Category Archives: Book Reviews

A Plague of Giants (Seven Kennings #1) – Book Review

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Published Date: October 3, 2017

Publishing Co.: Del Rey Books

Pages: 624

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Buddy read with my BFF Crumpets&Arsenic.

“Great kracken tits!” may be my new favorite exclamation.

A bard is telling the tales of war from the point of view of various characters across the land. The tale of their homeland invaded by an unknown race of giants in bone armor, therefore dubbed, the Bone Giants. Their surprise arrival and conquest of major cities, leaving nothing but death and destruction in their wake, for reasons unknown to their victims. Death comes swiftly in the night, leaving nothing but blackwings circling over silent cities for select unsuspecting souls to find days too late for help to arrive.

We learn the magic and history of the world through the tales told by the bard as he recounts the stories to the city every night. A city full of refuges with no homes, often no loved ones left and no jobs to rebuild their lives. Each day they return to the wall to hear stories that remind them that they are not alone in their loss and how each invasion happened and about those who were there and tried to thwart the Bone Giants’ success.

In between the tellings, we follow a historian in the refugee city as he writes down the bard’s stories as a first collection of a new history. We learn about the historian’s own life and loss and his friendship with the leader of the city, his attempts at spying on the bard for secret information. His generosity of letting a refugee family stay in his home.

The magic in this world is a tale of it’s own. There are five kennings, with a theorized sixth and seventh kenning that has yet to be discovered. There is one kenning to control water, one to control wind, one for plants, one for earth and one for fire. People have to be willing to end their own life in order to be blessed with a kenning. Each kenning has it’s own trial, but there are only ever two results; you die or you are blessed with a new power. You must be willing to sacrifice everything to gain something.

This is a great opening book to a series. The characters are endearing and yet no one is safe. Many times you don’t even know they’re dead until you get to the end of their tale. Just enough time to become fully invested in them. I look forward to following the surviving characters as the war continues.

Kevin Hearne also has one of the most poignant descriptions of losing a loved one that I’ve ever read:

The mourning of a loved one never ends at the funeral. It comes back every so often like a stage performer eager for a curtain call and expects you to be loud about it. I gave it all the lung capacity I had.”

That hit home.

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Buddy Reads

How many of you participate in buddy reads? And, what has your experience been like?

I’ve taken part in one or two buddy reads on Goodreads with people but find that they’re not as exciting as I think they’ll be. One was definitely more fun than the other, probably because of the person it was with.

Now, the buddy reads I find MOST exciting are the ones that I do with my BFF, Ignited Moth. We don’t do them as often as you would think either. Maybe every couple of years?

Tomorrow we start A Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne. I can’t wait. 🙂

Phoenix Rising (Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences #1) – Book Review

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Published Date: April 26, 2011

Publishing Co.: Harper Voyager

Pages: 402

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

A proper steampunk caper.

Agent Eliza D. Braun is pushing her boss to the limits. She’s an extraordinarily good agent for Queen and country but her methods tend to involve a good deal of dynamite and a scattering of dead bodies. Despite several warnings, her missions continue to end in explosions and newspaper features that bring to forefront the secret agency of the crown that she works for, The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences. Luckily, few people even know of it’s existence, hence secret agency, but in order to keep it that way she might just get an assignment that does not let her blow things up or play with guns.

Like, getting shut away in the basement of the agency with the Archivist, who’s idea of a good time is organizing and cataloging case files.

Wellington Books is a gentleman of fine breeding, but he prefers the quiet and seclusion of his basement department filled with unique devices found on peculiar missions and overflowing paperwork. These things make sense to him. Guns, dynamite and death defying missions do not. His new partner is going to test his limits and then some. Her restless nature makes her a poor candidate for sitting in the darkness for hours on end.

But being tucked away, filtering through unsolved cases of the Ministry, leads to new information about Eliza’s last partner’s solo mission which ended with her partner locked away in the insane asylum. Agent Books can’t resist a good mystery and soon they are undercover inside another secret society investigating people intent on taking down the crown. One agent with extensive field experience, another with barely any experience but exceptional cunning. Will it be enough to get them out alive?

I had fun. Simple as that. Sure, in some parts my mind wandered a bit but it brought me back when the action picked up again. Books was a good anchor to Braun’s excessiveness, but I love a feisty lady.

Normally, I pay no attention to chapter names but these ones caught my eye every single saucy time;

InWhich Our Plucky Pepperpot Eliza D. Braun Must Pay The Piper for Her Feats of Derring-Do!”

Wherein Wellington Books Acts a Perfect Gentleman, but Is Not Above a Little Skullduggery Too”

AND, there is an Agent Bruce Campbell – mad props for that, intentional or not.

