**Notice** Due to transfering back from a godaddy hosted wordpress blog back to blogger, reviews published before june 2017 don`t all have a pretty layout with book cover and infos. Our apologies.

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Thousandth Floor by Katherine McGee

One hundred years in the future, an engineering marvel in the middle of New York City is where everyone wants to live. The tower has a thousand floors and a person could truly live their whole life without leaving the building. Social status is determined by the floor you live on, but of course, "The higher you are, the farther you fall." The author's imagination stretches sky high as she delves into the secret lives of New York's new elite.

This debut novel features multiple characters, giving us a glimpse of teen lives in this new New York's social scene. The top floors, where the social elite live, is full of glamour, money and sophistication. Avery and her family live on floor 1000, their penthouse apartment the envy of everyone in the building. Avery is supposed to be the perfect human, her DNA engineered with the best her two parents had to offer. She's beautiful, sweet and intelligent, but Avery feels less than perfect. In love with a boy she could never have, her junior year of high school isn't turning out the way she wanted. She and her best friend Leda are drifting further and further apart because of their attraction to the same boy and because of secrets Leda refuses to reveal.

Leda's addiction to stimulant drugs sent her to rehab during the summer and it's a situation she doesn't want to share with anyone. I think she's strong enough to admit that she has a problem, but she would never admit to anyone that it's affecting her life. Pressure at school, parties and alcohol are constant reminders of her stint with drugs especially since money and connections is all you need to get your hands on your next fix. And Leda definitely has access to both.

Leda's problems seem small when compared to other teens. Rylin lives on the 32nd floor with just her sister. After losing their mother, she had to drop out of school in order to support herself and her sister. She's barely scrapping by with a minimum wage job and the lack of money and health care debts are constant reminders that she could be ejected from her apartment any day. So when her mom's old employer, an orphaned teen living in one of the top floor apartments, calls her when he needs her help to serve and clean at his party, she jumps at the chance for easy and fast money. But when her one-time gig turns into something more, Rylin can't help but develop strong feelings for Cord, a boy way above her social status.

These are just quick glimpses into the world of some of these teens. There are so many point of views that it made it really hard to get into the book, but once every story is established, it becomes easier to read. We also follow the story of Eris, a girl that used to live on floor 985 and now lives on 103. Watt also lives on the lower floors but his hacking abilities has given him a glimpse into the lives of the elite teens, which makes him curious enough to try to rub shoulders with them. Atlas, Avery's older brother, "disappeared" for over a year, only checking in with his family from time to time to let them know that he was still alive. Now that he's back, living in the tower, he's dealing with the secrets and feelings he ran away from in the first place.

I liked the novel quite a bit but it was far from my favourites. I loved the technological advances and the architecture behind the tower. The idea is complete fiction since I highly doubt Central Park could ever be considered for the location of such a building. Also, the tallest building in our present time has 154 floors so 1000 is far from reality. I've never really been a fan of Gossip Girl or Pretty Little Liars, and The Thousandth Floor definitely feels like those books/TV series. The elite social scene, the glamour of New York, drugs/alcohol/parties make for interesting stories but personally, it was to much "teen drama" for me. I hope the characters mature in the next books because I might have to give up on this series like I did with Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars.

On a side note, I'm glad the cover was redesigned. The original one (left) was nice, but I think the new one (middle), represents the glamour of the tower a lot better. The UK version (right) is very attractive but similar to so many other YA covers. How many covers with a girl in a dress will we have to go through before this fad is over? The middle one remains my favourite and it's definitely gender neutral. Which one is your favourite?

the thousandth floor 0.5    the thousandth floor    the thousandth floor uk


Saturday, August 27, 2016

Stacking The Shelves [222]

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!


 Happy Saturday, everyone!  It's been a couple of weeks since I last hosted Stacking the Shelves, and I got quite a few books!  I had a birthday (we'll say that it was beyond 21 but less than 40) and received a couple books, continued to check books out of the library (it's an addiction; thank goodness it's free), plus bought textbooks for this semester.  I'm in two classes and had to buy SEVEN textbooks!  How crazy is that?  I won't bore y'all listing them here.  Here are the more fun books that I brought home recently:

Gifts... Shiny Broken Pieces was from a coworker for no reason :), Raymie Nightingale and The Journal of Major George Washington were for my birthday, and The Brownie Girl Scout Handbook was a trip down memory lane from my mom.  (I had asked specifically for Raymie Nightingale- the author, Kate DiCamillo, is coming to my library next month, so I can get it signed!)

