Sunday, November 2, 2014

Dream London - Review

 Title: Dream London 
Author: Tony Ballantyne 

Synopsis: “Captain Jim Wedderburn has looks, style and courage. He’s adored by women, respected by men and feared by his enemies. He’s the man to find out who has twisted London into this strange new world. 
      “But in Dream London the city changes a little every night and the people change a little every day. The towers are growing taller, the parks have hidden themselves away and the streets form themselves into strange new patterns. There are people sailing in from new lands down the river, new criminals emerging in the East End and a path spiraling down to another world. 
      “Everyone is changing, no one is who they seem to be.” 

Review: Dream London is truly a fantastic read! Ballantyne’s writing is superb. The main character of James Wedderburn is a very good example of the antihero, you aren’t supposed to like him and you won’t. But who he is has been molded by Dream London, just like it’s changed everyone else, it’s not who he really is so you feel sorry for him and find yourself cheering for him when he fights back. Even the minor characters are intriguing and well thought out. Ballantyne has even turned London itself into a character is this imaginative novel. 
      I highly recommend Dream London for anyone looking for an urban fantasy novel with a much different plot from the “normal” urban fantasy novels that are flooding the shelves (No sparkling vampires or sex addict werewolves here). I look forward to reading more of Tony Ballantyne’s work. 

Publisher: Solaris Books 

If you like this book you may want to read: 

 Midnight Riot (Rivers of London #1) by Ben Aaronovitch (see BookGirlR’s review here

 Sixty-One Nails (Courts of the Feyre #1) by Mike Shevdon

It's Not Different, Except It Is

BookGirlR & SuperSteve 9-20-2014
Photo: Daniel Fischer Photography

     Married life isn’t really all that different from unmarried life, except that it is. I married SuperSteve on September 20th. It was a fantastic, small, outdoors Browncoat wedding. With some other nerd fandoms being represented because we are both total nerds.

Yes, we were married by Captain Malcolm Reynolds
BookGirlR & SuperSteve

BookGirlR & SuperSteve

Badger and River were also in attendance.

    After the wedding, and the reception the next day, we were exhausted. Life didn’t seem to go back to normal as we expected it to. The whole summer seemed to build up to this one fantastic weekend, and honestly I was just ready for it to be over. Then suddenly it was over and we could go back to normal, except we couldn’t seem to remember what normal was.
      What did we used to do in the evenings before wedding planning took over our lives? And of course October is a big month for us, we both love fall and Halloween.
BookGirlR & SuperSteve Halloween 2014
Photo: Saurian Arts

     Nothing seemed to get done. We worked. We came home. We lay on the couch and ate junk food. On the weekends we did fun Halloween and fall related activities with friends and family. What happened to the hobbies we used to enjoy before wedding planning? I only read one book in September and three books in October, and I didn’t blog about any of them, and I’ve barely written anything at all. I can’t remember the last full meal I cooked; we’ve been eating a ton of junk food. We didn’t do any fall hiking. SuperSteve hasn’t sat down with a sketch pad and a pencil in months. Married life isn’t really all that different from unmarried life. We were already living together. We were already sharing the responsibility for the bills, and the groceries, and the cooking and the cleaning (he doesn’t cook and I hate to clean). He still squeezes the toothpaste tube from the middle and snores. I’m still an antisocial hermit and a slob. But it is different.
      People kept telling us that, even though we were already living together, marriage would be different. We scoffed at them. It’s not going to be different! But secretly, we wondered if they were right. Marriage is hard, they kept telling us. Why is it any different we wondered? And now we are having trouble settling into married life. It’s almost like the expectation is that it is supposed to be different (aren’t we supposed to spend every free minute together and do everything together?) But it isn’t differnt (we are still individuals with different hobbies and responsibilities). It’s the same and we’re just having trouble settling back into a routine.
      We will get there. We’ve decided to ignore anyone else’s expectations of what a happy married couple should be like and go with what makes us happy. I’m trying to cook more and get back into my reading and writing. SuperSteve is trying to get back into a regular cleaning schedule and draw and read more. We’re eating less junk food and sitting down at the table, with the television off, for dinner as often as possible (3 nights a week minimum). We are accepting that we don’t have to spend every minute together. It’s okay to do things separately and indulge in our individual hobbies. We have decided that married life isn’t all that different from unmarried life, unless you give in to the expectation that it is.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Alien™: Sea of Sorrows - Review

