Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Law of Loving Others: By Kate Axelrod



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.

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.

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.”

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.


Publisher: Razorbill

Published: January 8, 2015

Price: $17.99

Firefight: By Brandon Sanderson



Newcago is free.

They told David it was impossible, that even the Reckoners had never killed a High Epic. Yet Steelheart--invincible, immortal, unconquerable--is dead. And he died by David's hand.

Eliminating Steelheart was supposed to make life simpler. Instead, it only made David realize he has questions. Big ones. And no one in Newcago can give him answers.

Babylon Restored, the city formerly known as the borough of Manhattan, has possibilities, though. Ruled by the mysterious High Epic Regalia, Babylon Restored is flooded and miserable, but David is sure it's the path that will lead him to what he needs to find. Entering a city oppressed by a High Epic despot is risky, but David's willing to take the gamble. Because killing Steelheart left a hole in David's heart. A hole where his thirst for vengeance once lived. Somehow, he filled that hole with another Epic--Firefight. And now he will go on a quest darker and even more dangerous than the fight against Steelheart to find her, and to get his answers.


In my opinion Brandon Sanderson is one of the best fantasy writers of this generation.

Not only is he an incredibly prolific writer, producing multiple books, novellas, and short stories each year.

Not only does he write in a multitude of different genres and sub genres, including YA, Middle Grade, Science fiction, superhero based fantasy, dystopian based, and epic fantasy, as well as a host of other genres.

He also manages to write incredibly compelling books that manage to suck the reader in immediately, refusing to let them go until the very last page, whereupon it leaves an after shadow of curiosity gnawing upon their consciousness, wondering what will happen next to the characters, and constantly revisiting their favorite scenes.

Taking all of that in, Firefight is no exception.

Firefight is the second book in the Reckoner's Series, where there are super powered individuals in the world, but all of them are tainted and villainous, creating a world run by chaos and tyranny. Firefight starts up a few months after the events of the novella, Mitosis, and manages to offer up tons of action from the very first pages, starting in the middle of another Epic battle. But while Firefight does not skim in the action department, it does not focus on this to the exclusion of the story. In fact, Firefight instead focuses on the moral ramifications of these Epic killings, and the discovery of the origins and weaknesses of the Epics. Even more impressive is that Sanderson is able to focus on these intellectual issues without losing momentum in the story.

Now that said, readers should be aware that Firefight ends with an enormous cliffhanger that will leave readers impatiently awaiting the next installment in the series, Calamity. 

But if that isn't a sign of a great book, then I'm not really sure what is. 

All in all, I loved Firefight, and I can't wait for the next and last in the series. It's a quick read that anyone who is looking for action, adventure, and an interesting spin on superheroes would love. Overall highly recommended.


Published: January 6, 2015

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Price: $18.99

Link to Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Firefight-Reckoners-Novel-Brandon-Sanderson-ebook/dp/B00JNQMKSC/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1421810151&sr=1-1&keywords=firefight

The Sorcerer Heir: By Cinda Williams Chima



The delicate peace between Wizards and the underguilds (Warriors, Seers, Enchanters, and Sorcerers) still holds by the thinnest of threads, but powerful forces inside and outside the guilds threaten to sever it completely. Emma and Jonah are at the center of it all. Brought together by their shared history, mutual attraction, and a belief in the magic of music, they now stand to be torn apart by new wounds and old betrayals. As they struggle to rebuild their trust in each other, Emma and Jonah must also find a way to clear their names as the prime suspects in a series of vicious murders. It seems more and more likely that the answers they need lie buried in the tragedies of the past. The question is whether they can survive long enough to unearth them. Old friends and foes return as new threats arise in this stunning and revelatory conclusion to the beloved and bestselling Heir Chronicles series.


Well, Cinda Williams Chima has done it again. The fifth book in the Heir Chronicles, Sorcerer Heir is absolutely fantastic.

Whether you are looking for action, magic, or romance, this book has it all.

Of course, besides an engaging plot and a fascinating magic system (including an interesting take on zombies) Chima's greatest accomplishment in this book are her characters.

