Review: Magicians Impossible by Brad Abraham
3.5 Stars , Reviews / September 7, 2017

Magicians Impossible is a fun and exciting adventure that introduces magic to our world. I think this book should do well with readers that are fans of The Magicians by Lev Grossman. It features an older protagonist than a typical coming into powers or magic school book, and with just one or two exceptions, he has been a loner for most of his life. After the death of his estranged father, Jason’s world turns upside down and he finds himself part of something quite unexpected. I liked Jason’s character. He definitely has some flaws and has managed to create very few personal connections in his life, particularly for someone that seems likable. He is resentful of his absentee father (who just died), and through some flashbacks, we can see some of his disappointments as a child. He grew up believing magic was just simple slight of hand as opposed to actual magic. After the death of his father, he learns there is such a thing as real magic as well as about the communities that are a part of that previously invisible and unknown part of the world. The Invisible Hand is a training institute that turns those found to…

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…

Review: Phantom Pains by Mishell Baker
Reviews / March 27, 2017

Phantom Pains continue’s Baker’s wonderfully fresh style of keeping Urban Fantasy a bit more “real” and grounded without compromising on the fantastical. Millie’s life might be full of the extra ordinary, she might be a person that a reader can admire, may be able to deal with fae and break their magic with a touch, but there’s no denying her life is trying. I don’t envy her harsh reality of being a double amputee, but at the same time, her story and challenges are just part of her life, they don’t prevent her from being able to liver her life and do what needs doing. The author does not gloss over her disability, nor does she dwell on it, but rather  incorporates all of the extra challenges Millie faces as just a part of how she lives and copes. And while Millie is not always upbeat, she does an amazing job handling both her disability from losing both legs as well as her borderline personality. I find it interesting how the author can explain some of the Borderline personality traits and behaviors that Millie struggles with in a way that helps us understand her, gives us better insight when she might be…

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…

Backlist Burndown Review: Written in Red by Anne Bishop
3.5 Stars , Reviews / May 27, 2016

Written in Red was definitely a fun read (listen) this month. When the book starts out, Meg’s history is a bit of a mystery. Since it’s in the blurb I will explain a bit. She possesses special powers to see the future in visions. These visions are brought about by cutting her skin, and the experience can be incredibly painful. Now the interesting thing about her ability is that it is extremely useful to people and also limited in how many prophecies that can do within their lifetime. So they are kept pretty much in captivity with their sole purpose being provide visions to their controllers and clients. As you may have guessed, Meg manages to escape. In her escape, she needs somewhere safe to hide. In comes The Others. In this world, there are humans, and then there are The Others. The Others are the supernatural beings comprised of some beings that readers will find quite familiar such as vampires and werewolves as well as some fresher varieties that add another interesting aspects to the story and world. And while The Others share the world and space, they do tend to sort of colonize into specific areas, isolated themselves a bit from the…

New Series or Standalones to Look For in 2016
Lists / December 17, 2015

During this season of List Making and Anticipation for the year to come, I really enjoy focusing on the books that anyone can jump into. This means brand new series and standalone novels that don’t require previous reading. As always, there are many great books to look forward to! I tried to mark if the book is a standalone or the start of a new series, but I’ll be honest, it’s not always easy to tell and sometimes books that are initially offered as a standalone wind up getting follow up book deals. For those interested in seeing a list of everything I am currently looking forward to, you can see my running list of 2016 Anticipated Releases that is updated through out the year as I hear of books and release dates. Its nothing fancy, just a list of dates and titles with links to reviews when I have them.   NEW STANDALONE The bestselling author of the ground breaking novels Under Heaven and River of Stars, Guy Gavriel Kay is back with a new novel, Children of Earth and Sky, set in a world inspired by the conflicts and dramas of Renaissance Europe. Against this tumultuous backdrop the lives…

Audiobook Review: Apocalypse Now Now by Charlie Human
4 Stars , Reviews / November 9, 2015

