WWW Wednesday – 24 April 2019

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

What have you recently finished reading?

I spent Friday reading Romanov by Nadine Brandes and for a while I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. Part of that was because I was expecting it to be something it was not, but also in and of itself, there were things I had issues with. But I found myself thinking about the true story of the Romanovs a lot as a result, so it obviously got under my skin. Here’s my full review.

Then I read The Winter  Freak Show by Daniel Parsons, which has been on my TBR since about 2015! I want to give it the benefit of the doubt and say I’m just a bit old for it… but honestly, I think it was just not the best written book. I just never felt involved.

Last but not least, I finished my early copy of The Doll Maker, which is the fourth book in Celine Jeanjean’s The Viper and the Urchin steampunk series (she hasn’t got it up on GoodReads itself yet). I liked this more than the third book! I think because the conflicts were more personal to the characters, rather than the sweeping effects on a whole nation in the last book.

I don’t usually mentioned DNFs on WWW posts, but a couple of people were interested in Changing Gear by Scot Gardner when I mentioned it last week. I read about 90 pages and it’s possible that it was going to pick up after I left off. But the main character just made a string of terrible decisions and I didn’t have any sympathy for him!

I also reviewed Wolfhunter River by Rachel Caine this week. Click the title to read it.

What are you currently reading?

I’ve started P Is For Pearl by Eliza Henry Jones, which is next on the 2019 Children’s Book Council of the Year Award Notables list. It’s a contemporary, and the Aussie setting is really vivid and the teen characters actually seem realistic (with all the SFF I’ve been reading recently, everyone has seemed a bit older than their years). I’m not sure exactly what this one’s about but I’ve been warned to have the tissues handy.

Not much movement on Enchantee by Gita Trelease this week. To be honest, after finishing Romanov, I spent my solo driving time singing along with the Anastasia cast album,  so this got pushed aside.

What do you think you will read next?

I was scanning NetGalley the other day and Lucid by Kristy Fairlamb was available as a Read Now. I already follow this author on Twitter and had been considering reading the book, so I snapped it up.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

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WWW Wednesday -17 April 2019

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

What have you recently finished reading?

I finished A Million Worlds With You by Claudia Gray. This was a great end to the series. I wasn’t sure how Claudia Gray was  possibly going to wrap everything up but she managed it, and it worked really well! Here are my reviews of the second and third books in the series.

I also read The Steam Engines  of Oz by Sean Patrick O’Reilly and Erik Hendrix with illustrations by Yannis Roumboulias. This was at the behest of my partner, who has started a YouTube channel talking about various Oz adaptations and how they relate to the original books. I didn’t love this. It didn’t have a whole lot of depth and while I’m not completely up on my Oz lore, even I spotted deviations from the original stories which didn’t really seem to add anything.

I also finished Wolfhunter River by Rachel Caine and enjoyed it despite it really only getting going in the suspense department in the last third. But it had a lot of really strong character stuff, and a pretty strong crime story, so still plenty going nfor it.

What are you currently reading?

I literally finished Wolfhunter River an hour ago, so I am something like 1% into Romanov  by Nadine Brandes.  I have really high hopes for this book, and I really hope it doesn’t disappoint. I had tickets to see Anastasia on Broadway later this year and then it closed in March so this book is all my Romanov-inspired fantasy for this year.

I have also started listening to Enchantee by Gita Trelease. I’m glad I’ve found an historical fantasy set in France that I am enjoying more than I enjoyed The Gilded Wolves. Though I think it is going to be a bit on the long side. We shall see.

On that note, thanks for your audio book recommendations last week! I appreciate it, and I’ve added a few to my wish list.

What do you think you will read next?

I’ve been saying this for weeks, but this week it really will be Changing Gear by Scot Gardner, another #LoveOzYA that is on the Children’s Book Council of Australia 2019 Notables list.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

“Fate doesn’t guarantee us a happy ending … but fate gives a chance.” // Review of “A Million Worlds With You” by Claudia Gray

Title: A Million  Worlds With You (Firebird #3)
Author:
 Claudia Gray
Genre: Sci-fi/romance
Target audience: YA
Date Read: 08/03/2019 – 14/03/2019
Rating: ★★★★

Review:

Please note: as this review is for a third book in a series, there may be mild spoilers for the first, A Thousand Pieces of You, and second, Ten Thousand Skies Above You.

