Tag Archives: Book Reviews

Fly on the Wall Podcast

Ello mates! Just dropping a post to inform you that the incorrigible Imperial Rebel Ork was kind enough to read one of my book reviews on his podcast, Fly on the Wall. His cohort Waz, reads it in a fun “Michigan” accent.

It’s a fun little podcast that is quickly gaining speed. So if you’re looking for something that will make you laugh, and may be considered slightly offensive at times, this is definitely the podcast for you.

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ARCs & Guilt

Amazingly, I am really good at controlling myself on Netgalley. I request one to two books every couple of months and I always try to read and review them before their release date as that helps the author sell. Being such, I’ve felt a bit of guilt lately. The last ARC I read, I didn’t review until after the release date by a couple of days. This guilt is all self-imposed, Netgalley doesn’t really require that you do reviews one way or another. At most, sometimes the publisher requests that you wait until two weeks before the release date to post your review.

So, the one that is laying on the guilt for me is :

I was SO excited to start this late last week and then I realized it releases today, the second. AND it’s 800 pages.

Now I love a fat fucking book but man, did that take the wind right out of my sails.

I still plan to start it here soon but it’s going to take me some time to get through, no where near it’s release date. But I love this author, so I think it’s making the guilt worse.

Now I’m left wondering, how the fuck do all these book reviewers who receive a metric fuck ton of ARCs manage to get through them all?

I want to know their secrets, I also want to know if they have any sanity left.

Now I’m just kind of grumpy and not reading anything. D:

The Final Days of Magic (Witches of New Orleans #3) – Book Review

Published Date: June 18, 2019

Publishing Co.: 47North

Pages: 340

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

The King of Bones and Ashes review.

The Book of the Unwinding review.

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

The Final Days of Magic was the most solid installment in the trilogy, which is a good way to end a story. In my reviews of the previous books, I complained that the author appeared to skip important parts or explanations and it left the feeling of an incomplete story. I’m happy to report that seems to have been cleared up in this addition.

Our three witches, Alice, Evangeline and Lisette have for the most part, gone their separate ways again. Each trying to both heal but prepare for whatever the world throws at them next. They don’t have to wait long until they’re tested by the dark force that wants back into their realm.

This time the action felt much more fleshed out and kept me entertained. There were definitely some dark moments for some of the characters that provided a more emotional connection. However, the deaths of a couple of characters felt a little rushed and we were not given proper time to mourn them.

Overall, this series was entertaining and provided a great atmosphere with interesting characters. It’s hard not to love a story set in New Orleans with witches, but I’ve seen it fail before. The author clearly spent a lot of time researching history, the occult and magic and it really paid off.

True Crime: Michigan: The State’s Most Notorious Criminal Cases – Book Review

Published Date: June 7, 2011

Publishing Co.: Stackpole Books

Pages: 136

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The perfect coffee table/bathroom book for any Michigander home.

This easy-to-read true crime novel highlights some of Michigan’s most notorious crimes. From our polygamist king, a couple of serial killers, the original gangsters of Detroit (ones even Al Capone wouldn’t mess with) to the wild west of the Upper Peninsula, if there is one thing Michigan isn’t, it’s boring.

Despite living my entire life in the Great Lakes state, there were plenty of stories about cases I had no idea about in general or I just didn’t realized they had happened here. For example; the largest school massacre in US history happened in Bath, Michigan in 1927 and the culprit was raised in the town I currently call home. (Not exactly something they put on the welcome billboard and I’m sure the historical society likes to keep in the dark.)

Do you have to be from Michigan to enjoy this? Of course not, however, I do think it adds a personal connection to the stories if you are.

Reading Stats for the Year Thus Far…

Does that title look familiar?? Well it should since I 100% stole this idea from Ignited Moth. I told her I didn’t think I had the patience to do a post like this but where there is a will, there is a way to cheat the game. Print screen for the win!

June officially marks this as half way through the year and I’m just shy of meeting my yearly reading goal. I have got to say, not having the pressure to complete an enormous reading goal at the end of the year has been great. I feel like I’m enjoying reading much more again. Plus, it’s left me with more time to get out and try new things/hobbies.

I know you’re probably having to squint at this but I didn’t want to take 10 million screenshots.

Ahaha! If you look closely at my tabs, you can see my search for how to find my print screens. I’ve never tried since getting Windows 10.

Anywho, onto the subcategories she listed!

My favorite books I’ve read so far this year goes as follows:

Favorite (Fiction) novel so far: Knight’s Shadow by Sebastien de Castell.

5 out of 5 stars on this one. It’s my favorite epic fantasy of the year so far as well. It’s much like the 3 Musketeers but with fantasy and plot twists thrown in liberally.

