Saturday, January 31, 2015

January Wrap Up

So this was a pretty good month reading wise.  Below I've linked and ordered any posts you might find interesting.  Feel free to click on them and check them out.

Book Reviews
Masters of Blood and Bone (a novel) by Craig Saunders 5 Stars
The Final Empire (Mistborn, #1) by Brandon Sanderson 5 Stars
The Well of Ascension (Mistborn, #2) by Brandon Sanderson 5 Stars
The Enchanted (a novel) by Rene Denfeld 4.5 Stars
The Queen of Attolia (Queen's Thief, #2) by Megan Whalen Turner 4.5 Stars
The Vanishing Girl (The Vanishing Girl, #1) by Laura Thalassa 4.5 Stars
Blackout (Annum Guard, #2) by Meredith McCardle 4.5 Stars
The Eighth Guardian (Annum Guard, #1) by Meredith McCardle 3.5 Stars

Graphic Novel Reviews
Constantine Vol.2- The Devil You Know 3.5 Stars

CD Reviews
American Beauty/American Psycho (Fall Out Boy) A

a note on my reviews: I use numbers (0-5 Stars) to rate books, graphic novels and comics, and manga; 0 being a DNF, 5 being flipping amazing.  I use letters (A+-F-) to rate movies, shows, and CDs; A+ being the best, F- being the worst.

5 Star Review: Masters of Blood and Bone

Author| Craig Saunders
Edition| Kindle ARC (via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review)
Genre| Urban Fantasy/Horror
Rating| 5 Stars
Release Date| February 3rd, 2015

I received this book as an ARC courtesy of DarkFuse through Netgalley in exchange for a free review.  Thank you!

This book was, within the first five chapters, a five star book in my head.  Then, around the middle, I hit a spot where I thought it would only be 4.5 (not a bad rating, still).  At the end, though, there was no way this wasn't getting all five of its hard-earned stars.  Easily my favorite book of the year, especially my favorite book of the month: I loved it.

I was wary of it; I had seen it described as a fantasy version of Taken (the movie starring Liam Neeson), which I really, really don't like (ask me why, if you like).  This book is really nothing like that movie, though.

To break it down: Holland is a treasure-hunter/hit-man for hire and he works for the mysterious "Jane" more often than not.  His daughter, Ank, is also an enigma- she's something special.  Holland can see the dead and he appears to be training Ank for a similar task.  One night, while working for Jane, he discovers a book which tells the story of a wizard.  Things go down hill from there.

The back of the book hints at gods and mythology, but it never quite spells it out.  Mythology is, however, a major part of the story, and very, very impressively laid.  Not expecting it, I was very pleased with all the connections.  I'm a bit of a mythology buff myself, and I haven't had a treat like this in some time.  The characters are very three dimensional; so much so that I can't exactly pin them down.  I can try, but I think the less you know about this one, the better.

My only complaint, and it's a slight one, was the violence in the middle.  There's a scene where several police officers die rather violently and it didn't sit well with me.  Several members of my family are/were police and, while it wasn't enough for me to put the book down permanently, it did have me taking a step back.  It is a violent book, especially once you get to part four, but outside of this scene, I thought the violence was acceptable for the story.

From the very first words on the page this book reminded me of Neil Gaiman's writing (my favorite author).  As I continued through, I realized it's the perfect respite for anyone suffering American Gods hangover (since there still isn't another book in what Gaiman has always referred to as a series).  The mythology and plot are laid out perfectly, and the darker aspects work very well.  I must warn you that this is a book for the more mature reader; some of the scenes could also serve as triggers.  Regardless, I've already bought another of Saunders' books and can't wait to feast.

Friday, January 30, 2015

5 Star Book Review: The Well of Ascension (Mistborn, #2)

Author| Brandon Sanderson
Edition| Mass Market Paperback
Genre| Fantasy
Rating| 5 Stars
Other Reviews| The Final Empire

This review is SPOILER FREE.  If you want my full thoughts, with spoilers included, leave me a comment and I'll post one.  I would love to talk about these books for ever and ever.

