Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Burned: By Benedict Jacka

BURNED

SUMMARY

Diviner Alex Verus finally made one too many enemies on the Council of Mages, and now one of them is angry enough to have him executed. Fighting for his life is nothing new, but this kill order also calls for the death of Alex’s dependents—and there’s no way that he’ll let Luna, Anne, and Vari take the heat.

With only a week before he’s history, Alex will have to figure out how to disassociate himself from his friends, scrounge up allies on the Council, and hopefully keep his head attached to his body.

But saving himself is going to bring him into direct opposition with his former master and the Dark mages surrounding him. And, this time, escaping with his life might mean losing his soul...
REVIEW

What impressed me most about Burned was the way in which the ramifications and events from the last few books all came rushing back into a single convergence that had to be reckoned with in Burned, thereby leading the series to a new plateau and breaking away from the rut that many writers find themselves stuck in.

In fact, since third the book in the series, Mr. Jacka has advanced his writing and story development by leaps and bounds. In Burned, as I mentioned before,  Alex is left dealing with the numerous enemies he has accumulated over the course of the series. The light mages have placed a death verdict on not just him but also all of his allies and it's up to Alex to use all of his tricks and everything remaining up his sleeves to do everything in his power to keep his loved ones safe. If that does grip you as a reader than I don't know what will. Jacka spends a good deal of the book setting up a a series of twists and turns that will leave readers shocked and enthralled. While I don't want to give anything away, I can say that through these twists and surprises leave Alex's allies in hot water often putting them to the test of the extent of their allegiance to Alex.

As for the nonstop action that fans of the series have come to expect, Burned is no exception to this. Burned is full of pulse pounding and exhilarating action and storylines and yet still has time to make significant advancements in the storyline.

All in all, if you can't tell from my gushing review of this book, I like he's Burned. My only regret is that I have to wait for months for the next book. But please be advised that Benedict Jacka is no longer an up and coming talent, he has now clearly arrived and it is everything fans of his series could have hoped for and more.


INFO

Published: April 5, 2016

Publisher: Ace

Price: $7.99

Link to Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Burned-An-Alex-Verus-Novel-ebook/dp/B011IVP3UG/ref=pd_sim_351_19?ie=UTF8&dpID=51oUnOtbx%2BL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_OU01_AC_UL160_SR99%2C160_&refRID=1R2QDZSBVQQ112D5PH4Z

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Chaos Choreography: By Seanan McGuire

CHAOS CHOREOGRAPHY

SUMMARY


Verity Price is back on the West Coast and getting back into the swing of the family business: cryptozoology. She's rescuing cryptids from bad situations, protecting them from monster-hunters, and generally risking life and limb for the greater good, with her ex-Covenant partner/husband, Dominic, by her side. Her ballroom dance career is behind her...or so she thinks.

When Verity gets the call from the producers of Dance or Die, the reality show she almost won several years before, she finds the lure of a comeback impossible to resist, and she and Dominic are off to L.A. for one last shot at the big time.

Of course, nothing is that simple. When two of her fellow contestants turn up dead, Verity will need every ally she can find—and a couple she wasn't looking for—in order to navigate the complicated steps of both the tango and a murder investigation without blowing her cover. It doesn't help that her official family backup is her grandmother, Alice Price-Healy, who thinks "subtle" is something that happens to other people.

Winning this competition may have just become a matter of life and death.



REVIEW

As I have mentioned before I was a bit slow in joining the Seanan McGuire bandwagon. When I first started reading Seanan McGuire, I had purchased some of the books but the had mostly sat on my to read pile looking forlorn that they hadn't been read.

Then while studying for the bar I wanted something fun and different to read, so I picked up Discount Armageddon. Boy was that a mistake...

After The first book in the Incrypid series I was hooked. I finished all the books in the Incryptid Series and then moved on to McGuire's October Daye series, her Velveteen collections and then finally to her Indexing series.

What I learned from this was two fold, first the only good thing about being stupid and putting off these amazing books was that when I jumped in I had a large number of them to read, so I was able to binge read. And second, Seanan McGuire is an amazing author who I now look forward to the release of each of her new books.

That said, I have a special place in my heart for Verity Price, since Discount Armageddon was the first McGuire book I read, so when I heard Chaos Choreography was going back to Verity's POV, I was thrilled.

Once again Ms. McGuire did not disappoint.

Not only is Chaos Choreography filled with fantastic action and hilarious quips, but it truly moves the plot into the next stage of the larger story arc (don't want to give it away but It's fabulous!), and I personally can't wait to see what happens next. Chaos Choreography seemed to focus less on the individual cryptids in LA and more on the change in Verity personality and acceptance of her life as Price vs being a dancer. Readers are treated to descriptions of Verity's personality before the events of Discount Armageddon as well as the change that maturity and Dominic have caused in her.

