Nyx Book Reviews

fantasy ♥ paranormal ♥ horror ♥ science-fiction

The Sunday Post 24/01/16

Sunday PostThe Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba from The Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

Hey all! I hope you’re not stuck underneath a huge pile of snow. We’ve had some cold weather here, but barely any snow at all. I love how quiet the world gets when there’s snow, so maybe (hopefully) there will be some more of it in the upcoming weeks :)

Last week I shared this short questionnaire about my blog. If you haven’t filled it in yet, please do! It’s been super interesting seeing the answers. Thanks so much <3

This week on Nyx Book Reviews

A while ago I read the science-fiction bestseller The Martian. Though I can see why people love it, I didn’t adore it as much as the majority. I’m also answering the second round of questions for the Rosemary and Rue readalong we’re having. The book is pretty exciting, very high-paced urban fantasy. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of it.

Read this week

You know who the best Marvel super hero is?

It’s Unbeatable Squirrel Girl!

She’s seriously awesome, has the best sidekicks, and cannot be beaten even by the worst baddies. Unlike all of the gritty noir comic heroes, Squirrel Girl is upbeat and funny and cartoony and full of awesomeness. This is the second volume, and though I wasn’t as blown away by it as the first, but it was still very cool.

How was your week?

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Rosemary and Rue Readalong: Week 2

Together with a bunch of awesome ladies, we are reading Seanan McGuire’s Rosemary and Rue. Every week we will discuss a few chapters based on some questions. This week we read up to chapter 14, and the host is Lynn from Lynn’s Books. To find out more about SF/F Read Alongs or to join, check out our Goodreads group. Or, learn more about the book we are currently reading.

rosemary_and_rue_read_along

1. We finally get to meet Devin and Sylvester. They’ve both played important roles in Toby’s life. What were your initial impressions of both of them and the worlds in which they live. What were your first thoughts about them?

While Devin was quite the way I expected him to be – self-centered, slightly creepy yet kind of loveable, Sylvester was more… excitable than I was picturing? I think throughout the book he has been the first character to be truly happy to see Toby, and he doesn’t seem to be suspicious at all (while all the other fae character seem to be a bit off). This complicates my theory that he might be involved in Evening’s murder!

2. I’m totally intrigued by the Hope Chest – do you have any ideas about what exactly it is and what might be the significance of it being found?

I’m quite interested in the name. Is it a hope chest because it provides hope to changelings? Because fae hope it existed? Some other reason?

It does seem to be a rather powerful magical object with a bit of a mind of its own, which always makes things interesting.

3. Tybalt – I was curious as to Toby’s reasoning to trust him with the Hope Chest – what do you think?

Well, I personally would never entrust anyone I hate with something that important, but Toby didn’t really have any other choices. It would be too easy to put it with her known friends. To be honest I liked it because there was more Tybalt time. I’m not fully aboard the Tybalt-train, but we’re getting there.

4. We experience the reaction of other members of the fae to the murder of Evening and Toby telling them about the Queen’s reactions – did their reactions give you any clues at all?

Everyone deals with grief differently, and I think that counts for the fae as well. Toby’s observation that the Queen is losing her mind makes sense. I can’t say I was looking for clues though, so I have no thoughts on that :)

5. What were your thoughts on Raysel and Luna?

Raysel might be the only person more broken than Toby herself. I wonder what happened to Raysel and Luna while they were away for twelve years – I feel like they might have been trapped by that Simon guy, only not transformed into a fish. Luna is an awesome character, I like how she is some kind of pro gardener.

6. That ending, did we just end up back in the first post? – what is going on? Speculation?? Lets just talk about it please.

Poor Toby. Chapter fourteen makes for a fantastic cliffhanger, doesn’t it? I definitely feel like someone is going to rescue her, but I have no idea who yet.

*****

Are you reading with us?

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Review: The Martian by Andy Weir

Title: The Martian
Author: Andy Weir
Series: Standalone
Rating: 3 Stars

369 pages
Published February 11th 2014 by Crown
Received as a gift

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

After a long period of going back and forth I decided that yes, I did want to give The Martian a try. Usually I am not a fan of books being limited to one person in isolation somewhere, because let’s face it, survival can be quite boring. But since The Martian was turned into quite a successful movie, and it received quite some attention from the mainstream, I put it on my wishlist.

