Monday, December 31, 2012

History of the World in 100 Objetcs

A History of the World in 100 Objects

This last book review of 2012 is of “History of the World in 100 Objects” by Neil MacGregor. It is 707 pages long with maps and notes at the end. It is published by Allen Lane. The cover is a pretty blue with just the title and author on it. The intended reader is someone who wants to learn about mankind, children may not understand everything in the book and there is one old statue in it that is a little risky but anyone over the age of 12 should be fine. It is told in an odd person first but still have third person voice because MacGregor will talk to the reader about the objects and what they make him feel but most of the book is about the objects. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- From the renowned director of the British Museum, a kaleidoscopic history of humanity told through things we have made. When did people first start to wear jewelry or play music? When were cows domesticated and why do we feed their milk to our children? Where were the first cities and what made them succeed? Who invented math-or came up with money? The history of humanity is a history of invention and innovation, as we have continually created new items to use, to admire, or to leave our mark on the world. In this original and thought-provoking book, Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum, has selected one hundred man-made artifacts, each of which gives us an intimate glimpse of an unexpected turning point in human civilization. A History of the World in 100 Objects stretches back two million years and covers the globe. From the very first hand axe to the ubiquitous credit card, each item has a story to tell; together they relate the larger history of mankind-revealing who we are by looking at what we have made. Handsomely designed, with more than 150 color photographs throughout the text, A History of the World in 100 Objects is a gorgeous reading book and makes a great gift for anyone interested in history.

Review- This book is wonderful. The writing is strong, the objects are chosen with great care and the stories they tell are just so interesting. The objects examined range from the easiest statue of a couple with sex to a solar powered lamp. MacGregor does not stay in the western world; when he says a history of the world we go around the world. He talks about how frustrating it is to have objects but because of time and death that now we can only guess what the story of the object really is. Each object has multiple full color photos with great detail. MacGregor loves his work and it shows in the book. The history is great but MacGregor does not overwhelm the reader with all the details. MacGregor helps the reader to see the object and ever to see where it fits into the grand scope of humankind. If you only read one non-fiction book this coming year make it this one.

I give this one Five out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.

Friday, December 28, 2012


Croak by Gina DamicoToday's post is on 'Croak' by Gina Damico. It is  published by Graphia which is an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt publishing. It is 311 pages long. The cover is a silver with a young woman in a black hoodie with a scythe. The intended reader is Young Adult and it is really YA. It has some interesting points but the YA crowd are the ones who are going to enjoy it the most. There is nothing but some language in this so parents beware Lex curses. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- Life's not fair. Why should Death be any different? Sixteen-year-old Lex Bartleby has sucker-punched her last classmate. Fed up with her punkish, wild behavior, her parents ship her off to up-state New York to live with Uncle Mort for the summer, hoping that a few months of dirty farm work will whip her back into shape. But Uncle Mort's true occupation is much dirtier than shoveling manure. He's a Grim Reaper. And he's going to teach her the family business. Lex quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated entirely by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next. Along with her infuriating yet intriguing partner, Driggs, and a rockstar crew of fellow Grim apprentices, Lex is soon zapping her targets like a natural born Killer. Yet her innate ability morphs into an unchecked desire for justice- or it is vengeance?- whenever she's forced to Kill a murder victim, yearning to stop the attackers before they can strike again. So when people start to die- that is, people who aren't supposed to be dying, people who have committed grievous crimes against the innocent- Lex's curiosity is piqued. Her obsession grows as the bodies pile up, and a troubling question begins to swirl through her mind: if she succeeds in tracking down the murderer, will she stop the carnage - or will she ditch Croak and join in?

Review- The only thing that is disappointing about this book is that it is written for YA's. The writing is strong, the characters are YA but fun and interesting, and what is really going on will keep you guessing. Lex is annoying at the start but by chapter three that is worked out. It is just because she is full of grim energy and once she start working she is likable. The other characters in the story help build the plot and the mystery. The murders are not the focus of this book. It is about Lex learning who her really is and what she is do in life. The town of Croak sounds like a place I would have loved to go as a teen but I was and still am a goth. Teens who are feeling like they cannot control their lives because of all the changes that are happening to them will relate with Lex. I remember feeling how Lex feels at the beginning of the story, before Croak when she is just angry and does not know why. The story ends with the villan getting away but that is okay because I have the next book in the series waiting for me tomorrow.

Rating a solid Four and A Half stars with hopes for the second volume. I get nothing for this review and I borrowed this book from my local library.

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Riddle

The Riddle (Pellinor, #2)

Today's post is on 'The Riddle' by Alison Croggon and is the second book in the Pellinor quartet . It is published by Candlewick Press. It is 490 including notes and maps. In this series you really need to start at the beginning to understand the story, the first book is The Naming. The intended reader is Young Adult but anyone with a love of high fantasy will like it. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

The story picks up just where it stopped in The Naming with Maerad and Cadvan fleeing from the great bard city of Norloc. They are now pursued by both the Light and the Dark and by the elemental being known as The WinterKing. The Nameless One has an army to the south getting ready to attack the town where Maerad's brother Hem is. Maerad and Cadvan go north because of a dream that Maerad had that the answers she needed where to the north. Norloc begins to tighten its hold of the schools of barding. This adventure begins dark and stays dark all the way. Maerad does not  trust herself anymore because of how wild her elemental powers are. She kills a fellow bard and in doing that she can feel the darkness in her own heart. Cadvan is at a loss of how to reach her or help her so he does the only he can, he keeps them moving north. Then the powerful WinterKing, a being of pure elemental power, attacks them when they are most vulnerable. Maerad now alone must continue the quest north. She meets family from her father's side but the price she has to pay to get her answers is terrible.

To start with I did not like this one as much as The Naming. I think that is because this one is so very dark. Normally I like the middle parts of a story or play the best. The most character development happens but not this time. The focus of this book is really how much suffering Maerad has to endure. I know that all characters suffer and that prices must be paid to save the world but it is too much. The little light this story has is always over-whelmed by the dark. Maerad finds her father's family but her cousin is brutally killed because of her. It is not her fault but because she is wanted by The WinterKing that he dies.  Cadvan is dead for most of the story. Maerad is maimed because of the carelessness of her kidnappers. It is just too much. I read the 200 pages very quickly just to get it over with. When you are reading a story and just want it done something is wrong. I think that Croggon wanted to explore the darkness that both hunts Maerad and also lives in her own heart but I can think of better ways to it. On the good side the writing is solid, the characters are still believable, and the reader still cares about the over all journey. I hope the last of this series are not as dark.

My rating is Three and  a Half Stars.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Fortune's Fool

Fortune's Fool by Mercedes Lackey
Today's post is on 'Fortune's Fool' by Mercedes Lackey. It is published by Luna which is an imprint of Harlequin Books. It is 362 pages long and is the third in the Five Hundred Kingdoms series. The cover has the two main characters with some of the elements of the story like the paper bird and the harp. The intended reader are fairy tale lovers, light romance readers, and fans of Lackey. There some sexuality in this novel so be warned. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

Ekaterina - Katya - is the seventh daughter of the Sea King. She has the very rare and special gift as the seventh, she can walk on land as easily as she can swim through water. She is her father's hands and eyes on dry land. The Sea King wants to keep peace between him and dry land kingdoms. So Katya helps with that because whenever something odd goes on she goes to help. With The Tradition on her side she has done much good for her kingdom. The Tradition is what makes things go in the Five Hundred Kingdoms, it helps good people and when people are lazy bad things happen. One kingdom has not had any trouble in almost three centuries. When Katya gets to Led Belarus she discovers why. The kingdom has a Fortunate Fool. Sasha is the seventh son, a prince and a Songweaver. He has been going around his kingdom and helping keep the darkness from coming in it. That is because Led Belarus does not have a Godmother, so the royal family is dealing with The Tradition themselves. They meet and fall in love. Before they can do much Katya is called back to her father because something is taking magical young women. Before too long Katya is taken too but unlike all the older women she chooses to be taken. A Jinn is taking the women and he is going to take more than that. With Katya inside and Sasha outside the Jinn does not what is coming for him.

This is the third in a series but you do not have to have read the others to enjoy this one. All the Five Hundred Kingdoms are stand alone series, there are some repeat characters from the earlier books but nothing that would trip up the reader. The story is as fun and fanciful as a fairy tale should be. I only have one problem with the series. There is some sexuality in them. It is not gratuitous, it is the main characters who are in love, and it does not last long. I think that it just because I do not like sex in my fairy tales. I have read the originals and I know that they are about sex but I really like the innocence's better. It is nice to see some of the characters from the earlier books. In this one it is the two dragon champions from 'One Good Knight' and Godmother Elena is talked about from 'The Fairy Godmother'. The magic system is fun and easy to understand. The characters are funny and they know that something outside of themselves is moving the world and the story along.

My rating is a solid four stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.