I honestly wasn’t sure how Claudia Gray was going to tie everything up in this last book of the series. There seemed to be so much goinig on and so many variables. But she managed it and she  managed it well.

What I’ve really admired about this series is the way in which little hints dropped early on become so much more important later on. This continued in this book, right down to things that were mentioned as a possibility in the second book becoming important here. It’s clear that Gray had this whole series set out before she delved into writing it.

In this book, several of the universes where Firebird technology has developed are in communication with each other, and sometimes it got a bit confusing trying to remember who was who. Especially in one pivotal scene that I don’t want to spoil, but you’ll definitely know it when you get to it. Once again, some of the sciencey stuff did seem to be resolved a little too easily, but the woorld-building remained internally consistent so I didn’t mind too much.

As I’ve said in my previous reviews of this series, the romance is just as important, if not more important, than the science. THis one is no different. I understand that the splintering in book two is what has affected Paul, but I did just find him a bit mopey at times… and Marguerite thus had to spend a lot of time trying to convince him that their relationship was still something worth pursuing. I don’t know, this just got a bit old after a while. But there was a really lovely moment between Paul and one of the other Marguerites that made me grin stupidly. Again, you’ll know it when you get to it.

Theo was still Theo and I think overall, he actually turned out to be my favourite of the two guys. He just didn’t have as much to do in Book 1, which is why I didn’t realise earlier. 😂 I also want to note how much I loved the different versions of Henry and Sophia, Marguerite’s parents. they are delightful. It has been nice to read a YA series where the protagonist’s parents are not only both alive but actively involved in the events of the story.

I’m really glad I picked up the first book of this series on a whim. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know these characters and I’m definitely going to keep an eye on Claudia Gray’s other series.


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“Ten thousand skies, and a million worlds, and it still wouldn’t be enough for me to share with you” // Review of “Ten Thousand Skies Above You” by Claudia Gray

Title: Ten Thousand Skies Above You (Firebird #2)
Author:
 Claudia Gray
Audio book narrator: Tavia Gilbert
Genre: Sci-fi/romance
Target audience: YA
Date Read: 31/03/2019 – 08/03/2019
Rating: ★★★☆

Review:

Please note: as this review is for a second book in a series, there may be mild spoilers for the first, A Thousand Pieces of You.

This book was not as good as the first one in the series, and I got frustrated quite a bit! However, it did address some things that had bothered me in the first book, and some of the things that bothered me early in this book were actually addressed and questioned later on, so that was good. 

In the aftermath of the events in the first book, Paul and Marguerite are convinced that destiny brings them together in every universe, which is a bit… *gag*. But as she travels to various universes, this is actually questioned. Theo plays a much larger role in this book than Paul, who is often barely there at all. And after Paul being all Book Boyfriend Material-like in the first book, I have to say, Theo stepped up to the plate here. XD

On that subject, I want to make two notes about the love triangle in this series. The first is that this when you’re dealing with multiple universes and infinitie possibilities, it actually makes sense that a person would have more than one love interest. So I didn’t mind the love triangle aspect so much.

And second, I love the way Theo’s feelings for Marguerite don’t come between their friendship, that he respects that she didn’t choose him in their universe (even if he is jealous of his counterparts where she did), and it also doesn’t come between Theo’s friendship with Paul. Direct quote: “I love Paul just as much as you do. Anything you want to do to get your boyfriend back, I want to do to get my best friend back.” So often the love triangle comes at the expense of everything else and that didn’t happen here.

The plot did get a bit predictable at times. I called three major revelations well before they happened. But I didn’t expect the major twist towards the end, which sets things up for book three.

