Image Map

Fool Moon by Jim Butcher {2.5 Stars}

Fool Moon by Jim Butcher {2.5 Stars}

Fool Moon by Jim Butcher (The Dresden Files #2)
Published by Roc on Jan. 9th, 2001
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Page Length: 342 pages
How I got my copy: BookLender
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Barnes & Noble - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Harry Dresden--Wizard
Lost Items Found. Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates. No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment.

Business has been slow. Okay, business has been dead. And not even of the undead variety. You would think Chicago would have a little more action for the only professional wizard in the phone book. But lately, Harry Dresden hasn't been able to dredge up any kind of work--magical or mundane.

But just when it looks like he can't afford his next meal, a murder comes along that requires his particular brand of supernatural expertise.

A brutally mutilated corpse. Strange-looking paw prints. A full moon. Take three guesses--and the first two don't count...

2.5 Stars

Strengths:
[Read more…]

Fighters, Feared and Fallen by N. D. Richman {2.5 Stars}

Fighters, Feared and Fallen by N. D. Richman is a quick read filled with action and a spooky sci-fi future. While it is a third book, it doesn’t rely heavily on the previous two and so can be read on its own if you are interested in the time travel and boot camp story more than the previous events. While I had some reservations, I did find it a fun and easy read.

Note: This is an expedited review, meaning the author paid to have this review published. For more details, see my review policy.

Fighters, Feared and Fallen by N. D. Richman {2.5 Stars}

Fighters, Feared and Fallen by N. D. Richman (Boulton Quest #3)
Published by Author on June 14th, 2016
Genres: Sci-fi, YA
Page Length: 200 pages
How I got my copy: Author
Amazon - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Thomas is swept into Robert Cain’s web of terror
He's forced to fight in a child army
Against the most evil of people
And learns the first casualty of war is the truth

“If you can’t trust yourself, Thomas, who can you trust?”

2.5 Stars

Strengths:
[Read more…]

An Accident of Stars by Foz Meadows {Just Hatched}

Just Hatched Book Feature

Just Hatched is a feature where I share my first impressions of a book after the first chapter. Check out the announcement post for more information.

An Accident of Stars by Foz Meadows intrigued me immediately since I’ve read Foz’s blog off and on for years. Also that cover is so pretty! I’m definitely intrigued by this book, though I’m not sure that it’s really going to be a perfect fit for me.

Note: I received an advanced copy of An Accident of Stars from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

An Accident of Stars by Foz Meadows {Just Hatched}

An Accident of Stars by Foz Meadows (The Manifolds World #1)
Published by Angry Robot on Aug. 2nd, 2016
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Page Length: 496 pages
How I got my copy: NetGalley
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Barnes & Noble - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

When Saffron Coulter stumbles through a hole in reality, she finds herself trapped in Kena, a magical realm on the brink of civil war.

There, her fate becomes intertwined with that of three very different women: Zech, the fast-thinking acolyte of a cunning, powerful exile; Viya, the spoiled, runaway consort of the empire-building ruler, Vex Leoden; and Gwen, an Earth-born worldwalker whose greatest regret is putting Leoden on the throne. But Leoden has allies, too, chief among them the Vex'Mara Kadeja, a dangerous ex-priestess who shares his dreams of conquest.

Pursued by Leoden and aided by the Shavaktiin, a secretive order of storytellers and mystics, the rebels flee to Veksh, a neighboring matriarchy ruled by the fearsome Council of Queens. Saffron is out of her world and out of her depth, but the further she travels, the more she finds herself bound to her friends with ties of blood and magic.

Can one girl - an accidental worldwalker - really be the key to saving Kena? Or will she just die trying?

2.5 Stars

[Read more…]

Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan {Just Hatched}

Just Hatched Book Feature

Just Hatched is a feature where I share my first impressions of a book after the first chapter. Check out the announcement post for more information.

Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan intrigued me since it seems to start where many first books in a series end: Lucie has already found the boy she loves and gotten out of a horrible and unfair situation, so everything should be good now right? The mix of Light and Dark magic also appealed, though after the first chapter, the magic seems more typical than I at first hoped.

Note: I received an advanced copy of Tell the Wind and Fire from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan {Just Hatched}

Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan
Published by Clarion on April 5th, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 368 pages
How I got my copy: NetGalley
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Barnes & Noble - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

In a city divided between opulent luxury in the Light and fierce privations in the Dark, a determined young woman survives by guarding her secrets.

Lucie Manette was born in the Dark half of the city, but careful manipulations won her a home in the Light, celebrity status, and a rich, loving boyfriend. Now she just wants to keep her head down, but her boyfriend has a dark secret of his own—one involving an apparent stranger who is destitute and despised. Lucie alone knows the young men’s deadly connection, and even as the knowledge leads her to make a grave mistake, she can trust no one with the truth.

