Monday, July 23, 2018

Review: I Was a Teenage Weredeer by C.T. Phipps & Michael Suttkus

I Was a Teenage Weredeer by C.T. Phipps & Michael Suttkus
Crossroad Press, 2017
Paperback. 256 pages.

About the book:
"Jane Doe is a weredeer, the least-threatening shapechanger species in the world. Blessed with the ability to turn furry at will and psychically read objects, Jane has done her best to live a normal life working as a waitress at the Deerlightful Diner. She has big dreams of escaping life in the supernatural-filled town of Bright Falls, Michigan, and her eighteenth birthday promises the beginning of her teenage dreams coming true. 

Unfortunately, her birthday is ruined by the sudden murder of her best friend's sister in an apparent occult killing. Oh, and her brother is the primary suspect. Allying with an eccentric FBI agent, the local crime lord, and a snarky werecrow, Jane has her work cut out for her in turning her big day around. 

Thankfully, she's game."

Urban and supernatural fantasy are not genres I read on a regular basis, but I am so glad that I decided to take a chance and read I Was a Teenage Weredeer because it was such a fun and deeply interesting story.

What stood out to me the most and what I personally enjoyed the most was that this book does not pretend to be anything other than what it is, which is a fun, mostly light-hearted supernatural mystery with some darker twists and turns throughout. It's not necessarily the best book I've ever read, but it is without a doubt one of the books I've laughed throughout the most, and that has to mean something.  I am also a fan of some good puns, so all the deer-related puns were top notch for me.

The characters are all consistently complex and are so entertaining to read. Jane is a fantastic narrator with a dry sense of humor and witty commentary that I loved. There were times when I felt like there was a bit of information overload and I struggled to make sure I took note of everything, but Jane's narrative voice really made everything interesting to follow along with. I appreciated that Jane was willing to get involved in solving this murder for her friend and brother's sake despite having no experience in solving murders and despite a few rather terrifying obstacles along the way (I mean, getting stuck in hell isn't exactly fun, now is it?)

Another prominent character is Jane's friend Emma, a werewolf. Emma provided a nice contrast to Jane at many points in this novel, and I really liked how many different elements she brought to the story in addition to Jane's own opinions and experiences. It really helped to flesh out the story, and the other characters in this book did much of the same, though on smaller scales since they were less prominent characters.

One of my favorite aspects of this book was simply learning about the world. It's not a fully alternative world, as everything takes place on Earth--specifically in the United States--but it is a world where supernatural beings (werewolves, weredeer, were-you-name-it, vampires, etc.) are all now existing and out in the open. I really appreciated how much detail the authors put into that element and how they made it feel like a real, believable world, especially with how issues of racism and stereotypes of various beings were shown and used. I found the latter aspect to be a clever way to sort of showcase these types of attitudes and how bad they are in our own world and this fictional world, especially with the laws in some states that allow 'shifters' (were-animals) to be shot on sight.

Overall, I've given I Was a Teenage Weredeer four stars! If you're looking for a fun, entertaining read with some interesting story elements, then definitely give this one a shot. If you don't like puns, well, then you might want to hoof it somewhere else.

Buy the book: Amazon

*I received a copy of I Was a Teenage Weredeer courtesy of C.T. Phipps in exchange for an honest review. This has no effect on my rating of the novel.*

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Friday, July 20, 2018

The Friday Face-Off--Covers with Snow and Ice!

Friday Face Off New
Welcome to The Friday Face-Off, a weekly meme here at Books by Proxy. Join us every Friday as we pit cover against cover, and publisher against publisher, to find the best artwork in our literary universe.

I felt that it was time to join in another Friday Face-Off, so here we go!

This week's topic is:
‘In winter with warm tears I’ll melt the snow’ – A cover featuring icicles or snow

This was surprisingly difficult only because there were two books I wanted to feature. And since there are no rules saying I can't... I'm doing both! I chose A Cavern of Black Ice by J.V. Jones as my main choice, but I'm also going to include some of the different covers available from East by Edith Pattou.

A Cavern of Black Ice by J.V. Jones

A Cavern of Black Ice (Sword of Shadows, #1) A Cavern of Black Ice (Sword of Shadows, #1) La Caverne de Glace Noire (L'Épée des ombres, #1)

El clan Granizo Negro (La espada oscura, #1) Jaskinia Czarnego LoduLa caverna de hielo negro (Sword of Shadows, #1)

Spanish Edition | Polish Edition | Spanish Edition #2

My choice:

A Cavern of Black Ice (Sword of Shadows, #1)

 Okay, so we've got quite an array here. Personally, I think I'd choose the US original hardcover as my favorite simply because it's most accurate to the books and I like that it shows both Raif and Effie on the cover. I really like the French addition, but I get so annoyed by the covers that make her look like an adult woman when she's actually like twelve or thirteen? How about we not sexualize her just yet (or ever, but I won't ask for that much)... I also don't really remember there ever being a bear (looking at you, Spanish Edition #2)...