Monday, December 10, 2012

He's a Stud, She's a Slut, and 49 Other Double Standards Ever... by Jessica Valenti

Today’s Non-fiction post is on ‘He’s a Stud, She’s a Slut and 49 other double standards every women should know’ by Jessica Valenti. The intended reader is female but it also male friendly anyone over the age of about 13 can read this; there is some language but not much and it helps the reader hear the author’s voice. The cover is multicolored stripes with a black box in the middle with the title and author information in it. There Be Spoilers Ahead but this is non-fiction so I’m not really worried about it.

From the back of the book- Double standards are nothing new. Women deal with them every day. Consider the following examples:

·         He’s a hipster, She’s a Ho

·         He’s Gay, She’s a Fantasy

·         He’s Angry, She’s PMSing

·         He’s Independent, She’s Pathetic

·         He’s Successful, She’s a Showoff

·         He’s Dating a Younger Woman, She’s a Cougar
Women are held to a different standard than men. And mostly we just put with it- but we don’t have to. Jessica Valenti offers 50 solutions to 50 of the most pressing double standards that women confront. With sass, humor, and in-your-face facts, she informs and equips women with the tools they need to combat sexist comments, topple ridiculous stereotypes and end the promotion of insidious double standards.

Review- This book is easy to read, has useful information, and does give some advice about how to deal with the fair world we live in. Valenti is very passionate about her topic and it shows. All the solutions were common sense ones but because I have been very lucky and not been in some of those situations I had not thought about them. I know that it is not popular to be a feminist but I am one. Valenti also talks about how unpopular it is to be a feminist. Now Valenti is not saying that men have problems and double standards to deal with too. She does talk about how if a guy is just nice to his girlfriend; he will be given a hard time by others, that he is too ‘soft’ and the like. But the main focus is about women in this broken world of ours. But she does have answers for everything there is some misinformation in it but it only one thing and I think that you should do the research for yourself about all 50 topics she talks about. But the heart of the book is in the right place, that place is making life better for everyone, not just women, because sexism effects everyone.

I give this a solid four stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Halfway to the Grave

Today's post is on 'Halfway to the Grave' by Jeaniene Frost. It is published by Avon which is an imprint of HarperCollins. It is 358 pages long. The cover has the main character in a short black dress with thigh-high boots and a silver dagger. The intended reader is urban fantasy lovers. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

Catherine (Cat) Crawfield is a vampire hunter. Not just any vampire hunter but one who is half vampire herself. Her mother was date raped and five months later Cat was born. Her mother hates all vampires. She has been telling Cat that she has to fight the evil in her because of her father. Cat kills vamps who think that she is a little dumb girl that they can eat. For eight years Cat has been doing this until one night she picks the wrong guy. He knocks her out and when she wakes up tied up. He wants to know who she works for. Cat tells him no one. Of course he does not believe her. But then she flashes her eyes at him, something only a vampire can do, and he believes her. His name is Bones and he hunts vamps too. Bones decides to train her so that they can hunt bigger targets together. Over the course of the story they fall in love. But the story is really about Cat learning that her world is much bigger than she knew. There vamps who do not kill their victims, there are humans who like to be fed from, there are ghouls and ghosts. The big bad in this novel is a vampire who is kidnapping young women. He is taking them and making them slaves that other vamps rape and feed from. In the end Cat learns that vamps are not the only bad guys in the world and sometimes they do not work alone.

I was not sure that I was going to like this story. I am not a vampire person. They just do not do it for me. But Cat won me over. I like that she believes in what she is doing. She tries to make the world a better place in anyway she can. Once she sees that not all vampires are just soulless killers, she lets go of her preconceived notions. She learns to accept herself for who she is not what. By chapter three I was really having fun with this book. Bones is interesting and fun. He is very honest with Cat about the world and how he feels for her. It is the dialog that fuels the character growth and plot. Cat's mother does her purpose of making the reader feel bad for Cat. She had to grow up with a mother who hated her on some level. The action scenes are okay but not the best part of the story. I will be reading the rest of the series with pleasure.

I give it a solid Four stars.

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack

Today's post is on 'The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack' by Mark Hodder. This is the first book in a series Burton & Swinburne. It is published by Pyr and is 371 pages including a brief historical information about the characters in the book. It has a very lovely cover by Jon Sullivan showing Jack with blue flames and in the rest is in grey scale. The intended readers are adults who like steampunk, alt history, or well written books. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

The year is 1861 and King Albert is on the English throne. Sir Richard Francis Burton has just gotten the worst news of his life. His friend and competitor John Hanning Speke has shot himself in the head on the day they were to debate about the source of the Nile. On his way back to his house, after getting drunk at his club, Burton is attacked by a strange man, on silts and glowing with blue fire,  who blackens his eyes and yells at him to leave him( the blue fiery man) alone. Burton has no idea either who he is or what. The next day Burton is contacted by the Prime Minister and asked to investigate the very odd things that happen in the Empire. Like Jack and dogs who walk like men and many other odd things. After having people die around him, Burton decides that he is going to go it alone. That is until Swinburne begs him to take him on as his assistant. Algernon Swinburne is a poet who needs to feel live or else his end will come in a bottle. So with a new assistant Burton goes to uncover the mystery of Spring Heeled Jack. In this world there really is more than your philosophy has ever dreamed of.

There are parts of the story that are not interesting but 85% is just enchanting. The world building in this book is some of the best that I have ever read. It is so subtle. Hodder gives you pieces of the world so that it does not overwhelm you. It is like uncovering a world that you thought you knew but just did not realize it. I liked Burton who you spend the most time with but I hope that Swinburne has a bigger role in the next book. You just do not get much time with him but time you are with him, Swinburne is really funny. Hodder did great amounts of research into the real Victorian age to give us offset one. As someone who read a lot of books from this time(yay English major) I really appreciated all the little details, like calling a match a lucifer.

I give it Four and Half stars. I get nothing for my review and I bought this book with my little money.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Today's post is on 'Cinder' by Marissa Meyer; it is book one of four of the Lunar Chronicles. It is published by Feiwel And Friends which is an imprint of MacMillan. The book is 387 pages long excluding author's note at the end. The cover has a foot with a metal bone showing and a lovely red shoe. The book is told in Four parts and thirty-eight chapters. The intended reader is YA. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

Opening line- The screw through Cinder's ankle had rusted, the engraved cross marks worn to a mangled circle.

Cinder Linh is the best mechanic in New Beijing. She is also a cyborg, seen as a mistake by most of earth's peoples, and by her stepmother. As a cyborg Cinder has no rights, she is not seen as human anymore, so her stepmother makes her work and then takes all her money. The start of the book as Cinder is changing her too small foot. The Prince Kaito seeks her out because he needs her to repair one of his personal androids. Cinder agrees to help with Prince of course. But bad things come in threes in this book. First there is an outbreak of the deadly virus that has killed almost two-thirds of the human population, her sister Peony gets it and dies and the deadly queen from the moon comes. The queen of Luna wants to marry Kaito and get power on Earth but Kaito and his father having been fighting to stop this for years. When Cinder's younger sister gets the disease, her stepmother 'volunteer's' her for a research subject. Cinder discovers that she is immune to the disease but nothing saves her sister. Cinder discovers more about herself and why she was made a cyborg. The knowledge will make her decide what she is going to do. Because both the earth and the moon's people are in her hands.

I enjoyed this book but it is for young adults. That does not mean that it is bad or badly written but for an adult reading it, it was not something special. I would give this to young girls to read because they will enjoy it or if you really love the Cinderella story. It is an interesting retelling and I will read the other books in the series which there are going to be four. The next one comes out early next year. The writing is good but I really loved the font. The font is very pretty and pleasing to look at, I would stop reading to just look at the font but I'm weird. So it is a fun beach read.

I give this a three and half out of five stars.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Today's post is on 'Mistborn' by Brandon Sanderson. It is published by TOR. It is 657 pages including an excerpt of 'Hero of Ages' and a brief explanation of the very unique magic system. The cover has the main character Vin on it in an action pose with mist around her and the enemies are shadowy but there. The intended read is anyone who loves fantasy and anyone who can read. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

I trying to think of a way to summarize this plot of Mistborn. It is a daunting task. This plot is very sublime. I was expecting to enjoy this book and I did but this book is so much more than just an enjoyable fantasy story. After reading this book I know understand why Robert Jordan chose him to finish The Wheel of Time series. I will try and please understand that my summary is a very poor and pale representation of this story.

Vin is a street urchin. She survives by being a good 'luck' for her thieving crew. Her brother beat into her that everyone will betray her in the end. Her crew leader gets too greedy. Vin knows that something bad is about to happen but that is not unusual in The Final Empire. The Lord Ruler is immortal and he controls everything. From the skaa slaves to the nobleborn. Skaa and noble are not to have children together. The Lord Ruler claims that is because he wants to maintain purity but is really about controlling who could have the power to be Mistborn. But Vin knows nothing of this at the start of the novel. She just knows that she has luck and she has to use her luck to survive. Into her chaotic live comes Kelsier. He knows that Vin is a Mistborn and he saves her life. Then he starts to train her in her powers. The over arching plot is about overthrowing The Final Empire but there is so much more. The characters, the subplot, and the imaginary are wonderful. But I will get into that in the next paragraph.

