Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Skin Game: By Jim Butcher



Harry Dresden, Chicago's only professional wizard, is about to have a very bad day…

Because as Winter Knight to the Queen of Air and Darkness, Harry never knows what the scheming Mab might want him to do. Usually, it’s something awful.

He doesn’t know the half of it…

Mab has just traded Harry’s skills to pay off one of her debts. And now he must help a group of supernatural villains—led by one of Harry’s most dreaded and despised enemies, Nicodemus Archleone—to break into the highest-security vault in town, so that they can then access the highest-security vault in the Nevernever.

It's a smash and grab job to recover the literal Holy Grail from the vaults of the greatest treasure hoard in the supernatural world—which belongs to the one and only Hades, Lord of the freaking Underworld and generally unpleasant character. Worse, Dresden suspects that there is another game afoot that no one is talking about. And he's dead certain that Nicodemus has no intention of allowing any of his crew to survive the experience. Especially Harry.

Dresden's always been tricky, but he's going to have to up his backstabbing game to survive this mess—assuming his own allies don’t end up killing him before his enemies get the chance…


First off, don’t try to read this book without having read the other books in the series. Second, if you can re-read the last book before you read Skin Game, you don’t have to but I think it would be helpful since it’s been a year.

As for the review, Skin Game is fantastic. Butcher has done what I consider the impossible, created an engaging, intricate plot that has built upon each book, while at the same time using formulaic scenarios, all without letting the story or characters get stale.

On top of this, Butcher also has the uncanny ability to still shock seasoned readers even after 14 other books in the series. I can’t say what the surprises are but like the last few books many of Harry’s actions from previous books come back to haunt him, but I can be confident that most readers will not see these surprises coming.

Of course, in my opinion what separates Skin Game and Butcher in general from other urban fantasy authors is his humor. From Monty Python and the Holy Grail references, to Harry’s Id’s wisecracks and sarcasm, to EVERYTHING involving Butters, Butcher has created a enough humor and lightheartedness to keep the story from becoming melodramatic, and to maximize reader enjoyment.

All in all, chalk another great book up to Jim Butcher. I loved every minute of Skin Game and can’t wait for the next in the series. Butcher is a true master of his craft and I personally can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.


Publisher: Ace

Published: May 27, 2014

Price: $27.95

Link to Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Skin-Game-Dresden-Files-Butcher-ebook/dp/B00HUVUSZ4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1401218835&sr=8-1&keywords=jim+butcher

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

V is for Villain: By Peter Moore



Brad Baron is used to looking lame compared to his older brother, Blake.

Though Brad is a genius, Blake is a superhero in the elite Justice Force. And Brad doesn't measure up at his high school, where powers like super-strength and flying are the norm.

So when Brad makes friends who are more into political action than weight lifting, he's happy to join a new crew—especially since it means spending more time with Layla, a girl who may or may not have a totally illegal, totally secret super-power. With her help, Brad begins to hone a dangerous new power of his own.

But when they're pulled into a web of nefarious criminals, high-stakes battles, and startling family secrets, Brad must choose which side he's on. And once he does, there's no turning back.


The first thing you have to know about V is for Villain is that I loved it.

This book is not just packed with action and the typical superhero/super villain hijinks (even though there is tons of action). Instead the meat of V is for Villain, is about something even more fascinating, the blurred lines between good and evil, and how easy it is to end up on the wrong side, even when trying to do good.

Moore does a fantastic job creating likable characters for readers to root for, and is particularly gifted in showing each of the characters motivations for moving towards the side of "evil". That’s one of the most fascinating aspects of the book, how Moore does such a superb job creating situations that will have the readers second guessing the decisions made and the world's view, until the very last pages.

All in all, this was a great book that I would easily recommend. There was plenty of action, it’s filled with well written and engaging characters, and it moves at a quick and engrossing pace sure to keep readers glued to the pages until the very end. Perfect for fans of a Andrew Grossman’s Soon I Will Be Invincible, Michael Carroll’s Super Human series, and Joss Whedon’s Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.


Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Published: May 20, 2014

Price: $17.99

Link to Buy: http://www.amazon.com/V-Villain-Peter-Moore/dp/1423157494/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1400614980&sr=1-1

Caged Warrior: By Alan Lawrence Sitomer



McCutcheon Daniels' life is full of bone-cracking violence.

As a star fighter in the gritty underground Mixed Martial Arts circuit in the poorest section of Detroit, McCutcheon fights under the tutelage of his volatile and violent father, not so much for himself but to survive as protector of his beloved five-year old sister, Gemma.

But McCutcheon isn't just a fighter he also has potential for something greater. Mr. Freedman, his science teacher, spots this potential, befriending and encouraging him to enter the lottery for a scholarship to an elite charter school so he can obtain a first-class education.

