Tag Archives: fantasy

Sandman Slim (Sandman Slim #1) – Book Review

Published Date: July 21, 2009

Publishing Co.: Harper Voyager

Pages: 388

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Dragged to Hell by demons at the behest of his supposed friends, Stark has spent 11 years battling in the arenas in Hell. Instead of facing lions and bears, he faced demons and other hell beasts. He was traded from one of Lucifer’s generals to another and was just generally treated as Hell’s bitch. Now, he has snuck his way out of the pit and is more than ready to seek vengeance for both his false imprisonment and the murder of his beloved girlfriend.

The world has changed a lot in eleven years. Not only must he adapt quickly, he has to launch a game plan to get his vengeance before everyone knows he’s back. Some groups have already been tipped off to his presence and are hindering his quest. He’s a one track man though and he’ll have his vengeance, opponents be damned.

This was a fun, although not very profound, read. Stark is stubborn, yet not unfeeling despite all the torture he’s been through. He’s amiable in the face of a world against him. Literally both Heaven and Hell do their best to get in his way, but he’s picked up so many tricks in his short, violent life, that even they cannot quite catch up with him.

So if you’re looking for a good, fun vengeance story that features a hit man that escaped Hell, look no further.

High Voltage (Fever #10) – Book Review

Published Date: March 6, 2018

Publishing Co.: Delacorte Press

Pages: 476

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

This might as well have been titled: Dani: The Most Unique, Misunderstood, Better Than Everyone Else, Heroine.

Man, does this girl love talking about herself and how different she is from everyone else on the planet. I don’t care if it’s true, I don’t need to read about it relentlessly. I fully admit that the Dani books are always the hardest for me to slog through. I thought it might be a bit better because she’s an adult now but unfortunately, her mind is still very much a teenager.

I’m not even going to explain the plot, it barely moved. There was a bad guy, they take care of it all too quickly because Dani is oh so mighty and then they move on to more character “development” for Dani.

I could care less about Kat’s point of view, though I know it’s required for the minimum amount of plot movement that happens.

After all of this complaining, why I am still reading this series?

1. I have a lot of time invested in it.

2. I love a lot of the side characters.

3. The world building is great.

4. The plot line is still interesting even though it stalls in this volume.

5. It looks like Mac is back as main POV in the next book.

I’m actually giving this more stars than it deserved because I still did enjoy myself whenever Dani stopped talking about how awesome she is.

The Grey Bastards (The Lots Lands #1) – Book Review

Published Date: March 19, 2019

Publishing Co.: Broadway Books

Pages: 432

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Best book of 2020.

Okay, sure. I haven’t read any other books yet, but I have a strong feeling this is going to be a top contender for the whole year.

I’m not going to recap anything about this book because you just need to experience it for yourself but I will summarize it as Sons of Anarchy with hog riding half-orcs.

At first I felt bad about the comparison because I loved it so much, but there were a couple things that were almost straight from SOA. Turns out however, that’s exactly what the author meant to do. Sons of Anarchy meets Tolkien.

If you’re one of those people who are easily offended, I recommend avoiding this one like an orc plague. If you’re like me, one of those people that cusses like a sailor and is hard pressed to get offended, you’ll do just fine here.

I think one of the things I was most impressed with was the myriad of character and plot twists. I rarely guessed correctly what was going to happen next and that kept every turn of the page exciting. Every day I just wanted to come home from work and sit down with a little savagery.

In case you were not aware, this was originally a self-published book that was picked up by a publisher after it won a self-publishing contest by author Mark Lawrence. Which is just pretty cool in itself.

I want to read it again and then run out and get my filthy little quim hands on the next one.

Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles #1) – Book Review

Published Date: December 2, 2013

Publishing Co.: NYLA

Pages: 225

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Let’s flip the script and get a little weird.

Werewolves and vampires come from other planets.

Travel between planets is relatively easy. Therefore, aliens, werewolves, vampires, and all manner of creatures and humanoids can show up at anytime, anywhere, on any planet.

Dina Demille is an innkeeper on Earth. Inns are neutral territories. Innkeepers do their best to remain neutral so long as it doesn’t threaten their clientele. People come to them for sanctuary and protection.

