Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Midnight Riot - Review

Title: Midnight Riot (Rivers of London in the U.K.)
Author:  Ben Aaronovitch
Series:  Rivers of London #1

Synopsis:  “Probationary Constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London’s Metropolitan Police.  Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he’ll face is a paper cut.  But Peter’s prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost.  Peter’s ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who investigates crimes involving magic and other manifestations of the uncanny.  Now, as a wave of brutal and bizarre murders engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and a long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic.”

Review:  Ben Aaronovitch wrote for Dr. Who.  Is it any wonder that this is a brilliant story with engaging characters?  I would like to be able to say that this is why I purchased Midnight Riot.  I am (newly, within the last 6 months or so) a huge Dr. Who fan.  However, I sadly did not realize that Ben Aaronovitch had written for Dr. Who until after I had already started reading this novel. 
          The character of Peter Grant is very human, and easy to like.  He’s just a normal guy, with a normal life, and then suddenly things aren’t so normal anymore when he begins to converse with ghosts, and learn magic.  Oh yeah, and people are dying, loads of people; and Peter has to figure out why so he can stop a killer.  Aaronovitch does a good job bringing the characters to life and helping his readers become invested in the story.  I’m running out tomorrow on my way home from work to buy the next book in the Rivers of London series. 

Publisher:   Del Rey
ISBN:  978-0345524256

If you like this book you may want to read:

Moon Over Soho (Rivers of London #2) by Ben Aaronovitch

The Damned Busters (To Hell and Back #1) by Matthew Hughes

Hounded (The Iron Druid Chronicles #1) by Kevin Hearne

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Feature & Follow 4.27.14

This weeks Feature & Follow asks the question: Do you have any pets?  Show and/or tell.  

I have 2 cats.  Both of my cats were rescues, kittens that people abandoned on the road that leads to the farm where I grew up.  These people must have been ignorant of the dangers that farm equipment and large farm animals represent to cats that are not familiar with the territory.  But they are both safe now, and forever.  Tempest Wicked Meow-Meow is 5 years old and weighs 9 lbs.  She is the household queen and oversees everything that happens within the apartment.  Heaven help the person that closes the door when using the bathroom; she will whine, scratch and leap at the door until it opens.  Seriously, just let her go in with you.  She is shy with strangers though, so if you come to visit she will probably hide under the covers on the bed until you leave.

Tempest Wicked Meow-Meow
Spooky Boo Meow-Meow is 1 and 1/2 years old and weighs close to 20 lbs.  It's okay though.  He is not obese and his health is fine, he is just a very large cat.  He is the most laid-back and chill cat I have ever met.  He loves to sit in the apartment windows and watch everything that happens outside.  Just lately he has also become very fond of laps.  He loves everybody and has the softest fur you will ever pet.

Spooky Boo Meow-Meow
I also have a Society Finch named Trekkie.  As you can imagine he's kind of hard to get a picture of because finches are very small birds and quicker than you would think.  He makes happy noises all day from his cage atop one of the many bookcases in the living room and loves lettuce.

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The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it’ll allow us to show off more new blogs!

Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don’t just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don’t say “HI”

Coldbrook - Review

Title:  Coldbrook
Author:  Tim Lebbon

Synopsis:  “The facility lay deep in Appalachian Mountains, a secret laboratory called Coldbrook.  Its scientists had achieved the impossible: a gateway to a new world.  Theirs was to be the greatest discovery in the history of mankind, but they had no idea what they were unleashing.  With their breakthrough comes disease.  Billions are dead yet still walking.  The only hope is a cure, and the only cure is genetic immunity.  In the chaos of destruction there is one person that can save the human race.  But will they find her in time?”