Of her characters, Chima has done an amazing job showing the change that time and experience can make in a person. Not wanting to give anything away, characters who originally appeared evil, selfish and unredeemable in previous books in the series are not remorseful and likable. Of course, the remarkable thing about this is not the change itself, but instead the completely plausible way in which the transformation occurs. Chima has eased this character evolution along slowly, over the course of multiple books, flushing out the character's personality and character motivations to the point that readers while they still will not approve of the character's actions in the beginning of the series, will thoroughly enjoy their presence now.

Of course, speaking of character motivations, (which is something else that Chima has done a fantastic job on in this book) creating believable back stories for the terrible and hurtful decisions that the "villains" did over time. Whether it be the reason for the poisoning, murder, or even plans of genocide, all when looked at through the eyes of the character who did it have glimpses of rational and relatable behavior.

All in all this, like Cinda Williams Chima's other books, is a masterpiece in characterization. Fans of the previous books in the series will greatly enjoy seeing old faces and new characters are given a chance to be flushed out, offering readers a chance to be swept away in their stories. Between the magic, action, and characters, there is very little not to like about The Sorcerer Heir. Overall, a must buy series and book.


Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Published: October 21, 2014

Price: $15.43

Link to Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Sorcerer-Heir-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B00NAJOPLI/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1421807180&sr=1-3&keywords=cinda+williams+chima

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Prince of Fools: By Mark Lawrence



The Red Queen is old but the kings of the Broken Empire dread her like no other. For all her reign, she has fought the long war, contested in secret, against the powers that stand behind nations, for higher stakes than land or gold. Her greatest weapon is The Silent Sister—unseen by most and unspoken of by all.

The Red Queen’s grandson, Prince Jalan Kendeth—drinker, gambler, seducer of women—is one who can see The Silent Sister. Tenth in line for the throne and content with his role as a minor royal, he pretends that the hideous crone is not there. But war is coming. Witnesses claim an undead army is on the march, and the Red Queen has called on her family to defend the realm. Jal thinks it’s all a rumor—nothing that will affect him—but he is wrong.

After escaping a death trap set by the Silent Sister, Jal finds his fate magically intertwined with a fierce Norse warrior. As the two undertake a journey across the Empire to undo the spell, encountering grave dangers, willing women, and an upstart prince named Jorg Ancrath along the way, Jalan gradually catches a glimmer of the truth: he and the Norseman are but pieces in a game, part of a series of moves in the long war—and the Red Queen controls the board.

Mark Lawrence is one heck of a writer.

Lawrence, who rose in fame because of Grimdark fantasy books. His books were dark, full of death, wit, and violence. Yet at the same time Lawrence was able to bring a delectable amount of dark sarcasm to the protagonist, Jorg, transforming him from single-minded madman conqueror, to a likable single-minded madman conqueror, that had readers cheering for as he destroyed the normal protagonist, purely because he could.

Now, in Prince of Fools, Lawrence has taken a much lighter tone to his writing, and yet it is still utterly fantastic. Prince of Fools is hilarious, filled with action, magic, and amazing characters such as Jal and Snorri. Yet beneath it lurks dark undertones that fans of Lawrence’s previous series will adore.

Further, it is utterly shocking that Lawrence is able to take the same world from his Broken Empire series and turn it into such a difference landscape by changing the protagonist. While Jorg was plagued by his demons, single minded in his desires, and utterly vicious, Jal is the complete opposite, he is likable, he would rather loaf about and sleep around than grasp power, and he is a bit of a whiner. Yet, Lawrence has taken Jal out of his element and created an amazing story of berserkers, Vikings, gates into death, and being a pawn in a much grander plan.

All in all I absolutely loved Prince of Fools and can’t wait for the next book in the series. Between his Red Queen’s War series and his Broke Empire series, Lawrence has solidified himself a place as a must read author in my mind, earning and deserving a preorder of any and all books he writes in the future.


Publisher: Ace

Published: June 3, 2014

Price: $26.95

Link to Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Prince-Fools-Red-Queens-Book-ebook/dp/B00G3L1338/ref=sr_1_4?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1414033486&sr=1-4&keywords=mark+lawrence

Half a King: By Joe Abercrombie



Prince Yarvi has vowed to regain a throne he never wanted. But first he must survive cruelty, chains, and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea. And he must do it all with only one good hand.

The deceived will become the deceiver.

Born a weakling in the eyes of his father, Yarvi is alone in a world where a strong arm and a cold heart rule. He cannot grip a shield or swing an axe, so he must sharpen his mind to a deadly edge.