Of course, if you've read the other books in the Incryptid series, which I recommend you do, before reading Chaos Choreography, then you will know about Alice Price-Healy, and how awesome she is. Well it was my great pleasure to finally get to meet her in a full book. She is everything her stories built her up to be and more, and I personally wouldn't mind having a few Alice POVs to boot. Alice is a tough as nails, straightforward character, who through her violence first approach on the world brings even more humor and action to an already action and humor filled book.

All in all, Chaos Choreography like all the other books in McGuire's Incryptid series (as well as all her other series and books) is a great book that I found myself reading into the wee hours of the morning as I couldn't put it down.

Please give this series a chance, as it is fun, exciting and full of great characters, and I personally would love to read as many books in this world as Ms. McGuire is willing to give to readers and fans.


INFO

Published: March 1, 2016

Publisher: DAW

Price: $7.99

Link to Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Chaos-Choreography-InCryptid-Seanan-McGuire-ebook/dp/B00Z8VTNWC/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1457578992&sr=1-1&keywords=seanan+mcguire

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A Gathering of Shadows: By V.E. Schwab

A GATHERING OF SHADOWS


SUMMARY

Four months have passed since the shadow stone fell into Kell's possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Rhy was wounded and the Dane twins fell, and the stone was cast with Holland's dying body through the rift, and into Black London.

In many ways, things have almost returned to normal, though Rhy is more sober, and Kell is now plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks like she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games-an extravagent international competition of magic, meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries-a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.

But while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life, and those who were thought to be forever gone have returned. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night reappears in the morning, and so it seems Black London has risen again-and so to keep magic's balance, another London must fall.




REVIEW

The first thing I have to say about A Gathering of Shadows is that it is truly remarkable.

Why is it so remarkable you might ask?


Why it is because A Gathering of Shadows author V.E. Schwab is an amazing author who has improved in her craft and her novels worlds with every book she has written.

In A Darker Shade of Magic, Schwab introduced readers to the four different worlds of London, Black, White, Red and Grey London, all of which have varying relationships to magic. Schwab did a wonderful job introducing readers to these worlds, and if that alone was the magic system in her series readers this would still be a great series. 

But Schwab in her infinite wisdom and love for her readers has blown the door off of its hinges when it comes to her novel's worlds and their magic systems. What I mean by this, is that readers learn in A Gathering of Shadows that London is an only a single entry spot for the different Londons and their respective worlds. This means that different locations all over the world also have different spots of power which might also have different connections to magic that have yet to be explored. 
If that wasn't enough Schwab also introduces readers to her book's version of the World Cup for Magic (or Tri-Wizard Tournament for Harry Potter fans), inviting magic casters from all different nations to compete for the honor of being best in the world. At this point in the review, you as the reader of this review must be thinking ok that's pretty awesome, but it can't possibly get any cooler, well you sir or madam are wrong! For on top of the tournament and different sources of magic different people from different countries have different beliefs regarding the source of magic, some believe magic comes from the ground itself and therefore must be walked upon to gather strength, others that you must embody the element you want to control, and so on and so forth, so that there are countless iterations of magic and all of them fascinating and full of possibilities. In fact, while I love Delilah, Rhy and Kell you could easily see Schwab after completing this story arc, leave London all together and instead visit another country's magic system, while having the characters from this series still exist in the background.

Speaking of Schwab's current cast of characters, Schwab has done a superb job of showing the ramifications of A Darker Shade of Magic, and how each of her main characters are affected in different ways. Rhy is depressed, Kell is trying to restrain himself in order to protect Rhy yet at the same time is pushed to the limits of what he will endure in terms of being subservient to the crown for Rhy's protection, and Delilah  is given a chance to grow and practice her growing powers. Other interesting characters are introduced and other older characters are brought back, but all in all Schwab's character development and voice she creates in each character are the reason to read her books.

While I have yet to describe the action or the pacing in this book, just know that it is incredibly well done. A Gathering of Shadows is filled to the brim with action to the point that I found myself awake reading A Gathering of Shadows deep into the night. Also I cite the Essen Tasch (the Tri-Wizard Tournament type of contest) in terms of awesomeness in action.

All in all, A Gathering of Shadows is a great book. It is engaging, exhilarating and full of wonderful characters and beautiful prose. I can't praise this book enough, and I implore you as a reader to give this book a chance, as I highly expect you to love it, but also so that Schwab is given the chance to write as many books in this wonderful world as she is willing to give us.


