Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Review | Iced by Karen Marie Moning

Karen Marie Moning
Dani O'Malley #1
Urban fantasy
3 stars

Bite-Sized Review
Iced was an enjoyable book despite heaping on lust like it was candy on Halloween. Don't expect it to be Fever, but it does have KMM's characteristic engaging writing style and many of the same interesting characters I loved in the Fever series. And please note that even though Dani is fourteen, this book should definitely not be categorized as YA.

King-Sized Review
Well. I was, like many other people, a huge fan of the Fever series and both excited and apprehensive about the release of Iced. Excited because, more Fever! And apprehensive because a) Dani was kind of an annoying narrator whenever she seized the reins in Fever, and b) since she's fourteen, any romantic under-, over-, or just general tones come off as icky.

It was both better and worse than I thought it would be. Yes, there were times when Dani was an annoying idiot. She thinks she's very smart, and she is, but she's still fourteen, which makes her sort of automatically an idiot. It could, therefore, be argued that her obnoxiousness added realism to the story, but I'm not sure the realism was worth having to deal with all the crap, not to mention the number of times she uses the word "dude". Luckily, Dani is also funny and learning about her is interesting because she doesn't share well.

Let's take a look at the plot. Iced takes place pretty much right after the end of Shadowfever, so if you haven't read that, don't read the rest of this review.

Okay. I'm going to assume all the infidels are gone now and keep talking. The Unseelie King is off somewhere with the concubine/Aoibheal, Cruce/the Sinsar Dubh is frozen in a block of ice under the abbey, and Faery has merged with our world, resulting in lots of deaths and Interdimensional Fairy Potholes. Most of the action takes place in Dublin, centered at Chester's, Ryodan's weird club/fae hunting grounds. There's conflict between Dani and Ryodan as he tries to mold her into his future...what would you call it? A mate? See, kind of icky. Most of this molding occurs around a series of strangely frozen locations as everyone tries to solve the mystery of the "iced" places.

A lot of what made Fever a really interesting series was not knowing anything about a single thing that was going on, and then learning more and knowing even less. Iced tries to recapture some of that mystique with the question of who or what is causing these strange temperature fluctuations, but as the phrase "temperature fluctuations" suggests, it's not quite as captivating.

And don't make the mistake of thinking that because Dani is fourteen, this is a YA book. There's waaaayyyy too much time spent on sex. Dani has not one, not two, but three men hovering, waiting for her to grow up a bit so their intentions become a little less creepy. I could definitely have skipped the sections from Christian's perspective, since they were overly angsty and I already knew he was seriously losing it. All he thinks about is getting Dani, along with a little bit of killing Ryodan, which got tiresome really quickly.

The book also included a few peeks into the mind of Kat, now the de facto Grand Mistress of the sidhe-seers. These were more or less unrelated to the main plot and would have been a welcome relief from all the male posturing going on in Dublin, except that they were all about Cruce and how unbelievably hot he was. Basically, the sex was so overdone it just sort of shriveled up into this grayish strip of burned meat. And the main character never even got any (fortunately).

But other than that, I enjoyed the book. KMM has an especially enthralling writing style that works in Iced about as well as in the rest of her books. I think that even though I wasn't expecting Iced to be as good as Fever, I was still a little disappointed when I was right. It really is a good read for a Fever fan, though. It's just not Fever.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Read-A-Thon | Wrap-Up

I did not exactly finish the read-a-thon. Or rather, I finished the read-a-thon at 6:30 am instead of 8, when it was supposed to end. I should be disappointed, but since I had to wake up at 10:30 and I was already feeling a bit ill, I think it actually worked out fairly well. Anyway, I still managed to finish a decent number of books, so it was a good read-a-thon.

Books read: 6
Pages read: 1729
Hours listened: 2:04
Terrier by Tamora Pierce
Looking for Alaska by John Green
Kitty's Big Trouble by Carrie Vaughn
The Arm of the Starfish by Madeleine L'Engle
Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier
Legion by Brandon Sanderson (audio-novella)

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?
Clearly hour 23, since that is when I fell asleep. :)

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
I've read Juliet Marillier books in the late teens hours for the past two read-a-thons, and those have worked really well.

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
It would be nice if we could get some discussion going a few days before the read-a-thon.

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
The cheerleaders did an amazing job! Thanks Team Smarties cheerers! :)

5. How many books did you read?

6. What were the names of the books you read?
Scroll up a bit :)

7. Which book did you enjoy most?
Actually probably Legion. Short but really interesting.

8. Which did you enjoy least?
Kitty's Big Trouble. That's not to say I didn't enjoy it, because I did – I think it was my fastest read – but it was kind of same old, same old.

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
Hopefully I'll be able to do next year's read-a-thon as well!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Read-A-Thon, Part II

Halfway there! If it were summer, it still would be light out now. Lamentably, the light in fall lasts a little less long. (I'm rather proud of that sentence.)

How's the read-a-thon going for you? I just finished my second book and am ready to start the next one. I think I got off to a bit of a slow start, but hey, there's still twelve hours to go. What are you reading?

