Sunday, April 24, 2016
The Mage Craft Series, Book 1
A young woman, Marion, wakes up in a hospital without a stick of memory. The only thing she knows is her name is Marion. There really isn't much more info I need to give you because everything centers around the fact that this really important person has no idea who she is. But back up a bit. Before that, we get a glimpse of Marion going crazy psycho on a shifter wolf who tried to kill her to collect a bounty. Who wants her dead? Why? How did she lose her memory? Marion insists that the only way to restore her memory is to find a man named Seth Wilder. But first, she meets Dr. Lucas Flynn who treats preternaturals at his hospital. Being more than what he seems, he takes it upon himself to escort Marion home, or wherever she thinks home is. Unfortunately, they run into some trouble as assassins are trying to kill her before she is set to give a speech at a big summit. So obviously Marion is someone way more important than we realize.
It's important that I start this review by telling you that this world exists in a larger world that SM Reine has crafted. She has quite a lot of books in the same world so you'll be familiar with a couple of the names you run by during the storytelling. I was introduced to the author because I'd read Omega which is the story of Dierdre Tombs (I have a review on my blog). Unfortunately, like an idiot, I never did get around to reading any more of SM Reine's work. Why? I'm stupid. I even purchased 2 more books in the Dierdre series but hadn't yet gotten around to reading them. Why? I'm stupid. Why am I stupid? Because I'd forgotten how much I love Reine's work. Anyway ... Having read some of her work before starting this is not a requirement but is kinda fun if you can say to yourself 'OH YEA I KNOW HER!'
I don't even know how to start with what I loved because there was just so much. The world building is great, the character development is wonderful. Even if someone was being mysterious (Dr. Flynn), I was still all-in with this character when I wanted to kick Marion to the curb. I really enjoyed Dr. Flynn. He was a man about morals, not talking too much, and trying to get things done in a speedy fashion. He is by far my favorite character, next to the nurse, Charity Ballard, who is a very interesting version of herself. I really just enjoyed all the characters. I don't really say that because there will always be supporting characters that I hate, but there was not a single character I disliked. Now ... The story was done right. I think you get a feel of who Seth is from the beginning, but trying to figure out what's up with Dr. Flynn outweighs it. So for me, the characters and story are a great selling point alone.
What did I dislike? If I had to dislike anything, it was probably Marion. I didn't dislike her a lot but I just hate that damsel in distress. But since this is just book 1 and her memory has been restored, book 2 is gonna be wild!
I have nothing else to say about Cast in Angelfire. I loved it. I really want to go back and try to go through all of SM Reine's work. It's time for me to bug my library to get everything that they can in audio form. I wonder if her stuff is in audio form. I need to find out. LOVE ITTTTTTT!!!
4 1/2 Stars
IR: Dr Flynn (black)
Monday, April 11, 2016
The Iamos Trilogy, Book 1
Isaak, Henry, and Tamara are on a field trip, checking out a dig site that the GSAF (basically what NASA and some other Feds evolved into) want plundered. While on the field trip, Isaak sees a rock structure that looks an awful like something he's seen at home. He and his friends get into trouble for going too close and are sentenced to do 6 weeks of digging at an excavation site. Everything seems to be going just fine when they find something else at the dig site, but take it and find that the coin Isaak found fits perfectly into the 'key.' Now Emil, who has a surprising identity, is after the coin and the key while Isaak has to run from the feds. His running leads to his transportation to the Fourth World, Mars, which he already lives on, however ... He went to Mars in a different time. Nadine is next in line to be one of the few privileged who will basically run Mars, but she has to past a test. Unfortunately she fails at the right time. She meets Isaak, gets nosey and then they find themselves at the mercy of a group of people seeking to liberate Mars' people from the strict rules set upon them. Meanwhile, between the two of them, Nadine sees Isaak as a way to help her save her Mars, and Isaak sees Nadine as a way to help his Mars be better.