Review:  I needed a new book to read.  My to-be-read pile still has about 20 books in it; but none of them were what I wanted at the time.  Plus I was stressed, and when I’m stressed I go book shopping*.  I found Coldbrook.  At first I failed to notice the red eyes on the shadowy figure on the cover.  I purchased this book because it’s by Tim Lebbon and the blurb on the front cover caught my interest.  The blurb reads “Will a door to another earth mean the end for this one?” and my first thought was, “It wouldn’t be much fun if it didn’t”.  So that, combined with the fact that this is a big book (509 pages) and therefore guaranteed to keep me busy for a few days, prompted me to pick up Coldbrook.  I did not realize until page 43 that this was, in part, a zombie novel.  At that point I was thrilled, because I love a good zombie novel.  I also felt very silly, because now when I look at the dark, shadowy cover the red eyes are the first thing that I notice.
          This book was wonderful.  It was just the novel I needed to snap myself out of a stress filled haze in which barely any reading was getting done.  About halfway through I realized that Lebbon was taking the story into a completely different place than that which I had expected and that was thrilling.  I was afraid for a while that it wasn’t going to end in a satisfactory manner (for me), but at the end of the novel I was pleased with how it all wrapped up.            Coldbrook was exciting, horrifying and thrilling.  I was reading every chance I got (although, when am I not?) and reached the critical climax one day while reading on my break at work.  I had to stop in the middle and go back to work!  It was horrible!  I actually had a moment where I was sitting in the breakroom debating just not going back to work until I was finished with the novel.  At that point it would have been 20 more minutes tops!  I think there should be some sort of special allowances for this sort of thing.  Perhaps I’ll speak to management about instituting an extended break for special circumstances such as these. 
          If you like horror and suspense read Coldbrook.  Zombies come through a portal from an alternate Earth and begin laying waste to our world.  There is death, destruction, plane crashes and even a Speed-like bus chase.  Tim Lebbon is an awesome storyteller and I look forward to reading more from him.
* Please note: I basically go book shopping when I’m feeling any emotion whatsoever. 

Publisher:   Titan Books
ISBN:  978-1781168783

Because I loved this book I have added these to my Review Wish List:

 The Toxic City Series by Tim Lebbon

The Beautiful Land by Alan Averill

If you liked this book you may want to read:

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

Alien: Out of the Shadows by Tim Lebbon (see BookGirl’s review here)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Generation V - Review

Title:   Generation V   
Author:  M. L. Brennan
Series: American Vampire #1

Synopsis: “Fortitude Scott’s life is a mess.  A degree in film theory has left him with zero marketable skills, his job revolves around pouring coffee, his roommate hasn’t paid rent in four months, and he’s also a vampire.  Well, sort of.  He’s still mostly human.
          “But when a new vampire comes into his family’s territory and young girls start going missing, Fort can’t ignore his heritage anymore.  His mother and his older, stronger siblings think he’s crazy for wanting to get involved.  So it’s up to Fort to take action, with the assistance of Suzume Hollis, a dangerous and sexy shape-shifter.  Fort is determined to find a way to out-smart the deadly vamp, even if he isn’t quite sure how.
          “But without having matured into full vampirehood and with Suzume ready to split if things get too risky, Fort’s rescue mission might just kill him…”

Review:  My love of reading comes from both of my parents.  My choice of genres comes from my Dad.  My brother and I shared a bedroom when we were young; and one of my earliest memories is of Dad sitting between our beds, and reading to us aloud from The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.  Recently I have gotten Dad hooked on the urban fantasy genre.  He reads Laurell K. Hamilton, Patricia Briggs, Charlaine Harris (he loves True Blood), and Kim Harrison.  One of his biggest complaints however, is that the best urban fantasy is about women.  He says that too many of the urban fantasy novels have female main characters, where are the urban fantasy novels with male main characters.  Well, I’ve got one for you Dad.  And you should read the books I’ve listed below as well. 
          This novel was great.  I picked up Generation V on a whim.  I hadn’t heard anything about it.  I just happened to see the second book in the series on the shelf at Barnes and Noble, and after realizing it was the second in a series I decided to buy Generation V first.  I read it in a little bit more than two days, but in my defense I had to work.  I get 30 minutes for lunch at work every day and I always read while eating my lunch.  Today I was almost done with Generation V when I realized it was time to go back to work.  I seriously did not want to go and had to force myself; promising that I would finish it as soon as I got home from work today.
Fort is an awesome character and Brennan has fleshed him out well.  In fact Brennan has fleshed out his secondary characters, and the world within the novel, so well that I want to know more about them too.  Fort’s struggle with his job and his boss is something that many people can relate to, as are his struggles with his family and personal relationships.  Your family does not have to be a family of blood drinking vampires for you to understand how forced the conversation at dinner can be, or how hard it is to say no to a request to show up for dinner with the family; and your girlfriend doesn’t have to be a cheating whore for you to understand what it’s like to be confused and hurt by the opposite sex.  The kitsune are a fun and interesting race that don’t show up in very many other urban fantasy novels.  I enjoyed Suzume’s interactions with Fort and learning about her family.  I was sucked into the world that Brennan has built in Generation V immediately when I started reading and was on the edge of my seat during Fort’s final showdown with Luca. 
As soon as my fiancé and I have had dinner (homemade gluten free deep dish pizza tonight) I’m going to Barnes and Noble to buy the next book in this series, Iron Night
Generation V.  Read it.  It’s awesome! 

Publisher:  ROC
ISBN: 978-0451418401

For more urban fantasy featuring a male hero:

Iron Night (American Vampire #2) by M.L. Brennan

The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne

The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher