Monday, May 16, 2016

Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews

     Clean Sweep is the first book in The Inn Keeper Chronicle series. It’s a shorter novel, 227 pages, or about 60000 words. The collector edition contains drawings of some of the characters.
     This wasn't the type of story I was expecting, since Ilona Andrews usually writes a lot about magic, dark urban fantasy to be more exact. At least that’s where I put it.
     But I was surprised to find a world of science fiction and magic blended well together in a world where aliens come to Earth, and go about their business, and leave. Usually, leaving only myths about them, if that, and it’s all because of the Inn Keepers and their Inns, neutral ground for visitors of the unearthly sort.
      Dina, an Innkeeper, decides to take matters in her own hands when a string of gruesome dog attacks affect her neighbors.
     I really liked this story, though the Inn seems to be the Cousin version of Doctor Who’s TARDIS. I sometimes over think things, just a little bit. But the reinvention of vampires and werewolves, was interesting and creative, not to mention the aliens, and places they came from.

     This story is worth checking out, a good balance of interesting characters, and a good story with just enough drama and action to keep a reader enjoying the ride.

Kitty Saves the World by Carrie Vaughn

This is the last book in The Kitty Norville series. The first is Kitty and the Midnight Hour. It has to be read in order.
When I first read the basic summary for this series, I thought, this is just weird, but I gave it a chance. I fell in love with the series, I am sad to see it end, but as Carrie Vaughn says, its good to end on a high note and nothing lasts forever. Though I hope to see stories or maybe character novels, form this world from time to time.
Every book in this series has led up to this ultimate test for Kitty and her friends, the showdown with Dux Bellorum, and the fate of the world. For the most part I enjoyed this final tale. It was a good rollercoaster of a ride. Though on occasion, I knick pick things. 
This is one of those times. Some series or stories balance the angel and demon story lines well. They seem natural additions to that particular world, in Norville’s world, seems a bit off in my opinion. A would have loved a twist from the obvious the Devil was behind it all.
You have a world of magical creatures, have alluded to more being out there, and it just seems she took the easier way out. Though I am happy Kitty, gets her family, I am slightly disappointed with the obvious copout but it was still a good end to the series. 

Friday, April 29, 2016

Captured by S.J. Harper

In one of Jeanne C. Stein’s Anna Strong Vampire Chronicles series, at the end it had a preview for Cursed. So I read it, and was interested enough to mark it as a check out this book in the future.
     Well, it took a while to get to Cursed and I discovered there was a novella that was released after Cursed. A novella is a wonderful way to get a look into a series potential, so I got it first.
     Not disappointed at all. This novella is well written, giving the reader a glimpse into The Fallen Siren Series. This novella tells about the missing child case that first brings Emma, the titular character of the series, meets Zach, a werewolf and F.B.I. agent.
     The story flows nicely, though there isn’t much adventure, or drama one isn’t bored. The reader follows the case as it is revisited by Emma, who is consulting for the F.B.I. A creative way to have the mystery laid out, without becoming confusing to the reader.

     This novella is worth reading, even if you have read Cursed.  

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Aeronaut's Windlass by Jim Butcher (audio book edition)

Jim Butcher is one of my favorite author’s. I was first introduced through the short lived SyFy TV series based on the on his Dresden Files series. That’s how I found out about his books. So I got interested in checking out his new series, The Cinder Spires.
     This is his envisioned world of Steam Punk. Ok, I’ll be honest, I heard the term before, but really had no idea what it is. Classic steam punk are stories like H.G. Wells and the Time Machine, or 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne.
     Traditionally it took place in Victorian England or The American Wild West. A combination of those eras with sci-fi tech and steam power used for instance in flying ships.
     Butcher has created a world encompassed with mist and the surface of the world is a very dangerous place to be. A place where cats are much more than the rodent hunters and humans can be more animal or something else entirely.
     The start of this series doesn’t disappoint. I don’t like to spoil anything, I try not to give detailed book reviews, but I will tell you this : A mix match group of heroes are assigned to find out if there is a double agent helping the leak information to the enemy. As the tale progresses, one is on a wonderfully built rollercoaster, a tale with right amount of character development, back stories, and dangerous adventure.
     I listened to the audio book version of this story. Once in a while I find it nice to have someone tell me a tale and I loved the narrator’s voice.
     Besides the Dresden Files: series about a wizard detective, the first book is Strom Front. Codex Alera is his more traditional fantasy series, it starts with The Furies of Calderon.

