Sunday, November 15, 2015

Changeless by Gail Carrier Review

Alexia Maccon, the Lady Woolsey, awakens in the wee hours of the mid-afternoon to find her husband, who should be decently asleep like any normal werewolf, yelling at the top of his lungs. Then he disappears; leaving her to deal with a regiment of supernatural soldiers encamped on her doorstep, a plethora of exorcised ghosts, and an angry Queen Victoria.

But Alexia is armed with her trusty parasol, the latest fashions, and an arsenal of biting civility. So even when her investigations take her to Scotland, the backwater of ugly waistcoats, she is prepared: upending werewolf pack dynamics as only the soulless can. She might even find time to track down her wayward husband, if she feels like it.

CHANGLESS is the second book of the Parasol Protectorate series: a comedy of manners set in Victorian London, full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking.

Published April 2010. Second in the Parasol Protectorate series.
4 stars.

I have read several books in a YA series that this author writes, I love the steampunk setting that was accompanied by supernatural creatures and spunky female leads. I recently picked up one of her newer books, something that would fall between NA or Adult fiction and I enjoyed it a lot. After I finished it, I picked of the first book in the Parasol Protectorate series and loved it as well. Unfortunately I didn't enjoy this book quite as much as the first book to be. While it had the same lovable characters, fun settings, and was full of supernatural creatures, there was just something missing. I think it was perhaps because the pace was a little different from the first book. In the first book the action starts off in the very first chapter and there's lots of interesting things going on. In Changeless things do happen in the first chapter, but it seems to calm down for a few chapters, then surge again, then calm down, ooh then something has happened! It wasn't as consistent, I felt. It's not something that makes this book awful, just not as captivating as the first one, I think. I in fact took over a month to get through this book, but that was purely because I was busy and never found the time. It sat in my room with a bookmark in it that clearly showed me how little I had left to read (about an hour's worth of reading), but it took me ages to get back to it. 

Character wise...well the main character, Alexia, still made me laugh and smile and root for her, but it was also fun to see how she had changed, just slightly, as she is now a married woman. It wasn't much, but just the way things were handled slightly. And it wasn't a bad change either. Really, the whole book was enjoyable and even if it didn't get quite as quick of a start as the first book, I still read through it quickly when I had managed to pick it up. Alexia's husband is funny, protective and I really liked his character. I think he was a bit more contrary in the first book, but then they both were. I felt like the marriage has calmed that part down a little. We're introduced to Lord Maccon's old pack, which was fun for me. It featured a character from one of the other series that I've read and it was quite fun to see her in a different setting and a bit older! There are other characters that are full of life and hilarity of course, Miss Hisslepenny, Alexia's best friend, is a favorite. Another would be Lord Akeldama who is very fashionable and also very dead (vampire, don't you know). 

I love the world-building and voice that the author uses, it's so easy to picture the settings and world that the characters are in. This is probably either my favorite or one of my very top favorite steampunk series. I love how the machines and science bits of steampunk are accompanied by vampires, ghosts, and werewolves. It's honestly a great book and a great series. The plot is good, but I sort of thought something was being hinted and then it ended up being true. It's a tiny bit slow here and there, I kept waiting for something big to happen, bigger than what did happen. But I will say, the ending was torturous. She leaves it at a horrible cliffhanger. ;-; Overall, it's a good book that will most certainly improve your vocabulary and bring you some laughter. While, yes it didn't quite reach the first book's level, it was still very enjoyable. The writing is very much fitting of the period (so much so that I'm impressed every time I read it) and the characters are so unique they seem to own themselves rather than having been written into existence. If you are looking for a good steampunk series, I highly recommend this one!

Rating: PG/14
It's not exactly full of anything in particular, but there's married couple life described in so many words and the occasional mention of nudity or (maybe) a cuss word or two (I seem to remember it being mentioned that someone had swore, but I can't remember if any where actually written).

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Joker: Death of the Family Review

After having his face sliced off one year ago, The Joker makes his horrifying return in this new epic that features Batman's entire network of partners in crimefighting, including Batgirl, Catwoman, Nightwing, Robin, the Teen Titans and more. While The Joker threatens the very existence of Gotham City, these heroes --and villains--must find a way to survive.

