Review: The Burning Isle by Will Panzo
4 Stars , Reviews / December 27, 2016

The Burning Isle is a book that captivated me from the very beginning. It’s fun, fast paced and I immediately felt connected to the protagonist, Cassius. I  found myself both rooting for him and also growing more curious about him with each page. The story is told from his POV, and has a series of interspersed flash back chapters that help you piece together both his history and his motivation. In the start of the book, Cassius has arrived in the island of Scipio, a place where the dregs of society find themselves when they have no where else to go. Lawless and ruthless, this is not a destination of choice. “Five miles of slum on the edge of fifty miles of jungle” is how it’s described in the blurb. While it may generally be lawless, there are powerful people there that have control. The city/slum is divided, each side being ruled rival leaders with the feel of a mob or gang type atmosphere. You know, that fun criminal underground setting that everyone loves to read. But the ultimate power on the island belongs to an elusive general who lives with his soldiers at a fort in the forest. The atmosphere…

Review: The Librarians and the Lost Lamp by Greg Cox
3.5 Stars , Reviews / December 20, 2016

I have to confess, I have never watched the TV show The Librarians that this book is based on. Because of that it really wasn’t on my radar, mostly for fear that I would be at a disadvantage from not knowing anything about the show. But when I received a review copy of the book, I had to admit it still sounded like a fun quick read, so I figured it was worth a shot. I mean, come on. Combining libraries and magic? Who doesn’t want to give that a read? And I am happy to say, that based on my experience, I would say this book can definitely be read without prior knowledge of the series. The pace is quick, the characters entertaining, and I never felt like I was missing some crucial backstory or information. The premise of the series is something I think any avid reader of fantasy has to love. There that a secret group called The Librarians that serves to protect the world from all those dangerous magical things. What the Librarians are protecting people from are very familiar things we hear about in folklore, fairy tales and legends. In this particular story, the conflict…

Friday Firsts – Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Friday Firsts / December 16, 2016

Friday Firsts is a new meme that will run every Friday here on Tenacious Reader. It will feature the first few sentences/paragraph of my current book and my first impressions as well. It’s meant to be a quick and easy way to share a bit about what I am reading, and I would love to hear others join in sharing their current reads as well.   Collecting garbage sharpens the senses. It allows us to notice what others do not see. Where most people would spy a pile of junk, the rag-and-bone man sees treasure: empty bottles that might be dragged to the recycling center, computer innards that can be reused, furniture in decent shape. The garbage collector is alert. After all, this is a profession. Moreno-Garcia, Silvia (2016-10-25). Certain Dark Things: A Novel (Kindle Locations 43-45). St. Martin’s Press. Kindle Edition.   My First Impressions I’m immediately intrigued. I enjoy the tone and atmosphere of this one, and am incredibly curious. I am maybe 10 – 15% of the way into this book right now, and there are multiple POVs. I think I have already found a preference for certain ones, but it’s still early, and it could also just be…

Review: Wall of Storms by Ken Liu
4 Stars , Reviews / December 15, 2016

In Wall of Storms, Ken Liu continues to carry the epic tale that began with Grace of Kings. I am still in awe of his writing style, which adds to the legendary feel of the story. The story feels at once captivating and current, yet old and legendary. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, all I can say is give his books a read. His prose just feels unique, makes me think of old legends, yet the story is fresh and new. Once again, it is full of personal conflicts, motivations, history, technology, magic and politics. Oh, and a solid dose of war and foreign threats as well. Wall of Storms is complex, has many moving parts and characters. The first part features the four children of Kuni (now Emperor). We get a look at their varied personalities as well as a bit of recap from Grace of Kings as they gather round to hear stories of old. There is drama between Kuni’s wives, and succession of his children. I have to confess, I was not thrilled with Jia’s storyline or actions in this book. (Jia is Kuni’s first wife, in case you need a refresher like I did)….