Shiny Broken Pieces Sona Charaipotra Dhonielle ClaytonRaymie Nightingale Kate DiCamilloJournal of George WashingtonBrownie Girl Scout Handbook

From the library:  The Rosetta Key, The Dakota Cipher. and Rumors- audiobook downloads.  Also, Super Baby Food.  My dad turned me on to the Ethan Gage series (The Rosetta Key and The Dakota Cipher are books #2 & #3) and they've been surprisingly good!  Kind of a mix between The DaVinci Code and historic fiction.  I've only barely started Rumors by Anna Godbersen, so I don't have an opinion yet.  And Super Baby Food because it's crazy, but the boy is already nearing starting food!

The Rosetta Key Ethan Gage William DietrichThe Dakota Cipher Ethan Gage William DietrichRumors Luxe Anna GodbersenSuper Baby Food Ruth Yaron

What about you?  What great reads have you brought home lately?  Leave your link to join the fun!


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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits: A Novel by David Wong

Hard Science Fiction is a world that takes itself seriously while giving us a fantastical glimpse into a future that may come.  In Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits, David Wong takes Hard Science Fiction and makes it part of a punch line. Sometimes it's a punch-line to a sophomoric joke to be honest.  It proves my 'Life is a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Theory' yet again.

Some may remember David Wong from John Dies at the End , a very irreverent and hilarious comedy that breaks every rule of story telling, science fiction and sometimes even good taste.  In Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits, David Wong goes for a completely different approach.  Well, maybe not completely different.  We still get treated to the edgy humor that made him famous only now the presentation is a bit different.

The setting being in the near future is not the most significant change.  That would be, in my opinion, the shift to a mostly strong female lead character.  I say mostly strong because she is not overly endowed with the grit or determination as we see with so many lead characters, gender not withstanding.  Dirty Harry squinting while delivering the cleverest of one-liners or cheeky puns has become such an over done trope, I can practically write half the lines in my sleep.  Instead of all that we have Zoey who escapes all of that by being believably human.  In these days of superheroes and antiheroes, Zoey is a good example of the Un-hero.  She has a cast of friends, enemies and associates that help her reach her ultimate destination but, much of her actions, reactions and inaction are hers and hers alone.  Many of the real bad guys may come off as two dimensional but, this story seemed to be mainly Zoey's story and much was likely sacrificed to the that end.  There may be some other spoilery explanations that I won't go into here (because they would be......)

Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits is a fast paced (moderately)hard science fiction with a sense of humor.  It has very rough language, mature subject matter and intensely graphic violence all of which earns this one an R rating from me.


Roberts Signature

Monday, August 22, 2016

Found by Evangeline Anderson

I read a few books from this series a couple years back and I'm really glad I decided to get back into it. I love a good science fiction novel and the way the author blends romance into her stories is wonderful. The love scenes are pretty erotic and not for the faint of heart but as a whole, the novel isn't just about the romance. There's an actual actual story that involves dangerous situations, multiple characters and many storylines.

The main storyline is about Lauren, a Florida native who was abducted by an evil alien race called the Scourge. It was prophesied by the AllFather, the leader of the Scourge, that she was the future of their dying race. Luckily, she was saved from a grave future of rape and torture by one of her captors, Xairn, whom she falls for romantically. At first, she attributes her feelings to a sort of Stockholm Syndrome but the more time she spends with Xairn, the stronger her feelings become. Xairn promises to keep Lauren safe but his duty doesn't come easily, especially when the AllFather still wants her. Also, Xairn feels he must protect her from himself and his dark sexual urges, so he represses his feelings, which annoys Lauren immensely.

They try to create a life together but Xairn's finds controlling his sexual urges difficult, especially with a very affectionate Lauren. The more Xairn shares about his past, the more Lauren realizes where his fears come from. Xairn's childhood was an abusive one which has shaped him into the cold warrior that he is. When the AllFather threatens someone he loves, the cold warrior facade might be the only thing that saves both of them.

The author made the right choice with Lauren. She could have made her the hapless female that is mentally scared by her abduction but instead Lauren has turned out to be a strong female lead. Xairn might be afraid of hurting her, but at this point, the only thing that could possibly hurt her is leaving. They've gone through so much together, including DNA modification, escaping the AllFather and a horrible market trade on a strange planet. I can't help but cheer for this couple, even if they are the most unlikely pair.

Space travel, psychic abilities, medical advances and alien technology are present in this novel, but the one thing I wish the author could have done is spent more time on is elaborating these aspects. Evangeline Anderson has created a wonderful and strange world and I can't wait to learn more about it and its remarkable inhabitants. Found is a compelling science fiction romance that is leading this series in a great direction.

stephsig moon


Saturday, August 20, 2016

Stacking The Shelves [221]

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!


It's seem like all of us of Tynga's Reviews have been neglecting the blog these last couple of months. We even forgot to do Stacking the Shelves last week! I apologize for not posting anything last week. I blame summer! Personally, I've had a really busy summer and I'm definitely enjoying the nice weather we've been getting in my region.

I did purchase one book this week, and I also received a free exclusive e-book collection of short stories for that purchase. I also found this great mug that I felt more or less obligated to buy.

aug 20 2016

the orange cat


Betrayals by Kelley Armstrong


The Orange Cat and Other Cainsville Tales by Kelley Armstrong

Again, my apologies for forgetting last week's post. Feel free to link up your most recent StS post or leave a comment down below.

stephsig moon

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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Currently Reading: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I don't have a full review this week- didn't quite have time to finish reading a sci-fi/fantasy book.  I can tell you that I'm in the middle of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, and totally loving it!  I loved it from page one- the writing is superb.  The prose is almost lyrical in it's flow, and the plot is totally engaging in it's mystery.  I know that it's an older one; has anyone else read it?  Are there any parts that you especially loved or hated?  Tell me anything and everything except the very ending!

I always have at least two books going at once, so I'm also listening to The Dakota Cipher by William Dietrich in the car on the way to and from work.  It's the third book in the Ethan Gage series, which is sort of a historic fiction readalike to The DaVinci Code.  Really good!

The last update from my reading life.... I'm trying to complete the PopSugar Reading Challenge 2016.  You can see my latest progress here.  There are a couple items on the list that I could totally take recommendations for!  I've got less than four months left to complete this.  Leave a comment to recommend a book set in South Carolina, a romance set in the future, a book becoming a movie this year, a book published in 2016, a book and it's prequel, or a book about a road trip!  I thank you in advance for the recommendations!

I'll be back next Thursday with my final thoughts on The Night Circus.  See you then!


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Blood on the Earth (A Soulwood Novel) by Faith Hunter

In the backwoods of east Tennessee there was a woman who only wanted to be left to herself.  Just when she thinks she has found peace away from a family and religious  situation that was less to her liking, she has the (mis)fortune to run into our favorite (or at least my favorite) vampire bounty hunter, Jane Yellowrock.  The aftermath of that meeting is what brings us to the beginning of Blood on the Earth by Faith Hunter.  It is the first in a series that not only comes from a good pedigree but shows promise in its own right.

Faith Hunter brings into what some may think of as the 'Deep South', east Tennessee.  Having never really spent much time east of Chattanooga myself, I give Ms. Hunter credit for accuracy.  It is certainly a modern look at the more rural living conditions of some areas.  The South seems to be a favored setting for many stories like these.  The diversity of culture and the mixing of so many of the same makes for a rich treasure trove of mythologies to choose from and Faith does that very well in all stories including this one.

The people we meet this time around are mostly new with the exceptions of Rick (Ricky Bo) Lafleur and Nell Ingram.  We met Rick and some of his entourage throughout the Jane Yellowrock series while it's not until Off the Grid that we  meet Nell.  While getting reacquainted with Nell, we meet more of her family, friends and neighbors.  While there are some of the typical archetypes for this kind of story, they don't come off as 'cookie-cutter' or caricatures.  They all bring something to the story in ways that feel unique.

I like Nell and believe this is a good start to what may be a great series.  I cannot say I fell in love with Nell the way I did with Jane in her first book but, there is potential.  There is some harsh language and mature situations in this book.  None seem gratuitous but, I would still keep this out of the hands of those under 15 earning it a PG13 from me.

Roberts Signature

Monday, August 15, 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne

This is a book that needs no introduction in the literary world. As a true Harry Potter fan, I was so excited when I heard the news about the production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and the simultaneous publication of its rehearsal script. In my mind, J.K. Rowling was done with Harry Potter but I always knew she would return to the magical wizarding world, somehow. I was surprised she returned not only to the world, but also returned with Harry.