Hour 13
Finished: Terrier by Tamora Pierce
Looking for Alaska by John Green

Currently reading: Kitty's Big Trouble by Carrie Vaughn

Mid-event survey:
1) How are you doing? Sleepy? Are your eyes tired?
Not bad so far.

2) What have you finished reading?
See above.

3) What is your favorite read so far?
I liked both of the books. They were very different, though, so I don't know if I could really say I liked one better than the other.

4) What about your favorite snacks?
I put vanilla buttercream frosting on chocolate chip cookies. It was awesome.

5) Have you found any new blogs through the readathon? If so, give them some love!
Errrrrrmmmmmm...I haven't been looking much...sorry...
I promise to visit every single one of the people who commented on my posts, and a few more, after the read-a-thon!

Hour 15
Finished: Terrier by Tamora Pierce
Looking for Alaska by John Green
Kitty's Big Trouble by Carrie Vaughn

Currently reading: The Arm of the Starfish by Madeleine L'Engle

Hour 18

Finished: Terrier by Tamora Pierce
Looking for Alaska by John Green
Kitty's Big Trouble by Carrie Vaughn
The Arm of the Starfish by Madeleine L'Engle

Currently reading: Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier

Hour 23
Finished: Terrier by Tamora Pierce
Looking for Alaska by John Green
Kitty's Big Trouble by Carrie Vaughn
The Arm of the Starfish by Madeleine L'Engle
Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier
Legion by Brandon Sanderson (audio-novella)

Currently reading: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Read-A-Thon | Updates

Good morning (or whatever greeting is appropriate in your time zone). I am in the process of making coffee, so I'm not really awake yet.

Here's the stack of books I'm planning to read. Obviously I won't get to all of them, but I like to have choices. I also have Pushing the Limits on my Kindle.

Introductory Questionnaire
1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
I am reading from Washington, DC. It is sunny but cold. It's also 8 am.

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
Probably Looking for Alaska by John Green. I've heard lots of good things. I'm saving it for a bit later though.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
Cookie dough. Some of the dough may even grow up to become cookies...if it survives. Mwahahaha.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?
I'd like to try to comment on more blogs this time.

Hour 1
Currently reading: Terrier by Tamora Pierce

Hour 3
General updates: So far, so good. I haven't gotten very far in Terrier, but that's because I was prepping my cinnamon pull-apart bread for the oven and hitting the gym, where I listened to Legion. It's really good so far and free on Audible.

Currently reading: Terrier by Tamora Pierce

Challenge: Show us your snacks

Here's the cinnamon bread I was just talking about! It smells amazing. I'll let you know how it tastes soon!
Fresh out of the oven.
Hope everyone's doing well so far!

Hour 6
Currently reading: Terrier by Tamora Pierce. I knew I shouldn't have started with a 560 page book! The cinnamon bread is delicious, though. I'm going to make some frosting for it in a bit.

Hour 9
Finished: Terrier by Tamora Pierce
Currently reading: Looking for Alaska by John Green

Hour 11
Currently reading: Looking for Alaska by John Green

General updates:
Fresh out of the oven is really the only way to eat baked goods.
Indeed, it came to pass that a fortunate lump of the Sacred Cookie Dough was chosen to brave the fiery mysteries of The Oven, and there survived for many torturous minutes. But alas, freedom was not to be had for these souls, for after emerging from The Oven into the brightness of artificial overhead lighting, they were lost to the cavernous pit of My Belly. And so we mourn. Let us bow our heads in sorrow for these, our Sacred Cookie Dough.

I have decided to convert to the religion of the Sacred Cookie Dough. I think the Sacred Cookie Dough might object to my method of worship, though.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Free fiction and a read-a-thon

Hi everyone! Long time no see. Sorry (again) for my intermittent appearances. I have been reading a lot, but not writing reviews. I have almost certainly not died. Hooray for continued survival!

Anyway, just wanted to share a few cool things from around the interwebs:

1. I freaking love Ilona Andrews. They're well known for the Kate Daniels series, which is one of my top three urban fantasy series, and they're currently posting installments of a fun UF story called Clean Sweep. It's free here. Check it out! It's a great way to try their work if you haven't before, and if you're already a fan, you probably share my excitement.

2. Baen Books, which publishes bestselling scifi and fantasy authors such as Mercedes Lackey, Andre Norton, Elizabeth Moon, and Eric Flint, has a free library where you can download a large selection of books for a variety of e-readers, no strings attached. Who can say no to free books?

3. The 24-hour read-a-thon is tomorrow! This is the first read-a-thon I ever did, in October 2011, and this will be my third round. It's always fun and a little crazy. It also totally skewed my interpretation of read-a-thons – most of them are not quite so...intensive, and whenever I see others I'm always a little surprised that you can still do things other than reading. Heehee. Anyway, if you're curious, I did a guide to the 'thon for the one in April, and if you can, definitely give it a try, even if you can't do the whole thing. Let me know if you're participating!