Hello and Welcome!

Red House Books is going through a bit of a update!

I've always had a pretty clear vision of what I wanted this space to be but I've been detoured from my path by...lots and lost of other people's opinions and ways of doing things...

I'm committed to this little chunk of the interweb but I've also branched out into other places so! Now it's time to think of Red House Books as more of a hub of all things me! And Me is a hell of a lot of book love!

Stay tuned!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Book Re-Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

As part of The Lunar Chronicles Read Along (#TLCReadAlong) hosted by Brittany at The Book Addict's Guide, I re-read Cinder this past month.

Instead of posting a new review, I've pulled up and pasted in my first review, which posted here in March 2012 (ga! that feels like so long ago!).

I've updated the format but kept all my original words - with new thoughts added in.

I don't often re-read book, so this was a bit of a treat for me!

How often do you guys re-read books?
Do you find that your feelings change after a second read?

Let's see how my 2012 thoughts compare to today's!
Book #1 in the Lunar Chronicles
Genre: YA Sci-fi, futuristic, mystery
Publication: January 2012 by Feiwel and Friends
Acquisition: NetGalley / ARC from Publisher

Synopsis:
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.
(from Goodreads)
5 / 5 Stars
(yep! still a 5 star book!)

Take the story of Cinderella, add in some androids and cyborgs, a plague and oh, evil moon people trying to take over the world. Doesn't sound like it would work? Wrong! Cinder is all of these things and more and it's fantastic! (I'm still impressed by the way Meyer was able to blend all these elements together. Any one of them could have easily overwhelmed the story but that isn't the case. Still love it!)

Somewhat dystopian, somewhat hard science fiction, Cinder tells the story of Cinder, a cyborg (part human part machine) living in New Beijing. (I honestly don't know where I was getting dystopian from - unless that's what it was toted as at the time since it was THE THING in YA books. I would call it more futuristic / fantasy retelling.) 

Her life is not entirely her own as she is under the control and ownership of her stepmother who in true Cinderella fashion, pretty much hates her.
(OMG I forgot how much I HATE her stepmother Ardi!)

I really loved this retelling. It's unlike anything I've read in a long time and reminds me of the science fiction stories my father use to feed me as a kid.
(Even now, this still holds true. Cinder really is a unique story.)

Cinder's world is amazing. The cyborgs and androids (fully robotic machines) were enough to keep me engaged but this story has so much more to it. There is tension and well done, not over the top romance.
(The romance is perfect!)

There's a scary as hell plague and a mysterious legacy that may hold the key to everything. And a lot more I'm not going to talk about because you should really just read it for yourself :)
(yep! Do it!)

I pretty much loved this story from beginning to end. The first of 4 books that I'm pretty sure I will be devouring as soon as they hit the shelves! Marissa Meyer's debut is a fantastic science fiction / fairy tale retelling / dystopian explosion of awesomeness! I highly recommend this book to fans of these YA genres.
(All of this! Except the dystopian part. And! I can say, that after reading the next 2 books in the series - it's still just as good.)

So yeah, pretty much still all the same happy wonderful feelings!

It was really fun to re-read this one and I love the way Brittany formatted the read along - where we are all reading 1 book in the series a month, leading up to the release of the final book Winter. There is even time to get the companion novel, Fairest read between books 3 and 4.

I'm even going to go the extra mile and get all the mini in between short stories read - because I love this world so much so why not!

What do you guys think about read alongs? 
How about re-reads?
I was never much fond of either but I'm loving the combo :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Graphic Novel Review: The Sculptor by Scott McCloud

Genre: Adult Graphic Novel Urban Fantasy
Publication: February 2015 by First Second
Acquisition: received a free ARC for review

Synopsis:
David Smith is giving his life for his art—literally. Thanks to a deal with Death, the young sculptor gets his childhood wish: to sculpt anything he can imagine with his bare hands. But now that he only has 200 days to live, deciding what to create is harder than he thought, and discovering the love of his life at the 11th hour isn't making it any easier!

This is a story of desire taken to the edge of reason and beyond; of the frantic, clumsy dance steps of young love; and a gorgeous, street-level portrait of the world's greatest city. It's about the small, warm, human moments of everyday life…and the great surging forces that lie just under the surface. Scott McCloud wrote the book on how comics work; now he vaults into great fiction with a breathtaking, funny, and unforgettable new work.
(from Goodreads)

3.5 / 5 Stars


The Sculptor is one of those books that makes you feel things. Good things, bad things, in between things. And, I'm not so sure how I feel about all that.

I've been told before that I'm shallow (thanks Mom!). Not like 'you're a horrible person with no feelings'. But more like 'you don't let things bother you and are good at working through your feelings quickly and without a lot of drama'.

So!

