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, December 29, 2016

Review: Blood Men: A Thriller

Blood Men: A Thriller Blood Men: A Thriller by Paul Cleave
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Even though I predicted most of the twists, I greatly enjoyed this thriller. It's my third Paul Cleave book, and every time, I'm wowed by his ability to drag me into the seedy world of his fictional take on Christchurch in his home country of New Zealand. He can write a thriller like nobody's business!

It's been a while since I read the last one before I read this one... I won't be waiting as long this time to pick up another.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Review: One Fell Sweep

One Fell Sweep One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ugh, Ilona, that ending... you're going to leave us hanging for another year? *weeps* Maybe for the next one I'll read along with the serial... though that seems harder to me than waiting for the whole thing and binging...

View all my reviews

Review: The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story

The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story by Douglas Preston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Special thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

It's no secret that I love Douglas Preston. I've read (and reread) his co-authored Special Agent Pendergast series multiple times. I've worked with the publishers for the past few years for ARCs of that series and interviewed Mr. Preston and Lincoln Child, his Pendergast co-author. I've read pretty much everything they've both ever written, with a few things still remaining on my to-read pile.

I also love adventure stories. Lost temples, jungle treks, scary wildlife, special teams going in to discover the past... so when I saw this one hit Netgalley, I knew I had to request it. I subscribe to Preston's email newsletters, and I was aware of his long-term interest in the lost White City of Honduras. I paid attention when they used the lidar to map some potential locations of this city in the Honduran jungles, and gobbled up details when they set out on their expedition.

This book provides Preston's account of his take on the whole scenario -- from the history of the search for the lost city, to his actual involvement, to the aftereffects of that fateful journey. It's a solid read, which I expect from Preston, who is a fantastic writer.

My biggest gripe is the end. I know it's a non-fiction weaving of historical detail into modern day adventure memoir, but the last few chapters focus solely on the deadly and scary disease that affects much of the third world, and hit many of the explorers. It turns from a lesson on the White City and a recording of the adventure into a public service notice about the future of the disease and the need for treatments to be researched and available to all, not only because the disease is quickly passing from third world into first world, but mostly because of the millions of people it affects and the tens of thousands it kills on a yearly basis in the third world, where they have no financial ability to pay for treatment and big pharm sees no profit in it.

Don't get me wrong -- I entirely agree with Preston's views on the subject. I think my problem was that the book was about the adventure into what might have been the source for the legends of the Lost City of the Monkey God, so rather than ending on the disease chapters, those could have been put into the middle and the ending been something more suited to the adventurous side of the tale and how much more we have to learn from the past.

Just my opinion, but that's what reviews are. Either way, I read very little non-fiction, and this book kept my focus and my attention, and showcases Preston's strong talents. You should really take the opportunity to follow in Preston and team's footsteps into the jungles of Honduras. Just watch out for the venomous and aggressive fer-de-lance snakes and the leish-transmitting sandflies... among the bazillion other deadly things waiting for you out there. Lucky for you, you're safe on your couch. ;)

View all my reviews

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Review: Pocket Apocalypse

Pocket Apocalypse Pocket Apocalypse by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a rollercoaster! I couldn't put this one down. I really love Shelby, and I think Alex and her make a great team.

This one had a great take on lycanthropy/werewolfs, lots of action, a good mystery, and some serious family drama. Oddly enough, the family drama this time wasn't Price family drama, but involved the intensely paranoid, rude, and obnoxious Tanner family. Don't get me wrong, I liked some members of "Shelly's" family (aka Raina, whose sarcasm and Pokemon obsession cracked me up), but for the most part, no matter how much Alex proved that he was there to help them, they treated him like crap at every turn. They got a little better by the end, but there is still a lot of growth left for them (and the Society) before they're going to gain MY trust.

The Aeslin mice were also the typical treat. I love them so much!!! I want my own splinter colony, and I want it now!!! *Veruca Salt scream*

There was one thing in this book that seriously broke my heart. I actually cried - UGLY cried. I knew after this many books and short stories that it was bound to happen eventually... but I wasn't ready for it, not even a little bit. :(

Anyways, thanks Seanan McGuire, for another excellent book. I am actually kinda sad we're going back to Verity and Dominic in the next one -- I really like Alex and Shelby -- but it'll be nice to check back in on them.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Review: The Seventh Plague

The Seventh Plague The Seventh Plague by James Rollins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This one fell a little (just slightly) flat for me. I really enjoyed that Safia al-Maaz was back -- we haven't seen her since the very first book in the series, Sandstorm, and she was a great character in that book. Unfortunately, in this installment, I kind of felt like most of the main characters were cardboard cutouts of themselves. Seichan and Kowalski showed a little personality, but it wasn't near as much as in previous books in the series. I also didn't feel much of a connection to the newly introduced characters like I usually do.

Luckily for Rollins, his ability to tell a rollicking fun adventure hasn't waned, and the exotic locales and crazy explosions helped.

All in all, still a typical enjoyable and fun Rollins novel, just not the best that the series has to offer.

3.5 stars rounded up. (Please note that some health issues and stress might have also taken away from my enjoyment of this novel!)

View all my reviews

Friday, December 16, 2016

Review: Half-Off Ragnarok

Half-Off Ragnarok Half-Off Ragnarok by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thanks, Seanan, for swapping Price perspectives and giving us a little time with a different family member. Thank you for taking that chance, and completely nailing the execution. I should have believed you knew what you were doing -- you've literally never let me down before, so why didn't I have faith? *I'd make a bad Aeslin mouse.*

Anywho, it was awesome getting to see a different piece of the Incryptid world with a (mostly) new cast of Price/Healy/Baker/Zellaby family members. I really liked Carol in the first book, don't ask me why, she just stood out to me as a fun minor character. Probably because Seanan McGuire is so good at making this weirdness feel like it makes sense in our modern world. I mean, really, taking a gorgon and plopping her into a strip club waitressing gig and talking about needing a wig to cover her snakes? Pure creative genius. Anyways, this digression was a side note to say, MORE GORGONS in this one! I very much enjoyed the character of Dee and her storyline. It was really cool to have another major player in a story be an Incryptid instead of a human, and to play a big role in the story, and to be something other than the cuckoo we've come to love (Sarah!).

Shelby was also a pleasant surprise. Her backstory got more and more interesting, and she reminds me a lot of Frances/Fran from the Incryptid history short stories, which is good, because I adore Fran.

Alex was entertaining as well. As a guy who grew up dorky, I related to him on some level, though he grew up to be a badass cryptozoologist, and my accounting career is just as boring as you'd think it would be. (Don't worry, I'm working on changing that!)

Anyways, McGuire knocked another one out of the park. To close, I have to make side note of my favorite line from the book. Sarah, who is recovering from her misadventures in NYC with Verity, loves math, like all the cuckoos in the series. She's off to bed and she says, "Will you read me a bedtime equation?" <3

View all my reviews

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Review: Paniha's Taniwha

Paniha's Taniwha Paniha's Taniwha by A.W. Exley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So, as a huge fan of the Artifact Hunter series, I've been DYING for Loki to get his own story, showcasing his wild nature and his bad boy fun pirate side. A.W. Exley has delivered and surpassed my expectations!

First, let's start with the beautiful cover!!! I am really digging the new covers for the series, and this one is no exception.

Now, on to story. We've got wit. We've got charm. We've got adventure in the wilds of New Zealand. We've got beautiful native maidens and strong half-naked muscular warriors. Throwing Loki into this mixture? EXPLOSIVE. Did I mention that when the romance threads of this one finally come to a head, it's one of the hottest things I've ever read? And that is including the lady bits (which I'm not really a fan of in general *shudders*)... but knowing Loki from the main books in the series, the way this worked out felt very natural for his story. And I'm not going to lie, I'd kill for a Hone of my own!!!

Now I want a Nate, a Loki, and a Hone (collect the whole set? haha!).

