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Bitsy's Books

Note: I'm uploading my books from Goodreads and since there are like 200+ it's going to take awhile. The uploading seems a bit wonky too, so hang with me as I fix things. Also there may be spoilers until I can make all the appropriate tags.


I'm an ex-English Major who, sick of reading classics after college, decided to read all the trashy books I didn't before because I was too snobby. Since graduating, I've entertained myself with comics, YA, and romance novels, finding out they can not only be decently written, but superbly written. I've since recovered from my classics aversion, but I'm now more open-minded reader willing to read from any genre. If a book has kick-ass heroines and/or witty banter and/or takes place in a different time or place (including fantasy settings), I will most likely fall in love with it. My favorite authors are Jane Austen, Shakespeare, E.M. Forster, Meljean Brook, Sarah Rees Brennan, Rachel Hartman, Catherynne M. Valente, and Aliette de Bodard.

Currently reading

The Blue Fairy Book
Andrew Lang
Apollo's Angels: A History of Ballet
Jennifer Homans
Kiss Me Deadly: 13 Tales of Paranormal Love - Trisha Telep, Maggie Stiefvater, Becca Fitzpatrick, Rachel Vincent, Karen Mahoney, Diana Peterfreund, Daniel Waters, Carrie Ryan, Justine Musk, Daniel Marks, Sarah Rees Brennan, Michelle Rowen, Michelle Zink, Caitlin Kittredge ETA June 2013: I was unaware when I reviewed this that there was controversy surrounding this editor. Because the original blog post detailing what happened has been taken down, I can only go by hearsay. Apparently in later anthology, one of the authors wanted to include a homosexual love story and Telep insisted the author change it to a heterosexual one. I don't know if Telep was acting on behalf of the publishing house or her own preferences, but needless to say I won't be buying any more of her books. This is a hard situation, because I don't feel like authors should be punished for a shitty editor and this book came out before the fiasco. I won't change my grade, but I will let people know the situation to make their own decision. Overall: 3.5 StarsI was really surprised with this anthology. I expected a bunch of Twilight knock-off vampire stories, but most were good stories about different kinds of love - romantic, friendship, familial - involving various paranormal entites - ghosts, zombies, angels, mythological creatures, etc. and yes, even a vampire and a werewolf (in different stories). I was actually impressed by the different paranormal creatures offered. Most stories revolved around the themes of loss and self-discovery. Also, many are connected to previous series by the authors; however, most work without previous knowlege. Anthologies usually break down one or two great stories, one or two terrible, and the rest so-so. However, half the stories were great in Kiss Me Deadly. Its impressive considering I had little-to-no prior knowledge of most these authors and their series before reading this anthology. I've added a lot to my TBR pile! Overall, an above average anthology that is worth the purchase for those who enjoy smart and emotional paranormal YA.Favorite: Behind the Red Door by Caitlin KittredgeWorst: Vermillion by Daniel MarksStandouts : Errant by Diana Peterfreund, The Spy Who Never Grew Up by Sarah Rees Brennan, Dungeons of Langeais by Becca Fitzpatrick, Hare Moon by Carrie Ryan, The Hounds of Ulster by Maggie Stiefvater, and Many Happy Returns by Daniel WatersDuds: The Assassin's Apprentice by Michelle ZinkThe Assassin's Apprentice by Michelle Zink1.5 out of 5 StarsSometime in the past (19th century?), Rose is looking for vengence on her family and meets and falls in love with Asher, a demon assassin. There was no sense of place and the world building was shakey. I thought the story took place in contemporary times until halfway through. I don't even know if it takes place in New York, London, or some made-up city. Also who the Descendents are, who the assassins are and why the protect the Descendents, and what demons are and why they attack the Descendents are either answered halfway through or not at all. There is some 'Woe! Nobody's life is as terrible as mine!' angst (really? I think 19th century working conditions were pretty damn awful, compared to growing up with your family in a nice big house with servants), Rose was a bit too-stupid-to-live, and the protagonists fell in love too quickly for my tastes (within a matter of a couple days!). The story didn't set the stage or create a compelling world and the characters were stock and flat. Lots of cliches, adds nothing new to the paranormal genre, and was just overall, a really boring story.Errant by Diana Peterfruend5 StarsA unicorn hunter-nun and a orphaned lady form an unlikely bond amongst intrigue. This story suprised me. Within 30 