Sunday, November 19, 2017

White Trash Zombie Unchained: By Diana Rowland



Angel Crawford has finally pulled herself together (literally!) after her disastrous dismemberment on Mardi Gras. She’s putting the pieces of her life back in order and is ready to tackle whatever the future holds.

Too bad the future is a nasty bitch. There’s a new kind of zombie in town: mindless shamblers, infectious and ravenous.

With the threat of a full-blown shambler pandemic looming, and a loved one stricken, Angel and the “real” zombies scramble to find a cure. Yet when Angel uncovers the true reason the plague is spreading so quickly, she adds “no-holds-barred revenge” to her to-do list.

Angel is busting her ass dealing with shambling hordes, zombie gators, government jerks, and way too many mosquitos, but this white trash chick ain’t giving up.

Good thing, since the fate of the world is resting on her undead shoulders.


So, the first thing you have to ask yourself is why would a person want to read a series about a white trash zombie? Personally, I was a bit skeptical when I first started reading the White Trash Zombie series, but I have to say not only was I hooked from the very first chapter, the more important answer is BECAUSE THEY ARE PURE FUN!

In her White Trash Zombie series, Rowland has created an endearing protagonist with an interesting cast of characters to surround her in her journey through zombiehood. Of course, the books are not just about being a zombie, they are also about the struggles of believing in oneself, working hard, overcoming obstacles in life and ultimately succeeding, which brings a much more relatable connection to these books as opposed to the overall zombie motif.

On top of creating more relatable characters, these books are also highly addicting. In fact, as mentioned above, Diana Rowland’s writing reeled me in from the very beginning, in part, because the characters are likable and endearing, in part because of the witty and engaging dialog, and in part of the fast-paced action that ultimately drives the book.

In White Trash Zombie Unchained, Rowland sets in motion a new series of events that has drastic ramifications to the overall plot in the White Trash Zombie series. Characters that were once thought dead will be brought back into the fold, new zombie traits and tricks are learned, and even love is in the air with relationships blossoming among our cast of characters.

All in all, White Trash Zombie is a great addition to the White Trash Zombie series. It is an easy to read, fast paced book that it filled with likable characters, and more action than you can shake a stick at. While I would recommend reading the other books in the series first, there is no doubt that this book and the other books in the series are pure fun!


Publisher: DAW

Published: September 5, 2017

Price: $7.99

Link to Buy:

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Brother's Ruin: By Emma Newman



The year is 1850 and Great Britain is flourishing, thanks to the Royal Society of the Esoteric Arts. When a new mage is discovered, Royal Society elites descend like buzzards to snatch up a new apprentice. Talented mages are bought from their families at a tremendous price, while weak mages are snapped up for a pittance. For a lower middle class family like the Gunns, the loss of a son can be disastrous, so when seemingly magical incidents begin cropping up at home, they fear for their Ben's life and their own livelihoods.

But Benjamin Gunn isn't a talented mage. His sister Charlotte is, and to prevent her brother from being imprisoned for false reporting she combines her powers with his to make him seem a better prospect.

When she discovers a nefarious plot by the sinister Doctor Ledbetter, Charlotte must use all her cunning and guile to protect her family, her secret and her city.


I know this is old news, but I am a BIG fan of’s publishing of novellas in physical formats. While I can’t speak to everyone, this has certainly increased the number of novellas that I have read in the last few years, and it has dramatically increased the number of novellas I’ve read from new authors who I hadn’t read before (usually I would read novellas by established authors I was already a fan of, when they would release a novella to tide their readers in-between books).

Emma Newman is one of the new authors that I was introduced to because of’s novella publishing plan, and I’m certainly glad that I was.

Newman’s Brother’s Ruin begins in 19th century England, where those that have magical talents are required to turn themselves into the government for training and regulation. This system is heavily based on a carrot and stick incentive program, if you report yourself, then your family will be handsomely rewarded, and if you don’t then the mages will find you and drag you to them, your family will get nothing, and your family will have shame rain down upon it from the neighboring communities. So, it is no great surprise that the main character, Charlotte, is talented and has been keeping it a secret. What makes it more interesting and what gets the ball rolling is that her brother, Ben, offers himself for conscription into the Royal Society of the Esoteric Arts (the mages), when he thinks he is performing magic, when in reality it was his sister. A testing occurs and events are struck into motion that place both Charlotte and Ben into the mages sight lines.

Without giving more away, this was a fun novella that felt as if it was setting the stage for a larger series. A larger conspiracy is hinted at, a dastardly plot ruined, and the players put in place for larger roles and training in the world of magic.

As for the characters, while at times some of the minor characters such as Charlotte and Ben’s parents seemed a bit one-dimensional, many of the other characters offered great promise for future character growth, which is all one can hope for in a 192 page book.

All in all, I enjoyed Brother’s Ruin. I tried it out because of it’s awesome title and I’m certainly glad that I did. I’d be happy to pick up a future installment of this potential series.



Published: March 14, 2017

Price: $3.99

Link to Buy:

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians: By Brandon Sanderson



On his thirteenth birthday, foster child Alcatraz Smedry gets a bag of sand in the mail-his only inheritance from his father and mother. He soon learns that this is no ordinary bag of sand. It is quickly stolen by the cult of evil Librarians who are taking over the world by spreading misinformation and suppressing truth. Alcatraz must stop them, using the only weapon he has: an incredible talent for breaking things.


Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson

Are you looking for something whimsical, sarcastic, and all around action packed from a middle grade book? Then Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians is just the book for you.

I was more than a little hesitant to give the Alcatraz series a try. They seemed overly goofy, silly, and not geared towards my age group (myself being a 28-year-old and not a 10-year-old).

