Friday, July 26, 2013

85:120 Kiss of Venom by Jennifer Estep

A novella set in the Elemental Assassin world, told from Owen's POV and taking place between Deadly Sting and Heart of Venom.  Owen is out with Phillip trying to reconnect after years of fueding caused by Salina's lies.  While they are out, Owen stumbles across a pair of thugs gunning for Gin and he's determined to take them out quietly and give her a night's peace which is a rare gift for her indeed.  Can he and Phillip actually pull that off is the question.

It was nice to get a look inside Owen's head and this does make it seem like there is a future for him and Gin but OMG with the repetitive writing!!!!  This had as much repetitious drivel as her full-length novels while being 1/4 the length.  I generally like Owen's character but just wanted to slap the crap out of him with every other page being "Oh pity me, I screwed up my life so bad by listening to Salina and being her little boy toy and now all these people are dead, Eva got hurt, I didn't trust Phillip, and my relationship with Gin is in the trash".   I get that it will leave emotional scars.  I got that.  However, one of the amazing things about writing is that you don't have to sound like a broken freaking record hammering this crap into our faces.  Once or twice to make sure we get that's important to the character and then drop it!!!  What's worse is that Ms. Estep's editor continues to let this crap slide!  I like the world which is interesting and I do like Gin and Owen and the other characters but the constant repeating of the backstory in every single book drives me nuts.

Page count: 73p/21,534p ytd/165,934p lifetime

Thursday, July 25, 2013

84:120 How Green This Land, How Blue This Sea by Mira Grant

A novella set in the Newsflesh world some time after the events of Blackout.  Mahir has decided that it's time to meet his Australian team in the flesh and check out the "rabbit fence" that is now holding back the zombified wildlife of the Outback.  Kangaroos, even ones that have amplified, are protected and may not just be shot on sight which is definitely a hard thing for Mahir to grasp.  Well, that and the less frequent blood tests, front yards, and the general air of actual freedom that the Aussies seem to enjoy.  Having been raised in London this is definitely a new and disturbing thing for him.  But when he gets to the fence, he finds that there are more things to be disturbed about than their seemingly lackadaisical attitude towards spontaneous amplification.

First, do not read this if you have not read the Newsflesh trilogy already (Fee, Deadline, Blackout).  There are massive spoilers for those books in this novella.

Now my thoughts.  I was, disappointed isn't quite the right word, but underwhelmed may be.  I LOVE the Newsflesh trilogy and I really enjoyed the other novellas set in this world but this one just didn't deliver.  It's not bad but it's slow and plodding and I felt like several of the main points were overstated way too many times while actual plot was not as strong.  Also the zombie kangaroos were really talked up in the material leading up to release but were a very minor part of the actual story and did very little.  Not what I was hoping for to be honest.  The best part was the sneak peek at the end of the new novel coming out later this year.

Page count: 132p/21,461p ytd/165,861p lifetime

Saturday, July 20, 2013

83:120 The Twentieth Wife by Indu Sundaresan

Mehrunnisa loved Prince Salim from the first moment she laid eyes on him when she was 8 years old.  After that moment, her only thoughts were about how she would marry him and become his Empress some day.  Life does not always follow a young girl's dream though and many things can change between when one is 8 and 30.  Mehrunnisa, however, is brilliant and determined and will find a way to have her happily ever after.

Historical fiction is not generally a genre that I go for but the back description of "An enchanting historical epic of grand passion and adventure telling the captivating story of one of India's most controversial empresses" just grabbed my attention.  So much so that I ended up choosing it for my book club's read for this month.  I was not disappointed.  I was absolutely enchanted by the story and fell in love with Mehrunnisa and her strength of character.  Beautifully told and a captivating tale.  Apparently it is the first of a trilogy and I'm looking forward to reading the others now.