The world building in this story is unparalelled. I mean ... I've said recently that their stories had great world building but this one REALLY takes the cake. This book is dystopian/scifi so you have to be detailed but I was just there. The author is a whiz at this. Although I'm not a fan of YA, this book seemed more like a coming of age story in truth. They're in their late teens so while Isaak is just wanting some questions answered, Nadine is about to take on Mars. Plus, their are other amazing things like each citidome's people has a set of traits that were picked by their leaders to represent where they're from. Nadine's people have dark brown skin and white/clear hair, others domes traits may be brown skin and reddish/brown hair. It's interesting to note the level of detail based on the characteristics given. With that said, I wasn't thrilled about the characters physical descriptions. I really felt that was lacking. I think we got enough to form a picture in our heads but I felt like the book cover was so spot on that I pictured those two in my head. The book is very well written, we even get a dictionary because their are so many words that are foreign to us. I enjoyed seeing the odd animals, Isaak's shock at some things and even how Nadine kind of erects this figurative steel wall to protect herself from everyone. And by the time I got to the end, when we see Henry again ... I was ready to scream.
If you want to really get lost in a book, this is the one to do it in. Never mind that it's a YA. I'm so waiting on the next one. It was a bit slow in the beginning for me and I was kind of skimming through. But once I got past part 1, it was uphill from there. I love it and can't wait for book 2!!!
4 1/2 Stars
Wednesday, March 30, 2016
The Greek god Dionysus is living as the rock star Nik. He's an elusive petty ignorant a-hole who is seemingly untouchable. Anthony is a recent college graduate with a PhD in Musicology. Now Anthony is Nik's manager and hating everything every step of the way. Anthony's uncle Paul tells him that since he hasn't yet gotten a job in his field, he has this job for him. Anthony takes the job because he needs the money and becomes the most complaining ungrateful little shit you've ever witnessed. Anthony has to stop fights, get into fights, and try to stop people from killing themselves all while Nik is on stage so that the show can continue no matter what. In an age of cell phone video and youtube, Anthony gets a little famous and his blog (which you get to read) blows up as a result. Needless to say, Anthony starts sleeping with Nik and then begins to believe in him, but somehow keeps Nik from fully getting to him. Nik literally drives people crazy with his music, or drives them to their death.
What I liked:
Oh! Okay. It was decently written. A book like this doesn't need to have tons of details but for what it was, it was done well. The author clearly loves classical music, and maybe some semblance of rock music. I enjoyed any scene that Anthony's uncle Paul was apart of. Paul was the only character outside of Anthony that I understood. I loved the progression of Anthony's belief in Nik as a god. It went from 'you're crazy' to 'am I crazy?' to 'shit ... he really is a god, I gotta get out of here.'
When I requested this book from Netgalley, it was in the Sci Fi & Fantasy category which is mostly what I read. Then I find that it's LGBTQIA as well and nearly jumped for joy. Add all that to the IR book cover and I was SOLD. The Character development was actually good among the main characters Anthony, Nik and Paul ... and to a lesser extent, Ida. The rest? I can't say.
What I disliked:
- Character description was seriously lacking. I knew that Anthony was a runner, of black/white mixed race heritage. I also knew that he has curly hair when it's grown out but he kept himself bald. I knew that Nik has weird red/gold hair. I know that Paul is not mixed because it was said in the book, and also is a darker skin color than Anthony and even darker than Nik. That's all I knew. I think maybe hair colors for other people were mentioned, clothes they wore, and accents, and heights ...
- Although the cover features Anthony and Nik ... It screams ROMANCE ... Not SciFi/Fantasy. I get that their is a tiny paranormal element to it but it wasn't enough. It should have been put in the romance category. The scifi element was minute and speculative. Not only is the cover misleading in that way, it also implies that this is a consensual relationship. It's not! Nik basically f*cks with Anthony's head to get him to sleep with him.
- Honestly Anthony and Nik were two peas in a pod. Anthony had his head so far up his ass about his degree and what he was SUPPOSED to be doing that he probably couldn't even breathe. He was so self-loathing and angry that it wafted off of him to everyone around him. What Anthony knows about music is word ... What anyone else knows about music is shit. Nik was no better because he absolutely cared about nothing. Everything was a game to him except for when one of his believers was taken from him.
- Details were very vague. Outside of physical details, there were big things mentioned that I didn't even realize were big things. Case in point: Anthony's mother. There's some epiphany close to the end about Paul not being able to have kids, and Nik knowing Anthony's mothers name. But we're never exactly told what the big deal is. This isn't the only instance, there are plenty of other things mentioned but no details given. It was quite frustrating thinking that you have to go backwards to find whatever this was referenced to but when you don't like what you're reading, you just keep trudging along and let it go.
