Sunday, February 26, 2012

Fated: By Benedict Jacka



Alex Verus is part of a world hidden in plain sight, running a magic shop in London. And while Alex's own powers aren't as showy as some mages, he does have the advantage of foreseeing the possible future--allowing him to pull off operations that have a million-to-one-chance of success.

But when Alex is approached by multiple factions to crack open a relic from a long-ago mage war, he knows that whatever's inside must be beyond powerful. And thanks to his abilities, Alex can predict that by taking the job, his odds of survival are about to go from slim to none...


It’s hard to decide what makes someone pick up a book.

Is it the cover (the be honest most likely, because lets be honest people do judge books by their covers)? Is it the title (usually to some degree…)? Or do people even decide based on the blurb on the front of the book.

Well, when you have Jim butcher endorse an urban fantasy, you can bet it’s going to be a good book. And in the case of Fated, it darn well is.

Actually, to be honest Fated is better than just darn good, it’s outstanding. Fated takes no time diving into the meat of the story, as readers are introduced into the magic and action within the first few pages. The concept of having a diviner as a protagonist is unique and really makes for some interesting situations. Further the fact that he has to rely on his wits and constantly be looking at the future to make sure he isn’t attacked or threatened, since he has no real powers besides divination, really adds something to the intrigue of the story.

Of course, besides having an interesting plot that moves at a break neck speed Fated is also filled with characters that are well made and even more importantly well developed throughout the story. Alex reminds me a lot of Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden and Kevin Hearne’s Atticus O’Sullivan. He is shrewd, quick witted, and the kind of protagonist you just find yourself constantly rooting for, even when they have to make hard decisions, demonstrating that they aren’t as good or as perfect as you once thought. Of course besides Alex, Luna and (the Spider) are also fantastic characters that readers will learn to love as Jacka does a fantastic job growing the characters.

All in all I loved this book. The narrative style was gripping, the story interesting and fast paced, and the characters well made and developed. A truly fantastic read that I’d recommend to anyone who is a fan of Kevin Hearne, Jim Butcher, or Ben Aaronovitch.

9 out of 10


Publisher: Ace

Published: February 28, 2012

Price: $7.99

Thief's Covenant: By Ari Marmell



Once she was Adrienne Satti. An orphan of Davillon, she had somehow escaped destitution and climbed to the ranks of the city's aristocracy in a rags-to-riches story straight from an ancient fairy tale. Until one horrid night, when a conspiracy of forces—human and other—stole it all away in a flurry of blood and murder.

Today she is Widdershins, a thief making her way through Davillon's underbelly with a sharp blade, a sharper wit, and the mystical aid of Olgun, a foreign god with no other worshippers but Widdershins herself. It's not a great life, certainly nothing compared to the one she once had, but it's hers.


But now, in the midst of Davillon's political turmoil, an array of hands are once again rising up against her, prepared to tear down all that she's built. The City Guard wants her in prison. Members of her own Guild want her dead. And something horrid, something dark, something ancient is reaching out for her, a past that refuses to let her go. Widdershins and Olgun are going to find answers, and justice, for what happened to her—but only if those who almost destroyed her in those years gone by don't finish the job first.

I really like Ari Marmell’s books. The Conqueror's Shadow, The Warlord’s Legacy, and Goblin Corps are all fun exciting books that turn the concept of good and evil on it’s head and fill the world with interesting and humorous characters.

In Thief’s Covenant, Marmell departs from his usual upside down view of good and evil (to a degree, the protagonist is still a thief) and instead enters a completely new arena for his books, the world of Widdershins.

Widdershins is a wonderful protagonist, she’s fun, exciting, and filled with enough sarcasm to make any of her retorts quick witted and wonderful to read. But like Marmell’s other books it’s not just Windershins’s charming personality that makes her fun to read, it’s her hilarious, snarky, and sensitive sidekick Olgun that make this book such a fun read. Oh also Olgun is a god, so that certainly makes things interesting.

All in all I started this book because I liked Ari Marmell’s other books. I kept reading the book into the night to find out more about Windershins and how she became attached to a god. And I loved the book because of the fast paced action, fantastic interactions between Windershins and Olgun, and fun style of writing. Overall a great book that I’d easily recommend.

8.5 out of 10


Publisher: Pyr

Published: February 14, 2012

Price: $16.95

Monday, February 20, 2012

Heir of Novron: By Michael J. Sullivan



The New Empire intends to mark its victory over the Nationalists with a bloody celebration. On the high holiday of Wintertide, the Witch of Melengar will be burned and the Heir of Novron executed. On that same day the Empress faces a forced marriage, with a fatal accident soon to follow. The New Empire is confident in the totality of its triumph but there's just one problem-Royce and Hadrian have finally found the Heir of Novron and they have their own holiday plans.

And so concludes the final tale of treachery and adventure, sword fighting and magic, myth and legend.


I was lucky enough to only have to wait a few months until the last book in the Riyria Revelations series came out, but I can’t imagine being one of the original readers of the series and having to wait so long for the last book.

Sullivan does a fantastic job creating engaging and charismatic characters in everyone from Royce and Hadrian to Modina. Too be honest, it’s the characters that make this book so terrific. Readers will get a chance to come across old characters from the first few books in the series, as well as unexpected changes in new friends and enemies in the later books. Sullivan constantly keeps readers on their toes as to what is going to happen.

Of course, besides riveting characters, the book is also filled with nonstop action, surprising twists, and an end to the fifth book that I truly did not see coming. The sixth book does a great job wrapping things up and ultimately creating some nice twists for readers to be surprised with.

All in all a great series, that I’d easily recommend to friends looking for an engaging fantasy novel to read.

9 out of 10


Publisher: Orbit

Published: January 31, 2012

Price: $14.99

Sunday, February 19, 2012

DJ Rising: By Love Maia



The first thing I hear is music. The first thing I've always heard is music.

Meet Marley, an unassuming high school junior who breathes in music like oxygen. In between caring for his heroin-addicted mother, and keeping his scholarship at a fancy prep school, he dreams of becoming a professional DJ.

When chance lands Marley his first real DJ job, his career as "DJ Ice" suddenly skyrockets. But when heart-rending disaster at home brings Marley crashing back down to earth, he is torn between obligation and following his dreams.


With the increase in band related YA books, it’s hard to sort through the pile of junk out there to find the gems.

I can say that after having read DJ Rising, this here is a gem.

DJ Rising is more than just a book about music and a kid discovering himself through the processes with everything working out hunky dory in the end. This is a touching book about the hardships that those children unfortunate enough to be born into horrible situations that they have to deal with every single day, and the single ray of hope that helps some of them survive.

Of course this book isn’t great just because of the situation and writing, the characters are also fantastic. The author, Maia, does a extraordinary job establishing a relatable protagonist in Marley. Marley is everything a reader could want in a protagonist; he’s strong, caring, talented, and fallible. And it’s all of these characteristics as well as Maia’s fantastic writing, that makes Marley one of the best features of the book.

All in all DJ Rising is a truly fantastic book. The narrative is captivating, the description of music/DJing is mesmerizing and unique, and the characters well developed and interesting. But most importantly DJ Rising is book that will touch you to your core, and will captivate you in the process, making it a must read.

9 out of 10


Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Published: February 6, 2012

Price: $17.99

Portrait of a Starter: An Unhidden Story: By Lissa Price

Portrait of a Starter: An Unhidden Story


I don’t know that much about Starters, except what I’ve read from the book description on Amazon. But I can tell you that from the little I do know it seems like an interesting book.

Portrait of a Starter: An Unhidden Story seems to be almost a prequel, or at the very least story from early on in the book that sets up some of the relationships and characters. It’s filled with mystery, interesting characters, and engaging writing.

Unfortunately, this story is short. As in it’s possible to finish while eating lunch sort of short. That said, I view this less of a novella (which it certainly isn’t) and more of a set up for the main event (Starters).

