Tag Archives: books

Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad #1) – Book Review

Published Date: September 12, 2017

Publishing Co.: Crown Books for Young Readers

Pages: 384

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

It’s my theory that if you’ve ever said the words, “Money doesn’t buy happiness,” then you’ve never been dirt-fucking-poor. Money can buy a lot of happiness. Maybe not all the happiness in the world but trust me, it takes a major weight off of your shoulders and puts you on the path to achieving what does makes you happy.

The Babel Corporation has selected poor teenagers from all over the world to compete for amounts of money they never imagined by going first to space, then onto a new planet. The trick is, they have to survive rigorous training and score high enough through these competitions to make it down to Eden, a planet inhabited by lifeforms known as Adamites, who like human kids but not so much the adults. The teenagers may still encounter trouble while down on the planet, mining a precious resource called Nyxia, the real goal for Babel.

Emmett Atwater was plucked from Detroit. Poor, dying mother with shit insurance, and a father working himself to the bone trying to make ends meet while raising a son and being the support of an ailing wife. When Emmett is offered a chance to make all right for his family, he doesn’t hesitate. All his other competitors are enemies, standing in the way of his goal. Until, a couple sneak behind his wall and make themselves friends instead of only competition.

Almost all of the kids know that Babel Corporation is much more sinister than their outward appearances, but with that kind of money and healthcare for family on the line, you can over look a lot.

This was a fair start to a YA science fiction trilogy. I think the part that will interest me the most will come in book two. Although, I’m not running off to pick up the next book. Time will tell if I continue the series.

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Top 5 Oldest Books on My TBR List

I joined Goodreads just as a way to keep track of the books I already knew I wanted to read because I kept losing my list. Of course, the side effect was that my TBR blossomed from a meager 10-15 books to it’s now current state of 265. Periodically, I’ll go through the list and cut anything I decide that I’ll probably never read. So, I thought I would share the ones that have survived the cuts. (Although, I haven’t done one in awhile so that may change.) Two of them I’ve owned for years and just haven’t read yet.

“The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beaten the common cold. But in doing so we created something new, something terrible that no one could stop.

The infection spread, virus blocks taking over bodies and minds with one, unstoppable command: FEED. Now, twenty years after the Rising, bloggers Georgia and Shaun Mason are on the trail of the biggest story of their lives—the dark conspiracy behind the infected. 

The truth will get out, even if it kills them”.

” Katie is driving to work one beautiful day when a dead man jumps into her car and tries to eat her.  That same morning, Jenni opens a bedroom door to find her husband devouring their toddler son. 

Fate puts Jenni and Katie—total strangers—together in a pickup, fleeing the suddenly zombie-filled streets of the Texas city in which they live. Before the sun has set, they have become more than just friends and allies—they are bonded as tightly as any two people who have been to war together. 

During their cross-Texas odyssey to find and rescue Jenni’s oldest son, Jenni discovers the joy of watching a zombie’s head explode when she shoots its brains out. Katie learns that she’s a terrific tactician—and a pretty good shot. 

A chance encounter puts them on the road to an isolated, fortified town, besieged by zombies, where fewer than one hundred people cling to the shreds of civilization. 

It looks like the end of the world. But Katie and Jenni and many others will do whatever they have to to stay alive. Run, fight, pick each other up when they stumble, fall in love…anything is possible at the end of the world. “

” It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.

By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down. “

“Andrew Ranulf Blankenship is a handsome, stylish nonconformist with wry wit, a classic Mustang, and a massive library. He is also a recovering alcoholic and a practicing warlock, able to speak with the dead through film. His house is a maze of sorcerous booby traps and escape tunnels, as yours might be if you were sitting on a treasury of Russian magic stolen from the Soviet Union thirty years ago. Andrew has long known that magic was a brutal game requiring blood sacrifice and a willingness to confront death, but his many years of peace and comfort have left him soft, more concerned with maintaining false youth than with seeing to his own defense. Now a monster straight from the pages of Russian folklore is coming for him, and frost and death are coming with her.”

” Meet Jake. A bit on the elderly side (he turns 201 in March), but otherwise in the pink of health. The nonstop sex and exercise he’s still getting probably contribute to that, as does his diet: unusual amounts of flesh and blood (at least some from friends and relatives). Jake, of course, is a werewolf, and with the death of his colleague he has now become the only one of his kind. This depresses Jake to the point that he’s been contemplating suicide. Yet there are powerful forces who for very different reasons want – and have the power – to keep Jake alive. “

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

The Black Lung Captain (Tales of the Ketty Jay #2) – Book Review

Published Date: July 29, 2010

Publishing Co.: Gollancz

Pages: 442

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

I wish I could say that it took so long for me to read this book because life got in the way. Once, I did leave it at work over the weekend but honestly, I felt pretty unimpressed most of the way through.

