Monday, January 27, 2014

Reality Boy: By A.S. King



In this fearless portrayal of a boy on the edge, highly acclaimed Printz Honor author A.S. King explores the desperate reality of a former child "star" struggling to break free of his anger.

Gerald Faust started feeling angry even before his mother invited a reality TV crew into his five-year-old life. Twelve years later, he's still haunted by his rage-filled youth--which the entire world got to watch from every imaginable angle--and his anger issues have resulted in violent outbursts, zero friends, and clueless adults dumping him in the special education room at school. No one cares that Gerald has tried to learn to control himself; they're all just waiting for him to snap. And he's starting to feel dangerously close to doing just that...until he chooses to create possibilities for himself that he never knew he deserved.

Some books are great to read, they have action, adventure, great, characters, but they don’t really make you think. That’s ok because that’s not what those books are meant to do, they are written for entertainment and that’s what they do, they entertain.

Realty Boy is not one of those books.

Realty Boy is terrific book, but it’s terrific in vastly different ways. It will make you feel shocked, horrorstruck, and even blessed for your own life. Most of all it will make you feel.

Realty Boy is also beautiful in its own way. There are not magic fixes, this is not a Disney movie where everything is fixed and there is a montage of happy scenes in the end. But it is an incredibly poignant novel about a boy who lives in an abusive household and the struggles he has in taking control of his life. In fact these realization points are some of the most disturbing/shocking/beautifully written events in the book.

All in all A.S. King is a master wordsmith and anyone who is looking for a book that makes you feel a whole range of emotions should read this book. It is not for everyone as it has highly mature topics, but it is strong, well written, and leaves you feeling raw, as a great novel of this sort is supposed to.


Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers 

Published: October 22, 2013

Price: $18.00

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Shadow Ops: Breach Zone: By Myke Cole



The Great Reawakening did not come quietly. Across the country and in every nation, people began “coming up Latent,” developing terrifying powers—summoning storms, raising the dead, and setting everything they touch ablaze. Those who Manifest must choose: become a sheepdog who protects the flock or a wolf who devours it…

In the wake of a bloody battle at Forward Operating Base Frontier and a scandalous presidential impeachment, Lieutenant Colonel Jan Thorsson, call sign “Harlequin,” becomes a national hero and a pariah to the military that is the only family he’s ever known.

In the fight for Latent equality, Oscar Britton is positioned to lead a rebellion in exile, but a powerful rival beats him to the punch: Scylla, a walking weapon who will stop at nothing to end the human-sanctioned apartheid against her kind.

When Scylla’s inhuman forces invade New York City, the Supernatural Operations Corps are the only soldiers equipped to prevent a massacre. In order to redeem himself with the military, Harlequin will be forced to face off with this havoc-wreaking woman from his past, warped by her power into something evil…

The first thing I have to say about Breach Zone is that it was amazing. I loved Control Point and Fortress Frontier, but I honestly think Breach Zone is the best in the series.

Cole’s writing, while already impressive, has improved with each book in the series. In each book Cole has stretched different writer’s muscles in an attempt to better captivate the reader and tell the story. In Breach Zone Cole expertly jumps back and forth between the past and the present in order to expand readers’ understanding of the overall story behind Scylla, Harlequin, and the limbic  dampener. On top of that, Cole does a fantastic job of showing the enormous terror that latents feel when their powers appear. Even more impressively, Cole is able to create feelings empathy towards one of the most monstrous characters in the novels, humanizing her, yet without lessening the need to take her down.

Of course, besides telling an interesting story that fills in the holes in different characters back stories Breach Zone also has tons of action that will keep even the most ADD reader captivated. Further, not only is this action told from Halrequin’s point of view but readers of the previous books in the series (which I highly recommend (both because they are great books and because it is essential to fully understand and enjoy Breach Zone)) will be excited to know that both Oscar Britton and Alan Bookbinder play large roles in this third and final installment of the Shadow Ops series.

All in all, I really liked Breach Zone. I was impressed with the entire Shadow Ops series with its combination of the military and x-men style powers. Myke Cole is an excellent writer who has improved his craft with each book, and I personally can’t wait to read what he comes out with next.


Publsiher: Ace

Published: January 28, 2014

Price: $7.19

Link to Buy:

He Drank, And Saw the Spider: By Alex Bledsoe



After he fails to save a stranger from being mauled to death by a bear, a young mercenary is saddled with the baby girl the man died to protect. He leaves her with a kindly shepherd family and goes on with his violent life.

Now, sixteen years later, that young mercenary has grown up to become cynical sword jockey Eddie LaCrosse. When his vacation travels bring him back to that same part of the world, he can’t resist trying to discover what has become of the mysterious infant.

He finds that the child, now a lovely young teenager named Isadora, is at the center of complicated web of intrigue involving two feuding kings, a smitten prince, a powerful sorceress, an inhuman monster, and long-buried secrets too shocking to imagine. And once again she needs his help.

They say a spider in your cup will poison you, but only if you see it. Eddie, helped by his smart, resourceful girlfriend Liz, must look through the dregs of the past to find the truth about the present—and risk what might happen if he, too, sees the spider.

I’m not a fan of everything that Alex Bledsoe writes but with every Eddie LaCrosse novel he writes I like him more.

Bledsoe does a fantastic job of creating the feel of a good noir detective novel in a medieval fantasy setting in each of his Eddie LaCrosse novels. Further, while each book in the series builds upon Eddie’s character development each book can easily be read apart from the others and both understood and enjoyed.

One such thing that makes each of these Eddie LaCrosse novels so enjoyable is Bledsoe’s ability to create likable yet intricate characters. In fact, while some of these characters might appear to be black and white at first, particularly the antagonists, Bledsoe usually find a way to explain their motivations, transforming them from a caricature of an evil villain, into a normal yet misguided person who happened to make some bad decisions, often many years before. This is one of the best aspects of Bledsoe’s novels as these complicated characters and situations force Eddie to make significantly harder decisions that will leave readers surprised with the end results.