Dina’s inn was once abandoned and almost decayed beyond repair. She’s been nurturing it back to health for awhile now but with only one resident, the process is slow going. With limited money coming in, she can’t provide it with all the materials it needs to rebuild itself. (The inns themselves are considered sentient by some. They have a symbiotic relationship with their keepers.) So, when trouble comes in the form of creatures killing neighborhood dogs, the local werewolf giving her attitude and warrior vampires showing up, demanding to be let in, Dina must decide whether to get involved. If she doesn’t, her inn may never earn a higher rating from the Council, which means more business, or she does and ruins the reputation herself. A bit of a catch 22. Piss off a faction of beings who can report her or have the secrecy of her inn exposed before she can make something substantial of the inn?

I enjoyed the hell out of this. It’s short, yet full of world building and action packed. I liked Dina and her little dog creature, Beast. I loved the concepts of the inns and the healthy helping of science fiction thrown in with magic. There is a possible love triangle beginning but even that cannot deter my enjoyment.

I’m super pumped to see where this series goes.

Besieged (Iron Druid Chronicles #8.5) – Book Review

Published Date: July 11, 2017

Publishing Co.: Del Rey

Pages: 235

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Required reading before Scourged.

I’m always skeptical when something says it’s required reading before moving on with a series. (Also, it tends to annoy me. I don’t like when novellas become ‘required’.) In this case, it’s true. There are some relationship shake ups that you’ll have no clue about if you skip this.

Enough complaining about forced reading. (I know, I’m SO tortured. How dare someone force me to read.) This is a rather fun collection of short stories regardless. They are told from different perspectives. There is a story from Granuille and a couple from Owen, along with our MC Atticus.

Despite my bitching, I love when the short stories are about Atticus during times of historical significance and how he affected them. I think if I had to pick a favorite for this collection, it would be how he met Shakespeare and saved his life, Goddess at the Crossroads.

Underrated Ladies! Tag

I’m in one of those pissed at the world moods in which getting anything productive accomplished is a struggle. But somehow, it makes it the best time to catch up on at least one tag that a lovely blogger was kind enough to tag me in. I could use a little feminine appreciation to brighten my day so here we go ladies and gents:

The very awesome blog Livid Lightning is getting my ping back since she introduced me to this tag. 😀

Rules (I will try to follow, but no one’s the boss of me on my blog)

  • PingBack to Kate at Melting Pots and Other Calamities and pingback to a post of hers (I guess she’s the creator of this tag thingy? Good for her!)
  • Answer the questions (That’s the point of these tags thingys, no? See below!)
  • Choose female characters from books, movies, TV, anime, webtoons, etc. (I’ll try my best)
  • Tag as many people (We’ll see…)
  • Have fun! (No doubt)

Questions:

Name a heroine you like but whom you feel is always overshadowed by the male characters in the story.

Ka-Poel from the Powder Mage trilogy. She’s from a tribe and is essentially Taniel’s personal spotter and later servant but she’s so much more than that. She’s a force of her own with her own magic and tricks up her sleeve. She’s clever and feisty and never lets Taniel down.

For that matter, name a heroine whom you feel is always overshadowed by the other female characters in the story.

Peryn’s little monster sister. That’s right, she’s over shadowed enough that I don’t remember her name. But she’s a great character, she gets some show time but I would have liked to see her even more throughout the series.

Name a character who had potential but was greatly underutilized in her story.

Constance Stapleton comes more into focus in this installment of the Golgotha series, however, I still think she’s being underutilized though it appears that may change in the future.

Name a female character who you either find better in her book than her movie, find better in her movie than her book, or whose portrayals you find equal.

Offred (June) from The Handmaid’s Tale is SO much better in the TV series than the book. In the book, she’s actually rather bland and kind of hard to read from her point of view. In the show, her rebellion, her determination and her overall character keep me coming back again and again.

Name a character who you want more backstory on.

Adelia Reyes, the femme fatale assassin. I just want more of this whole universe in general!

Name a character with traits you feel are sadly overlooked by everyone.

Arya Stark is the very first that comes to mind. Although, it’s usually her enemies that overlook her traits and they pay the ultimate price. But,I feel her own siblings overlook her quite often as well.

Name a morally grey character. (Villain or anti hero!)

The Morrigan from the Iron Druid Chronicles. She does some pretty shitty things but a lot of the time she also tips off Atticus to danger. Sometimes, she’s the danger.

