Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Book Review: "Assassin's Fate" by Robin Hobb


More than twenty years ago, the first epic fantasy novel featuring FitzChivalry Farseer and his mysterious, often maddening friend the Fool struck like a bolt of brilliant lightning. Now New York Times bestselling author Robin Hobb brings to a momentous close the third trilogy featuring these beloved characters in a novel of unsurpassed artistry that is sure to endure as one of the great masterworks of the genre.

Fitz’s young daughter, Bee, has been kidnapped by the Servants, a secret society whose members not only dream of possible futures but use their prophecies to add to their wealth and influence. Bee plays a crucial part in these dreams—but just what part remains uncertain.

As Bee is dragged by her sadistic captors across half the world, Fitz and the Fool, believing her dead, embark on a mission of revenge that will take them to the distant island where the Servants reside—a place the Fool once called home and later called prison. It was a hell the Fool escaped, maimed and blinded, swearing never to return.

For all his injuries, however, the Fool is not as helpless as he seems. He is a dreamer too, able to shape the future. And though Fitz is no longer the peerless assassin of his youth, he remains a man to be reckoned with—deadly with blades and poison, and adept in Farseer magic. And their goal is simple: to make sure not a single Servant survives their scourge. - taken from Amazon.com

I received a free ARC through Netgalley.com in exchange for a review.

Wow. Doesn't seem like twenty years ago when I first came across Robin Hobb's first book, Assassin's Apprentice, and I haven't missed any books over the handful of trilogies based in this world. So, one more time I have fallen back into Fitz's story....

Possible spoilers ahead - 'Ware!

As the third book in the Fitz and the Fool trilogy, the story continues with Fitz and the Fool and a few companions are in the belief his daughter Bee is dead. That being the case, they plan on assassinating the Servants, all of them, in vengeance. At the same time, Bee who is alive is trying to escape her kidnappers. In the long-short of it, both parties are headed to island of the Servants.

Without too many spoilers, Fitz finds Bee, and in the escape Fitz is left behind and the whole party of companions leave. Having left Fitz to die (he was pinned under debris and told them to go) the group travels back home, not knowing Fitz has actually survived (details you will have to read).

Ok ... enough of the story as I don't want to share how it ended....

Wow. I truly did tear up a bit towards the end of the story. Probably about where Fitz is trapped and left behind ... and then later when what happens, happens. I don't think a story has moved me as much as this one has, with me feeling so much for a character. Robin Hobb has done an immaculate job in creating this world and her characters! I hope to see more stories in this world-setting, and am hoping Hobb will continue the story of Bee, Nettle, and other characters.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Book Review: "Dead Man's Steel" by Luke Scull


As the “gripping”* epic from the author of Sword of the North continues, the Grim Company must battle a dangerous new enemy that is determined to destroy all of humanity...

In the City of Towers, former rebel Sasha and her comrade Davarus Cole struggle to keep the peace between the warring mages who vie for dominion. But when the White Lady sends Davarus south to the Shattered Realms to seek allies among the fallen kingdoms, he finds that his hardest battle may be one fought within. The godly essence now residing within him offers power that could be used against the Fade—but with every death that feeds It, Cole risks losing a part of himself.

An association with a Fade officer grants the Halfmage Eremul a position of privilege among Dorminia's new masters. He witnesses firsthand the fate that awaits humanity. But with his magic pitiful in the face of the Fade's advanced technology, the Halfmage must rely on his wits alone to save whom he can…

And in the frozen north, the legendary warrior Brodar Kayne fights a desperate battle for his people. He is running out of time: an ancient evil sealed beneath the mountains is about to break free, an evil that is older than humanity, older than the Fade, older even than the gods—and it will not stop until the entire world is drowned in blood… - from NetGalley.com

I received a free copy of this ebook through Netgalley.com, the author Luke Scull, and/or the publisher, Berkeley Publishing Group, in exchange for a review.

This is the third book in The Grim Company series. I really enjoyed this series, but unfortunately, this book pretty much ends the series. Not that I know how much further the story could have gone if it did continue. I was a bit miffed about the end results( I try not to give spoilers), but understand everyone doesn't always get a happily ever after. If you like sword and magic stories, this series is a must!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Books Review: "Blood of the Earth" and "Curse of the Land" by Faith Hunter



Blood of the Earth: Set in the same world as the New York Times bestselling Jane Yellowrock novels, an all-new series starring Nell Ingram, who wields powers as old as the earth.

When Nell Ingram met skinwalker Jane Yellowrock, she was almost alone in the world, exiled by both choice and fear from the cult she was raised in, defending herself with the magic she drew from her deep connection to the forest that surrounds her.

Now, Jane has referred Nell to PsyLED, a Homeland Security agency policing paranormals, and agent Rick LaFleur has shown up at Nell’s doorstep. His appearance forces her out of her isolated life into an investigation that leads to the vampire Blood Master of Nashville.

Nell has a team—and a mission. But to find the Master’s kidnapped vassal, Nell and the PsyLED team will be forced to go deep into the heart of the very cult Nell fears, infiltrating the cult and a humans-only terrorist group before time runs out… - from Netgalley.com

Curse on the Land: Set in the same world as Faith Hunter's New York Times bestselling Jane Yellowrock novels, the second Soulwood novel tells the story of a woman whose power comes from deep within the earth...
 
Before Nell Ingram met skinwalker Jane Yellowrock, she had no one to rely on, finding strength only in her arcane connection to the dark woods around her. But now she has friends in the newly formed PsyLED team to keep her grounded—even if being part of the agency responsible for policing paranormals comes with dangers of its own....
 
After training at the PsyLED academy, Nell returns home to her woods to find the land feeling sick and restless. And that sickness is spreading. With the help of her team, under the leadership of agent Rick LaFleur, Nell tries to determine the cause. But nothing can prepare them for the evil that awaits: an entity that feeds on death itself. And it wants more.... - from Netgalley.com

If you are not a Jane Yellowrock fan, then you may not enjoy these books as much as others. Since most of the story is derived from characters and events from the Yellowrock series, it could be hard to follow, but possible to read as a stand alone. Personally, being a fan, I had a hard time putting either of these down, and am doing them both together, and the praise is for the whole series and not just one book. I was kept entertained in both stories, bringing more depth to some characters that just pop in and out of the Yellowrock stories. There is the hanger as well, that there may be at least a third book, if not more coming for this new series! 

Book Review: "The Purloined Poodle" by Kevin Hearne


Thanks to his relationship with the ancient Druid Atticus O’Sullivan, Oberon the Irish wolfhound knows trouble when he smells it—and furthermore, he knows he can handle it.
When he discovers that a prizewinning poodle has been abducted in Eugene, Oregon, he learns that it’s part of a rash of hound abductions all over the Pacific Northwest. Since the police aren’t too worried about dogs they assume have run away, Oberon knows it’s up to him to track down those hounds and reunite them with their humans. For justice! And gravy!
Engaging the services of his faithful Druid, Oberon must travel throughout Oregon and Washington to question a man with a huge salami, thwart the plans of diabolical squirrels, and avoid, at all costs, a fight with a great big bear.
But if he’s going to solve the case of the Purloined Poodle, Oberon will have to recruit the help of a Boston terrier named Starbuck, survive the vegetables in a hipster pot pie, and firmly refuse to be distracted by fire hydrants and rabbits hiding in the rose bushes.
At the end of the day, will it be a sad bowl of dry kibble for the world’s finest hound detective, or will everything be coming up sirloins?
The Purloined Poodle is another exciting novella entry in Kevin Hearne’s New York Times best-selling Iron Druid series. - from Netgalley.com

What a great short story! I am a big fan of Hearne's 'Iron Druid' series, and one of the supporting characters is Oberon, Atticus' wolf hound. This short is written mostly from Oberon's point of view, and his slightly skewed, if not mis-informed viewpoint and definitions of things. A possible insight to how dogs think as well ,.. 

Enjoyed the story, though it was short. Looking forward to possible other short tales (tails?) from Oneron!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Book Review: "Level Grind" by Annie Bellet



An omnibus of the first seven books in the USA TODAY bestselling fantasy series—collected together for the first time in one volume. Jade Crow is a sorceress hiding from the most powerful sorcerer in the world: her ex-boyfriend.

Gamer. Nerd. Sorceress.

Jade Crow lives a quiet life running her comic book and game store in Wylde, Idaho, hiding from a powerful sorcerer who wants to eat her heart and take her powers—her ex-boyfriend Samir. Yet when dark powers threaten her friends’ lives, Jade must save them by using magic. But as soon as she does, her nemesis will find her and she won’t be able to stand up against him when he comes.

This is the collection of the first seven volumes of the Hugo Award nominated series: Justice CallingMurder of CrowsPack of LiesHunting Season;HeartacheThicker Than Blood; and Magic to the Bone. - from Netgalley.com

I received a free ARC through Netgalley.com in exchange for a review.

