Tag Archives: book review

Book Review: Dustwalker

I paid cash money for this book, so this wasn’t one of those free ARC situations. However, I am acquainted with 1/2 of the authors and converse with her via FB chat almost daily.

Neither of the above facts are going to color my review.

THIS BOOK WAS SO GOOD.

There. That’s all you need to know. But, if you must have more, keep scrolling.

The Cover

 

The Blurb

A SYNTH SEARCHING FOR PURPOSE…

Walk. Scavenge. Destroy. Trade. A simple cycle that’s suited Ronin for one hundred and eighty-five years. With no clear grasp of his programming, the barren wasteland known as The Dust offers him purpose, a place where his armored undercasing, amped-up processors, and advanced optics can be put to use. The ramshackle towns on the edges of the waste serve merely as resupply stations between increasingly long treks. But one night — one human woman — makes him question everything.

A WOMAN WHO BRINGS HIM TO LIFE…

Lara Brooks struggles to survive under the strict rules imposed by the bots in Cheyenne. With her sister missing, she’s been on her own for weeks, and fears the worst. Her only hope comes from Ronin, a bot she catches spying on her. He promises to provide for Lara and search for her sister. All she has to do is dance. It should be easy; she’s done it before. But the longer she spends with Ronin, the harder it is to see him as just another bot.

A SANCTUARY HIDING DARK SECRETS…

In a city where humans are relegated to live in squalor, Ronin discovers a threat greater than any in the Dust — Warlord, Cheyenne’s tyrannical leader. When Ronin ignores the rules, he unwittingly puts Lara in danger. Warlord is as intolerant of disrespect as he is of mankind.

The Review

I’ll be honest. I might not have picked up this book if it wasn’t by someone I know. More honesty: my life is better because I did. I don’t read a lot of sci-fi romance, but I’m going to be rectifying that IMMEDIATELY.

I was hooked almost immediately. I love me a Romeo and Juliet story (although I prefer they not end with miscommunication and teenage suicide) (this one did not end with teen suicide due to miscommunication), I love rebellions, and I love the whole premise of the post-nuclear apocalypse with no real recollection as to exactly what happened, but a separation between the ‘bots and humans.

It’s a brutal world, and Tiffany Roberts does an amazing job describing that brutality in a way that really grabs at you and doesn’t let go. The world-building is fantastic and completely believable.

I imagine it’s difficult to write a robot (synth – a ‘bot that was programmed to adapt and change like a human) while maintaining their decided non-human characteristics. This book doesn’t have any trouble doing that. Ronin’s thought processes clearly keep him on the bot side of the spectrum, even when he’s becoming more “human” with his emotional reactions. I especially love the precision in which he measures time.

Lara is angry. Very angry. But this makes sense. She’s had a hard life. Human are subsistence farmers. Scrap gatherers. Subject to the bot Warlord who runs everything with cruelty. She’s had a brutal time of it, and most of that can be traced back to the bots of Cheyenne. The fact that she’s able to move past her anger enough to even consider softening to Ronin is amazing.

My only bone of contention with this story is the rape. It’s a flashback rape, but a rape nonetheless (and you all know how I feel about rape scenes – so many better ways, in my opinion, to torture someone and give them PTSD). But, in this case, I’m not going to deduct stars for it. Although I’m knee-jerk sensitive about rape being used as a method of torment, specifically for women, this violation added to the story and the protagonist’s character in a such a way that it’s hard to imagine it not having happened. (I’m still going to call out ever rape in every book I read, but I’ll always admit when I think they’re defensible.)

The Quotes

“I think, I reason, I react to the world around me. I question what I know and see, and I wonder what the future might bring, though I know it won’t likely be different than the past. I hope!”
– Ronin

Many humans viewed robots as tools, more akin to the handheld electronic devices they were so infatuated with than to themselves. Many others, like William, recognized our emergent consciousness, intelligence, and personality, and saw something inherently human in mind, if not in body.

