Tag Archives: Book Reviews

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.

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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.

The Book of the Unwinding – Book Review

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Publishing Date: June 26, 2018

Publishing Co.: 47North

Pages: 300

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Witches of New Orleans #2

My review of the first book The King of Bones and Ashes.

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

Suffers from second book syndrome. It just doesn’t live up to the first but it’s not a bad read either. In fact, I’m certain I’ll still read book #3 when it comes out.

Four months after the events of book one, we’re given a view of how life has changed for our witches. Some for the better, others not so much and yet others still trying to find themselves in the aftermath.

The focus of the first half of the book is trying to free Alice from the Dreaming Road before she disappears forever. This was an incredibly slow build up with some things that really needed to be explained further. There’s some talk about a certain kind of destiny that isn’t fully examined. Perhaps it’s supposed to be self explanatory, but for someone not into ‘destiny’ talk, it leaves a decent size gap in the world building.

The second half of the book was kind of a cluster fuck of events. How did our new villain become a major player? One minute they were sterile and unable to do anything, the next they’re clearly here to fuck everyone’s shit up. How did this come to be? I’m still not sure. In some instances, the characters go into detailed flashbacks of past events, but current happenings are skipped over completely and almost left to the reader’s imagination of how they transpired.

Despite these complaints, I still love the characters. I’m still interested in what is going to happen to them and where all this drama will lead. Just please J.D. Horn, fill in some gaps for us.

 

Stalking Jack the Ripper – Book Review

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Published Date: September 20, 2016

Publishing Co.: Grand Central Publishing

Pages: 343

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I wandered across this book while browsing the shelves at the store. Honestly, all my other choices were out of stock but, I decided I would pick it up on a whim and see how it went. There are a million things you can do with a Jack the Ripper story and we’d just see where this went.

Good lord did this girl try to beat me over the head with how intelligent her boy toy was. Show me, don’t tell me. I’ll decide for myself if he comes off as even remotely smart. (He eventually does when allowed to talk for himself.) While we’re at it, stop telling me how good you are at resisting his charms when you’re clearly smitten from the very beginning. Let’s just make a promise not to lie to each other, okay?

Other than that, I did enjoy the main character, Audrey Rose. I always like a rebellious woman who decides to say, “Fuck your social norms.” I liked Thomas Cresswell even more as a strong male character encouraging said girl’s fiery personality and curiosity. Of course sparks will ignite between the two while they are elbow deep in cadavers. Nothing is more attractive than someone who can handle a bone saw like an expert.

Unfortunately, I figured out the identity of the Ripper early in the book. I had hoped they were just a red herring and I’d have a complete surprise towards the end, but I didn’t. No matter though, I still enjoyed the story. I don’t know that I would go out of my way to pick up the second book but if I wandered across it, much like the first, I may decide to read it.

2018 in Review Thus Far

Whoa! How did that happen? It’s already half way through 2018. I thought it a good point to stop and assess how the year has gone thus far in the reading department.

My bookish resolutions for the year were to knock down two lists; continuing series I’ve already started and reading more stand alone novels.

Stand alones: 3%

Series to Continue: 20%

Clearly, there is work to be done there.

On my Goodreads yearly challenge I’m at 34/70. (48%)

For June, I have a few ARCs to finish before I attack those lists once again. I was approved by Tor/Forge for two ARCs and want to get in good with them since they’re one of my favorite publishers. Plus, I had another Goodreads friend as that I read their book and I picked it up a couple of months ago so I might as well try it while I’m in extreme review mode.

ARCs:

American Hippo – Book Review (complete)

City of Lies

The Book of Unwinding  (I received an ARC of the first book, my review here.)

Goodreads friend’s book: A Darker Shade of Sorcery

That’s a whole month of reading nothing but ebooks. I’ll probably go crazy on physical books once July rolls around.

Check these pretty covers though:

 

How Dare You Use Profanity!

It’s not often that I really tear a book that I didn’t like down, but two years ago I did just that to a book that I really hated. Every few months now I get someone pissed off at me for it and it’s the funniest thing. Mostly, they yell at me for my profanity or try to insult my intelligence for not seeing it’s apparently very fucking hidden splendor. Even better is when they tell me what I should or should not put in my book reviews.

