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!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

February 2017 Recap

Thought I'd do a quick run down of the books I read in February 2017.

First, I'm involved in a group called Buddies Books and Baubles over on Goodreads, and every Wednesday we pick up a book in a UF series. I've convinced them all to read Jane Yellowrock, which I've been dying to reread.  We read the first four (Skinwalker, Blood Cross, Mercy Blade, and Raven Cursed), all of which got five stars on the second read, because, well, Jane + Beast = epic.  I've also read the shorties up through book five in the Blood in Her Veins anthology, which I'll be reading alongside the main series reads each week until I finish it.

I read a few ARCs as well.  Strange Magic by James Hunter came out a couple of years ago, but the whole series is up on Netgalley, so I gave it a shot. It wasn't terrible, but it certainly didn't turn out to be as fun as it was trying so desperately to be. It felt overdone and like it was trying WAY too hard to be hip and cool -- like Dresden, but with a pop culture reference EVERY SINGLE PARAGRAPH.  I doubt I'll pick up the others in the series when this barely over 200 pager took me almost two weeks to finish.

I was super excited to read the ARC of The Turn by Kim Harrison. I miss her Hollows world so much, especially Jenks, and this prequel hit the spot.  It had a few great characters, but I think my heart belonged to Orchid. Something about the way Kim Harrison writes pixies just works so well!  And of course, Al/Gally was involved, and he's just fantastic.

I also read the first in a new trilogy by an author named Vic James, who created a really fun new world and a really intricate plot in Gilded Cage. I am VERY excited to get book two later this year (*crosses fingers*).

I also had the chance (finally!) to pick up A Symphony of Echoes, book two in the Chronicles of St. Mary's by Jodi Taylor. This is a fun romp through history and the future with the time-traveling historians of St. Mary's.  I definitely plan on getting to book three in March... hopefully. :)

Lastly, I've made some progress in A Conjuring of Light, the final book in V.E. Schwab's Shades of Magic trilogy.  I'll be sad when it's over, because it's turned out to be one of the best series I've ever read.  Schwab has certainly perfected her craft and become an excellent writer.  I hope she writes more beautiful worlds and stories like this trilogy in the future.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Review: Gilded Cage

Gilded Cage Gilded Cage by Vic James
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am thoroughly impressed. This book gets all the stars from me. I'd give it more if I could.

You've got an interesting concept - two kinds of humans, Equals and the normal people. Equals have superhuman powers. Normal people are, well, normal. Every normal person is required at some point in their life to serve ten years of "slavedays," service to the Equals in some form or fashion.

You've got superpowers - instant hook for me - and they're not used on every page or constantly thrown about. We get glimpses of the power throughout, and it feels like a taste of what's to come...

You've got some great characters - a family divided, an infant with mysterious seeming lack of powers, some Equals very full of themselves, a creepy Equal with stranger powers than most, power hungry politicians and rebellious normals.

I don't want to give away too much -- but I will say this. I wasn't surprised at all by one of the biggest twists of the book. I had actually come to expect it a while before the reveal. But what happened AFTERWARDS did kind of throw me for a loop, and set up the next book extremely well.

Thankfully, the next book comes out later this year, and hopefully the wait for the third won't be too long, because as of right now, *GRABBY HANDS*

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

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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Review: The Turn

The Turn The Turn by Kim Harrison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First, let's get the pesky tidbit out of the way -- I received this book as an advanced reader copy from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Now, down to business. Kim, darling, I know that all good things must come to an end, but this book proves that you're at your best when you're in the world of the Hollows. Don't get me wrong, I adore Peri Reed and the cast of that series. The premise is neat and you add lots of fun twists and turns and bad boys and good boys and cats and a badass lead... but the Hollows is just BETTER. I mean honestly, the Hollows has PIXIES like Jenks and, newly introduced in this book, Orchid. I ADORED her, almost as much as I did Jenks - who happens to be one of my favorite book characters of all time.

A little backstory (see what I did there? this book is a prequel, so it's all backstory!) -- remember in the Hollows when we are introduced to this Urban Fantasy world? Yep, tomatoes + virus = human population decrease and supernatural creatures coming out of the hidden in plain sight closet. This book tells that story. It did such a good job that now I'm hankering for a reread of the entire 13 book (plus myriad shorties) series.

Even though we knew the inevitable ending, the path to get there was fun, the characters were well developed and lovable (for the most part), and we got more Hollows out of the deal. Side note here: we also get some cameos! I won't tell you who, because spoilers, but I loved the cameos!

I think there's enough material for another prequel to get us to the start of the Hollows, Kim, darling... even if it's just a series of shorties or a novella. Don't make me beg (because I will, and it will not be cute).

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Friday, February 3, 2017

Review: Strange Magic

Strange Magic Strange Magic by James A. Hunter
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Goodreads rating system proved to be perfect. Two stars = "it was ok."

It had a lot of promise, and it was short (only 200 pages or so), and took me almost 3 weeks to read. I just couldn't pick it up once I set it down.

My biggest gripe was that it tried too damn hard. We don't need pop culture references and jokes and witty dialogue EVERY SINGLE PARAGRAPH. It takes away from the realism that is needed to ground Urban Fantasy into our world when it's constantly reminding us that "hey, this is your world. hey, that show you like is in here. hey, funny joke" over and over and over.

I'll consider the second. Maybe he polishes his writing up some and some of this problem is reduced? If he could tone it back some and stop trying so hard to be funny and awesome, it would actually BE funny and awesome (see: Jim Butcher's Dresden Files).

I appreciate Netgalley providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review. I'm just sorry my honest review of what could have been an awesome series wasn't as positive as I had hoped it would be.

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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Review: Sparrow Hill Road

Sparrow Hill Road Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Seanan sure knows how to pack a punch. Many of these leave you feeling sad for Rose Marshall, hitchhiking ghost. Many of them leave you hoping that if these ghost roads are real, that Rose Marshall is real too and out there helping ghosts move on and getting rid of old haunted roads.

But mostly, they leave you wishing Seanan would continue the story. :)

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