But the Portrait of a Starter: An Unhidden Story did it’s job. I now know a little bit more about the series, am interested in it, and will probably buy the book. All in all I’d say it’s done its job well.


Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Published: February 14, 2012

Price: $1.99

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Harbinger: By Sara Wilson Etienne



When sixteen-year-old Faye arrives at Holbrook Academy, she doesn't expect to find herself exactly where she needs to be. After years of strange waking visions and nightmares, her only comfort the bones of dead animals, Faye is afraid she's going crazy. Fast.

But her first night at Holbrook, she feels strangely connected to the school and the island it sits on, like she's come home. She's even made her first real friends, but odd things keep happening to them. Every morning they wake on the floors of their dorm rooms with their hands stained red.

Faye knows she's the reason, but what does it all mean? The handsome Kel tries to help her unravel the mystery, but Faye is certain she can't trust him; in fact, he may be trying to kill her - and the rest of the world too.


The first thing I have to say is that I so rarely see Tamora Pierce endorse anything, and as she was one of my favorite authors growing up I tend to trust her endorsements. After reading Harbinger, Pierce once again has not lead me astray.

Harbinger is a wonderful story, filled with interesting characters, a captivating storyline, and a fast moving plot. Faye is a beautifully written protagonist who readers will root for throughout the entire novel. Further, there were impressive twists that will surprise even veterans of the genre.

That said, to me the most impressive aspect of Harbinger it’s author Sara Wilson Etienne’s style of writing. Etienne truly is a wordsmith as each sentence draws you in and leaves you in a perpetual state of awe. From the first page I was in hooked, and it wasn’t until the very end that I was able to resume my life again.

That is one of the only downsides to this book, you shouldn’t read it when you have a pressing deadline to attend to. Once you start, you wont be able tot stop, until the last pages is finished. All in all a very entertaining read.


Publisher: Putnam Juvenile

Published: February 2, 2012

Price: $17.99

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Legend of Eli Monpress Omnibus: By Rachel Aaron



Eli Monpress is talented. He's charming. And he's a thief.

But not just any thief. He's the greatest thief of the age - and he's also a wizard. And with the help of his partners - a swordsman with the most powerful magic sword in the world but no magical ability of his own, and a demonseed who can step through shadows and punch through walls - he's going to put his plan into effect.

The first step is to increase the size of the bounty on his head, so he'll need to steal some big things. But he'll start small for now. He'll just steal something that no one will miss - at least for a while.

Like a king.

The Legend of Eli Monpress includes the novels: The Spirit Thief, The Sprit Rebellion, and The Spirit Eater.


The is one of the best series I've read in years. I've reviewed the other three books so first I'll say this is an amazing series that everyone should read. Here are my reviews of the first three books in the series (what you get in this wonderful omnibus.)

The Spirit Thief

Magic, mystery, and a little bit of good old thievery. All in all Rachel Aaron’s first book in her The Legend of Eli Monpress series is a truly fantastic book.

I’m a little embarrassed to say I didn’t initially recognize this book as the fantastic piece of literature it is. In fact I probably would have missed it, if not for the fact that Orbit produced it.

What I mean by this is that since starting this blog I’ve learned a lot more about the publishing industry, such as, who produces the best urban fantasy/ fantasy/science fiction, who releases books at a speed that can keep a reader happy, and who is the most consistent with the level of production they put out. And from all of this I have to say Orbit is one fine imprint. They release great books in time periods to keep readers happy, they are one of the most consistent imprints in the level of high quality material that they publish, and they’re constantly trying to make things cheaper and more affordable for the reader. But anyway enough about how fantastic Orbit is, the real crux of the matter is that I would have passed by this fantastic book without even knowing it, and that would have been the real crime.

The Spirit Thief is fun, well written, and full of well developed characters. Aaron does a fantastic job creating a story around this first chapter of the Eli Monpress series. She introduces just enough mystery to reel the reader into the next book, while maintaining an engaging action packed plot that will keep you up late into the night.

