0
10/10
Review: Red Sister by Mark Lawrence
Reviews / March 29, 2017

Red Sister is the first book in the third series written by Mark Lawrence and I’ll start by saying it gets off to an excellent start. I’ll give a brief overview of the plot.  We make the acquaintance of Nona at the start of the story.  She’s about to be fitted for a hangman’s noose for attempting to murder the son of a rather prominent member of society.  Unsurprisingly, and not a spoiler to say, she never makes her final fitting – that would have been a very short book would it not! Before her execution can be carried out she finds herself rescued, or more succinctly put, stolen away by Abbess Glass of the Sweet Mercy Convent.  Not yet ten years old Nona is different.  The people of her village knew this, and mostly avoided her, until that cruel day on which she was given away to a child collector to be sold in the City.  Abbess Glass recognises this difference and believes that rather than making Nona something to fear it makes her something special. From them on we spend time with Nona as she is initiated into the school and undertakes a number of trials and tribulations,…

0
8/10
Review: Phantom Pains by Mishell Baker
Reviews / March 21, 2017

Phantom Pains continue’s Baker’s wonderfully fresh style of keeping Urban Fantasy a bit more “real” and grounded without compromising on the fantastical. Millie’s life might be full of the extra ordinary, she might be a person that a reader can admire, may be able to deal with fae and break their magic with a touch, but there’s no denying her life is trying. I don’t envy her harsh reality of being a double amputee, but at the same time, her story and challenges are just part of her life, they don’t prevent her from being able to liver her life and do what needs doing. The author does not gloss over her disability, nor does she dwell on it, but rather incorporates all of the extra challenges Millie faces as just a part of how she lives and copes. And while Millie is not always upbeat, she does an amazing job handling both her disability from losing both legs as well as her borderline personality. I find it interesting how the author can explain some of the Borderline personality traits and behaviors that Millie struggles with in a way that helps us understand her, gives us better insight when she…

0
8/10
Review: Star’s End by Cassandra Rose Clarke
Reviews / March 14, 2017

Star’s End was not the Cassandra Rose Clarke book I was expecting. But then again, I didn’t really have any expectations when I started, other than I knew that Clarke would deliver something truly unique with lots of emotion and detailed characterization. And I was not disappointed. Star’s End may not be the fast-paced or action-packed space opera that you think you need, but you will emerge from the reading experience a more thoughtful person, I guarantee. Clarke has taken an interesting idea about the dangers of having too much power and turned it into a gripping story about love, trust and ultimately doing the right thing. I was surprised how well this story resonates with present-day culture and politics, and while the author didn’t go out of her way to make a statement, there are one or two truths wrapped up in the story, for those readers who choose to look for them. Esme Coromina is the eldest daughter of Phillip Coromina, the family matriarch whose mega corporation terraformed a group of four moons that surround a sun-like planet called Coromina I. Always concerned about turning a profit, the Coromina Group is responsible for creating the super, bio-engineered soldiers…

0
8/10
Review: Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs
Reviews / March 13, 2017

YES. Now that’s what I’m talking about! While I’ve made it no secret that I love the Mercy Thompson series, if you recall my reviews for the last few books, you’ll know how I feel things in the overall story arc have been stuck in a holding pattern for some time now and the lack of progress was starting to take its toll. For this milestone tenth installment though, I’m glad to report that Briggs has brought the energy back to these books in a huge way. It all began like any other night. A pirate-themed video gaming session ends with Mercy heading out to the store to pick up some cookie baking supplies, but she never makes it home. Her car getting wrecked is the last thing she remembers of that day. Next thing she knows, she’s waking up alone, imprisoned in some strange room. Her mysterious captors are soon revealed as two vampires playing good cop/bad cop come out to question her, cluing Mercy in to the identity of the one behind her rude abduction. If she’s right about her guess though, things are only about to get worse. By shapeshifting into coyote form, Mercy manages to escape…

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8/10
Review: The Holver Alley Crew by Marshall Ryan Maresca
Reviews / March 7, 2017

Holver Alley Crew is the first book in a new series by Marshall Ryan Maresca. I have to say, I find this publishing schedule a bit fascinating. Keep in mind, all of his series are executed in a way that (at least so far), they can be read in any order and can be read independently of each other. This is the third series Maresca is publishing, and the other two trilogies are not yet complete. But, that’s not because he writes slow, on the contrary! These books are being released at a pretty good pace.  I love the idea that this third one will keep the story going after the other two finish. It’s just interesting, and I’m not sure I’ve seen concurrent series quite like this before. Now, for those unfamiliar with Maresca’s other two series, Maradaine and Maradaine Constabulary, despite being concurrent and in the same city, they can easily be read independently of one another. The first starts with The Thorn of Dentonhill which is set in a magic school, but also gives a view of the city’s crime through the eyes of a vigilante (who happens to also be a student at the magic school). I find this…