The betrayed will become the betrayer.

Gathering a strange fellowship of the outcast and the lost, he finds they can do more to help him become the man he needs to be than any court of nobles could.

Will the usurped become the usurper?

But even with loyal friends at his side, Yarvi finds that his path may end as it began—in twists, and traps, and tragedy.

Many times when writers of adult novels attempt to enter the YA genre they merely dumb down the characters and writing, thus making a bad book.

This is not the case with Joe Abercrombie’s Half a King.

Abercrombie has done something truly remarkable. He has kept much of the backstabbing, intrigue, and complex characters, while simply slightly toning down the violence described to the reader. Now that doesn’t mean that there is no violence in this book, city populations are slaughtered, there is raping and pillaging, there is torture, and the main character is sold into slavery and often beaten. If what I just described bothers you, then this is not the book for you. If you can handle this then you’re in for one hell of a ride of a ride.

One of my favorite attributes of Abercrombie books is that none of the characters are black and white, he does an amazing job explaining backstories and motivations, all while making readers understand why many of the awful things that the characters do are done. No character is a saint and many have done horrible things for what they consider to be the greater good or at the very least for their goals, which might have originally started out noble, but can easily be viewed as anything but in a different light.

Fans of Abercrombie’s pervious books will love Half a King. I personally was riveted from the first page and didn’t put it down until I finished, where upon I went to amazon to see when the next in the series is supposed to come out. Speaking of that, this is the first of a trilogy, the next in the series is Half a World and is expected February 3, 2015, so at the least there is a quick turn around for each book in the series.

All in all, this was a great book filled with action, surprises, and fantastic characters. I highly recommend it.


Publisher: Del Rey

Published: July 15, 2014

Price: $26.00

Link to Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Half-King-Shattered-Sea-Abercrombie-ebook/dp/B00HBQWGYO/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1414033345&sr=1-1&keywords=joe+abercrombie

Broken Souls: By Stephen Blackmoore



Sister murdered, best friend dead, married to the patron saint of death, Santa Muerte. Necromancer Eric Carter's return to Los Angeles hasn't gone well, and it's about to get even worse.

His link to the Aztec death goddess is changing his powers, changing him, and he's not sure how far it will go. He's starting to question his own sanity, wonder if he's losing his mind. No mean feat for a guy who talks to the dead on a regular basis.

While searching for a way to break Santa Muerte's hold over him, Carter finds himself the target of a psychopath who can steal anyone's form, powers, and memories. Identity theft is one thing, but this guy does it by killing his victims and wearing their skins like a suit. He can be anyone. He can be anywhere.

Now Carter has to change the game -- go from hunted to hunter. All he has for help is a Skid Row bruja and a ghost who's either his dead friend Alex or the manifestation of Carter's own guilt-fueled psychotic break.

Everything is trying to kill him. Nothing is as it seems. If all his plans go perfectly, he might survive the week.

I’m actually embarrassed that I didn’t read Stephen Blackmoore until this point.

Not only does he write like an experienced Jim Butcher, introducing gritty yet likable characters and putting them into impossible situations, but he has also moved his story along at such an astonishing pace that each book in the series (there have been two thus far) read as if they are much later in an incredibly elaborate series.

I say that as a good thing, as I personally feel that some of the best urban fantasy I’ve read has come from the later part of series of excellent and experienced writers. Examples of this can be seen in Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series, Jim Butcher’s Dresdan Files, and Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series. The reason for this is that there are enough characters and cross motivations to keep the reader guessing at what is going to happen, yet at the same time the author has established the character so less time has to be devoted to that and more time to larger story arcs that can lead to much bigger action scenes, more startling events, and all around better books.

Having said all that Broken Souls is not just a great sophomore book in a series, it is legitimately a great book. It has tons of action, it is dark without being disturbing, has more magic than you could waive a wand at, and has interesting characters with mixed motivations that will keep readers guessing until the very end. On top of that Broken Souls reads like a mash up of Richard Kadrey, Kevin Hearne, and Jim Butcher all in one excellent book.

All in all a must buy for any fan of urban fantasy. 


Publisher: DAW

Published: August, 5, 2014

Price: $7.99

Link to Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Broken-Souls-Stephen-Blackmoore-ebook/dp/B00HZ1E41I/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1414033501&sr=1-1&keywords=broken+souls+stephen+blackmoore