The biggest problem? Captain Darian Frey. It took me almost ALL of the first book before I even began to like Frey, and then in this one, he just blew it all to shit. He is by far my least favorite character, which was unfortunate for me because he had the most point of view chapters. Why do I not like the down on his luck, rag tag captain? Well, long story short, he’s a misogynistic asshole.

Now, I’m sure you’re thinking; “Cupcakes, this is supposed to be light-hearted fun! I think you’re reading WAY too into this.” And you know, you are probably right. But here’s the thing, I am SO fucking over male protagonists that are womanizers and use women to get off, characterizing them as basically useless otherwise. It’s especially offensive with a loser captain such as Frey. Sure he’s good looking but he’s pretty bottom of the food chain when it comes to males. Yet he has deep thoughts such as;

There weren’t many women Frey respected, but Jez was one of them.”

Of course, he must go on to explain that this is largely because he barely thinks of Jez as a woman. He’s not sexually attracted to her therefore, she’s worthy of his respect.

Do not even get me started on his fucked relationship with Trinica. You know, the woman he knocked up and left at the alter, which led to her killing their unborn child and ultimately ending up as a concubine until she became the pirate queen. Yet, he thinks she should go back to being the way she was before he and the world broke her, so HE can be happy.

Other than all THAT shit, I enjoyed it. The world building is always cool and the rest of the crew are much better characters that I would love to read about until the cows come home. However, if I had to read another book mostly from Frey’s point of view and he doesn’t grow as a character, I might just chuck the book at the wall and quit the series.

Silence Fallen (Mercy Thompson #10) – Book Review

Published Date: March 7, 2017

Publishing Co.: Ace Books

Pages: 371

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Several things happen at my house when I have a Mercy Thompson novel to read; dogs are taken out to do their business, the husband is shunned to the basement for video games, I shower and get into pajamas. Then it’s time to read undisturbed for as long as possible. Either it’s read in one sitting or two, this time it was two because I read until I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer.

We enter on a fun pack video game night, Mercy’s game character has died so it’s time to bake some cookies. But alas, some of the most important ingredients are missing so she has to run up to the store. That’s when she’s abruptly kidnapped and carted off half way across the world by one of the world’s most dangerous players. Her bond to the pack has been cut off and she’s one her own with no one to back her up. She has no money and doesn’t speak the languages she hears.

The kidnapper is not being honest about why he took her and she’s been taught by Charles to escape at the first chance you have, so she uses her coyote wiles and does just that. She’s racing across Europe evading capture and searching for allies while Adam and friends race to meet this mysterious man and negotiate her release, not knowing that she’s already escaped his clutches.

Adam is barely keeping his wolf under control while he attempts to play nice with the monster that took his wife. Luckily, he’s brought along people that can help him be diplomatic when it’s the last thing on his mind. It’s going to take three werewolves, two vampires, and two goblins for cooler heads to prevail and rescue their favorite troublesome coyote.

In this case, besides the usual things I love about the series, I very much enjoyed the historical research and mythology of the Czech Republic. It’s not a history I’m familiar with so I really liked learning something new intertwined with everything else I enjoy about this world Briggs created.

Chasing Graves (Chasing Graves #1) – Book Review

Published Date: December 7, 2018

Publishing Co.: Bengalley.com (self-published)

Pages: 301

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

You call me Krass as an insult and yet you forget what that means to me. Our mothers don’t push when we’re ready to meet the world. We have to claw our way out, so we’re born fighting.”

There is supposed to be peace in death. Not in the city of Araxes. Your death is only beginning when you die here. Souls are bound and forced into indenturement, the pretty word for slavery. Living in such a city is cut throat, you either rise to power or die and make someone else more powerful, because in this city, the more shades you own, the more powerful you become. Thus, murder is a rampant way of life. There is money to be made in the selling of ghosts and there are rules about such things, but the whole city pretty much just flips a big middle finger to that.

Caltro Basalt arrives to the city in hopes of a lucrative lock picking job and is promptly murdered just minutes after stepping off the boat. However, Caltro won’t go quietly into servitude. He’ll bide his time and plot his freedom and revenge.

Nilith travels the desert, dragging her husband’s corpse to the city in order to bind him. Not out of love. His ghosts dogs her footsteps, bitching every step of the way.

Sisine is the Emperor’s daughter. The emperor has sealed himself away in the room he calls The Sanctuary as he doesn’t trust anyone not to kill him. Which is a valid worry as Sisine is desperately seeking more power and the seat he sits on.

