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Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

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I was so, so disappointed in this book. It was on my TBR list for probably two years before I got around to listening to it. I don't feel like the author connected the readers to her characters so the whole time I was listening to what happened to people I didn't care about. When you don't feel anything about the characters, none of what they go through makes you excited, anxious, or concerned. This makes for a very boring read.

My biggest issue, aside from not connecting with any of the characters, is how Briar, the mother and one of the two main characters, is portrayed. This woman hardly has a backbone and feels so sorry for herself. Once she realizes that her son, Zeke, has left the outskirts of Seattle and is headed into the walled-off downtown area, her only show of will or drive is that she must go get him and bring him home. Other than this motherly instinct, Briar and Zeke don't seem to have much of a relationship and hardly talk to each other.

Once Briar decides to go over the wall, she pretty much stops making decisions for herself and finishes her quest solely by having the supporting characters carry her there. She doesn't know how to survive on the other side, doesn't know how to go about finding anyone, and doesn't know the good guys from the bad. She's one of the most pitiful characters I have had the misfortune of meeting.

The underworld created for Boneshaker is only mildly interesting and the "zombies" seem to be there because the author wanted to create another obstacle for her characters rather than have them serve an actual purpose or create a more interesting story line.

There was also very little to do with Steampunk. There were a few dirigibles in the beginning and end and one woman had a mechanical arm, but that's it. This should not be included in the Steampunk genre, even a little bit.

Bah. I would not recommend this book and I have zero desire to read any more from this series. I would maybe consider reading something different from this author to give her another chance (because I have heard a lot of good things), but it would definitely be through the (free) library.

1/5 Stars.

Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day by Ben Loory

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Lately I have been reading more and more short stories. I didn't have a problem with them in the past, I would just always choose a novel over several shorter tales. Neil Gaiman's Trigger Warning really got me in the mood so I decided to read this one from my TBR shelf. I'm glad I finally read it because it's my favorite so far; I enjoyed the unique stories so much. Loory gives human qualities to unthinkable things like a house and an ocean in "The House on the Cliff and the Sea." "The Octopus is a cute story about an octopus named Harley who, once living on land, can live forever. Another, "UFO: A Love Story," is, you guessed it, an alien love story. It has a really neat twist to it and most of the other stories.

I was really surprised to find that the author only has this book and a children's book published. It was also a disappointing discovery because I'd love to read more stories like the ones found in Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day.

4/5 Stars.

Rocket Girl Volume 1

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In the future, NYPD is made up by teenagers. One of the officers, Deyoung, goes back in time to 1986 to investigate a claim that the largest quantum mechanics company did something illegal that drastically altered the future. Only it doesn't explain what, exactly.

This was one of those book where, after reading it, I read the description on the back and thought, "Huh. I didn't get that from what I just read..." The idea is neat and the art is great but the story was poorly executed. There's a lot of jumping back and forth in the story line and I think they made it more complicated than they meant to. I haven't decided yet if I will track down volume two in the future.

2/5 Stars.

Alex & Ada Volume 1

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Alex & Ada is about a man who receives a robot from his grandmother for his 27th birthday. Seven months prior he went through a bad breakup and his grandmother (and his friends) thought it was time for him to move on. Alex thinks having a robot girlfriend is really weird but after going back and forth, he can’t seem to bring himself to return her. Instead, he reaches out to people who may be able to give her the bit of humanity she is lacking, which is what makes her weird to him- the ability to make her own decisions, have opinions, and experience life. This also happens to be very, very, illegal. At the end of volume 1, we see Ada “wake up” for the first time. It was intriguing enough for me to really look forward to reading volume 2. I didn’t rush out and buy it, but I did request it from the library. 

3/5 Stars.

Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard

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Lunch in Paris is a real story.  Sure, you have the normal Paris-colored glasses on while reading, but it's not all pastries and walks along the Seine. It's that and real life.

Elizabeth met Gwendal while she was living in London (she's from New York). They did the long-distance thing for a while (weekends in Paris? Yes please!) and after two years she took the plunge to move into his cozy Parisian apartment with him.

She shares her struggles with learning French, moving to a foreign country, making new friends, and figuring out what she wants to do job wise. She talks about learning the French attitude of doing what makes you happy versus doing what will earn the most money (as we tend to do in the US), and teaches her husband the anything-is-possible attitude many Americans have. It made sense to me that most of the people in their social circle or those they met didn't automatically start talking about what they did for a living; really, who wants to do that? I'm going to find a way to tell new people I meet about my passion for books, my blog, starting a ladies comic book club, and my cats before I talk about where I am stuck from 8-5 each weekday.

Then, there's the food. Elizabeth does a beautiful job taking us on a walk through the market with her and explaining her troubles in trying to recreate her favorites from home with what is available in Paris. Several recipes are included that were part of stories in the same chapter. She also emphasizes what little quantities the french eat; they deny themselves nothing by eating very small portions. I'm working on this! Though it would help if the quality of food were as good as it is over there...

I have already started reading her next book, Picnic in Provence. I recommend them both!

4/5 Stars.

Sheltered Volume 1

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Sheltered takes place on a compound of prepers hidden from the government. They have strong evidence that volcanoes will erupt and make the world uninhabitable for three years. The climax of the story comes when a group of younger people (late teen/young adult age) decide to kill all of the adults/parents so they will have enough supplies for everyone to make it three years. The ending is intriguing but not omg-I-have-to-know-what-happens-next good. I will be getting volume 2 through the library at some point soon. I did really enjoy the art in this one.

3/5 Stars.

Seven Letters from Paris

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I have been obsessed with French and Parisian things for almost as long as I can remember and it has only gotten more intense as the years have gone by. Amy Thomas’s Paris, My Sweet started me on the Parisian memoirs and I have been reading or listening to any that I can get my hands on for the past year. I think Seven Letters from Paris has been my favorite so far, probably because it starts out really really sad then just gets happier and happier and happier until you feel like you’re going to burst and then you get sad again because how can you possibly read anything better than a perfect French love story like this one?

In the beginning of Seven Letters from Paris, Samantha realizes that her marriage is over and that she needs to find the courage to end it. To attempt to get her mind off things, Sam’s best friend Tracey suggests she start a blog based on seven letters she received from a Frenchman after visiting Paris 20 years earlier. This leads to Sam reaching out to Jean-Luc, becoming friends again, and, well, read it and find out! Even just for the seven letters alone it is worth buying.

This book is full of hilarious French language mishaps (asshole for dinner, anyone?), adventure, loss, and overflowing with love of all kinds that makes me want to fly to the south of France to give Sam and her family big hugs all around. Buy it, borrow it, just make sure you read this book! 

100/5 stars.

The Paradox Trilogy by Rachel Bach

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Well, I just left the whirlwind that was reading the Paradox trilogy. It feels so weird though because I obviously can't tell you allll about it, not even the good stuff!

These books follow Devi Morris, a Paradoxian merc whose dream it is to become a Devastator (part of the King's guard). In the hopes of gaining the experience she needs to do this, she accepts a position on Brian Caldswell's ship, The Glorious Fool. Then everything you think you know blows up in your face.

But I can't tell you about it.

OH MAN. It's so good!!

Clearly this is the most coherent and professional review I have written.

While I do have some issues with these books, the trilogy as a complete story is so, so worth it. It's a great ride.

First, read or listen to book one, Fortune's Pawn. Then read or listen to book two, Honor's Knight. Then your only option is to read book three, Heaven's Queen, because for some darn reason they didn't make an audiobook for this one. It's kinda okay because the narrator was NOT good, but I'm glad I listened to at least one to get the pronunciations right for some of the weird space words.