I cannot begin to express how wonderful this book is. I feel stupid for not reading it before. This book is clever, the writing is so easy to fall into, the characters are so believable. There is a main character death and Sanderson does not waste it. It  is one of the most vivid imagines I have from the story. The character's final words are just sublime-

"I killed you, once," the Lord Ruler said, turning back to Kelsier.
"You tried," Kelsier replied, his voice loud and firm, carrying across the square. "But you can't kill me, Lord Tyrant. I represent that thing you've never been able to kill, no matter how hard you try. I am hope."
The Lord Ruler snorted in disdain. he raised a casual arm, then backhanded Kelsier with a bow so powerful that Vin could hear the crack resound through the square.

That is one of the most powerful imagines of the whole book. He does in about six lines what some writers cannot do in six hundred. He makes it real. The magic system is very mysterious but again Sanderson does not waste what he has. The takes about two scenes for the reader to really get an idea about how the system works. The first one with Kelsier doing a raid on a noble house and the second is when he starts teaching Vin how to control her powers as a Mistborn. Again this is a very poor and pale representation of this wonderful wonderful book. But  do not take my word for it, read it yourself.

My personal rating for this one is Five out of Five with gold stars all around.
I am getting nothing for my reviews. I either bought the book with my own money or I borrowed it from the library. I bought this one and I own it with pride.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Today's post is on "Fluke Or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings" by Christopher Moore. It is 321 pages long and is published by William Morrow an imprint of HarperCollins Publishing. The cover has a whale tail with the words 'Bite Me' on it. It is divided into four parts with thirty-eight chapters. The intended reader is adult and maybe older teen. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

The opening line is- Amy called the whale punkin.

Nathan Quinn is obsessed with finding out why the whales sing. That is his whole life. His partner Clay, his grad student Amy and his business, everything is about why. So when his office is broken-in and all his life's work is stolen or destroyed his knows that he is on to something. Something is just the beginning. With the mystery of what is going getting deeper with every chapter Nate learns more than he ever dreamed possible. There are whales, humans and things in between. There is a love story, teachers that cannot stand bad grammar and Jersey boys who think that they are Jamaican.

To start with I did not like this book; at all. I did not find it funny. The humor in it is for people who think that penis' are just the funniest thing on the planet and I am not one of them. After I discovered the answer to the mystery which is there is an ancient sea-creature at the bottom of the ocean that is going to kill humankind because we are scary; I was done with the book. In fact I could not make myself read the last 20-odd pages. I was so bored during this book that I had to make myself read it so that I would be done with it. I rarely have to do that. As I am sure you have noticed that I am easy to please in books and movies. But this was just a big waste of my time. Do not read this book it is not funny, it is horrible. I, personally, will never read anything by Moore again.

I am giving this book One star out of Five. And it is Lucky to be getting that. I get nothing for this review and lucky for me I borrowed this from my local library.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dead Witch Walking

Today's post is on 'Dead Witch Walking' by Kim Harrison. It is 416 pages long and it published by Harper Voyager which is an imprint of HarperCollins Publishing. Yes I know that this is an older book but I have just gotten around to reading it. The cover is interesting, it is from the first scene with Rachel's back to the reader with a church in front of her.  The intended reader is adult who likes gritty urban fantasy with a heroine who grows over the story. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

Rachel Morgan is having a really bad day. Okay a really bad couple of months. She is a runner for the I.S or Inderand Bureau, meaning she keeps the bad supernaturals from getting away with it. But she has not had a good run in months. Her boss is keeping her from doing anything and Rachel does not know why. Well things go from bad to worse when she decides that she has had enough. With a living vampire friend Ivy and a pixy named Jenks she quits. That is when her boss puts a death warrant on her. With assassins of every kind chasing her, Rachel does the crazy thing, she goes after someone with a bounty on his head big enough to make everyone leave her alone. The chase scenes are excellent, the dialogue is funny and when Rachel is held prisoner I was really worried about her.

I went into this book expecting to enjoy it and I was right. I was impressed with this book for one thing. Within 35 pages I cared about all the trouble chasing Rachel. I was worried about her. I cared that she had no where to go and only two people that she could trust. That is very impressive for a first book in a series and with all that I read; it surprised me when I realized that I cared about her. That made me sit up and take notice of the excellence of the writing. It was a very easy read, I read two chapters a day and just flew through it. I do like the covers for the series because they do not show Rachel's face, I like this because it make other things about her stand out, like the charms she has on her handcuffs. The plot is interesting with villain being very evil, the good guys being very out-numbered, and the emotions that Harrison pulls out of the reader is very impressive. I am very glad that I have the next three volumes waiting for me on my to-read shelf. I did buy this series because my local book store had them on sale but it was a good buy.

My rating is 4 amulets and 1/2 pixy dust for a good time. I get nothing for my review and like I said I bought my copies from my local bookstore.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Full Frontal Feminism

Today's Non-Fiction Post is on 'Full Frontal Feminism' with the subtitle of 'A young woman's guide to why feminism matters' by Jessica Valenti. It is published by Seal Press which is an imprint of Perseus Books Group. It is 271 pages long with information about further readings, websites, and just general way to get more involved in your local community. The cover has a nude woman but we can only see her stomach and one hand on her hip.  The intended reader are young women but anyone over the age of about 15 can read this and get something out of it but warned there is language. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- You're a feminist. I swear. Feminism isn't dead. It just isn't very cool anymore. Jessica Valenti, found of the popular blog, is out to change all that.
"Jessica Valenti gets right to the point: If you are a smart, modern woman, feminism must be a part of your life. Full Frontal Feminism will leave readers wondering not what can I do, but what should I do first." Amy Richards and Jennifer Baumgardner, coauthors of Manifests: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future.
"Full Frontal Feminism should be required reading for all the young women out here whose ideas about feminism are more informed by backlash culture than by the actual feminist movement. Valenti has produced a lively, witty primer on feminism that will inspire its audience." Lisa Jervis, co founder of bitch: feminist response to pop culture.
"Finally, a book on feminism that's filled with the sassiness to keep us reading, and the statistics to make us give a damn. Whether she's covering porn or reproductive rights, Valenti delivers a solid intro to feminism for young women and a much-needed refresher course for the rest of us." Daisy Hernandez, co editor of Colonize this! Young Women of Color on Today's Feminism.
"Valenti breathes new life into feminism with her tell-it-like-it primer on why it's not only cool but also vital to heed the call to make your world a  better more equal place- for yourself, your friends, your sisters and your brothers." Rachel Kramer Bussel, editor of Best Sex Writing 2008 and the sex blog Lusty Lady.

I really enjoyed this book but one thing really annoyed me. I think that feminism is more than just a political thing I think that is a way to live your life. Now Valenti does agree with me but she really makes everything go back to politics. But I think that the core theme of this book is about getting out there and not letting anyone else, no matter who that is, make choices for you. I agree totally. Women of all ages need to get out there and be a voice in their communities and in our government. Do not let anyone make choices for you no matter where you stand on the line. If you are pro-choice then get out there and make some good noise, if you are pro-life do the same. I, for one, am sick to death of watching the women in my life have choices made for them and they either do not know or do not care. I have friends who do not use birth control because it is something that only sluts or married women use. I was shocked when I was told that. But that is something that I think all women can get behind because birth control is just the single best thing in the world other than chocolate. I know that some people reading this will be offended. I ask you to think about why are you offended, do not just shut down. This is, in general, a great book and I wish that I could have read it when I was a teenager because it would have helped me then like now.

I give this four stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Black Wings

Today's post is on 'Black Wings' by Christina Henry. It is 295 pages long and it published by ACE which is an imprint of Penguin Books. The cover is a grey scale picture of a woman with the hint of wings behind her. The only color is the red of the title. It has a tag line of 'She's an agent of Death who really needs to get a Life.' very clever.  The intended reader is someone likes urban fantasy and is over the age of 15 because of some of the sexual things that happen. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

Madeline Black is an agent of Death. Her calling or duty is to help the souls of the departed to the other side. She does not really like her job but it is in her blood as in she inherited the job from her mother who was murdered when Maddie was 14. As far as Maddie knew her father was a deadbeat who knocked her up and exited stage left. So begins our tale. In the first few pages there is a murder, Maddie is attacked, and she finds that she has powers that no other agent has. There are dreams about the long lost past, there are good looking men, who of course want Maddie, and there are more fallen angels that you can shake a stick at. In the end the answers to the questions are given but if you are like me then the answers are not a surprise but what you guessed would happen from the first vision/dream.