Title: Alien™: Sea of Sorrows
Author: James A. Moore
Series: Alien™ Trilogy #2

Synopsis: “As a deputy commissioner for the ICC, Alan Decker’s job is to make sure the settlements on LV178 follow all the rules, keeping the colonists safe. But the planet known as New Galveston holds secrets, lurking deep beneath the toxic sands dubbed the Sea of Sorrows.
      “The Weyland-Yutani Corporation has secrets of its own, as Decker discovers when he is forced to join a team of mercenaries sent to investigate an ancient excavation. Somwhere in that long-forgotten dig lies the thing the company wants most in the universe – a living Xenomorph.
      “Decker doesn’t understand why they need him, until his own past comes back to haunt him. Centuries ago, his ancestor fought the Aliens, launching a bloody vendetta that was never satisfied. That was when the creatures swore revenge on the Destroyer… Ellen Ripley.”

 Review: I did not like this second installment in the new Alien™ series as much as I did the first (read BookGirlR’s review of Alien™: Out of the Shadows here) because my favorite thing about the entire Alien™ franchise is Ellen Ripley. Without Ripley it’s not a part of the Alien™ fanchise, in my opinion. Women today need more strong female role models. Ellen Ripley kicks some serious ass and doesn’t need a man to swoop in and rescue her. The author, James A. Moore, has made his main character Alan Decker a distant relation to Ellen Ripley, but it’s not enough. He’s taken a strong female character and replaced her with a mediocre male character. Not cool Moore, not cool.
      If you read Alien™: Sea of Shadows as if it is not a new installment in the Alien™ franchise it’s not so bad. The setting is creepy; the Weyland-Yutani Corporation is more evil than the Aliens; and there is enough gory action to keep you on the edge of your seat. So, pretend that this is merely a science fiction action thriller, don’t expect it to live up the Alien™ franchise reputation, and you’ll like it fine.

Publisher: Titan Books

If you like this book you may want to read:

This Alien Shore by C.S. Friedman

 Species Imperative Series by Julie E. Czerneda

Alien: River of Pain (Alien™ Trilogy #3) by Christopher Golden
**Release Date November 25, 2014**

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The House of the Four Winds - Review

Title: The House of the Four Winds
Authors: Mercedes Lackey & James Mallory
Series: One Dozen Daughters #1

Synopsis: “The rulers of tiny, impoverished Swansgaard have twelve daughters and one son. While the prince’s future is assured, his twelve sisters must find their own fortunes.
      “Disguising herself as Clarence, a sailor, Princess Clarice intends to work her way to the New World. When the crew rebels, Clarice/Clarence, an expert with rapier and dagger, sides with the handsome navigator, Dominick, and kills the cruel captain.
    “Dominick leads the now-outlawed crew in search of treasure in the secret pirate haven known as The House of Four Winds. They encounter the sorceress Shamal, who claims Dominick for her own—but Clarice has fallen hard for Dominick and won’t give him up without a fight.”

