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

Ink and Bone: By Rachel Caine

INK AND BONE

SUMMARY

Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.

Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service.

When he inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn.…
REVIEW

The first thing I have to say about Ink and Bone is that this book was written for bibliophiles in mind. If you love books and read as much as I do then the emotions associated towards books will appear endearing and exaggerated but understandable. If you are not an enormous lover of books then this book might not be for you, as the base emotion underlying the premise of the story will appear foreign, ridiculous and eye rolling in its use to move the story along.

That said, if you either love books and can commiserate with these feelings about books to some degree, or can look past this hyperbole of emotions towards books, then readers will most likely find the plot enjoyable and entertaining.

Outside of a world built around a totalitarianism type government that runs the world by syphoning off the power of knowledge by rationing books, this book centers on a young individual who is constantly forced into terrible and tough decisions whether to whether

Ink and Bone is an intriguing first chapter in a new series that is filled with action, adventure and a number of likable characters. Now, please note that I said that Ink and Bone is the first chapter in this new series, I say that because the resolution of the first book might leave a few readers feeling annoyed or deprived of a satisfying ending they might crave, but I would like to proclaim, do not worry. Rachel Caine, the author of this series, is one of the best serial writers I have read. She knows how to perfectly time her stories so that each book ends in a way that allows the readers to feel the gripping conclusion, leaving them wanting more, while at the same time providing readers will a complete story arc for each book. Now that said, there many be multiple larger story arcs that are left to toy with readers emotions, but that’s a different issue all together.

All in all, I enjoyed Ink and Bone. While the world itself are based on a set of emotions and loyalty towards books that leans towards the extreme, if you can swallow that, then you will have no trouble enjoying the characters, action, and adventure that is the first chapter in The Great Library Series.

INFO

Publisher: NAL

Published: July 7, 2015

Price: $17.99

Link to Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Ink-Bone-Library-Rachel-Caine/dp/045147239X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1449202328&sr=8-1&keywords=ink+and+bone

Red-Rose Chain: By Seanan McGuire

RED-ROSE CHAIN

SUMMARY

Things are looking up.

For the first time in what feels like years, October "Toby" Daye has been able to pause long enough to take a breath and look at her life -- and she likes what she sees. She has friends. She has allies. She has a squire to train and a King of Cats to love, and maybe, just maybe, she can let her guard down for a change.

Or not. When Queen Windermere's seneschal is elf-shot and thrown into an enchanted sleep by agents from the neighboring Kingdom of Silences, Toby finds herself in a role she never expected to play: that of a diplomat. She must travel to Portland, Oregon, to convince King Rhys of Silences not to go to war against the Mists. But nothing is that simple, and what October finds in Silences is worse than she would ever have imagined.

How far will Toby go when lives are on the line, and when allies both old and new are threatened by a force she had never expected to face again? How much is October willing to give up, and how much is she willing to change? In Faerie, what's past is never really gone.

REVIEW

Seanan McGuire is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. I love her October Daye series, her InCryptid series, her Indexing series, her Velveteen series, and even her short stories.

Red-Rose Chain is no exception to this.

McGuire has slowly been developing her cast of characters over the length of the series, allowing the ramifications from their decisions to shape them into the characters they have become.

That is one of the best things about these later books in the Daye series. The building ramifications, growing list of partnerships and enemies, and the shortcuts to events that speeds up the events in the series, and rewards devoted fans of the series with faster paced action, nuggets of humor, and an ever growing fantastic cast of characters that can be rotated through without full build up each time.


So if you can’t tell I loved Red-Rose Chain. In fact my only disappointment with it is that I can’t read the next in the series right now. I highly recommend this series and all of McGuire’s series if you’re looking for great action, humor, sass, and a lot of awesome magic to throw into the mix. That said I highly recommend reading the other books in the series before reading Red-Rose Chain.

INFO

Publisher: DAW

Published: September 1, 2015

Price: $7.99

Link to Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Red-Rose-Chain-October-Daye-Novel/dp/0756408091/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1449192542&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=a+red+rose+chain

Time Salvager: By Wesley Chu

TIME SALVAGER

SUMMERY

Convicted criminal James Griffin-Mars is no one's hero. In his time, Earth is a toxic, abandoned world and humans have fled into the outer solar system to survive, eking out a fragile, doomed existence among the other planets and their moons. Those responsible for delaying humanity's demise believe time travel holds the key, and they have identified James, troubled though he is, as one of a select and expendable few ideally suited for the most dangerous job in history.

James is a chronman, undertaking missions into Earth's past to recover resources and treasure without altering the timeline. The laws governing use of time travel are absolute; break any one of them and, one way or another, your life is over. Most chronmen never reach old age; the stress of each jump through time, compounded by the risk to themselves and to the future, means that many chronmen rapidly reach their breaking point, and James Griffin-Mars is nearing his.

On a final mission that is to secure his retirement, James meets Elise Kim, an intriguing scientist from a previous century, who is fated to die during the destruction of an oceanic rig. Against his training and his common sense, and in violation of the chronmen's highest law, James brings Elise back to the future with him, saving her life, but turning them both into fugitives. Remaining free means losing themselves in the wild and poisonous wastes of Earth, somehow finding allies, and perhaps discovering what hope may yet remain for humanity's home world.

