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Jack of Kinrowan: Jack the Giant-Killer and Drink Down the Moon
Charles de Lint
Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries
Neil deGrasse Tyson
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
L. Frank Baum
The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicle, #1)
Patrick Rothfuss
The Sweet Scent of Blood
Suzanne McLeod
Shadow's Edge
Brent Weeks
Darkwood
M.E. Breen, Molly Breen
The Poison Eaters and Other Stories
Holly Black
This Side of the Grave
Jeaniene Frost
Zoo City
Lauren Beukes

When the World Was Flat (and We Were in Love)

When the World Was Flat (and we were in love) - Ingrid Jonach Still mulling over this. I actually finished this earlier in the week, but I'm still feeling everything out. I kind of like how the inter-dimensional travel worked. There were some developments that I thought could have been explored a bit more, especially in the end where lots of stuff was happening very quickly.I wasn't sure about the love interest, but then I don't think I was really supposed to be. However, since the love interest basically took up a good portion of the book, I'm left a little "Hmmmm."If you are a romance super-purist, you might have some issues. Scratch that. If you are a romance super-purist you WILL have some issues.For me, not having this be a conventional romance saved it.I liked a lot of the possibilities, and I will be keeping the author on my watch list to see what she cooks up next.[received an ARC]

The Woken Gods

The Woken Gods - Gwenda Bond Originally posted at Stellar Four: http://www.stellarfour.com/2013/09/books-read-new-series-found.htmlI love mythology, and books where the various pantheons exist in the same world (witnessed by my love of Hearne's Iron Druid and Andrews' Kate Daniels series), are devoured like candy-coated written goodness. In bond's YA Woken Gods, it is five years since all of gods from all of the cultures around the world woke up. Chaos ensued until the Society emerged bearing relics that could hurt and even kill the gods. An uneasy truce remains, with the Trickster gods, Legba, Loki, Coyote, Enki and others, acting as go-betweens with the Society. Our story takes place in DC, home to the gods' embassies and our heroine, Kyra. She lives with her dad who works long hours as a researcher for the Society, her mom went crazy at the awakening and isn't around, and Kyra spends her time with her friends and trying to get a reaction out of her dad. To say she has trust issues is a massive understatement. Of course, soon her life is turned upside down, secrets come out and she is in a race against time to save everything that matters to her.I enjoyed this one a lot. With the action taking place in the city, we get to see a bit of what it is like to live with the gods, with a few mentions of what life might be like outside in the rest of the world. There is definitely more to discover in this universe. I liked the characters. There isn't really a love triangle (definitely not with the main character), and although there is romance, this is not one where Kyra does stupid things because of her feelings for a boy (in the midst of dangerous dealings with powerful deities). Also of note, there are no bad boys. The male characters do not treat the female characters horribly because of their gender, or to "push them away for their own good" or any of the other common tropes. I liked that very much. The end goes quickly, maybe a little too fast, and I'm hoping that we get the continuing adventures of Woken Gods soon. It's not a cliffhanger, but there is much to be explored still in this world.[received a review copy]
Charmed I'm Sure - Elliott James First posted at Stellar Four:http://www.stellarfour.com/2013/09/books-read-new-series-found.htmlThis one is a prequel short story for the new Pax Arcana series. The title sounds quite cute and charming, but those aren't the words I'd use to describe this world. It is another one where the world is really effed up. The whole story was pretty much a long action scene, so I was happy. Our MC comes from a long line of Knights who fight the supernatural creatures that prey on humanity. He is also something else. I was intrigued before, and now I am really looking forward to book 1. I have a feeling there is going to be a lot of collateral damage in this series.Charming, book 1 in the series, is out September 24.
This Case Is Gonna Kill Me - Phillipa Bornikova Rounding up to 4 starsI liked it. The world was interesting. Def unfinished and there is still lots to unravel.It was well-paced, kept my attention. Not a kickass female lead in the physical sense, but she wasn't a pushover either.

Generation V

Generation V - M.L. Brennan First posted over at Stellar Four: http://www.stellarfour.com/2013/09/books-read-new-series-found.html4.5 starsFort is a vampire, but he is still a very young one, so he doesn't have the super strength or healing abilities of a fully transitioned vampire. He is trying desperately to remain human, much to the disgust of his older (and I mean OLDER brother and sister). Then he meets a visiting vampire who makes his psychotic sister look like Mother Theresa, and soon Fort is faced with putting his life on the line to stop him. Throw in a kitsune bodyguard who loves messing with him and soon the normally peaceful Fort is up to his ears in asskicking, even if his is the only ass getting kicked.First of all, my thought through many parts was, "This is effed up." And it is, wonderfully, magnificently effed up. Horrible things happen, the whole way vampires are created in this world is nightmare fuel, and we have a MC who realizes how messed up his world is but feels powerless. Fort is a loser when we meet him. He abhors violence but sees all confrontation as a negative which means he is a doormat. I loved watching him grow.Also, there is a nod to the very dark side of the devoted vampire lover that I felt was a very good touch.I will be reading the next book, Iron Knight, out in January 2014.

Along Came a Spider (Transplanted Tales)

Along Came a Spider - Kate SeRine 4.5 Stars, might be my fav of the series so far.Again, SeRine delivers a very fun, romantic, action-packed romp full of fairytale, nursery rhyme and literary characters. Our couple is wonderful. As the FMA's medical examiner, Trish has her own way of reading the final thoughts of the dead. Nicky was one of my favs from Red, and I was so happy for him to have his chance at Happily Ever After. These two came into the Ordinary world at the same time, but while Nicky pursued a life of crime, Trish used her talents to serve in the FMA. I loved watching them together. Nicky is charming and Trish is a lot tougher than she first appears. They work so very well.The action was good and there is a furthering of the dangers of living side by side with an unknowing Ordinary world. It seems as though some ends are tied up, but we'll see. There is so much that can happen in this world. It will be interesting to discover where this goes in future stories.We get to see Red and Nate as well as Lavender and Seth. Gideon also plays a part, and I can't wait for his story in book 4. SeRine knows how to craft a fantastic romantic hero - just the right amount of charm, swagger and power without going full neanderthal. I love the heroines too - smart, capable, imperfect, and very easy to root for.[received an ARC]
Magic Rises - Ilona Andrews Damn good book.Sure, there was a certain character I wanted to punch, but I thought it was all done well.Excellent action, humor, and we see Kate progressing as Consort.Still mulling it over and writing the rev...
Fated - Benedict Jacka Working on rev...Liked this one a lot. Interesting magic, good characters, good action. Not as kickass as my usual UF reads, but the MC did fine in his own way.
Under the Empyrean Sky - Chuck Wendig I've read and enjoyed several of Wendig's adult books, so when I learned about this YA trilogy, I knew it would be on my list. I expected good action, interesting characters, and the author's unique approach to dialogue. Yes, Virginia, there are swears in these pages, but honestly, there were stronger words in Goonies (my earliest recollection of children swearing in film). There is violence, some graphic, and a sexual relationship that is not described in any graphic detail. Now that the housekeeping is attended to, on to the real big question: Did I like the book?Yes, this was a good read. This action-junkie was happy, the story's pace was quick, the characters were multi-dimensional, the adults were not idiots (or at least, not all of them), and the main character, Cael, was believable. Imperfect, loyal, cocky, at first glance you might think that he is a trouble-maker with little care for his family, but that is not the case. He is driven by the constant warring between what he truly wants from life and his responsibility to his family and their place in the rather horrible Heartland.The world is fascinating. Rampant genetic engineering of corn has decimated almost all other crops, taxed the land to the breaking point, and made everyone who lives on land lower than the dirt they stand upon. Meanwhile, the elite Empyreans float through the sky in their flotillas, living lives of luxury. The Heartlanders lives are heavily regulated. Your spouse is chosen by chance; you have no say in it.Cael and his friends are the number 2 scavenging team in their town. The mayor's son is on top and will use any means to stay there. Cael wants to marry Gwennie, but he only has a slight chance that it will happen. His sister has run away again, his mother is deathly ill, and his father seems to have given up on caring for anything. Of course, there are plenty of secrets awaiting discovery, mistakes to be made, friendships to be tested, lives to fight for, and Cael's existence will never be the same.I enjoyed the ride and will get my ticket for book 2.[received ARC to review]

Playing Tyler

Playing Tyler - T.L. Costa YA Sci fi with gamers and a simulator that is more than it appears.You know I love the YA books, and the vast majority of my YA reads have been female-lead. Ani, half of the narrating duo in this one, is fantastic - super smart, isolated, lonely, with a lot to learn about the "real world". In most of my reads, the lead male character is the bad boy, the almost too perfect crush, etc. In this one, Tyler is so perfectly imperfect. I found him to be very believable and likable.Struggling with ADHD, Tyler is a swirling mix of thoughts and emotions. So much is going wrong in his life: his brother is in rehab, his mother is emotionally distant, he is struggling with school. Then his mentor, Rick, gives him a chance to beta a new flight simulator. If he does well, it might lead to flight school. It also introduces him to legendary gamer, Ani.For Ani, Tyler is both the person who beat her champion score, but also the only other gamer who was polite to her. They aren't supposed to see each other past Ani's initial set up of his system, but these two, of course, are perfect for each other.This is a fast-paced read, and a YA with romance that is low on the angst-o-meter. Yes, it feels very inevitable, but honestly so do 99% of the romances I've read. I accept that.I liked how the author introduced aspects of a longterm war overseas, the use of drones, how war effects the children of soldiers, PTSD, and the sometimes shadier aspects of businesses that profit from war. Tyler and Ani have both lost their fathers. Tyler's was killed by a drunk driver shortly before he shipped out. He looks to follow in his father's footsteps, to join the Air Force and serve his country. Ani's father is still alive, but suffers from PTSD. His actions after returning home landed him in jail, basically taking him out of her life. She has seen a negative effect that war can have on the human psyche and that influences her reactions.As far as the supporting characters, Rick is a very interesting character. I liked that we got to see him from two different perspectives. Brandon, Tyler's drug-addicted brother, is tragic and you feel Tyler's frustration and despair in every scene the two share.I will be looking for more from Costa.[received an ARC to review]

Gwynneth Ever After

Gwynneth Ever After - Linda Poitevin This was a quick, cute read. Contemporary romance, no monsters, no I haven't been abducted by aliens.I've actually read Poitevin's monsters before, and she writes them well.This time, however, we are in Ottawa with an architect who is raising three kids alone after her ex walked out, and a famous movie star in town for mysterious reasons.Gwyneth (with 2 n's) or Gwyn was easy to identify with. She is a bit harried, but has built up a strong support system. She is afraid of getting into a relationship again and is always conscious of the welfare of her kids.Gareth is the wonderful hero who is rich, an actor, washes the dishes and even helps out with the kids. Not perfect, but pretty close. The not perfect part comes in the rather large secret he has been carrying around with him.There was a bit of believability stretching with how fast Gareth starting helping out with the whole family, but it's a Romance so it was easy to get past it. It helped that Gwyn and Gareth were just so cute together and very sweet.Yes, there are adorable moppets. I didn't find them annoying.There is some angst, but this is a fast-paced read so we were past it quickly. Gareth's secret is a doozy, but like I said, the quick pace sped through it. Also, I liked the two of them together. They worked for me.[received ARC to review]

Moon Over Soho

Moon Over Soho - Ben Aaronovitch The last line: so so awesome. Makes me want to read book 3 right now.I just wrote this over at The Book Smuggler's discussion of the Peter Grant series, and it pretty much sums up my feelings on the book so:I went through much of Moon Over Soho thinking, “Peter is an idiot.” And he is. He has a LOT to learn. His mentor has been operating under the delusion that magic is waning. This is their wake-up call.I also spent the book thinking, “Peter needs Leslie.” He absolutely can’t do this by himself. He has a Dumbledore, but no Ron & Hermione. The last lines of the book made me want to read book 3.I like that he has a lot of learning to do. He is so far from perfect, but I did feel some progression, defintely enough that I want to continue reading. I still have to get to book 3.I also love the many PoC characters. There is a short passage that I read just as all of the SFWA mess hit twitter that did resonate:“‘Just to satisfy my curiosity, you understand,’ said Nightingale, ‘given that the only people ever likely to hear us say the words black magician are you, me, and Dr. Walid, why is changing them so important?’‘Because I don’t think the old world’s coming back anytime soon,’ I said. ‘In fact, I think the new world might be arriving.’” – Moon Over Soho, Ben Aaronovitch

Archangel's Kiss (Guild Hunter Series #2)

Archangel's Kiss  - Nalini Singh Still working on rev...-Between a 3 & 4.-Middle book.-Book 1 was very fast-paced, this one not.-The world is amazing. We learn more about angels & Raphael's Seven.-I think I am in alphahole overload right now. Raphael in the beginning pissed me off. Things on the relationship side felt a bit more balanced by the end (a bit).-End was way fast. Too fast after such a slow-paced front end.-Still want to read on in the series.

Archangel's Kiss (Guild Hunter Series #2)

Archangel's Kiss  - Nalini Singh Still working on rev...-Between a 3 & 4.-Middle book.-Book 1 was very fast-paced, this one not.-The world is amazing. We learn more about angels & Raphael's Seven.-I think I am in alphahole overload right now. Raphael in the beginning pissed me off. Things on the relationship side felt a bit more balanced by the end (a bit).-End was way fast. Too fast after such a slow-paced front end.-Still want to read on in the series.
Stink and the Midnight Zombie Walk (Stink Series #7) - Megan McDonald,  Read by Barbara Rosenblat While I can't really see an elementary school going this zombie crazy, it was a fun read for the kiddos. Lots of "vomitocious" things. Low-grade creepy that was just the right amount, but not nightmare-fuel. A big plug for reading.

The Pirate's Wish

The Pirate's Wish - Cassandra Rose Clarke Note: This is a book 2. Some parts of this review will be spoilery if you haven't read book 1, The Assassin's Curse (link goes to my review). That book was fantastic, so go read it if you love YA, action adventure, and fairytales.Once again, I devoured this book, world and characters. Right away, as we get back into the mind of Ananna, our strong, clever pirate princess, I was enthralled. Her voice is unique and it was easy to get back into this world and our continuing adventure.Ananna and Naji are still pretty much where we left them. They are stuck on a dangerous island with no way off, and they have three impossible tasks to accomplish to break the curse that binds them together (or at least binds Naji to Ananna; luckily for him she didn't cut and run). Or at least Naji thinks he has three impossible tasks. Ananna knows the third task, receive a kiss from a true love is not impossible because she loves him. Of course, she thinks it is impossible that he could love her...Add in a dangerous manticore, more pirates, new friends, old enemies, tons of danger, battles, treacherous enemies from the Mists and you have a rollicking adventure.Ananna makes this story for me. I absolutely love her. She might not be book smart, but she is clever, brave, well-balanced, and she can weather any storm. I have read many stories containing unrequited love. When I know that the character will not dissolve into a puddle of goo nor cast herself from a cliff if her love isn't returned, I am a much more satisfied reader. I never felt that everything about Ananna was tied into her romantic feelings. Yes if he doesn't love her back, she will grieve, be upset, but she will live and find her own happiness. She is more than just the other half of a relationship. And that makes any ending or HEA that comes all the sweeter.Clarke is not done with this world, The Wizard's Promise will be out in 2014. It involves other characters and I believe deals with the next generation.If you love action, adventure, fantasy and fairytales, you might want to give this one a try. I would put it in an older YA fantasy category.[received a review copy]