Page count: 383p/21,329p ytd/165,729p lifetime

Friday, July 12, 2013

82:120 Night Vision by Yasmine Galenorn

The 4th book in the Indigo Court series.  Cicely and Rhiannon are trying to come to grips with the upcoming coronations as the Queens of Winter and Summer respectively and prepare for the wedding to the loves of their lives.  There is a lot to do and much to learn in a short period of time before Lainule, the previous Queen of Summer, aging and preparing to leave for the Golden Isle. Geoffrey and Leo are still at large and word has come down that they have managed to free Crawl, the Blood Oracle, from his prison and he is eager for Cicely's blood.  Myst is also still out there regrouping her forces and preparing to plunge the world into the next Ice Age.  Even if Cicely and Rhiannon live the gain the thrones, will they live long enough to reign?

Things are definitely heating up in the battles but I like that the majority of this book focused more on the changes going on in Cicely's life and how she is dealing with them all.  It shows that even in the midst of the chaos, life goes on, responsibility cannot be put off and neither can love.  A fast paced, fast read and now I'm sad because I have to wait a year for the next one which will be the end of the series.

Page count: 322p/20,946p ytd/165,346p lifetime

81:120 The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

A 40+yr old man returns to his hometown after many years away for a funeral and finds himself walking down memory lane.  Down a lane with the ocean at the end of it and memories long since repressed and forgotten about things that sound impossible but aren't really.  About monsters and madness, oceans and other worlds, love and loss.  For a while, he leaves the outside world behind and remembers it all.

This is such a quiet book that you don't even realize how much time has gone by until something suddenly snaps you back into reality and you look down to see how much of the book you have read except you haven't read it, you have been swallowed by it mind and soul.  You can't wait to steal a few more minutes to dive into it again only to find yourself emerging an hour later.  Not a long read by any means but I found myself reading it slowly to savor it.  It doesn't want to be rushed but rather wants to quietly unfurl and draw you in...and you want to let it.

Page count: 181p/20,624p ytd/165,024p lifetime

Saturday, July 6, 2013

80:120 The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination edited by John Joseph Adams

A collection of tales from all over the place and with a title like that, no, I couldn't resist buying that especially since it had tales by Seanan McGuire and Carrie Vaughn in it.  I'm finding that I'm starting to enjoy these types of anthologies more and more as a means of being introduced to new authors that I may want to go check out later and this one did not disappoint in delivering a few new authors to my consideration.  My favorite stories out of the collection were "Professor Incognito Apologies: An Itemized List" by Austin Grossman, "Laughter at the Academy" by Seanan McGuire, and "The Mad Scientist's Daughter" by Theodora Goss.  Odds are good that if the title sounds intriguing to you,  you will find something in there to delight.

Page count: 363p/20,443p ytd/164,843p lifetime

Monday, July 1, 2013

79:120 Magician's Choice by Stefon Mears

The first in a new series, Rise of Magic.  Donal Cuthbert is working as a courier in order to get the money to go to graduate school in magic.  This current run tho, may end up costing him more than he could have ever imagined.  On his way to deliver a package, he is almost murdered a few times and this is just the beginning of the lies, murders, and corporate espionage.that are about to sweep him up.  John Jacobs is a helioship captain whose business is ready to go under when he is contracted to make the Mars-to-Earth run with only a few passengers on board and to take a few extra days.  Looking upon this as the opportunity to save his business, he takes it despite his reservations.  He never thought to deal with squabbling crew members, threats from deep space and from within, and passenger conspiracies that could destroy his ship before it ever sees Earth's orbit.  Can John and Donal find their way through and come out the other side?

One of the better debut novels I've read in several years.  Well constructed world with ritual magic that is explained so we understand it's place in the world and in the lives of those performing it but without getting long-winded and without falling into the trap of so many others of over-explaining the world with long expositions.  Instead, we learn how things work in a natural way through the characters interactions which I much prefer and I can't wait for the next one!

Page count: 259p/20,080p ytd/164,480p lifetime

New Releases I'm Looking Forward To: 3rd Quarter 2013

My usual disclaimer:
Let me state, this is really based on authors or series that I'm already reading since those are the things I follow.  I'm not paid to write this blog nor do I have any affiliations with any publishers so I don't receive free books or advance notice of things except what I glean off Facebook from people who do have those contacts or what I research on my own (which again, leads back to authors that I'm already reading).  Maybe someday I'll be one of those who has the contacts and gets ARCs but it's not today.

