Throwback Thursday: The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library, #1)

Paperback, 341 pages
Published June 14th 2016 by Roc

I’m pretty upset with myself for not starting this series sooner!  I’ve been collecting this series since its US release, but kept setting it aside for other reads.  In spite of hearing fantastic things!  I honestly could not tell you why I wasn’t as interested in picking this one up to read until recently.  Perhaps the cover wasn’t eye-catching enough?  Unknown!  But it’s all good now as I listened to this book as an audio and loved it!

This book creates an intense pace, delightful characters, deep-seated secrets, and an investment to learn more about the world and the characters’ backstories.  If you like thrillers, steampunk, libraries, secrets, things to get a little creepy, or the battle between order and chaos, you should have already been reading this series a long time ago!

So far, it looks like five titles have been released with a six scheduled for a December/January book birthday and a seventh that has been announced.  I know the first four books are sitting on my shelf, and I’ve just bumped them up much higher on my TBR.  Plus, I gave book one to a friend, so I’m sure she’ll want book two very soon 🙂

Have you read this series yet?  Want to yell at me for just now jumping on this train?  Go for it in the comments below!

The Secret Chapter (The Invisible Library #6)

Summary:

Collecting books can be a dangerous prospect in this fun, time-traveling, fantasy adventure from a spectacular debut author.
 
One thing any Librarian will tell you: the truth is much stranger than fiction…

Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, a shadowy organization that collects important works of fiction from all of the different realities. Most recently, she and her enigmatic assistant Kai have been sent to an alternative London. Their mission: Retrieve a particularly dangerous book. The problem: By the time they arrive, it’s already been stolen.

London’s underground factions are prepared to fight to the death to find the tome before Irene and Kai do, a problem compounded by the fact that this world is chaos-infested—the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic to run rampant. To make matters worse, Kai is hiding something—secrets that could be just as volatile as the chaos-filled world itself.

Now Irene is caught in a puzzling web of deadly danger, conflicting clues, and sinister secret societies. And failure is not an option—because it isn’t just Irene’s reputation at stake, it’s the nature of reality itself…

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Quick Reviews: Graphic Novel Stack #1

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Lately, I’ve been trying to focus on working my way through a huge stack of graphic novels that I’ve collected and either read and forgot or just haven’t read yet.  Today, I want to share my thoughts on the first ten that I made it through last week.  This may turn into a series of posts if I can continue to work diligently on this project.

For now, I leave a comment or two about the art, the story, and whether I plan to keep reading the series (if available).

Mera: Tidebreaker

This one wasn’t from my personal collection but from the library.  I loved how the art was a blend of muted blues and greens to convey the water aspect while Mera’s bright red hair stood out brilliantly.  The story was interesting in that it showed how Mera found Arthur/Aquaman and why and was well done.  Overall, this one was great, and I would definitely recommend it.

Charmed: Season 9, Volume 1

I actually read this one shortly after its release in 2011, which was around the time that Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 was released as a graphic novel.  I didn’t remember it well at all, and on reread I understood that this was because it wasn’t particularly memorable.  The art stayed true to the original actresses, which was nice.  But the story didn’t cover any new ground.  I probably won’t go looking for any more of this series.

Night's Dominion, Vol. 1 (Night's Dominion, #1-6)

It felt like reading a complex Dungeons & Dragons campaign with classic character classes, a cult to defeat, undead running rampant, and other iconic bits.  However, it managed to feel original, and the characters were fun to see develop.  Sometimes the art style wasn’t my favorite with angles that felt too sharp and muted colors, but overall, it worked for the story.  I think I will look into volume 2!

reMIND: Volume 1

OK.  This one… This one was a little weird.  But in a good way.  The story was compelling and I couldn’t put it down until I’d finished.  The art was less complex, but that just emphasized the story rather than detracting from it.  It looks like there is a second volume, but I’m on the fence about trying to track it down.  Certainly, it is worth reading.

Valiant High

Perhaps I would have liked this one better if I was more familiar with these characters.  The premise of favorite superheroes being put back into high school and following their antics is pretty ubiquitous now, so the story itself was fine.  I do like the art style and the diversity of the characters.  I don’t know that I will follow this title at the moment, but I’m tempted to go find the regular series for some of these characters.

Athena Voltaire & the Volcano Goddess

With this one, I was expecting more of a fantasy theme to go with the volcano goddess in the title.  That wasn’t what I got.  The detailed art was rather nice, but the story didn’t work for me at all.  I won’t be pursuing this one.