Harry is older now, forty years old to be exact. He has a demanding job at the Ministry of Magic and also as the father of three children. His oldest, James, is the son everyone admires while Albus, his second, feels like an outsider. Albus has never fit in and has always felt like the odd one out. He doesn't really get along with his father and has never really been able to connect with his family members. Everyone is surprised when he's sorted in a house other than Gryffindor, but for Albus, it feels natural. He quickly forms a bond with Scorpius Malfoy and the two become the best of friends.

But as Albus is about to start his fourth year at Hogwarts, something is brewing in the wizarding world. Rumours about dark magic has been spreading and Harry's job as Head of Magical Law Enforcement has him buried in paperwork. To make matters worse, Albus has a plan to go back in time to right some wrongs. Personally, I hate time traveling stories but funny enough, The Prisoner of Azkaban is one of my favourite Harry Potter books. We were first introduced to time-turners in this novel but honestly, I'm not a fan of the way time-turners were used in this play. The characters go back years into the past and everything becomes a confusing mess as alternate realities are created because of the small changes Albus and Scorpius force on the past.

Voldemort definitely makes his presence known but a new enemy is introduced in this story. While characters like Harry, Ron and Hermione (and Ginny!) play major roles in this play, I love how we are introduced to a whole new set of heroes. I do wish we could have spent a lot more time in J.K. Rowling's world. This script was made for the theatre, and while I understand plays can only last so long, I think Harry and his progeny deserve more than just a couple of hours to recap the last 19 years.

Give me a novel before a play, any day. I have never been a fan reading plays, whether it was Shakespeare or Molière, and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child hasn't changed my opinion about plays. On the other hand, I love going to the theatre and seeing a story come to life on stage. I imagine seeing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on stage would blow me away, because the scene descriptions and the magical special effects look great on paper. I'm definitely curious how they managed transforming the characters into other characters and how time traveling played out on stage. But I can't justify paying for the extravagant tickets that can cost over $1000 (and the costs of travelling to London, of course). Maybe I'll just wait for a movie? 

I'm a little bit disappointed with this book, but it still has a spot at the top of one of my book shelves, solely dedicated to Harry Potter books and paraphernalia. Fans Harry Potter will definitely read this book but I'm sure there will be a lot of mixed emotions and thoughts about the return of the famous wizard.

stephsig moon

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Arabella of Mars by David D. Levine

Arabella of Mars is clearly an original take on sci-fi. I was blown away by the details of the story, despite the fact that everything about space travel was fictional and unrealistic. David D. Levine was able to merge science fiction, fantasy and steampunk effortlessly in this epic space adventure.

I'm usually a stickler for facts when it comes to space and science in novels, but in this case, because everything was done purposely, I really don't mind the way the author reinvented space travel. The ships that fly between Earth and Mars are very similar to the airships often seen in steampunk. Clearly the author thought long and hard about space travel and I love how much detail was included in the novel. The native inhabitants of Mars, with their insect-like lifeforms, are obviously fictional, but the way they're described and their detailed culture makes them almost believable. The tension between the Mars natives and humans is one of the many conflicts in the book, despite years of a somewhat peaceful co-existance.

Arabella is a wonderful character. In my opinion, she's the perfect new settler of Mars. She adventurous, inquisitive and obviously has tremendous respect for the Mars natives.  She's also a tomboy, and her mother blames this on her being raised on Mars. To make sure Arabella grows up to be a proper Englishwoman, her mother forces Arabella to move to a completely different world: London, England. She clearly isn't cut out for Regency England. As soon as she realizes that her brother, back on Mars, might be in trouble, she leaves everything behind and joins an airship crew under the guise of a boy in order to head back to her home planet. With no experience as an airman she quickly learns her way around the ship.

When the captain of the ship, Captain Singh, discovers her aptitude for automatons and navigation, he takes her under his wing and teaches her how to use the navigation automaton. The relationship that develops between Arabella and Captain Singh, is at first a professional one, but slowly, Arabella starts to develop strong romantic feelings for her Captain, especially while caring for him during a coma. When it comes to romance, the book was clearly written by a man because it felt really awkward and inexperienced. The two of them make a great pair, and despite the clumsy almost non-existant romantic scenes, I still love the direction in which the two characters are heading

This book is a blend of many genres, including steampunk, science-fiction and fantasy. It has pirates, automatons, space battles, a mutinous coup, a siege on Mars, a little bit of romance and so many other great things. Arabella of Mars can definitely be read as a stand-alone but I really hope to see more of Arabella and Captain Singh in the future. They make a great pair and I think their story has only just begun. A must read!

stephsig moon

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Stacking The Shelves [220]

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!