- The musical references were too much! I'm not a classical music fan or a rock music fan so the vast majority of the musical references flew right over my head to the point that I was skipping pages because I kept seeing names of Classical musicians and then conversations following about that musician. I would never, in a million years, listen to the garbage that Nik was calling his music. It was utter garbage ... I actually paid attention to some of the things Anthony was saying about it. So I was completely down for Anthony hating his music. On the flip side, I was down for Nik telling Anthony not to play his 'math' (Bach) on his instruments.
- The ending was not satisfying in the least. After that last bad gig that Anthony played that landed him in the hospital, and then the FBI visit, and the witness protection ... All you're allowed to see is Anthony settling into his new life and meeting up with Ida (a pianist who left Nik's crew like a boss) who kept his cover as this new person. It's implied that nothing will happen to Nik despite Anthony cooperating with the cops but still ... Give me something. I was given nothing.
I won't say the book was bad but there were sooooooooooooooooo many things I disliked about it. I looked it up online and saw a couple of really good reviews. I'm glad someone really enjoyed it. It was just way too stuck-up for me. When Anthony hit the scene and stuck his nose up in the air about why what he thinks is better is true, it set the whole tone for me and there was no way I could bring myself to like him, not even in the end. I was at a point where I was hoping Nik would completely tear him down cause I disliked him so much. Anyway ... I can't even say it's okay. It isn't a recommendation I would give out unless someone specifically asked me for a book with a gay couple with only a tiny bit of a paranormal element and really annoying main characters.
IR: Anthony (Bl/Wh) Nik (Greek)
Monday, March 28, 2016
I've always felt a connection to the impending apocalypse. More importantly, the zombie apocalypse. I have plans in place for when it happens, because let's face it ... It'll happen. It may not be zombies ... But the world will shut down. My kid and I discuss tv vs real world zombies ... purely hypothetical, but still ... And we discuss ways to survive and minimize casualties, although my kid is fully prepared to take on the role of Rick (Walking Dead) if need be. I'm rambling ...
It took me quite a long time to get through this one because I was utterly annoyed by one of the main characters.
The zombie apocalypse has begun ... Months ago really ... So this book picks up right in the heart of the matter when the amount of live people are down to handfuls if you're that lucky. Not to mention that zombies are getting smarter ... Smarter! No longer are they just walking around finding people to eat, but they're hunting in packs. We later learn that packs are now turning into hordes. And this isn't like anything we've seen before ... they're not your typical slow walking zombies with limbs falling off, these guys are pack hunting, running, planning and even signaling. So the shit is real. We meet a couple of travelers named Tyrone and Jackson (female). They've been traveling together for a few months but become separated by packs of zombies. This book will follow Tye (Tyrone), who is a former cop, along his journey to find his friend. During the journey, we meet a couple more people, zombies, and even reach two birds at the same stone.
Let's start with what I liked:
The one thing I love most about a zombie apocalypse world is the actual world and how it has degraded. I appreciate a writer that can really emphasize the ongoing silence, deterioration of buildings, and deterioration of humanity in those that are left living. The author, Emma Shortt, depicted those 3 things beautifully. I enjoyed being reminded of just how loud a car engine can be in a world where even white noise is nonexistent. Because of the incredible hearing zombies (I think they're called Wakers in this book) have, you've gotta be on cat feet and use less that an inside voice (if you HAVE to speak) at all times. I liked that we got a broad picture of the world surrounding us. There was a point where Tye met someone and he bunked in a very tall building that gave an overview of just how bad the city was. Let's talk about humanity. Polly, a scientist, is setting bombs around town for the zombies. As she's setting one, she runs into Tye. Here is a guy that used to be a cop but instead of hardening himself like most people would do in an apocalypse, it seems as though he's grown into more of a man if that were even possible. Continuing to be yourself in the face of all that really is incredible. And on the other side, there is Polly, who seemed like a genuinely good person until she was raped (or nearly raped ... it was only implied) by some guys she tried to help. You can only imagine how warped her mind has become due to that one majorly bad moment. It dictates how she treats people and how she immediately treated Tye. It goes without saying that it took a good while for Polly to relax. Understandable.