I wanted to like this book more than I do. It has some very interesting plot threads with death being a big bureaucracy, fallen angels and a spunky heroine who wants to understand what is going on around her. But Henry does not live up to the promise of the plot line(s). She does not really do anything with what she has. The story does go from A to B but nothing really happens. People talk, the reader gets more information about an interesting world, there is a kiss (not even that great of one because Maddie faints during it) but that is it. I am not going to buy the next book but get it from my library because I still want this series to turn out. But I am also not putting any money on that. All in all I am very disappointed with this book because like I said I really wanted to like it.

My rating is 2 stars. I get nothing for my review, sadly I spent my own money on this book.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Death Warmed Over

Today's post is on 'Death Warmed Over' by Kevin J. Anderson. It is published by Kensington Fantasy. It is 296 pages long with an teaser chapter from the next book 'Unnatural Acts' coming out in January of next year bumping up the pages count to 309. The cover art has the main character Dan Shamble with other supernatural creatures like a vampire, a witch, etc. The intended reader is anyone over the age of about 14 or so. Not because of anything in the book but because I do not think that anyone under that age would be able to get most of the references in the book; one needs to have read and watched much to get them. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

Dan Chambeaux was just a normal P.I. trying to make an honest living in a new world. He is the P.I. half of Chambeaux & Deyer Investigations. The Big Uneasy had happened five years before making all the fairy monsters real. Now the world has witches, vampires, ghosts and more. He got his new name about town of 'Shamble' when he was murdered in a back alley and came back. Murders and suicides have the highest chances to come back as either ghosts or zombies. When his girlfriend is murdered Shamble swears to her that he will get her killer. That does not change when she comes back as a ghost or when Shamble is shot in the head. There are many cases that introduce the reader to this very funny world with funny and interesting characters. Like a five thousand year-old mummy named Ramen Ho-Tep to the witches on the cover, yes there are two, but that is important to the story so I will not ruin that for you either.

I have a story about this book. I am a pretty big fan of Mr. Anderson and I have the pleasure of meeting/seeing him at Dragon*Con every year. So last years' D*C he read the first two chapters of this book at his reading. I really enjoyed it. Over the year he talked with his fans on his facebook page about the writing he was doing including Death Warmed Over. Well months past and I am getting excited because it is almost time for D*C again. I come back from a short vacation to the beach to find a package waiting for me. Confused because I had not ordered anything. I see that the return address is from Mr. Anderson. Now I am very confused and a little concerned. I'm thinking on some list somewhere, like a bad list, but I open the package. Inside is an  Advance Reading Copy or ARC of Death Warmed Over. I start screaming and waving my hands and in general looking like an idiot. So that is my story. Mr. Anderson sent me an ARC copy of this book and he personalized it to me. Now the review of the book itself. It is very funny. It has some laugh out loud moments but most of the humor is subtle. It will catch you off guard with it. I do not want to ruin those moments for you but just watch what you are reading because he has surprises for you. It is first person as Shamble but that is part of the humor because he thinks a lot like the reader. The bad guy(s) have soliloquies, the good win in the end and an evil company is made to pay. All in all a fun and fast read.

Rating four and half stars out of five.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Ghosts of Manhattan

Today's post is on 'Ghosts of Manhattan' by George Mann. It is 236 pages long and is published by Pyr books. This cover art is is by Benjamin Carre and is a wonderful minimalist in grays, blacks, and whites with the Ghost's eyes as red dots that draws that eye. The intended reader is anyone who like fantasy, alt history and steampunk-like genre. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

The city of Manhattan is haunted. It is haunted by the war, by prohibition, by the mob and by a cold war with England. It is 1926 and the world is changing. Steam and coal are the fuels for the moment but Tesla with his electricity is trying to change that. None of that matters to the Ghost who is just trying to find a way to help the helpless and stop the mobsters who think that everything should be theirs. One mobster in particular thinks that the whole world should be his; The Roman. That is all that he is known by. The Ghost thinks that he is just another power mad lunatic but that is not all he is. Enter woven with the Ghost's story is Celeste Parker, Gabriel Cross and one honest cop Felix Donovan. They are all losing time to The Roman and his mad desires. But true madness will not be seen until the end.

This book is very well written. The plot is fast, the dialogue is okay ( not the best I have read but not bad all the same), and the action is gritty. I like the steampunk themes in it and they are not just to make steampunky because that is popular at the moment but are really part of the story; they are important to the story. I guessed who was The Ghost before chapter 2 but maybe the reader was suppose to. Or rather I should say I guessed who The Ghost pretends to be when his mask is off. Now I grew up listening to Old Time Radio so as I was reading GoM I am thinking 'man this guy loved The Shadow too'. But if you like Batman or Moon Knight then maybe you would see them in this character before I did. The only odd thing in the book is the supernatural bits that happen towards the end. There are some but they are explained as supernatural but some weird science that The Ghost just does not know about. So when an Elder God basically rips through reality it is a little weird. But do not let that stop you from reading this book. It is worth the read.

Rating Three and half stars out of Five.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Gathering Storm

Today's post is 'The Gathering Storm' by Robin Bridges. It is 386 pages long and is published by Delacorte Press which is an imprint of Random House. This is the first book in "The Katerine Trilogy'. There is a good note about Russian names at the beginning that is very useful and interesting. The intended reader is YA. The cover has a very pretty girl with blonde hair standing in a snowstorm behind her; she is looking the reader with a haunted expression on her face. There be Spoilers Ahead.

Katerina Alexandrovna, Duchess of Oldenburg is noble born in Russia in 1888 and she is cursed. At least that is what she thinks. When she was a child she wished that a frog she saw dead was not and it came back to life. She believes that her power is evil so she must never do that again. With one slip when she bought back her mother's cat she has never done it again. Katiya, as her family calls her, wants to be a doctor. She wants to help people and her father is fully behind her with this dream but her mother just wants to marry her off to the man with the highest title. She goes to a finishing school with other high born girls including two princess from the kingdom of Montenegro but they are two of the main villains in the story with their brother as the other. There are balls, dresses, some fight scenes and two kisses with two different young men. Katiya must choose for herself and be brave enough to go where no one else can or will.

This was not a bad story. I liked many parts of it very much. I think that Katiya has dreams for herself  and that she will not change herself just because of some boy. She is naive which is not surprising for a sixteen year old girl to be. She is smart, like able and believable. The writing is strong with vivid descriptions, dialogue flows and in general not bad. I would have liked it better if the horror in the story was more important. I think that was sacrifice so that more girls would read it and I think that it would have been a better book for having the horror but I am not the author that is just my opinion.

My rating is three Russian stars and 1/2 a zombie. I do not get anything for my review in fact I borrowed this book from my library.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Warlock In Spite of Himself

Today's post is 'The Warlock In Spite of Himself' by Christopher Stasheff. It was originally published in 1969, then released in 1998 both are published by Ace. It is 374 pages. This was the first book that Stasheff wrote and it launched his writing career. The intended reader is everyone over the age of about 16 who likes an interesting take on sci-fi. It has some implied sexuality with dialogue and hinting but no descriptions. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

Rod Gallowglass lives in a future universe that is trying to bring all worlds into a peaceful democracy. How this is done is one agent like Gallowglass as send to unknown worlds to contact the people who live there. If they are peaceful intelligent people then he would help them by introducing new and different politics. It works to help the world join the universal democracy when the time comes. So Gallowglass lands on the world that calls itself Gramercy. It was peopled by travelers who wanted to have medieval glory again. There is a queen, with seven noble lords and many peasants. This world is a medieval one with something off. At first Gallowglass thinks that is because some how things like magic work on this world. Gallowglass gets himself named as a warlock because of his 'magic' which is really just brains and science but he cannot shake the name. He gets himself a side-kick, other than his robot horse and then hired as a soldier for the queen. His goal to help this planet become a constitutional monarchy so that it will have an easier time when the democracy comes. He meets all the people with power in the world and he saves not only the world but the future of the universe. His love interest is Gwen a powerful witch who holds the future in her hands.

I do not really have anything to say about this book. It was okay. It was not boring but I really did not have much fun with it. I think that it because this is the first book that Stasheff wrote. I can see where the seeds of a great writer are but this is not his best work. That said if you want to read the Warlock series you need to start with this one. I may read more in the Warlock series just to see where it goes but I still like this Wizard in Rhyme series the best. I think that my main problem with the book is the way women are treated in the book. They are sex objects or annoying, To expand on those points I mean this. There are women in the book everywhere but they are either just boobs with no faces, no personalities, just there for sex. Or in the case of the queen or Gwen they just get in the way; they are only really good when a man is directing them.