Happy weekend everyone! I've added a couple of books to my shelves these last couple of weeks, and I think one of these books will be stacking many of our shelves. Yes, I'm talking about Harry Potter "#8". I pre-ordered it so I only got it in the mail on Thursday. I got the chance to read a few scenes but I'm slowly making my way through it. Another book release I'm thrilled about is Jay Kristoff's new series and it looks fantastic. I also pre-ordered this one so I could get a signed copy!

So just two books for me this week, but two books that I'm really looking forward to.

aug 6 2016


Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling

So what about you? What did you add this week?

stephsig moon

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Thursday, August 04, 2016

Mary Poppins in the Park by P.L. Travers

I'm continuing to read through the Mary Poppins series, and continuing to love them!  Mary Poppins in the Park has a slightly different layout and tone to it, but it's not a bad change.  (You can read reviews of the first three books, Mary PoppinsMary Poppins Comes Back, and Mary Poppins Opens the Door, here.)

In the previous books, each chapter had a predictable pattern:  one of the Banks children would encounter a moral decision and then they would all go on a magical adventure with Mary Poppins.  The child would learn a moral, and Mary Poppins would deny that any magic had taken place.  In Mary Poppins in the Park, the morals are either more deeply veiled or not present at all.  The Banks children and Mary Poppins go on a couple of magical adventures just for fun!  From the park across from their house, they meet the Goose Girl and Swineherd, meet talking cats, meet tiny people (like seriously tiny, a few centimeters tall), meet princes from a story book, and attend a party of shadows on Halloween.  Another difference between this book and the previous three:  Mary doesn't make a grand entrance nor a grand departure.  When the book opens, she is already in the park with the Banks children, as though she'd never left.  (And all of the adventures start and stop in the park, hence the title.)

While Mary is still rather abrupt in her manner of speaking to others, she seems a bit softer yet in this book during the magical moments.  At the Halloween party they even catch her dancing!  Readers of previous books will also delight in seeing cameos from favorite characters in this book, such as Nelius and the bird woman.  And I won't spoil it for you, but you do get a glimpse of where Mary might just go whenever she leaves the Banks' for a season!

I listened to Mary Poppins in the Park.  Fantastic narration by Rosalyn Landor.  She sounds just like I would imagine the literary Mary Poppins to sound!  (We have already discussed how the literary Mary Poppins is not much like the Julie Andrews Mary Poppins.)  The recording has well moderated volume (I never had to turn it up or down in the middle of a story) and Ms. Landor has a very comfortable cadence.  I give it two thumbs up!

This series continues to be one I would recommend to old and young alike... even better, for old to share aloud with young!  :)


Wednesday, August 03, 2016

The Reclamation by Thorn Osgood

The world as Corilan knows it is dying and taking humankind with it.  This is the ultimate ending to the series of disappointments that is her life along with trouble at work that required her to move her home and her problems with her family.  She gains only small comfort from the one place she could always expect it, the voice that only she can hear, the one calls Innerme.  What can old family ties and voices from the past do help Corilan?  Can they help others?

This is the beginning Reclamation by Thorn Osgood.  It is the first book in the dystopian series The Ancestral Guidance Saga.  This is a story with a wealth of science fiction, paranormal occurrences and some social and societal commentary for good measure. It is all presented in a style that tries for something between high fantasy and science fiction.

The problem with the story is not in the story itself.  The premise is really a unique take on some familiar elements.  I do not want to get in to the premise too much too avoid spoilers but, I do like the more orginal direction this story starts to take the reader.  The problem comes in the way the story is presented.

This book gives some of the best and worst examples of the show don't tell concept.  The problems arises with lackluster descriptions whether from the characters or the narrator.  This yet another example of the need for texture in scenery. Giving monochrome visuals can help sell the idea of a world bereft of vibrant colors but, intensifying the others senses is a good way to bring the reader into the story.  The narrative is further let down by dialog that looks like it was written by a middle school kid trying get good marks for proper grammar.  It's just not the way people really talk and takes the reader out of the story further with each conversation.

The Reclamation by Thorn Osgood is a book with lofty goals and a unique perspective.  It is unfortunately in need of text that seems like something more that just, well, text.

Roberts Signature