Favorite (Nonfiction) novel so far: The Indifferent Stars Above by Daniel James Brown.

This was such a thoroughly researched novel on the Donner Party. It really took you back in time and showed you how life was in the frontier days. Peppered with scientific facts about what the body goes through when you’re starving and freezing to death.

Favorite graphic novel so far: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Vol 1. by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa.

Honestly, this one kind of just wins by default as it’s the only graphic novel I’ve read so far this year. Does not make it any less fun of a read though if you like dark, spooky things.

Books that were re-read: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

I was SO nervous to read this. I’ve never re-read it since I was a kid and I was really afraid that it wouldn’t hold up. But, it totally does! I was still too intimidated to write a review for it though. :3

Book suggestions from blogging buddies:

Recommended to me by The Shameful Narcissist. It was one of those ‘meh’ books for me, but I can see how people would really enjoy this post apocalyptic novel and if you’re interested in it at all, give it a try!

Suggestions from Ignited Moth:

I’ve called her it a million times now, she’s my Comic Book Fairy. ❤ She’s also always full of random non-fiction novels to recommend as well. I know there’s a novel about plagues on my TBR list thanks to her. 😛

Well that’s my 2019 reading so far! How is everyone else’s year going?

The Brotherhood of the Wheel (#1) – Book Review

Published Date: May 1, 2016

Publishing Co.: Tor

Pages: 384

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

She looked over the menu at her daughter. “How about this Ed Gein Bar-B-Que? That sounds good!”

“That name’s familiar,” Paul said. “I think he was a governor or something.”

A diner called Zodiac Lodge with entrees named after serial killers, may be a business venture that R.S. Belcher should look into. There are larger take-aways from this book but this may, perhaps, be my favorite.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, Belcher is the master of genre mash-ups. The Brotherhood of the Wheel comes off as a mix of horror, grimdark and urban fantasy. It’s a blend that worked together and in my humble opinion, an ample dosing of horror that should throw him the leagues of King and Koontz.

The United States transportation systems are the perfect hunting ground for all manners of killers. They provide access to victims, hiding places to commit their crimes and dumping grounds galore. Both evil humans and paranormal predators stalk these interstate super highways, leaving death and destruction in their wake.

Where there are horrors, there must also be heroes who lead the fight against evil. That is the purpose of the Brotherhood, a secret organization tasked with protecting the innocent. They are police, taxi drivers, truckers, bikers, etc. They come together from all walks of life to take down serial killers, rapists, and human traffickers.

Something ancient and hungry is working it’s way free into the world, turning children into mindless monsters and using human sacrifices to increase it’s power. It hides away in a hidden town, not on any map. The residents there are captive, they cannot leave to find help and the monster’s minions lurk about, prepared to make their lives a living hell for trying.

A renegade cop, biker, trucker, and a book worm are the only ones on this thing’s tail after looking into multiple missing teenager cases and it may just save all of humanity if they can take him down.

Where the Crawdads Sing – Book Review

Published Date: August 14, 2018

Publishing Co.: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Pages: 384

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Where the Crawdads Sing is undoubtedly, beautifully written. The descriptions of the land, wildlife, and ecosystems bring the narrative to life, both entertaining and educating you in one finely weaved tapestry of the environment.

Kya’s family is what the town calls Swamp Trash. They’re not treated as part of the community, but like strangers to be whispered about behind their backs. One by one, as family members slowly disappear, young Kya is left in a small shack in the marshlands of North Carolina. No one in the community tries to help her. None of them care, they just grab their children and walk in the other direction. Everyone except two boys, one the son of a ship’s captain, the other the town’s star quarterback and the black man who runs the dock where people in the swamp gas their boats. Why is it important that I mention that he’s black? This is set in the 1950’s and the racism was flagrant back then. So when the white people of the town turn their backs on a small white child, but a poor black man steps up and helps her survive, I think it’s worth pointing out. People are good people based solely on their character, nothing else.

When the quarterback mysteriously dies at the bottom of a fire tower, the town once again begins whispering about the Marsh Girl and his secret relationship with her. The son of a prominent family, half the town swears she’s guilty and they’ll vow it in a court of law. Not for the first time, Kya is fighting for her life.

While I did enjoy reading this, I felt that the plot was drawn out for far too long. Which, when you think about it, is pretty impressive for a book that’s only 384 pages long. So my final verdict is; read it if you want, it is enjoyable but, it’s not something I’m going to be thrusting at people I know and insisting that they read it.