 Review:   Mercedes Lackey is my favorite author. It’s hard for me to choose a favorite because I love books so much, and I have several favorite authors, and several favorite series. But Mercedes Lackey is my favorite, of my favorite, authors. I have read her Valdemar series over, and over, and over again. I will never get tired of it. I will read anything with her name on it. Most recently I read The House of the Four Winds.        
     The House of the Four Winds is a fascinating read. I had a busy week last week, and couldn’t read it as quickly as I would have liked, every time I started reading it was torture to have to put it down. This novel has everything you could want in a good read: pirates, adventure, action, romance, cross-dressing, magic and lovable characters!  And can we talk about the cover for a minute?  What a gorgeous work of art!  I want to frame this cover and put it on my wall!  If I could change one thing about The House of the Four Winds I would like a bit more information about what Clarice did after leaving home and before meeting Dominick. Don’t get me wrong, this novel is wonderful just the way it is but adding a bit more information would make it perfect! I highly recommend that fans of fantasy, fans of pirates and fans of romance all read this book!

 **I received this Kindle ARC through NetGalley. **

Publisher: TOR

If you like this book you may want to read: 

The Cipher by Diana Pharaoh Francis

Five Hundred Kingdoms Series by Mercedes Lackey

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Magic Bites - Review

Title: Magic Bites
Author: Ilona Andrews
Series: Katie Daniels #1

Synopsis: “When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it arose, leaving all kinds of paranormal problems in its wake.
      “Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up these magical problems. But when Kate's guardian is murdered, her quest for justice draws her into a power struggle between two strong factions within Atlanta's magic circles.
      “The Masters of the Dead, necromancers who can control vampires, and the Pack, a paramilitary clan of shapechangers, blame each other for a series of bizarre killings—and the death of Kate's guardian may be part of the same mystery. Pressured by both sides to find the killer, Kate realizes she's way out of her league—but she wouldn't have it any other way…”

Review: After reading Magic Bites I had a few questions. The first is: why, oh why, haven’t I read this series sooner? The second is: why hasn’t anyone told me about this series? And the third question I had after finishing Magic Bites is: How soon can I get the next book in the series?
      Fans of urban fantasy will love Magic Bites. The world building that has gone into creating this novel is amazing. The magic “waves” that come and go and make technology unusable is an awesome and very different concept that I loved. Andrews does a remarkable job playing the cards close to her chest. She gives us only the information we need at exactly the time that we need it and keeps the rest to herself, leaving us wanting more when we finally reach the end of this wonderful introduction to a series.
      My only complaint is the character of Curran. He is obviously supposed to be Kate’s love interest, but I didn’t feel it. There’s no heat between the two other than hatred, they are constantly battling with each other and trying to kill/maim each other. That’s not love, or even lust, in my book. I understand that a Beast Lord needs to be very dominant and alpha, but he could be dominant/alpha and still caring. At the end of Magic Bites I’m just afraid that Kate is going to end up in a relationship with an abusive man/Beast Lord. I hope that this issue gets cleared up in the next installment.
      Overall though, I loved this novel and am looking forward to the rest of the series. Seriously, why hasn’t anyone told me to read this? I wasted so much time reading other books.

Publisher: Ace
If you like this book you may want to read: 

 Dead on the Delta by Stacey Jay (read BookGirlR’s review here)

 Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch (read BookGirlR’s review here)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Midnight Crossroad - Review

Title: Midnight Crossroad
Author: Charlaine Harris
Series: Midnight Texas #1

Synopsis: “Welcome to Midnight, Texas, a town with many boarded-up windows and few full-time inhabitants, located at the crossing of Witch Light Road and the Davy highway. It’s a pretty standard dried-up western town.
      “There’s a pawnshop (someone who lives in the basement is seen only at night). There’s a diner (people who are just passing through tend not to linger). And there’s new resident Manfred Bernardo, who thinks he’s found the perfect place to work in private (and who has secrets of his own).
    “Stop at the one traffic light in town, and everything looks normal. Stay awhile, and learn the truth…”

Review: Midnight Crossroad is my current favorite book. I finished it last night and I’m still thinking about Midnight, Texas. I loved everything about it! This is the first novel in a new series by Charlaine Harris. The plot starts out a bit slow, but her writing is so interesting that it doesn’t matter and it’s because she is introducing us to an amazing cast of characters. I loved learning about Midnight, Texas and its secretive inhabitants. My favorite character is Mr. Snuggly, all of my LOL moments involved the cat (and I did actually laugh out loud several times. SuperSteve thought I was going crazy). And I had no idea “who done it” until it was revealed, the whole ending was perfect! If you haven’t read it yet go and get it now! If you only buy one book this month make it Midnight Crossroad! I don't regret it and you won’t either!

Publisher: Ace

If you like this book you may want to read:

Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen

 The Graveyard Queen Series by Amanda Stevens

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Autumn Bones - Review

Title: Autumn Bones 
Author: Jacqueline Carey
Series: Agent of Hel #2

Synopsis: “Fathered by an incubus, raised by a mortal mother, and liaison to the Pemkowet Police Department, Daisy Johanssen pulled the community together after a summer tragedy befell the resort town she calls home. Things are back to normal—as normal as it gets for a town famous for its supernatural tourism, and presided over by the reclusive Norse goddess Hel.
      “Not only has Daisy now gained respect as Hel’s enforcer, she’s dating Sinclair Palmer, a nice, seemingly normal human guy. Not too shabby for the daughter of a demon. Unfortunately, Sinclair has a secret. And it’s a big one.
      “He’s descended from Obeah sorcerers and they want him back. If he doesn’t return to Jamaica to take up his rightful role in the family, they’ll unleash spirit magic that could have dire consequences for the town. It’s Daisy’s job to stop it, and she’s going to need a lot of help. But time is running out, the dead are growing restless, and one mistake could cost Daisy everything…..”

Review: I loved the first book in this series, Dark Currents (read my review here) and I think I loved this installment even more! It don't want to give anything important, but once you start reading Autumn Bones things start to happen, and when those things start to happen you will not want to stop reading until you are done. There are some new characters that are interesting, there are some new “romantic” developments that were really, very interesting. Daisy is still trying to keep the town’s harsher elements away from the view of the tourists. She’s struggling with certain elements of her job and her love life is about to take a completely unexpected turn. It’s hard to say too much about Autumn Bones without giving away any spoilers so I won’t say anything more. But, if you are a fan of paranormal fantasy you should check out this series!

  With the third installment, Poison Fruit, being released this October, now is the perfect time.

 Publisher: ROC

If you like this book you may want to read:

 Written in Red (The Others #1) by Anne Bishop

 The Hollows Series by Kim Harrison

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Man with the Golden Torc - Review

Title:   The Man with the Golden Torc
Author:   Simon R. Green
Series:  Secret Histories #1

Synopsis:  “The name’s Bond.  Shaman Bond. 
     “Actually, that’s just my cover.  I’m Eddie Drood.  But when your job includes a license to kick supernatural arse on a regular basis, you find your laughs where you can.
     “For centuries, my family has been the secret guardian of humanity, all that stands between all of you and all of the really nasty things that go bump in the night.  As a Drood field agent I wore the golden torc, I killed monsters, and I protected the world.  I loved my job.
     “Right up to the point when my own family declared me rogue for no reason, and I was forced to go on the run.  Now the only people who can help me prove my innocence are the people who can help me prove my innocence are the people I used to consider my enemies.
     “I’m Shaman Bond, very secret agent.  And I’m going to prove to everyone that no one does it better than me.”

Review:  I’ve been very lucky with the books I’ve been choosing lately.  It has been awhile since I read a book I didn’t like.  (I originally made a typo and typed that as lick, a book I didn’t lick.  Well… If I like it well enough maybe…) I liked The Man with the Golden Torc.  I didn’t love it, but I liked it.  At first I had trouble getting into it.  I’m not sure why.  Perhaps it was the alignment of the moon?  The writing is good, the characters and story are entertaining, and yet I kept finding myself putting it down.  But I persevered because I was intrigued by the story and the plot, and I wanted to see how Green was going to pull Shaman Bond, uh… I mean Eddie Drood, out of his tight spot.  Once I reached the midpoint of the novel that was it.  There was no more putting it down.  I had to finish and find out what was going to happen as quickly as possible.  I wasn’t disappointed and you won’t be either.  I’ll be buying the next in the series soon.