[Lara:] “Smart ass.”
[Ronin:] “My ass is, at best, of average intelligence.”

 

The Verdict – 4.5 stars

This book was smart, funny, emotionally challenging, and all-around fantastic. I laughed out loud at parts (see above quote about the smart ass) and cried out loud (on the bus, damn you Tiffany!). This makes me eager to dive into everything else they’ve written. So do yourself a favor and buy it!

Book Review: The Waning Moon

Today, I have a special book review. Not gonna lie-I got this one for free! (In a manner of speaking, of course.)

So, the author of this one is pretty. And smart. And nice. Most of the time. When she’s not murdering.

The Blurb

Eleanor Morgan is on a quest that will destroy technology but save two worlds.

With two gates down and six to go, Eleanor and her companions are in a race against time and innumerable supernatural enemies to restore magical balance and free passage between the mortal world and the Fae plane.

Eleanor must learn to rely on her allies and her own abilities if she’s going to survive, but trust is hard to come by. Betrayed by her best friend, she must learn to depend on and work with her new supernatural companions while navigating a tempestuous relationship with Isaac, developing a friendship with the vampire Raj, and learning to master her magical gifts with the help of Florence.

Can she successfully navigate a world of mixed allegiances where everyone has their own agenda before the magical imbalance destroys two worlds?

The Cover

The Review

This was obviously the best book that’s been written since The Cardinal Gate came out in late February. You’ll love it. There’s laughter and sexy times and lots of killing! It’s great.

Buy it now!

Amazon (paperback and kindle)

Nook

(Heya, Nook readers! Grab it now – it’ll be exclusively on Amazon in about three weeks.)

So buy it! Enjoy it! Read it! Review it!

Book Review: Reluctant Hood

Reluctant Hood is the first book by Kendrai Meeks. Kendrai is, presumably a pseudonym since her author profile on Amazon says she’s published a whole lot of other books, but her real identity remains a mystery. Probably. I can’t even remember.

After tracking her down to her lair, I begged for an ARC of Reluctant Hood because I wanted to read it so badly. I offered favors of all kinds, but unfortunately for everyone involved, I got the ARC no-strings-attached. (However, I am going to believe that the author likes me so much that she named the MC’s roommate after me. The roommate, Amy, who is a bit promiscuous, drinks a bit much…you know what? Obviously a very different Amy.)

The Blurb

Gerwalta Kline has wished all her life to escape the weight of being named after her infamous ancestor Die Verräterin, the betrayer, better known by humans as Little Red Riding Hood. Unlike the fairy tale heroine, the historical figure defiled her legacy, leading to her being executed for the high crime of mating a werewolf. Desperate to keep history from repeating itself, Geri turns away from her legacy, denies her birthright, defies her controlling mother, and endeavors to live as a human.

Fate is a fickle thing however, and it almost seems like Gerwalta’s name is her curse. In Chicago, she soon encounters Tobias Somfield, a wolf far away from his packlands in England, tracking another of his kind Tobias claims was kidnapped by a cabal of vampires. The last thing Geri wants is to get involved with a lone wolf’s problems, but circumstances don’t give her much choice. Tobias is right about one thing; the vampires in Chicago are up to something. Whatever it is spells troubles for hoods and wolves alike. Even if it means working with a wolf she can’t help but find attractive, and knowing from experience the danger of stepping off that cliff, Geri finds herself acting the part of a reluctant hood.

The Cover

I have to tell you, I friend-requested Kendrai on Facebook when I saw the book cover because it looked so awesome. I also noticed we had a couple mutual friends, so I figured she wasn’t going to use my pretty public FB information to track me down and axe murder me. (She’s more of a silver knife kinda gal, I think.)

This cover is gorgeous. GORGEOUS. And it’s perfect for the book. Sometimes I see a beautiful cover and then read the book and am confused as to how the two are related. This one? Not so much.