While at first first dead-set against the idea, between the school's headmaster, Kaitlyn, a student assigned to be his guide, and Mr. Freedman McCutcheon's mind is slowly changed as he's shown that he can have more in his life than just endless violence.

But McCutcheon's father doesn't think in terms of what's good for his son, instead he thinks in terms of cash flow. So when he sees his future cash flow begin to run dry, he takes actions that can never be taken back, forcing events to be set in motion that no one, not even McCutcheon can stop.

Having just finished Caged Warrior, I’m sitting here absolutely stunned.

First off, I read Caged Warrior in one sitting, that’s not saying it was unnecessarily short, it was just that captivating. I was hooked from page one and couldn’t stop. Between the constant character development, the adrenaline pumping action in and out of the cage fights, and Sitomer’s quick pacing anyone who picks this book up will have a hard time putting it down.

Second, Sitomer’s protagonist is absolutely amazing. His every word is raw, powerful, and brilliant. Sitomer has done a fantastic job creating a strong yet caring protagonist in M.D. The dichotomy between the caring loving way M.D. takes care of his sister and his cage fighting accentuates every character detail, helping illuminate M.D. in a way that few characters are exposed. This dichotomy is also essential when it comes time for M.D.’s evolution in looking for a better life for him and Gemma.

What has me so stunned though is the ending. Sitomer has done a fantastic job of creating a captivating story, leading the reader through it, giving readers the ending they think is coming, and then yanking the rug out from beneath their feet. I won’t say anything else about the ending except it caught me completely off guard, and took this from a good book to one I would fervently recommend.

All in all Caged Warrior is a fantastic book. It is gruesome and filled with mature content, so it is not for everyone. But those willing to give this book a chance will not be disappointed.


Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Published: May 13, 2014

Price: $16.99

Link to Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Caged-Warrior-Alan-Lawrence-Sitomer/dp/1423171241/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1400614963&sr=8-1

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Sworn in Steel: By Douglas Hulick



It’s been three months since Drothe killed a legend, burned down a portion of the imperial capital, and found himself unexpectedly elevated into the ranks of the criminal elite. As the newest Gray Prince in the underworld, he’s not only gained friends, but also rivals—and some of them aren’t bothered by his newfound title. A prince’s blood, as the saying goes, flows just as red as a beggar’s.

So when another Gray Prince is murdered and all signs point to Drothe as the hand behind the knife, he knows it’s his blood that’s in danger of being spilled. As former allies turn their backs and dark rumors begin to circulate, Drothe is approached by a man who says he can make everything right again. All he wants in exchange is a single favor.

Now Drothe finds himself traveling to the Despotate of Djan, the empire’s long-standing enemy, to search for the friend he betrayed—and the only person who can get him out of this mess. But the grains of sand are running out fast, and even if Drothe can find his friend, he may not be able to persuade him to help in time...

Sworn In Steel is Amazing. Go buy it right now!!!

Ok, now that I’ve got that out of the way I can get down to the review.

I became a fan of Douglas Hulick when his first book, Among Thieves, came out back in 2011. Unfortunately, there were some delays in the release of the second book in the series, and so it comes as no surprise that I was a little scared about this book. Not only was a second book in the series (with the second book in a series often experiencing the aptly named sophomore slump), but it had been three years since the last book came out and a lot can happen in that time.

I should have never worried.

Not only does Sworn in Steel not fall into the typical pitfalls of a sophomore slump, but if anything it improves upon the first book in the series. Hulick both expands the world and further develops characters, while at the same time making sure to maintain Drothe’s true essence throughout the book (which was a fear after having waiting for three years). Of course, Hulick does all of this while at the same time maintaining a riveting pace that is sure to keep even the most demanding of readers satisfied. In fact, there isn’t a slow moment to be found, and between the constant surprises and action sequences readers will not be able to put this book down until the last page.

Like the first book in the series, Among Thieves, (which if you have not read you really should, both to fully enjoy Sworn in Steel and because it is a fantastic book) Drothe is flying by the seat of his pants. He is a brilliant, crafty, and as usual, in deep trouble. Between the death of another Gray Prince, Bronze Degan still missing, and everyone thinking Drothe was responsible for the Gray Prince’s murder and turning against him, there is enough trouble to go around. On top of all of this there are hidden mysteries and schemes galore that are unveiled throughout the book that place Drothe in progressively hotter and hotter water.

All in all, Sworn in Steel is a fantastic book. Hulick has created a cunning yet likable protagonist, a complex yet fascinating world, and an intricate story that will keep even the most jaded of readers glued to their seat. Perfect for fans of Scott Lynch’s Gentleman Bastard series or Michael J Sullivan’s Riyria Revelations.


Publisher: Roc

Published: May 6, 2014

Price: $7.99

Link to Buy: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0451464478/ref=cm_cr_ryp_prd_ttl_sol_1