Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Waiting On Wednesday [@torbooks @scalzi]

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

My pick for this week:

HEAD ON by John Scalzi

John Scalzi returns with Head On, the standalone follow-up to the New York Times bestselling and critically acclaimed Lock In. Chilling near-future SF with the thrills of a gritty cop procedural, Head On brings Scalzi's trademark snappy dialogue and technological speculation to the future world of sports.

Hilketa is a frenetic and violent pastime where players attack each other with swords and hammers. The main goal of the game: obtain your opponent’s head and carry it through the goalposts. With flesh and bone bodies, a sport like this would be impossible. But all the players are “threeps,” robot-like bodies controlled by people with Haden’s Syndrome, so anything goes. No one gets hurt, but the brutality is real and the crowds love it.

Until a star athlete drops dead on the playing field.

Is it an accident or murder? FBI Agents and Haden-related crime investigators, Chris Shane and Leslie Vann, are called in to uncover the truth―and in doing so travel to the darker side of the fast-growing sport of Hilketa, where fortunes are made or lost, and where players and owners do whatever it takes to win, on and off the field.

published April 17th by Tor Books

add to your Goodreads shelf // pre-order from Book Depo // or Amazon


Lock In (my review) was a fun read that I remember I liked but - because I read in in the end of 2014 - I don't remember that much else about it, so I look forward to rediscovering those characters and that world. (It's a 'standalone follow-up,' so not remember most of Lock In should be fine.)

I really enjoy reading near-future tales, especially when they mix in either real, factual science with the fictional, or science you can believe is real.

Hilketa sounds like a cross of the gladiators from Ancient Rome, video games . . . and (at least to me) Quidditch and I'm interested in how it came about but also kind of horrified at the description. It should make for an entertaining, possibly troubling and/or thought provoking read, though!

That's my pick for this week, what's yours? Tell me in the comments and/or link me to your own post!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Precious Dreadful ~ Steven Parlato (earc) review [@SimonTeen @parlatowrites]

The Previous Dreadful
Simon Pulse
February 13, 2018
352 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

Teddi Alder is just trying to figure out her life.

When she joins SUMMERTEENS, a library writing group, she’s only looking to keep herself busy, not go digging around in her subconscious. But as she writes, disturbing memories of her childhood friend Corey bubble to the surface, and Teddi begins to question everything: her friendship with her BFF Willa, how much her mom really knows, and even her own memories. Teddi fears she’s losing her grip on reality—as evidenced by that mysterious ghost-girl who emerges from the park pool one night, the one who won’t leave Teddi alone. To top it all off, she finds herself juggling two guys with potential, a quirky new boy named Joy and her handsome barista crush Aidan, who has some issues of his own.

As the summer unfolds, Teddi is determined to get to the bottom of everything—her feelings, the mysterious ghost-girl, and the memories of Corey that refuse to be ignored.
The Precious Dreadful was just not the book for me; Teddi's character and, especially, the romance really did not work for me. I did not love the writing in the beginning but as the book continued it either changed or I started to like it more. Sadly, I still had issues with Teddi and her relationships.

The romantic relationship in this novel really bothered me. It felt unhealthy and possibly dangerous. The male character had issues - that, weirdly, were stated to the other character very plainly but did not cause any alarm or hesitancy. Even if Teddi seemed fine with the actions, behaviors and words, I wanted one of the other characters to address the potential trouble. No one did (at least not with any follow through).

There's a 'big romantic gesture' that, possibly because of my feelings on the character and the relationship felt more controlling and troubling than sweet and romantic.

Maybe if I had felt more development of the relationship - it seemed to go from an interaction she remembers as 'hostile' (pg 37) to something she thinks could, "end up being for real." (Pg 39) Beyond his physical attractiveness, I had trouble seeing what the character's appeal was to her.

The mystery of this novel was fun and intriguing. The general picture of what happened was easy to guess fairly early on but why it is something the characters need to figure out and how it pieces together was compelling. This was a mystery that I would have enjoyed if I had cared about or understood the characters. At times I liked Teddi's acerbity but other times she felt mean and petty.

It felt like I was too old or too responsible or something for this book. There were too many things that characters did not care about, did not notice, or where there wasn't follow up/consequences.

Also? Teddi was awfully judgmental of people's names for someone named Teddi.

Interestingly, after I finished the book, I found myself wanting Brenda, Teddi's mother's, story. From where she failed Teddi to the things Teddi was so dismissive of and the bits her past mentioned, she could be more sympathetic than her daughter.

So, no, this was not the book for me but if you see the novel's romance differently and are able to connect with and/or relate to the characters more, The Precious Dreadful may be a book for you to read.

digital review copy received thanks to publisher, via NetGalley

Top Ten Tuesday: Cover Love

This week's Ten:
Love Freebie: 10 Book Covers I Love

The Ring & the Crown (#1) by Melissa de la Cruz

Lock In (#1) by John Scalzi

Watch the Sky by Kirsten Hubbard

Timepiece (Hourglass #2) by Myra McEntire

A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (#1) by Michelle Hodkin

Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

Bad Taste in Boys (#1) by Carrie Harris

Into the Grey by Celine Kiernan

Taken (#1) by Erin Bowman

Please leave a comment and let me know your favorite covers - or any bookish thing you love!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Miss Newman Isn't Human! ~ Dan Gutman review [@HarperChildrens]

Miss Newman Isn't Human! (My Weirdest School #10)
illustrated by Jim Paillot
February 13, 2018
112 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

With more than 12 million books sold, the My Weird School series really gets kids reading!

In this tenth book in the new My Weirdest School series, Sprinkles Newman, the local TV meteorologist, is coming to Ella Mentry School! She’s going to teach A.J. and the gang all about the weather. But what happens when a real live (well, not live) hurricane comes to the school? Hold on to your umbrellas!

Perfect for reluctant readers and word lovers alike, Dan Gutman’s hugely popular My Weird School chapter book series has something for everyone. Don’t miss the hilarious adventures of A.J. and the gang!

In Miss Newman Isn't Human!, A.J., Andrea and the other kids get a visit from the local TV meteorologist (who is not, actually, someone who studies meteors).  A.J. is sure it's going to be boring, but some unexpected things happen that make for a much more interesting day

This Weird School book, aimed at readers in first through third grades, is a fun, sometimes goofy and even a little bit informative read. The author did a great job not making this a book about weather - at least not evreyday weather. Readers likely aren't  that interested in or already know why/how it rains, etc. (Or if they are interested, this probably isn't where they would look for information.)

Instead, the focus is more on Miss Newman, A.J. and his friends, their goofy teacher and a rare bit of weather. It actually isn't a hurricane, but saying what it is would ruin some of the fun. It is different enough to definitely catch readers attention.

Miss Newman Isn't Human! does include a lot of bad/corny jokes - some that were in previous books, as well - but the way they're included is still funny and should make reading more fun, faster and entertaining for readers.

finished copy received from publisher for review consdieration
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