The Review

I unreservedly loved this book. The writing style perfectly matched with Geri’s character and the story unfolded beautifully and brilliantly. Urban fantasy is one of my favorite genres to read (probably my very favorite fiction genre) and is obviously my favorite to write (until my self-help book series, tentatively titled, “If you give me all your money, you’ll feel really awesome about yourself,” subtitle: “I’m like a faith healer, but without the god(s)”).

The world-building in this book was unique without being unbelievable (or at least any more unbelievable than an urban fantasy novel featuring werewolves, vampires, and hoods could possibly be). The characters are well-developed without being predictable. There were surprises throughout the novel and uncertain alliances and motivations that seemed in-character, believable, and in one very memorable circumstance, extremely upsetting.

The arc was well-paced, action-packed, and fast enough to leave me breathless (and unable to put the book down) without feeling like I’d been hit by a runaway were-train. After finishing, I accused the author of disrupting my sleep patterns and making me paranoid about being locked in my doctor’s office after hours on a Saturday. I’m sure she repented quietly and feels terrible.

The Quotes

Geri is funny. And her sense of humor is desert-dry — my favorite kind.

“Why clip-ons?” [Amy] asked, baffled by the choice [of gold earrings]. “Your ears are pierced.”

I could hardly tell her because, in the event of a vampire attack, I didn’t want to tempt fate further by pulling out a traditional post earring to defend myself, thus drawing said vampire’s attention to a wound gushing his favorite cocktail.

Heh.

“You’re asking to abduct my friend and feed from her on the honor system? Fine, take Amy. Let’s see how much they bust your balls when they find out you had to force her to go home with you. All your vampy charm and Jedi mind tricks, and you can’t even pick up someone on a college campus…”

Apparently, that’s how you piss off a baby vamp.

The Verdict

Read it. Now. You won’t be sorry! And then pester the author unrelentingly until she gives you book #2. (Seriously, this is a fantastic read and a great start to what I’m hoping is a very, very long series.)

 

Motivational Monday

Today, I has none. Someone told my uterus about the upcoming ablation and it is unleashing the anger of a thousand uterii on me. We’re talking full-on worst PMS in recent memory complete with killer headache, extreme nausea (so extreme), dizziness, low back ache, cramps, and the full on abattoir experience.

(I’m currently working on keeping down my breakfast and 50,000 IU Vitamin D. Fingers crossed.)

Last week was overall pretty good on the health front, though. I walked more steps in 7 days than I had since July of last year when I was chasing Pokemon all over Portland. I ate 85% vegan and 99% dairy free. I meditated 5/7 days, did my plank challenge 6/7 days, got to bed at a reasonable hour 5/7 days, and scheduled my acupuncture & therapy appointments. So much winning.

This week is a busy one – specifically Wednesday when I’m doing my cover reveal post, hitting “go” on all the presales, and also having a minor procedure for which I’ve been prescribed so many drugs! I promise your “Three Things Thursday” post will be written under the influence. (Also, no one is allowed to communicate with me on Thursday because the combination of drugs I’ll be on has a tendency to make me harshly, brutally honest and to want to share that honesty with everyone. Exceptions to the communication blackout rule: the beer guy (because he has to communicate with me by virtue of being my ride home) and my PSM  (because she probably deserves some drug-fueled texts after all the times I’ve gotten ambien texts from her).

Check back in tomorrow for a review of a fantastic urban fantasy book I read last week. Wednesday will have The Waning Moon cover reveal & presale info, Thursday will be a drug-riddled post that’s sure to delight everyone, and Friday I’m planning a mini-review of some of the self-help books I’ve read recently.

Happy week!

 

 

Book Review: White Hot

“White Hot,” the second in Ilona Andrews’s “Hidden Legacy” series should be called “Mad Rogan is so hot I think several important undergarments melted.” Although that’s a bit long for a title, so I guess “White Hot” is acceptable.