2017 New SFF Series and Standalones
Lists / December 12, 2016

Once again, it’s time to look ahead and get excited for what the new year has in store for us. Here’s a list of upcoming releases that I think are worth keeping track of, all either first and series or standalones. I read predominantly Fantasy, particularly epic fantasy, and my list definitely reflects that. This list wound up twice as long as I aimed for, and I know there are still more great books coming out not listed.   Looking forward to something you don’t see on the list? Share it in the comments!   EPIC FANTASY         FANTASY          SCIENCE FICTION           HORROR   EPIC FANTASY       Sins of Empire by Brian McClellan An epic new fantasy series from Brian McClellan, set in the same world as his wildly popular Powder Mage trilogy. The young nation of Fatrasta is a turbulent place – a frontier destination for criminals, fortune-hunters, brave settlers, and sorcerers seeking relics of the past. Only the iron will of the lady chancellor and her secret police holds the capital city of Landfall together against the unrest of a suppressed population and the machinations of powerful empires. The insurrection that threatens Landfall must be…

Review: Level Grind by Annie Bellet
3.5 Stars , Reviews / December 5, 2016

Level Grind is a fast paced urban fantasy with a gamer sorceress who lives amongst shifters. There are plenty of gaming/geeky references that make this a fun read and make the characters seem that much more relatable (assuming you’re a geek, which I hope you are). Jade Crow is a great protagonist that kept me entertained. A gamer nerd who has been trying to pass as just an ordinary hedge witch, running a comic book and game shop, she is actually a powerful sorceress. In this world, that is not something you want to advertise because sorcerers are feared, seeing as they have a reputation of being cruel as well as eating people’s hearts. Not exactly a friendly conversation starter to drop on your new neighbors. Oh yeah, and she has an obsessive ex-boyfriend who is an incredibly powerful sorcerer and is trying to track her down. This is another reason Jade is trying to lay low as she makes a new life for herself in a small shifter town. Level Grind is actually an omnibus of 4 novellas. While I do prefer novel length books, I think these were enjoyable quick stories that I found myself appreciating more the more I…

Friday Firsts: Den of Wolves by Juliet Marillier
Friday Firsts / December 2, 2016

Friday Firsts is a new meme that will run every Friday here on Tenacious Reader. It will feature the first few sentences/paragraph of my current book and my first impressions as well. It’s meant to be a quick and easy way to share a bit about what I am reading, and I would love to hear others join in sharing their current reads as well. He’s curled in a ball, shivering, under a piercing white moon. He’d forgotten how bright the moon was, how its light could go right through a man, cold in his bones, searching out what was hidden deep. Go away, he breathes, arms up over his head, knees to his chest, trying to be invisible. Leave me alone. But the light seeks him out, finding a way through the high canopy of the beeches, through the rough blanket of bracken and fern he’s scrambled together, through the rags of his clothing, right inside him. Into his mind, tangling his thoughts. Into his heart, probing his wounds. It’s been so long. How long has it been? How long has he been away? Marillier, Juliet (2016-11-01). Den of Wolves (Blackthorn & Grim) (pg 1). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. My…

Monthly Musings – November, 2016
Monthly Musings / December 1, 2016

This is a where I look back at what I read (or tried to read) during the past month. I also plan on highlighting my experiences in any book club reads I from the month as well. I will always start with any books I would label as a surprise find/under-read books so if anyone missed my reviews for them, and don’t make it to the end of this post, they’ll be easy to find. OK, so I don’t have much to muse over this month in the way of books seeing as I had what is my least productive reading month in probably at least 4 years. I found myself online less, reading less, and just generally somehow getting more behind on everything. That said, this is just a one off month, and I expect to get back on track. Also, I still have reviews for books I finished reading in October to post, plus I still need to review one of my 2 November reads. Highlighted Read Review Summary  What I Read Level Grind by Annie Bellet – This was a fun urban fantasy (set of 4 novellas) featuring a gamer geek female lead who is secretly a…