Tag Archives: reading

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.

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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.

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?

5 Non-fiction Books on My TBR List

Fantasy and sci-fi are my bread and butter of reading BUT I do enjoy a good non-fiction book now and again. Quite frankly, I’m very picky about them so I thought I’d share some that have made my TBR list. I haven’t read any of them yet so don’t come yelling at me if you don’t end up liking them. 😉

Journalist Rachel Nuwer plunges the reader into the underground of global wildlife trafficking, a topic she has been investigating for nearly a decade. Our insatiable demand for animals–for jewelry, pets, medicine, meat, trophies, and fur–is driving a worldwide poaching epidemic, threatening the continued existence of countless species. Illegal wildlife trade now ranks among the largest contraband industries in the world, yet compared to drug, arms, or human trafficking, the wildlife crisis has received scant attention and support, leaving it up to passionate individuals fighting on the ground to try to ensure that elephants, tigers, rhinos, and more are still around for future generations.

Nadia Murad was born and raised in Kocho, a small village of farmers and shepherds in northern Iraq. A member of the Yazidi community, she and her brothers and sisters lived a quiet life. Nadia had dreams of becoming a history teacher or opening her own beauty salon.

On August 15th, 2014, when Nadia was just twenty-one years old, this life ended. Islamic State militants massacred the people of her village, executing men who refused to convert to Islam and women too old to become sex slaves. Six of Nadia’s brothers were killed, and her mother soon after, their bodies swept into mass graves. Nadia was taken to Mosul and forced, along with thousands of other Yazidi girls, into the ISIS slave trade.

Nadia would be held captive by several militants and repeatedly raped and beaten. Finally, she managed a narrow escape through the streets of Mosul, finding shelter in the home of a Sunni Muslim family whose eldest son risked his life to smuggle her to safety.

Today, Nadia’s story–as a witness to the Islamic State’s brutality, a survivor of rape, a refugee, a Yazidi–has forced the world to pay attention to the ongoing genocide in Iraq. It is a call to action, a testament to the human will to survive, and a love letter to a lost country, a fragile community, and a family torn apart by war.

Dear Mr. Manson…

It started with a college course assignment, then escalated into a dangerous obsession. Eighteen-year-old honor student Jason Moss wrote to men whose body counts had made criminal history: men named Dahmer, Manson, Ramirez, and Gacy.

Dear Mr. Dahmer…

Posing as their ideal victim, Jason seduced them with his words. One by one they wrote him back, showering him with their madness and violent fantasies. Then the game spun out of control. John Wayne Gacy revealed all to Jason — and invited his pen pal to visit him in prison…

Dear Mr. Gacy…
It was an offer Jason couldn’t turn down. Even if it made him…

The book that has riveted the attention of the national media, this may be the most revealing look at serial killers ever recorded and the most illuminating study of the dark places of the human mind ever attempted

In this sweeping, eloquent history of America, Kurt Andersen shows that what’s happening in our country today—this post-factual, “fake news” moment we’re all living through—is not something new, but rather the ultimate expression of our national character. America was founded by wishful dreamers, magical thinkers, and true believers, by hucksters and their suckers. Fantasy is deeply embedded in our DNA.

Over the course of five centuries—from the Salem witch trials to Scientology to the Satanic Panic of the 1980s, from P. T. Barnum to Hollywood and the anything-goes, wild-and-crazy sixties, from conspiracy theories to our fetish for guns and obsession with extraterrestrials—our love of the fantastichas made America exceptional in a way that we’ve never fully acknowledged. From the start, our ultra-individualism was attached to epic dreams and epic fantasies—every citizen was free to believe absolutely anything, or to pretend to be absolutely anybody. With the gleeful erudition and tell-it-like-it-is ferocity of a Christopher Hitchens, Andersen explores whether the great American experiment in liberty has gone off the rails.

From Waco to Heaven’s Gate, the past decade has seen its share of cult tragedies. But none has been quite so dramatic or compelling as the Jonestown massacre of 1978, in which the Reverend Jim Jones and 913 of his disciples perished. Deborah Layton had been a member of the Peoples Temple for seven years when she departed for Jonestown, Guyana, the promised land nestled deep in the South American jungle. When she arrived, however, Layton saw that something was seriously wrong. Jones constantly spoke of a revolutionary mass suicide, and Layton knew only too well that he had enough control over the minds of the Jonestown residents to carry it out. But her pleas for help–and her sworn affidavit to the U.S. government–fell on skeptical ears. In this very personal account, Layton opens up the shadowy world of cults and shows how anyone can fall under their spell. Seductive Poison is both an unflinching historical document and a riveting story of intrigue, power, and murder.