Mark Watney is part of a mission to perform tests on Mars. Disaster strikes, and Mark is left hurt and all alone on Mars, while his team mates and everyone else in the world, for that matter, assume him dead. The next Mars-bound mission is scheduled in five years. Can he survive that long in a hostile environment?

The Martian is basically Robinson Crusoe in space without the racism. This similarity touches on what I see as the weakest aspect of the book – the fact that entirely too much time is spent on Mark’s day to day survival. He tells us about his potatoes. He tells us about his machines. He tells us more about the potatoes. What was missing for me was any psychological insight into the mind of Watney. We barely get any sense of what he actually thinks about – unless he truly does only have potatoes on his mind? That part of the story fell flat for me, and often I felt Watney’s chapters were as dry as the dusty surface of Mars.

On the bright side, The Martian comes with a healthy dose of witticisms and quips, and there are plenty of exciting life-threatening situations for Watney to overcome. Additionally, after a while additional points of view are added to the story, which makes it move along faster and breaks the possible monotony of Mark’s potato farming.

At times The Martian felt very much like a debut – the writing isn’t always as smooth as it should be, and there was a lack of psychological depth. Ultimately though, it is a fun and light-hearted science-fiction novel that appeals to a wide public.

Blurb

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate the planet while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded on Mars’ surface, completely alone, with no way to signal Earth that he’s alive — and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone years before a rescue could arrive.

Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark’s not ready to quit. Armed with nothing but his ingenuity and his engineering skills — and a gallows sense of humor that proves to be his greatest source of strength – he embarks on a dogged quest to stay alive, using his botany expertise to grow food and even hatching a mad plan to contact NASA back on Earth.

Other reviews you might be interested in

The Sunday Post 17/01/16

Sunday PostThe Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba from The Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

Alas, the ending is in sight! I handed in one big boy of an essay this week and will have to finish the other by Friday. And after that, my dear friends, there lies an oasis of DOING ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for at least one whole week. There will be reading and Netflix and all the sleep. It’s going to be wonderful.

I’ve been thinking about my blogging schedule, and I might mess around with that a bit. It would mean a lot to me if you could take a minute to answer these four questions regarding my blog. They’re multiple choice, so you’ll be done in no time at all. Thanks!

This week on Nyx Book Reviews

I got The Girl from the Well from my absolutely awesome Secret Sister as a present and read most of it in a bath tub in Milan. I feel like I have a special connection with this book now, ha. And it’s a good ghost story featuring Japanese mythology, so definitely check it out!

Read this week

Kate Karyus Quinn has been on my radar ever since the fantastic (Don’t You) Forget About Me. It was one of my favourite books of 2014, so I was thrilled that HarperCollins was so kind to provide me with a review copy of her newest book, Down With the Shine. This book has quirky characters, a relatable voice, humour, and just the right amount of bleakness. Its release date is still a while off, but I recommend keeping your eyes out for this one if you enjoy young adult novels with a magic twist.

How was your week?

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Review: The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco

Title: The Girl from the Well
Author: Rin Chupeco
Series: The Girl from the Well #1
Rating: 3.5 Stars

304 pages
Published May 1st 2015 by Sourcebooks Fire
Received as a gift

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Horror books in the YA genre often seem to be a rather flimsy excuse for smooching in dark corners rather than providing actual scares. The Girl from the Well does not fit this picture at all, featuring no romance to speak of and scenes reminiscent of popular horror movies like The Ring.

Okiku is a vengeful spirit. She is compelled to hunt those who have killed children, giving them their deserved horrible death. She has subsided in this manner for centuries, but when she notices a boy with strange tattoos, the monotony of her existence is shaken up.

Interestingly, The Girl from the Well is mostly told from Okiku’s point of view, yet the focus of the story is not Okiku herself but rather Tark and his cousin Callie. Tark’s story is slowly revealed while Okiku observes the humans, seldom interfering herself. In a way, this was rather unsatisfactory – there is little room for emotional depth because Okiku only observes actions. The reader is constantly reminded of a distance between themselves and the characters. Additionally, I would have loved to learn more about Okiku and her past. Many readers aren’t very enarmoured with flashbacks, but I think in this case more insights into her past would have strengthened the narrative.