However, because this series was written by Brandon Sanderson, one of my all-time favorite authors (so yes, please note that this review is biased based on that statement alone), I thought I would give it a shot.

And let me say, I’m very happy that I did.

Not only is Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians full of fun action, witty and unique characters, and pretty much non-stop fun in a fast-paced form, but it also has enough sarcasm and self-awareness during its many breaking of the fourth wall to keep even older readers thoroughly engaged and entertained.

What do I mean by this you might ask? Well, when Alcatraz speak to the audience he often speaks in such a sarcastic and self-aware tone that readers can’t help but smile and chuckle to themselves. On top of this, when Sanderson so cleverly puts little tricks and entertaining tidbits in the books, such as making the last page of the book a false storyline that will depress and confuse readers who skip to the last page without reading the entire book, he just shows his genius in writing.

As for the books themselves, they are short and to the point. This is not The Way of Kings (Sanderson’s epic fantasy), which runs in at 1008 pages in hardcover format. In hardback, Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians is 320 pages of non-stop fun.

Of course, even though I keep mentioning that these books are loads of fun to read, please note that this does not mean that they do not have substance. Over the course of the series the characters develop and become more complex. Backgrounds are explored, weaknesses probed, and personality traits more thoroughly understood. To be able to do this, while at the same time being able to keep elementary age children engaged is truly a feat upon itself.

So why you should read the Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians Series? Well, if you’re looking for a good series for your kid that will entertain them, that you won’t have to worry about them reading, but that will end with them asking to get the next in the series, then this is the series for you. If you have just finished a long epic fantasy and want something light but entertaining, then this is the series for you. Or even if you just want something fun to read at the end of the day, then this is the series for you. All in all, clearly I enjoyed this series and personally can’t wait until the last book in the series is released. But don’t take my word on it, go check out this series yourself, believe me it’s worth it.


Publisher: Starscape

Published: February 16, 2016


Link to Buy:,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=detail

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Mad Lancers: By Brian McClellan



In the colonial cities and towns of Fatrasta, peace has never been easy. Immigrants fight amongst themselves or turn on the native population, while the governing power of the Kez Army steps in only to enforce the will of apathetic local governors assigned by a distant crown.

Young war hero Ben Styke commands a colonial garrison in a sleepy frontier suburb. When the governor’s cruel brother stops for the night, rising continental tensions force Styke to protect the people of his town in a brutal escalation that threatens to destroy everything—and everyone—he has fought for.


I’ll be honest, I’ve become quite the fan of Brian McClellan over the last few years. I loved his Powder Mage series including the short stories that helped develop character motivations and detail the important events that occur before the series transpires. These short stories include; Murder at the Kinnen Hotel, Forsworn, Return to Honor, and Servant of the Crown, and I’ve enjoyed them all thoroughly.

With McClellan’s new series, Gods of Blood and Powder, looking just as promising as his Powder Mage series, I was thrilled when McClellan decided to write a new short story about one of my favorite new characters in this new series, Mad Ben Styke and beginning of the Fatrasta revolution.

Not only is this short story filled with action, adventure and interesting characters, but it also gives readers a glimpse into a secret about Styke that not even he seems aware of (I would say more but I don’t want to give anything away).

I would only recommend reading this if you are a fan of the Gods of Blood and Powder series (which if you like reading exciting, well written books that are incredibly engaging, then you should be), but if you have read McClellan’s other works, then this truly is a must have piece of cannon. All in all, a must read.


Publisher: Brian McClellan

Published: September 6, 2017

Price: $2.99

Link to Buy:

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Godsgrave: By Jay Kristoff



In a land where three suns almost never set, a ruthless assassin continues her quest for vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Mia Corvere has found her place among the Blades of Our Lady of Blessed Murder, but many in the Red Church hierarchy think she’s far from earned it. Plying her bloody trade in a backwater of the Republic, she’s no closer to ending the men who destroyed her familia; in fact, she’s told directly that Consul Scaeva is off limits. But after a deadly confrontation with an old enemy, Mia's suspicions about the Red Church’s true motives begin to grow.

When it’s announced that Scaeva will be making a rare public appearance at the conclusion of the grand games in Godsgrave, Mia defies the Church and sells herself to a gladiatorial collegium for a chance to finally end him. Upon the sands of the arena, Mia finds new allies, bitter rivals, and more questions about her strange affinity for the shadows. But as conspiracies unfold within the collegium walls, and the body count rises, Mia will be forced to choose between love and revenge, and uncover a secret that could change the very face of her world.


Are you in the mood for gladiatorial carnage? What about schemes, twists and general backstabbing? How about some good old fashion cursing and sarcasm? Well, if your throw in a bit of family drama and some romance for good measure (I know one doesn’t often see romance and gladiator fighting in the same book), then Godsgrave is the book for you.

Godsgrave begins a few months after the chaotic and bloody events of Nevernight and I can honestly say it does not miss a beat when it comes to nonstop adrenaline pumping action. For that reason alone, readers will have a hard time putting this book down, but for those lucky few who do pick it up, this book has even more going for it.

What else you might ask? How about schemes and backstabbing on such an epic scale that even readers who have a bird’s eye view of the story will be tricked and shocked as plans and schemes unfold. In fact, just when you think you’ve got a handle on all the angles and where everyone has aligned, something will be revealed that shakes the very foundation of reader’s beliefs in the character’s alliances, leaving readers dumbfounded and shaking with anticipation to find out what happens next.

As for the writing, I absolutely love Godsgrave. The world building is grand and unique, while at the same time possessing enough European influences that it allows for easy connections for readers grasp settings quickly without being bogged down with overly cumbersome setting descriptions. The pacing is fast and filled with intriguing subplots that keep the reader engaged. And the characters are truly stupendous. In fact, Mia, the main character, has such a unique and captivating voice that Jay Kristoff so perfectly captures that it’s no wonder that Kristoff is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors.