While last quarter was pretty small for new releases I was looking forward to, this quarter (which starts today...yikes!) is pretty full.  Looking at how little I read last month I apparently seriously need to get back to reading more if I want to have any hope of shrinking my to-read pile.

Night Vision is the next book in the Indigo Court series.  The war seems to be over with Rhiannon and Cicely readying for their coronation as the Queens of Summer and Winter respectively and marrying the loves of their lives.  Unfortunately, those they have defeated are not about to go away graciously.  Geoffrey and Leo have released the Blood Oracle and set him lose upon the town and Leo has kidnapped Rhiannon.  Can Cicely manage to save her and everything they have worked so hard to gain or will it all crumble before they even sit upon the thrones?  Really can not wait for this one and so bummed that my local bookstore won't have it in until the end of the week.  What the heck am I supposed to do until then???
Release Date: July 2

Denver is trying to get used to their new Master Vampire and now there is a new rogue werewolv for Kitty to deal with in Kitty in the Underworld.  I'm hoping to see some real progress in the main plot of the series and I can only hope I'll like this master vampire half as much as Rick.  Still bummed that he has gone off.
Release Date: July 30

Last Blood is a hard one for me to talk much about as I haven't yet had the chance to read the series but everything I've heard says it's fantastic so I'll be picking it up and hoping to get to it before the end of the year.
Release Date: July 30

Magic Rises is the one coming out at the end of July that I am most looking forward to.  I LOVE Kate and Curran but the plot on this one sounds more troubling than usual as it involves the were-children not being able to control their shifting and dying.  I so want to read it but at the same time, I'm just hoping the authors handle this well or I'm going to end up a crying mess on the floor.
Release Date: July 30

I have heard that Grave Visions is due out next month from Goodreads and B&N but no information it even exists from Amazon so not sure what is going on.  I'm really interested to see what will be going down with Alex and the Fae, especially now that Fagin is going to be living with her.
Release Date: August 6

I'm a book behind in the Greywalker series, but the newest one, Possession , will be coming out soon so maybe I need to just spend all of July reading so I can get caught up.  A comatose woman suddenly wakes up able to paint scenes in great details of things she's never seen, talk with another's voice, and mysterious writing appearing on her skin.  Harper is called in to figure things out and finds out that this is not an isolated case but can she figure out what is causing it?
Release Date: August 6

Heart of Venom is another one I'm really looking forward to.  I really enjoy the elemental assassin series for the most part and while I wasn't thrilled with the last installment, I'm hoping this one is the real deal.  Sophia, Gin's friend and body-disposer, is being threatened and Gin simply won't tolerate that and is ready to go to any lengths to save her friend.  This book is also supposedly a turning point in the relationship between Gin and Owen which I'm really hoping is a good one as I really love them two of them together.
Release Date: August 27

It really isn't fair to have so many incredible books that I can't wait for in such a short period of time and Chimes at Midnight  is yet another one of them.  I really love Seanan McGuire and absolutely love this universe.  It seemed like at the end of the last book that things might finally be settling down for Toby.  She has her squire, her job, and a budding romance with Tybalt.  Unfortunately, changelings are disappearing and when Toby tries to take it to the Queen of the Mists she finds out just how bad things are getting in the kingdom.  The big question is what can Toby, or anyone else, do about it?
Release Date: September 3

Autumn Whispers rounds out the last so I'm a very happy camper with the quarter being bookended by Yasmine Galenorn's books.  This one is told from Delilah's pov and I'm really hoping that we start getting more of her destiny with the Death Maidens in it.  Debauchery, slavery, and corporate greed are the name of the game in this one and one misstep could cost them everything.
Release Date: September 24

Considering my to-read list has grown lately and I only got 7 books read last month, I'm going to have to figure out a way to get a lot more reading done because this is going to be a fantastic quarter for books!