I choose this book randomly while in a funk. I strayed from my TBR list and browsed ebooks, finally settling on this. I hadn’t heard much about it, there are pretty of glowing reviews, and I just wanted something I wasn’t expecting much from. I loved the concept and enjoyed my reading while never really falling in love with it. The ending isn’t exactly a cliffhanger so there are plenty of unanswered questions and much more to the story. Maybe one day I’ll pick up the next book and find out but currently, I’m not rushing to get it. I still think it’s a promising series.

The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of a Donner Party Bride – Book Review

Published Date: April 28, 2009

Publishing Co.: William Morrow

Pages: 352

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A saga that has fascinated people since the late-1840s.

Author Daniel James Brown does a fantastic job of weaving the tale of the doomed emigrant party that we’ve all heard of at some point in our lives. The tale of a group of early Americans, who with big dreams, traveled the wrong path to glorious California and became stuck in the Sierra Nevada mountains as winter hit. Eventually, almost all of them, would have to eat their fallen friends in order to survive.

Brown not only brings light to the every day trials they faced before becoming entangled in Mother Nature’s snare but also highlights the science behind the way people behave in horrific situations, and how the human body handles things like starvation and hypothermia. He paints a brilliant picture of life during this time period before tragedy struck and how the survivors tried to rebuild their lives after.

This has been so thoroughly researched that you’re bound to hear some new tidbits to an old story. The narrative doesn’t shy away from difficult subjects. For instance, one mother boiled ox hide until it became a gelatinous goo to feed her children. Not much for flavor but apparently nutritious. Some members of the camp would boil and re-boil ox bones until they were soft and chewy.

While it is a bleak tale, it is also one of the stubbornness of the human spirit and the adamant will to live.

But, I also wonder why they didn’t start eating the flesh of dead people sooner. I can only imagine the mind set one must get to before they can actually consume human flesh, but there were a few bodies that weren’t touched at all in the beginning even though they had already run out of meat. It feels as though perhaps, a few more people could have survived if they had come to terms with their impending cannibalism sooner.

Just some food for thought.

Get it?

I’ll show myself out.

Sunshine Blogger Award from Extra Life

I was nominated for this award by Extra Life and what good timing! I recently thought to myself that I really suck at doing and keeping up on tags and that I would change that this year. I’ve also decided not to be lazy and actually tag people to do them so watch out motha fuckas! I’m about to annoy your pants off. I’m married to a gamer but I do not consider myself a gamer, so this should prove difficult.

In which cases would you deem the manga superior to the anime on which it’s based?

Oooo, I cannot answer this one as I don’t recall ever sitting down and reading a single manga. I’m very picky about anime as well but I have watched and enjoyed; Inuyasha, Desert Punk and Fullmetal Alchemist.

What game do you feel has the best soundtrack?

Final Fantasy VII

If you could revive a dead video game series, which one would you choose?

Fuck if I know….every game I can think of that I enjoy they’ve either remastered or have continued making games.

What game/film/album/book did you have a particularly difficult time adding to your collection?

Quite a few of the true crime books I recently added to my TBR list seem to be no longer in production. Some don’t even have ebooks available. Now I can’t think of the name of them. I’m really good at tags.

Do you prefer to see a film at home or in the theater?

I haaaate it when people talk during a movie, so my preference is at home where it’s acceptable to tell someone to shut the fuck up if they’re talking.

In what cases do you find yourself siding with critics over fans about a work’s quality?

The first thing that comes to mind is 50 Shades of Gray. I actually have no idea what the critics said about the books or the films but I hate the fandom surrounding it.

In what cases did you find yourself siding with fans over critics about a work’s quality?

Eh, you’re killing me with these questions. I really never pay attention to critics and I only listen to other people I know and respect about their opinions.

Which game series have you been following for the longest amount of time?

World of Warcraft. I played for about 7 years and I still keep up about the going ons every once in awhile but it’s been about 3 years since I played the game at all.

In what ways do you feel that video game critics are ahead of their film-loving counterparts?

In the film, everything is diluted down to fit a small time slot, where as books and games delve much deeper into the worlds. SO I would be willing to argue that video game critics are much more knowledgeable (and therefore more trustworthy) than film critics.

How does hype factor into how you ultimately feel about a work?

Too much hype tends to leave me feeling disappointed. I find when I go into something with zero expectations, my experience is much more authentic and therefore, more enjoyable.

My questions:

1. If you could eat only one food dish for the rest of your life, what would it be?

2. Someone purposefully damages a book/game in front of you, how do you react?

3. What is your spirit animal?

4. If you could force your arch nemesis to only play one video game for the rest of their life, what would it be?

5. What is your favorite piece of clothing?

6. Zap! You’ve just been teleported to your favorite fantasy realm, what is it?

7. If you had to die by shark, bear or lion, what would it be?

8. What book/game series would you drop ANY amount of money on?

9. If you could have any tattoo, from the best artist, without worrying about cost, what would it be?

10. How did I do with these questions?

My nominees:  (I have zero expectations for anyone else to follow through just because I decided to start actually tagging people.)