Shadow of the Queen (Once Upon a Time, #2)

As a big fan of Once Upon a Time, I was thrilled that a graphic novel was being released.  I remember reading it, and not caring?  So I did a reread.  And was disappointed.  My biggest complaint is that for the four “issues” they used a different artist for each, which didn’t help convey that the story was supposed to be cohesive and not an anthology.  Secondly, the Hunter wasn’t one of my favorite characters to begin with, but this backstory only reinforced what we knew from the show.  I don’t think it added any new characterization.

Eclipse, Vol. 1

I’m always looking for new post-apocalyptic concepts, and this one was definitely interesting.  The art did a good job of showing us the stark horror that these humans face while world building without the need for a lot of exposition.  I could have used a bit more explanation for what had actually happened to Earth, but I enjoyed this one.

The Breadwinner: A Graphic Novel

Having not read the book that this is based on, I can’t comment on whether it’s a faithful adaptation.  But the art added a youthful edge to this harsh story depicting the trials of another culture.  This isn’t the type of story that I like to read in my downtime, but I would recommend it to people wanting a glimpse into the life of a Middle Eastern family.

Courtney Crumrin 1: The Night Things

This one didn’t grab me like I thought it would.  The premise was intriguing, and I liked the mystery.  Sometimes the art was more angular than rounded, which through me off.  Maybe the pacing it was killed it for me, but I won’t be following up on this one either.

 

What do you think?  Have you read any of these?  I’d love to hear your thoughts and/or disagreements with my assessments.

Post 300! Favorite Series/Authors Spotlight

I just so happened to notice that this will be my 300th post since moving platforms, and I thought I’d do something a little different and talk about some of my favorite authors and series.  And why I love them so much!  Be prepared to see a range of older publications, some out of print possibly, and newer raging phenomenon.  These are in no particular order as I love them all the same 🙂

Quick note: This turned out to be a huge list!  Because of this I took out any stand alone books and graphic novels.  Hopefully, I’ll build each of those their own individual lists soon 🙂

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Throwback Thursday: The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

The Burning Sky (The Elemental Trilogy, #1)

Hardcover, 449 pages
Published September 17th 2013 by Balzer + Bray
Even though this book has been on my physical shelf since its release (as well as books 2 and 3), I just now read it for the first time.  And I actually listened to the audiobook to start with, but couldn’t wait for time to continue listening.  So I finished it with the physical book!  I liked this one a lot.  I’m a bit angry at myself for waiting so long to read it.  But I am hoping to fit the other two in before the end of the year now.
This was a fun take on the gender swap to avoid detection trope, and it led to some very amusing circumstances.  There was plenty of action and suspense.  As well as an abundance of secrets and mysteries.  Hopefully, those will be uncovered more as the series continues.  I would highly recommend this to any fantasy reader.

Summary:

It all began with a ruined elixir and a bolt of lightning.

Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she’s been told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of The Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the most powerful tyrant and mage the world has ever known. This would be a suicide task for anyone, let alone a reluctant sixteen-year-old girl with no training.

Guided by his mother’s visions and committed to avenging his family, Prince Titus has sworn to protect Iolanthe even as he prepares her for their battle with the Bane. But he makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the tyrant closing in, Titus must choose between his mission—and her life.

Looking ahead to 2018

As I mentioned in my last post, these last few months have been rather busy for me, and there hasn’t been much time for blogging.  But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about the blog and where I want it to go in the future.

I enjoy featuring books that have released each month, but instead of waiting until the next month to look back on what I didn’t have time to read or review, I want to post about books that I’m excited to see release!

That is partially because I want to focus on reading more of the books that have been sitting on my physical and electronic shelves for years.  My TBR is incredibly huge and I can’t believe the number of amazing books that continue to be published, and the large fandoms I’ve been missing out on over the last couple years.  So many series and authors to catch up on!!

