that appeal to me. So now I just buy the stuff amazon recommends to me.

This one was pretty good, a bored rich housewife and a scientist/doctor join up and solve crimes! They actually solve quite a few of their small town's mysteries. There were a lot of pieces thrown out so I was really happy that everything fit and made sense and, while I wasn't exactly struggling to figure out who did it, I was happy to just follow the characters as they pieced everything together.
11th-Apr-2012 03:52 pm - Book #41: Trickster's Choice (Book 1)

Trickster's Choice (Book 1) by Tamora Pierce

This book was SUCH a struggle. I'm pretty sure I started it before the challenge but I kept buying more interesting books. I ran out of new books so I forced myself to focus.

Aly is the daughter of the King's Sword and his Spy Master and is unsure of what her future will be. She wants adventure but her parents won't allow her to be a spy. Somehow, and I can't remember exactly what happened, she is captured and sold into slavery in another kingdom. Being a smart girl she gets herself beat up before the auctions so she isn't sold for her looks and she must keep her heritage a secret.

Things don't get really interesting until the Balitang's, the noble house she's sold to, are exiled by the paranoid king. Aly would have been sent back to the auctions had it not been for the intervention of the Trickster God. Through him, he has put her in the position to protect the family's children for the summer (and then he would take her home) and throughout the book she tries to figure out what intrigues she has gotten herself rolled up into. There's also a crow who turns into a man in order to help Aly and he's incredibly adorable.

Fever (Chemical Garden Trilogy, Book 2) by Lauren Destafano

There's a lot I wanted to say about this follow up to Wither but it's been about a month and 6 books since I've read it, unfortunately. Since tomorrow is supposed to rain I will try and catch up so I can keep on top of things and write better reviews. I know I snark a lot in my head while reading so these delays in posting are keeping my awesomeness from you, my non-readership!

Anyway, Fever. Rhine and Gabriel have escaped but keep blundering into messes and illness and, yes, fevers. The fevers cause hallucinations, which whatever, but the writing got kind of messy and weird. Since your pov character is hallucinating I guess that's understandable but I really didn't like it.

That's most of my impression of the book. It did leave off in an interesting place so I am still looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
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