0
8/10
Review: With Blood Upon the Sand by Bradley P. Beaulieu
Reviews / February 21, 2017

The Shattered Sands trilogy was by far one of my favorite finds of last year. With Blood Upon the Sand continues to deepen the intrigue and entanglements, and displays the harsh desert environment is not the only thing to fear in Sharakhai. It will also take your emotions and bend them to its will, ripping them through fear to excitement, from horror to triumph (or maybe triumph to horror), from sorrow to jealousy, hope, betrayal. Where it lands, I can’t tell you, but be prepared for the roller coaster of events that will evoke a huge range of  emotional turmoil and excitement. I continue to love Çeda as a protagonist. She is fierce not just in battle but also in personality. It’s quite interesting to see her handle life as a Blade Maiden, becoming part of what should be a close knit team, while also still working in secret to take down the Kings. Her every day life and training stands in conflict with what has pretty much been her life’s mission. Çeda is also much more alone in the beginning of this book. Emre, who has always been there for her in the past, is part of the Moonless Host. That alone is hard…

1
8/10
Review: Firebrand by Kristen Britain
Reviews / February 7, 2017

Just a quick reminder that while my review is spoiler free for Firebrand, there are likely spoilers for the previous books. There is something about returning to read a new book the Green Rider series that just makes me happy. Maybe it is because I this is one of the first series I read in the fantasy genre, but I just find them to be very addictive, comfort reads that make me want to curl up with it until I finish. This one was no exception. With Firebrand, Karigan returns to her own time, so it includes many of our favorite characters from books past. I know not everyone was thrilled with the change in setting/characters/time period with the last book, though I personally really enjoyed it. For those that were less than thrilled, fear not, this book is much in line with the first 4 books in the series. Karigan is distraught and heartbroken over leaving Cade behind. She misses him deeply and feels guilt over leaving him, not knowing if he is still alive or not. In some ways, it was overwhelming, and impacted her personality a bit. But not so much that I felt it overdone or a…

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9/10
Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Reviews / January 18, 2017

Once upon a time there were two sisters who lived upon the tiny Isle of Trisda.  Every year the older sister wrote a letter to the man simply known as ‘Master Legend’, begging him to visit their Isle, and every year her letters remained unanswered.  That is until the seventh year when the elder sister having woken in the morning, barely days away from her marriage to a mysterious Count, finally received the long awaited invitations to attend the spectacle known as ‘Caraval’.  Entry to Caraval is by invitation only and the most important thing to remember is that ‘it is only a game!’ Yes, Caraval is told in an almost fairytale style. We have two beautiful sisters who are treated harshly by their tyrannical father.  Their mother disappeared many years ago and their father, a powerful man on the Isle rules over them with an iron rod.  Scarlett and Donatella (or Tella as she is more often known) finally have escape within their grasp, even if that comes in the form of Scarlett marrying a man she knows nothing of it seems to be the only acceptable way that they will ever escape the Island.  Until their golden tickets…

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8/10
Review: The Burning Isle by Will Panzo
Reviews / December 13, 2016

The Burning Isle is a book that captivated me from the very beginning. It’s fun, fast paced and I immediately felt connected to the protagonist, Cassius. I  found myself both rooting for him and also growing more curious about him with each page. The story is told from his POV, and has a series of interspersed flash back chapters that help you piece together both his history and his motivation. In the start of the book, Cassius has arrived in the island of Scipio, a place where the dregs of society find themselves when they have no where else to go. Lawless and ruthless, this is not a destination of choice. “Five miles of slum on the edge of fifty miles of jungle” is how it’s described in the blurb. While it may generally be lawless, there are powerful people there that have control. The city/slum is divided, each side being ruled rival leaders with the feel of a mob or gang type atmosphere. You know, that fun criminal underground setting that everyone loves to read. But the ultimate power on the island belongs to an elusive general who lives with his soldiers at a fort in the forest. The atmosphere…

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8/10
Review: Winter Halo by Keri Arthur
Reviews / December 12, 2016

I found a new favorite author in Keri Arthur when I read City of Light last year, and my hope is that I will continue to enjoy her work for years to come. Certainly those odds are looking good with Winter Halo, the sequel. Not only did I enjoy it as much as the previous book, this second novel of the Outcast series also came along when I needed it the most, providing a much needed counterpoint to the heavier reads I’ve had on my plate lately. It was nice to simply let loose with Tiger in her world again; that and we all know there’s nothing quite like vampires and shapeshifters plus a little a bit of sex and action to serve as perfect entremets. The story picks up from the end of City of Light, continuing Tiger’s quest to rescue a group of kidnapped children. With the help from some new allies (because calling them friends would still be quite a stretch), she traces the trail to Winter Halo, a pharmaceutical company whose research arm appears to be involved in a bunch of shady activities. Our protagonist hatches up a plan to go undercover, using her déchet abilities…