Without giving too much away, this takes place about a year after the first one.  It's very different, too.  The characters have matured and, reflecting on The Final Empire I almost can't imagine them like that.  What a testimony to Sanderson's writing, that characters have grown so much.  Another big difference lies in the central theme.  No longer is this a heist story, rather a war story.  Additionally, where the first is a bit of a conversation about religion, this one is a conversation about politics.

I loved this book so much.  I can't say I loved it more than the first book because I loved them equally in different ways.  The character development, for one, blew me away.  Those of you who aren't fans of Breeze, by the end of the book I swear you'll be sold.  Besides him, Sazed and Elend have the most drastic of changes.  I can't believe they're the same people!  Vin, too, goes through a lot, but I feel like it's a more predictable trajectory.

This book ends with one heck of a cliffhanger (it had me turning to the page with Sanderson's picture and cursing him out of love...) and can't stand on its own.  Which makes sense, since it is a trilogy.  Like with Final Empire this one had some pretty mind blowing surprises about 70% of the way through that continued to build and finally, in the climax, shatter my mind.  My.  Mind.

Five star reviews are hard to write because it's literally me just gushing and gushing.  So I won't say anymore.  Hopefully you're planning on picking the first book up because it's well worth it.  It does take a while to read, though, so be warned that other reading might get shoved to the side.  This one took me almost two weeks (although they were especially busy weeks, I grant you).

Anyways, happy reading!

First Impression Friday: Red Rising

This is a weekly meme were I spotlight a book I'm excited for and what I think it may be about or what I expect from it.  Then, after I read it, I'll be able to see how close I was to the mark.  If you want me to check out your FIF, leave a link below.

My friend, let's call her K, has been telling me to read this series for several months now.  She assures me it's the greatest thing in the world and I already feel acquainted with the characters.
Here's the description taken from Goodreads:
The Earth is dying. Darrow is a Red, a miner in the interior of Mars. His mission is to extract enough precious elements to one day tame the surface of the planet and allow humans to live on it. The Reds are humanity's last hope.
Or so it appears, until the day Darrow discovers it's all a lie. That Mars has been habitable - and inhabited - for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down on Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.
Until the day that Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside. But the command school is a battlefield - and Darrow isn't the only student with an agenda.
From K's description I understand this to be the best dystopian series on the planet.  Darrow is supposed to be amazing, his friends colorful, the caste system immersive, and then some, and the plot heartbreaking.  It has quite a lot to live up to.  This series is to her what American Gods is to me.  While I don't think it will quite be that caliber, I am looking forward to reading this.  And I already picked up the sequel, Golden Son, as well.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

What's Next: The Natural Calling of Ghost Town

What's next is a meme hosted over at Iceybooks and if you don't know who they are you need to go check it out right now!  Anyways, this is a weekly meme, technically, but I think I'll be doing it monthly.  Basically, I give a couple options and you guys leave a comment and let me know which one you think I should read next.