All in all, Godsgrave is a great read. However, if you prefer your books to not have sex, violence and cursing, then this is not the book for you. If you don’t mind a bit of sin in your book, then go to your nearest bookstore or amazon and pick up a copy as soon as possible, as this is the type of book that will leave you absolutely dying for the next in the series.


Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Published: September 5, 2017

Price: $26.99

Link to Buy:

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Besieged: By Kevin Hearne



The ancient gods are alive and well in the modern world in this hilarious, action-packed collection of original short stories featuring Atticus O’Sullivan, the two-thousand-year-old Irishman from Kevin Hearne’s New York Times bestselling Iron Druid Chronicles.

• In ancient Egypt, Atticus agrees to raid a secret chamber underneath the library of Alexandria, dodging deadly traps, only to learn that on-site security includes two members of the Egyptian pantheon.
• At a Kansas carnival, fun and games turns to murder and mayhem, thanks to soul-snatching demons and flesh-craving ghouls luring visitors into an all-too-real house of horrors.
• Verily, in olde England, striking up a friendship with William Shakespeare lands both Atticus and the Bard in boiling hot water with a trio of infamous witches.
• During the Gold Rush, the avatar of greed himself turns the streets of San Francisco red with blood and upsets the elemental Sequoia. Atticus may have to fight fire with fire if he’s going to restore balance.

More, you say? Indeed there is—including bogeymen, vampire hordes, wrathful wraiths, and even a journey to the realm of the dead. Prepare to be besieged with nine tantalizing tales—not to be missed, never to be forgotten.


Here are the reasons I tend to enjoy short story collections:

· They can introduce me to new authors;

· They often involve a fun theme, such as different takes on villains, or dragons, or roller derby, pretty much the imagination is the limit; and

· They are quick and easy to read, like a sampler of chocolates.

Unfortunately, when authors come out with short story collections of their OWN works it usually doesn’t achieve any of these goals. Reader’s are often reading the short story collection only because they already know and like the author, and in fact it usually is a terrible place to get to know the authors work if you are a new reader because they tend to jump around between books in the series, thus leaving new readers confused and jumbled. As for the theme, you could say the theme is the series itself, yet often short story collections such as this one are filled with previously published stories, so those that follow the author’s works get little to nothing new to read. On top of all of that the publishing of a short story collection of works in an author’s universe usually means the author is trying to fill time to keep fans satiated between books, which unfortunately often does not work, since it usually contains very few new stories in a series and often does not advance the plot or development of the characters the readers of the series love to read about.

So, after reading all of that should you buy Besieged?

100% yes!

Why, go through all of that negativity then if I’m just going to say to buy the book? Well, I wanted to truly outline how Besieged really is different than most I read.

First, very few of the stories published in Besieged have been published before, which gives actual material for readers to enjoy. Second, much of the new material takes place between the last book in the series, Staked, and the forthcoming book, Scourged (which also so happens to be the last book in the series!). On top of this, most of these are novellas as opposed to short stories. Why is this important? Not only do these novellas give Hearne more room to explore stories and stretch his creative legs, they also serve as a kind of bridge if you will between the books, because of the length of the novellas, readers are truly able to sink their teeth into the world of Atticus and the Druids (including Owen and Granuaile). Not only that, but readers are given a glimpse into the rationale behind Atticus’ motivations through Owen’s eyes. As for the novellas other stories, readers will be treated Granuaile going on a vampire raid, a new vampire threat who is even older than Leif!, Atticus’ previous animal partner, and my personal favorite stories of Owen and the new apprentices.

Ok so, you like the novellas, what else is good about Besieged? How about some of the other fun and exciting short stories. These include stories Atticus vs. the Egyptian gods, Atticus inspiring Hamlet, and even a story from Owen’s perspective on how he originally met and took Atticus on as an apprentice. All of these are awesome and entertaining stories that fans of the series will surely love.

All in all, think of Besieged as less as less of a short story collection and more of book 8.5 of the series. It is entertaining, full of likable characters and helps prepare readers for the events of the Scourged. Because of that alone, it’s a must buy for any fan of Kevin Hearne.


Del Rey

Published: July 11, 2017

Price: $27.00

Link ot Buy:

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Injection Burn: By Jason M. Hough



Skyler Luiken and his ragtag crew of scavengers, scientists, and brawlers have a new mission: a long journey to a distant planet where a race of benevolent aliens are held captive behind a cloud of destructive ships known as the Swarm Blockade. No human ships have ever made it past this impenetrable wall, and Skyler knows not what to anticipate when they reach their destination.

Safe to say that the last thing he expects to find there is a second human ship led by the tough-as-nails captain, Gloria Tsandi. These two crews—and their respective captains—initially clash, but they will have to learn to work together when their mutual foe closes in around them and begins the outright destruction of their vessels—along with any hope of a return to Earth.


So let’s start this review out by asking a very simple question to those reading this.

Did you read the prior Dire Earth Cycle books in the series?

If not, WHY NOT? (but seriously they are fun, engaging fly by the seat of your pants books that are definitely worth a read!).

Assuming you have not read the previous books in the series, let’s assume for the sake of argument that you want to start with this book, Injection Burn, without having read the other books in the Dire Earth Cycle. You want to know, is this a bad idea. The answer is mixed. Could you read Injection Burn without having read the previous books in the series. Yes, you could. In fact, enough of the story is summarized and new characters introduced that you could probably catch the drift of the previous books and still thoroughly enjoy Injection Burn. HOWEVER, if you wanted to FULLY enjoy the Dire Earth Cycle, then I’d recommend reading all of the books in the series in order, purely from a character development standpoint (ok… and because they are awesome books that are fun to read, and I’d hate to see them ruined because you skipped ahead).

