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Meeeeh. I am not a big fan of books that make me go “meeeeeh”. Which is depressing, because I was expecting so much from this one.

Aidan wants to be a monk more than anything else in the world. Then he would be able to handle the beautiful books of the abbey, perhaps even create them. But there’s something different about Aidan. He can hear the numbers of the world. Everything hums out a specific and mathematical tone to his ears. All is at peace. Until the 11 arrives.

Lana is an entirely different sound and an unfamiliar number altogether. Aidan is intrigued and entranced. In completely unmonkely fashion, he dreams of the special girl and agonizes over his womanless fate. But everything changes in a flash when the Vikings invade. Aidan and Lana must find a way to save what remains of their home and everything they want to reach or escape from will be compromised in the process.

This book was kind of bipolar. It would go from super interesting to completely flat in the space of a paragraph. Must be a record. But after enough of that, I got a little tired of it and instead began to pick up on the inconsistencies. Aidan being the biggest one. Sometimes he struggles with his hormones and hopes and then the next chapter he couldn’t care less about being monk. So sad to see the mental process of a perfectly promising character reduced to “Woman…need…snogfest…” You guys are probably familiar with my opinions on random kissing in books. I have a few.

The writing was a little weak as well. For such an awesome premise I was hoping for some gorgeous and epic-esque, Icemark-esque Viking hardcore writing style. But it didn’t happen. I’m distressed by the loss, even writing this review. Thor would be displeased.

So. Here’s the part I’ve been deliberating on. 2 out of 7 humming trees. ZAP! ouch. It’s been a bit since we’ve seen that number. All the same. I have heard mixed views on this so I’d still recommend you try it if you’re dead set on plowing through the good ole TBR pile.

 

Listening very closely and restraining the meeeh reflex,

Aella Siofra

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I knew right from the first chapter that this was going to be my eerie-fest of the month. I mean honestly, the story starts with… well. You’ll just have to find out.

Tomas and Peter are humble woodcutters, burying themselves in the woodlands outside of Chust, a small town hemmed in by the darkness of the great forest. They share everything in the sparse area, except for the past behind one secret. A long wooden box belonging to Tomas. Peter is never allowed to look within his father’s box, but as strange occurences herald the coming of the winter, the contents prove more important than he ever could have known. A man of Chust is slain… and then another… and then another. In horribly gruesome ways. But no one will acknowledge it as a terrible magic until the coming of the gypsies. Peter and an enigmatic, alluring Gypsy girl enter into several long deep nights of terror and discovery in a story of vampires, night queens, and deep winter.

 

I LURVE a good scary book. Personal favorite is Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. Anyway, ze town librarian recommended I pick up this slim Sedgwick volume and take it for a ride in the days before Halloween, to usher in the fool spookiness of the season. And I did. And it was awesome. I’ve never read any Sedgwick books before, but his writing style was beautiful and full of incredible descriptions of the night. Plus, he did some incredible research into vampire legends in the bleak landscapes of Eastern Europe. And what could possibly be more awesome than zombie-esque vampires? Other than zombie-esque werewolves of course.

 

The writing style was detached, but you still felt for the characters. Reading it like a classic fairy tale, if not an incredibly dark one. I cannot recommend My Swordhand is Singing for people weak in the knees, weak at heart, or at all unnerved by bloody death scenes. I was just a little jumpy after tucking in *cough* two in the morning *cough* after the conclusion. But. Completely and totally worth it. I might have even cried a little at the end.

Definitely a recommendation, although I kind of have the feeling this is the sort of book you love or hate. Just make sure you have time to read it all in one night. Preferably while not alone in the Transylvanian forest. 6.7 out of 7 Epic Magical Swords! Plus. Awesome cover.

 

Inter-Library Loaning Every Other Sedgwick book I can find,

Aella Siofra

Attentionattention, this is not a test! Tell everyone! Everyone you know in the cybernetoblogosphere! ‘Tis the season to be writing. Alot. And quickly. All in one month. Because it is November! Also known as a month entirely made of awesome due to NANOWRIMO!! Now for all of you depressing types who don’t know what NANOWRIMO is, see my fabulous acronym breakdown below:

 

NAtional

NOvel

WRiting

MOnth

 

 I, Aella Siofra, will be participating this year, walking in the footsteps of the many brave typing sorts who have gone before me. So I hope you will check out my profile every so often and see how I’m coming along. But there is a sort of dilemma connected to this. I have two stories that I want to write and no way to choose between them. I am completely in love with twists on an old theme (when done correctly) So *snazzy used car salesman voice* it’s up to you!

Plot A) a sort of twisty Alice in Wonderland dystopia. Many years following Alice’s own adventures and It concerns the kidnapping of Alice’s nephew, Maximillian and the Mad Hatter’s child. A new political landscape for Wonderland and alot of intrigue and secrets

Plot B) Brothers Grimm weirdness. I don’t even know how to explain it, but it uses some elements of some of the stories and changes them until they barely bear sembelance to their usual selves. But. There are werewolves. And bandits. And a rather hardcore version of Little Red Riding Hood.

Leave your thoughts in the comments or I’ll be forced to choose all by myself. And I really don’t want to do that.

 

ALSO COMING UP THIS MONTH!!

The one year anniversary of the Maelstrom crew. Charybdis Book Blog, as you may know, is still being considered as a temporary location, if something should change with the Maelstrom situation. *sniff* I miss it so. But. This year we will be having our first contest ever and on the first anniversary as well. So be on the lookout. November 23rd is the day we consider the beginning. Observe the epic/not-so-epic first post if you will.

Back to business with reviewing. The flow has slowed quite a bit recently due to- dare we say it- life. I have read all of two books in two weeks. Ze horror! But! I have a stack of gorgeous copies just calling out to me for the reading and there will definitely be a more steady supply this month.

Thirdly, I’m working on rebuilding the link lists. If you would like to be included on our side bar and blog rrrrroll, then leave a comment and we’ll check out your blog as soon as possible. And try to remember that we are YA book centered.

Finally, I am resurrecting the myspace this month. I hope there are some new blogs out there with profiles that will consider friending us. It was one our best networking tools and I’m not even sure how I could have let it fade so sadly.

 My apologies for that long and obnoxiously demanding post. Pleasepleasepleaseplease leave your thoughts on everything or anything in the comments. It would be much appreciated.

 

READING! FINALLY!

Aella Siofra

Sorry about the image issues in this post

Sorry about the image issues in this post

I think some of you may know of my previous lurrrrve for this series, but if you don’t than I reviewed Death By Bikini in May. If you haven’t read the first book yet, than that might give you some background.

Aphra is back and she is still awesome, still funny, and still getting into trouble. Determined to find her elusive mother, Natalie, she hops a plane to Seattle without permission. But when she discovers her mother she also realizes her timing couldn’t be worse. Something big is up and Natalie and her secretive fellow agents can hardly wait to get Aphra away from the trouble. But when Agent Watts appears out of nowhere and Seth Mulo steps rather rapidly… and urgently… back into her life, things get more complicated. And when one of Natalie’s close friends and partners is poisoned through basic morning routine, leaving only a garbled cryptic message in his wake, there is no turning back.

As I said before, I really really like the first book in this series. The SASS books of Linda Gerber are also really fun and quick reads. But I couldn’t help but feel that Death By Latte was just a tad bit too quick. Some events seemed kind of crushed together to make space for a large, fabulously dramatic scene. Nyah. All the same, I LOVE Aphra. She’s easy to relate to and consistently witty, although not to the point of being irritating. Also, there is Seth. Oh Seth. He is so difficult to read (haha..bad pun…) which makes him a more engaging beautiful boy character than in alot of books. Veddy nice. The dialogue makes me jealous. I can’t write dialogue to save my life, but Linda Gerber rattles out hilarious and taut conversations in turn, like it’s nothing.

Like it’s predecessor, Death By Latte is a great beach or AGH-I-must-finish-this-paper-but-must-read-something-in-between-so-that-my-head-doesn’t-explode-with-unnecessary-knowledge read (NOT like I’ve ever been there) and reminds me why I loved mystery books growing up. 6 out of 7 Poisoned Cups of Orange Mocha Frappucino (time for another round of naaaamee thaaaaat reference!!!)!

Does anyone have any good mystery novels to recommend for a lonely and Nancy-Drewless reader?

Waiting impatiently for Death by TK,

Aella

I am one of those irrational people who sees a book by a young author and immediately wants to read it. Amelia Atwater-Rhoades in all her incredible. Christopher Paolini during the hype of the initial release. Flavia Bujor and my short-lived obsession with her story the Prophecy of the Stones (that sequel has been 4 years in coming). You get the picture. So, of course, when I read that Isamu Fukui was only 17 years old, I commandeered the library copy of Truancy as soon as I was possibly able. The cover art didn’t hurt much either. I’m a sucker for brooding colors and silhouettes.

