July 30th, 2010


Kindle and Free eBooks

So, I just bought myself a Kindle.  It will never replace physical books but I've really wanted one and finally had the money for it.

It's pretty much the best thing ever.  I love it.  I can download so much to it!  Including things like the New York Times and magazines.  I like having thousands of books at my fingertips.

However, the AWESOME of the Kindle is not the only reason for this post.

I discovered that Goodreads actually has a TON of free eBooks available.  Most of them are ones that are past the publication date, however, some of them are from authors just trying to get their books out.

So if you want some free (legit) eBooks GO HERE.
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adelle: morally grey british woman

REVIEW: The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Likened to the Harry Potter series I expected great things from The Magicians. No sooner then the first chapter did I realize that was a big mistake.  The book centers around the private institution known as Brakebills, a school that trains young teenagers to harness their natural magical ability.  The main character, Quentin Coldwater, hails from Brooklyn, NY and has taken to magic, and the enchanted world of Fillory, as an outlet for his depression.  Upon his acceptance at Brakebills be begins learning about so-called "real magic" and is enchanted by the dark-haired Alice, who appears to be a natural in each class.  The book goes on to show life after Quentin and his group of friends, dubbed The Physical Kids, graduate from Brakebills and enter the world of professional magic.

I have to say that overall, The Magicians did not impress me.  While the very end was redeeming I found that most of this book was completely devoid of plot with unnecessarily complicated language that confused the reader more then it aided the nonexistent story.  Quentin himself is an extremely unlikeable character who was more interested in showing off and appearing self important then he was at working on his magic.   With Quentin's lack of interest, I found this book both void of character and of plot, which left us with prose-like excerpts of life at Brakebills, most of which served no purpose later.  In addition to the choppy narration, Grossman's word choices barely made sense nor lent any redeeming attributes to the characters.

Read the rest of my review @Tea and Literature

#58 Summon the Keeper by Tanya Huff

Claire Hansen is a Keeper who's job and birthright is to keep the universe secure. She's in for quite a shock when she's summoned to a run down hotel, and then wakes up the next morning as it's new owner. When Claire finds a hole to hell in the basement, and a woman frozen in a magical sleep state in one of the rooms, she quickly discovers that there's more going on in Elysian Fields Guesthouse than the previous owner revealed. Now, it's her job to clean things up.

Summon the Keeper is the first book in trilogy. It's also the July selection for calico_reaction 's book club. I've had it sitting on my bookshelf for years, but for whatever reason, I've never picked it up. Now that I have, I can't help but have mixed feelings over the book. On one hand, there is plenty in this book to enjoy. It has all the usual elements found in a typical paranormal fantasy book, which is pretty impressive considering when this was published (1998) “typical” hadn't been fully established yet for the genre. At times, reading it was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed the concept of a hotel where the supernatural come to stay. I also found Austin, the talking snarky cat, to be an enjoyable character. Oftentimes, the chapters feel like their own self-contained stories, and some of these stories really did work, such as the Halloween chapter, and the one focusing on the Greek Gods. Some of the moments in the later chapters can be pretty exciting too.

On the other hand, I had some serious issues with the overarching character storylines. Claire could be a really interesting heroine, but at times she really got on my nerves. Her habit of keeping information from Dean as some form of protection seemed logical at first, but as the story continued and she continued this habit, it began to get really irritating. As for Dean, I liked his habit of cleaning everything and felt as if was, for the most part, a nice guy, but he could be a little dull. The character of Jacques, a ghost that haunts the hotel, was supposed to be all sexy and tempting to Claire, but I just found him to be irritating. As a result, the Dean/Claire/Jacques love triangle never really worked for me. Another major thing I had issues with was the humor, a very important part of this book. There were a few times when the jokes had me smiling, bur for the most part, the humor wasn't for me (especially the ones involving Hell talking to itself in the basement, which happened ALL THE TIME- IN ALL CAPS!).

While reading this book, I often found myself thinking “well I like this but....” As I said before, there was some interesting concepts and enjoyable moments in this book, but my issues with aspects like the characters and the ineffective humor prevented me from fully enjoying this book. I wouldn't call Summon the Keeper a bad book exactly, but it really wasn't for me. I don't think I will be continuing the series.

Rating- three stars
Length: 331 pages
Source: shelf
Challenge: This book is not part of any challenges
Other books I've read by this author: This is my first

xposted to bookish , temporaryworlds , and goodreads
Kitty: Angry Calico

Huff, Tanya: Summon the Keeper

Summon the Keeper (1998)
Written by: Tanya Huff
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 331 (Mass Market Paperback)

The premise: ganked from BN.com: Austin was a black-and-white, far-from-young cat. Not just any cat, mind you, he was the Keeper's cat, a very outspoken feline with extremely strong opinions he was always willing to voice. After all, who knew better then Austin what was best for the well-being of Claire--and for the not-quite-as-important rest of the universe?