I was first introduced to Ilona Andrews in their (Ilona Andrews is a husband & wife writing team) Kate Daniels series, which is in the top three of my all-time favorite urban fantasy series. (Serieses? No, series.)

When the first Hidden Legacy book came out, I ordered and devoured. This one ratcheted up my satisfaction a couple more notches. Heh.

The Cover

The Blurb

Nevada Baylor has a unique and secret skill—she knows when people are lying—and she’s used that magic (along with plain, hard work) to keep her colorful and close-knit family’s detective agency afloat. But her new case pits her against the shadowy forces that almost destroyed the city of Houston once before, bringing Nevada back into contact with Connor “Mad” Rogan.

Rogan is a billionaire Prime—the highest rank of magic user—and as unreadable as ever, despite Nevada’s “talent.” But there’s no hiding the sparks between them. Now that the stakes are even higher, both professionally and personally, and their foes are unimaginably powerful, Rogan and Nevada will find that nothing burns like ice . . .

The Review

I want Mad Rogan in my life. Like whoa, you guys. And by “in my life,” I mean “in the part of my life where the bedroom is.” (Sorry, baby…but sometimes I’m very attracted to fictional characters. It’s probably time you knew, anyway.)

In the parts of my life where I’m not having unrequited lust for a fictional mage, I’m also rereading Ilona Andrews’s Kate Daniels series and I am blown away by how much their writing style has developed and matured over the years. Not that Kate Daniels isn’t very well done – it absolutely is – but this is masterful.

The world-building is fantastic. It’s easy to believe in a world where “primes” (mages of extraordinary talent) basically run things and local law enforcement back down when it’s a magical dispute.

The development of Nevada’s and Connor’s relationship is really fantastic. There’s not much of the fantasy/romance trope of lying to each other for the other’s own good (although there’s a bit of that), and the way Connor’s PTSD is written is fantastically heart-breaking and brilliantly crafted.

The sex? Ummm…yeah. This was steamy. Also, I’m kinda hoping that, in lieu of luring Mad Rogan into my bed, maybe there are classes on sensual telekinesis out there for the budding mage/live-in boyfriend to invest in? What?! Not only is my new boyfriend fictional, so is telekineses?

Dammit. What are you even doing out there scientists? Forget all that “curing cancer” and “improving technology to lessen the effects of climate change.” Make me some magic to enhance my sexy times!

AHEM. Sorry. I’m cool.

Narrator: She is not cool.

The story development is fast-moving without running away and the details (I don’t care what my PSM says, I am not getting ferrets no matter how useful they’d be if I could psychically communicate with them) are seamlessly incorporated in a way that not only lends strength to the overall structure of the story but doesn’t detract from it by triggering a failure of my suspension of disbelief.

The supporting cast – Nevada’s family, mostly – makes me long to live in a big warehouse with family! (Not mine, though. I’d choose hers, even if they do have some annoying qualities.) Her grandmother is the best and the sisters and cousins are a perfect representation of teenagers who are blessed with extraordinary powers and are coming into their own with the extraordinary sense of responsibility.

The Quote

“Rogan, I snapped a man’s neck with my bare hands. I don’t even know how I did it.”
“Well,” he said. “You did it well. Too well even.”
I stared at him.
“It was quick,” he said. “He didn’t suffer nearly enough.”

Grandma Frida tore into the motor pool from the street…[wearing] her “talk to the hand” face. She also carried a can of spray paint in her hand.
“She marked all of the ATVs with her initials!” Hahn declared.
“Because they’re mine,” grandma Frida growled.”
“She doesn’t get all the ATVs.”
“Yes, I do. I tagged them, they’re mine.”

I love Grandma Frida, y’all. Love. Her. She named her tank (because of course she has a tank) Romeo.

The Verdict

If you enjoy urban fantasy with a bit of hot, hot Mad Rogan and some pretty sexy sex, you’ll enjoy this. I know I did. A lot. *wipes sweat from brow* Solid 4.25 stars.