Review: Mystic by Jason Denzel
4 Stars , Reviews / October 29, 2015

Mystic is very much a coming of age, perhaps somewhat standard fare for a young adult novel. And maybe you could say the story, in some ways, was predictable. But you know what? I don’t care. I found the characters refreshing, I wanted to read their experiences as they venture through this story. So, regardless of anything that felt familiar, I still really enjoyed it (remember, sometimes familiar is fun when the story is told well). Mystic is a book to immerse yourself in, in a way that makes you feel you can join the adventure as it unfolds on the page. It is very much a character driven story and the reader’s connection with Pomella is crucial to make this work. Luckily, I found Pomella very intriguing and wanted to root for her the entire time. Even though this is a character driven story, the magic in it is also very cool. The Myst is the magical force/entity/power in which “magic” lives. This type of magic feels natural, like part of the earth and environment, but only select people have the ability to access and manipulate it. Honestly, I loved the Myst and how those who could call on…

Review: Updraft by Fran Wilde
4 Stars , Reviews / October 6, 2015

Updraft was a fun read. I really enjoyed the world and imagery of people living in towers in the sky, flying about towers with the aid of fabricated wings. It’s the coming of age story of Kirit, who discovers there is more to her world than she realized. She becomes entangled in politics and and her life has been thrust in a direction she did not expect. I enjoyed the flying aspect and the idea of living up in the sky, but I was always a bit curious as to why they are living up there as well as where the towers they live in are rooted. This was a world where you could see it, but not necessarily understand fully how it evolved. But then to be fair, this is also just the first book, and perhaps if all the details were to be revealed early, it would either A) be a huge boring info dump or B) would ruin some of the mystery that may be addressed in future books. So, I can’t really fault it for this, but it was an observation that stemmed from a conversation with a fellow reader. Perhaps it doesn’t even need a reason. Maybe…

Review: When the Heavens Fall by Marc Turner
3 Stars , Reviews / July 21, 2015

When the Heavens Fall by Marc Turner is reminiscent of Steven Erikson and Glen Cook. I think for readers looking for something new but love some of the older fantasies, this could be a good pick. The story and starts out with multiple people (or teams) all trying to be one to find and get possession of  The Book of Lost Souls, which is a powerful book that gives it’s possessor power over the dead. I was quite intrigued by the hunt and dilemma with the book of the dead. The necromancer that  has taken it is trying to overthrow Shroud, the Lord of the Dead in hopes of ruling the underworld. Yes, this book has a lot of creepy power hungry struggles. I mean, there’s a necromancer trying to unseat The Lord of the Dead! That offers so many wonderful opportunities for dark and deadly fighting. The quests for this book are complicated even further when the dead can be risen to fight. It doesn’t matter whose side they fought for in life, in death they join the army of the dead and will fight whoever the wielder of the book commands them to. This magic of this book is so powerful it could be…

Audiobook Review: Time Salvager by Wesley Chu
4.5 Stars , Reviews / July 20, 2015

Time Salvager has all the strengths of the Tao series (action, humor, etc. etc.), but with a completely fresh world and setting. I found the entire world and plot to be very original and captivating. In a future (and not so accommodating) earth, not only have humans mastered the art and science of time travel, but they are also running short on some critical resources. The solution is to send key teams of highly trained operatives (chronmen) back in time to retrieve what they need. In order to not disrupt the natural order of time, they salvage these resources from just before some disaster strikes that would destroy them. This aspect of it reminded me of Jo Walton’s Thessaly series, but instead of procuring art, they are preserving and cultivating resources that would normally have been destroyed. But where Walton’s books are slow and full of art and philosophy, this book is full of fast paced action, adrenaline, and a filthy earth that has has been through some devastating events between now and then. Needless to say, sending men back in time just as disaster strikes is a dangerous thing, and chronmen don’t have a very impressive life span. James is starting…

Review: The Philosopher Kings by Jo Walton
4.5 Stars , Reviews / June 28, 2015

The Just City blew me away when I read it earlier this year (here’s my review incase you missed it), so I felt like the The Philosopher Kings, which was firmly on my must read list,  had much to live up to. The Pilosopher Kings starts in a dramatic way. Since the last book, 20 years have passed and the people have divided and formed multiple cities, each pursuing its own version or idea of excellence. Some with stricter interpretations of Plato, some with more lenient. But, the division leaves the new cities without the art they are so used to. Humans being humans, they find something to fight about, in this case, possession of art. The Remnant City (the original Just City) suffers attacks from “art raids” as some of the new cities try to take art they feel entitled to. One of these art raids at the beginning of the book ends in tragedy, triggering the rest of the story. This is a very philosophical book (as one might expect). The book examines forgiveness versus vengeance, slavery, posterity, grief. It is a story that really highlights how you react is just as important as events that have happened. We see…