Claire Hansen was a Keeper, a member of that select group which kept the universe in one piece. And now she'd been summoned to the Elysian Fields Guesthouse, a rundown bed-and-breakfast that seemed to attract the most unusual clientele. And Claire was not happy about this latest assignment, not happy at all.

Not when she'd been tricked into taking over here by a horrible little gnome of a man who'd abandoned his post before she'd even figured out who he really was . . . Not when room six held a resident who'd been sleeping there for so many years that she really needed a good dusting--except that it was far too dangerous for anyone to get that close to her . . . Not when the basement housed too much temptation for anyone's mental health . . . Not when she found herself surrounded by "helpers" as distracting as Dean, the hunky-yet-innocent handyman, and Jacques, a ghost with a real lust for life . . . And especially not when it looked like this might be not only her most challenging mission but one she'd be stuck handling forever . . .

My Rating

Give It Away: it's a fun book if you're looking for nothing more than a fluffy beach read. The humor is enjoyable, but rarely laugh-out-loud funny (though I did have a few LOL moments, all involving cat behavior). If you're a cat person, you'll certainly find SOMETHING to enjoy about this book, but be warned: the story itself is reactive and episodic without very much keeping the whole thing together in terms of theme. Characters are one-dimensional most of the time, and while that works for the humor, it can be grating and there's times you want to smack a few characters for their behavior. Honestly, Austin, the cat, is the most well-developed character of the bunch, and if I ever read the sequel (and I'm not dying to by any means), I'll read it for the sake of his character/humor. It is fun to see all these urban fantasy tropes published back before the urban fantasy tropes were TROPES, and what's great is rather than a damsel in distress, we have a hero in distress, and even that adds to the humor. Just don't come to this expecting Shakespeare (let alone the best urban fantasy ever). It's fun, but it's not great.

Review style: There's a mishmash of things I want to discuss that may or may not make sense: seeing what I would now label as urban fantasy published back in 1998, before Buffy-Lit fiction took off and commandeered the sub-genre; what this book unintentionally reminds me of (and why that delights me); why this book seems to have romance roots, even though it's really not a romance; we'll discuss which is a better medium (fiction or television) for this particular book, the humor, and lastly, why cats are awesome. No spoilers, so don't worry if you want to read the full review in my LJ. As always, comments and discussion are most welcome. :)


Happy Reading!


Book club selections @ calico_reaction. Hop on over! We'd love to have you!

August: Palimpsest by Catherynne M. Valente
September: So Long Been Dreaming edited by Nalo Hopkinson
labyrinth // book

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

Title: The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner
Author: Stephanie Meyer
Ideal Age Range: Tween/Teen
Hardcover: 178 pages
Blurb: I watched his body change. He crouched on the roof, one hand gripping the edge. All that strange friendliness disappeared, and he was a hunter. That was something I recognized, something I was comfortable with because I understood it.
I turned off my brain. It was time to hunt, I took a deep breath, drawing in the scent of the blood inside the humans below. They weren’t the only humans around, but they were the closest. Who you were going to hunt was the kind of decision you had to make before you scented your prey.
It was too late now to choose anything.
Synopsis: This novella by Stephenie Meyer tells the story of the teenager Bree Tanner and her short life after death as a vampire. We met her for a brief period (very brief) in Eclipse. This story tells of what happened with the vampires that Riley and Victoria “recruited” to join their army of newborns and how she was quite different from the others even though it didn’t help her much in the end.
My Rating:(★★) I am not upset that I read this book, but I am glad that it was only a novella and that Stephenie Meyer hadn’t tried to make it into a full length novel, because there really wasn’t that much substance to the story to carry on that length of tome. There wasn’t that much to it, and it really didn’t take me long to finish the book. Her writing is very easy to read, almost too easy sometimes, almost like it’s missing something, but the ease of the read makes it entertaining in any case.
If you don’t want to have to engage your brain too fully in order to understand what’s going on in this story, you really don’t have to, it’s easy to follow along without really trying.
My final verdict would be that although I didn’t find much to not like about it, I feel like the world could have lived without it being published and not missed out on anything.
Quotes: “Super-secret ninja club sounds way cooler than the whole BFF thing.”

My Rating System:
★ = didn’t like it
★★ = it was ok
★★★ = liked it
★★★★ = really liked it
★★★★★ = it was amazing

© demureconnoisseur/ Stacy Grey

More of my reviews at my Blog: DemureConnoisseur