Not only is the plot well developed and intricate enough to entice readers to the next in the series, but the characters are all interesting and robust. None of the characters are bland or black and white, and even the minor characters are given enough great dialog to keep the story moving and entertaining. My personal favorite characters thus far in the series are Josef and Gin who are both strong, slightly sarcastic, interesting characters, who like almost all the characters in this series are filled with just a little bit of suspense and mystery about their back stories.

The Spirit Rebellion

It’s often hard to keep the same level of action and mystery in the second book of a series. This has to do with the author having to create a new situation to capture the reader’s attention while at the same time stringing the reader along in the central mystery to the series arc without giving away to much. It’s hard and it’s complicated, but if you can get it just right it can put the series just in the right spot to really take off.

In The Spirit Rebellion, Rachel Aaron does a terrific job of introducing readers to an exciting new situation that brings back all your favorite characters. Miranda gets put into a pickle when political action starts playing against her and she soon finds herself tossed out of the organization she’s given her life to protect. Nico is forced to confront the realities of her situation as a demonseed. Josef must face his connection with the Heart of War. And Eli walks into a blatant trap he may not be able to get out of this time.

Like The Spirit Thief, Aaron does a great job maintaining both fun dialog and complex characters, but what I found most interesting about The Spirit Rebellion was the back story and cliffhanger like ending that Aaron introduces in this sensational sequel. Readers really get to see a new side to Eli, as we get a glimpse into his past, but most intriguing is the relationship with Benehime, who plays a fascinating yet small character in this book. It’s obvious to readers she is going to play a much bigger role in books to come, but it’s very exciting to watch her story and relationship with Eli unfold.

Of course, while I wont say what the cliffhanger like ending entails, I will say that it sets up an engaging plot for the next book in the series, The Spirit Eater, that I’m pretty sure I wont be able to put down.

All in all The Spirit Rebellion is a great book. The characters are witty and robust, the plot is intricate and just starting to bloom, and the book as a whole contains action, suspense, and magic in just the right proportions to allow the book to move at an exhilarating pace. Making The Spirit Rebellion a fantastic second book in the Legend of Eli Monpress series.

The Spirit Eater

I’ve been watching White Collar lately and I have to say Eli Monpress is exactly like Neal Caffrey from the show. He is charismatic, driven, and the best thief in the world. And these are just a few of the reasons why the Legend of Eli Monpress series is now one of my favorite series out there.

The Spirit Eater opens with Nico’s past as the Daughter of the Demon Mountain a few years before, and then quickly turns to the present with Nico focused on fighting back against the demon inside of her as it’s suddenly grown more powerful in the last few months.

Of course like The Spirit Rebellion, The Spirit Eater seems to focus on pieces of the characters pasts as it revolves around the present. In this case it happens to revolve around Nico’s past. Readers learn more about demons in this book and Eli’s mysterious powers, but most interesting is that readers will get a taste of the greater mystery of the book, the overarching plot point that will become the motivation for books to come.

All in all, like the rest of the Legend of Eli Monpress series The Spirit Eater is not a book to be missed. The characters are fun and well written, the plot is exciting and full of surprises and action, and the mystery only gets deeper and darker as readers are sucked into the deeper questions surrounding the series. While some of the issues such as some of the new characters introduced seem a little less developed, the older more reliable characters more than make up for the flaws. All in all a great book and I personally can’t wait for the next book, The Spirit War, to come out.

9.5 out of 10


Publisher: Orbit

Published: February 24, 2012

Price: $15.99

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Silver-Tongued Devil: By Jaye Wells



Now that the threat of war has passed, Sabina Kane is ready to focus on the future. Her relationship with Adam Lazarus is getting stronger and she's helping her sister, Maisie, overcome the trauma of her captivity in New Orleans. Even Giguhl is managing to stay out of trouble thanks to the arrival of Pussy Willow and his new roller derby team. But as much as Sabina wants to feel hopeful about the future, part of her doesn't believe that peace is possible.