In fact, the best way to think of Injection Burn, is an accelerated on-ramp for new readers, which also moves the plot along a few thousand years for the main characters in the previous Dire Earth Cycle books, thus moving the ball along for older fans of the series.

Now that that is out of the way, let’s discuss the book, Injection Burn, itself.

As mentioned above, the primary advantage of reading the previous Dire Earth Cycle books before Injection Burn, is the character development that has occurred up to this point in the series. While Hough does summarize the relationships between the older characters in the series, he does not spend a lot of time building on these relationships. Instead Hough has focused his character development prowess on the other newer characters in the Dire Earth Cycle, such as Gloria, Beth and Xavi. Speaking of new characters, I can’t wait until Beth meets the main crew of Eve, as her obsession and fanboy tendencies with the crew of Eve will lead to particularly hilarious results. In fact, between Skyler’s awkwardness, Prumble’s reveling in it, to Sam’s annoyance and probably threats of bodily harm if it isn’t stopped, this scenes almost rights itself in its hilarity.

That said, readers of the Dire Earth Cycle are really in it for the action, and while Hough spent a decent amount of time setting the stage for the big events, the resulting action scenes in the final third of the book are more than worth the wait. In fact, all of the Dire Earth Cycle are great book for anyone looking for massive adrenaline shots from their books (think the equivalent of six cappuccinos in book form). And in Injection Burn, Hough has done an absolutely fantastic job of creating tense, enthralling situations that keep even the most easily distracted reader glued to their seats.

Of course, the other two thirds of Injection Burn do not leave readers bored waiting for the action and suspense. As mentioned above, Hough uses this time to set the stage so that interactions of every kind are ripe with tension and mistrust. Therefore, not only do you have chaos from the battles with the enemy (the Scipios) but there are massive amounts of confusion, suspicion and even violence and threats between the new characters, old characters, and even characters who readers thought were allies.

All in all, Injection is a fun book that is a perfect on-ramp for new readers as well as a great continuation for fans of the previous books in the series. As a fan of the previous books in the series I enjoyed the new character and found the mistrust that emanated from all of the parties very organic and enthralling to read. Further, while Hough certainly has not scrimped on the amount of action in Injection Burn, it also feels like just he prelude to the real event in the next book in the series, Escape Velocity, which makes Escape Velocity my next can’t wait to read book , ESPECIALLY since it comes out in less than a month!


Publisher: Del Rey

Published: May 30, 2017


Link to Buy:

Monday, April 3, 2017

The Collapsing Empire: By John Scalzi



Our universe is ruled by physics. Faster than light travel is impossible—until the discovery of The Flow, an extradimensional field available at certain points in space-time, which can take us to other planets around other stars.

Riding The Flow, humanity spreads to innumerable other worlds. Earth is forgotten. A new empire arises, the Interdependency, based on the doctrine that no one human outpost can survive without the others. It’s a hedge against interstellar war—and, for the empire’s rulers, a system of control.

The Flow is eternal—but it’s not static. Just as a river changes course, The Flow changes as well. In rare cases, entire worlds have been cut off from the rest of humanity. When it’s discovered that the entire Flow is moving, possibly separating all human worlds from one another forever, three individuals—a scientist, a starship captain, and the emperox of the Interdependency—must race against time to discover what, if anything, can be salvaged from an interstellar empire on the brink of collapse.


John Scalzi has written some absolutely amazing military science fiction books between his Old Man’s War series and Redshirts. However, I completely understand that it can be intimidating to know where to jump in when an author is six books deep in a series, as is the case with The Old Man’s War series. And thus, brings us to one of the first great things about The Collapsing Empire, it is a brand-new series and perfect for readers who have never read a word of Scalzi in the past.

That said, while I mentioned his previous books are military science fiction based, this is not your typical science fiction escapism book (very few spaceship battles and ray guns and so forth), however, it is still absolutely filled to the brim with tension and excitement that is sure to keep any reader glued to their seat. Which, considering this is more of a political space thriller, discussing the interplays of inter-space merchant ventures, the pains and struggles of installing a new emperor, and the political ramification of dealing with a collapsing empire (I phrased it that way in an attempt to not give anything away, since that is after all, the title) which just goes to show how impressive of a writer Scalzi really is.

As for the other things that I enjoyed about the Collapsing Empire, I honestly loved the characters best of all. Not only were the characters likable, but the villains were understandable in their motivations, in fact, because of this and the situations that they were placed in, many of the “villains” could turn out to be much more likable characters, or at least quasi “good guys” in later books, based purely on a change of circumstances. That said, I think I loved Kiva Largos the most out of all of the characters. She is smart, kickass, and most importantly doesn’t care what anyone else thinks about her. She has her own agenda, but doesn’t try to hide it. While she is smart, she is not trying to proclaim how much smarter she is, she just wants to get what’s best for her, if she can add in revenge on top of that, then bully for her. And on top of that, she was hilarious to read from as a POV character. Kiva is just one example of where Scalzi’s strength truly resides, in creating dynamic interesting characters who readers will absolutely fall in love with.

As for the pacing, The Collapsing Empire never felt slow. In fact, while there is very little physical violence to push the story’s inciting events along, the tension that Scalzi sews throughout the book will keep readers positively mesmerized.

All in all, I loved The Collapsing Empire. It ends in a way that promises more, and I hope that Scalzi delivers soon, because I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book in this exciting series. A great book for Scalzi fans and new readers alike.


Published: March 21, 2017

Publisher: Tor Books

Price: $25.99

Link to Buy:

A Conjuring Of Light: By V.E. Schwab



As darkness sweeps the Maresh Empire, the once precarious balance of power among the four Londons has reached its breaking point.

