Audiobook Review: The Triumphant by Lesley Livingston
4 Stars , Reviews / February 12, 2019

This has been such a fun series and this final installment was not a disappointment. Fallon continues to be a fierce warrior and leader, I love her and her fellow gladiatrices . We also get to see more of Cai in this book, which is always a plus. Speaking of Cai, some time has passed between the end of the second book and the beginning of this one. During that time, Fallon has felt rejected by him, and while she doesn’t understand what happened, she accepts it even though she obviously still cares deeply for him. When Fallon learns that Cai is in trouble, she will do whatever it takes to help him without hesitation. This is one of the characteristics that I love about Fallon, her unwavering support for those she loves as well as what she believes is right. After a very catastrophic event in Rome, she she learns that Cleopatra is in grave danger, so of course takes on the mission of ensuring Cleopatra’s safety as they journey to Egypt where she will be safe. This is a book that really tests allegiances and friendships. There are some great twists of both betrayal and unexpected support. It makes…

Review: Dark of the West by Joanna Hathaway
3.5 Stars , Reviews / January 14, 2019

Dark of the West is the story of revolution, war, and of course, of forbidden love. It’s told through alternating perspectives from Athan, who grew up in constant war and is the third son of a ruthless and powerful general who is leading a revolution. Aurelia grew up somewhat sheltered as a princess of smaller kingdom that has not experienced war firsthand at home. I really enjoyed both perspectives. Athan is a pilot who is getting ready to go through testing to determine his placement after his training ends. He is the clear favorite of his mother who hates the constant war and wants Athan to find a way out of it, a way to stay safe and not waste his life. This makes her the opposite of his father who lives and breathes war and strategy and expects the same of his sons. If Athan had his way, he would follow his mother’s preferred path for him. He is extremely intelligent and a very skilled pilot, his father’s ideal combination, so Athan’s strategy is to hide as much of that from his father as possible. But his father is determined to use Athan however he can, and will use…

Review: Marskwoman by Rati Mehrotra
4 Stars , Reviews / January 16, 2018

This debut was such an enjoyable read for me. It had a great balance of world building and character drama and the pace kept things moving. The world in this is definitely interesting. It starts out feeling like a standard fantasy world with magic and swords, etc. But then as you keep reading and details are revealed, you come to realize it also is post-apocalyptic. I’ve seen this in a number of other books, but that certainly did not prevent me from enjoying the reveals in this one at all. There are orders of women called Markswomen, who serve essentially as assassins. They are meant to uphold the law and enforce order, so they are feared as their skills are almost legendary. Plus, as I mentioned before, they are assassins, so its probably natural that the commoners don’t want to buddy up with them and instead keep a respectul (and slightly fearful) distance. One secret to their power is that they are telepathically bonded with a special type of blade, so it becomes a sort of extenstion of themselves. These blades are magical, and provide their owners strength and the ability to do more than just cut or slice. Even at…

Review: Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine
3.5 Stars , Reviews / July 4, 2016

Last year, I was taken quite off guard when Ink and Bone (which was not on my radar until I received a copy form the publisher) blew me away and earned a 5 star review. This was a book that I had zero preconceived notions or expectations of. I had not read Rachel Caine previously and had no idea what her world or characters would be like. In other words, everything was brand new for me in Ink and Bone. I had hoped that Paper and Fire could carry that momentum but unfortunately found that it faltered for me a bit more than its predecessor. I have to warn you, this review was difficult to write in that I felt I had more complaints mainly because I have a 3.5 star review for a book following a 5 star review. So, please keep in mind that the book is still good. I just explain many reasons that prevented this from being another 5 star book for me. I do feel that some of my loss of excitement came from already being familiar with the world. Yes, the Library is evil. They hoard and control all of the books and information. I…

Review: Half a War by Joe Abercrombie
4 Stars , Reviews / July 25, 2015

Half a War is certainly a good conclusion to the Shattered Sea series. The larger story arc that spans all three books come to an intriguing ending. We also get characters and stories unique to this book. I think it is an interesting way this trilogy was done. Each book focuses on a different set of characters and their individual stories, while the bigger picture story is told through out. It brings fresh perspectives (and characters) to each book, as well as keeping in touch with many of the familiar ones. King Uthil and Grom-gil-Gorm are in open rebellion against the high king.  Yarvi and his apprentice Koll are helping to steer the tides of war. Koll becomes one of our POVs for Half a War. He’s conflicted between two obligations, of which he needs to choose and commit to one. Life as a minister, where he can help shape the world and influence kings. Or, a life with the girl he loves. We are introduced to another strong female POV in this book. While Thorn asserted her strength in a physical way, Skara’s strength is in her wits and wisdom (which seem well beyond her young years). Skara is faced with…