A character you’re stunned isn’t more famous.

Stealing this answer from Lightning. Hail is such a bad ass heroine, but somehow I don’t know that many people who have read this series. It’s a high recommend from me if you enjoy space operas.

A character from a piece of fiction you’re amazed isn’t more famous.

Temple grew up during the time of zombies. She’s been on her own for most of it. This is a great story of a teenager surviving the zombie apocalypse on her own, fighting both the dead and the living.

Fantastic Female Bloggers

I’m going to try to tag people Lightning didn’t already tag so we can spread this fun out a bit more, but don’t feel obligated to participate by any means. This is meant to be fun!

Kristin Kraves Books

Books, Bones & Buffy

By Hook Or By Book

Meltotheany

ReadRantRock&Roll

Slave to Sensation (Psy-Changeling #1) – Book Review

Published Date: September 5, 2006

Publishing Co.: Berkley Sensation

Pages: 334

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I read Singh’s first book in her Guild Hunter series years ago and really enjoyed it at the time. Rarely am I in the mood to read romance so when I found this at a used bookshop for $0.50, I thought I’d give the series a try.

There were aspects of this that I really enjoyed. The emotionless race of Psy and the network they linked their conscious to for information was a pretty fascinating premise and I could read about it for hours. I will always remain a sucker for shapeshifters so combining the two races and the hierarchy of the world they live in was another reason I should love this series. I even enjoyed the burgeoning relationship between the two main characters, and many of the side characters as well.

BUT, the gratuitous sex scenes just interrupted the more interesting parts of the story. I wouldn’t have minded that in and of itself but I didn’t particularly like the sex. I think a lot of it had to due with the naivety of the female MC. I guess I like a female that knows what she wants and has no problem demanding it of a man.

Unfortunately, after taking a peak at the summary of the next book, this is one of those series that each book focuses on a new couple and that just isn’t something I dig. Once I get committed to characters, I like to stick with them. If the series continued with the characters we were introduced to in this series, I would at least give the second book a shot, but since it doesn’t, I don’t think I’ll be continuing.

The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy #1) – Book Review

Published Date: November 14, 2017

Publishing Co.: Harper Voyager

Pages: 533

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Distinct and enchanting.

Ozzy approved.

As with many epic fantasies that I end up binge reading, I wish I had slowed down for a minute and wrote down a quote so that you may sample the lyrical wine. But, I have no djinn to grant my wish.

Turns out that’s a double edged sword anyway. You get all your wishes but you’ll likely be murdered in the end. Djinn slaves are not to be trifled with.

Nahri is a pick pocket from the streets of Cairo during the French occupation. She swindles to survive, using her unusual healing abilities to help birth children and run cons against the wealthy. She speaks a language she’s never heard another human speak before and learns languages as easily as riding a camel. She smiles at everyone she plans to rob. That’s sweet really. If you’re going to take something someone has, at least do it with a smile on your face so the mark feels good for a minute.

While hosting a fake ritual to heal a mentally broken girl, Nahri accidentally summons a djinn warrior and an ifrit, with a host of ghouls they summon to hunt her down. Not exactly the scam ending she had been hoping for. The surprised-to-be-summoned warrior saves her and they run from Cairo.

What follows is a countries crossed trek through the desert via flying carpet and stolen horses, battles with mythical creatures and the arrival to a secret city inhabited by beings Nahri has never heard of before but apparently, shares as least some small amount of blood with. She’s the last blood of a tribe that was massacred and the people are desperate for both what she represents and her healing abilities. It’s a city of wealth unlike anything Nahri has every seen and a life there is almost unimaginable, until the king offers her virtually everything she could ever want.

Nahri recognizes another con man when she sees one. She decides to take the offer and believes she can hold her own against him but she’s not well versed in politics and it’s games. The youngest prince appears to hate her, the princess tries to humiliate her and the king expects her to fail. She tries to learn to navigate this new world with the help of people from her tribe and her personal warrior, but everyone has their own agendas for her life and Nahri is too independent to be lead by the nose.

Everyone is running their own scheme in Daevabad, and every scheme is interrupted or spun into a new scheme is this politically unstable city filled with various tribes of magical people who cannot seem to get along for long.

