Tag Archives: fantasy

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.

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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.

Rat Queens, Special: Orc Dave #1 – Comic Review

Published Date: September 27, 2017

Publishing Co.: Image – Shadowline

Pages: 29

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A fantastic peek into the origin of Orc Dave and the first time he meets the girls.

There is a lot explained about Dave in one short edition, but I feel like I know him much better now. Plus, you can never go wrong reading about orc shamans.

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.

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.

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.

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?

The Desert Spear (Demon Cycle #2) – Book Review

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Published Date: April 13, 2010

Publishing Co.: Del Rey

Pages: 579

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

The Warded Man – Book Review

Trigger warning.

Yeah, I’ve never done that in a review. Ever. It needs to be done though because dear God was there a lot of rape in this. In the first 275 pages, rape either happens to someone or a past rape is mentioned at least six times. About half way through the book I almost quit, despite everything else being very well written and intriguing with a kick ass magic system, because man was I tired of reading about rape.

If I pretend like I didn’t have to read about all the rape, the world building continues to be incredible in this series. In this book, we’re given a look at another character’s world at the beginning. (Granted it’s this character’s POV that provides the majority of the rape.) While a lot of readers complained about not liking Jardir’s POV and wanted to get back to their favorites, I enjoyed this side of the world. (Minus all the rape.) I had the luxury of having read the first book almost two years ago though, so I wasn’t itching to be back with the OGs. I can understand the irritation if you jump right from book one to book two. This side of the world provided an Arab-infused fantasy style that was truly different to read.

Here, both sides travel closer to war. One side believing themselves divine and uniting the tribes in order to destroy all demons together in the coming ‘holy’ war. The other side is trying to avoid war with a people who believe them all lesser because they don’t commit their lives to destroying demons. (Although thanks to Arlen, are becoming much more proficient in dealing with demons, not just hiding behind wards during the night.)

I’m invested. Despite my complaints, I need to know what ultimately happens in this world. Hopefully next time I don’t have to read through a bunch of rape to find out. Seriously, this book would have been so much stronger without all of that. Using rape as a plot device for character growth (for almost every main character) just screams amateur hour.

Magic Binds (Kate Daniels #9) – Book Review

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Published Date: September 20, 2016

Publishing Co.: Ace

Pages: 328

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Good man. Only two kinds of people drink their coffee black: cops and serial killers. Sit, sit.”

I wanted fun, adventurous and snarky to start the new year off right and as usual, a Kate Daniels novel always delivers.

The witch oracle is seeing visions of the future. A dark future that Kate is willing to do anything to stop. If she marries Curran, her father kills him. If she doesn’t marry Curran, her father kills their future son. Adding to her stress, her father is frequently poking their uneasy truce. Kidnapping people when they leave Atlanta, teaching Julie how to become a Herald and eventually a Warlord for Kate, making demands on the wedding, etc. The presence of war is a constant companion to Kate, all the while her best friend is about to give birth and Roman is constantly bugging her to pick things out for the wedding. Kate is a volcano of anxiety.

As the saying goes, desperate times call for desperate measures. Which means, doing some things that Curran won’t approve of and can’t know about because they’re so dangerous, he would definitely try to stop her. There are no lengths that Kate won’t go to to save his and their future son’s lives, and this means testing the magnitudes of her power while almost being consumed and controlled by it. She has to hang on to her humanity while fighting with every ounce of strength to stop her father.

As if that isn’t enough for one person to handle, there is also the personal truth that she wishes she didn’t have to kill her father, but when it comes down to him versus Curran, she’ll choose Curran every time. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a deep seeded sadness around the decision.

The emotional turmoil embedded with the happiness of the ones you love surrounding you and willing to come to your aid is real in this installation of the series. I can’t imagine the punch the last book in the series is going to have, while at the same time, I never want it to end.

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Best Books of 2018

Happy New Year friends and fellow book fiends! Each year I usually end up with a list of top reads only about 5 books long, 2018 brought a year of at least 10 to make the top so let’s get to it shall we?!

These are in no particular order because this girl can’t see fit to place any one of these above another:

Image result for white hot wildfire ilona andrews

If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a dozen times that Ilona Andrews is the way to go for Urban Fantasy. I was SO excited when I found out that this series would be longer than originally expected.

Image result for the crimson campaign

A sub-genre of fantasy called flintlock fantasy, which I find that I like very much. Interesting world building and compelling characters.

Image result for city of lies book

My favorite debut author of 2018. This was a side of fantasy you don’t see too often and the plot was riveting. How many times when the characters are stuck in one location do you start to become bored? Not here. It adds to the layer of desperation the characters are feeling and the political intrigue will make you forget that they never leave the city.

Image result for american hippo book

My other favorite debut author of the year. I can’t push this book enough. Imagine cowboys but they ride hippos. Also, imagine an all inclusive cast of people you don’t see a lot of in any genre.

Image result for beyond redemption book

This wins the award for DARKEST read of the year. If you’ve been hanging around this blog for awhile, you’ll know that I love dark. Not only is it darkest read of the year, it may just be darkest read YET.

Image result for the queen of swords book

Historical fiction + pirates + kick ass heroine + paranormal = damn good time.

Image result for after the crown book

My Kick Ass Sci-Fi Heroine of the Year award goes to Hail Bristol. Femme fatale queen of interplanetary war.

Image result for a natural history of dragons a memoir by lady trent

My surprise favorite of the year. I expected to like it but not as much as I did. If lady scientist fighting against sexism while studying dragons doesn’t interest you than stay the fuck away from this book.

Image result for iron gold book

Once a fan of the Red Rising universe, always a fan.

Did you read any of the books on this list? If so, what did you think? What books made your top list of the year?