Although, I’m going on a book-buying ban, I’m hoping to share more book haul posts and sharing other fun bookish things as they come up.  We’ll see how it goes 🙂

Throwback Thursday: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone (Shadow and Bone, #1)

Hardcover, 358 pages
Published June 5th 2012 by Henry Holt and Company
 To be completely honest, Leigh Bardugo wasn’t on my radar until after the release of Six of Crows when I attended ALA for the first time through work.  I had heard really great things about it and that the sequel would be releasing soon, so I bought a used copy of Shadow and Bone to get signed and made up bookplates as well.  Just in case I fell in love with her writing 🙂
After meeting her briefly in the signing line and seeing her have lots of fun up on stage with Marissa Meyer, who I did love, I was convinced I would love Leigh’s books as well.  Unfortunately, I still didn’t get around to making time to read any of them until last week.  When I knew I was planning to meet her on tour tomorrow!  (I think it might have been that the original cover doesn’t appeal to me very much.)
The Gathering Dark (The Grisha, #1)
When I finally did start reading the first Grisha book, I was not at all surprised to find that I did like the story.  A lot!  I was compulsively reading it whenever possible and finished it quickly.  There are a lot of reviews out there that break the book down and talk about worldbuilding and characterization (both are great).  And plenty of fans that will tell you how amazing the author is (it’s true).  Plus several that will mention that the story isn’t new (because it’s not).  However, the only opinion that matters is how this story makes you feel.  That’s what reading is all about, right?
I liked this story a lot.  The characters were fun and the world was interesting (if a little confusing on some points).  But it made me remember why I like reading.  And that’s pretty awesome 🙂  So I definitely plan to finish this first trilogy and dive into Six of Crows with high expectations.  And hopefully, Leigh stills has some stories to tell in this world!
Shadow and Bone (Shadow and Bone, #1)

Summary:

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

Throwback Thursday: Storm Siren by Mary Weber

Storm Siren (Storm Siren, #1)

Hardcover, 320 pages

Published August 19th 2014 by Thomas Nelson / HarperCollins

Here’s a book that’s been on my TBR for ages (well I guess only 3 years since that was when it was released), and I finally made time to read it.  To be honest, it happened because I find out that the author was coming to ALA, and I wanted to collect her signature 🙂  But I’m so glad that I did!

After reading Roar by Cora Carmack earlier this year, I was ready to read more weather magic stories.  Storm Siren did not disappoint, and, as a bonus, had some intriguing eccentric characters that I wasn’t expecting to see.  The world building was also intriguing, and I hope we get to explore more of that in the second and third books.  Overall, I basically ploughed threw this book to finish it as quickly as possible because it was so good!  Great pacing and characters do that for you though 🙂

One thing that killed me: it ends on a major cliffhanger!!  Normally, I hate that, but since the whole series is out, I can pick up the story where it left out at any time.  Also, I checked the beginning of book 2 and can tell you that it retells that last bit of this book and continues right where it left off.

Have you read this book/series?  What did you like or dislike?

Summary:

“I raise my chin as the buyers stare. Yes. Look. You don’t want me. Because, eventually, accidentally, I will destroy you.”

In a world at war, a slave girl’s lethal curse could become one kingdom’s weapon of salvation. If the curse—and the girl—can be controlled.

As a slave in the war-weary kingdom of Faelen, seventeen-year-old Nym isn’t merely devoid of rights, her Elemental kind are only born male and always killed at birth — meaning, she shouldn’t even exist.

Standing on the auction block beneath smoke-drenched mountains, Nym faces her fifteenth sell. But when her hood is removed and her storm-summoning killing curse revealed, Nym is snatched up by a court advisor and given a choice: be trained as the weapon Faelen needs to win the war, or be killed.

Choosing the former, Nym is unleashed into a world of politics, bizarre parties, and rumors of an evil more sinister than she’s being prepared to fight . . . not to mention the handsome trainer whose dark secrets lie behind a mysterious ability to calm every lightning strike she summons.

But what if she doesn’t want to be the weapon they’ve all been waiting for?

Set in a beautifully eclectic world of suspicion, super abilities, and monsters, Storm Siren is a story of power. And whoever controls that power will win.

 

State of the Blog: March 2017

I did some thinking and soul-searching recently when I noticed that my 2017 releases TBR pile was growing majorly out of control.  After examining what was on my list as well as the goals for older TBR titles, I think I’ve come to a happy decision.  I’m going to focus on 2017 DEBUTS for my Pub. Month Challenge!

2017 Debuts

That’s not to say I won’t slip in some highly anticipated sequels or authors in the lineup, but I’m ridiculously excited and have already pre-ordered quite a few fantasy debuts this year that I very much want to see succeed.

And because I’m so excited about these debuts, I’m going to just share a quick peek at them here, so you know what to expect in the coming months!!  And look for a giveaway over on my Twitter in the near future (@reddjena).

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