Rating is a 3 stars. I get nothing for this review. I borrowed this book from the library.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Ghost Map

Today's non-fiction post is on 'The Ghost Map' by Steven Johnson. The subtitle is 'The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic- and How it changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World'. It is 299 pages long with notes and appendixes. It is published by Riverhead Books which an imprint of Penguin Group. The cover is plain and makes it very clear that you are about to read something non-fiction and should be proud of yourself for doing it. I think that There Be Spoilers Ahead but I'm really new to this non-fiction thing so Be Ware? Or Aware? Still not sure. Oh well on with the review.

From the dust jacket- Trust Steven Johnson to put an intriguing and unconventional spin on a well-known story! The nimble-minded nonfiction writer who dazzled us in Emergence, Mind Wide Open, and Everything Bad Is Good for You now parses a storied incident from the annals of public health-- the Broad Street cholera epidemic of 1854, a deadly outbreak that literally decimated London's population in eight days. At the center of the story stand two heroic figures: Reverend Henry Whitehead and Dr. John Snow, whose combined efforts in mapping the disease solved the mystery of how cholera spreads and created a model of information design with wide-ranging implications. Using historical narrative as a scaffolding for some of his famously big ideas, Johnson shows how this story from Victorian times offers lessons for modern cities facing a host of problems-- from urban sprawl to environmental crises and the threat of bio-terrorism.

I am trying to get more variety in my reading diet so I am going to read one non-fiction book at a time. The reason for that is because I read about four to five fiction books at once so adding one non-fiction is pretty good. This book was wonderful. Now I have read history books because I have a college degree and they do not give other to you without having to read at least one thing mind-numbingly boring but Johnson is not it. His prose is wonderful; he tells the story of how Dr. John Snow proved to everyone that cholera was waterborne in a way that is like reading a thriller. When I read that Reverend Whitehead had some of the water from the contaminated pump I got chills. I was so worried about him that it annoyed me to have to wait to get back to see how and why he survived. Johnson taking the problem of the outbreak from all angles. He discusses the current theories of disease, where John Snow came from, why Reverend Whitehead was so important to the discovery. I read this book in about five days, I just wanted to know what was going to happen and how Snow was going to stop the outbreak. While I was reading this I was thinking about how an outbreak like this would effect the world now and then Johnson starts talking about that too. All in all a wonderful way to start my non-fiction habit.

I give this five of five stars. I get nothing for my review, I borrowed this book from my library.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Red-Headed Stepchild

Today's post is on 'Red-Headed Stepchild' by Jaye Wells. It is the first in the Sabina Kane series which is five volumes long. It is published by Orbit which is am imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc. It is 328 pages long not including extras like the author interview and a preview of the next book Mage in Black. The intended reader is female but anyone who likes urban fantasy should enjoy this story. There be Spoilers Ahead.

Sabina Kane is a half-breed. She is half vampire and half mage. Mages are not just humans with magic powers but a different species from humans like vampires, fearies and demons. All are children of Lilith. Sabina has been raised by her grandmother who is the leader of the vampire society called the Dominae. Because she is a half-breed only job is open to her and that is assassin. Sabina is good at her job but it is a job for outcasts. The novel starts with Sabina burying a body that she just fed from when a friend came to her. She has been told to kill her friend because he is a traitor to the Dominae. She does it in spite of her doubts. Then her grandmother, who Sabina is totally loyal to, asks her to get close to a half-vampire half-demon who is undermining her power. Sabina is unhappy but loyalty to the Dominae is everything to Sabina. In addition to everything else she has had some strange things happening to her lately. First she has been seeing a white owl with red eyes following her. Then a mage, Adam Lazarus, just happens to be around like in the vampire club then again when is she attacked from by some thugs. The mage says that he has been sent from that from of her family who want to get to know her. Sabina does not believe him because her grandmother told her that the mage half disowned her at birth. But Adam swears that they did not know she was alive until recently. Sabina pushes him off because she has to stop the bad guy from destroying all that matters to her. Then things get complicated.

I did like this book. It is easy to read, the dialogue is believable but I have some problems. My problems are not with the writing style or word choice but with some of the characterization. As the reader we are to think that Sabina is smart but she does some dumb things in the book. Like when Adam threatens Sabina. She is refusing to have any more magic lessons so he says that if she does not he will go to the mage leaders and tell them about what is really going on. That would mean war between the mages and vampires which would cause war which would cause the deaths of hundreds of people on boths sides and that is not even the innocent people who would die in the crossfire. I would have called him on that and I would have told him what I think about that kind of blackmail. But she does not do that, she gives into it with little trouble. That makes her a little weak to me but I am willing to trust the author to see where this series goes.

My rating is 3 dead vamps and 1/2 pint of blood. I get nothing for my review and I bought this book with my own money.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Today's post is on 'Reshirts' by John Scalzi. The book in total is 317 pages long with the main story being 231 pages long, three fiction shorts at the end from 235-314 and acknowledgments from 315-317. It is published by TOR. The cover is a Star Trek redshirt on it with the saying 'They were expendable... Until they started comparing notes.' on it. The intended readers is anyone who likes, Star Trek, funny sci-fi novels and meta-fiction. Once again There be Spoilers Ahead.

The main narrative follows Ensign Anderw Dahl who has just transferred to the Universal Union's flagship The Intrepid. He is replacing another poor soul who went on an away mission. Dahl quickly realizes that this something odd about The Intrepid and away missions. Someone will die on the away mission but never the ship's captain, its chief science officer, the head engineer, the head doctor or the handsome lieutenant. There are even rules about about who will die on the away missions. Dahl begins to learn more about the tragic history of The Intrepid which was just a normal ship until five years before when anyone but those five could and would be killed by the dumbest things. With his friends who want to survive the Narrative too they do brave and stupid things to insure that. Like going back in time with only six days to stop the Narrative from killing them all.

This book was very funny. It is third person close with the reader following Dahl as he moves into this meta self-awareness. The meta in this is pretty good. Scalzi works it into the story well and he backs it up nicely with the plot. The pokes at Star Trek are pretty obvious if you have watched either the original series or The Next Generation. There is little language in this book, when it is there I understood why, I even thought the same the words that the characters were saying/thinking. There is only hinted at sexuality so no worries about that. It was a quick read for me because I was laughing with the dialogue which is really funny and clever. But I really love when dialogue just clicks. This is also my book by Scalzi and I am so excited to read the book that made him famous which is 'Old Man's War'.

My overall rating for Redshirts is four killed and one half maimed.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Monster Hunter International

Today's post is on 'Monster Hunter International' by Larry Correia. It is 713 pages not including an excerpt from 'Witch Way to the Mall' edited by Esther M. Friesner. It is published by Baen Publishing with great cover art of two of the main characters shooting a monster on it. The intended readers are adults, over 18 because of the violence. Do not be put off by the page count. This is a fast read because everything happens so quick in it. But I will get back to that after my summary of the story so again- There be Spoilers Ahead.

Owen Zastava Pitt is just an accountant, a lowly CPA and the newest guy at his job. At that he is the whipping boy for the boss who needs to blame someone else for his mistakes. Well that is really not the best idea because Pitt is about 6 foot 6 inches and has some interesting things in his past like being a shooting champion. But Pitt is trying to be 'normal' whatever that is until one night he is working late because he is the low man at the job when his boss calls him into his office. The boss then goes on a villain speech before turning into a werewolf. Pitt has to fight it with a .357 Smith & Wesson snub-nose that he has on his ankle and then hand-to-hand combat. With luck, God and just fortune smiling on Pitt he wins. When he wakes up in the hospital being watched by agents of the Monster Control Bureau who tell him that they are going to watch him just in case he turns. While the two agents, Franks and Myers, are scaring him with the thought of killing him right there in the hospital Earl Harbringer walks in. Harbringer introduces himself as a monster hunter from Monster Hunter International. He also tells Pitt that he has made a nice piece of change by kills his werewolf boss. Harbringer tells Pitt and the agents that he is not going to be turn but Pitt should call him when he gets better. Pitt does not turn and he calls Harbringer who visits him with another hunter Julie Shackleford. Pitt sees her and is in love (important to note but I will talk about it more in my response to the novel after my summary). She and Harbringer convince him to join Monster Hunter International. Pitt finishes healing up then he moves to a small town in Alabama where MHI is housed. There is part of about 40 other survivors to learn how to hunt, kill and make money off of monsters. That is the basic plot of Monster Hunter International.

My review of this book is pretty good. It is very fast paced, the dialogue is snappy, the action is good and I will talk about this things one by one. By fast paced the book happens in about two weeks. Most of the chapters happen over the course of hours with time pasting in the blank spaces between chapters. One of my problems is the chapters are very long, with few breaks in the action, so you will be reading 20+ pages with no blank space to take a break with. The dialogue is very natural by that I mean I understand why the characters say what they say when they say it. The action is the real reason why you are going to read this book, that the gun porn. Correia himself says that he writes gun porn and he is not lying. The descriptions of the guns is very detailed. You can google the guns with the specs that Correia gives the reader and you can see just what the guns look like. My other complaint about the book is Pitt and Shackleford's relationship. It moves way too fast for me. It does not help that she is in another relationship when the books starts and still is at the half-way mark of the book. Butif you are willing to believe that normal humans can fight big bads then just go with it, that's what I did.