Publisher:    Penguin/ Roc
ISBN:   978-0451462145

If you like this book you may want to read: 

Daemons are Forever (Secret Histories #2) by Simon R. Green

The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne (See BookGirlR's review of Hounded here)

The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Reading "deals"

How far would you go to get a loved one to read a book or series that you just know they will love?  Would you read a book or series of their choosing in exchange?

SuperSteve and I have just made such a deal. He is reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and I am reading The Dark Tower Book I. I just know he will love Harry Potter, but he has been resisting it so I offered to read his favorite book if he would read this. We have to both finish before the end of July.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

What are you reading?

SuperSteve is watching baseball in the living room. *gag* So I'm sitting in my favorite chair in the kitchen (long story but yes we have living room furniture in part of our kitchen, like a sitting room) reading Autumn Bones by Jacqueline Carey. What are you reading tonight?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Deadly Curiosities - Review

Title Deadly Curiosities
Author:  Gail Z. Martin
Series:  Deadly Curiosities #1

Synopsis:  “Welcome to Trifles & Folly, a store with a dark secret.  Proprietor Cassidy Kincaide continues a family tradition begun in 1670 – acquiring and neutralizing dangerous supernatural items.  It’s the perfect job for Cassidy, whose psychic gift lets her touch an object and know its history.  Together with her business partner Sorren, a 500-year-old vampire and former jewel thief, Cassidy makes it her business to get infernal objects off the market.
     “When a trip to a haunted hotel unearths a statue steeped in malevolent power, and a string of murders draws a trail to the abandoned old Navy yard, Cassidy and Sorren discover a diabolical plot to unleash a supernatural onslaught on their city.
     “It’s time for Kincaide and her team to get rid of these Deadly Curiosities before the bodies start piling up”

Review:  I had no idea this book was coming out.  I don’t know if I just haven’t been paying a lot of attention to new releases because money and time are getting a little tight (I’m getting married in 2 months to SuperSteve).  So a couple of weeks ago I gave myself a small shopping trip, because nothing calms my nerves like a trip to the bookstore.  I snatched Deadly Curiosities off of the shelf before my brain had fully processed what it was.  It had Gail Z. Martin’s name on it.  That’s all that mattered.  I love her Chronicles of the Necromancer Series and have read them multiple times.  It didn’t matter what this book was about.  It had to be mine.  Then I got home and set it on the table.  I looked at it. I was delighted to discover that it was an urban fantasy.  I didn’t start reading it right away because I knew that once I started that would be it, within a few days I would be finished reading it and I wouldn’t have a new Gail Z. Martin book to look forward to for awhile. 
     I’ve finished it now.  I’m very sad.  Even though I have many more perfectly good books waiting to be read, this one is done.  I will never get to read it for the first time again, and that first time was amazing.  Deadly Curiosities was awesome!  I loved everything about it.  The characters are wonderful, and I wish Teag was my gay best friend.  Sorren is mysterious and sexy, and Cassidy is the perfect combination of kick ass and smart.  The plot kept me on the edge of my seat right from the very beginning, and Gail Z. Martin’s storytelling abilities are always superb.  Go get this book now.  Oh, and Gail Z. Martin hurry up with the next one would you?  Thanks.