I really think that The Sculptor is a little to 'deep' for me. Like I said, it makes you feel things. But, I think, because of the nature of the medium, I very quickly processed what I was reading (or rather seeing) and moved onto the next thing without fully...appreciating what had happened?

This made for a pretty meh read for me.

Because I'm shallow.

And The Sculptor is very deep.

BUT!

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.

It wasn't really for me...but I'm glad to have read it and I do think that others would get a lot more out of it then I did.

And, you should probably go with Neil Gaiman's recommendation rather then mine :)


Monday, August 24, 2015

Color your cares away...and I can help! GIVEAWAY TIME!

ALL the giggles
Someone at work ordered a book called "Adult Coloring Book" and once I got over a case of the giggles because I'm 12 (ok, fine, after I spread my case of giggles to every co-worker I could find and then got over myself) -- I actually took a good look at it and realized that this was something I needed in my life.

Coloring, for enjoyment's sake, is suppose to be relaxing and meditative and calming and all sorts of good for you stuff and goodness!

Not sure who said any of these things or if maybe a case study was done at some point or maybe it was just a bored Amazon employee who a few months ago decided what the next new 'in' thing was going to be and stealth-fully started inserting pictures of coloring books everywhere on Amazon (what? this doesn't happen? ;)

Coloring and a nice cuppa = perfect!
Whatever the case may be, I'm here to inform you that yes, adult coloring is in fact very relaxing and extremely satisfying and after a long week, sitting down with a good coloring book and some nice new sharpened colored pencils was really pretty wonderful.

I began my journey of enlightenment by first seeking out the perfect book (because I was convinced such a thing existed).
To preform this task I enlisted the help of the highest authority in the land:

I asked Twitter.

And specifically the OTSPSecretSister folks, what adult coloring books (hehehehehe) they enjoyed.

After many suggestions and thanks to the wonders of Amazon Prime, I found, ordered and received my key to ALL THE RELAXATION.

Seriously, this is like the best thing ever!

Amazon Link
Amazon Link
Amazon Link
While 'adult coloring' (ba! every time folks! hehehehehe) might not be for you, I would recommend giving it a try if like me, the stress of the day sometimes leaves you drained and you can't muster up the energy to get the things done that you love -- like reading or blogging.

I finally decided on 2 books by Johanna Basford. The Secret Garden and The Enchanted Forest.

Johanna Basford was a favorite among my Twitter peeps and I have to agree -- I've started on The Secret Garden (EF is backordered) and it's so good I want to carry it everywhere with me.

I'm also seriously considering pre-ordering The Lost Ocean so I can fill it with all the blue!

Here are some other suggestions from some wonderful folks! (all links are to Amazon cause the pics are better / I'm not an affiliate)

      

And! Because I think everyone could benefit with a little more relaxation in their life, I'm giving away 1 coloring book PMITBP (previously mentioned in this blog post).

Using The Book Depository for this one -- if they ship to your country you can enter!

If you win, you can choose any book mentioned on this page, or another (under $15)  if you don't fancy any of these -- I'll send some Book Depository links if you can't decide!

Open till September 4th - I'll pick and contact the winner that weekend.
If anything in the Rafflecopter form looks wonky let me know!

Happy coloring everyone!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Book Review: Killer Instinct by S.E. Green

Book #1 of the Killer Instinct Series
Genre: YA Mystery Thriller
Publication: May 2014 by Simon Pulse
Acquisition: pulseit.com

Synopsis:
She’s not evil, but she has certain... urges.

Lane is a typical teenager. Loving family. Good grades. Afterschool job at the local animal hospital. Martial arts enthusiast. But her secret obsession is studying serial killers. She understands them, knows what makes them tick.

Why?

Because she might be one herself.

Lane channels her dark impulses by hunting criminals—delivering justice when the law fails. The vigilantism stops shy of murder. But with each visceral rush the line of self-control blurs.
And then a young preschool teacher goes missing. Only to return... in parts.
When Lane excitedly gets involved in the hunt for “the Decapitator,” the vicious serial murderer that has come to her hometown, she gets dangerously caught up in a web of lies about her birth dad and her own dark past. And once the Decapitator contacts Lane directly, Lane knows she is no longer invisible or safe. Now she needs to use her unique talents to find the true killer’s identity before she—or someone she loves—becomes the next victim...
(from Goodreads)

5 / 5 Stars

Lane is a PG-13 version of Dexter.

She's also creepy as hell.

And she's awesome.

I couldn't put this one down. It was fantastic. It was dark. (Maybe too dark for some but I was like, gimme gimme gimme!)
It was fantastic (said that already). It was creepy. It was a really good story. It was fantastic (see what I'm getting at here?).

What really made this a 5 star read for me was the ending. I didn't see it coming AT ALL.

And it didn't end happily ever after!

It was messy.

And the story is STILL messy. And I love it.