A Natural History of Dragons (Memoir by Lady Trent, #1) by Marie Brennan
You, dear reader, continue at your own risk. It is not for the faint of heart—no more so than the study of dragons itself. But such study offers rewards beyond compare: to stand in a dragon’s presence, even for the briefest of moments—even at the risk of one’s life—is a delight that, once experienced, can never be forgotten. . . .
All the world, from Scirland to the farthest reaches of Eriga, know Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world’s preeminent dragon naturalist. She is the remarkable woman who brought the study of dragons out of the misty shadows of myth and misunderstanding into the clear light of modern science. But before she became the illustrious figure we know today, there was a bookish young woman whose passion for learning, natural history, and, yes, dragons defied the stifling conventions of her day.
Here at last, in her own words, is the true story of a pioneering spirit who risked her reputation, her prospects, and her fragile flesh and bone to satisfy her scientific curiosity; of how she sought true love and happiness despite her lamentable eccentricities; and of her thrilling expedition to the perilous mountains of Vystrana, where she made the first of many historic discoveries that would change the world forever. 
Marie Brennan introduces an enchanting new world in A Natural History of Dragons.
The Calling (Darkness Rising, #2) by Kelley Armstrong
Maya Delaney's paw-print birthmark is the mark of what she truly is -a skin-walker. She can run faster, climb higher, and see better than nearly everyone else. Experiencing intense connections with the animals that roam the woods outside her home, Maya knows it's only a matter of time before she's able to Shift and become one of them. And she believes there may be others in her small town with surprising talents.
Now Maya and her friends have been forced to flee from their homes during a forest fire they suspect was deliberately set. Then they're kidnapped, and after a chilling helicopter crash, they find themselves in the Vancouver Island wilderness with nothing but their extraordinary abilities to help them get back home.
In THE CALLING, the sizzling second book in the Darkness Rising trilogy,New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong pumps up the romance, danger, and suspense that left readers of THE GATHERING clamoring for more. 
Ghost Town (Morganville Vampires, #9) by Rachel Caine
Get ready for "non-stop vampire action" (Darque Reviews) in the latest Morganville Vampire novel from New York Timesbestselling author Rachel Caine. 
While developing a new system to maintain Morganville's defenses, student Claire Danvers discovers a way to amplify vampire mental powers. Through this, she's able to re-establish the field around this vampire-infested Texas college town that protects it from outsiders. 
But the new upgrades have an unexpected consequence: people inside the town begin to slowly forget who they are-even the vampires. Soon, the town's little memory problem has turned into a full-on epidemic. Now Claire needs to figure out a way to pull the plug on her experiment- before she forgets how to save Morganville...

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: A Court of Thorns and Roses

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine and is an opportunity to showcase the books that have yet to come.

This week I'm totally fawning over A Court of Thorns and Roses by the magical Sarah J Maas.  Assuming you haven't heard about this book, here's the description from Goodreads:
A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Timesbestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.
When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.
As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.
Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!
I've seen some people get ARCs and I'm so jealous of them!  Anyway, for the rest of us, the wait ends May 5th.

Leave a link below to your WoW and I'll check it out!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Book Review: The Vanishing Girl (The Vanishing Girl, #1)

Author| Laura Thalassa 
Edition| Kindle eBook, ARC (courtesy of Netgalley in return for an honest review)
Genre| NA Fiction/Fantasy
Rating| 4.5 Stars
I received a copy of this book as an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you Netgalley!  For those of you wondering, this book is being re-released and you can buy it in kindle format.  The hard-copy won't be available until February 27th (I believe), which is why it was available as an ARC.

This was a very surprisingly good novel.  In fact, it took one chapter to get me hooked, something that hasn't happened for a long time with this genre.  In the middle of reading it I even pre-ordered a copy of the next book, which I have to wait much too long for.  I had modest expectations for this book, but they were blown away.

Ember is a teleporter.  Ever since she hit puberty, whenever she falls asleep she travels, for ten minutes, to somewhere else in the world.  And then, after she turns eighteen, she gets directions in one of her travels- she needs to kill someone.  From there forward Ember is quickly swept into a government run facility that trains teleporters like her and her pair, Caden.

I'll be honest and say this book was just shy of five stars.  I loved the two main characters, Ember and Caden were fully fleshed out with motivations and pasts.  Their romance was a little on the insta-love side of things, but not unbearably so.  The side characters were almost three-dimensional, but there were so few of them and I wished we got to know them a little more.

The plot is always moving, though rarely fast-paced.  I liked the mythology of the series to, even if it sounds a little hokey.  Had it been bad writing I wouldn't have bought the story, but Thalassa is good at her craft.  So good, I'm considering reading some of her other books, though not right away.  My biggest problem lies in the world-building.  There could have been more.  I think I'm just more attuned to huge worlds right now since I've been reading a lot of epic fantasy, but there were some holes I wish were filled.

Going into this book I thought it was YA, but about halfway through it's obviously New Adult.  There are some steamy scenes (which I thought were very well written) that won't appeal to everyone, so be careful going into this one.

So, now I just have to wait for the next one.  Additional warning: there's one hell of an awesome cliffhanger at the end.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

An Update

So far the blogging has been going VERY WELL and I want to thank everyone who has visited recently and particularly those who come on a regular basis.  The coming weeks should hold even more books and such.

As for this week, you may have noticed that I haven't posted a book review in the last few days.  Most likely, I won't get another one out until Sunday.  This week has just dragged by, I've been so busy with school and work.  I am reading, but I'm reading longer books, which is another holdup.  Also, TV shows are coming back.  I watch a lot of TV and keeping up is often a challenge.  It's never top priority, but I do have to factor that in.

The next reviews you'll see are tentatively scheduled as follows:
  • The Vanishing Girl - Saturday/Sunday
  • Masters of Blood and Bone - Next Thursday
  • The Well of Ascension - Next Sunday
Hopefully I'll be able to get to a few more than that, but we'll see.  As for my TBR so far this month, I think I've done a pretty good job.  I started with a rather large TBR on purpose- I like to give an idea of what's on my mind but still have some space to choose from an array.  Next month will have an even larger TBR, so don't expect me to get to all of them.  ARCs are top priority for the most part, so those won't change much, but the rest are just ideas.

In other news, I've started writing again!  It makes me feel great and I've made pretty fantastic progress.  My goal is to finish the project by the end of April, so I'll keep you guys updated.

If you have any books you think I should read or any posts you want me to do (like a recommend: certain genre) let me know in the comments or through an email (although comments are easier and go straight to my email anyways).  Hope everyone else is having a great month reading wise.  Ta!

CD Review: American Beauty/American Psycho

So I don't know much about music, but I can tell when something sounds good.  And oh boy does FOB's most recent release sound good.  I will admit I'm a pretty big fan of their stuff, but this has to be one of my favorite releases.

Most FOB songs take a couple spins before I fall in love with them.  But then I become obsessed with each in a small matter of time, cycling through them all until I'm left to start over again.  This overplaying really bothers my family (who do not love FOB), and the fact that they're complaining only two days after the release makes me smile.

While I can't narrow it down to one favorite song, Uma Thurman, Fourth of July, and The Kids Aren't All Right are the current ones I keep playing through.  Surprisingly there isn't even one song that I feel is less worthy of the others.

My biggest complaint is that on the first listen through the songs all sound similar.  After two or three plays it's easy to distinguish them, but for people who aren't as big of fans they may not find this worth their time.  I must say it is, but that's just me.  I'd give this album a solid A.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: An Ember in the Ashes

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted over at Breaking the Spine.

This week I'm waiting on An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir.  It doesn't come out until April 28th (I don't know if I can wait that long!) and sounds right up my alley.  But allow me to let Goodreads do the talking:
Set in a terrifyingly brutal Rome-like world, An Ember in the Ashes is an epic fantasy debut about an orphan fighting for her family and a soldier fighting for his freedom. It’s a story that’s literally burning to be told.
LAIA is a Scholar living under the iron-fisted rule of the Martial Empire. When her brother is arrested for treason, Laia goes undercover as a slave at the empire’s greatest military academy in exchange for assistance from rebel Scholars who claim that they will help to save her brother from execution.
ELIAS is the academy’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias is considering deserting the military, but before he can, he’s ordered to participate in a ruthless contest to choose the next Martial emperor.
When Laia and Elias’s paths cross at the academy, they find that their destinies are more intertwined than either could have imagined and that their choices will change the future of the empire itself.
That just sounds so awesome!  I'm in the mood for a good romance that's still set in a fantasy setting and I wish that I didn't have to wait to get my hands on this.  The title, too, sounds interesting.  The implications of such a title... Does it remind anyone of the phrase "Diamond in the rough"?