On to what I disliked:
Polly. I hated Polly with a passion. I wanted Polly to die early on. In particular, I wanted her to be eaten. Let me stop. Okay ... I was originally angry about Jackson and Tye splitting up. Although I understood it, I just was not interesting in seeing my badass, Jackson, replaced with a sniveling Polly. I also felt like it was incredibly cliche that the man wouldn't interested in the strong woman ... He'd want the weak one. Let's be clear, Polly is strong in her own way. She has an incredible mind, but math is not going to get you cross country in an apocalypse. Polly was doing really well being hold up in an office building. She was growing food, figured out how to use her urine in other ways, created a make-shift kitchen, and even tapped into an underground internet that only the super smart survivors were privy to. So yes, Polly is useful but how many times does she have to be saved? I'll leave that up to the reader to count because I stopped counting. Polly is the type of girl that does the math, figures out the worst and how to ride through it, but has on room for WHAT IFs. A what if actually happened and she had to get moving, but thankfully, she had Tye with her to put it all in motion. Because without him ... ? The next thing I disliked was the amount of dialogue. I think in some instances, like to tell an old story maybe, a lot of dialogue is required, however ... This book had just so much. At the same time, you basically have to do things this way because it's the end of the world and this is the only live person around for miles. You're going to want to talk ... A lot. This book also featured no plot twists. It was very straight laced, which is good. Sometimes you don't want to think, you just want to get lost in the book, but ... Everything was predictable. Lastly, while i'm singing praises about the world building, the character descriptions could have used a ton of work. There was really good character development being done (even during the time when we were dealing with a certain zombie in Texas ... That part was really good), but I have on idea what anyone looked like. I only knew Tye was black because he's on the cover. Any other point in the book, looks arent mentioned outside of something like Polly having black curly hair and a curvy body because Tye prefers a healthier sized woman. I still don't know what Jackson looks like. I think someone close to the end, she may have been white. I'm still not sure about Polly or really anyone else outside of someone being starving/thin.
Overall ... I thought the book was decent. This is only one in a series but I don't feel the need to go and read the others. Polly was simply insufferable for me. This book has gotten so many great reviews online and I get it ... I'll even recommend it to anyone who asks for something like this, but I just can't deal with the possibility of another character with a personality like hers. She is the sole reason it took me over a month to read this book. So in summary, it's decent. I don't regret reading it but not quite sure I'd read another in the series or by the author unless someone I trust urges me to.
IR: Tye (Black) Polly (White?)
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Jane Yellowrock, Book 10
I decided to try something different this time. Normally, when I've finished a book in this series, I immediately go to the computer and review it. My reviews end up being something like 'I CAN'T SPEAK!!!!!' But this time, I gave myself an entire week to process what I've read so that my review is more coherent.
On to the review!
OMGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!!! Okay ... The Witch Conclave is about to happen and their are some witches doing some really shady shit. Have you ever read a book and feel so horrible for the MC that you NEED to figure out how to help them? That's how this was going for me. Jane was in so much shit. Then again, she's always in a lot of shit, but one pile of shit left her unable to shift and nearly dead again. *dies* There was also a point where she was in her bloodhound form and my heart was racing because she can't stay that way for too long! Not to mention, a long thought-to-be dead vampire is found.
Two words: Yellowrock Clan.
When I read those two words ... I put my Kindle down, looked at myself in the mirror and said "HOW FUCKING COOL IS THAT?!" I felt like #squadgoals had a new meaning.
Anyway ... Jane's house is now overrun with the members of her clan, the Truebloods are back hanging out and AngieBaby is getting scarier with each passing book.
I'm so failing at this review. I can't help it.
Every single positive thing I've ever said about this series still applies. This book is probably on the top of my list now based on the amount of action alone. I got literally everything I've been wanting up to this point and feel free. Like I just made the best decision of my life and that was to read this book. I devoured it, as I do all the JY books.
Read it. It's amazing. Plot twists are crazy. I will continue to repeat this: Smaller details in other books will always come back to bite you in books to come. Remember that.
What I want in the future? I want explanation of Edward Hartley's fall from grace. I'm still pissed at RickyBo with the way he left things with Jane. And although she's happy with Bruiser, I still want Rick's face bitten off Walking Dead style. I always want more AngieBaby. But now I'm hoping for more of Evan Jr. I'd like to see what he can do.
As always, this book is amazing. This series is amazing. It's my number one recommendation always.
Monday, February 29, 2016
1. Have you read anything by Shaylynn Rose before?
2. Are you reading anything High Fantasy or Diverse right now? If so, what?
3. Invite a friend to participate in this giveaway (optional).
4. Give us your email address in case you're a winner.
*Notification will be through email. 4 winners chosen.
“Shaylynn Rose made her fantasy world so vivid and three dimensional, that it was a page-turner, from the first page until the last.” – Curve Magazine
A moving story of loss, despair, friendship and hope, Banshee’s Vengeance by Shaylynn Rose is the second book in the Tales Y’Myran series, set in a high fantasy world of elves and beasts, swords and sorcery, and epic journeys both larger-than-life and intensely personal. The book is also notable in its matter-of-fact embrace of diversity – with a protagonist who is both a person of color and a lesbian – that does not sacrifice masterful fantasy world building and adventure.
More about Banshee’s Vengeance:
Honor. It was torn from Azhani’s grasp by the sorcerer whose hatred of her family is decades old.
Love. Ylera, Azhani’s beloved, was murdered, her death no more than one callous act in a chain meant to put a noose around Azhani’s neck.
Once, not long ago, Azhani had been hopeless, lost, and without any desire for a future, but now, the rimerbeasts have come, and she is needed. Can she put aside her yearning for justice and face this ancient menace as honor demands, or will the bonds of love lost hurl her into a mire of death and revenge?
About Shaylynn Rose
From an early age Shaylynn Rose was fascinated by mythology, which grew into a full-on love for fantasy and science fiction and roleplaying games, where she honed her storytelling chops. Pushed by a beloved friend to turn the lessons she learned in gaming and fan fiction toward original tales, she began writing stories of her own. Banshee’s Honor began in a fevered rush immediately upon waking from a vivid dream. Published originally by P.D. Publishing in 2007, it fell out of print. In 2014, Ylva Publishing approached her about releasing a revised and augmented version of the novel, which resulted in enough new writing that it was divided into two books – Banshee’s Honor and Banshee’s Vengeance. The updated version of Banshee’s Honor came out in August of this year.
Important Links for Banshee’s Vengeance and Shaylynn Rose
Ylva Publishing Product Page: The Tales of Y'Myran Series
Amazon Product Page: Banshee's Vengeance
Amazon Product Page: Banshee's Honor
Curve Review for Banshee's Honor
Rainbow Awards 2015 Honorable Mention for Banshee's Honor
Tales of Y'Myran, Book 2
Have you ever read a book and just been so tired afterward? It normally happens after I've read Kate Daniels or Jane Yellowrock but THIS ... This made me tired in the best way.
Bear with me, my spelling of names will be off.
Our Azhani has made it to queen Lyssera to at least speak with her before the queen passes her final judgement and to really feel her out. Thankfully, Queen Lyssera has already found Azhani innocent, and we can thank Stardancer Vashera for that. Along with her innocence, Azhani takes the role of Warleader. Why? Rimmerbeasts are out of season but coming out to play.
Across lands, King Arris is being driven mad by his 'teacher' Porthyros (I may be spelling it wrong). Porthyros is giving King Arris a tea that is keeping him appeased with him and taking every horrible suggestion that Porthyros throws his way. Not to mention King Arris has given himself over to that nasty demon Ecarthus. Things in his kingdom are so bad that people are being killed as sacrifice to Ecarthus, or they're running away scared.
Meanwhile, something sinister is going on right under the queen's nose. Not super sinister, but enough to cause alarm in the castle. Someone has been poisoned with Krill, the deadly agent that can kill you slowly over time. Now the castle is on high alert and Azhani has to go out and find any information she can. Once the information has been brought forth, all hell breaks loose inside the castle. That leads to some incredible things that happen down the line.
You should pay attention the trio of Devon, Syrelle, and Allyndev. That ending was a pleasant surprise. Some faces from book 1 will make their way into book 2. Azhani and Kyrian come in contact with some pretty amazing gods. And ... King Arris ... I won't spoil that for you.
My review of this book isn't going to be long. PLEASE GO GET IT!!!!
The world building is excellent. There's a point where Azhani has a big fight in the mountains and I could 'see' every block around me, every tree, the ground, everything! Character development is top notch. Even when you think you don't want to read about a certain person, it really becomes essential to know certain things later on. Like the trio I mentioned above, they absolutely grow in this book. I can't help but fall in love with all of the character because they're written so well, right down to the end. And the romance ... *fans self* ... This book features a lesbian couple but it is in noway over-the-top. It's really just beautiful love between two people are completely right for each other.
Nothing skipped around without explanation which is great for someone like me (I have ADD) because I never got lost. The vernacular was great! Even though it was all new to me, I felt like I was part of everyones conversation. Just transporting me from my room to the tent with Azhani and Kyrian was awesome. I feel so alone now, lol.
If I could change one thing, it would be something dealing with King Arris, however, it was perfectly done by the author. Loved it! Thanks for this Shaylynn Rose!
IR: Azhani (Dark Brown Skin) Kyrian (Fair Skin)
Saturday, January 23, 2016
Bone Street Rumba, Book 2
Look at this cover. Just look at it. Isn't it beautiful? Just ... I can't even.
Book 2 gives us a reintroduction to Kia (on the cover), the teenage girl who basically runs Baba Eddie's shop. If you fell in love with her, like I did, in book 1, this will make you an even bigger fan if possible.
First, when taking on this book, you have to take on the different points of view. At first, I was put off by it, but half way through, it was completely necessary. We get to live through Carlos, Kia, and Reza. Now ... The first book, Half-Resurrection Blues, left a lot of questions unanswered, but it was to be expected since it was book 1 in a series. Book 2 actually answers quite a few questions while asking a couple more.
First, let's talk about Reza. Let's be real, Reza is a thug. However, she's ... Exceptional. Do I have a girl crush on Reza? Possibly. Definitely. Yea. She's no nonsense but she's not apathetic. She's been through a lot having to deal with someone she loved being kidnapped and killed by the people she's now trying to get hold of.
Second, Carlos has to deal with the idea that he and Sasha created life. It's weighing him down and ruling his thoughts, and everyone around him knows something is bothering him.
Third, we get to get inside Kia's head and see what's been bothering her for basically years. Her cousin went missing after a brawl and she's finally accepted that he's gone. On top of that, she's been given a gift that she never wanted; to see ghosts.
Those 3 people fall into each others laps in the worst way. Why? Roaches. Reza's problem, turns into Kia's problem, which turns into Carlos' problem and it forges a very unlikely bond between the 3. It really was kind of amazing to see this friendship blossom when it seemed more than unlikely. Reza is a hardass. She's the type that doesn't have many friends and if she does, she's been through hell and back with these people and still may not even call them a friend. Reza finds some comfort in Carlos because he doesn't bat an eye about the woo-woo things she's seen or dealt with. Carlos, on the other hand, learns a little bit about people from Reza and how to read them. Kia, always a slightly different story, is like the glue that's holding everything and everyone together. The amount of weight she carries in this book is tremendous so she's pretty extraordinary for a teen.
I refuse to give away anything more than what the book synopsis reads so I'll leave it at that. Older has me sucked into the world he concocted and I become fully immersed. I know the smells, can feel the surroundings, and feel every emotion from each of the characters as if they were my own. I'm still upset with Sasha from book 1 so it carried over in book 2 and has grown to this resentment I have for her on behalf of Carlos. But ... There's a point where they see each other for the first time since they last did in book 1 and my chest felt so light. Carlos was smiling and my heart just sang. Only a really good writer can throw you in like that and you just ... Feel it. You know? I felt everything and loved it.
I can't stress enough how much I enjoyed this one. I was iffy with book 1 and just knew a lot would pop off in book 2 so I'm glad I was right. This makes me want to go and check out Older's other books to find out what I've been missing.
One thing I noticed ... A book written by a man has an overall different feel. All of my favorite authors are women with females leading. I think, a lot of times, female writers will guide you through the woman's emotions and her whole being while only scratching the surface of what the man feels and goes through. Older has a way of leaving no one out, no matter the gender. I appreciate that so much! And although the narrators 'voice' doesn't change, you fully understand whose eyes you're seeing through and when. Older is just that good.
I'm such a huge fan. This book cemented it.
By the way ... When you read this, please love the 'prelove' conversation as much as I did. It's basically an epic guy conversation.