My overall rating for the book is 4 stars. I get nothing for my review not even the book because I borrowed it from my spouse.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ruby Red

Today's post is 'Ruby Red' by Kerstin Gier, translated from german by Anthea Bell. It is 330 pages long and it is published by Henry Holt and Company. It is Young Adult fiction with young women as the intended readers. Spoiler Alert.

Gwyneth Sheperd is sixteen and from a family of female time travelers. But she does not have to worry about that because the gene skipped her. Her cousin Charlotte is the one who is going to be next. She has been trained for this all her life and Gwyneth feels sorry for her cousin. Because of the training Charlotte does not have any friends only the training. Everyone is just waiting for Charlotte to eslapse for the first time. The start of the story is with Gwyneth feeling dizzy but she pushs that off because she does not get sick and Charlotte is the one who is going to travel. But Gwyneth learns that the gene did not skip her. All the years of training for Charlotte was a waste because Gwyneth is the one. She is last time traveler of her house called the Ruby. She is the one to close the circle not that she or the reader knows what that is. after proving that she can eslapse, Gwyneth is pulled into world where she does not know anyone and her mother warns her to not trust anyone. One of the reasons that the people in power have a problem with Gwyneth is because of her cousin Lucy who stole something very important to their mission. Then she ran away with Paul de Villiers a traveler from a male only line. The people in power will not tell Gwyneth about the real reason for the device that Lucy stole and why it is really so important but as the reader I have some thoughts about it but I will keep my thoughts to myself so that I will not ruin that for others.

The setting is London for this book. The author knows London very well because of the descriptions that the reader gets. Gier keeps the mystery very close to her chest. I have a general idea about where the story is going but I do not have any idea about what Gwyneth's real power is, how she is going to stop the villain and how she is going to safe Lucy from evil people who want to kill her. The prologue and the epilogue just follow Lucy and Paul at different points in the story. I will hold back a rating because it is the first book in a trilogy and I think that sets of books need to looked at together. I will say that this is a very fast read, I sat down and read it in about five hours one Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Princess of the Sword

Today's post is on 'Princess of the Sword' by Lynn Kurland. It is 360 pages long all story (which I love) and it is published by The Berkley Publishing Group an imprint of Penguin Group Inc. This is the wonderful conclusion to the Nine Kingdoms trilogy. It is the first trilogy and Ms. Kurland is writing the second one at the moment. I will be reading it too because I really enjoyed this setting. The intended reader is anyone who likes fantasy with a little romance on the side. I am still getting used to my new review style but by that I mean I feel my reviews are full of spoilers so SPOILER WARNING.

Morgan and Miach are getting desperate to close the well of evil that Gair opened 20 years ago. The evil is not only still leaking out but Lothar the black mage of the north is using the power to make horrible creatures who only have two jobs. One kill anyone with the magic to stop him and to find any descendants of Gair. As Morgan is Gair's only daughter the monsters have been following her for months now. At the start of the story Miach and Morgan are sneaking into the wizards university to search for a spell to close the well. It is not there but they do discover that some of Morgan's brothers survived the opening of the well. So the orphan Morgan is not totally alone. In fact her two eldest brothers are still alive but broken in ways that she cannot imagine. Their father in the opening of the well took their magic for himself but it was not enough to save him when the tide of evil poured over him. Then they have to choose which way they are going to attack both the well and Lothar when Lothar has Miach's king and older brother abducted.

With time running out Maich and Morgan not only have to close the well of evil, stop Lothar's ambitions and rescue the King of Neroche Maich's older brother. It all does end well and happy with Maich and Morgan getting married at the end. There are some funny moments in this one just like the first two. Morgan's grandfather is a delight and the other side characters just make the scenes pop to the reader. I hope to see them again in the second trilogy which is about one of Morgan's brothers. The magic system in the series is interesting because it is a mix of bloodright and natural ability. But it is never really explained that so many classic fantasy magic systems, it just works.

My rating for this is four and half stars.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Naming

Today's post is on 'The Naming' by Alison Croggon. It is 466 pages long and is published byCandlewick Press. This is a lush high fantasy novel in a richly imagined world and I just loved this book. In fact I went out and bought the whole series all in hardback. It is four volumes long, with beautiful covers. This series has been out for a little while but I read things as they come into my life no matter how old. The intended reader is YA but anyone with a love of high fantasy will enjoy this piece. There Be Spoilers Ahead.
Maerad is a slave. That is all she has ever known and after her mother died when she about seven she has been alone in Gilman's Cot. The only thing that saves her the rapes and other brutalities is that she is seen as a witch by the other's 'living' there. All animals she cares for do better, get sick less and give more meat, milk or wool. Maerad also has a great gift of music. She is only one in the Cot who can play the harp that her mother left her. One bitterly cold morning when Maerad has had just an hour of sleep because she was playing for the men all night she is tending the cows when she sees a man walk by. The man is bloody, stumbling and shocked that she could see him. Within a day Maerad is fleeing the Cot with Cadvan the man she saw. He is fleeing some great evil from the mountains to the north. He also tells her that she is a bard and so is he.

Bards the people in this world who have the magic. They help the sick, make harvests better and teach everyone how to read and write. But there is a sickness in the barding, some old evil is making its way into the world again. With the Dark chasing them Maerad and Cadvan have more mystries to solve than where Maered came from. Her history is dark and at the heart of the  troubles in this first book. Along the way she meets people who change the way she looks at the world, the way she reacts to it and she does grow some over the course of the book but not much. Her growth is more like a flower coming into bud not just all at once. It is a little annoying but understandable for Maerad. The pacing is very fast, the writing is wonderful and the characters are memorable.

My personal rating is four and half stars and I read it in eight hours. Not because it is short but because I just could not put it down.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


Today's post is on 'Invasion Book One of the Secret World Chronicle' By Mercedes Lackey with Steve Libbey, Cody Martin and Dennis Lee. It is published by Baen and is 567 pages long excluding a sample of book two. The cover has an iron eagle screaming with flames behind it. The story is told in two parts in 15 chapters. The intended reader is anyone who likes superheros, good writing and saving the world. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

First line is- The blue-skinned, blue-haired woman known by the callsign "Belladonna Blue" leaned into the oval hatch of the captain's cubby.

In World War 2 metahumans were the ones who really won the war. Metahumans are humans with something extra, like being able to fly or throw flames. Well the world is mostly at peace in 2011. Metahumans are the real police force of the world and most countries are happy to just not have another war like WW2. But something strange is going on. At the headquarters of the metahumans called Echo when a soldier from WW2 walks up and demands to see the head of Echo Alex Tesla. He is a famous meta from Germany and he says that he has very important information about a coming attack. Of course no one listens to him until it is too late. All around the world at once all the metahumans are attacked; by gaint mechas with a swastikas on their arms. Everywhere there is an Echo station or in Russia where they house their metas. The battles are short but brutal. In about three hours over twice-thirds of the worlds metas are dead and that is not counting the normal humans. Soon metas from all sides are having to choose which side they want to be on fighting for the nazis or for humanity.

I really enjoyed this book. I grew up watching the X-Men so metahumans and mutants are so my thing. That said before I go on about how much I loved this book and series, I will discuss my problems with it. It is only 15 chapters long and it is almost 600 pages. The chapters are really dense with so much happening that you really need to read it about once a day like I did, or you will forget things. Some of the characters are Russian and sometimes they speak Russian without being translated. Now on to the things I loved about this book. I love that it is based from real characters that the authors played on City of Heros, a pretty good MMO (btw it is free to play so try it I have.). The characters are really heroes, I love heroes. One of characters Red Djinni is both good and bad, he is a great anti-hero, he is an interesting ass. The first part is broken into different character perspectives so the reader goes from Belladonna to Vikky to Djinni. There are angels and there is a great big save the world story. All in all I really enjoyed this book. I cannot wait to get my hands on the second volume.

I give this one a five out of five stars. I get nothing for my review and I bought my copy from my local bookstore.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Return of Santiago

Today's post is 'The Return of Santiago' by Mike Resnick. It is 464 pages long and published by TOR. This is a sequel to Santiago also by Mike Resnick. If you have not read either Mike Resnick before or Santiago stop reading this right now and get to your library. Go get some of his stuff, read it and thank me later. I am going to be putting in some changes to my reviewing because I got a professional to read one of my reviews and give me some help. A very big thanks to Angela Leonard from for taking the time to read and critique my review. So on to the review.