This was a book that intertwined things I absolutely loved with elements that kind of pushed my tolerance limits for weirdness. It  created a dichotomy for me while reading. Dark humor. Yes, there were so many lines in this that had me laughing out loud and feeling like I absolutely loved the book. Then it would switch and I would focus on the strangeness in this story, and I would be less sure. Some of the weird worked well for me. Porn star named Rumpelforeskin? Yep, I’m good with that.But some other elements, I wasn’t quite as taken by, but in general still liked. Baxter is our teenage protagonist, full of lust/love for his girlfriend, resentment and annoyance for his mentally handicapped brother, a complete lack of respect for, well, pretty much anyone. You know, the perfect kind of bad boy, just so wrong it is almost right type of character that you know you should not like in real life, but in fiction, you just can’t help but relish in his unfiltered, sardonic view of his life and those that surround him. Oh, and another thing about Baxter. He may be just sixteen, but he is quite the entrepreneur as…

Audiobook Review: One Good Dragon Deserves Another by Rachel Aaron
3.5 Stars , Reviews / November 3, 2015

What can I say? I really hoped to love this one as many of my trusted blogger friends did. And while I did enjoy it over all I definitely did not love it. I have had a hard time deciding exactly why that is, and it may just come down to I find Julius a bit boring and I got a little sick of the whole “nice dragon” thing. While things get “hard” for him during the book, I feel like the solutions almost seem to come easy or conveniently. I have always preferred dark books with troubled protagonists, so really maybe the biggest surprise should be how much I enjoyed the first. Now, that doesn’t mean I never like nice characters, I just am way more interested in the ones that have shades of grey to them. Perhaps the first book just worked better for me because everything was new and fresh. Since much of that has already been established by the time you get to book 2, I just didn’t have as much to learn about the world in this book and then too much of my enjoyment was reliant on the characters and plot. The plot was good! But the…

Backlist Burndown Review: California Bones by Greg van Eeckhout
4 Stars , Reviews / September 25, 2015

California Bones is a gritty, slightly canabalistic urban fantasy, but trust me, it’s quite a good read. I know, how can something be “slightly canabalistic“? Either there are canabals or there are not. Well, there are. But, it’s osteomancers that eat other osteomancers once they run out of their special magic bones to chomp down on. (Osteomancers are the magic users). But not all osteomancers go to that extreme. There is definitely one rather creepy scene that sets the tone for this, and leaves a lasting impression on both the reader and Daniel. But what reader doesn’t like lasting impressions? Especially when they are creepy! As you may have gathered, the magic in this book is attained by consuming bones, and not just any bones, but the bones of mythical creatures. Fun things like basilisk teeth, kraken spines and griffin claws. Our protagonist Daniel had a very powerful father, who fed Daniel fed bones regularly since he was just six years old. Somewhere along the way, he became so saturated with magic that it changed him. He no longer needs to consume bones, but can draw power from within himself. Being powerful sounds great, right? Well…It also comes with quite a…

Backlist Burndown Review: Nice Dragons Finish Last By Rachel Aaron
4 Stars , Reviews / August 28, 2015

I’ll admit it. I would never have picked up this book if it were not for rave reviews and recommendations from fellow bloggers. I know I really shouldn’t, but I guess I sometimes judge a book by its title. As a reader who tends to prefer darker books a title like “Nice Dragons Finish Last” just leaves me a bit less interested. Not that all the books I read and enjoy are dark, but hearing a title that feels the opposite of dark, a book that sounds like it could be about a “Nice Dragon” just didn’t really appeal to me much. But you know, a title is just a title, and four words are incapable of really giving a potential reader a reliable indication of all the words in the book. So, lesson learned. I did enjoy this book, and while the protagonist Julius is a “nice dragon”, dragons, particularly his family, are particularly brutal and cut throat. Being “nice” by their standards pretty much just means not being a self entitled bully. But really, Julius is a nice but likable character. He’s not perfect, but he does his best to, well, not be an asshole, and be a nice…