If you like steampunk with adventure, a little magic/supernatural, do YOURSELF a favor and pick up the Artifact Hunters. You won't be disappointed... at least not until you realize that the series is finished (I'm still hoping for more!!!).

Special thanks to the author for providing me with a review copy of this novella in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Review: The Feast of All Souls

The Feast of All Souls The Feast of All Souls by Simon Bestwick
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

First - thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

I'm not entirely sure where to start on this one. It was a decent story, with some great characters and a nice creepy vibe all the way through. I think I just didn't like how convoluted it got. It was trying to tie so many mythologies into the explanation, and it never really did a great job explaining how the creepy supernatural weirdness actually caused what it did. The children were strictly there to be part of the horror vibe, and the resolution with that part of the story was very lackluster and unfulfilling. The big twist about the villain wasn't really hard to see coming -- I had considered it from the very beginning, really.

I just felt like it needed a lot more polish, another run-through on the plot to focus on removing/clarifying places it got too convoluted to be entertaining, and a little more depth to the story and reveals and explanations.

It was a decent tale overall, and I enjoyed it, so three stars for "liked but nowhere near loved."

View all my reviews

Friday, December 9, 2016

Review: Midnight Blue-Light Special

Midnight Blue-Light Special Midnight Blue-Light Special by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's becoming a habit to post reviews for Seanan McGuire books with five stars. It's almost reflex -- because she's never let me down so far... I've never reviewed her less than four stars! She's just THAT good. And she's a prolific writer, putting out instllments in multiple series AND short stories EVERY YEAR. Do yourself a favor and pick up some Seanan!

Midnight Blue-Light Special really kicked the danger up a notch! It brought more development in a diverse (literally, a bunch of different kinds of monsters = diverse) cast of characters, and I loved every minute of it. It was a thrill ride.

I've grown to love Verity and the group of Manhattanites in the first two books, so I'm a little sad that, for now at least, we're taking a side trip to Verity's brother in the next book... but Seanan has crafted such an amazing world (and as said above is such a good writer) that I trust her in the shift.

On to book three... next week! (Reading this with my Wednesday UF buddies over at Buddies, Books, and Baubles)... short stories will tide me over, right? :D

View all my reviews

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Review: Skitter

Skitter Skitter by Ezekiel Boone
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ezekiel Boone, why are you doing this to me? You can't leave me hanging like this!!!! How long will I have to wait, unable to move or scream or even blink, for the third book?

If you weren't terrified of spiders before this series... if book one didn't increase that fear tenfold... then this book HAD to have seriously upped the scary level enough to produce some semblance of a reaction. Like man-eating swarms of spiders wasn't enough... like spiders that cut a hole and slip into your body unnoticed and lay eggs that burst forth like the movie alien couldn't be sufficient, Boone succeeds in kicking the fear up a notch. The spiders from the first book? Yeah, they're just the first wave... and wait until you see the second...

Awesome books. Fast and easy to read -- very movie-like quality to them. I'm super excited for book three. Too bad book two's actual release (this was an ARC) is months away, meaning book three is probably a year away at least. Oh well, it's not like I'm going anywhere, wrapped in silky threads and unable to scream... I'll be here... waiting for what's coming.

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

View all my reviews

Monday, December 5, 2016

Review: Discount Armageddon

Discount Armageddon Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm sure you're probably stunned to find out that I *LOVED* a Seanan McGuire book. Oh, wait, no, nevermind. You probably expected that, since I 100% fanboyed over October Daye (#tybaltmeOW).

I read this little gem with my Wednesday UF ladies (and one or two of us gents) over at the Buddies Books and Baubles on Goodreads, and I'm so glad we picked this to be our next series read.

This series has weird. It has fun. It has dangerous. It has weird. It has exciting. It has sexy. It has weird. It has strip-club working, ball-room dancing, parkour-esque city adventuring cryptozoologists with cuckoo cousins and lesser gorgon co-workers. Did I mention that it has WEIRD?

Don't want to spoil anything, so I'll just leave off here and say -- do yourself a favor and grab something by Seanan McGuire. :)

View all my reviews