Lane is unlike any YA character I've encountered. She's got a dark side. And she does horrible things and you find yourself sympathizing with her. And it's not like she's trying to justify what she does. She doesn't make excuses for what she is. But you can understand what she does because she couldn't be any other way. Her nature dictates her actions and all the pieces fit together really well.

I pretty much loved every page.

If you're looking for a darker YA read, if you like realistic romance, if you enjoy a good mystery - this is the book for you.

And, if dark YA isn't your cup of tea? I say, go out of your comfort zone for this one and I don't think you'll be disappointed.



Saturday, August 8, 2015

Book Review: Glitch by Brenda Pandos

Book # 1 in the Lost In Time series
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian, Sci-fi, Time Travel
Publication: January 2014 by Obsidian Mountain Publishing
Acquisition: NetGalley

Synopsis:
Perfect world. Lies. Blue eyes.
When a mysterious guy from the forbidden zone sneaks an illegal slip of paper to a beautiful young girl from Brighton, she must decide if she should turn him in or follow what the note says.
Eighteen-year-old Abigail has no trouble following Brighton’s rules. For one, she’s OCD about checking her Date of Death clock latched to her wrist, making sure her decisions never shorten her timeline, and two, she enjoys the peace Brighton has to offer. In no way would she bring on another attack that destroyed earth’s inhabitants. But when her best friend returns from her Advice Meeting--a glimpse into the future--shocked and won’t tell Abby what’s happened, Abby is worried what awaits her glimpse. The stranger with blue eyes knows something, but does Abby dare enter the forbidden zone to get answers? Or is she doomed to live the life set in her glimpse?
(from Goodreads)

4 / 5 Stars

Requested this one from NetGalley because I've always enjoyed Brenda's books. Happy to report that Glitch didn't disappoint.

A bit different from what I expected, a bit hard to follow at times, but overall a really cool story. Some dystopian, some time travel, some romance - it all really worked for me.

The ending had me a little confused and I can't say I loved Abigail all that much but I was pulled into the story pretty hard core - every page had me looking forward to the next.

In my opinion Brenda did a fab job blending the dystopian feel with the perils of messing with time. But! Oh man! Major cliffhanger! Annoyed me a first but I got over that quirky when I realized what awaited me in book 2.

I will for sure be picking up Switch!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Graphic Novel Review: Muirwood The Lost Abby

Issue #1 of a 5 Issue Series
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Graphic Novel
Publication: Issue #1 - Aug 26, 2015
Acquisition: NetGalley

Synopsis:
Told in graphic novel form, Muirwood: The Lost Abbey introduces an all-new chapter in Jeff Wheeler’s Muirwood universe.
Maia, the daughter of the king of Comoros, has been banished, her rank and station taken away. Although magic is forbidden of women in her world, Maia secretly learned...and now her desperate father has sent her on a dangerous quest to save their kingdom. Protected by a hired killer, Maia voyages to another realm—the cursed shores of Dahomey, where an ancient Blight has destroyed all the inhabitants. Maia believes she can restore the deadly lands by using her magic medallion, but if she’s discovered wielding her clandestine power, she will most certainly be hunted down and killed.
(from Goodreads)

3.5 / 5 Stars

I've got a couple of things to say about this one so it's time for...

A BULLET POINT REVIEW! 
(like a stuffy PowerPoint presentation you can't get away from only 
WAY MORE FUN!)

First off - My Feelings
  • I liked it 
  • The story is an interesting one - lots of magic and secrets
  • I also liked the art - subdued colors that worked with the story - great imagery - clear character distinctions
  • I easily connected with the MC Maia and her plight
  • The 1st person POV and the way Maia speaks to the reader worked really well in explaining the background story
  • While I wasn't blow away by the story I DO want to see where it goes

Secondly - Background
  • It's based on the Legends of Muirwood series by Jeff Wheeler 
  • I've hadn't read this series but I don't think that was a hindrance to me enjoying this comic
  • The story of this comic comes from Jeff Wheeler 
  • It's written by Matt Sturges and Dave Justus 
  • With art by Alex Shekman
  • Published by Jet City Comics (which I've never heard of but am now feel like I want to know them...)

Thirdly (Third off?) (Who's on third!?) -- Some logistics
  • I read this via NetGalley and at the time of this post, other NetGalley members can request a copy at this link
  • It's a Kindle Series and what this means is:
    • You pay 1 price to buy - currently its pre-order price is $5.99
    • On Aug 26th the first Issue will be delivered to your Kindle
    • 4 more issues will follow (on 9/23, 10/28, 11/25 and 12/23)
    • Each new issues will be added to the one on your Kindle and you'll get an email when it has been delivered

In conclusion!
I would have to say I would recommend this series for fans of fantasy graphic novels. For around $1.20 an issue, it's totally worth it. I would also say, if you are already a fan of Wheeler's Muirwood series, this should be a automatic buy for you. Even if you're not a fan of graphic novels, if you know and love the story, more of the story is always a good thing :)

I'm pretty sure I'm going to be purchasing this one. The price is good, the story is good, I always like being introduced to new graphic novel publications and the idea of the Kindle Series, where SURPRISE! here's something new and cool you already paid for already on your Kindle waiting for you is very intriguing. 