That being said, I requested this one without reading the description. I had started reading this series "The Twenty-Sided Sorceress" just a few weeks prior to coming across this book being available on Netgalley. Soooo, as I finished book seven, "Magic to the Bone", I was happy to see I had been approved for this book, thinking it was a new one to continue the series. Yes, I was a bit disappointed once I downloaded it, and began to read, to discover that it is an omnibus of the the series.

Needless to say, I found myself avidly reading each book of the series, and I doubt much of the story would be altered in this omnibus. I like how there is a mixture of magic and supernaturals, as well as the geek/nerd aspect of some of the characters. There is a bit of romance, but I don't think it got too overboard at anytime. Definitely awaiting further books to see how it all might end.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Book Review: "A City Dreaming" by Daniel Polansky


A powerful magician returns to New York City and reluctantly finds himself in the middle of a war between the city’s two most powerful witches.

“It would help if you did not think of it as magic. M certainly had long ceased to do so.” 

M is an ageless drifter with a sharp tongue, few scruples, and the ability to bend reality to his will, ever so slightly. He’s come back to New York City after a long absence, and though he’d much rather spend his days drinking artisanal beer in his favorite local bar, his old friends—and his enemies—have other plans for him. One night M might find himself squaring off against the pirates who cruise the Gowanus Canal; another night sees him at a fashionable uptown charity auction where the waitstaff are all zombies. A subway ride through the inner circles of hell? In M’s world, that’s practically a pleasant diversion.

Before too long, M realizes he’s landed in the middle of a power struggle between Celise, the elegant White Queen of Manhattan, and Abilene, Brooklyn’s hip, free-spirited Red Queen, a rivalry that threatens to make New York go the way of Atlantis. To stop it, M will have to call in every favor, waste every charm, and blow every spell he’s ever acquired—he might even have to get out of bed before noon.

Enter a world of Wall Street wolves, slumming scenesters, desperate artists, drug-induced divinities, pocket steampunk universes, and demonic coffee shops. M’s New York, the infinite nexus of the universe, really is a city that never sleeps—but is always dreaming. - from Amazon.com

I received a free ebook ARC through Netgalley.com in exchange for a review.

I have been on a Polansky kick for awhile now, since picking up "Low Town". When I saw that this book was available through Netgalley.com, I jumped at it. However, I feel I was a bit let down. Instead of a fairly straight-forward storyline, it comes across more as a collection of happenings/events in the main character's forays through the city. I only finished the book out of determination rather than interest. I have a few other books by Polansky on my to read list, and hope they are not similar to this one.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Book Review: "Don't Breath A Word" by Jennifer McMahon


Don’t Breathe a Word is a haunting page-turner that kept me up, spine shivering and enthralled, way past my bedtime.”
—Joshilyn Jackson, author of Gods in Alabama and Backseat Saints

“Jennifer McMahon never flinches and never fails to surprise…as [she] weaves a young couple into a perverse fairyland where Rosemary’s Baby could be at home.”
—Randy Susan Meyers, author of The Murderer’s Daughters

Two young lovers find themselves ensnared in a seemingly supernatural web that ties them to a young girl’s disappearance fifteen years earlier in this dark and twisty tale from the New York Times bestselling author of Island of Lost Girls and Promise Not to Tell. Jennifer NcMahon returns with a vengeance withDon’t Breathe a Word—an absolutely chilling and ingenious combination of psychological thriller, literary suspense, and paranormal page-turner that will enthrall a wildly diverse audience including, among others, avid fans of Keith Donohue (The Stolen Child), Laura Lippman (I’d Know You Anywhere), and Tana French.(In the Woods). - from Goodreads.com 

This was one heck of a creepy yet suspenseful story. Usually if I am not interested in the story within the first 50-100 pages, I won't finish it. This one started out slow, and somewhere in that page range, I was hooked. The story jumps back and forth over two summers, one at present day, the other fifteen years prior. The early one, a girl became missing: this girl was the sister and cousin of two of the characters.

I'm not going to go into detail, but that earlier summer, the sister, brother and cousin, were all mixed up in a make-believe of there being fairies. Up to the point when the girl comes up missing. Throughout the back and forth from that early summer and present day, the story goes flippin' weird. By the time I got to the last chapter, I had no idea what to think, except that this was a pretty creepy, ugly story, and certainly did not seem to have anything to do with the fantasy and fairies. Then I read that last chapter, and was like .... yeah.

Kudos to the author. I read the book in about two days because I couldn't put it down. Four stars ... only because the creep factor was too high.