Book Review: Bash Bash Revolution

Bash Bash Revolution
By Douglas Lain

My Edition:
Paperback, 293 pages
2018, Nightshade Books
ISBN: 9781597809160

Thank you to Skyhorse Publishing for sending me this book for free in exchange for my honest review.

Matthew Munson’s dad has been in and out of his life thanks to his work on a powerful AI system for the government. Matt has since dropped out of high school to spend his time playing his favorite game, Bash Bash Revolution, for money. When his dad shows up out of the blue, Matt learns the truth behind the project he’d been working on.

While I was wild about the concept of this book, it didn’t pay off and I made the decision to DNF this at the halfway point.

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Book Review: Plank’s Law

Plank’s Law
By Lesley Choyce

My Edition:
ARC paperback, 179 pages
2017, Orca Book Publishers
ISBN: 9781459812499
Expected Publication Date: September 12, 2017

Trevor has known for a year that he has Huntington’s disease, but when he’s sixteen he finds out he might only have a year left to live. Wafting between apathy and depression, Trevor isn’t doing much with what could be his last days on earth, until he meets ninety-three year old, Plank. The old man gives Trevor some simple advice: just live. Trevor finally begins to make the most out of his time and starts by speaking to the beautiful cancer patient he’s often seen at the hospital, Sara.

I requested this book from the LibraryThing giveaway because even though the protagonist is sixteen, the book was giving me middle-grade vibes and also I thought it would be moving. Unfortunately, this book was a huge flop for me.

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Book Review: The Serpent King

The Serpent King
By Jeff Zentner

My Edition:
Paperback, 372 pages
Andersen Press, 2016
ISBN: 9781783443819

Dill’s snake-handling, priest father is in prison and he’s become a pariah at school, so he clings to the little moments he has with his two friends, Travis and Lydia. But their senior year of high school is starting and Lydia’s dreams of leaving their small town in Tennessee are making Dill realize how dark his life will become without her. Feeling trapped and left behind, the darkness from Dill’s past threatens to overwhelm him.

As part of my genre switch up challenge (I really need to come up with a more concise name for this damn thing – any suggestions?) I asked my friend Chels to recommend a YA contemporary  with NO LOVE TRIANGLES (I don’t have time for that shit, bro) and this is what she sent me for Christmas. If there’s anyone I trust to recommend YA based on my stipulations, it’s her. This book did not disappoint!

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Judging A Book By Its Cover: Prisoner of the Palace

This is my weekly post where I highlight and appreciate cover designs and the general physical appearance of books. We all judge book covers to some extent. I can’t say that I’ve ever decided against a book with terrible cover art if I liked the sound of the plot, but I have purchased special editions of books or multiple editions of books based on their cover art. If book covers didn’t matter, publishers wouldn’t put out so many beautiful editions!

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Book Review: Piratica

Piratica
(Being a Daring Tale of a Singular Girl’s Adventure Upon the High Seas)
By My Queen Tanith Lee

My Edition:
Hardcover, 288 pages
2003, Dutton Children’s Books
ISBN: 0525473246

Art has been banished to the Angels Academy for the last six years of her life, learning deportment and other ladylike qualities that bore her to death. A fall down the stairs and a knock to the head suddenly causes her to remember her childhood, which was spent at her mother’s side on a pirate ship. Art quickly escapes the academy, finds her mother’s old crew and revives their spirits by basically forcing them back into a life of piracy as she lives in the spirit of her legendary mother, Piratica.

-screams- TANITH! Er, ok, so, I’ve read a ton of middle-grade this month and, sadly, none of it has impressed me. It was time for a change and I knew just what would do the trick – Tanith Lee! I’ve been sitting on this Piratica series for FAR too long and I don’t know why. I love how atmospheric her Claidi series is and my semi-recent re-read of The Unicorn Trilogy made me recall the special place her middle-grade/teen (I feel like all these series fall somewhere in between) books have in my crusty little heart.

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Judging A Book By Its Cover: Gemina

This is my weekly post where I highlight and appreciate cover designs and the general physical appearance of books. We all judge book covers to some extent. I can’t say that I’ve ever decided against a book with terrible cover art if I liked the sound of the plot, but I have purchased special editions of books or multiple editions of books based on their cover art. If book covers didn’t matter, publishers wouldn’t put out so many beautiful editions!