Ignited Moth

Imperial Rebel Ork

Books, Bones & Buffy

Bookstooge’s Reviews on the Road

Paper & Pixels

Musings of a Grouch

ReadRantRock&Roll

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Book Review

Published Date: July 31, 2016

Publishing Co.: Little Brown

Pages: 343

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

A Friday night well spent. (Yeah, I party hard. Who’s asking?)

Nineteen years after the ending of the original Harry Potter series, we’re thrust back in with our favorite characters, all still friends, all struggling at being parents. A new, or perhaps not so new, darkness is rising and this time, the new kids on the block are the ones fighting it. (Dating myself with that reference.)

I’ve never read a play before that wasn’t Shakespeare. (I’m cultured now.) For most of the story, I forgot that I was reading a play and not one of my favored books. Despite lacking the usual detail of a novel, I was thoroughly enjoying myself. I liked seeing Ron, Hermione, Harry and Ginny as parents and seeing how their children turned out. I have to say that I’m more than a bit disappointed in Rose Granger-Weasley, bit of a twat that one.

A quick and easy dose of the Potter-verse.

Uncanny Collateral (Valkyrie Collections #1) – Book Review

Publishing Date: April 2, 2019

Publishing Co.: Self published (I believe)

Pages: 151

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 4 out 5 stars

I received this ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Uncanny Collateral is a solid edition to a promising new Urban fantasy series that skips out on all the mundane details to bring you fast-paced action and entertaining characters.

I have already been seeing a lot of comparisons of this with the Dresden Files and I think that happens almost by default just because it’s urban fantasy and the main character is male instead of female. There may be some very small similarities but the glaring one is that this one contains a lead that is lacking that highly annoying ‘white knight syndrome’ that plagues the other series. That alone makes this story feel like a giant sigh of relief.

When someone sells their soul, a bargain is struck. Fame for your soul. Money for your soul. Love for your soul. Whatever the bargain, eventually you have to pay your part of the deal. Sometimes people try to weasel their way out of the deal and that’s where Alek comes in. He’s a reaper. He collects souls. He’s half troll, half human and a slave to a collection agency that bought him at birth. His only friend is the djinn trapped in the ring on his finger and his current case has Death himself as his client. Someone is stealing souls from Death, an imp war is brewing and somehow Alek finds himself in the middle of both.

I was pleasantly surprised by just how into this I was right from the beginning. Alek is an engaging character, in a well-built urban fantasy world that is action packed with an original story line. I could have easily sat and read this all in one sitting if it wasn’t for things like work and sleep getting in the way.

Bloody Rose (The Band #2) – Book Review

Published Date: August 28, 2018

Publishing Co.: Orbit

Pages: 515

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

https://cupcakesandmachetes.wordpress.com/2017/06/22/kings-of-the-wyld-book-review/

Owlbears, centaurs and satyrs, oh my!

Keeping the World of Warcraft theme from the first review going here.

Brune = shaman

Cura = warlock

Freecloud = paladin

Rose = warrior

Tam = hunter (minus the pet. Pretty much just the bow thing.)

What can I say but that I bloody love Bloody fucking Rose. Her and all the characters surrounding her. Tam Hashford was an excellent main character and I’m a sucker for a story from the bard’s point of view.

Newly appointed bard, Tam Hashford has barely ever left the town she was born in to her ex-mercenary parents. They were legends once but now Tam’s father refuses to let her do anything dangerous after her mother’s death, or anything much at all besides work. He doesn’t really even want to her to work at the tavern, but she makes good money so he grumbles to himself about it. What he doesn’t know is that the tavern and all the characters in it, her coworkers and all the mercenaries traveling through, are only inspiring her to go on her own grand adventure. With the unwanted help of her drunk, mercenary uncle, she unexpectedly becomes the new bard for the legendary band Fable.

There is another Horde forming, threatening to take out humanity and every band is heading in that direction to fight. Except Fable. They’ve got a contract somewhere else and a tour to finish and everyone is pissed that Bloody Rose isn’t going to fight for the good cause. Tam’s the new kid so she’s pretty much just along for the ride, there to witness anything legendary they might do and sing to the world about it later.

But sitting on the sidelines isn’t really Tam’s style. Sure, she’s happy to follow in her bard mother’s footsteps, but she’s half mercenary too. Where there is adventure, there are risks and risks lead to epic stories. This is Tam’s.

Eames impressed me with his first set of characters in KotW. I loved them all and they’ll never leave me, but the same goes with this new set. He’s just that good at creating characters. He’s good at everything really. Creature creations, descriptions, world building, epic writing, goofy references. The icing on the cake, appearances by some familiar faces.

Where’s book three?