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, September 27, 2018

Review: The Invisible Library

The Invisible Library The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I absolutely adored this book. :)

One part Doctor Who, one part Steampunk, one part Chronicles of St Mary's... toss in dragons and fae. Stir vigorously. Voila! The Invisible Library!

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Review: Foundryside

Foundryside Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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

This book had so much hype around it.
"Oh, it's going to be the next big fantasy!"
"Oh, it's so good!"
"Oh, the world-building is amazing!"

It took me a while to even get into it, so all that hype seemed like mush to me. It felt very Sanderson, almost to the point of being a melding of Mistborn and Stormlight Archives and feeling a little rip-offy (yes, I made that word up. stop interrupting!)

Then I decided to set that thought aside and give it a shot. And it went crazy! While it *is* reminiscent of Sanderson, the author has created his own unique magic system, developed a really interesting world, and introduced us to a very interesting cast of characters with depth. Most importantly, the story was FUN -- well, at least for the reader. The poor characters probably wouldn't have said any of it was fun at all.

Also, there was an unexpected but very welcome LGBT+ budding relationship that built over time, didn't feel forced, and I can't wait to see where that goes as well.

Trigger warning: There is a character who, umm, takes what he wants from women on every level (and to be fair, he does what he wants in every situation, no matter what, not just in getting what he wants from women) without care of morality or consequence. But he gets his. ;)

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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Review: The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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

Now that was a rockin' debut novel! While the first half was a little slow, once you get deeper into it, it's compelling enough to be hard to put down. It's such an interesting concept - Agatha Christie meets Quantum Leap - that you just have to know what's going on!

I have to say, I figured out the first part of the mystery (as in who killed Evelyn) but then there was still 20% left of the book! Twist after twist after twist, and another one of my suspicions was correct.

Turton laid out the clues like a master, just like Christie, all the while hiding them in plain sight, in the middle of paragraphs where they fade into ordinary and don't stand out, but then when you get to the end and see the solution, you start to remember all those little things that were right there in front of you.

I'd definitely recommend this book as a great read with a really interesting take on a murder mystery scenario. I'll also absolutely be following the author to see if his sophomore book goes slump or champ!
Review to come on release date, but WOW! Great debut!

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Review: Saddle Up

Saddle Up Saddle Up by A.M. Arthur
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thanks to Netgalley and Carina Press for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I really love Clean Slate Ranch. It's one of my absolute favorite MM Romance series, and it just works for me.

I've been waiting for two books now to get to Miles story, and the hints dropped since book one proved true as Miles and Reyes finally got their day in the sun, and it was chock full of heartache, struggle, and two broken people find their missing pieces together.

I don't want to spoil the story, but if you're a fan of N.R. Walker's Red Dirt Heart, this series should be on your to-read pile. Add it, and get to it as soon as you can, because you'll love this ranch where people come to start over, find their way, and make a new life.
I've been waiting for Miles and Reyes since book one. Glad we finally got there. Review to come on release date!

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Review: His Own Way Out

His Own Way Out His Own Way Out by Taylor Saracen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this in exchange for an honest review. Normally I'd say "review to come upon release" but I got this one after release date, so my review gets to go live pretty much immediately! :)

I enjoyed this book. I didn't love it. It had a lot of flaws, mostly the real lack of a driving force behind the book. We all knew where it ended up - his career at Helix Studios, since it's based off of a true story - but the path there felt less like a story and more like tidbits or chunks of seemingly unrelated sections of his life. Overall, it was still entertaining, but it was hard to watch him train wreck through his life before he found success. Over and over he made such bad decisions that it made it hard to root for him at all, and honestly, other than Blake, very few of the other players in his story felt fleshed out enough to matter. Same with his situations... we'd get a few chapters on each, and then bam, move on to the next bit. It almost felt like multiple short stories in an anthology, rather than one big story.

Worth a read, but don't go in expecting it to be the best MM you've read all year. I did want a little more naughty too, rather than all the fade to black scenes. :P

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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Review: The Late Great Wizard

The Late Great Wizard The Late Great Wizard by Sara Hanover
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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

Sara Hanover's debut is a fun story. It's chock full of magic and adventure and betrayals and a big scary villain. It's got ghosts and spirits and dwarves and phoenix wizards and magical relics. It's one of those books that I just expected to fall in love with.

Unfortunately, the book felt... incomplete, unfinished, lacking something. The plot was all over the place, and some of the events felt forced or shoved into the story just to have an exciting moment rather than making sense for the story overall.

I definitely think she was setting up a series, because this book spends 75% of the book or so setting up the main series villain before making a sharp turn into "here's the villain of THIS book" territory. It spent the rest of the book focusing on that before swapping back to the main villain after the climax.

Basically the dialogue and banter felt a little forced, the relationships weren't overly believable (I mean she knew them all of like a day before she cared deeply for all of them?), and the plot was kinda messy. It felt like part of a bigger story that was left unfinished. It *felt* like setup, world building, without any of the payoffs of it being a complete story on its own that just happened to also setup more.

I gave it three stars (more like two and a half rounded up) because I like the world she created and all the fun types of magic, and because I think she has potential, but if there's a book two, it's going to need to show major growth over this one for me to continue past that.

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