Anyways, leave a comment below with a link to your WoW and I'll check it out!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Quick Review: Constantine Vol. 2- The Devil You Know

Author| (mainly) Jamie Delano
Edition| Paperback
Genre| Comics (Mature Audiences)
Rating| 3 1/2 stars
Other Reviews| Episodes 1-8

I forgot how strange these comics can get.  In particular "On the Beach" really threw me off.  I get that it's trying to make a statement (there are several instances of that in this one) and I applaud it's forcefulness.  It is very clear, though, that this is for mature readers.  If you're not okay with really strange, mind bending, bizarre things that make you feel VERY uncomfortable afterwards, or graphic(ish) sex, don't pick this up.  You won't really like it.

This edition picks up right after the first one, which was nice, and Delano's writing continues to warm my heart.  For fans of the show, you'll enjoy learning about what happened at Newcastle.  Which I really did enjoy.  It's not easy to explain and I hope that the show does it justice.

As for the final two chapters, the pieces from "The Horrorist", I loved them.  They were unique and brought John to a place that I really liked.  It again is a little strange and sends a resounding message, but it almost worth the whole collection combined.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Book Review: The Queen of Attolia (The Queen's Thief, #2)

Author| Megan Whalen Turner
Edition| Kindle eBook
Genre| YA Fantasy
Rating| 4 1/2 stars
Other Reviews| The Thief

This is a SPOILER FREE review.

For those of you out there who had a hard time getting into The Thief the first book in this series, don't feel bad for giving up on it.  I would, however, recommend continuing onto this one anyways.  A strange recommendation, I know, but the two are so different and they can stand apart very nicely.

This book takes place not long after the first one.  Eugenides is in Attolia, performing his job, when things go terribly wrong.  From there a snowball effect occurs for the majority of the story.

After The Thief took me by such surprise and drew me into a remarkable story I was expecting this one to surpass it and gain a five star rating.  Sadly, it couldn't.  For one, the narration switches to third person.  Even Gen's parts.  It was so frustrating!  I enjoyed Gen's voice in the first one, and while this is a wider story with characters like the Queen's of Eddis and Attolia telling parts, there was, in my opinion, no reason for Gen to not "speak" in first person.  Mostly, it's disorienting for the first few chapters and you begin to wonder, "is this a dream?  is this really happening?" because of the change.  It set off the whole book for me.

Additionally, it was not what I was expecting.  It is a much broader story than the first.  Book one is easily a quest and.... that's it.  It's a good quest, but still.  Here, politics take center stage.  Little actual action occurs outside of the immediate beginning and end.  The middle reads like a history textbook, which, while interesting, was not what the back of the book says it will be.  In fact, if you can, don't read the back.  It gives away pretty much the only plot-point, and, well, it's better not knowing what that is.

But Sam, you say, You've given the book almost five stars in your rating!  Well, yes, I have.  The writing is still at the top of its game- in fact, it got better.  I couldn't put it down, even in the early hours of the morning.  There's something about Megan Whalen Turner's writing that is just magnetic and that I rarely experience.

Also, the character growth in this one, especially for Gen, blows my mind.  The kid you came to know in the first one is a man by the end of this one and you can't help but look on proudly (and sadly, for that kid is gone forever).  The story itself if fantastic!  I can't begin to imagine thinking up the events in this book.  It's a unique piece of YA fantasy and I completely understand why so many are smitten with this one.

Friday, January 16, 2015

First Impression Friday: Poison Study

This a weekly post where I showcase what I think a book may be about just from the cover and description.  When I read the book I'll be able to compare it to what I thought it might be.  This week is Poison Study by Maria V Snyder, a book I've had my eye on forever, but only just got my hands on.
The description via goodreads reads:
Choose: A quick death…Or slow poison...
About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She'll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.
And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly's Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.
As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can't control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren't so clear...
This strikes me as a cross between Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas and Slumber by Samantha Young.  If you're unfamiliar with either of those I recommend picking them up; they're both worth it but the latter is probably best for mature readers (sex and such, not much violence).

I have really high expectations for the poison study series as a whole.  I own the first three books and am putting a preorder on the newest one releasing, so it better be good.  I'm not sure what the romance will be like, but I think I can expect good things.

Anyways, I'm reading this next month (fingers crossed).  What are your impressions this week?  Leave a link in the comments and I'll check it out!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Book Review: Blackout (Annum Guard, #2)

Author| Meredith McCardle
Edition| Kindle eBook, ARC (courtesy of Netgalley in return for an honest review)
Genre| YA Fantasy/Time Travel
Rating| 4.5 Stars
Other Reviews| Eighth Guardian

This review is SPOILER FREE.  I received a copy of Blackout early as an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you Netgalley!

This book picks up soon after the events of the first book.  The basic premise of time traveling to "fix" the past continues, but this time with a much more direct plot.  Rather than jumping around willy-nilly both the author and the Annum Guard have gotten themselves together.  In fact, every single issue I had with the first book has been resolved wonderfully.  This one had me looking forward to what was coming next at the turn of each page and the end even left me out of breath.

The action is more intense and it makes more sense.  The first book seems to have just showcased what Amanda could do rather than give her a reason to do things.  I wasn't really sure she was a competent spy beyond the fact that she kept assuring us, the readers, that she was.  In Blackout, Amanda actually gets to do some infiltration, some undercover work, and pretty much be bad-ass the whole entire time.  Plus, McCardle actually has some fun with her time travel elements (finally!).

My favorite thing about this book (and my least favorite thing about the first) were the characters.  In The Eighth Guardian they were two dimensional and plain.  Even the romance fell dry.  Here we have fully fleshed out characters that I fell in love with.  Red, who gets maybe two lines in the first, is a major character here, and he's now one of my favorites.  Similarly, Orange and Green get their own turns as actual people.  The romance between Abe and Amanda started to make sense and had me actually fawning over them.  This book showed me what Annum Guard is supposed to look like when the whole generation is working together- and I absolutely loved it.

I did have a few problems, but they were brief.  The writing, while much better, still isn't the greatest.  It's, shall I say, lackluster.  The fact that between books one and two so much changed leaves me believing that won't stand for very long.  Additionally, there were some minor side characters I didn't think were necessary.  I like to see characters provide something to move the plot forward.  However, with the way things were left (yes, it is a cliffhanger) they could still end up playing important roles.

Waiting for the next one will be a little more difficult than I thought, but I'm very glad that I continued onto this book.  If you have any doubts, I promise that this one will quell them.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: A Darker Shade of Magic

Welcome to my Waiting on Wednesday post!  This meme is hosted over at Breaking the Spine and is a way to share what books have your mouth watering.

This week the book I can't get off my mind is A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab.
I only just recently read one of her books (check out my review of The Archived here) and I fell in love with her writing.  Of course, when I heard about this book I just about fell over in glee.  Here's the synopsis from Goodreads:
Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit. 
Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London - but no one speaks of that now.
Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her 'proper adventure'.
But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — trickier than they hoped.
This book doesn't come out until February 24th, but I've already pre-ordered my copy.  Are you looking forward to anything?  Leave a comment below and let me know!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

5 Star Book Review: The Final Empire (Mistborn, #1)

Author| Brandon Sanderson
Edition| Mass Market Paperback
Genre| Fantasy
Rating| 5 Stars

I went into this book knowing little of the story but hearing everyone rave about how amazing it was, so I had super high expectations (that were met).  I wasn't expecting anything, least of all having my heart ripped out in the last two hundred pages.  So of course, I'm reading the next one.  Very soon, might I add.

This is my third Brandon Sanderson book (I've read Steelheart and The Rithmatist) but it is the first one to truly cause me to endlessly spend time on his website and stalk it for any hints of what's to come because I plan on reading all of it.  Certainly Mr. Sanderson is one of my favorite people now, and I've already begun telling people that they better get their hands on one of his books.  Immediately.

There are two things making this review very difficult: 1) I think it's best you don't really go in knowing much about the story, and 2) I gave it five stars for a reason- there isn't anything (or nothing I can think of, at least) wrong with it.

For a quick synopsis: A common trope in fantasy stories is one where a hero is destined to save the world from some nameless evil.  In this world, the hero failed.  Now, thousands of years later, the world is dictated by the Lord Ruler and ruined by the mists and the ash.  Enter Kelsier and Vin, our protagonists.  That's it.  That's all I'm telling you about it.  Go pick it up.

For a fantasy novel, this one reads pretty similar to YA.  Vin is only sixteen (seventeen later on in the book) and a fantastic main character.  Kelsier is equally great and completely different.  In fact, all the characters are different.  The variety is refreshing.  The plot, too, is somewhat unique.  If you've read any of the interviews Brandon Sanderson has done lately, he's mentioned that Steelheart and Mistborn share a lot in common, plot-wise.  I agree.  But don't think because you've had the pleasure of reading Steelheart you'll be able to pick this one apart.  You won't.  I tried and I couldn't.

How I wish I could say more.  There's so much I could say!  But it would all boil down to the same thing: I loved it, it was great!

Have you got the message?  Now go give it a try.

Friday, January 9, 2015

First Impression Friday: The Library at Mount Char

This is the first of a new meme I thought I would start.  I'm sure everyone has heard "don't judge a book by its cover" and just as many have disregarded that actual advice.  We all have a first impression of something and that will make us either pick the book up or put it down.  First Impression Friday is an opportunity to tell everyone what impression you get from a book before you even start to read it.  The book can be released already or something far off in the future.

This week I'm spotlighting The Library at Mount Char, a book I recently received for review (thank you Netgalley).  Here's the description taken from Goodreads:
"Neil Gaiman meets Joe Hill in this astonishingly original, terrifying, and darkly funny contemporary fantasy." Carolyn's not so different from the other human beings around her. She's sure of it. She likes guacamole and cigarettes and steak. She knows how to use a phone. She even remembers what clothes are for. After all, she was a normal American herself, once. That was a long time ago, of course--before the time she calls "adoption day," when she and a dozen other children found themselves being raised by a man they learned to call Father. Father could do strange things. He could call light from darkness. Sometimes he raised the dead. And when he was disobeyed, the consequences were terrible. In the years since Father took her in, Carolyn hasn't gotten out much. Instead, she and her adopted siblings have been raised according to Father's ancient Pelapi customs. They've studied the books in his library and learned some of the secrets behind his equally ancient power. Sometimes, they've wondered if their cruel tutor might secretly be God. Now, Father is missing. And if God truly is dead, the only thing that matters is who will inherit his library--and with it, power over all of creation. As Carolyn gathers the tools she needs for the battle to come, fierce competitors for this prize align against her. But Carolyn can win. She's sure of it. What she doesn't realize is that her victory may come at an unacceptable price--because in becoming a God, she's forgotten a great deal about being human. 
The description makes me think of The Magicians by Lev Grossman.  I could only get through the first book in the series.  It was captivating, but it was also very depressing.  It just wasn't my cup of tea.  This one sounds like it may have the same sort of tone, although with some more philosophical elements, perhaps.  It also sounds like it might deal with phsycological issues and actually have more realism to it than meets the eye (similar to how The Enchanted uses magic and whimsy to deal with real life situations).

So that's my First Impression.  Have you got any you're willing to share?  Leave a link in the comments and I'll check out your blog!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Book Review: The Eighth Guardian (Annum Guard, #1)

Author| Meredith McCardle
Edition| Kindle eBook
Genre| YA Fantasy/Time Travel
Rating| 3.5-4 stars

This is a book I picked up a while ago when it was on sale on the kindle store.  It had some pretty good reviews, but I put off reading it until now for a couple reasons.  For one, I already have a favorite time travel series (if one can have one, that is) and am actually infatuated with the idea of it.  The way a story can have so many twists and turns and unexpected things happen because of the fluidity has always intrigued me.

The book follows Amanda (code name: Iris), a recent, and unexpected, grad from a top school where they train people to be CIA and FBI.  She whisked away to a secret organization, called Annum Guard, where the agents there go back in time to change it and "enhance" the present.  She's rebellious at first but decides to tough out their trial session in order to learn the truth about her father, who mysteriously died.

So why was the rating for this book so hard to pin down?  I have the Chronos Files (my favorite time-travel story, so far at least) to compare it to.  In my mind, those books live on a pedestal and won't be taken down by anything (at least not since Moffat started running Doctor Who), so directly comparing this series and that is like putting Annum Guard in a race it can't win.

Taking out the Chronos Files comparison, I still had a few problems with the book.  For most of the book, the main character is annoying.  It got on my nerves how the world revolved around her, but as the story progressed I came to believe this was done on purpose by the author to help show the character growth.  Amanda's still not perfect by the end, but she has changed, and I believe there are still several books to come.

The side characters, too, were rather weak.  They could have done with some fleshing out, but Amanda doesn't exactly spend much time with them, so the places where they could be developed lacked in and of themselves.  The two other side characters that deserved deeper plots and weren't given them were Yellow and Abe, both of whom I'm sure will turn up in the next book and (hopefully) get backstory's of.  The plot does rely on keeping readers, and Amanda, in the dark, so while I found it lacking, again, I'm pretty sure it was done on purpose.

Enough with the complaining though.  This book really was a lot of fun.  There were points where I lost track of how much I was reading and just kept going.  That rarely happens to me since I have so much going on and I like to set check points for myself.  Props for McCardle for sucking me into the story.

I have received an ARC of the sequel, so chances are that's the next, or one of the next, reviews you'll see on here.  I can't wait to get cracking on it, because the central mystery is pretty good.  Plus, I totally ship Yellow and Amanda (weird, because I don't do many slash-ships, but I feel like it totally works here); and if I'm invested enough to ship the characters, I'm invested enough to continue.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Red Queen

Welcome to my first WoW post.  I'll be doing these every Wednesday for a month and a half or so and then reevaluating.  This week, the book I can't get out of my head is Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard.
It's the first in a trilogy and is being released February 10th, so just over a month away.  The description from Goodreads is as follows:
The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.
To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.
Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre ofthose she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.
But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?
Excited yet?  I'm practically foaming at the mouth.  Hopefully I'll be able to grab this one up as soon as it comes out.  Leave a comment below if you're dying to read this or anything else that releases soon!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Book Review: The Enchanted (a novel)

Author| Rene Denfeld
Edition| Kindle eBook
Genre| Adult Magical Realism/Whimsical
Rating| 4.5 stars

Right off the bat I want to let you all know this is definitely for mature readers.  It's pitched at adults and is, in itself, very adult.  Many of the elements can serve as triggers to anyone dealing with abuse or rape or other related elements, and if you don't feel comfortable reading about things like this, DO NOT READ THIS BOOK.

Now, are we all clear?

The writing is beautiful.  That's what sucked me in immediately.  A lot of the story is actually told between the lines and things aren't shouted out for the reader to gather.  Rather, we have to piece together back story.  Some things are left out intentionally, which makes them seem even more horrific.

This book has a very simple premise.  The Lady works with lawyers to try and get inmates off of death row.  She's hired to help a man, York, who doesn't want to be helped.  Also in the prison are a Fallen Priest and an unnamed narrator.  That's all I'll tell you because you're better off not knowing anything else.  This story is unlike anything that I have read, and I'm willing to bet, unlike anything a lot of other people have read as well.

The only reason this book didn't get a five star review was because I called the twist halfway through.  I have no idea how or why, but the idea popped in my head, and for the rest of the book I just went through thinking it was true, and at the end when it was revealed as true, I didn't get that last final bang.  I'm still kicking myself for messing up like that.

I know for certain that anything else this author writes I will be picking up immediately.