     I can’t wait for the next Cinder Spires book.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Caliban's War by James S.A. Corey

     This is the second book in The Expanse series. One could read this as a standalone novel, but the story is richer if the first book, Leviathan Wakes, is read.
     I first learned about this series through The SyFy show Expanse. Fell in love with the show, and thought I’d give the books a try. Not disappointed. I am addicted to this series.
     On Earth not all is as is seems. Someone is playing God…One of its creatures nearly starts an all out war between Earth and Mars. One politician does all in her power to discover the truth and keep the fragile peace.
     The Rocinate and her crew decided to help a man find his daughter. But again they discover that not is all as it seems.
     This installment is well balanced as the first. Enough political intrigue, action, and character drama that is wonderfully weaved together in a rich tapestry of a beautifully made tale.
     And again, the ending of this one makes one anticipate the next. Just enough of a tease, to keep one hooked.

     Definitely worth checking out.     

Monday, April 4, 2016

Dangerous Women Edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois

1.       Some Desperado by Joe Abercrombie : A gal bank robber proves that she can hold her own. One of the better tales in this collection.

2.       My Heart Is Either Broken by Megan Abbott : A child goes missing, a mother accused, and the man who stands by her no matter what. Reminded me a bit of Casey Anthony case. Alright tale.

3.       Nora’s Song by Cecelia Holland : A young princess grows up a bit, and does a bit of her own subtle rebellion. Good start, but fell short from what I thought it could be.

4.       The Hands That Are Not There by Melinda Snodgrass : Alien Conspiracy? Not a bad tale.

5.        Bombshells by Jim Butcher : One of my favorite authors. This tale is from the world of The Dresden Files. A wizard apprentice takes a job she can’t turn down and discovers its more than it appears to be.

6.       Raisa Stepanova by Carrie Vaughn : A Russian female pilot strives to become an Ace.

7.       Wrestling Jesus : Two wrestlers compete periodically for the affection s of a woman.

8.       Neighbors by Megan Lindholm  : Even an old dog can still have bite. An elderly neighbor goes missing, and that’s when things start to get strange when the fog rolls in. Liked this tale.

9.       I Know How To Pick’Em by Lawrence Block : A woman seeks a man for more than just a fling. Didn’t like this tale at all, disturbing to me.

10.   Shadows For Silence In The Forests Of Hell by Brian Sanderson : A woman will do whatever it takes to keep her Inn, and family safe. Liked this tale.

11.   A Queen In Exile by Sharon Kay Penman : A queen far from home has her life turned upside down when her brother passes. A good historical fiction piece.

12.   The Girl In The Mirror by Lev Grossman : An alright tale based on the world of The Magicians trilogy. A student sets out to get even with a fellow student and discovers that not every short cut is as it seems.

13.   Second Arabesque, Very Slowly by Nancy Kress : An ok tale. How far will one female go to create beauty in a post apocalyptic world. I had problems seeing how a virus that made 99 percent of the women in the world infertile, would cause the civilized world to collapse. Zombies, disease wiping out a large population I could see ending civilization.

14.   City Lazarus by Diana Rowland : A woman does anything she can to bring her beloved New Orleans back to life.

15.   Virgins by Diana Gabaldon : Two Scottish lads are assigned to escort a bride to his groom and soon discover that a should be simple trip is much more complicated. Alright tale.

16.   Hell Hath No Fury by Sherrilyn Kenyon : A curse, a treasure, and an angry ghost.

17.   Pronouncing Doom by S.M. Stirling : Not bad but I thing a prologue to set things up would have made the tale better. A post apocalyptic tale where machines no longer function, and civilization as it once was is gone.

18.   Name The Beast by Sam Sykes : A bit confusing to me. Prologue could have helped. A female huntress comes to understand her daughter, and kill the beasts that threaten their land. Ok tale.

19.   Caretakers by Pat Cadigan : Two sisters discover that tier mother’s nursing home has more going on than what it seems.

20.   Lies My Mother Told Me by Caroline Specter : A world changed by a virus that has altered some people with powers and others mutations. One special woman is terrorized by an unseen enemy who will stop at nothing to get what he wants.

21.   The Princess And The Queen by George R.R. Martin : A battle for the iron throne started by two woman, and fought by men and dragons.

     I would give this a two star rating. Most stories weren't that terrific, though a few I did like. Worth the time to read it, not so sure, though I usually pick these because they have an author or two I really like. This was Jim Butcher and George R.R. Martin in this collection. Though Brian Sanderson is a possible new author to check out. Otherwise no one caught my attention.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong

This is the first book in The Age of Legends trilogy.

     I am a fan of Armstrong. I fell in love with her stories, when I started reading Bitten, book one of her Otherworld series. So when I love or like an author, I usually give their new work. I was not disappointed.
     This story reads pretty fast. This installment has a lot of action, with some twists in it, and characters that one enjoys following. I just wish the world they inhabited was richer. One gets glimpses on how things are run in the society but I wish for bit more on the society and some of the history pertaining to the twins power, and how that came to be. Perhaps, in one of the other parts of this trilogy?
     Otherwise, the tale is an enjoyable read from start to finish. A wonderful fantasy read.