Audiobook Review: Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman
Reviews / April 9, 2018

Unbury Carol is a wonderful story that takes you into the mind of Carol, a woman with a condition that causes her to have episodes where she appears to be dead. She goes into a coma like state, her breathing slows to the point of being almost undetectable. From the outside, she seems dead, but she remains fully aware of her surroundings. She can hear and remember conversations that are held around her, but she can’t respond. It’s a living nightmare, having your mind and awareness held captive in her paralyzed body. This book is not going to be for everyone. It is a slow burn and the conflict is not an adrenaline rush type of suspense. It is a psychological horror that really focuses on Carol’s character and the fears and risks her condition presents. She lost her first love, James Moxie, due to her condition as he just couldn’t handle the stress of watching the woman he loves die again and again, always worried if she would come back. After this, she was very selective in who she told, worried that other’s may leave as well. After the death of her dear friend John, the only person who…

Audiobook Review: Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman
3.5 Stars , Reviews / March 12, 2018

I have to confess, I’ve had a mixed experience with Rachel Hartman’s other books. I did enjoy Seraphina, but I actually wound up DNFing the sequel. Because of that, I was unsure if I would read another book by the author. However, the description of Tess of the Road convinced me I had to give the book a shot. Luckily, Tess of the Road was an enjoyable read. I think I always will have a soft spot in my heart for female characters that want to break gender stereotypes and expectations and I especially like when they tend to break rules. There are flashback sections that show Tess being quite the troublemaker, or as her sister calls her a “spank-magnet”. But even though she would stir up trouble, she never did so with ill intent. Her breaking point with rules, family and expectations comes on full force and triggers her to forge her own way and take a path unexpected of her as she sets out on her own (using the girl dressed as a boy trope that I tend to be so fond of). Tess is not a perfect character, she does make mistakes and doesn’t always think about…

Audiobook Review: American War by Omar El Akkad
4.5 Stars , Reviews / February 12, 2018

American War is one of the most striking and visual books I’ve read in quite a while. It creates an almost palpable atmosphere and setting, and really immerses the reader in this world of war and plague. The writing is just absolutely beautiful, even if the world is not. The premise is America is being ravaged by a second Civil War, triggered by an oil shortage and some southern states refusing to adhere to new regulations designed to curb global warming. At the same time, the population is also being decimated by a plague. We learn about it all through the story of Sarat who is living in a camp for displaced people after her father was killed. Sarat is a very interesting character, she has a strong spirit and is not one to conform easily. She does not necessarily fit in easily, but she finds her own place and purpose and journey makes a great read. I found every page immersive and the world was quite frankly too easy to relate to or envision. This is a book that is a bit of a slow burn, but for those that appreciate a strong setting and a book that makes…

Audiobook Review: The Defiant by Lesley Livingston
4.5 Stars , Reviews / January 23, 2018

I’ll be honest, I read The Valiant by Lesley Livingston pretty much on a whim last year. It wasn’t a book that was on my radar until after it was released, which is unusual. I read a couple of glowing reviews for it for that essentially made me set my review books to the side because it sounded so good. I was glad I did because it just happened to have everything I love and in just the right amounts. I am very happy to tell you that The Defiant continues with all the strengths and excitement that made me enjoy The Valiant so much. I still love Fallon as a character. She is strong both physcially and mentally, but she is not infallible. She won the admiration and respect of Caesar at the end of the first book, and now we can see how that has impacted her life. Her rise to be favored by Caesar And known as “Victrix” gave her a decent life, but when it comes down to it, she is still a slave and not free to do as she pleases. And winning so much also puts her in the spotlight for potential enemies. Also to add…

Review: Edgedancer by Brandon Sanderson
Reviews / November 20, 2017

This is one book that I feel like I would have done better with in print rather than audio. It could have been borderline for me and the narration exacerbated the qualities that I, quite frankly, just found irksome. If I had read it in print, I could tone it down a bit by how I read the inflection. However, the narrator went the other direction, emphasizing all the things that made me cringe. The main reason this did not work better for me is that the main character, Lift, got on my nerves with all of her “awesomeness”. There’s not other way for me to say it. She is very childlike and the word awesome was used a truly awe inspiring number of times. And not in a good way. She is a character that some people will like. I know there are things out there that annoy me that others love (as well as the reverse). But for me, it was overload. She’s awesome, she’s slippery, she wants pancakes. Bleh. I get it. I don’t need it to be pounded into my skull repeatedely. I may have done better with the interludes in Words of Radiance, but honestly,…

Audiobook Review: Without a Summer by Mary Robinette Kowal
4 Stars , Reviews / August 7, 2017