In the wake of tragedy, Kell—once assumed to be the last surviving Antari—begins to waver under the pressure of competing loyalties. Lila Bard, once a commonplace—but never common—thief, has survived and flourished through a series of magical trials. But now she must learn to control the magic, before it bleeds her dry.

An ancient enemy returns to claim a city while a fallen hero tries to save a kingdom in decay. Meanwhile, the disgraced Captain Alucard Emery of the Night Spire collects his crew, attempting a race against time to acquire the impossible.


You know those books that are so good that not only are you sad when they end but you have trouble deciphering just what made it so amazing, well that’s A Conjuring of Light for me (I know, just what you want to hear from the person reviewing the book, that they are having trouble describing what they like about the book, but don’t worry I’ll try my best).

I would say that probably one of the best attributes of A Conjuring of Light, was the impressive juggling that Schwab was able to do in balancing not just the old narrators from the previous books in the series, but also include impressive comprehensive perspectives from not one, not two, but THREE new major narrators in this final book of the series (and that doesn’t even include the other short narrator shifts that were used to detail the ripple effects affecting the other Londons). These new narrators are essential to the story and really help craft the story in a way that builds upon all the previous events. These new narrators allow readers to discover answers to questions in a much softer and more subtle way than what otherwise might be possible. Some of said questions include, how the King and Queen really feel about Kell, why Alucard originally left London, why Alucard took Lila aboard originally, and much more. On top of answering questions, these new perspectives allow for Schwab to seamlessly jump between locations and events without straining, offering a much more comprehensive view of the plans and actions that have taken place, and ultimately creating a much stronger emotional toll for all of the deaths that occur (and believe me, without giving anything away, you WILL want to have some tissues handy while reading this book).

Which, speaking of deaths, yes, there are characters who die in this book. It is well done, and you will feel the emotions come welling up into your throat when they occur, but it’s worth it, so just know it’ll happen and read on.

As for other characters, Lila is still badass and amazing, and Rye is more thoroughly developed as a character and in fact probably has the most emotional growth of any of the characters, and even Holland is thoroughly explored, thus allowing his character to become three dimensional, and allowing readers to see that his actions were caused by the world he grew up in, and that it if he grew up somewhere different he could have just as easily been the hero, instead of the villain .

As for the pace and action, honestly, I had a hard time putting A Conjuring of Light down. I found myself reading late into the night, and pretty much whenever I could find a spare minute. There are loads of action scenes, and even when the action stopped the suspense was enough to keep me pressing on late into the evening.

All in all, not only has V.E. Schwab improved by leaps and bounds between each book in the Shades of Magic series, but she just flat out nails the landing in this final book of The Sahdes of Magic series. A Conjuring of Light provides a true sense of conclusion to a wonderful world, while at the same time leaving the possibilities of spinoffs open in the future. The magic that Schwab is able to weave in this world is nothing short of spectacular, and there really isn’t anything I can say that could be construed as negative about this series. The world building is grand and yet not cumbersome, the characters developed and engaging, and the plot well-paced and full of action. Therefore, there is nothing I can say but go buy this book. It is for your own good. Believe me. And when you love it, make sure to tell your friends.


Published: February 21, 2017

Publisher: Tor Books

Price: $25.99

Link to Buy:

Bound: By Bendict Jacka



Right now I wasn’t seeing Richard as the teacher out of my nightmares; he was just another Dark mage, and I looked into the future to see what would happen if I turned that knife on him instead…

Alex Verus is still haunted by his time apprenticed to Richard Drakh. He’s been free of him for many years, but now the only way to keep his friends from being harmed is to again work for Richard and his deadly ally. Even worse, Alex is forced to bring the life mage Anne into this servitude as well.

After weeks of being hunted and finally cornered into what he thought was his last stand, Alex never imagined his life would be spared—and never anticipated at what price. This time, the diviner can see no way out…


When I first started reading Bendict Jacka’s Alex Verus series I thought it was a pleasant surprise, it was raw, full of energy and had a likeable protagonist in Alex. All in all, it was something to pass the time between Jim Butcher books.

Then after about the third book in the series Jacka’s writing began to get more advanced and the plot more intricate. Suddenly Jacka’s series didn’t feel like a collection of one off urban fantasy books collected into a series, instead like Butcher, Hearne and the other New York Times bestselling fantasy authors, this series began to really build upon itself. Decisions from previous books led to ramifications in later books, friends of Alex (the protagonist) didn’t just turn a blind eye to questionable actions he made, and most importantly Alex and his group of friends have evolved, some became stronger and more confident, some more fragile and withdrawn, and a few others have just plain quit and given up. This may sound silly, but I love these adaptations, these changes in the characters’ behavior and attitudes make for more realistic stories and overall better characters. Don’t get me wrong, just because a series doesn’t have these characteristics and adaptations in their characters doesn’t make their characters bad or undeveloped, but in my opinion these changes are some of the attributes that make the difference between A-/B+ characters and A characters. Other examples of these kinds of fuller character development can be seen in Kevin Hearn’s Iron Druid series, Jim Butcher’s Dresdan Files series and Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series.

Of course, you didn’t come here to read about my enjoyment of the series as a whole, you came to read about Bound. Well, not surprising after reading my soliloquy about the series as a whole and the way in which each book builds off each other, my first bit of advice is to not read Bound unless you’ve read the other seven books in the series. However, please note I very much do recommend that you read the first seven books in the series, if you enjoy action, mystery, urban fantasy in the vein of Jim Butcher or Kevin Hearne then you will thoroughly enjoy this series.