The upside of Okiku’s point of view is that The Girl from the Well is written in a highly visual manner. Combined with a subject matter – Japanese mythology – that is relatively in the public conciousness through horror movies such as The Ring, the book provides some very hauntingly familiar images.

Very creepy though ultimately never truly scary because of the distance between the reader and the characters, The Girl from the Well is a short but enjoyable read. Especially its basis in Japanese folklore makes the novel worthwhile.

Blurb

A dead girl walks the streets.

She hunts murderers. Child killers, much like the man who threw her body down a well three hundred years ago.

And when a strange boy bearing stranger tattoos moves into the neighborhood so, she discovers, does something else. And soon both will be drawn into the world of eerie doll rituals and dark Shinto exorcisms that will take them from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Aomori, Japan.

Because the boy has a terrifying secret – one that would just kill to get out.

Other reviews you might be interested in

The Sunday Post 10/01/16

Sunday PostThe Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba from The Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

Hello dear readers! I hope you are all well and that you have enjoyed the last few weeks. It’s been a bit of a struggle to get back into the day to day routine. I’m currently finishing up an essay and trying to come up with a thesis proposal. Right now I’m considering doing my thesis on the penny dreadfuls, little books about vampires and murder and mayhem from the nineteenth century.

This week on Nyx Book Reviews

The last book in the Parasitology trilogy, Chimera, is a worthy conclusion to a lovely science-fiction trilogy. Mira Grant is the pen name of Seanan McGuire, whose book Rosemary and Rue we are reading with a bunch of people over at SF/F Read Alongs. It’s not too late to join, should you be interested.

This week on Irresponsible Cactus

With a new year comes a whole slew of resolutions. This week I’m talking about why I don’t make any resolutions at the start of January.

Read this week

sunday post 100116I got these two graphic novels for Christmas, and I read them immediately. The art style is very minimalist, which isn’t my personal favourite, but it does fit the theme and aesthetic of the series. I also like that the story is completely finished after three volumes, rather than going on forever.

How was your week?

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Rosemary & Rue Readalong: Week 1

Together with a bunch of awesome ladies, we are reading Seanan McGuire’s Rosemary and Rue. Every week we will discuss a few chapters based on some questions. This week’s host is Lisa from Over the Effing Rainbow. To find out more about SF/F Read Alongs or to join, check out our Goodreads group. Or, learn more about the book we are currently reading.

rosemary_and_rue_read_along

1. So, first impressions time! What do you think of the book setup, first of all? Setting, magic system, Faerie in general?

The book starts off on such a bittersweet and sad note, I immediately had to read more and see if things ever got better for Toby. Somehow I completely missed that this book was about fae, so all of the different courts and Changelings and magic came a bit as a surprise. Overall, it’s not too hard to keep track of all the elements of the worldbuilding, but I can’t say I feel like I truly *know* the world or the magic system yet.

2. Now let’s take Toby Daye herself. We get to see some of how she’s grown up and how she fits in, or doesn’t, in the modern world as it is post-fish. What are your initial thoughts on her?

Hahaha, post-fish. I have to say, having the main character stuck as a fish for fourteen years is a nice change from the boring old amnesia-plot. I feel so sad for Toby. She only had the best intentions, but now she only lives half a life because of what happened to her. I’m looking forward to her finding a place where she belongs.

3. We have yet to properly meet certain characters (Devin and Sylvester), though we’ve gotten brief intros to others (Tybalt and the Queen of the Mists)… Who stands out for you among these secondary characters, and why?

The brief time we spend around fae characters such as Tybalt and the Queen intrigue me. On one hand these characters seem to be quite human, but their interactions are based on different rules than human ones. I have the feeling that Tybalt might become more of an ally than an enemy as the series progresses, but I could be wrong.

4. Toby has a murder mystery to solve. Any initial thoughts on the whodunit?

It’s still very early on, and we’ve barely had any clues as to what happened. My first hunch would be that the killer is a character that has not yet been introduced. Or one that has so far stayed in the background. Maybe it’s Sylvester? Who knows 😀

*****

So far, I’ve been really enjoying Rosemary and Rue. I’m looking forward to next week’s reading!

Have you read Rosemary and Rue?