Army of Darkness (1993)
Directed by Sam Raimi
Shown: Bruce Campbell

Beyond Redemption (Manifest Delusions #1) – Book Review

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Published Date: June 16, 2015

Publishing Co.: Harper Voyager

Pages: 512

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 5 out 5 stars

My dark little heart is filled with glee.

What if you believed something enough that it became reality? You could change your life and the lives of those around you by simply believing something to be real. You could control those around you, their fate steadily in your hands. You could elevate them to do important things or throw away their lives as needed for your own purpose. Ultimately, what if you could make all those people believe in a new god? A new god that you created and controlled. Delusional, yes?

Add to that aspect, the belief that when you die, the people you’ve slain will be there to do your bidding. Combine these two beliefs and you have our protagonist, Konig. He’s creating a man-made god to slay so that he may have a god obey him in the Afterdeath and to save him from his own delusions. The problem is, no matter how strong your delusions, they cannot rule everyone in the world and there are quite a few people who would love to have a god doing their bidding when their death comes.

Make no mistakes, there are no heroes in this tale. Only bad people using others to gain advantages in this life or the next.

I cannot decide which perspective I enjoyed more, Konig’s decline into insanity, Gehirn’s yearning for affection from literally anyone, Morgen’s confusion about the purpose of his Ascension to godhood or Bedeckt, Stehlin and Wichtig’s faulty attempt at getting rich. Each character brings their own darkness and delusions to the table and a story lacking any of them would have been a much poorer tale.

The imagination it took to create this is astounding. The forms of torture (both self inflicted and inflicted onto victims) were a masterpiece of grimdark. Make no mistake, let no one tell you any differently, this is grimdark at it’s finest.

I am so glad that I bought this book instead just borrowing it from the library, despite being by an author I’ve never read before, because it deserves it’s spot upon my bookshelves.

The Book Blogger Inside Tag

I stole this little beaut from the lovely The Shameful Narcissist. I really enjoy reviewing books so I thought a tag about how the writing happens would be fun. Plus, it’s been a very long time since I’ve done a tag of any sort. So I’m going to sit here, sipping my delicious coffee with strawberry cheesecake creamer and try not to give super grumpy answers since I’m not a real human until the coffee kicks in.

Where do you typically write your blog posts?

On my very comfortable sofa on the end with the chaise lounge. Usually covered in one or two dogs with the cat peeking over my shoulder from the back of the couch.

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How long does it generally take you to write a book review?

I’ve never timed it before but I would guess about a half hour. Depends on my feelings about the book though. If I absolutely loved or hated it, I might bang it out quicker. If it was just meh, I might stare intently at the computer screen for a few minutes between each paragraph, trying to figure out what to say next.

Continue reading The Book Blogger Inside Tag

Kissing Sin (Riley Jenson Guardian #2) – Book Review

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Published Date: January 30, 2007

Publishing Co.: Dell

Pages: 390

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Well….uhm…huh.

Riley Jenson is a vampire werewolf hybrid. Such is rare but possible. She wakes up in a research facility but doesn’t remember entering or much about her time there. She escapes with the help of some horse shapeshifters. Then, has sex with one of them. Of course, the cock is the same ratio no matter in horse or human form. I think this is supposed to be sexy but I personally find it creepy.

For much of the book, Riley is running for her life but either she’s thinking about sex while running or having sex each time she stops. Then the bad guys catch up and she has to battle her way free, but don’t worry because she’ll still be thinking about the sex. I very much get that in this world sex is an integral part of werewolf life but how the fuck does she even have time for anything else? And quite frankly, I’m no prude but I was tired of reading about the fucking every couple of chapters or less. None of the sex scenes were really all that sexy. Minimal foreplay and then right to the action, done in minutes. If I’m going to read some erotic scenes, please make it worth my time.

There wasn’t much to make me connect with the main character, Riley. I much preferred all the male characters to her. The world building was different even for an urban fantasy novel, lots of attempted cross-breeding and strange scientific creations. There could be a lot to this world but it’s unfortunately filled with lame sex. The last third of the book was definitely the best. Lots of action and no time for sex. If more of the book would have kept that premise, I might consider continuing the series (especially since I have picked up several used copies of the installments over the years), but as it stands, I don’t care enough about the main character to continue the crusade within this world. The next book promises lots of unwanted sex with dangerous men while she’s undercover and if the sex was lame with guys she liked, I can only imagine the snooze fest that would be awaiting me if I decided to torture myself and pick up the next volume.

meh-cat

Rat Queens, Vol. 2 – Comic Review

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Published Date: May 6, 2015

Publishing Co.: Image Comics

Pages: 128

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The sass continues!

Our favorite ladies continue to drink, fight, fuck. But they may have to set that aside for a hot minute and save their town.

In this edition, we get a little more back story on each of the ladies. Lovers, current and old. Childhood struggles. Religious quandaries.