As mentioned above, Bound has incredibly strong characters that have adapted through each book. In Bound, the ramifications of Alex and Anne’s emergency flight and the proceeding on the run exploit has come back to haunt them. We see the ramifications it had on Alex’s friends and companions. Luna in particular was shaken by the events. Jacka uses his exceptional pacing in Bound to emphasize these points. What I mean by this is that Bound both had a realistic period of time elapse to make the learning and adjustments from the terrors seem realistic as well as made this period of time flow naturally with the book without slowing down the plot or action, thus allowing readers to appreciate the time that was occurring as well as not be bogged down by small nuances. This is particularly important since the events of Burned left many of the characters (such as Luna, as mentioned above) in hysterics and a deep depression, which cannot be solved with a wave of the hand. Further, it’s theses nuances such as the slow and gradual healing, or re-learning to trust one another, or even the acceptance and adaptation to a darker thought pattern, that help truly define each character. Speaking of such changes to characters, I was particularly impressed with Alex’s evolution in Bound. Not only does Alex begin to get in touch with some of his softer emotions, but he also embraces some of his dark mage attributes as well, in an effort to finally try to combat the evils that have been complicating his life over the last eight books.

All in all, Bound is a great novel. The characters adapt and evolve, there is more action than you can shake a stick at, and the story just moves in a very engaging fashion that is sure to catch and sweep any reader of the series up off their feet. On top of that, Bound ends in a truly shocking way. I can’t say more without ruining it, but just know readers will be left dying for more and that Jacka is truly gifted in his ability to craft a well written and surprising ending. Bound is a great book, and as a fan of great books, please read it so we can all read more in this amazing series.


April 4, 2017


Price: $7.99

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Wheel of Osheim: By Mark Lawrence



All the horrors of Hell stand between Snorri ver Snagason and the rescue of his family, if indeed the dead can be rescued. For Jalan Kendeth, getting out alive and with Loki’s key is all that matters. Loki’s creation can open any lock, any door, and it may also be the key to Jalan’s fortune back in the living world.

Jalan plans to return to the three w’s that have been the core of his idle and debauched life: wine, women, and wagering. Fate, however, has other plans, larger plans. The Wheel of Osheim is turning ever faster, and it will crack the world unless it’s stopped. When the end of all things looms, and there’s nowhere to run, even the worst coward must find new answers. Jalan and Snorri face many dangers, from the corpse hordes of the Dead King to the many mirrors of the Lady Blue, but in the end, fast or slow, the Wheel of Osheim always pulls you back. In the end, it’s win or die.


What can I say about Mark Lawrence? His writing is gripping, grisly, and hilarious all at the same time. Yes, you heard me correctly I did say both hilarious and grisly to describe Mark Lawrence’s writing. How can one write both in a comical as well as grisly way in the same book, might you ask? Well, I don’t know how he does it but Lawrence perfectly balances the charm/ cowardice of Jalan with the turbulent times of war with the dead. To more fully compliment Jalan and fully bring out his hilarity (while acting as the straight man) is the brave and stalwart viking Snorri. These two played off of each perfectly, making every scene they were in together an absolute delight. Honestly I don’t care what form Lawrence brings these two back in, whether it be a prequel, short story, or even a brief soliloquy, whatever it is, if it has Snorri and Jalan together again I’d love to read it.

As for the book itself, The Wheel of Osheim, like the other books in Lawrence’s Red Queen’s War series tells the tale of Snorri and Jalan as they set off across the world, evading (when they can) the dead, weaving magic, and discovering the mysteries of the past. Snorri is forever in search of saving his family in Hell, while Jalan just wants to survive and go back to a comfortable bed, with possibly a beautiful woman, and maybe some money and whatnot… but mostly just safety. In case you couldn’t guess, these two go on great adventure (much to the chagrin of Jalan) and end up in a situation to potentially save the world (or at least delay its destruction).

If you haven’t read Lawrence’s previous series, The Broken Empire, then many of the clues and connections will be somewhat meaningless to you, but if you have (and if you have, then you clearly have good taste in books, as it’s a great series) then you’ll get a real kick out of the number of interactions and interweaving storylines and answers that are answered in each series through the events of the other. For example, readers of The Wheel of Osheim are given a much more descriptive and definitive answer to what the Wheel of Osheim is and who and what the builders are, as compared to the answers given in The Broken Empire series.

Speaking of the previous books in The Red Queen’s War, once of the most impressive transformations in terms of writing is Jalan’s transformation in character over the series. What I mean by this is that Jalan is a coward and a sniveling worm at the beginning of the series. In fact, he has more problems with his personality including being lazy, weasel-like, backstabbing, and insert negative trait of your choice, that he is almost hard to root for (his one saving grace is he is funny to read about in his complaint filled narration style). However, by the end of the series he has utterly transformed, and while he still would prefer to save his own skin and live in luxury, he also has character and a sense of strength. He has stood by his friends, stood tall in battle, and even sharpened his wit immensely. This change to a strong character is remarkable, not because is occurred, but in how it occurred. Lawrence subtly crafted the sequence of events, conversations and motivations for these changes, while at the same time not changing the core of what is Jalan. And readers are able to see this throughout the series, this isn’t a transformation such as turning water into wine, leaving reader’s wondering where the characterizes came from, Lawrence slowly builds them up and allows these building blocks of events to carry the majority of the weight of the transformation in character.

All this means is that if you’re looking for a fun series, that is action packed, funny and filled with well crafted characters then The Red Queen’s War and it’s concluding novel The Wheel of Osheim are the books for you.


Publisher: Ace

Published: June 7, 2016

Price: $27.00

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Six Wakes: By Mur Lafferty



A space adventure set on a lone ship where the clones of a murdered crew must find their murderer -- before they kill again.

It was not common to awaken in a cloning vat streaked with drying blood.

