Tag Archives: book review

Book Review: The Art of Hiding

I’ve just started reviewing books over at The Lit Buzz and my first review went up this week!

The Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse made me choke up on the bus in the first chapter and was an insanely intense contemporary fiction book that left me gut-stabbed yet hopeful.

Head on over for the full review!

Book Review: The Silent

This is so much later than I intended it to be, and I probably owe Elizabeth Hunter an apology and a martini (or three), but here it is!

The Irin Chronicles (specifically The Scribe) were my introduction to Elizabeth Hunter. I’m pretty sure I read it at the insistence of my PSM, who occasionally introduces me to something good (and other times, according to my Facebook memories from today, insists I read shark-shifter romances that turn out to be not so good). She obviously hit the ball out of the park with this one.  Now here we are, 3 years later (I read it in 2014) and I’m reviewing an ARC of The Silent for you. (I’ve reviewed the third and fourth books in the series previously, in case you’re interested.)

The Blurb

They are called kareshta, the silent ones.
But the silent are waking.

Kyra has lived her life in the shadow of a powerful Grigori brother. She’s ignored her own desires for the good of her family, but an unexpected request from Thailand sends her on a mission that could change her life and alter the fate of free Grigori all over the world. Sons of the Fallen hidden in the mountains of Thailand have adapted an ancient human magic for their own purposes. Will this practice bring peace or lead to even greater danger for the Irin race?

A simple diplomatic mission sends Leo to Bangkok, but he didn’t expect to see a familiar face in surveillance photographs. He’s tried everything to drive Kyra from his mind, since he was convinced the gentle kareshta wanted to hide from the world. How did she turn up halfway across the globe, living with Grigori who may or may not be Irin allies?

Leo has bided his time. He’s given Kyra her space.

But this scribe is ready to hear a kareshta sing.

The Cover

 

The Review

Ugh. This was so good. (<—this was literally my entire review for a week.) I’ve never been to Thailand, and haven’t even much cared about the idea of going. There are so many other places on my bucket list that SE Asia doesn’t even register. But now? Now I want to go. So thank you, Ms. Hunter, for costing me future money. (Seriously. Thank you!)

Like all the Irin Chronicles, the world building in this book is just incredible. I’ve long enjoyed Leo but hadn’t much paid attention to Kyra before. I’m disappointed in myself and went back and reread The Secret just to make sure I could properly appreciate her.

I really enjoyed the character development of Kyra throughout this book as she goes from someone who is strong but willing to hide her light (out of necessity) to a commanding presence.

And the sex? Whoa. Elizabeth Hunter brought the goods this time. I wouldn’t have thought a “losing your virginity” sex scene could be so…steamy. *fans self*

The Verdict

I’m never not going to recommend that you head out and buy everything Elizabeth Hunter’s ever written. This series is so amazing, and trust me when I say you want to read every single book in it.

The Disclaimer

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

 

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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.)