Publisher:   Solaris
ISBN:  978-1781082331

If you like this book you may want to read:

October Daye Series by Seanan McGuire

Agent of Hel Series by Jacqueline Carey

Chronicles of the Necromancer by Gail Z. Martin

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Gluten Free Review: Glutino's Gluten Free Toaster Pastry

I was so excited when I found these in my grocery store!  Look at the picture above.  Don't they look delicious?  It looks like they will have a ton of filling and taste like apple pie.  The slogan on the box says "Like biting into paradise".  Sure, if your paradise is a desert.  These are disgusting!  Don't waste your money.  Look at this picture:
The actual product is nothing like the picture on the package.  There is hardly any filling, all you can taste is the "pastry" and it is so salty and dry that I couldn't even choke it down.  (There's 340mg of sodium in 1 single pastry by the way!)  DON"T DO IT!  Glutino should be ashamed of themselves.  This is blatant false advertising, the product is absolutely nothing like the picture on the box. Those of us who must avoid gluten are desperate for gluten free products, and Glutino is taking advantage of a captive audience.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Life As We Knew It - Review

Title:   Life As We Knew It   
Author:  Susan Beth Pfeffer
Series:   Last Survivors #1

Synopsis:  “When a meteor hits the moon and knocks it closer in orbit to the earth, nothing will ever be the same. 
“Worldwide tidal waves.
“Volcanic eruptions.
“And that’s just the beginning.”

Review:  I love apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction almost as much as I love the subject of the impending zombie apocalypse.  Life As We Knew It is intended for young adults.  It is set up as the diary entries of a girl named Miranda.  The dying, the horror and the bloodshed that would be sure to happen during this type of apocalypse are only hinted at.  The main focus of this apocalyptic novel is a teenage girl dealing with being a teenage girl in the midst of a disaster.  Miranda is attempting to deal with her parents being divorced, her father’s new wife having a baby, her brother away at college and whether or not she is going to take skating lessons again.  And, oh yeah, the moon has been knocked into a closer orbit, causing freak weather, erratic tides and electrical storms, meaning Life As We Knew It is over.  Pfeffer’s novel is excellent and I highly recommend it. 

Publisher:   Graphia
ISBN:  978-0152061548
If you like this book you may want to read:

The Dead and the Gone (Last Survivors #2) by Susan Beth Pfeffer

The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle (see BookGirlR’s review here)

Dies the Fire by S.M. Stirling

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Patient Zero - Review

Title:  Patient Zero
Author:  Jonathan Maberry
Series:  Joe Ledger #1

Synopsis: “Monday, 1300 hours: Joe Ledger kills terrorist Javad Mustapha, AKA Patient Zero, with two point-blank shots from his Glock .45.  Wednesday, 0800 hours: Patient Zero rises from the dead…
     “When you have to kill the same terrorist twice in one week, there’s either something wrong with your world or something wrong with your skills… and there’s nothing wrong with Joe Ledger’s skills.  Ledger, a Baltimore detective assigned to a counterterrorism task force, is recruited by the government to lead a new ultrasecret rapid-response group called the Department of Military Science (DMS) to help stop a group of terrorists from releasing a dreadful bioweapon that can turn ordinary people into zombies.”

Review:  Patient Zero is a wonderfully dense read.  It’s a zombie story, and we all know how much I love zombie stuff, but it’s so much more than that.  Patient Zero is an action packed thriller in which the real bad guys aren’t zombies, but terrorists wielding a biological weapon that turns ordinary citizens into zombies.  Even after finishing this novel I was still thinking about it, and the main character Joe Ledger.  Joe’s voice is distinct and wow is he funny.  I had a crush on Joe within the first 2 pages of Patient Zero, sorry SuperSteve, and was terrified something bad was going to happen to him.  I’m glad there are more novels in the series, and I’ve added them all to my wish list.  I’ve also added Maberry’s Rot & Ruin series for young adults to my wish list.  If you like edge of your seat thrillers and zombie horror novels pick up Patient Zero, you won’t regret it.

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
ISBN:  978-0312382858

If you like this book you may want to read:

Dragon Factory (Joe Ledger #2) by Jonathan Maberry

Coldbrook by Tim Lebbon (see BookGirlR’s review here)

Apocalypse Z: The Beginning of the End by Manel Loureiro (see BookGirlR’s review here)

The Newsflesh Trilogy by Mira Grant (see BookGirlR’s review of Feed here)