At least, Maria Arena had never experienced it. She had no memory of how she died. That was also new; before, when she had awakened as a new clone, her first memory was of how she died.

Maria's vat was in the front of six vats, each one holding the clone of a crew member of the starship Dormire, each clone waiting for its previous incarnation to die so it could awaken. And Maria wasn't the only one to die recently...


Being open and honest in this review I listened to Six Wakes on audiobook as opposed to reading it in the traditional sense. Why does that matter you might ask? Well, honestly it doesn’t matter, except it allows me to say that not only is Mur Lafferty a great writer, but she is an absolutely fantastic narrator too.

And thus ends the audiobook portion of the review.

As for the book itself, I thoroughly enjoyed Wake Six. Lafferty has crafted a compelling and suspenseful “who done it” thriller in space. But unlike most “who done it” thrillers Lafferty has created a set of circumstances that makes it so that not even the killer knows that they killed the rest of the crew. Yes, you heard me correctly, NOT EVEN THE KILLER KNOWS! How can that be you might ask? In Wake Six the six narrators/crew members are all clones, but something has gone wrong and not only do they all wake up to their mutilated and poisoned bodies floating around them, but their memories were destroyed for the decades that they were in space, leaving them instead with their last known memories being the day before they left on their voyage. That doesn’t do it for you yet? Well not only does Lafferty perfectly time the suspense, jumping between narrators to keep the reader guessing, but she also sprinkles in each of the crew’s past memories, coloring in the world around Six Wakes as well as the motivations and personalities of each of the characters.

All in all, Six Wakes is a gripping suspense filled voyage, crafted in such a way that even at the end, readers will be left guessing, and while I don’t anticipate a sequel I certainly wouldn’t turn it down. Another great book by Mur Lafferty.



Published: January 31, 2017

Price: $15.99

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The Plague of Swords: By Miles Cameron




With one army defeated in a victory which will be remembered through the ages, now the Red Knight must fight again.

For every one of his allies, there is a corresponding enemy. Spread across different lands, and on sea, it will all come down to one last gamble. And to whether or not the Red Knight has guessed the foe's true intentions.

With each throw of the dice, everything could be lost.


Like many of the books reviewed here the Plague of Swords is part of a larger series. This is in fact the fourth book in the Traitor’s Son Cycle, and therefore readers who are new to the series should strongly consider reading the previous books in the series before reading this installment (I know shocking, right?!)

Anyway, with that out of the way, I was really very impressed with how The Plague of Swords ended up bringing so many of the loose story threads that were created in previous books in the series together. Please note, however, that this does not mean that the previous books have left large amounts of loose plot threads outstanding (something that if done poorly can result in a bad book), to the contrary, many of the story lines of each of the books were resolved within each book and I can confidently state that I thoroughly enjoyed the previous Traitor’s Son Cycle’s books and highly recommend them. However, in each of the books Cameron has left a few storylines open, thus slowly expanding the larger story arc. Therefore, as you can imagine, it was to my great pleasure that in The Plague of Swords Cameron finally began tying these storylines off and explaining what the end goals of many of the sides and characters has been all along.

Speaking of these different sides and characters, while it has taken a large amount of time to set up, Cameron has done a great job at slowly introducing and expanding each of the many sides in this ever-growing inter-world conflict. Like George r.r. Martin, Cameron has created many engaging characters and is not afraid to kill them off in the blink of an eye. Yes, you heard me correctly, it is not unusual to have characters that in the past have championed entire chapters being killed off in minor battles and even by sickness or routine travel. Why do this you might ask, in my opinion it is Cameron’s attempt to bring the strife and struggles of war to the pages with more poignancy, so that the readers more fully feel the effects of war. While this does at times lead to characters that readers enjoy being killed, it does lead to a very strong edge of your seat type of anticipation in reading this series.

Not surprisingly based on the subject matter (a medieval/magic/alien/dragon war) the Traitor’s Son Cycle is pretty much filled to the brim with nonstop action. I personally love the fight scenes from Gabriel’s perspective as these include large swaths of magical fighting and now flying, but that’s a personal preference and should not detract from the many of amazing battle scenes.

All in all, I very much enjoyed the Plague of Swords and felt that it has done a wonderful job of beginning the process of tying off the Traitor’s Son Cycle. I don’t know how many more books will be in this series, but if you enjoy medieval style fighting, magical spell slinging and enough plots to clog a spider’s web, then I would recommend jumping into this series now, while the getting is good. I highly recommend.


Publisher: Orbit

Published: October 25, 2016

Price: $16.99

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Monday, March 6, 2017

Silence Fallen: By Patricia Briggs



Attacked and abducted in her home territory, Mercy finds herself in the clutches of the most powerful vampire in the world, taken as a weapon to use against alpha werewolf Adam and the ruler of the Tri-Cities vampires. In coyote form, Mercy escapes—only to find herself without money, without clothing, and alone in the heart of Europe...

Unable to contact Adam and the rest of the pack, Mercy has allies to find and enemies to fight, and she needs to figure out which is which. Ancient powers stir, and Mercy must be her agile best to avoid causing a war between vampires and werewolves, and between werewolves and werewolves. And in the heart of the ancient city of Prague, old ghosts rise...


If you want the short version of this review it is simple, Silence Fallen is another amazing book by Patricia Briggs, and it will leave you craving more from Mercy and the gang.

As for more details, not only are readers given a more detailed glimpse different supernatural creatures, such as the goblins and the golem (which I LOVED the golem addition), but readers are also given a much more detailed view into the world’s supernatural political arena, including the Prague werewolf packs and why they don’t speak with Bran’s packs, and the European vampires and why Marsilia and Stefan left Europe (also how absolutely terrifying Jacob is).