Audiobook Review: Firefight by Brandon Sanderson
4 Stars , Reviews / June 9, 2015

Firefight is a good follow up to Steelheart and I think has a great set up for the next book. There’s more great action that gives you that Hollywood blockbuster movie type of feel. But I have to be honest, I just didn’t enjoy it as much as Steelheart. One of the largest problems was that it just took me a while to get into the story. Even though it ended quite strong, I have to acknowledge that, as a reader, I wish this book had grabbed me earlier. I’ve thought a while on why I enjoyed Steelheart so much more than I did Firefight. Honestly, I think it comes down to I the fact that I enjoyed David’s backstory and how he grew into the the Epic hunting person he is more than the actual Epic fighting parts of the story. So, when this book opens with fighting an epic with kool aid filled water balloons (that’s so early in the book, I’m going to count it as a non-spoiler), I just really didn’t care. I often felt with Firefight that I was just not the target audience, which is true. It’s YA, and I historically don’t engage as well with…

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
4 Stars , Reviews / February 2, 2015

Not all covers are created equal, in my opinion, and I have to confess to being in love with this one. Pair that with a great experience reading Holly Black’s The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, and it was just a matter of time before I broke down to read, or rather, listen to this one as well. A modern day fairy tale featuring a girl named Hazel who strives to be knight, playing with her brother Ben in what she believes to be a world of make believe with makeshift swords and attire. But what kind of fairytale would this be if everything remained pretend? We hear of a mysterious horned boy who sleeps in a glass coffin in the woods. Teenagers whose pranks and antics are unable to rouse or disturb him, unable to pierce or shatter the glass that contains him. A changeling that has been kept by the human family that discovered him. The book skips timelines, making the reader piece together the story with the bits and pieces they are given. And with Hazel as a narrator, the story may be a bit skewed. We learn about Hazel’s personality a bit, her penchant for kissing boys, her childhood spent with…

Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman
5 Stars , Reviews / October 24, 2014

OK, if you have to pick just one audiobook to listen to with your kids (current kids, future kids, imaginary kids, young kids, old kids, or even you own innerself secret kid), you have to pick this one. I listened to it with my boys last year, and this year they both requested to listen to it again. Both. Can I just stress that? There was no disagreement between these brothers. And despite the fact they have quite different taste in books, they are firmly in agreement that this book is amazing and deserves to be listened to multiple times. So, what makes this book so deserving of their admiration? It’s fun. Pure and simple, it is just fun and imaginative, and silly. The pacing is also wonderful for this wacky adventure that all begins when a father sets out to the store in what turns out to be a quest for getting (and keeping) the milk! The amount of silliness packed into such a short story is just, well, silly. But it’s not overdone, its not a book that tries too hard in all the wrong ways. There is an amazing balance of fun and mystery and adventure that…

The Maze Runner by James Dashner
2.5 Stars , Reviews / July 29, 2014

The premise of this book is quite intriguing. A boy wakes up, no memories of who is, where he came from much less where he is now. Perplexed by the nature of memory loss that allows him to remember mundane details, but not important things, he has to just go on, and figure out a way to live in the bizarre world he has found himself a part of. Sounds cool. Then you learn a bit about the world he lives in, and it sounds promising. But then you read, and nothing just ever seems quite as exciting as you think it should. So what is this world like that he wakes up in? It seems to consist of pretty much just teenage boys. They have broken themselves into group to perform all the tasks that need to be done to keep their society running. Oh, and everyone here suffers from the same type of memory loss he has. They wake up one day in what they call The Glades, and its like their life starts fresh from that moment. I also expected to be more taken by The Maze or the monsters (Grievers) that roam it, but honestly, I…

Half a King by Joe Abercrombie
5 Stars , Reviews / April 27, 2014

Half a King by Joe Abercrombie is exactly the type of YA book I have been waiting to find. It’s no secret, that Abercrombie is one of my favorite authors, so I was hopeful, but still wasn’t sure what to expect. In this book, Abercrombie does not compromise or dampen his story for a younger crowd. When things get dark and violent, so does the book. The detail may be a little less than his other books (maybe? Well, there’s no Glokta, but yeah, there is still violence), but Yarvi experiences some grim, dark times and those are not skipped over at all, the reader gets to see it all. And of course, it wouldn’t be an Abercrombie book if there wasn’t just the right amount of dark humor interspersed to help counter the darkness. Another thing I really appreciate about this book is that it does not have an overwhelming romance. I know there are other YA books that don’t, but often, that is my gripe. I enjoy everything about the story but some sudden obsessive love interest. Not at all the case here. Also, for those readers who found Abercrombie’s other books slower to get into, I think you…