If you could only recommend ONE non-fiction book, what would it be??

Polar Vortex 2.0

Just ten short days ago, I was complaining about the -9 weather we were having here in Michigan. Today it’s -10 with a windchill making it feel more like -40. The Governor has declared a state of emergency, the county has shut down and even the US Postal Service has said, Fuck this. For some crazy reason my boss decided that the pharmacy should stay open, but a few of us got the day off because there is no way that many people are coming in. If they do, they’re bat shit crazy.

In this house, we’re curled up in the blankets on the couch, reading, snuggling and playing video games. (I beat Pokemon Let’s Go!) The husband monster is fully absorbed in Kingdom Hearts 3. Time to fill up on coffee and chai lattes to fuel lazy winter day activities.

Also, it’s Ignited Moth’s birthday today so make sure to pop on over to her blog and wish her a Happy Birthday. She really is the bestest friend a girl could ask for.

Samus says, “Get back in the blankets!”

The Girl in the Tower (Winternight #2) – Book Review

https://cupcakesandmachetes.wordpress.com/2017/12/02/the-bear-and-the-nightingale-book-review/

Published Date: December 5, 2017

Publishing Co.: Del Rey

Pages: 363

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

When the first decent snow hit, it was time to pick this up. Something about reading it while it snows just adds another level of whimsy to the tale.

After the events of the first book, Vasya has decided to travel the world on Solovey. The Winter King doesn’t think this is a good idea as bad things happen to maidens who travel the big, scary world alone. But, Vasya won’t be deterred. There is nothing left in her village for her after the rumors spread that she is a witch. So she dons men’s clothing, packs up Solovey who doesn’t approve of saddles and turns her eye to the great, wide world.

Someone out there is burning villages and stealing away the girl-children, people cower in fear and the noblemen can find no trace of the bandits. Vasya and Solovey stumble across the bandit camp while running from some pursuers who tried to catch Vasya, with three girls still in their custody. They hatch a rescue plan and steal the girls back but they’re almost caught by the leader. They run until they reach sanctuary where unbeknownst to Vasya, her brother Sasha is hunting the bandits with the Grand Prince of Moscow.

With new allies at her back and her brother keeping her gender a secret, they track down the bandit camp and take their revenge. Blood spilled together cements relationships and Vasya is invited back to Moscow with the prince and his men. Here, the tale becomes more treacherous, Vasya has the prince’s ear but there are many men jealous of this and hiding her deceit becomes more difficult everyday. Her sister, now a princess, plans to marry her off as soon as people forget about her ‘handsome younger brother.’ Tied down in marriage, popping out babies has never been in the cards for Vasya but very soon, the choice may be taken away from her.

Better than the first, Vasya is becoming a headstrong woman, more confident in herself everyday. Who doesn’t enjoy a good story of a maiden disguised as a man, exploring a world they never thought they would see and out cunning criminals along the way with the help of old, forgotten gods?

The Book of the Unnamed Midwife – Book Review

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Published Date: October 11, 2016

Publishing Co.: 47North

Pages: 300

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

How do you take a dark, post apocalyptic world and manage to make it boring for ¾ of the book? Well, you write paragraphs upon paragraphs about scavenging houses and simply existing for long periods of time. I get that this helps create an atmosphere of loneliness and creeping madness, but if we’re going that route you have to at least give me a mildly entertaining main character to follow and our frequently name changing midwife is not that character.

A plague wipes out a majority of humanity, the most affected were women and children. Women are a rare commodity so of course, when captured by the remaining men, are used as sex slaves. If they survive all that, they most likely will die in child birth and the infants die 100% of the time. Our lone ranger nurse, not only tries to survive, but tries to spread birth control to any women she encounters. These are her two goals while wandering around aimlessly.

The premise itself has merit but the execution was just underwhelming. I skipped large swaths of the text, mainly anything that didn’t have dialogue. Anything else was just talk of scavenging or diary entries that were somehow just as boring. If you manage to hang in there, the last ¼ of the book is rather good when a larger group of people are entered into the plot. Their various stories of survival and the years after brought some flavor back to the world.

You could very easily read this as a stand alone novel or if you’re masochistic, you could carry on with the series.