But, we get it all whilst the ladies fuck some shit up.

It’s just FUN.

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A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier – Book Review

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Published Date: February 13, 2007

Publishing Co.: Farrar Straus Giroux

Pages: 229

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 4 out 5 stars

If you have a child in your life who just thinks that they have just the worst life, please have them read this book. Hell, if you know an adult who thinks that they’ve had it the worst, maybe throw this at them too. This isn’t to negate other people’s suffering but sometimes you just need a little perspective thrown at you to make you appreciate your life.

There are a decent amount of war stories recounted by people who lived through them. But, it’s not every day that you read about a child’s perspective of war, especially a child who was also a soldier in the war. It’s an almost unimaginable concept to consider, but consider it we must as it happens in every war.

When you think about how they did anything, literally anything, to survive, your mind most likely goes to things like, smuggling weapons and starving. It’s so much more than that. It’s being fed drugs to keep you fierce, it’s fueling the pain of losing your family with hate for your enemy, it’s shooting people at point blank range and slitting throats. It’s fucking brutal. It’s children being forced to be brutal in order to hopefully live one more day. It’s heartbreaking and I don’t even like kids that much.

It’s important to show the grim reality of war. It should not be taken lightly. Ever.

Ishmael’s struggle through the Sierra Leone civil war is gripping. So much so, that I was miffed about the abrupt ending. Yes, I can assume what must have happened next to young Ishmael but I want to hear it from him. I want to know how his life changed once he escaped the war for good.

The Brain Audit – Book Review

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Published Date: August 22, 2009

Publishing Co.: Psychotactics

Pages: 180

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Well yes, this isn’t my usual fair. It was a forced read by my boss. When your boss says, “Here read this and we’ll discuss it when you’re done,” you don’t really argue because there are far worse projects to take home from work and do on your own time.

This might seem on the outside like a simple, boring read about sales, but it’s more than that. It’s an in depth look at how people decide when and why to purchase your product or service. It shined a spotlight on thinking that I know I do myself when considering a purchase, but never really thought about other people coming to that decision in almost the exact same way.

One read through will have your brain popping with new ideas on how to make your customers happier, more confident and consistently returning to you. In turn, growing your business at a faster rate than you would have otherwise.

If you run a business, are ranked higher in a company or want to get in good with the boss, take the hour or so it takes to read this and flip your business model in a new and exciting direction.

Or don’t and keep putzing along with low sales.

City of Lies (Poison War #1) – Book Review

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Published Date: July 3, 2018

Publishing Co.: Tor

Pages: 560

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I received this copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Fuck. Yes.

One of my favorite reads of 2018 thus far.

I’m so bubbled over with excitement that I don’t even know where to begin with this review. I guess with honesty. For about 75% of this book I was convinced it was going to be a 4 star read. Nothing wrong with that at all, but the last 25% really sent me over that edge.

If epic fantasy is your preferred genre, as it is mine, then you know that a very high percentage of the plots in the genre involve war or some type of battle between good and evil. Even as a fan of such, sometimes it gets to be too repetitive. Usually when that happens, I’ll just switch up genres for a bit. Or if I’m lucky, I’ll find a book that flips the paradigm around a bit.

City of Lies is that lucky find. While it is about the opening of a war that has been undetected by the city involved until it’s too late, the story is encased in the city under siege. Much like the characters, you can’t escape the danger, lies and deceit around every alley corner in the city that may become your tomb. It is this atmosphere that sucks you in from the beginning. It’s a murder mystery wrapped in healthy helpings of fantasy.

The Chancellor and his proofer (tester for poison) are murdered in the very beginning by the very thing the proofer is supposed to save the Chancellor from. Poison. A poison that no one can determine the source of or provide an antidote. The reign moves down the line to his nephew, Tain, who has his own proofer best friend, Jovan. This is the way of honor for Jovan’s family, protecting the ruling family from quiet murder. His older sister, Kalina, was supposed to be the next proofer but her poor health sidelined her from her destiny. Her little brother Jovan took up the family mantle, despite his eccentricities and obsessive compulsive disorder. A move that stung her deeply but she continued to find ways to make herself useful despite her disabilities.

Before Tain, Jovan and Kalina can recover from the murder of their uncles, the city is under siege from an undefined foe. They are thrust into the roles they’ve prepared for their whole lives but never really thought would come. Together, they try to survive assassination attempts and determine what the enemy wants. But not knowing who the enemy is, handicaps their control of the situation.

You don’t fully understand the beauty of the world building until the last 25% of the book as well. While trying to absorb this new world, I was quite busy being choked up about things happening to the characters. It was then that I realized just how much I loved this book.

Go read it or I’ll sneak into your house and poison your whole family.