Actually, this is another thing that Bledsoe does a fantastic job at in this series and particularly in his latest novel, He Drank and Saw the Spider, his ability to complicate situations to the point that readers will be able to guess some events but more of the deeper plots will be obscured from the reader’s minds. That said, at no point in the book does the writing feel heavy or overly complicated.

Because of the fast paced nature of Bledsoe’s writing, his ability to create complex situation that will keep readers guessing, and his fun and relatable characters that keep readers coming back for more, is it any wonder that I fully recommend Bledsoe’s newest in the Eddie LaCrosse universe, He Drank and Saw the Spider? I think not, and neither should you, make sure to catch this fun and entertaining read.


Publisher: Tor

Published: January 14, 2014

Price: $24.99

Link to Buy:

Dangerous Women: Anthology Edited by George r.r. Martin and Gardner Dozois



All new and original to this volume, the 21 stories in Dangerous Women include work by twelve New York Times bestsellers, and seven stories set in the authors’ bestselling continuities—including a new “Outlander” story by Diana Gabaldon, a tale of Harry Dresden’s world by Jim Butcher, a story from Lev Grossman set in the world of The Magicians, and a 35,000-word novella by George R. R. Martin about the Dance of the Dragons, the vast civil war that tore Westeros apart nearly two centuries before the events of A Game of Thrones.

Also included are original stories of dangerous women--heroines and villains alike--by Brandon Sanderson, Joe Abercrombie, Sherilynn Kenyon, Lawrence Block, Carrie Vaughn, S. M. Stirling, Sharon Kay Penman, and many others.

Writes Gardner Dozois in his Introduction, “Here you’ll find no hapless victims who stand by whimpering in dread while the male hero fights the monster or clashes swords with the villain, and if you want to tie these women to the railroad tracks, you’ll find you have a real fight on your hands. Instead, you will find sword-wielding women warriors, intrepid women fighter pilots and far-ranging spacewomen, deadly female serial killers, formidable female superheroes, sly and seductive femmes fatale, female wizards, hard-living Bad Girls, female bandits and rebels, embattled survivors in Post-Apocalyptic futures, female Private Investigators, stern female hanging judges, haughty queens who rule nations and whose jealousies and ambitions send thousands to grisly deaths, daring dragonriders, and many more.”


This will be a short review, but the short of it comes down to this, this is one of the best anthologies I’ve read.

The author line up is packed to the gills with all star talent between Jim Butcher, Joe Abercrombie, George r.r. Martin, Brandon Sanderson, and many more.

Of course besides having amazing authors writing in the series they are famous for each of these stories are on the longer side, acting more like novellas than short stories.

All in all this anthology did exactly what it was meant to do, it had tons of huge name authors, who’s stories I loved, that got me to buy and read the anthology, and it got me interested in authors I hadn’t read before such as Diana Rowland and Sam Sykes, who I now plan to pick up their previous books. I know this review is short but I highly recommend this anthology if you enjoy fantasy.


Publisher: Tor

Published: December 3, 2013

Price: $32.50

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Once In a Blue Moon: By Simon r. Green



Twice upon a time, Prince Rupert and Princess Julia saved the Forest Kingdom.
They have earned the right to live happily ever after.
But there’s a blue moon on the rise....

Hawk and Fisher, famous for their years of keeping the peace in Haven, are really quite happy being legends. They gave up the hero business when they decided they’d grown too old for it. Now they run the Hero Academy, training young hopefuls to be heroes.

Legends never die, but it seems they cannot retire, either. Hawk and Fisher’s adult children, Jack and Gillian, have been kidnapped. They were taken by the Demon Prince, an old enemy from the Forest Kingdom who challenges the couple to one final battle for their lives. But Hawk and Fisher believe there’s another motive behind the abductions, one connected to a case they worked in Haven many years ago—a case they refuse to discuss.

They have no choice but to return to the Forest Kingdom, to be Prince Rupert and Princess Julia one last time in one last story—of the kind of things that happen only once in a blue moon....

First off I have to say that I love Simon r. Green. I love his Hawk and Fisher novels, his Nightside series, and his Secret Histories series (I’m not wild about his Ghost Finder series, but no one is perfect…)

But most of all I love Green’s Blue Moon books, Blue Moon Rising and Beyond the Blue Moon. So I was over the moon (pun intended) when I saw that he was writing another. And let me say Green does NOT disappoint with this final installment in the Blue Moon novels.

Once in a Blue Moon takes place close to a Century after the events of Beyond the Blue Moon. Hawk and Fisher had set up a school for heroes to be trained and have paced the teaching mantel to others over the years… Or so readers skeptically believe for the first few chapters. Soon into the novel readers will be happy to discover that Hawk and Fisher (AKA Rupert and Julia) are still alive and kicking (as well as biting, stabbing, and maiming), and are once again the protagonists just as readers always hoped they would be. The story soon returns these two heroes back into the throws of the Forest Kingdom where they are forced to undo the evil and mayhem of the Demon Prince.

As I mentioned before, Once in a Blue Moon is fantastic. There is tons of action to keep readers captivated and entertained, heaps of typical Simon r. Green humor that will have you giggling to yourself, more familiar faces than you could shake a stick at, and at 560 pages readers will get their money worth. In fact, the only downside is that this book should not be read before the other Blue Moon books in the series. Other than that I highly recommend Once in a Blue Moon to any fan of Simon r. Green and anyone looking for a fun read.

Publisher: Roc

Published: January 7, 2014

Price: $16.00

Link to Buy: