Welcome to my train of thought. Just a warning, there might be turbulence. I'm a little eccentric, but hopefully you'll find something here that'll make the crazy worth it. Stay tuned for book reviews, ramblings on random things, and all sorts of stuff that tickles my fancy. But keep your hands and arms inside the vehicle at all times. My brain is a scary place!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Review: Wildfire

Wildfire Wildfire by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Dearest Ilona and Gordon,

As one of your devoted worshipers, I beg and pray of you to please continue this series. I love it. The world... the characters... the magic... the houses... the heat... the naughty bits...

I NEED MORE! *offers human sacrifices to the writing-gods*

What? You think I'd sacrifice animals? I like animals better than people. I also like books better than people. So, "Ilona Andrews"... GIMME!

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Monday, August 7, 2017

Review: Illegal Contact

Illegal Contact Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thanks to the publishers and Netgalley for providing me with this copy in exchange for an honest review.

Wow, Santino Hassell, I hadn't read you before, but I'll be reading your books in the future. I'm in lust/love with Gavin Brawley, and Noah was adorable as well. The characters were realistic, the development was great, and the sexy times were hot!!!

As much as I love some of my other favorite MM books/series (like Ty & Zane or Travis & Charlie), it was refreshing to read a book written by an actual gay male who, unlike the female authors who still do a great job, actually knows what it's like to be a gay male in 2017.

If you're into MM novels at all, pick this one up. You won't be disappointed. #yowza

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Friday, July 28, 2017

Review: Urban Enemies

Urban Enemies Urban Enemies by Joseph Nassise
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.

This anthology included some really excellent stories... and added quite a few series to my TBR pile. Can't wait to pick some of them up!
Even Hand by Jim Butcher
Villain & Series: Gentleman John Marcone, The Dresden Files
My Series Status: Devoted Follower/Obsessee
Stars: Five

Even Hand was a great little story, but way too short. I've always been intrigued by Gentleman John Marcone, and seeing inside his head for this one, getting a deeper glimpse into his psyche, just wasn't enough for me. He's in quite a few of the books in the main series, but I really wish he'd play a bigger role over all. With the "apocalyptic trilogy" ender coming up (in five books, so ok, not the near future), maybe he'll jump on the antihero train, and perhaps Dresden and Marcone won't have to have an epic final showdown where only one walks away.

Also, I really like Hendricks, and love Justine and Ms. Gard.

Hounded by Kelley Armstrong
Villain & Series: The Rogue Huntsman, Cainsville series
My Series Status: New to Me (on my TBR prior)
Stars: Five

So, I've been working on reading Women of the Otherworld by this author, and really am enjoying the series, but Cainsville has been on my radar for a while. I'm trying to finish up Otherworld first, as I'm in the middle of so many series already, and Otherworld is completed, so might as well knock it out... but this twisted little story with a very dark villain and an even darker ending really makes me excited to check out Cainsville!!!

Nigsu Ga Tesgu by Jeff Somers
Villain & Series: Mika Renar, Utsari Cycle
My Series Status: New to Me
Stars: Four

I've never heard of this series or author before, but I'm definitely putting book one on my TBR. This is one seriously creepy villain and an interesting take on magic.

Sixty-Six Seconds by Craig Schaefer
Villain & Series: Fontaine (Harmony Black) and The Redemption Choir (Daniel Faust)
My Series Status: I've read book one of Daniel Faust with intentions to attempt to read the rest of the two series
Stars: Three

This wasn't bad, per se, but it just wasn't as polished as the first three stories felt -- and it wasn't really dark and villainous. Fontaine was actually VERY understandable and relatable, and the "twist" at the end wasn't shocking. I don't know what it is about him, but so far, I feel like Schaefer just tries too hard. (Sorry, Sarah)

Kiss by Lilith Saintcrow
Villain & Series: Perry/Pericles, Jill Kismet series
My Series Status: New to Me (on my TBR prior)
Stars: Three and a half

I haven't read anything by Lilith Saintcrow before, and this one was a little confusing -- I probably would have understood more had I read some of the series before, and if work hadn't kept interrupting my reading of this one. Enjoyable, but missing something.

The Naughtiest Cherub by Kevin Hearne
Villain & Series: Loki, The Iron Druid Chronicles
My Series Status: Read through book 7 (currently one book behind)
Stars: One

I liked the first few books in this series, but the last few haven't been as fun or as exciting. Maybe it's just me, but I grew kinda bored of the whole series, which is a shame, because I love Oberon and Granuaile. Loki's little jaunt through the Christian Hell to have a chat with Lucifer was blasé and meh and contrived.

The Resurrectionist by Caitlin Kittredge
Villain & Series: Lee Grey, The Hellhound Chronicles
My Series Status: New to Me (on my TBR prior)
Stars: Three

I enjoyed this shorty, and will definitely pick up the Hellhound Chronicles... but it didn't really feel like this one was in keeping with the theme of the anthology being stories from the villain's perspective. Lee felt like one of the good guys. *shrugs*

Down Where the Darkness Dwells by Joseph Nassise
Villain & Series: Simon Logan and Ashereal, The Templar Chronicles
My Series Status: New to Me
Stars: Five

This little gem was tremendous fun. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (one of my favorite movies of all time) meets The Mummy (Brendan Fraser version, another of my favorite movies) and magic. I added this one to my TBR for sure. Is it bad I was rooting for this villain?

Bellum Romanum by Carrie Vaughn
Villain & Series: Roman/Gaius Albinus, Kitty Norville series
My Series Status:New to Me (on my TBR prior)
Stars: Four

I will definitely be picking up this series soon -- Roman seems like a really cool villain! I loved the vampire mythology in this one, and the origins of Roman as not only a vampire, but also some form of a magic user.

Altar Boy by Jonathan Mayberry
Villain & Series: Toys, Joe Ledger series
My Series Status:New to Me (on my TBR prior)
Stars: Four

I'm intrigued by the character of Toys... I am not a huge "zombie" fan, but I think I'll check this series out, if not just to meet and get to know Toys better, but to see what led to the events of this shorty.

Make it Snappy by Faith Hunter
Villain & Series: Leo, Jane Yellowrock series
My Series Status: Devoted Follower/Obsessee
Stars: Five

Absolutely LOVED this one. I adore the Jane Yellowrock world, and it was really cool to see some pre-Jane-coming-to-New-Orleans Leo, Bruiser, Katie, and Bethany... and the precursor first warning signs that the Eurovamps were going to be making their way to come after the US/Leo's territory. Good thing Jane showed up when she did. Her and Beast might just be the "tipping point" needed to tilt things in Leo's favor.

Chase the Fire by Jon F. Merz
Villain & Series: Shiraz Aziz, Lawson Vampires
My Series Status: New to Me
Stars: Four

Interesting... It looks like this series is a mishmash and hodgepodge of spy novels and vampires. This story was entertaining enough to check out the first book in the series and see if it's for me. I'm a little worried that Goodreads and the author's site don't really have an accurate reading order for these, but if book one is good, I'll just try to figure it out.

Unexpected Choices by Diana Pharaoh Francis
Villain & Series: Shoftiel, Horngate Witches
My Series Status: New to Me (on my TBR prior)
Stars: Four

Really liked Shoftiel's character -- he was showing clear potential for character growth while also exhibiting some of his defining characteristics that I would guess led him to be granted "villain" status within the series -- this one is definitely moving up my list to read sooner rather than later.

Reel Life by Steven Savile
Villain & Series: Seth Lockwood, Glass Town (if this is a series, only one book has been published)
My Series Status: New to Me
Stars: Two and a half

This was inexplicably both intriguing and boring to me. I needed to read the Glass Town before I picked this one up, I guess.

The Difference between Deceit and Delusion by Domino Finn
Villain & Series: Tunji Malu, Black Magic Outlaw series
My Series Status: New to Me
Stars: Four and a half

Cool villains! Definitely starting this series in the near future!!

Balance by Seanan McGuire
Villain & Series: a Cuckoo, Incryptid series
My Series Status: Devoted Follower/Obsessee
Stars: Five

Just FYI, anything Seanan McGuire writes is golden... and this is no different. Cuckoos are insanely disturbing and make for awesome villains (and, if you've read Incryptid, great characters in general).

Everywhere by Sam Witt
Villain & Series: The Long Man, Pitchfork County series
My Series Status: New to Me
Stars: Three

This one didn't do much for me, but the Long Man was sufficiently creepy, so I didn't dislike it either.

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Review: A Killer Harvest

A Killer Harvest A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Paul Cleave is severely underrated here in the US. He's a big deal, I think, in the thriller market. I've read four of his books now, and every time, I read that final page and shut the back cover thinking, "Damn, this guy is GOOD at writing." Seriously, he writes page-turners with good characterizations, twisted plots, and creative scenarios.

This creative scenario is based around the concept of cellular memory -- that donated organs can pass on memories and feelings. Interesting spark for a story, and this tale definitely weaves that scientific potentiality into the story well.

Ironically enough, I didn't see the ending coming (bad pun intended -- SEE, blind kid getting his sight from donated eyes, come on, that's funny!) even though, after reading through the final twists, I feel like I *should* have seen it coming. That's yet another reason Cleave is one of my favorite thriller writers, and I'm savoring working my way through his works without rushing to burn through them all -- I don't want to run out before more are on their way.

Pick up a Paul Cleave book. I doubt you'll be disappointed. 4.5 stars, highly recommended.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

July Update, Day 18

Day 18, and five books down.  That's two more books in the five days since the last update, so we're getting closer to my normal pace.  I've picked up Ilona Andrews, because if there's anything that will cure a reading slump, it's Ilona Andrews.  That writing duo is pretty much the cure for any type of slump. LOL

Remaining on list:
Urban Enemies (anthology) by various authors (ARC - August 1)
Red Dirt Heart #4 by N. R. Walker
The Magician King by Lev Grossman
The Magician's Land by Lev Grossman
White Hot by Ilona Andrews
Wildfire by Ilona Andrews

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Sticks & Stones by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux
Redemption Song by Craig Schaefer
The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan
Indexing: Reflections by Seanan McGuire
The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson
Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson
The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson
Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

Started/In Progress:
Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews
A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave (ARC - August 1)

Finished so far:
Two Nights by Kathy Reichs
Scorpion Trap by Pippa DaCosta
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
The Magicians by Lev Grossman
The Fifth Doll by Charlie Holmberg (ARC - July 25)

Didn't read/DNFed:

Monday, July 17, 2017

Review: The Fifth Doll

The Fifth Doll The Fifth Doll by Charlie N. Holmberg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Charlie Holmberg is a relatively new author. I've read her Paper Magician trilogy, and it was highly original and was quite entertaining. The magic systems that she comes up with are Sanderson-esque.

The Fifth Doll is no exception. It's got a really creative and almost scary twist on magic and Russian nesting dolls.

You can read the blurb for what it's about, but basically, the main character stumbles upon a secret that a fellow townsperson is keeping, and is forced to start messing with the magic of some Russian nesting dolls. Over time, more and more is revealed, and Holmberg has done a great job of peeling back the layers of humanity, one doll at a time, to reveal that fifth doll inside.

Overall, a unique and hard to put down take on Russian folklore, magic, and seeing past the outside shells of the people around us. I'd definitely recommend this to people who like interesting magic and folklore and slow-reveal stories.

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Review: The Magicians

The Magicians The Magicians by Lev Grossman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm giving this a generous 2.5 stars rounded up. The main character, and let's be honest, most of the secondary characters, weren't remotely likable. The story had great potential that felt squandered and lost in the sea of depressing and melancholy emotions that the author drenched this world in. The twisted Narnia (which I read online the author's intention was to actually use Narnia but was told he wasn't allowed) is disturbing, but still intriguing... but the nihilistic under-/over-/every-which-way-tones kinda sapped all the fun out of this story, which is sad because, as stated before, SO MUCH POTENTIAL.

I've heard book two and three eventually end up going in a better direction and overall the series is a good one... but it's hard to believe that the publishers kept this one alive long enough for a book two or three... or a tv series... but I guess that's what happens when you're a big TIME book critic. No one wants to piss you off.

2.5 stars for Alice and Josh and sometimes Penny, amazing potential, some cool magic, and an interesting, if dark, twist on Lewis' masterworks. The other stars were lost by Quentin's inability to do anything of value or show any kind of growth for longer than it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.

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