Once again, the pacing was sometimes strange. I’ve realised that this is a quirk of these books: start by throwing the reader into an exciting scene. Then have a series of flashbacks to explain how Marguerite reached this moment. Most of the time in each world was focused on Paul and Marguerite’s feelings, and often the science-y bit was wrapped up quite easily in a chapter before they left for the next world. The really important information all came in the final quarter.

One of my frustrations with these books is never knowing how the characters’ other-world counterparts feel about having their bodies taken over for a period. To that end, I did appreciate the return to the Russiaverse of the first book, even if most of the chapters spent there seemed a bit… useless. Again, it was mostly just a way for Marguerite to figure out her feelings, rather than there being much in the way of the plot moving forward. But revisiting a past ‘verse did mean that Marguerite had to recognise that her actions have consequences for her counterparts, and that was important.

In terms of the audio book, Tavia Gilbert is once again a really great narrator. I was a bit disappointed that there were fewer accents, though. In the first book, all the Russian characters had Russian accents. Here, they were American, as though we were hearing their conversation through a Babel Fish (google it if you don’t understand that reference). This one does say that Theo has a slightly Dutch accent in the Russiaverse, so I can understand not using the heavy French accent from the first book, but the Marguerite and Vladimir have grown up in Russia, so there’s no reason for them to have anything else.

… sorry, that last paragraph got a bit long-winded.

The book ends on a cliffhanger, and I was glad I had a copy of the third book to move straight onto. Despite these frustrations, I think it is mostly a case of middle-book-syndrome, and i absolutely want to see how everything pans out.


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WWW Wednesday -10 April 2019

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

What have you recently finished reading?

I finished Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray. It’s been a long time since  I sped through an audio book in a week. Yes, I had more solo driving recently, but i think it was also that I was actively putting this on whenever I possibly could. It’s not as good as the first one (my review will be up tomorrow and explains why), but it definitely does some good setting up for the last book.

On a related note, click the title to read my review of A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray.

What are you currently reading?

Of course, I have now moved onto A Million Worlds With You by Claudia Gray, which is the third and final book in the Firebird series. I am actually reading this one, rather than listening… I’m not very far in at the moment because I haven’t had much reading time. I’m doing a uni intensive this week, but tomorrow and Friday we don’t have site visits so I can bus to campus and read during travel time.

I’m at about 20% on Wolfhunter River by Rachel Caine. As I said, I haven’t had much reading time so I haven’t been able to give it much attention. I have a couple of days off next week in addition to the Easter public holidays so I might try to devote a morning to it or something.

What do you think you will read next?

I have some library books but I’m not sure where exactly I’ll go. Does anyone have any audio book recommendations? I can’t decide what to spend my next Audible credit on.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

Teaser Tuesday – April 10, 2019 – A Million Worlds With You by Claudia Gray

Hello, and welcome once again to Teaser Tuesday.

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by The Purple Booker. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too.

I did this meme for a couple of months back in 2015 when it had an entirely different host. I’ve decided that starting this month, I’m going to try to get more involved in the bookish community, and I’ve got a few memes to participate in.  I look forward to getting to know you all better!

Today’s teaser is from page 1 of A Million Worlds With You by Claudia  Gray. This is the third book in the Firebird series, which I have been reading over the past few weeks and really enjoying. I have only just started this one and didn’t want to flip too far in and spoil myself, and you have to admit, this is a pretty gripping opening paragraph.

“I can’t breathe. I can’t think. All I can do is hang onto this cable and stare down at the river at least four hundred feet below me.”

You can visit The Purple Booker for more Teaser Tuesday posts!

~ Emily

“I would love you in any shape, in any world, with any past. Never doubt that.” // Review of “A Thousand Pieces of You” by Claudia Gray

Title: A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird #1)
Author:
 Claudia Gray
Audio book narrator: Tavia Gilbert
Genre: Sci-fi/romance
Target audience: YA
Date Read: 23/03/2019 – 31/03/2019
Rating: ★★★★☆

Review:

Well, this was unexpected. I have been aware of this series for years, but it was never high on my TBR. I chose it as a whim when I was looking for an audio book to start while I was cooking. I had no idea I’d end up loving it and being as invested in it as I was.