Santiago is a myth of the Far Future. In the year 3407 the democracy is as greedy as ever. More and more of people's rights are being taken in the name of safety.  Danny Briggs is just a thief with a forgettable face. But he is on the run from the law. He takes refuge in an abandoned house. In the attic there a treasure just waiting for the universe to remember it. The poem by Black Orpheus the poet who wrote about everyone who was anyone in the Inner Frontier. Briggs grew up on his tales and legends and the biggest one of all was Santiago. As Briggs reads all of the poem he realizes that Santiago was more than just an outlaw he was a revolutionary, out in the darkness to make the democracy remember that it was to help people not just take from them. So Danny decides that it is time for Santiago to return to the Inner Frontier, time to give the people someone to believe in, someone to fear and more than anything something to hope for again.

Resnick's style is as always wonderful to read. He is a poet not just with the four lines that start each chapter but with the characters in the story. They all come alive as you read them. I loved watching Briggs become Alighieri then into more than he ever dreamed. He is the only one who really changes over the course of the story but he is main character so he is the only one who really needs to change. That said other characters do appear to change but as you read the story you will understand that they are not changing but just revealing parts of their personalities that we did not see before.

Rating five of five stars, ten out of ten, this is another wonderful story from Resnick. Please feel free to tell me what you think about the new review style, what you like, don't like and everything else.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Mage's Daughter

Today's post is on The Mage's Daughter by Lynn Kurland. It is 378 pages and it is published by Berkley Sensation. Ms Kurland is normally a romance author, to warn any real romance readers this is not a romance there is a love story and it is important to the main story but the main characters just share kisses in this book and only hand holding in the first one that is all, but this is the second in her fantasy series. The first one is 'Star of the Morning' by the same publisher. There will be spoilers in this review because it is the second in a series. If you have not read the first one please do so because it is an excellent series.

The characters are the same as this one is a direct continuation of the story. Morgan and Miach are separated by miles and my heart. Morgan is recovering from the poison that Lothar give her at the end of the first book. Miach gave her to her uncle to care for while he continued to try and discover what is source of evil magic that is destroying the kingdom. Morgan is weakened by more than just the poison but by the revelation of who her parents were. Her dreams drive her to go back to a magic sink by Weger, who trained her in the sword arts, so Miach loses his sense of her. Fearing that she has died he flies to her uncle Nicholas' home. There he is told that Morgan is fine but she is running from all magic and is enraged with Miach( because of the events of the first book). Miach follows her to Weger's island. And that is all in the first three chapters. The evil is really evil, the bad guys are not going to let Morgan and Miach have an easy time of it neither are Morgan's relatives. The ending has a great sense of hope that is very nice with all the darkness that the characters and the reader go through.

I cannot do this wonderful book justice. The writing is fun, the characters all have unique voices and the world is just so easy to see in your mind. I cannot wait to read the last one in the series which is out but I have a reading cycle and other books must come first. The only thing, and I am not sure if this is a bad things, is that I believe that everything will turn out for the good. I just believe that Morgan and Miach will be able to defeat the evil, get married and have a good life from there. Like I said I am sure that is a bad thing and that is just the way I felt was I was reading this book.

Rating is 4 and 1/2 stars.

See you next week.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Grave Robbers' Chronicles- Angry Sea, Hidden Sands

Today's post is The Grave Robbers' Chronicles Volume 2 Angry Sea, Hidden Sands by Xu Lei and translated by Kathy Mok. It is published by ThingsAsian Press and it 237 pages long excluding author's info and preview of the next book at the end. In my post about volume one I had some problems with that I thought was the translation style but now I think differently. Volume one was the first novel that Xu had written and the second volume is much better. It is easier to read, the action is more exciting and in general all in all just better. The language is still coarse but not as bad as in the first one.

The plot of volume starts right where one left off with Wu opening the box he found in the tomb of dead warriors. Inside there is a fish with eyebrows that are shaped like fish. His uncle Three pulls another one out of his pocket that looks just like the one Wu has. His uncle takes off without telling Wu anything> At first Wu is not concerned but when a week goes by without hearing anything from his uncle he is starting to get worried when he is called by a rental company. Uncle Three rented a boat with a full crew to find an underwater tomb which is a story that Wu has heard about all his life. Over the course of the story Wu ends up with two of his companions from the first Fats and Poker-face whose name we learn is Zhang Qilin The plot twists in this volume are more unpredictable then in the first one. I am looking forward to the next one because of the way he ends this one. Once again if ancient Chinese lore is your thing then definitely is a story for you. The third book is still being translated in English but I hope so see it soon.

My rating is 4 stars.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Today's post is on 'Bitterblue' by Kristin Cashore. It is published by Dial an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. It is 547 pages long not including the maps at the end of the book. The story is told in five parts and over six months. This is the third in a series to really enjoy this book you need to read Graceling the first novel but the second is not necessary to understand what happens in the book. The intended reader is YA but an adult can enjoy this series as well.
The main character is Bitterblue the queen of Monsea and is 18 years old. When she was 10 her father was killed in front of her but that was a good thing because he was insane and powerful. In this fantasy world there are people born with special abilities called graces. Graces can be anything from never losing your balance to telling lies that will be believed as the truth no matter how bad the lie. That was the grace that Bitterblue's father Leck had. He was destroying the kingdom with his lies and manipulation. Now he had been dead for 10 years and Bitterblue's people are not healing. She is allowed to leave her castle so she sneaks out to see her city for herself. I don't want to ruin the plot because it kept me guessing but Bitterblue is surrounded by lies, lairs, thieves and traitors. Who she can trust changes with each chapter expect for the characters that we have met in Graceling. I must warn you if you read this series it is for older YA and adults. There is talk about torture, both to animals and people, rape and murder. In addition to there things that I do not want to tell because they are major plot points but you are warned. All in all it is an excellent series, book, and I am looking forward to the next ones because Cashore set up for the next in the series very well in this one.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Last Wish

My review today is on The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski it is translated by Danusia Stok. It is published by Orbit, it is 359 pages long not including an excerpt from Orcs by Stan Nicholls. The cover has the symbol of the main character which is a wolf's head with fangs bared. Now I will warn you. This is a series of short stories that the author wrote and published first to introduce the reader to the world of the witchers. I did not know this when I started reading it and I had to google the book as I was trying to figure out what was going on. Once I knew that all the stories were memories and the only story happening in current time is "Voice of Reason". There are seven stories all in all. The characters are brilliant and the action scenes are wonderful. The blurb on the back is bad do not waste your time with it. The story is about Geralt de Rivia a witcher. He kills the monsters that haunt the world but the monsters are becoming less and the people hiring him are becoming more so. He wonders about who are the monsters really are and where he fits into this world on the brink of change. I was not sure that I was going to like this novel(ish) but I really did. The way that the author tells the stories is fun and interesting. The translator did a great job because she clearly has a love for the books and an excellent grasp of both languages. I went out and bought both novels that are over here in the USA and I cannot wait for the second/third one to make it. By second/third I mean the third book but the second in the series.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict

Today I am reviewing The extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict by Trenton Lee Stewart. It is only in hardcover at the moment. It is 470 pages long with 30 chapters. The cover and each chapter beginning has the delightful art by Diana Sudyka. This is the fourth book in the series but it is a prequel giving the reader a look into Mr. Benedict's childhood. Nicholas Benedict is a genius but as he is only a nine year old boy he is ignored. The adults in his short life have been selfish and cruel. He has only lived in orphanages as his parents were killed in experiment when he was a baby. The story starts with him going to a new orphanage called 'Child's End. The real name of the place is Rothschild's End but everyone just calls it 'Child's End because it is a horrible place to live. When Mr. Rothschild died he wanted his house to be an place where children can come to be safe. But because of bad management the place is going to ruin and it going to be closed down. Nicholas is befriended by John Cole and runs afoul of the local bullies The Spiders. He learns that there is a treasure hidden by Mrs. Rothschild and he determines to find it. With the treasure he and John are going to leave the orphanage and live wherever they want to but first they have to beat Mr. Collum to it. It is a fun wonderful read just like all the others in the series. I need to get my hands on the other books as I have only read two of the them. I look forward to the next one in the series.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Library of Babel

This week's book review is The Library of Babel by Jorge Luis Borges, translated by Andrew Hurley. To start this off with I love Borges. If you have not read him FIX THAT NOW! I'm not kidding he is amazing. One of the best, if not the best, speculative fiction authors ever. The short story is only 17 pages long but that is more than enough for Borges. It has wonderful engravings by Erik Desamzieres. The story sounds simple enough. The world is a giant library. The author of the story is a traveler who is searching for the catalogue of catalogues. He is nearing the end of his life and wanted to give the next person on a similar journey some help. He talks about some of the politics of the giant library. Other than that I cannot tell you more. Not because there is not more, there is so much more going on the text. Borges is just more than I can say. I have now read books by him. The other book I have read and the only one I owe by him is Labyrinths. I fell in love with Borges in that. It will not take you long to read this one so just go ahead and get from your library.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Monster Calls