Waiting on Wednesday – The Philospher Kings
Waiting On Wednesday / February 18, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Breaking the Spine to let us share our excitement for books coming out soon.  I am so used to waiting years between books for some of my favorite series, so I was beyond excited when I saw that the sequel to The Just City (review) is scheduled to release later this year.   Title: The Philosopher Kings Author: Jo Walton Expected publication: June 30th, 2015 Publisher: Tor     From acclaimed, award-winning author Jo Walton: Philosopher Kings, a tale of gods and humans, and the surprising things they have to learn from one another. Twenty years have elapsed since the events of The Just City. The City, founded by the time-traveling goddess Pallas Athene, organized on the principles espoused in Plato’s Republic and populated by people from all eras of human history, has now split into five cities, and low-level armed conflict between them is not unheard-of. The god Apollo, living (by his own choice) a human life as “Pythias” in the City, his true identity known only to a few, is now married and the father of several children. But a tragic loss causes him to become consumed with the desire for revenge….

Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear
3.5 Stars , Reviews / January 19, 2015

In the beginning, the book introduces the reader into the life of Karen Memery. We get a great sense of her inner strength and drive and her personality. Karen is definitely a passionate person full of fire. She’s fun to read about and even more fun to root for (which is good, because there are plenty of opportunities in this book where Karen could use someone in her corner rooting for her to make it through). We also come to understand how she wound up working in Madame Damnable’s bordello in the Wild West (with a steampunk twist). Karens voice and dialect did much to add to her character and the setting. However, I have to admit (as much as I hate to) to having a hard time getting into it, particularly in the beginning. Since I can see that it added value, and quite frankly I can’t imagine Karen speaking any other way I feel a bit guilty for saying anything. But I can’t help it, I struggled to adjust to all the “ain’t”s and such. There are also places where I just didn’t get the colloquialisms. Maybe that just means I should get out more, not sure, but even after I adjusted…

Interview with Brian Staveley, Author of The Providence of Fire
Author Interview / January 16, 2015

Today, I am excited to share an interview with Brian Staveley, the author of the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne. Last year, there was much talk about his debut with the first book The Emperor’s Blades. As great as that one was, The Providence of Fire, which released on Monday, takes it to a new level.  It is addictive and exciting, and everything else I said about it in my review. Pretty much, I can’t wait for the next one to see how the trilogy concludes. And, to make the day even sweeter, I have three copies of this incredible book to giveaway (many thanks to Tor) . Be sure to enter below the interview. [interview_id][/interview_id][interview_q] Welcome Brian! I have really enjoyed reading The Emperor’s Blades and The Providence of Fire and am excited for you to join us today! I saw you teach some fascinating subjects: history, religion and philosophy. Did your foundation and interest in these areas help shape your book or lead you down any interesting paths for world building?[/interview_q] [interview_a]Absolutely! My brain is a feeble, unreliable organ. If I didn’t have the wondrous riches of the read world to draw on, I’m not sure I could write a pamphlet,…

The Just City by Jo Walton
5 Stars , Reviews / January 10, 2015

A very thought provoking and insightful book that makes you question the way things are in the world, as well as how they could be (and if that “other way” would really be better or worse). The Just City is an experiment carried out with by a Goddess. Her goal was to create perfectly balanced society where its citizens are judged solely on their own merits and abilities. There is to be no preferential treatment, people there should want to be their best selves and strive to do right by the city. If everyone lives by this code, then the city should thrive. The adults (or “masters”) in the city were all prayed to Pallas Athene for exactly this opportunity. They expressed a desire and interest to come to this. Many of them are people famous for their ideas and efforts during their times in history. The children however, were brought to the city under different circumstances. The city needed children for the experiment to work, but there was controversy over how to best do this. How can you best populate a new city with over ten thousand 10 year olds? It makes for an interesting dynamic. Since the masters had all prayed to Athena specifically to…