*disclaimer - the pre-order price link above does link to Amazon but I am NOT an affiliate. 

Told you it would be way more fun then a PowerPoint Presentation :)

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Book Review: The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O'Brien

Book #1 of The Vault of Dreamers series
Genre: YA Futuristic Sci-fi Mystery
Publication: September 2014 by Roaring Brook Press
Acquisition: received a free ARC for review

Synopsis:
The Forge School is the most prestigious arts school in the country. The secret to its success: every moment of the students' lives is televised as part of the insanely popular Forge Show, and the students' schedule includes twelve hours of induced sleep meant to enhance creativity. But when first year student Rosie Sinclair skips her sleeping pill, she discovers there is something off about Forge. In fact, she suspects that there are sinister things going on deep below the reaches of the cameras in the school. What's worse is, she starts to notice that the edges of her consciousness do not feel quite right. And soon, she unearths the ghastly secret that the Forge School is hiding—and what it truly means to dream there.
(from Goodreads)

3.5 / 5 Stars


This one was an okay read for me. I didn't love it, I didn't hate it.

Actually, that's wrong - I did love it at first. I flew through the first 2/3 of the book.

But then.

I don't know - the ending really really really didn't work for me.

I was able to make a pretty instant connection to the MC Rosie. She's easy to relate to. Unsure of herself, yet determined to reach her goals. Realistic but hopeful. I really liked her. The Forge School is a place I can see actually existing in a futuristic / post dystopian world.

So, realistic and likable and happy good things.

And then! Bad stuff happens!!

Well of course it does, you knew that going in. And it seemed really really bad. And I'm all like:

"Go Rosie go!"
"Fight The Man"
"Save the day!"
"You can do it!"

And now we're at the big climatic ending and everything is revealed and it's all so....not horrible.

Ok - maybe a lot of it is...but not all of it...and you know, I kind of understood what this 'villain' was trying to accomplish. And yes, it wasn't done in the best way but still...now I'm all like:

"Rosie why are you still freaking out?"
"I think you're just making things worse."
"Maybe you should calm down a little?"
"Ok, you're not calming down...and...oh, there it is..."

NOW everything is horrible. Like, creepy and weird and I had to read that last chapter or so a few times to make sure I actually understood what was happening and oh no!

Did the ending feel rushed? A little out of left field? Maybe I wasn't paying attention as much as I thought I was?

Probably all of this and more.

But - have to say - I've added book 2 to my wishlist.

Because Rosie - oh Rosie -- I NEED to know what happens to her and I think if you read The Vault of Dreamers you would feel the same way.



Saturday, August 1, 2015

July 2015 Wrap-Up: The Sweaty Edition

The last half of July was hot and gross for me -- I got a lot of sweating out of the way so let's hope I'm all dried up for August!

What? It doesn't work that way?
*sigh*

Ok - I guess I did a few more things in the last month besides sweat -- like START BLOGGING AGAIN!!

Woo hoo!

*throws confetti*
*gets confetti in mouth*
*chokes on confetti*
*sits down down quietly in the corner*

Anyway!

Here's what I was getting on to in July!

Linking it up over at Feed Your Addiction's Monthly Wrap-Up Round-Up (and you should too ;)
POSTS
ADDED TO MY WISHLIST IN JULY

 

(love her!)
(The only erotica I have ever, and probably will ever, read!)
(1st in a contemporary fantasy series)
(It's huge in China! 1st in a sci-fi series translated to English. Fermi Paradox baby! Ooo yeah!)
(Didn't know this existed until recently and now I wants!)
OTHER FUN STUFFS

I became part of the world of the On The Same Page Secret Sister project (OTSPSecretSister).
Run by a trio of bloggers - Brittany from Book Addicts Guide, Alyssa from Books Take you Places and Amy from Tripping Over Books, OTSPSecretSister is a like a six month secret santa. We each get matched with a 'sister' and for the next 6 months we're sending all sorts of goodies (while trying to keep our identity secret). This round runs from August - January and I'm having a blast!



I've joined the Lunar Chronicles Read (or re-read) Along! This month we are reading Cinder and will continue with 1 book a month until the release of book 4 in November. If you haven't read this series, now is a good time to start!


That's all for now!
Be sure you leave your warp-up posts in the comments and / or add yours to the list over at Feed Your Addiction.

Happy Reading everyone!