Tack is a victim of the system. Just another kid going to school within the confines of the experimental City. His main concerns have to do with increasingly difficult exams, the usual brutality and unjust actions of teachers, and his mysterious new friend from the abandoned District 19. But there are far more sinister things happening in the City. A group of school-hating, gun-slinging, ex-students have gathered one banner of Truancy and pose a challenge to the safety of the city’s adults and Enforcers. The despot Mayor will stop at nothing to put an end to the uprising and keep it a secret from the people of the City. And how better to challenge the Truancy than to threaten the welfare of the very thing they are trying to change- the school children. A new No-Tolerancy policy is put in place and the changes begin. But nothing seems all too real to Tack until his sister dies as an innocent in the underground conflict. Near mad with grief and anger, he breaks loose from all he has known and turns to Truancy.

I had heard a lot of negative reviews on this book. Too violent. Too young. Too ill thought out. But I really didn’t think it was that bad. I actually enjoyed it. I don’t claim to be an expert on books, but I’m glad that I wasn’t put off by all the grumpiness circulating about it.

The characters were almost type cast, but managed for the kind of slam-bang dystopia audience that this book will appeal to.  The plot was interesting and the dialogue quick. The action was constant, but with sufficient background. My only shared complaint with much that remains of the blogosphere was in the violence. There was a lot of it. Some scenes were definitely not for the weak of stomach or easily disturbed. Hardly Lord of the Flies, but little frolicking was attended to in the course of events. Still, I was intrigued for the outcome and only moderately disappointed at the violence.

Not a deep book, but a promising start. Rumor murmurs of a prequel sort of publication buzzing about that I would like to get my hands on. 4.7 out of 7 Ninja-Like Assistants. Decent.

Not skipping school- merely putting off homework by reviewing,

Aella

Today, I actually dared to watch the trailer for the upcoming City of Ember movie. I’ve been putting it off because I love the first book so much and didn’t want to ruin it for myself. BUT! The trailer actually looks alright. The characters look a lot like I’d imagined and Bill Murray is rather fawesome in most movies. Even if trailers are rarely a fantastic reflection on the movie itself. Any opinions to share?

Plus. I’m reading through the whole series again to prepare. Any opinions on Diamond of Darkhold? I haven’t even touched a copy yet. Nyah. It’s driving me crazzzy.

Pensively,

Aella

Perdido Beach was a normal neighborhood until the day when it became the Fallout Alley Youth Zone (FAYZ). All the teenagers and adults have mysteriously disappeared into thin air, leaving the city to those 14 years old and under. Bullies are taking control. Strange anomalies are popping up in nature, even in the kids themselves. Food is running out. And there’s no way out, until your 15th birthday.

The madness of Perdido doesn’t sit well with Sam, the quiet hero type. But he finds allies in his friend Quinn and an age-long crush, Astrid. They’ll prove more important than ever before when a new leader shows up in town. Caine and his crew of prep school kids are smart, controlling, and with a very deep secret behind their goals of “unity”. Sam must begin to solve the mysteries behind the nuclear center, a nameless darkness, and even his own history before Perdido Beach is well and truly lost.

This book felt a little bit like young X-Men on radioactive crack. From the first few pages I was drawn into the story and completely interested in the characters. Michael Grant juggled two story lines that would eventually intersect and managed to make them both as interesting as the other. Usually, when that happens, I care about one character and their trials more than the other’s and skim the bothersome parts. And when the powers started surfacing, it got really exciting. I have always been especially fond of superpower stories. Plus, dystopia = made of awesome. Honestly.

Sadly, with a plot like that, Gone sometimes felt a little formula. I predicted a few of the plot twists that I wish had been more difficult to see coming and the bullies were completely stereotype. Which may have been to prove a point, so I was not exceptionally bothered by it. Another thing that kind of put me out was the Sam was fictional. *sigh* Just like Marquis Shevraeth, Jacob, George Cooper, Prosper, Bobby Pendragon, Draco Malfoy… *rambles for several hours*

All the same, it was a very fun and solid read, well worth the 558 pages. I’m definitely looking forward to the sequel. 5.5 out of 7 leaking nuclear plants for Gone.

Mourning Professor Xavier,

Aella Siofra

PS: I thought that the UK cover for this was infinitely more awesome? Am I alone in this? Medeia, any thoughts?

PS2: If you don’t know who Shevraeth is than go read Crown Duel. Poseidon commands it. Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith.

Have you ever read one of those realistic fictions that are just so good and heart warming that you have to read them again? This one qualifies! One million times over! Plus, the author pretty much rocks our world. I waited far too long to do this review.

Sugar Magnolia Dempsey (yes. that is her real name) is sick of moving. She’s been all over the country, from communes to temples, and the latest shift was the hardest of all. How will she survive without her soul mate Trevor and the fabulous friends that she made in Portland? The pain of the separation only works to harden her resolve. It’s a new day. A new town. In Austin, Texas she will become the lowest of the low. The bottom of the social food chain. The untouchable of geekdom. And all on purpose.

  • Stage 1- find a fellow untouchable to hang with.
  • Stage 2- dress like one escaped from a sanitarium.
  • Stage 3- demolish the social classes altogether.
  • Stage 4- become cool. Wait! That wasn’t in the plan!

But once some things are set in motion than they can become bigger than the person who started them. And Maggie’s forced oddness is only the beginning of love, life, and aerobic swimming (EEK) that will challenge everything she based her decision on to begin with.

This is a really really wonderful book. I love the characters down to the very last one. Jennifer Ziegler creates a protagonist that is supremely easy to relate to, and writes teen hierarchy as it is. All through, it is funny and refreshing. This author has created something bookshelfshakingly real. The antics of Maggie on her quest for loserdom are brilliant and super fun to read (even for the second time
fantastic through). I am almost tempted to show up to school tomorrow in a jumpsuit or kimono. Oh, the stir that would cause.

6.7  out of 7 floral and feathered swimming caps! Highly highly recommended!

Plotting something properly ladder popping,

Aella Siofra

My brothers loved heavy metal. I used to sit up in my bed until 2:00 in the morning, listening to barely coherent words and an unholy abusive sound of guitars stream through the floor over my head. I used to count down from 100 and see if the neighbors called within that time span. And when I was older, they passed on those midnight albums to me. This book made me feel compelled to go through them again and I was astonished by how many I had that were mentioned in the pages of Heavy Metal and You. But at the same time, I really wasn’t surprised at all. Anyway. We should probably move on from unwanted anecdotes of Aella’s life. Sorry ’bout that.

Sam is so head over heels for Melissa that he can barely see straight. The only thing he loves more than her is the sheer power and release of his metal music. And Melissa wants to know more about metal so she can connect with Sam. How perfect is that? Not very. Not when Melissa begins to poke a little more into that side of his life than she is welcome to. Not when she objects to his friends. Not when she’s more interested in his reformation than him. What is the answer to all of this chaos? Why, music of course.

I thought this book was okay-ish.  It has the hardcore and music edge of Nick and Norah‘s with some of the profanity and less of the awesome. Sam was a good narrator, funny and honest, with clear insight into the subculture of metal. Not for the faint of heart- descriptions of a dark underworld were very frank and in your face. Which was really very cool.

Unfortunately, I found that this was one of those books that actually supports stereotypes while trying to destroy them. Metalheads= violent, lost, frustrated, goth. Goth= all black, emo, lost, metalheads. It was prevalent enough to really affect how much I enjoyed the story, which was a sweet story of sacrifice and love, if a little over-used (boy meets girl. falls in love. girl meets friends. hates friend. boy freaks. fightage occurs). But if the stereotypes in fiction don’t bother you, then go for it. Not a bad book. Just irritating if you let things like that get to you. And, Ireallyreallysuperdidn’tlikeMelissa. There. It’s out.

4 out of 7 demented howling Slayer albums!

OMC! Lyk, Black Sabbath!,

Aella

This is two depressing posts in a row now. But don’t worry. I’m reading a comedic book right now and the post will be up soon. On to business.

Dear Enna of Squeaky Books,

Today, September 5th, the posters of Charybdis would like to grovel at your blogging feet and beg for forgiveness. Although we agreed to participate in your amazing birthday contest, we messed up. Screwed up. Did horribly. Broke your trust. And to all the participants in this contest, we also want to extend an apology. It must have been a hassle to expect something to appear and not have it be so. If this was an inconvenience towards anyone we would like to bake you cookies. But we can’t. Because we can’t cook. But we send figmental cookies in your general direction. After WordPress was done being a dingbat, it was too late to save the situation. So once again. We ask. Will you forgive us?

Sincerely,