INFO

Publisher: Tor

Published: February 23, 2016

Price: $25.99

Link to Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Gathering-Shadows-V-E-Schwab-ebook/dp/B00WDVL07Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1457578974&sr=1-1&keywords=ve+schwab

Monday, February 15, 2016

The Immortals: By Jordanna Max Brodsky

THE IMMORTALS

SUMMARY

The city sleeps. Selene DiSilva walks her dog along the banks of the Hudson. She is alone -- just the way she likes it. She doesn't believe in friends, and she doesn't speak to her family. Most of them are simply too dangerous.

In the predawn calm, Selene finds the body of a young woman washed ashore, gruesomely mutilated and wreathed in laurel. Her ancient rage returns. And so does the memory of a promise she made long ago -- when her name was Artemis.
REVIEW

The Immortals takes the stories of the Olympian Gods puts them in a situation where their powers have faded to almost nothing, adds a murder mystery centered around an ancient cult's ritual, and add a splash of romance to top it off.

Jordanna Max Brodsky has done a suburb job of bringing life to the ancient myths. Retelling the myths of old through the eyes of Artemis, thus shading each of these great and known stories in a different light. On top of these re-telling though, Brodsky has done a fantastic job recreating the Gods, showing the gods base cores as they would have changed over the millennia. Some fading, some going mad, while others retained small bursts of energy (Hermes and Dionysus), because of the reverence and worship of alcohol, drinking, communication and thievery (because being dishonest or getting drunk has never gone out of style).

Through all of this, Brodsky weaves a compelling story of treachery, loss and love, that is absolutely packed with nail biting adventure. As the plot thickens so too do the stakes, until readers are stuck feverishly reading until the wee hours of the morning trying to find out what happens next. Of course, to top off the action and ever building suspense, The Immortals is packed to the gills with shocking surprises that even experienced readers wont see coming.

All in all, I throughly enjoyed The Immortals. I thought it was well written, had a fantastic balance of action, mystery and budding romance, and was a real page turner. Overall The Immortals is a real treat.

INFO

Publisher: Orbit Books

Published: February 16, 2016

Price: $25.00

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Staked: By Kevin Hearne


STAKED


SUMMARY


When a Druid has lived for two thousand years like Atticus, he’s bound to run afoul of a few vampires. Make that legions of them. Even his former friend and legal counsel turned out to be a bloodsucking backstabber. Now the toothy troublemakers—led by power-mad pain-in-the-neck Theophilus—have become a huge problem requiring a solution. It’s time to make a stand.

As always, Atticus wouldn’t mind a little backup. But his allies have problems of their own. Ornery archdruid Owen Kennedy is having a wee bit of troll trouble: Turns out when you stiff a troll, it’s not water under the bridge. Meanwhile, Granuaile is desperate to free herself of the Norse god Loki’s mark and elude his powers of divination—a quest that will bring her face-to-face with several Slavic nightmares.

As Atticus globetrots to stop his nemesis Theophilus, the journey leads to Rome. What better place to end an immortal than the Eternal City? But poetic justice won’t come without a price: In order to defeat Theophilus, Atticus may have to lose an old friend.

REVIEW

What should I say about Staked? How about if you enjoy a sarcastic, action filled book that uses a complex and creative use of different religions and deities as its backdrop to establish ever changing and intricate story lines, then Staked is the book for you.

If not, then I don't really know what to do with you.

But don't stop at Staked being the book for you, the ENTIRE Iron Druid Chronicles is for you! That said, if you haven't read the previous books in the Iron Druid Chronicles then don't start with Staked, not because it's not a great book, but because so much of the story and complexity has been built up, layer over layer, over the previous volumes in the series, that much of the intricacies of the series would be lost on readers who had not read the previous book sin the series. But the good news is if you haven't read the other Iron Druid Chronicles books then you have some fun reading ahead of you!

As for Staked, what makes this book different from the others is the sense of offense that Atticus' new decisions have lead him to. Finally acting instead of reacting, Atticus, Granuaile and Owen face more action than I can remember occurring in a single volume of the Iron Druid Chronicles. Villains in previous books in the series become allies and previous allies become enemies, leaving readers shocked and astounded with the intricate outcomes.

Of course, this increase in action does not detract from any character development or strong writing. If anything, Hearne has improved his writing over the course of the series, exploring different voices and characters in different POV. While I personally like Atticus' POV the best seeing the world through both Owen and Granuaile' POV has helped open up the story to new heights as even Atticus' decisions are questioned, bringing a sense of challenge to the story and world as we know it.

All in all, Staked is another fantastic book in an amazing series. I loved it and personally can't wait until the next book in Hearne's Iron Druid Chronicle.

Finally, make sure you check out where Hearne is stopping in his Staked Tour. I personally am attending the Austin, Texas appearance at Bookpeople, that is occurring on January 27th. If you can make it make sure you can be there as I have heard Heanre puts on quite a show.




INFO

Published: January 26, 2016

Publisher: Del Rey

Price: $27.00

Link to Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Staked-Druid-Chronicles-Kevin-Hearne/dp/0345548515/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1453828818&sr=8-1&keywords=staked

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Bands of Mourning: By Brandon Sanderson


THE BANDS OF MOURNING

SUMMARY

The Bands of Mourning are the mythical metalminds owned by the Lord Ruler, said to grant anyone who wears them the powers that the Lord Ruler had at his command. Hardly anyone thinks they really exist. A kandra researcher has returned to Elendel with images that seem to depict the Bands, as well as writings in a language that no one can read. Waxillium Ladrian is recruited to travel south to the city of New Seran to investigate. Along the way he discovers hints that point to the true goals of his uncle Edwarn and the shadowy organization known as The Set.




REVIEW

The first thing I have to say is that anyone who has read one of Sanderson's other Mistborn novel will 100% want to read The Bands of Mourning.

The Bands of Mourning may be, in my opinion, the second best Mistborn Novel Sanderson has written, short only to Mistborn itself (please note that I list the first Mistborn novel as one of my favorite books so this is tough competition to compare it to).

What makes The Bands of Mourning so great is the expansion of knowledge it offers both in the Cosmere as well as in Hemalurgy. Hemalurgy is the art that was used to create the Inquisitors in the Mistborn, and Sanderson himself mentions that Hemalurgy will be important to the world of the Cosmere and deals with the Spiritual Realm. As for the Cosmere, readers will be burning with new questions after reading Harmony's conversations with Wayne and following the actions of Suit and the Set, leaving readers just begging for more.

As for the characters if MeLaan was my favorite new character introduced in Shadows of Self, Steris surprised me with how much development and insight Sanderson offered her character in The Bands of Mourning. That's not saying I don't love MeLaan, Wax, Wayne or any other main characters in The Bands of Mourning, in fact, Sanderson once again does a fantastic job developing Wax and Wayne's characters, building them them into more more complex characters. 

All in all, between great character development, hidden gems in the Cosmere and superb action scenes The Bands of Mourning is a fantastic book that will leave readers begging for the next installment. Which is why readers will be positively gleeful in the extra novella that Sanderson posted (mentioned at the end of the book) to help readers cope with the end of such a great book and to help answer more questions raised by The Bands of Mourning.


INFO

Publisher: Tor Books


Published: January 26, 2016


Price: $27.99


Link to Buy: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0765378574?keywords=brandon%20sanderson&qid=1453786149&ref_=sr_1_1&s=books&sr=1-1

Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Law of Loving Others: By Kate Axelrod

THE LAW OF LOVING OTHERS

SUMMARY

“THE LAW OF LOVING OTHERS . . .
Hours after Emma returns home from boarding school, she realizes that her mom is suffering from a schizophrenic break. Suddenly, Emma’s entire childhood and identity is called into question.

COULD NOT BE DISCOVERED BY REASON,
Desperate for answers, Emma turns to her boyfriend, Daniel. Will he love her even if she goes crazy too? But it’s the lonely, brooding boy Emma meets while visiting her mother at the hospital who really understands Emma. Phil encourages Emma’s reckless need for hurt and pain in the face of all this change and she is soon caught in a complicated spiral of loss and mistrust.

BECAUSE IT IS UNREASONABLE.”
In the span of just one winter break, Emma’s relationships alter forever and she is forced to see the wisdom in a line from Anna Karenina: “The law of loving others could not be discovered by reason, because it is unreasonable.”

REVIEW

With all of the fluff filled teen lit out in the world it is refreshing to find a book that realistically addresses the issues of mental illness in the family.

The Law of Loving Others shows a teens perspective to discovering mental illness in the family. It is a sympathetic and authentic look at the challenges of dealing with the stigma and fears of mental illness in a realistic light. And yet The Law of Loving Others and its author Kate Axelrod also manages to create likable and relatable characters and an intriguing teen love story that will be sure to keep readers glued to the very last page.


All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed The Law of Loving Others. The characters were relatable, the story engrossing, and the writing heartfelt and engrossing. Overall, I highly recommend.

INFO

Publisher: Razorbill

Published: January 8, 2015

Price: $17.99

Link to Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Law-Loving-Others-Kate-Axelrod/dp/1595147896/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1449203352&sr=8-1&keywords=the+law+of+loving+others