Will Nahri survive the city or will she become the victim of a long con?

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.

Top 5 Weird Westerns

Ever since I was little, I’ve enjoyed westerns. A large part of that is probably because I adore horses and the other part was watching movies with adults that liked westerns. I’ve seen a decent amount of John Wayne and Clint Eastwood movies, and so many others I couldn’t possibly name. Take that western love and add it to my love of fantasy and weird westerns are clearly going to be winners in my book. Here I showcase my love for five:

  1. The Six-Gun Tarot by R.S. Belcher. (To be fair, this book makes it on a LOT of my lists.)

“Nevada, 1869: Beyond the pitiless 40-Mile Desert lies Golgotha, a cattle town that hides more than its share of unnatural secrets. The sheriff bears the mark of the noose around his neck; some say he is a dead man whose time has not yet come. His half-human deputy is kin to coyotes. The mayor guards a hoard of mythical treasures. A banker’s wife belongs to a secret order of assassins. And a shady saloon owner, whose fingers are in everyone’s business, may know more about the town’s true origins than he’s letting on.

A haven for the blessed and the damned, Golgotha has known many strange events, but nothing like the primordial darkness stirring in the abandoned silver mine overlooking the town. Bleeding midnight, an ancient evil is spilling into the world, and unless the sheriff and his posse can saddle up in time, Golgotha will have seen its last dawn…and so will all of Creation. “

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

2. Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

Gold is in my blood, in my breath, even in the flecks in my eyes.

Lee Westfall has a strong, loving family. She has a home she loves and a loyal steed. She has a best friend—who might want to be something more.

She also has a secret.

Lee can sense gold in the world around her. Veins deep in the earth. Small nuggets in a stream. Even gold dust caught underneath a fingernail. She has kept her family safe and able to buy provisions, even through the harshest winters. But what would someone do to control a girl with that kind of power? A person might murder for it.

When everything Lee holds dear is ripped away, she flees west to California—where gold has just been discovered. Perhaps this will be the one place a magical girl can be herself. If she survives the journey.

The acclaimed Rae Carson begins a sweeping new trilogy set in Gold Rush-era America, about a young woman with a powerful and dangerous gift. “

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

3. Wake of Vultures by Lila Bowen

“Nettie Lonesome lives in a land of hard people and hard ground dusted with sand. She’s a half-breed who dresses like a boy, raised by folks who don’t call her a slave but use her like one. She knows of nothing else. That is, until the day a stranger attacks her. When nothing, not even a sickle to the eye can stop him, Nettie stabs him through the heart with a chunk of wood and he turns to black sand.

And just like that, Nettie can see.

But her newfound sight is a blessing and a curse. Even if she doesn’t understand what’s under her own skin, she can sense what everyone else is hiding—at least physically. The world is full of evil, and now she knows the source of all the sand in the desert. Haunted by the spirits, Nettie has no choice but to set out on a quest that might lead her to find her true kin . . . if the monsters along the way don’t kill her first.”

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

4. American Hippo by Sarah Gailey

“Years ago, in an America that never was, the United States government introduced herds of hippos to the marshlands of Louisiana to be bred and slaughtered as an alternative meat source. This plan failed to take into account some key facts about hippos: they are savage, they are fast, and their jaws can snap a man in two.

By the 1890s, the vast bayou that was once America’s greatest waterway belongs to feral hippos, and Winslow Houndstooth has been contracted to take it back. To do so, he will gather a crew of the damnedest cons, outlaws, and assassins to ever ride a hippo. American Hippo is the story of their fortunes, their failures, and his revenge.”

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

5. Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman (Not a weird western but a good western.)

“Revenge is worth its weight in gold.

When her father is murdered for a journal revealing the location of a hidden gold mine, eighteen-year-old Kate Thompson disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers—and justice. What she finds are untrustworthy strangers, endless dust and heat, and a surprising band of allies, among them a young Apache girl and a pair of stubborn brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, a startling truth becomes clear: some men will stop at nothing to get their hands on gold, and Kate’s quest for revenge may prove fatal.”

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

As you can see, all of these are rated 5 out of 5 stars so I may be a little more in love with this genre than necessary.

Any weird westerns not on this list that you think I should check out? Leave a comment, I’m always in the market for more weird westerns!