 East by Edith Pattou

EastNorth ChildLa figlia del Nord
Északfiהמסע אל קצה העולם

Original US Hardcover | Special Edition US | Italian Edition
Hungarian Edition | Hebrew Edition

I'm a bit torn on this one! I really like the original cover, but the specia ledition is also incredibly pretty, but the Hungarian edition is just so cute and whimsical as well! #bookproblems

Which covers do you like best?

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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Currently Reading + A Few Books I Plan to Read

I thought it might be nice to take some time to talk about some books I'm currently reading and those that I'm planning to pick up within the next few weeks. Of course, this only a small, tentative sample of books I know I'm going to be reading, but since I'm such a mood reader I'm sure many other unexpected and forgotten books will be thrown in there somewhere. :)

Currently Reading:
Vox by Christina Dalcher
This is a pretty weird dystopian-type novel with the basic premise that woman are only allowed to speak one hundred words a day. There's obviously more to it, but that's the main feature. It's definitely interesting and I am enjoying it, but I also have some issues with it. Regardless, I think it's a great discussion starter. I should probably finish this one today, though, as it's a fairly short book. 
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

We Ride the Storm by Devin Madson
This is a self-published review request and I am absolutely loving it. This is some grimdark fantasy that lives up to the name, but has me completely hooked so far. I'm almost halfway through this one and am dying to see where the story goes.
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Jerusalem by Alan Moore
I'm reading this one from June-August and I just passed the halfway mark the other day! I am really impressed by how much I'm actually enjoying most of this book? I expected it to be much more difficult to read, but it's surprisingly accessible and fairly interesting (though definitely rambling!)
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey
This one is a re-read that I'm doing along r/fantasy for a read-a-long. I already love this book so re-reading it is just making me appreciate it that much more!
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Peace and Turmoil by Elliot Brooks
I'm in the middle of beta reading for this book right and am really enjoying it! The author is Elliot Brooks and she is incredible--you should definitely check her out on Booktube (and keep an eye out for when her book comes out in 2019!)

To be Read:


The Tower of Living and Dying by Anna Smith Spark
This came in the mail last week and I'm beyond excited! I loved The Court of Broken Knives and can't wait to experience Anna Smith Spark's beautiful prose once again.
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

ODY-C, Vol. 1: Off to Far Ithaca by Matt Fraction, Christian Ward
This is a graphic novel that is apparently a gender-flipped Odyssey retelling set in space. I've heard it's super weird and not for everyone, but I must read all things Odyssey-inspired and this looks insane (in the best way!) and I can't wait to read it.
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

City of Kings Rob J. Hayes
This is another self-published review request that I'm really looking forward to reading! I've heard pretty much nothing but great things about Rob J. Hayes also, so that makes me even more excited.
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Melokai by Rosalyn Kelly
This is yet another self-published review request (and there are still more! I just can't say to no how good all of these sound) that I am thrilled to start. It was pitched to me as "a Game of Thrones meets Kushiel’s Dart set in a ruthless land ruled by women." Uh, yes!?
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Blood of the Gods by David Mealing
I'm just really excited to finally continue this series that I have somehow still seen practically no one talking about. If you've read Soul of the Wold, let me know!
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Munmun by Jesse Andrews
I've had this checked out from the library for far too long and I keep renewing and I'm starting to run out of renews, so, uh, I guess I should maybe actually read it? I'm fabulous at procrastinating when it comes to library books (even when I'm excited to read them!).
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir
I didn't expect this one to come in from my library so soon since I was super low on a long waitlist, but somehow it came in over the weekend and now I only have another week-and-a-half to read it. I guess I'm picking this one up next!
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Have you read any of these books? What books are you planning to read soon?

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday: Darksoul by Anna Stephens & Mirage by Somaiya Daud

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights exciting upcoming releases that we can't wait to be released!

This week's upcoming book spotlight is:
Darksoul by Anna Stephens
Publication Date: August 23rd, 2018 (UK)/September 4th, 2018 (US)
Harper Voyager
400 pages
Pre-order: Amazon Book Depository 

From Goodreads: 

The thrilling sequel to GODBLIND, the biggest fantasy debut of 2017. 

The Wolves lie dead beside Rilpor’s soldiers, slaughtered at the hands of the Mireces and their fanatical army. 

The veil that once kept the Red Gods at bay has been left in tatters as the Dark Lady’s plans for the world come to fruition. Where the gods walk, blood is spilled on the earth. 

All that stands between the Mireces army and complete control of the Kingdom of Rilpor are the walls of its capital, Rilporin, and those besieged inside. 

But hope might yet bloom in the unlikeliest of places: in the heart of a former slave, in the mind of a soldier with the eyes of a fox, and in the hands of a general destined to be king."
I really enjoyed and was impressed with Godblind, the first book, last year and am now looking forward to seeing what happens next! I also really love the cover styles for this trilogy so far.

Mirage by Somaiya Daud
Publication Date: August 28th, 2018
Flatiron Books
320 pages
Pre-order: Amazon Book Depository

From Goodreads: 

In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon. 

But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place. 

As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty—and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection...because one wrong move could lead to her death."

I've had my eye on this one for a while and am excited to (hopefully) have the chance to pick it up soon! I am so intrigued by the setting and think this sounds like it will be a really entertaining read.

What do you think about these upcoming releases? What are your anticipated upcoming releases?

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