pages, Peterfruend introduces and unique and fully developed world (killer unicorns, I like) and two very different, but very strong female protagonists. Peterfruend blends unicorn mythology and horror, making sure you'll never look at a unicorn the same again. Overall, a great story about friendship, empowerment, and killer unicorns. It's one of the best written anthology stories I've read.The Spirit Jar by Karen Mahoney2.5 StarsA vampire theif meets her match with a half-djinn theif while trying to steal a magical book and go up against an afrit. This story was alright. Moth/Marie was the stock smart-ass, impulsive, slightly too-stupid-to-live heroine of mostly every urban fantasy novel ever. The story is around 40 pages, one of the longer ones in the book, but afterwards I wasn't sure what was accomplished. I wasn't sure if Moth/Marie is in love or being held captive by Theo. We never are told their backstory, despite Theo being mentioned frequently. I wasn't sure what Moth/Marie's goal was in this story. To be free of Theo? To reconcile her vamprisim/humanity? I did like the Arabic mythology used (except it's never really explained, despite the heroine not knowing much about it) and the gender reversal of the the older female vampire and the younger human male. However, I didn't really find myself caring about either of the characters and the ending didn't leave me satisfied. It's enjoyable, but neither anything spectacular or terrible.Lost by Justine Musk3 StarsA girl visits an abondoned house to meet a stranger who will teach her about her magical destiny. After a really strange start (the protagonist, Sasha, follows a strange man into a house and lets him blindfold her because her dog trusted him...ooooookay), it was a sweet story. I really liked Sasha and felt she was relatable. Musk's beautiful prose evokes the sense of lonliness and isolation one can feel as an adolesent. However, the love story was rushed and Sasha makes an impuslive Bella-esque decision by the end (although Sasha seemed to be more in control of her decisions than Bella). Despite the lack of chemistry between the love interest and Sasha, the story was romantic. Does that even make sense? Actually, this is the only story in the anthology so far that actually fits the anthology title.The Spy Who Never Grew Up by Sarah Rees Brennan4 StarsAn interesting take on Peter Pan in the modern world. I really liked seeing how Neverland had changed and grown darker as children's dreams became darker. The characters are interesting and different, especially Ninja Star, Peter's genderqueer fairy cohort. There are many parts to this story that don't quite fit together and I think the story could have worked perfectly fine without the spy plot. Overall, it's a fun, funny, and thoughtful tale.Dungeons of Langeais by Becca Fitzpatrick4.5 StarsA half-mad duke tries to stop an angel possesing his body every year. I was suprised how good this story was because I was under the impression Hush, Hush was Twilight with angels instead of vampires. However, Fitzpatrick tells a great horror story that has echoes of Gothic novels. The story works as a stand-alone (and in my opinion, the best as a stand alone because the connection to her series ruins the Gothic flavor). Chauncey, the protagonist, has been driven to the extreme limits that he's willing to do anything to get out of his bargin. He's in no means a nice guy (he's actually pretty reprehensible), but you want him to succeed and find redemption. The only problem I had with the story was I didn't understand why the angel had to posess Chauncey if he could take a corporal form. Nor why the angels wanted Chauncey in the first place. Just because they are evil? Otherwise, grading this as a stand-alone, Fitzpatrick delivers a great Gothic horror tale that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the final word.Behind the Red Door by Caitlin Kitteredge5 StarsA girl visits an old abandoned house and is drawn to the ghost she finds there. Wow! What an absolutely chilling and suspenseful tale. I had goosebumps through the first few chapters. Kitteredge really knows how to set a scene. She also knows how to draw full-demensional characters out of a few sentences. I wouldn't say the basic plot is anything groundbreaking or new, but it is told so beautifully and keeps you enthralled, wondering what will happen. She could get a little metaphor-happy (once changing between two in one paraghraph), but otherwise, her style is sublime and haunting. This was the perfect ghost story I needed for Halloween.Hare Moon by Carrie Ryan4 StarsIn a zombie-infested world, Tabitha tries to find freedom and life outside of ther cult-like villiage. This is a hard one for me to rate because the story was good - really good - even though it has the insta-love trope I hate. The world-builing was fantastic (though a bit reminicsent of M. Night Shyamalayn's The Village but not as disapointing). I loved how the protagonist went from dreamy, naive, and reliant to having to make choices that were terrible and frightening, but for the greater good (in her mind). The ending is absolutely chilling and heartbreaking. On the other hand, the prose was just so overwrought and purple that it made me laugh out loud. When it wasn't hitting you over the head with the meaning of every little metaphor or motif, it had to describe how Tabitha FEELS! SO! EXCRUCIATINGLY! AND! POWERFULLY! I understand she has been repressed, but the extremity of her feelings and her luuuuuuuuve took away from the power of the story. If everything is overwhelming, things that are actually overwhelming aren't that big of a deal. Also, the story is told in present tense, which is a stylistic thing I personally don't like. In the end, the plot and world-building are strong enough to out-weigh over-the-top writing, but it's upsetting such a great premise had to be wasted on purple-prose.Familiar by Michelle Rowen2.5 StarsA witch-in-training chooses her familiar, only to discover her choice is a shifter boy. A cute feel-good, if predictable story. Nothing memorable.Fearless by Rachel Vincent3.5 StarsA girl who can feed on nightmares is placed in a halfway house where no one feels fear. Sabine was an interesting character. She hasn't had a happy life and she walks the line of morality. She would make a great anti-heroine (sadly I get the impression she is the "evil ex-girlfriend" in the author's series). The set-up and discriptions of the halfway house and its occupants were great and realistic and the mystery is engrosing. However, the author focuses on Sabine's boyfriend, Nash, and their relationship far too long, so the ending is rushed, illogical, and disapointing. This story could have benefited from removing Nash (or have him play a much lesser role) and/or from a novella length.Vermillion by Daniel Marks0.5 StarsA ghostly couple in Purgatory is sent to find out what happened to a coworker in the real world. So things I liked about this story: Um...uh...it's an interesting premise. And that's it. I really thought I was going to get through this anthology without an 'Evil Blonde Cheerleader McSlutface' character (or EBCM) rearing her ugly head, but I guess it was a lead up to one of the most egregious EBCM I've ever seen. The EBCM is Asian (or of Asian-decent), and considering how sexualized Asian women are by Western society and the media, it perpetuated a harmful stereotype and left a bad taste in my mouth. And the fact this story is written by a man, just makes it even more disgusting. The main character, Velvet (yes that is her name, and I rolled my eyes so hard), constantly calls Amie (the EBCM) a slut, but still pauses to notice and describe her long legs and sexy hair (like straight-identifying girls do). The narrative shames Amie for her sexuality, while at the same time relishing it. The story is framed within the male gaze, despite being told from the perspective of a seventeen-to-twenty-year-old girl. It’s gross.Velvet is a cute manic pixie dream girl (she wears combat boots! She likes sweet and sour pork! – but not Asian HOARS apparently), but she’s completely unlikable and judges people quickly. Add to that confusing and conflicting world-building with too many superfluous details, stupid characters I didn’t like nor care about, an offensive racially segregated afterlife (that seems strangely American-based, despite, you know, the rest of the world), and serious misuse of the thesaurus, this story is lucky to be getting even half a star.The Hounds of Ulster by Maggie Stiefvater4 StarsAn Irish fiddler gets caught up with the supernatural, leaving his best friend and fellow musician behind. An interesting story with a couple really good twists. I liked the clever use of Irish mythology. The way everthing came full circle and the refrain 'I miss him, still' was very poetic and imitated music. However, the 'looking-back-from-the-future-and-foreshadowing-like-crazy' and 'let-me-tell-you-this' style of narration I can't stand was used a bit too often. More time could have been spent on the main plot and not so much unneccessary foreshadowing and details (like the friend's dad). Also, the private phone line the protagonist uses dated the story (everyone has cell phones now). Still, a clever and sad story about lost friendship.Many Happy Returns by Daniel Waters4.5 StarsIn a world where teenagers rise from the dead, a car accident claims the lives of 5 teenagers and father waits to see if his daughter will be one of those who rise. This story was a really moving portrait of grief and how it affects individuals, families, and comminities. I did feel the fundamentalist father was a bit over the top, but all the other characters were very well drawn. A very moving story that will wrench your heart.