Sunday, August 9, 2015

Sampled Book 13: Captured

Captured, by S.J. Harper

This bookmark advertises a series that features FBI agents Emma Monroe and Zack Armstrong. It says, "She's cursed. He's damned. Together, they make one hell of a team."

It's misleading though. The website does not have a link to a free e-book, just to an excerpt on the publisher's website.

The excerpt was too short. There was too much emphasis on a drooling introduction to Zack without giving me any reason to care. Instead of making the reader care about him through the story, the author takes short cuts by comparing him to characters fleshed out by others, James Bond and Seeley Booth. Those guys aren't even book characters.

Only at the very end does the reader learn much about the narrator–a siren, cursed by Demeter. We aren't given enough to care about her. 

Captured is the fourth book in the series and the author may be one of those writers who assume only people familiar with the other books will read this one. That's too bad because I've often been lured into a writer's works by reading a later book. 

Friday, August 7, 2015

Books We Bought After Comic-Con

It's been a month since Comic-Con and the PALS have been busy reading. And talking. And buying.

We reviewed our agreement to review the samplers and will continue doing it.

We discussed writing reviews of books when we felt like it. We've posted some of them already.

Then someone had the bright idea of keeping track of the books we bought as a result of Comic-Con. That inspired much discussion.

One member sat through a panel that was in the room just before the program she really wanted to attend. It's something people do if they really want a seat at a panel. The first panel  was so interesting she ordered the book from Amazon on her iPad during the Q&A.

Another member was grabbed by a sampler and realized she had picked up a copy of the author's first book. She enjoyed it so much she bought the rest of the trilogy and has preordered the sampler book.

A third member liked a free book so much she bought another one by the author.

A fourth member bought the third volume of Don Rosa's Uncle Scrooge collection from Fantographics because she saw it while she was waiting in line for a book signing. She was thrilled to learn he'd be there the next day and delightedly had her book signed by him.

We all remembered Naomi Novik's Uprooted sampler from last year.

It was agreed we would alert the PALS scribe to any book purchased as a result of anything Comic-Con and she would post the information.

Sampled Book 12: Heartless

Heartless, by Marissa Meyer

This sampler has a confusing inside cover. The words apply to The Lunar Chronicles, but pictures don't seem to be books in that series. Which is Heartless? My guess is it belongs with the pictures since they seem to relate to fairy tales. 

Heartless is about a girl who longs to open a bakery with her maid, though how she thinks it will work escapes me since it took her 5 hours to bake 3 lemon tarts. They were perfect lemon tarts, but at that rate she'd never make enough stock to stay in business.

Her Mom clearly has other plans and wants her to have a 20" waist. There's magic–the heroine dreams of a lemon tree and one appears in her bedroom. There are oddities like rocking horse flies. There's stuff from other stories, like cheshire cats that disappear. All interesting things.

But somehow they didn't make me want to read more. I think it was the corsets I just can't get into fantasy novels where women are tortured as part of daily living. Does that make me Heartless?

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Sampled Book 11: Six of Crows

 Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo

This is the best kind of sampler. It concentrated on one character, Joost, a lowly member of the night watch who's trying to come up with the perfect way to compliment a girl's eyes. He's got a dull job and during the course of one night it becomes much less dull and his crush becomes scary powerful.

The characters are clearly delineated and the other story grabbed me. I want to know what happened to the little boy and the merchant, not just Joost and the girl, Anya.  What are the grisha and why are they such valuable apprentices?

The inside cover shows pictures of the books in the author's Grisha Trilogy. I recognized one, Shadow and Bone. I'd picked it up at Comic-Con and I'm going to read it next.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Sampled Book 10: Hilo, The Boy Who Crashed to Earth

Hilo, The Boy Who Crashed to Earth, by Judd Winick

This sampler was certainly colorful. A graphic novel/comic book, it tells a cliched story. A boy has no friends. His bestie (a girl) moved away several years ago. 

But that's about to change because a boy crashes down from the sky.

The sampler itself gives children an understanding of the different parts of comic books. Two pages have the illustrations with empty thought balloons so kids can write their own dialogue. On other pages kids can do their own illustration. On still other pages the drawings are black and white so kids can do their own coloring. 

I loved the sampler, but wouldn't buy the book.