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Book Review: Illuminae

Illuminae
By Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

My Edition:
Hardcover, 599 pages
2015, Knopf
ISBN: 9780553499117

When Kady and Ezra’s home planet is brutally attacked by a competitor in the mining industry, they are lucky to escape the planet alive when a nearby group of military ships responds to their distress call. The small fleet of three ships houses the refugees and they’re fleeing for their lives as one of the enemy ships pursues them. Any useful refugees are quickly conscripted as they try to outrun the enemy, but after a tragic incident, it becomes clear that all is not well in their fleet. Kady, expert hacker, works to find out the truth as Ezra trains to become a fighter pilot. The secrets they uncover are more deadly than the enemy ship that’s hot on their trail.

Ok, my blurb is shit, but there’s a lot going down in this book and it’s hard to sum up without spoiling anything – though why I even tried to sum up Illuminae is beyond me because even if you haven’t read this, I’m pretty sure you’ve heard of it and at least have some idea what it’s about. I should have just said, crazy shit goes down in space and is revealed to readers through found documents.

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Book Review: Timekeeper

Timekeeper
By Tara Sim

My Edition:
E-book, 424 pages (hardcover)
2016, Sky Pony Press
ISBN: 9781510706187 (hardcover)
Expected Publication Date: November, 18 2016

I received this book for free from Sky Pony Press in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. All opinions in this post are my own.

In an alternate version of Victorian England, time is controlled by clock towers and if one is destroyed, a whole town could be stopped, its citizens trapped, possibly forever. At seventeen, Danny Hart is one of the youngest mechanics to earn his license to maintain clock towers and the flow of time they create. His father is trapped in a stopped town and Danny is desperate to get a position working on the new tower being built, in hopes that it will free the town and his father. But Danny’s obsession with the new tower has instead landed him in the small town of Enfield with a tower that seems to have one problem after another. There Danny meets a mysterious boy who turns out to be a clock spirit and as Danny falls head over heels for him, he’ll risk everything he’s worked for in order for them to be together.

I was very excited about the premise of this book. I love steampunk stories and with the added elements of clock spirits and a gay protagonist, I figured this book would really wow me. Unfortunately, I didn’t care for any of the characters and that left the story feeling lackluster.

Danny felt less like a character and more like a stereotype. Rather possessing a solid personality that evoked empathy in me for his situation, Danny felt whiny and almost pathetic. He felt people around him were treating him like a child, but he was acting like one.  That, paired with the fact that his homosexuality felt more like a stereotypical personality trait than a real part of who he was, made it very hard for me to immerse myself in his life. He is also apparently a prodigy at repairing these clocks, yet (aside from the very end of the book where he randomly develops superpowers) we’re never given any evidence of this other than people talking about how he’s the youngest mechanic ever.

Colton, the clock spirit, didn’t stand out either. He’s essentially a pretty boy for Danny to fall “in love” with. He has no real personality other than curious, because he’s not human and so he doesn’t understand much about human life – despite saying he’s watched the people of his town for an unknowable amount of time. He feels overly innocent (or perhaps ignorant is the right word?) and it makes his relationship with Danny awkward and forced. Their bond borders on insta-love with Danny feeling immediately comfortable around Colton, which leads to them chatting a bit, and then suddenly they’re in love.

The story is mostly from Danny’s perspective, though it is broken up here and there by some interludes about the gods and how time was managed before it fell into human hands. There are also a couple random chapters voiced by a few of Danny’s enemies, but rather than deepen those characters, those chapters felt abrupt and left me wondering why we only heard from them once or twice.

I did like the idea of a clock tower controlling the time of the town it resided in and I found it interesting that a town could stop. I was fuzzy on the details of a stopped town though. Towards the end, we do get a feel for what it’s like inside a stopped town, but the rules of how they work seemed arbitrary and changeable based on what Danny needed to be able to accomplish.

The ending wrapped the book up with a neat bow and made me roll my eyes. Since I never cared for Danny, the conclusion wasn’t satisfying because at that point I didn’t care if he ended up with everything he wanted or not. I do have questions about how one maintains a relationship with someone who is actually made of time, but I don’t want to know badly enough to read another book, should this be made into a series. I wasn’t impressed, but I didn’t hate the book.

If you’re looking for a light, LGBT YA read with some steampunk and semi-magical elements thrown in, I’d recommend checking this out.

You can visit Tara’s website here.