Her suspicions are confirmed when a string of sadistic murders threatens to stall treaty negotiations between the mages and the vampires. Sabina pitches in to find the killer, but her investigation soon leads her down dark paths that have her questioning everyone she thought she could trust. And the closer she gets to the killer, the more Sabina begins to suspect this is one foe she may not be able to kill.


To be honest I didn’t know how I felt about this book at first. I had felt the main antagonist for the previous three books was Lavinia, Sabrina’s grandmother, who was finally dead, and I felt like Wells did a fantastic job finishing off the storyline, so I really didn’t know where this book was going to take readers.

And at first I felt like the book was moving a little slow. I was reintroduced to characters and situations, side missions were introduced, and yet all in all nothing much happened.

And then about a third of the way in the real meat of the book began, and I was hooked. A new antagonist was established, old issues with the other books were brought to light to be addresses, and new characters with strange and mythical powers were introduced.

Needless to say, the last two-thirds of the book did not take me long to finish.

Readers will be surprised with the twists revealed in Silver-Tongued Devil and will be disheartened that they have to wait another few months before the final book in the series Blue-Blooded Vamp is released. I know this is a very quick turnaround, and to be honest I’m very grateful to Orbit and the author for arranging this, but after the set-ups established in the 4th book in this amazing series, I just can’t wait to see what happens.

All in all another great book in a fantastic series. Definitely read the previous books in the series before trying to read this book. But I highly recommend this for anyone who is a fan of Patricia Briggs or Rachel Caine.


8.5 out of 10


Publisher: Orbit

Published: January 6, 2012

Price: $7.99

Monday, February 6, 2012

Somebody Please Tell Me Who I Am: By Peter Lerangis and Harry Mazer



Ben lives a charmed life—effortlessly landing the lead in the high school musical, dating the prettiest girl in school. When he decides to enlist in the army, no one thinks he’ll be in real danger. But his decision has devastating consequences: His convoy gets caught in an explosion, and Ben ends up in a coma for two months. When he wakes up, he doesn’t know where he is—or remember anything about his old life. His family and friends mourn what they see as a loss, but Ben perseveres.


Before having read this I had thought that only Pete Hautman could write with the kind of punch and pizzazz in the limited number of pages that Peter Lerangis and Harry Mazer demonstrate in Somebody Please Tell Me Who I Am.

Too be honest that’s what I found so gripping about Somebody Please Tell Me Who I Am, the sensational writing ability exhibited in each page. Every major character, from Ben to Chris feels real and tangible, as if the very next moment one of these characters is going to walk in your front door and say hello. Mazer and Lerangis do a terrific job giving Chris and his disabilities the respect and attention needed to really bring out the innocence of his character, furthering the other characters in ways that most other books are unable to do.

That said, even more striking is Mazer and Lerangis’s ability to craft the progression and thought processes of Ben before, during, and after the event. Readers truly get to experience the struggle and frustration that Ben feels from his injuries.

The only thing I didn’t like about the book was that I couldn’t know more. I wanted to know more about Ben’s parents, more about Nico, more about Ben and his progression, will he fully remember, live a normal life, go to college? All of these things and more.

And yet, it’s better this way. Mazer and Lerangis meant for this to be merely a snapshot into the world of one injured soldier and his life. It is not meant to go on forever, it does not end with Ben becoming President of the United States or some other implausible ending. Instead, it marks a period of time in which Ben struggles for recognition, It shows the ripples that effect his family and friends, and most important it shows that just because you reach the last page, the story does not end.

Mazer and Lerangis wrote it this way for a purpose, and while it makes me sad not to know more, they have done a fantastic job. Because of this snapshot approach everything seems more real. The pains more vivid, the struggles harsher, and the victories all the more glorious. All in all a fantastic book that I’d easily recommend to someone looking for a quick and touching read.

9 out of 10


Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers

Published: February 7, 2012

Price: $15.99