In the third book of the Glamourist Histories, Kowal keeps the story and plot fresh and continues to give us more of that fantastical regency romance that works incredibly well. What can I say? Turns out that even with all the grimdark books that I love, I have a very soft spot for a well written regency period story with a splash of magic (or glamour) to spice it up just a tad. After a visit with her family, Jane and Vincent head to London for a commission. Seeing her sister, Melody, with poor marriage prospects at home, they bring her along both for company and the hopes that with the more active social scene, Melody will be able to meet an agreeable match. Because, you know, it wouldn’t be regency romance if there wasn’t some young woman who was threatened with spinsterhood when she reaches her ripe ol’ early 20s without yet landing herself a husband. (I say that in jest, I really have zero complaints about this, its just so different from what we are used to today that it really amuses me). The season has been unusually cool, and rumors start amassing about glamourists who are impacting…

Audiobook Review: The Boy on the Bridge by M. R. Carey
4 Stars , Reviews / June 19, 2017

I am going to start with talking a bit about reading order, I think both of The Boy on the Bridge and The Girl with All the Gifts can easily be read as stand-alones. The descriptions from the publishers are incredibly vague for both, which I tend to enjoy. That said, there is something about the world I had no idea of before reading The Girl With All the Gifts that gave an additional level of mystery and suspense that I think I could miss if I had known ahead of time. That has most likely been spoiled for most readers by this point, particularly with the movie and reading The Boy on the Bridge first will certainly take that bit of mystery away as well. But with that in mind, I would recommend reading The Girl With All the Gifts first if you plan to read both (and maybe skip this review and read my review for that book instead) While I was reading this one, I was asked a couple of times if knowing the outcome of The Girl With All the Gifts (which is set after this) ruined my reading experience at all. I really don’t think it…

Backlist Burndown Review: Glamour in Glass by Mary Robinette Kowal
Reviews / June 5, 2017

Glamour in Glass was every bit of an enjoyable escape for me as Shades of Milk and Honey. I absolutely love this time period setting and the magic of glamours just enhances that. In this one, Jane and Vincent work as a husband and wife team working as glamourists for noble families. Jane is adjusting to married life, as they are working on their “honeymoon”. I have to say, one of the things I am really enjoying about this series is light and fresh and it is also so easy to read. I know, that may not sound like much, but Kowal makes this story flow seemingly effortlessly, taking you noble world of Europe in the 1800s. I continue to enjoy Jane as a character. She is a strong female character that is edging a place for herself in the very misogynistic atmosphere that existed at the time. Women have their place, and it has typically been behind her husband and the men. Vincent treats her with respect, and sees her as an equal partner, but he’s also a bit clueless and awkward at times and is not always aware of how not everyone is the same as him. And…

Review: The Empire’s Ghost by Isabelle Steiger
4 Stars , Reviews / May 15, 2017

The Empire’s Ghost is epic on many levels. The massive empire of Elesthene is now history, fractured into separate lands. Magic has become fable, thought to be rooted in superstition rather than historical fact. The story gives viewpoints from several rulers, all with their own agendas and ruling styles. You also get the view point of many citizens and soldiers as well. It gives a sweeping view of what life is like across the board, giving the reader insights into the life and happenings for commoners as well as intrigue from within the palace. Though the perspectives are all unique, they become intricately intertwined as the story progresses. Through perspectives on the struggles between adjacent lands that used to be part of the Empire, we meet the rulers of all three and three and see the contrasting styles of rule. We see hints of magic, enough for speculation. The story can be dark at times, but this is not a brutal and gritty story. It is epic with ups and downs, and definitely death and blood. It’s not a happy feel good story that glosses over battles, but it is not terribly graphic either (at least not by my standards). Now, one…

Review: Winter of the Gods by Jordanna Max Brodsky
3.5 Stars , Reviews / May 4, 2017

Winter of the Gods is another enjoyable installment. It starts with somewhat familiar ground as it kicks off with a murder mystery. Of course, every murder and story behind it is different, so this is not a bad thing. And this time, it appears that the Gods themselves are the targets. Ohhh… fun. Someone out there is trying to take out the gods. Like the first book, I found the mix of mythology and urban fantasy to be fun. Theo and Selene, now an official couple, are working to solve the crime and take us along for the ride. As I mention often, I am not a huge fan of mystery books, so there has to be more than that to carry a story for me. In this, I think the mix of the UF vibe with mythology is what creates that something a little different to keep me engaged. As for the relationship in this book, I have to admit that I struggled a bit with the concept of a virginal character with a love interest. I just really felt like the romance in this felt somewhat artificial and also more problematic than it needed to be. Maybe I just…