While ostensibily a science fiction story (the characters are using a device that allows the user to jump between parallel dimensions), I would say the romance plays a larger part. There were aspects of it that I found annoying, such as Marguerite declaring that she was “in love” with a character she had known for three weeks. It also gets a bit love triangle-y, though it eventually becomes clear that Marguerite favours one guy over the other.

While I like the idea of two people being drawn together in every universe, the idea of this transcendtal love did seem a little bit overblown. But at the same time, this isn’t just accepted by the characters. Marguerite wonders whether  being in love with one version of Paul means she loves every version, since the same traits carry over from dimension to dimension. The complications of this are taken into consideration so I was glad they didn’t just decide it was fate and never question it.

I mean, it probably also helped that I liked Paul. Book boyfriend material right there. Particularly the Imperial Russia version of him. But also the home-universe version of him. He’s awkward but protective but doesn’t smother Marguerite in any way.

Speaking of which, I really enjoyed the different universes. Marguerite, Paul and Theo visit a futuristic version of London, a version of Russia still ruled over by the Romanov family, and a version of the world where climate change is much more drastic and most people live in underwater stations. There’s also a world that’s nearly the same as their home universe. In some ways, that was probably the hardest one to pull off and I think Gray did a good job of conveying seemingly tiny differences that are actually huge.

The pacing is sometimes a bit weird. At least a quarter of the book is set in the Russia universe, and that is mostly comprised of a slowburn romance. There are twists in the last third and most of the action happens in the last quarter. The twists had been hinted at early on in the book and I did have at least one moment of “Ohhhhhhh!” when a seemingly innocuous comment from Paul had momentous implications for Marguerite (and the reader, who knew what it meant).

Also shout-out to Tavia Gilbert, who performed the audio book. Not only did the different characters all have different voices that suited them perfectly, she adapted those for each of the worlds Marguerite visited. I was very impressed.

I tried to talk myself into waiting a week for the second audio book to become available through my library system, but I gave in only a few hours later and used my Audible credit to get the next one. I didn’t want to wait!


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WWW Wednesday – 03 April 2019

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

What have you recently finished reading?

I finished The Dying Flame by R. L. Sanderson, which I didn’t love, but I also want to read the next one. I think this book needed to set up a lot and now that it has been set up, the story can get going in book two. I don’t think I’ll review this one, though, at least not formally. It’s hard to write less-than-glowing reviews of things written by friends.

I also sped through the audio book of A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray. This ended up being my favourite book of the month! I’ve been aware of this series for years and only picked up the audio book just on a whim. Who knew that a YA sci-fi/romance was just what I needed?!

Two reviews this week: Catching Teller Crow by Ambelin Kwaymullina and Ezekiel Kwaymullina, and Hive by A. J. Betts. Click  the titles to read them.

What are you currently reading?

I tried to persuade myself to wait until the library copy of Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray became available this weekend, but that lasted all of a few hours and I used an Audible credit to purchase it Sunday night  (after finishing the first book Sunday morning). I’m about 30% in already. Also, I want to say, if you are interested in this series, and you like audio books, definitely listen to it! Tavia Gilbert is fantastic.

I’ve also started Amelia Westlake by Erin Gough, which I have heard a lot of good things about. This is a #LoveOzYA contemporary about two girls who create some a hoax at their fancy private school to expose the school’s problems, and it goes a bit too far. I started doing Teaser Tuesday yesterday and shared a quote from this book here.

I’ve also finally started Wolfhunter River by Rachel Caine! This comes out on April 23. I’m only 7% in at time of writing but I’m so keen to get back into this series.

What do you think you will read next?

I… don’t know, because when I started this post a couple of days ago I had Wolfhunter River slated for this answer! Most likely it will be Changing Gear by Scot Gardner, another #LoveOzYA that is on the Children’s Book Council of Australia 2019 Notables list. I haave a copy out from the library.

What are you reading this week? 🙂