Today's post is A Monster calls by Patrick Ness and Inspired by Siobhan Dowd. The illustrations are by Jay Kay. It is published by Candlewick Press, is 204 pages ling excluding the author's note at the beginning. The author's note is important because Ms. Dowd died before she could write this book. So her friend wrote it for her. This story made me cry but it was so beautiful. The main character is Conor and a monster is calling him. He wakes up to hear a monster calling his name. Over the course of the story the monster tells Conor three stories but at the end Conor must tell him one. One true story. I won't tell you who or what the monster really is but he is no danger to Conor. The story is really about Conor learning to handle grief and loss. While I was reading this I was made to think about my own journey to peace with grief and loss. That is something to be proud of as a writer to pull the real emotions of the reader, to bring the reader back to points in their lives, so that they will understand the protagonist. Ness does this beautifully. When Conor had his revelation I cried and remembered my own. If I had a child in my life going through something like Conor is I would give them this book.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Grave Robbers' Chronicles: Cavern of the Blood Zombies

Today's post is The Grave Robbers Chronicles Vol 1- Cavern of the Blood Zombies by Xu Lei and translated by Kathy Mok. It is 233 pages long excluding author's notes, publishers information and a sample of the second volume in the series. It is brought to English readers by Things Asian Press. This is a horror/adventure story with I think men being the intended audience and I think that is because men are the important ones in China but that is just the feeling like I get from the book.

It is about a family of grave robbers in China. It is told in first person so I don't remember nor can I find the main character's first name but his family name is Wu. In fact only some of the side character names I know/can find easily. The main character is a young man who deals in rare books and the like from the different times of China's history. The translation is odd but you are willing to stick with it you will find a very interesting story. It is odd because the translator is going from being literal to spirit of the words which are the two main camps of translator. There are zombies (like the title promises), powerful ghosts, magic from mysterious characters. The only thing that I don't like about the book is the language. It has some very foul language and descriptions but I wish that the author/translator had chosen to use different words but the words are understandable in the story I'm just funny about language. I will be reading the next novel because I did enjoy this one. The author is now super famous in China and this series is a very big deal there. I didn't find it scary but if zombies are your thing then will not disappoint.

Rating I give it three stars because of the language.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Shadows on the Moon

This weeks post is Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marroitt. It is 447 pages long excluding the author notes at end and it is published by Candlewick Press. This is a young adult story with young woman being the intended audience. It is a retelling of Cinderella with a very strong Asian flavor. The name character is Suzume. At the start of the book she is 14. Her father and dearest cousin are murdered and she barely survives the attack. Her mother remarries one of her father's oldest friends but Suzume believes that he has something to do with the murders. She discovers that she has an ability to shadow weave. She can make people see what she wants them too. Suzume uses this gift to help her survive living in her stepfather's house. When she learns the truth about the murders she is forced to hide as a cinder girl. In the end she has her revenge against her stepfather. There is love story going on the back ground and many other wonderful characters I don't want to spoil this read. The writing is excellent, when I sat down to read it, before I knew it I was over half done with it. It is broken into three parts for the three names that Suzume has over the course of the story. It is told in first person. I look forward to reading more books by Ms. Marriott.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Today's post is about 'Enchanted' by Alethea Kontis. It is 305 pages long excluding the author's note at the end and it is published by Harcourt. It is an interesting retelling of the Frog Prince. I really enjoyed this book. The writing is strong and never breaks the flow of the story. The tale goes between the frog prince Rumbold and Sunday. Sunday is the youngest of eight siblings and a cousin living with her family. Her other sisters are named for the rest of the days of the week and her brother is Jack Jr. Her family blames the prince for Jack jr.'s death. I don't want to give too much away but there are fairies, balls, a power mad king and of course true love. But like all loves stories the course of true love never did run smooth, this is no different. This story is a fun ride and I hope that the author continues this story by following her sisters. Definitely worth the read.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Lost in a Good Book

Lost in a Good Book by the very talented Jasper Fforde is the second book in the Thursday Next series.  It is published by Viking and it is 399 pages long. There are spoilers in this review, so if you do not want to know some details about this book then read the first and work your way through the series just like I am. This series is awesome! I'm so jealous that he has written this series and that I did not think of it. Literary detective Thursday Next stopped a madman in the first book The Eyre Affair and now she just wants to be happily married. But she does not get that because she trapped another villain in Poe's Raven. To get him back the corrupt company called Goliath, they basely erase her husband. So Next must learn how to control her book jumping abilities so she can get her husband back. But her father, a time traveler, needs her to help him stop the end of the world. To learn how to jump at will she is apprenticed to Miss Havisham from Great Expectations. This series I know sounds very hard but it is so easy to read. I have caught myself thinking about one of the many jokes in it. The jokes are all literary and so clever, it is just hateful. I think my favorite part of both books is the time she spends with her pet dodo Pickwick. If my next cat is okay with that name I am going to name them Pickwick and call them Pickers, just like Thursday. Pick up this series, I am not kidding! You will not feel bored and you will have a great time with it!

Grave Mercy very disappointing

Grave Mercy is by Robin LaFevers. It is the first book in the "His Fair Assassin" series. It is published by Houghton Mifflin is it an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing. It is 528 pages. I was disappointed in this book. It had a very promising plot line. I thought that I was going to be reading about a young woman, the main character is 20, learning to be herself in a world where she is an assassin for the god of death. Instead I got a average love story. I feel that the author broke the contract with me the reader. The writing is very good which is why I am giving it two stars because she is a wonderful writer. *Spoilers warning* I do not want to ruin the plot but my main problem was the main character had no reason to trust or like men. All her interactions with men had been violent. She should not have been swooning just from being touched by the male lead. She hints at being rapes, she is horrible beaten at the beginning of the book and when she gets to the convent all the women there have had similar backgrounds. I am just so disappointed in this book. I am very glad that I do not buy this book because I do not have money to waste.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Illuminate book review

I have just finished Illuminate A Gilded Wings Novel: Book One by Aimee Agresti. It is 531 pages long. It is published by Harcount. It has a beautiful cover with the lead character in a red dress with shadowed wings behind her. I really enjoyed this book. Here is the summary from the back of the book and then I will give mine.
 'Haven Terra is a brainy, shy high school outcast. But everything changes when she is awarded a prestigious internship at a posh Chicago hotel in the watchful eyes of a group of gorgeous strangers: powerful and alluring hotel owner Aurelia Brown; her second-in-command, the dashing young Lucian Grove; and their stunning but aloof staff of glamazons called the Outfit.
As Haven begins falling for Lucian, she discovers that these beautiful people are not quite what they seem. With the help of a mysterious book, she uncovers the evil agenda of Aurelia and company: they're in the business of buying souls. Will they succeed in wooing Haven to join them in their recruitment efforts, or will she be able to thwart this devilish set's plans to take the souls of her classmates on prom night at the hotel?'
There are three main characters. There is Haven from who's voice we the readers follow the story from. There is Dante Dennis her gay best friend and then there is
Lance who makes the third of their group. The story is told in three parts. A major part of Haven's character is that she has three big scars. One over her heart and two on her back. She is embarrassed about them and tries to hide them.
The first part is about the group setting in to the Lexington Hotel and Haven learning that something is odd about the people who work there. The hotel opens with a bang as someone dies in public but of course it is swept up and forgotten. Lucian is wooing Haven and she wants to believe that a cool guy like him would be interested in her. Haven's first job for the hotel is too take pictures of all the Outfit, her fellow interns and herself. The pictures are important to the story and to Haven's powers in particular.
In the second part Haven learns more and more about the group that she is working for. Lance and her team up to learn about the world they are now in. Lucian's begins to court her in earnest and Haven is having trouble not falling for him. Haven has been exploring and she finds tunnels that lead her to eavesdropping areas around the hotel. That is where and when she learns that she is a pawn that Aurelia is trying to get on her side. The reader learns that the pictures are showing what the people really look like. So Haven can see who has sold their soul and who has not. Most of the plot happens in part two.
In part three Haven faces her death and all the evil that Aurelia has been working towards. The reader also learns why Dante and Lance are part of the plan at the hotel. Haven is not the only special one in this book. In the end good does win over evil. The pictures are used to help stop the evil in a way that only Haven could use. Haven finds someone who understands her in all ways and with the promise of a second book the author leaves the reader.
I liked the writing style it was easy to read. The beginning is a little slow but if you get to the second chapter when Haven and co get to the hotel things really pick up. The descriptions are very good, you feel like you are seeing the hotel or the pictures that Haven takes. I am looking forward to the next book. One of things that I really liked about this book is that Haven accepts herself pretty quickly. She has some moments of 'oh I am not that special' or 'No they can not be talking about me it must be someone else'. But she gets the idea that Aurelia and Lucian are really after her. I found that to be a breath of fresh air from girls who never believe that they are special at all. Haven does not get a big head about it, she just knows that she is more than most people. All in all good story.