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Review: Chimera by Mira Grant

Title: Chimera
Author: Mira Grant
Series: Paraistology #3
Rating: 4 Stars

488 pages
Published November 24th 2015 by Orbit
Bought

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Mira Grant – of Feed fame – has finished another wonderful science-fiction trilogy, proving again that she knows how to write good endings.

In the final Parasitology book, the tapeworms are spreading. Countless people are getting infected and turned into mindless husks, incapable of complex thought, ruled by their instincts. It is up to Sal and her friends to save the world – but the world doesn’t seem to want to be saved.

An issue that is incredibly prevalent in science-fiction is a lack of character growth and development. More often than not, sci-fi characters are mere sock-puppets, mouth-pieces for the author to express a certain message. Grant (the pseudonym of Seanan McGuire) takes a solid science-based concept, and combines it with characters that feel real.

At the core of the Parasitology trilogy lies the story of Sal coming into herself. She is the focus of the books, and Chimera shows the final part of her journey into accepting what and who she is, and finding her place in a broken world. Because so much careful attention is spent on Sal’s development, I felt that some other characters were done a bit short. I would have loved to read more from the points of view of other key characters – the short pieces of autobiographical writing at the start of chapters provided a welcome insight into their minds, but I was left wanting to know more.

Like all the other books I have read by Grant, the science in the Parasitology novels is sound. The fact that a character like Sal takes the spotlight does not mean that Grant lets the worldbuilding slide. Chimera is well researched, though the subject matter – parasites! tape worms! – might put people off from reading these books.

Chimera answers all of the questions raised throughout the trilogy in a satisfactory manner, and has all the elements I look for in a science-fiction. Grant has yet to disappoint me in anything she writes.

Blurb

The outbreak has spread, tearing apart the foundations of society, as implanted tapeworms have turned their human hosts into a seemingly mindless mob.

Sal and her family are trapped between bad and worse, and must find a way to compromise between the two sides of their nature before the battle becomes large enough to destroy humanity, and everything that humanity has built…including the chimera.

The broken doors are closing. Can Sal make it home?

Other reviews you might be interested in
Other books in this series
  1. Parasite
  2. Symbiont
  3. Chimera

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Happy New Year! & 2015 Wrap Up

happy-new-year2

All the best wishes for 2016! 😀

I hope you all had a nice holiday season, whether you celebrated Christmas or not. New year’s day is always a nice moment for looking at what has come before, but also at what is still yet to come.

2015 was not an easy year for me on the personal front. It was the year I struggled to finish my bachelor’s thesis, started at a new university, and had to fight to keep up. Though I love my blog, and finally found a good flexible schedule, I lost the energy to do anything but study and sleep. It wasn’t all bad though – 2015 saw a huge amount of travel. Within the year I went to London, Bruges, Paris, AND Milan, and we visited the Rock am Ring festival. I love to travel, and it has been fantastic to have the freedom to actually roam around Europe like this.

For the upcoming few months, life will have to wait, or at least take a back seat. If all goes well, I will graduate in July, receiving my MA in Culture History. After that, I’ll have to take the last step towards full maturity – finding a job! In many ways, 2016 will be a venture into the unknown, but after years of following a rather exact plan, I enjoy that insecurity. Many adventures are to be had!

2015 in numbers

Books Read: 111
Pages Read: 30556
Average Pages a Book: 275
Most Books Read by One Author: 8 (I read eight books both by Hiromu Arakawa and Tsugumi Ohba)
Books Reviewed: 85 (77% of books read)

Blog Posts: 144 (one blog post every 2,5 day)
Total Page Views: 1114511
Unique Visits: 332209
Most Views in a Month: 147888 in July

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My Bookish Christmas Wishlist

Christmas is around the corner, and as always, I am sharing a part of my wishlist. I asked for quite some books this year, but I tried to put some variety in my list by asking for non-fiction and graphic novel titles as well. All of these look amazing!

This post is part of a Christmas tradition here on Nyx Book Reviews. You can also check out my lists for 2010, 2011, 2013, and 2014.

Graphic novels

graphic novel

Non fiction books

non fiction christmas

Fiction books

fiction books christmas

Have you read any of these books? What books are on your wishlist?

PS. This is the last post that will appear on Nyx Book Reviews in 2015. I hope you all have lovely holidays, and I am looking forward to seeing you all again in the new year!

 

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