Collects Detective Comics #16-17, Catwoman #13-14, Batgirl #14-16, Red Hood and the Outlaws #15-16, Teen Titans #15, Nightwing #15-16, Batman and Robin #15-17, Batman #13 & #17. Also collects the portions of the following issues: Detective Comics #15, Suicide Squad #14-15, Batgirl #13, Red Hood and the Outlaws #13-14, Teen Titans #14, #16, Nightwing #14 and Batman #13-14.

4 stars

I think whether or not you will enjoy this graphic novel is dependent on how much gore you can handle. There are some gruesome panels and disturbing descriptions or comments. I'm not really sure how to review this, it's hard to put it up against the same questions I usually think about when reviewing a book. Was there character development? Certainly, you can't go through what Batman and his "family" went through and not be changed. Even Joker, surely learned something from the ordeal. Did I enjoy the comic? I did, but it wasn't so much of a love for the story. It was more of an interest, the sort of thing that you can't peel your eyes away from because it's a bit shocking. Did I like the characters? Obviously. This is a compilation of several stories from several different comic lines. So we have a story featuring Nightwing, one featuring Catwoman, one with Damien, one with Batgirl, and so on and so on. As a big Batman fan it was a big book full of "chapters" about different characters that have been born from his world that I love. So yes, I did like the characters. Was the plot well developed and complex? YES. There were times where I wasn't completely sure what Joker was working towards, to what exactly he hoped to accomplish. I still understood most of it, but he always seemed to have a trick up his sleeve. There was a good deal of mystery and suspense. Was it exciting? I found it very exciting. 
Overall, it's a dark, twisted story featuring many characters from the Batman comic line. It's definitely something that I enjoyed reading as a Batman fan but found a little disturbing at the same time. It's very interesting, never a dull moment, but also full of heinous plots that Joker has concocted to either mess with the heroes' heads or bring them pain. The fact that it has so many different characters changes things up, each "chapter" is a little different in terms of the approach to the story, the writing, and illustrations. And there are some great twists and, so long as you can stomach the violence, it's a great comic/graphic novel all around. 

Rating: MA, wouldn't recommend for younger readers.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Boy Most Likely To

Surprises abound and sparks ignite in the highly anticipated, utterly romantic companion to My Life Next Door

Tim Mason was The Boy Most Likely To:
- find the liquor cabinet blindfolded
- need a liver transplant
- drive his car into a house

Alice Garrett was The Girl Most Likely To:
- well, not date her little brother’s baggage-burdened best friend, for starters.

For Tim, it wouldn’t be smart to fall for Alice. For Alice, nothing could be scarier than falling for Tim. But Tim has never been known for making the smart choice, and Alice is starting to wonder if the “smart” choice is always the right one. When these two crash into each other, they crash hard. 

Then the unexpected consequences of Tim’s wild days come back to shock him. He finds himself in a situation that isn’t all it appears to be, that he never could have predicted . . . but maybe should have.

And Alice is caught in the middle. 

Told in Tim’s and Alice’s distinctive, disarming, entirely compelling voices, this return to the world of My Life Next Door is a story about failing first, trying again, and having to decide whether to risk it all once more.

Published August 2015. Sort of the sequel to My Life Next Door.
4 stars.

I've honestly been so bad this year about writing reviews or waiting too long and then not remembering all of the thoughts I had about the book I'm attempting to review. That would be the case here, I know that the writing was good and that I enjoyed this book. While My Life Next Door is still my favorite, The Boy Most Likely To was a nice follow-up to it and I enjoyed it better than What I Thought Was True which I'm not sure is exactly tied to My Life Next Door. In any case, it's a good story that you easily get addicted to. I liked the characters and although they weren't perfect, I thought it made them realistic. The romance was decent and swoon-worthy at times. The Garrets are just as amazing in this book as they were in the first. They're honestly my favorite part of the story. I also felt like I could really relate to Alice, who made sacrifices because she felt she must and put her family before everything else. She did it and was grumpy about it sometimes (I'm probably not explaining this very well) but still did what she felt she had to. I could really relate to that. The situations that Tim is put into are interesting and thought provoking, I thought about the future and everything he was put through a lot while reading this book. 
Overall, I thought the characters and this book as a whole were great. I can't remember disliking anything specifically...I think that something Alice did annoyed me here or there, or something she or Tim said that ended up hurting the other, etc. etc. but for the most part I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it if you're a fan of contemporary romances.