Magic for Liars – Book Review

Published Date: June 4, 2019

Publishing Co.: Tor

Pages: 336

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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

Ivy Gamble is a small time private investigator who deals with mostly, disability fraud and spouse cheating cases. Today, however, the local school of magic has approached her to investigate the death of a teacher, first ruled an accident. The principle of the school suspects that it was actually murder, and she can’t sleep until she gets a second opinion.

Ivy need the money, and the notoriety. The problem is, she’ll have to confront her estranged sister. The sister she’s been jealous of for a lifetime, for getting to be magic while Ivy was just ordinary. It’s not just her sister she’ll have to contend with though, it’s a whole league of people she doesn’t know how to interact with. People born to magic, who use it for such trivial reasons. She’ll have to manage her anger, on top of solving her first murder case.

Sarah Gailey’s strength is definitely in characters and their development. Ivy’s internal struggles are deeply relateable. Her interactions with people she’s uncomfortable with, and her attempts to hide her own magic inability, make for a fascinating look into the human psyche. The plot was fairly straightforward for a murder mystery. Gailey dabbles with a couple of red herrings but in all honestly, I had the mystery figured out far before our awkward PI did.

I’m left wondering, does Rahul give her a chance to explain? We’ll never know though as this is a stand alone novel. Some mysteries never get solved.

My Life Among the Underdogs: A Memoir – Book Review

Published Date: January 15, 2019

Publishing Co.: William Morrow

Pages: 245

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My mission is to rescue. My hope is that one day I won’t have to.”

If you’ve heard that quote before, there’s a good chance that you’re a fan of Animal Planet’s Pit Bulls & Parolees. This memoir belongs to the feisty, red-headed woman who started Villabos Rescue Center, first rescuing wolves and wolf hybrids, then turning to one of the dog’s with the baddest reputations, the American Pit Bull Terrier. Currently, the rescue houses close to 400 dogs of all breeds and employs parolees to help with all of the work. It takes one tough person to hold all of that together.

In My Life Among the Underdogs, we get a peek into Tia’s life before starting the rescue. First, being raised a cowgirl by her stepmother who taught her to depend on no one else, to a drifting young adult, to an exotic animal trainer, to a dog trainer for Hollywood, then to rescuing full time. All of this while giving birth to and raising two beautiful daughters, who would become strong, independent and compassionate just like their mother.

We also learn the life stories of some of the top dogs of Tia’s life. These chapters were both uplifting and heartbreaking. You learn about these wonderful, resilient creatures and all they taught both Tia and humanity and then, you hear about their passing. How can that not tug at your heart? If you’ve had a dog, you’re probably all too familiar with that pain, so it’s impossible not to relate.

There are not too many people in this world that I truly idolize but, Tia Torres is one of the them. Life spent rescuing animals is hard, I’ve dabbled in it myself, no where near the size that Tia has. While rewarding, at times it can be absolutely soul crushing. You have to look the worst of humanity in the eye, not engage to the best of your ability and just get the poor, tortured animal the fuck out of dodge. It’s a hard thing to dedicate your life to. Animal rescue workers are more prone to depression and suicide, and it’s understandable.

I hope to see more memoirs from Tia Torres or anyone on her rescue crew. It helps bring more people into the rescue fold, even if it’s adopting instead of shopping, every changed mind is progress and we still have a long ways to go.

My one complaint, and I don’t think I’ve said this since I was little, is that there are no pictures! I mean, I want one million dog pictures, but if there could have just have been ten or so, that would have been great. I loved hearing about these amazing dogs but I would have also really liked to see their cute little faces.

Knight’s Shadow (Greatcoats #2) – Book Review

Published Date: June 2, 2015

Publishing Co.: Jo Fletcher Books

Pages: 592

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My review of Traitor’s Blade (Greatcoat’s #2).

There is a reason that this is referred to as swash-buckling fun, it is that, but it’s also so much more.

Knight’s Shadow begins to take a darker turn. We return to the crew with Falcio paralyzed from neatha poisoning. Each morning, the paralysis takes longer and longer to go away, all the while they’re surrounded by enemies. All the while, Falcio is slowly dying. That is the end he sees coming every morning he wakes and cannot move, cannot speak, can hardly breath. If it weren’t for his friends standing guard over his body at night, his enemies could slip in and easily finish the legendary Greatcoat.

The mission begins the same, to put Aline on the throne, but they’ve underestimated the game. There is a secret third player playing havoc with their plans. One moment they’re gaining ground, the next they’re knocked down two pegs and are fighting for their lives once again. The hits keep coming, but how much can one group of people take?

This novel ended up being so much more than I had expected, and to get too detailed would be to ruin the many excellent turns of plot. There were several moments where I was left simply with goosebumps and I was nothing but a fiend that had to continue to find out what happened next.

This easily climbs to the top of my favorite fantasy series list.