[I’m imagining you all laughing maniacally along with me right here.]

The very best part is that when you check out this book’s Goodreads page, my review is the very first one to come up. Because, thanks to these fuck nuggets, every time they’ve commented, more people have liked it. By trying to knock me down, they’ve risen me to the top ranks and now everyone will see what I have to say about that book.

Teach those fuckers to try to tell me to do anything. MWAHAHA.

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American Hippo – Book Review

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Published Date: May 22, 2018

Publishing Co.: Tor

Pages: 256

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 5 out 5 stars

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

River of Teeth

Imagine 1800s America, where instead of horses, cowboys and outlaws rode hippos. Oh yes, sweet gentle fiends, hippopotami. The most dangerous creature in Africa is intentionally brought to the United States as an alternative meat source during a meat shortage. But Americans always take things one step further, and now they’re also used as mounts. Of course, someone always has to fuck something up and there manages to be a massive hippo escape from a ranch. Now there are feral hippos that rule the rivers and marshes. Blood thirty, angry hippos.

In this novella we are introduced to a host of outlaws, hired for a high paid, high danger job. To rid a dam of the feral hippos. Doing so will release the dangerous feral hippos into the South, spreading their death and destruction even further. Jobs never go as planned, someone always wants the death dealing hippos to stay right where they are.

Taste of Marrow

The surviving characters from the first novella continue their adventures in this one. Adelia has given birth after kidnapping Hero. Houndstooth is obsessively searching for Hero, not quite convinced that they’re even alive. Archie is waiting for her handsome U.S. Marshal to show up after not hearing from him at their arranged rendezvous spot.

Adelia’s newborn is stolen during a surprise attack while her and Hero are traveling. She’s being forced to meet with a mysterious person who arranged her child’s kidnapping, to see what they intend for her and the child. Probably not the smartest idea for the mystery person, Adelia is an infamous assassin. Hero is helping her despite the fact that she stabbed them, and they’re a poison and explosives expert. Archie is a notorious pick pocket and scam artist, and Houndstooth is your general bad ass and they’re hot on Adelia and Hero’s trail.

There are a couple short stories at the end that cover Archie meeting her U.S. Marshal for the first time and how Houndstooth’s hippo Ruby got her gold-plated tusks.

I loved everything about these novellas. The characters, the world-building, the plot lines. You name it, it kicked all the ass. Most importantly, major kudos to the author for including a non-binary person. It was a perspective to get used to but only because we are a gender obsessed world. It was further proof that content of character is far more important that one’s gender.

Day by Day Armageddon – Book Review

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Day by Day Armageddon #1

Published Date: September 29, 2009

Publishing Co.: Permuted Press

Pages: 200

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

May 23 0700 hours

I’m in the middle of a zombie fight but do not worry. I have the time to take a minute and write about my day. It started out alright, coffee, dog snuggles, I ate an MRE. But then I made the mistake of going outside. In the big city I live in, there were about three undead walking down the street. I don’t know how I survived checking the mail.

That’s sarcasm, not a quote. There were some good tactical ideas for surviving the zombie apocalypse from a soldier who gets a heads up that shit is about to go down and holes up in his convenient fortress of a house. It’s written journal style like above, which isn’t a bad style IF you have a very interesting personality. Which unfortunately, our protagonist does not. Luckily for him, he seems to have practically zero problems handling every zombie encounter. In fact, all the characters are fairly one dimensional.

It wasn’t a bad book but it certainly didn’t grip the reader. If you want some ideas for how to survive zombies, you can probably pick up a thing or two. But of course, the part about medications was absolutely wrong so you can disregard it. The actual names of antibiotics do not all end in -biotic, like the author seems to think. Making it much harder to snag what you’re looking for if you come across a pharmacy to loot when the world goes to Hell in a hand basket. Penicillin, amoxicillin, cephalexin, clindamycin, clarithromycin, ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, to name a few. Now I have contributed to your knowledge to survive the end game. You’re welcome.