REVIEW

Time travel books are so appealing and yet at the same time so hard to truly capture. That's why I was so impressed that Wesley Chu nailed the time travel aspect the book so well (when I say he nailed the time travel aspect I mean it was appealing, made a modicum of sense and didn't leave me frustrated thus taking away from the other essential elements of the book).

Who doesn't love time traveling book? I know I certainly do.

Wesley Chu, has crafted a thrilling ride through the future in this pulse pounding novel.

More importantly though Time Salvager is one hell of an adrenaline pumping action packed book. How much action you might ask, the answer is so much action that Michael Bay is directing the movie adaption of this book.  Yes, you hear me correctly, Michael Bay, that means the building shattering battles between chronomen in their ultra high powered suits that take place in Time Salvager will be presented in all their glory in the film. Honestly, there was so much awesome action packed in here that I found myself delaying everything else in my life so that I could find out if the who lived, who died and what happened next.

That said, all the action scenes in the world are meaningless if readers don't commiserate with the characters who's lives are constantly being threatened. Luckily for readers Chu has created a fantastic cast of characters to root for. Such characters include James, Elise, Grace and my personal favorite character Levine. The reason Levine is my personal favorite character, besides that fact that he's a badass, is because of the series of tough decisions that Chu forces upon him, changing his outlook on the world in a rational, making him the character with the most development. I say the change in Levine's character is rational since Chu has does a fantastic job showing the series of small decisions and revelations that lead to this larger outlook change.

Of course, the fact that Chu has packed this book full of action and interesting characters will come as no surprise to any fans of Chu's other fantastic series, the Tao Series, which if you haven't read, I highly recommend it.

All in all Time Salvager is full of action adventure and a lot of interesting characters. If you are looking for a book that will keep you entertained and engaged from start to finish then this is the book for you.

INFO

Publisher: Tor Books

Published: July 7, 2015 

Price: $25.99

Link to Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Time-Salvager-Wesley-Chu-ebook/dp/B00NKB9RSW/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1449197038&sr=1-1&keywords=time+salvager

Shadows of Self: By Brandon Sanderson

SHADOWS OF SELF

SUMMARY

With The Alloy of Law, Brandon Sanderson surprised readers with a New York Times bestselling spinoff of his Mistborn books, set after the action of the trilogy, in a period corresponding to late 19th-century America.

The trilogy's heroes are now figures of myth and legend, even objects of religious veneration. They are succeeded by wonderful new characters, chief among them Waxillium Ladrian, known as Wax, hereditary Lord of House Ladrian but also, until recently, a lawman in the ungoverned frontier region known as the Roughs. There he worked with his eccentric but effective buddy, Wayne. They are "twinborn," meaning they are able to use both Allomantic and Feruchemical magic.

Shadows of Self shows Mistborn's society evolving as technology and magic mix, the economy grows, democracy contends with corruption, and religion becomes a growing cultural force, with four faiths competing for converts.

This bustling, optimistic, but still shaky society now faces its first instance of terrorism, crimes intended to stir up labor strife and religious conflict. Wax and Wayne, assisted by the lovely, brilliant Marasi, must unravel the conspiracy before civil strife stops Scadrial's progress in its tracks.

REVIEW

The first thing I have to say is that Shadows of Self is a fantastic book that appears to turn much of what readers believed they knew about the world after The Hero of Ages on its head.

If that sentence meant nothing to you then please go back and read Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn series (Mistborn, The Well of Ascension, and The Hero of Ages), which is a superb series that while it does not HAVE to be read before reading Shadows of Self, if readers did read it before Shadows of Self they would have a much greater appreciation of this continuation of the Mistborn world.

Of course if you don’t want to read Sanderson’s Mistborn series Shadows of Self is still a great book to pick up and read for a number of reasons.

The first reason Shadows of Self is fantastic even on its own, is the many adrenaline riddled action scenes that any reader will easily find themselves engrossed in. These scenes include but are not limited to magical gunfights, assassination attempts and battles between shape shifters. If those alone don’t grab a readers attention then I don’t know what will.

That said, Shadows of Self is more than just action filled fluff. Sanderson has created a likable and surprisingly deep cast of characters for readers to engage with. This is actually my favorite aspect of Shadows of Self, Sanderson’s characters, whether it be Wayne and his brilliant yet odd way of looking at the world, Marasi and her brilliant and strong willed attempt to challenge the world to be better, and especially the charismatic hero Wax.

Of course the only bad part of this book is that Sanderson has crafted a superbly shocking (and possibly even game changing) cliffhanger that will leave readers crying out in frustration that they have to wait until the next book in the series, The Bands of Mourning, comes out to find out what happens next. That said, Sanderson has even taken care of that by arranging for the release of the Bands of Mourning only 3 months after the initial release of Shadows of Self.

Between amazing characters, fantastic action scenes, and shocking conclusions that will surprise even jaded readers Shadows of Self is a fantastic book that I have no problem recommending to anyone looking for a good quick read.

INFO

Publisher: Tor Books

Published: October 6, 2015

Price: $27.99

Link to Buy: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00R697CGS/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=3G2Q4F0PGLI5U&coliid=I29T71ROSWXTKN