The Book of the Crowman by Joseph D’Lacey
3.5 Stars , Reviews / February 23, 2014

  If you read my review of Black Feathers by Joseph D’Lacey, or saw it listed as one of my favorite books of 2013, you won’t be surprised to know that I I was eagerly awaiting The Book of the Crowman (the second half of the Black Dawn Duology). It can be hard to read a follow up to a book that you thought so highly of. There is always concern that if the second book doesn’t live up to your expectations, how to handle an honest review without sounding so negative that the entire series sounds unworthy of being read To get to the point, what I found was a bit more of a mixed bag for me than Black Feathers was. I wish I could write another gushy review and tell everyone they must go read this book, but I can’t quite do that. To be fair, I had high expectations, so there was a lot to be accomplished to live up to them. I’ll start with what worked very well. Gordan’s character has grown and developed. I love that D’Lacey did not turn him into some faultless hero. Even in the beginning of the book, Gordan’s pursuit…

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
3.5 Stars , Reviews / February 17, 2014

  Daughter of Smoke of Bone by Laini Taylor features a fun protagonist, Karou, an art student with peacock blue hair. One would think she’s a typical college student, dying her hair quite an unlikely color. But in truth, she doesn’t color it at all.  Studying art in Prague, she happens to lead a bit of a double life. While she lives here, in the world we know, her ‘family’ lives in another world that she accesses through portals. I really enjoy her personality. She is a bit mysterious and has a wry sense of humor that she uses that to her advantage as she tells people truths that are not quite unbelievable within the world we as humans know.  They just assume she is joking. However, in truth, there are many unbelievable things that are just part of Karou’s life. It’s a life that she herself does not really understand, but just lives. As part of it, she runs mysterious errands across the world, traveling via portals, she also gets wishes, that are a type of magic brought from the other world as well. But all of this, she feels a bit lost, not real sure where she really came…

Moth and Spark by Anne Leonard
4 Stars , Reviews / February 14, 2014

  How appropriate to finish and review Moth and Spark by Anne Leonard on Valentine’s Day. I’m not one to make a fuss about the holiday, but even I have to admit, if I am going to post a review on Valentine’s Day, it is very fitting that it would be for Moth and Spark. This is very much a love story. It is about freeing dragons, saving the empire and winning love. And I won’t say that it is the boy’s story to do these things, because in this the romance is also a partnership. Together, what can be accomplished is much more than individually. The romance in Moth and Spark is an unlikely romance (and I mean unlikely in their world, obviously as readers, we are quite used to such things).  When the two meet, sparks fly. They are drawn to each other as a moth to flame. You get the idea. Like I said, this is very much a story of love and romance. Corin is, of course, the handsome prince that all the court is swooning over in hopes of landing a royal marriage. Well, maybe not all the court. Only those who have a high…

The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay
5 Stars , Reviews / February 12, 2014

  Guy Gavriel Kay has been on my “must try” list for years. I have heard him recommended so many times and I have come across devoted fans that will praise his prose endlessly. And on top of that, he writes stand-alone novels, so there is no fear of commitment here. With all of that, I have no idea why I have not read one of his novels previously. But, I nominated The Lions of Al-Rassan for one of my book club reads and happily it won. No more excuses, it was time to actually read. So, now that I have read it, do I think it is worthy of the praise I have heard? Absolutely. Kay’s prose is just wonderful to read. Lions of Al-Rassan is a historical fantasy with very little magic. Similar to K. J. Parker’s work, this one is a fictional world that mirrors ours. But the strengths of this book are different than Parker. Kay’s prose has a more fluid feel, while Parker has more mystery/layers. I don’t think one is better than the other; they just have a little bit different feel reading them, even though in some ways they are similar. One of…

Snowblind by Christopher Golden
4 Stars , Reviews / February 8, 2014

  A real modern day ghost story, Snowblind by Christopher Golden is the story of one small New England town where people are haunted. The atmospheric story starts out with one frightful night where the danger lurked not in shadows behind closet doors or under the bed. The danger was not in isolated old houses. The danger here came with the snow. A monstrous winter storm that brought more to fear than just cold and ice descended on the town and left those who survived forever changed, mourning those lost and fearful for another storm that was more than just a vicious weather event. The story then brings the reader 12 years later, showing snapshots of how life had changed for those who lost loved ones, and those who could not save victims of the storm 12 years earlier. It also showed a town on edge. The weather forecast is calling for another monster storm reviving memories of lives lost and people missing all those years earlier. Memories of the unsolved mysteries the last storm left. And memories that many would rather forget then remember, and certainly did not want to relive. As the storm nears, some members of the…

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
4 Stars , Reviews / February 6, 2014

  So a few months back, I read Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill. I absolutely loved Horns, NOS4A2 and Locke & Key (my first graphic novel experience). Needless to say, I had high expectations for HSB. I’ve put off reviewing it because I can’t decide how to put into words how I felt about this book. Or really, if I even wanted to try to put words to it. But I’m trying now, so here it goes. I grew up with horror. I love dark books. I have never felt that maybe a book was too dark for me. Until now. I had a very hard time getting through this one and I can’t say how much of it is just a personal reaction that is separate from the actual text and world that Hill uses to create this world and story.  For this reason, I have hesitated to review it. The problem for me is that I have a very hard time reading about suicide. Any storylines, jokes, what not that involve the topic, they take a much darker turn for me than I think is actually intended or what most people would experience. So, while I have…

A Dance of Cloaks by David Dalglish
4 Stars , Reviews / February 4, 2014

  Dance of Cloaks by David Dalglish is dark and bloody delve into the world of assassins. If you are one to enjoy the grimdark path that a book like this will take then definitely give it a shot. Personally, I really enjoyed it. It’s a book that sucked me in and kept me turning pages. I love unpredictability; I love books where any characters safety is not a sure thing. In this, Dance of Cloaks succeeds extraordinarily well. It is not as complex as Martin’s ASoIaF, nor are the characters quite as memorable. But let’s face it, for fans of Martin, that is a very high bar for a book to achieve. I would say this is on par with Brent Week’s Night Angel trilogy and would recommend it to anyone who enjoyed that series. I first read this when it was self-published, and I was still fairly new to the genre. I have seen others complain that there is nothing new in this, that it is unoriginal. Well, I didn’t have that complaint. Maybe because everything in the genre was still fresh for me, maybe because the grimdark scene lines up better with my horror roots, I don’t…