Speaking of the Golem, it was such a great addition to the story. It is such a great magical creature and story that are so often overlooked, and on top of that, Briggs’ retelling of the magic that formed the Golem, coupled with the Golem’s interactions with Mercy were absolutely magical. Speaking of magic, once again we are shown that Mercy’s magic is something clearly not meant to be trifled with. On top of that, it is also clear that we have only seen the tip of her magic, and I personally can’t wait to see more. 

As for the pacing and structure, while I am not always the biggest fan of jumping between character’s perspectives once a series has set a predictable pattern of character POV, I have to hand it to Briggs that she has masterfully managed these feats in Silence Fallen. Not only does she jump between character perspectives (including a new character who turns into such a great surprise) but she also jumps between time to more fully utilize the action and suspense in this story, something that could also easily be done incorrectly. In my opinion, it is these details that make Silence Fallen different from and even more enthralling than the other great books in the Mercy Thompson series.

As I mentioned above, Silence Fallen is amazing and I fully recommend it. It’s action filled, well-paced, tense, and absolutely leaves readers wanting more in the series. All in all, a great book.


Published: March 7, 2017

Publisher: Ace

Price: $27.00

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Magic For Nothing: By Seanan McGuire



Improbable, adjective:
1. Not very likely to happen; not probable.
2. Probably not a very good idea anyway.
3. See also “bad plan.”

As the youngest of the three Price children, Antimony is used to people not expecting much from her. She’s been happy playing roller derby and hanging out with her cousins, leaving the globe-trotting to her older siblings while she stays at home and tries to decide what she wants to do with her life. She always knew that one day, things would have to change. She didn’t think they’d change so fast.

Annie’s expectations keep getting shattered. She didn’t expect Verity to declare war on the Covenant of St. George on live television. She didn’t expect the Covenant to take her sister’s threat seriously. And she definitely didn’t expect to be packed off to London to infiltrate the Covenant from the inside…but as the only Price in her generation without a strong resemblance to the rest of the family, she’s the perfect choice to play spy. They need to know what’s coming. Their lives may depend on it.

But Annie has some secrets of her own, like the fact that she’s started setting things on fire when she touches them, and has no idea how to control it. Now she’s headed halfway around the world, into the den of the enemy, where blowing her cover could get her killed. She’s pretty sure things can’t get much worse.

Antimony Price is about to learn just how wrong it’s possible for one cryptozoologist to be.


I've been a fan of Seanan McGuire for a few years now (which in terms of McGuire’s book production equals about 300,000 books and short stories published (the absolutely amazing thing is that this is not nearly the staggering hyperbole that it appears to be when compared to reality).

Of McGuire’s books, I have a special place in my heart for her InCryptid series, as it was the first series that got me hooked on her writhing, but I've always been a little disappointed in their somewhat one off/duology nature of each of the books in the series. Yes, the books are connected and they mention some of the events from previous books, but for the most part the newer books in the series don't feel the effects of the previous books in the series until the protagonist switches back to the one in which the events occurred (meaning Alex feels the effects of his books, and Verity hers). There are of course benefits to this. First, it makes it significantly easier for new readers to jump into a series, thus allowing for a larger readership. Second, this offers easy outlets for McGuire to experiment and jump between narrators with little downside. The con however is that if this type of writing is done to often then readers can become somewhat bored, feeling that they know the formula of the writing and events, making the stories somewhat dull and predictable. That is not to say that the stories themselves are dull or that writers cannot draw from a formula to entice readers, this just points out that if done too often, the lack of consequences can cause readers to possibly become bored. (Please note that McGuire’s books are not boring, nor have they reached the repetitious point described above, this was only mentioned to emphasize the importance that McGuire’s switch to a ramification based series has on the series.)

That's why I was utterly shocked that the Magic For Nothing begins in the final moments of the previous book in the series Chaos Choreography, except from Antimony's point of view. For those that have not read Chaos Choreography, please be aware that the following section will contain spoilers.

Not only does Magic For Nothing take up in the final moments of Chaos Choreography, but because of Verity’s shocking declaration of war against the Covenant, Magic For Nothing’s entire premise is based on the effects of Verity’s actions. This includes forcing Antimony’s primary action in her attempts to infiltrate the Covenant, as well as her family’s resentment towards Verity for her selfish actions in dancing on TV and declaring war on the Covenant. This is the first time that we’ve seen such a divide/resentment in the actions of the different Price family members, and as a reader of the series it is absolutely fascinating. Not only that, but these actions bring up many feelings of resentment that have been there under the surface, making the emotional turmoil much more realistic for a close-knit family who all are forced into the family business in one way or another.

As for the book itself, other than a surprising lack of explosives (this being Antimony’s book and all), Magic For Nothing was positively ripe with action and intense sequences as Antimony infiltrates not one but two different organizations (the Covenant and the Carnival). Of course, McGuire also does a fantastic job, using the Carnival and Antimony’s surprising connection to her long-lost cousin to more fully explore Antimony’s feelings of resentment, duty, and loneliness in relation to her family and their dynamic. This is absolutely fascinating, as Verity mostly thought of herself and her dancing, trying to get out of the family business, Alex mostly cared about his research, with an almost accidental romance on the side, yet it is Antimony, the youngest and most disconnected to the family, having been teamed up against by her siblings while growing up, who seems to be the most loyal to a family and who takes on the greatest risks.

These emotional and physical ramifications propel the series forward in a way that has me positively shaking in my boots with excited energy for more.

All in all, I was a big fan of Magic For Nothing. It had action, great character development, insight into other characters in the series, and even ended with one heck of a cliff hanger that will leave readers (or at the very least THIS reader) positively begging for the next book in the series.


Published: March 7, 2017

Publisher: DAW

Price: $7.99

Link to Buy: