Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Hidden: By Benedict Jacka

HIDDEN

SUMMARY

With his talent for divining the future, Alex Verus should have foreseen his friends’ reactions to the revelations about his previous life. Anne Walker no longer trusts him—and has also cut all ties with the mage community after getting kicked out of the apprentice program. As a favor to Luna, Alex’s own apprentice and Anne’s best friend, he checks in on her only to be told to leave her alone.

Then Anne gets kidnapped. The Council Keepers of the Order of the Star believe Dark mages from her past may be involved. Working with the Keepers, Alex and Luna discover that Anne has been taken into the shadow realm of Sagash, her former Dark mage mentor, and they must find a way to rescue her.

But another shadow from the past has resurfaced—Alex’s former master may be back in London, and Alex has no idea what his agenda is…
REVIEW

When I read Benedict Jacka’s first book in his Alex Verus series I said that Jacka was an author to keep an eye on.

In Hidden he no longer is someone on the road to writing fantastic books, he’s there.

Hidden focuses on the effects of the events in Chosen, particularly Anne and Sonder’s mistrust in Alex and the dissolution of this group of friends who seemingly could take on anything. It is through this mistrust that readers get an insight into the inner working of Alex’s mind, and the beginning transformation from survivor to hero as Alex looks for a kidnapped Anne even though he will gain nothing from doing this (as she still hates him).

Readers will also get a chance to see Anne’s inner workings. Transforming her from a more two dimensional side character to a strong 3D lead character. Anne is a complicated character and seeing her dark side and what happened while she was kidnapped is fascinating.

Of course the biggest change in Hidden is the introduction of a huge new plot point that I’m assuming will drive the series forward in future books. I will not say what it is for fear of spoilers, but let me just say I’m on the edge of my seat waiting for the next in the series.


All in all, Hidden was awesome. Like the other books in the series Hidden is filled with tons of action, (in my opinion fight scenes with a diviner are pretty awesome), great characters, and a well paced plot. I fully recommend it, and it is perfect for fans of Ben Aaronovitch, Jim Butcher, Seanan McGuire, and Kevin Hearne.

INFO

Publisher: Ace

Published: September 2, 2014

Price: $7.99

Link to Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Hidden-Alex-Verus-Book-5-ebook/dp/B00IOE4LCM/ref=sr_1_7?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1409711599&sr=1-7&keywords=hidden

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Morganville Trailer

MORGANVILLE


I'm a fan of Rachel Caine's The Morganville Vampire series and am very excited for the to watch the web series on Geek & Sundry. Here's the first look at the trailer.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Shifting Shadows: By Patricia Briggs

SHIFTING SHADOWS

REVIEW

I usually don’t like short stories. I tend to feel that many of the short stories I read are more teasers for the real series and thus lacking substance to reel the reader fully in.

Patricia Briggs’ short stories do not fall into this category.

Now that said, I would not recommend this anthology for newcomers to Briggs’ Mercy series. Part of the magic of this anthology is Briggs’ sensational ability to create compelling stories that fill in much of the eagerly anticipated backstories of many of the secondary characters.

My personal favorite of these stories was Silver which illuminated much of Samuel, Bran, and Arianas’ backstories, thus finishing the story that began in Silver Borne. Readers finally are able to get a taste of Samuel and Bran’s turning, the torture inflicted upon them while they were under the control of Bran’s mother, and the love born between Samuel and Ariana. On top of that, Silver is more of a novella than a short story, spanning 70 pages, thus allowing Briggs is really able to get to the meat of the story. Personally I’d recommend this anthology based solely on this story alone.

Of course there’s more than just this story, some of my other favorites included In Red, with Pearls, which is told from Warren’s POV, Redemption, which illuminates Ben’s backstory and is told from his POV, and Hollow, which is a Mercy POV story that takes place AFTER Night Broken, so fans of the series that are already in Mercy withdrawal can get a fix with some events that take place after the most recent book in the series, Night Broken.

This anthology includes new stories:

Silver
Roses in Winter
Redemption
Hollow

Previously released stories:

Fairy Gifts
Gray
Seeing Eye
Alpha and Omega
The Star of David
In, Red, with Pearls

And some extra chapters from Night Broken and Silver Bourne.


All in all, I highly recommend this anthology for fans of the Mercy series. Many of the stories are closer to novellas than short stories, and if you haven’t read Briggs’ Alpha and Omega series, then this is the perfect opportunity as the novella that started the series is included in the selection of previously released material included in this book. Great buy.

INFO

Publisher: Ace

Published: September 2, 2014

Price: $26.95

Link to Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Shifting-Shadows-Stories-World-Thompson-ebook/dp/B00IOE4M9O/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1409343344&sr=1-1&keywords=patricia+briggs

The Winter Long: By Seanan McGuiure

THE WINTER LONG

SUMMARY

Toby thought she understood her own past; she thought she knew the score.

She was wrong.

It's time to learn the truth.


REVIEW

The first thing I have to say about Seanan McGuire is that her October Daye series gets better with each book. While I’ve liked each book, I’ve found that with each successive book in the series the overall series and each book got better, to the point that now when a new book in the series comes out I have to immediately go buy a copy and often finish it that day.

The Winter Long is no exception to this.

Not only is The Winter Long a riveting mystery filled with more action, magic, and drama than you could swing a Cait Sidhe at, but it also finally answers many of the questions that were posed in the first book in the series.

On top of it all McGuire has done something I’ve seen only a precious few other authors do successfully, turn their entire world upside down. That’s what The Winter Long is, it’s a complete reversal from everything readers and fans of the series have known from the first book in the series. This is the turning point and while McGuire has built upon changes created from previous books in the series, she executed a perfect shift for the others leaving readers utterly unable to control their collective jaws from dropping.

This summersault of the story is not jarring though, McGuire has done a fantastic job balancing the events so that it is possible, believable, and yet still shocking to readers. Thus tricking readers and leaving fans of the series shocked and surprised, a truly magnificent feat for an 8th book in a series.


Through all of this McGuire leaves her readers stymied and eagerly awaiting the next installment in the series, and if that isn’t the sign of a fantastic book than I don’t know what is. I highly recommend.


INFO

Publisher: DAW

Published: September 2, 2014

Price: $5.99

Link to Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Winter-Long-October-Daye-ebook/dp/B00IOE4JPG/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1409342080&sr=1-1&keywords=seanan+mcguire

Always a Catch: By Peter Richmond

ALWAYS A CATCH

SUMMARY

Jack and his father have never seen eye to eye…until Jack’s dad gives him the chance to transfer to Oakhurst his junior year. His dad sees it as a way for Jack to get into a good college; Jack sees it as refuge from his dad.

Oakhurst is more than an escape—it's a chance for Jack to do something new, to try out for the football team. Once Jack makes the team, he’s thrust into a foreign world—one of intense hazing, vitamin supplements, monkey hormones and steroids. Jack has to decide how far he's willing to go to fit in—and how much he's willing to compromise himself to be the man his team wants him to be.

REVIEW

I thoroughly enjoyed each of the activities that Jack participated in. Richmond does a great job describing the adrenaline pumping excitement of playing football, or the smooth perfection of finally getting a song right as the pieces just fall into place. Reader’s own heart rates will escalate during these scenes, forcing them dig deeper into the story and want more.

Besides the football games and the band practices, Richmond does a great job showing the struggles of resisting peer pressure. Whether that peer pressure be: accepting the school’s traditions in terms of music and learning, accepting the popular pretty girl’s (and quarterback’s girlfriend) propositions, or giving in and taking steroids or other performance enhancing drugs. Richmond describes all of these struggles as they really are, Jack is ostracized from the team for not taking the drugs, he commits social suicide by rejecting Lancy’s offers, and he risks getting expelled for defying the normal types of music.

Of course, this leads to one of the problems of the story. While Richmond does a good job describing each of these struggles, the book sometimes feels a bit clunky with all of the different themes shoved into this short book (280 pages). A result of stuffing to many plotlines into the story is that the characters are not as well developed as they could be. Because there are so many different characters because of the different activities Richmond doesn’t spend the necessary amount of time developing any of them, resulting in the love story aspect of the novel appearing weak and unnecessary. While it would require losing one or more of the themes, I believe strengthening the characters and showing character growth (instead of the two-dimensional characters Always a Catch currently has) would transform Always a Catch into a better book.

That said, Always a Catch is a fun book to read. Richmond does a great job creating riveting action sequences playing football and making music, and the pace is swift and steady, leading readers to keep reading until the end. All in all a good book for fans of Mike Lupica or John Feinstein.


INFO

Publisher: Philomel

Published: September 4, 2014

Price: $17.99

Link to Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Always-Catch-Peter-Richmond-ebook/dp/B00K5WAT6S/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1409338117&sr=1-1&keywords=always+a+catch

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Percy Jackson's Greek Gods: By Rick Riordan

PERCY JACKSON'S GREEK GODS

SUMMARY

Percy Jackson's take on Greek myths. Similar to Edith Hamilton's Mythology but with a particular spin filled with wit, sarcasm, and adventure. Filled with John Rocco's illustrations. 


REVIEW


The first thing I have to say is this book gorgeous.

John Rocco’s illustrations are breathtaking and the book is so professionally done that it could easily become a coffee table book that even adults would be proud to present.

Of course, that leads to the next issue, this book while gorgeous, is gargantuan. This is not the type of book that someone should or even could bring on a vacation to read by the beach, instead this is a book that you read inside while it’s propped up or laid down on a table to help support the weight.

Now that said, the e-book version which is easy to transport does include the gorgeous illustrations in color (if you have an e-reader or ipad that displays in color). So if you’re insistent on bringing this book to the beach then there is an available option.

As for the content, Riordan has done a fantastic job, this book contains the quick wit and entertaining tone that readers have come to expect from Percy Jackson, while at the same time it does an amazing job of presenting the Greek myths in a fashion to rival Edith Hamilton’s Mythology.


All in all if you’re a fan of Rick Riordan or want to learn about Greek Myths from an entertaining source then this is the book for you. Personally I think this is a book for all ages, and I whole heartedly recommend it.


INFO

Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Published: August 19, 2014

Price: $24.99

Link to Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Percy-Jackson-Greek-Gods-Riordan-ebook/dp/B00HVMAS0W/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1408553618&sr=8-3&keywords=rick+riordan