Blood and secrets alike spill out when revolution erupts. With both halves of the city burning, and mercy nowhere to be found, can Lucie save either boy—or herself?

2.5 Stars

[Read more…]

A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry {Just Hatched}

Just Hatched Book Feature

Just Hatched is a feature where I share my first impressions of a book after the first chapter. Check out the announcement post for more information.

A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry grabbed me immediately with it’s Puerto Rico setting and magic based on poison. That seemed like a combination that couldn’t miss! I’m not hooked after the first chapter, but I imagine a lot of readers will enjoy this one.

Note: I received an advanced copy of A Fierce and Subtle Poison from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry {Just Hatched}

A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry
Published by Algonquin on Apr. 12th, 2016
Genres: Contemporary Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 288 pages
How I got my copy: NetGalley
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Barnes & Noble - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

In this stunning debut, legends collide with reality when a boy is swept into the magical, dangerous world of a girl filled with poison.

Everyone knows the legends about the cursed girl--Isabel, the one the senoras whisper about. They say she has green skin and grass for hair, and she feeds on the poisonous plants that fill her family’s Caribbean island garden. Some say she can grant wishes; some say her touch can kill.

Seventeen-year-old Lucas lives on the mainland most of the year but spends summers with his hotel-developer father in Puerto Rico. He’s grown up hearing stories about the cursed girl, and he wants to believe in Isabel and her magic. When letters from Isabel begin mysteriously appearing in his room the same day his new girlfriend disappears, Lucas turns to Isabel for answers--and finds himself lured into her strange and enchanted world. But time is running out for the girl filled with poison, and the more entangled Lucas becomes with Isabel, the less certain he is of escaping with his own life.

2.5 Stars

[Read more…]

Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente {Just Hatched}

Just Hatched Book Feature

Just Hatched is a feature where I share my first impressions of a book after the first chapter. Check out the announcement post for more information.

Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente caught my eye as soon as it was announced because I love Valente’s Fairyland books and so am eager to consume anything she writes. However, that synopsis gave me pause because it is honestly hard to tell at all what the book is going to be about and it is pretty clear that it is going to unlike anything you’ve read before. It is definitely unlike anything I read before and I made it to page 200 before realizing that there are books by favorite authors that just don’t appeal to me and that’s okay! Check out a sample before you put money down, but if you are looking for something truly unique, this is a good place to start.

Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente {Just Hatched}

Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente
Published by Tor Books on Oct. 20th, 2015
Genres: Adult, Alternative History, Genre-bender
Page Length: 432 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Barnes & Noble - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Radiance is a decopunk pulp SF alt-history space opera mystery set in a Hollywood—and solar system—very different from our own, from the phenomenal talent behind the New York Times bestselling The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making.

Severin Unck’s father is a famous director of Gothic romances in an alternate 1986 in which talking movies are still a daring innovation due to the patent-hoarding Edison family. Rebelling against her father’s films of passion, intrigue, and spirits from beyond, Severin starts making documentaries, traveling through space and investigating the levitator cults of Neptune and the lawless saloons of Mars. For this is not our solar system, but one drawn from classic science fiction in which all the planets are inhabited and we travel through space on beautiful rockets. Severin is a realist in a fantastic universe.

But her latest film, which investigates the disappearance of a diving colony on a watery Venus populated by island-sized alien creatures, will be her last. Though her crew limps home to earth and her story is preserved by the colony’s last survivor, Severin will never return.

Aesthetically recalling A Trip to the Moon and House of Leaves, and told using techniques from reality TV, classic film, gossip magazines, and meta-fictional narrative, Radiance is a solar system-spanning story of love, exploration, family, loss, quantum physics, and silent film.

2.5 Stars

[Read more…]

Soundless by Richelle Mead ARC {2.5 Stars}

Soundless by Richelle Mead is a standalone fantasy adventure that attempts to be based in Chinese folklore about a deaf girl saving the day, but stumbles on both those accounts. I had high hopes for Soundless, and therefore was quite disappointed with the lack of Chinese inspiration, how the deafness was handled, the lack of magic, and generally the lack of much interesting going on besides romance. There are some spoilers here because I start ranting about things not happening until the end of the story, thereby vaguely alluding to the ending.

Note: I received an advanced copy of Soundless from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Soundless by Richelle Mead ARC {2.5 Stars}

Soundless by Richelle Mead
Published by Razorbill on Nov. 10th, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 272 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Barnes & Noble - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

For as long as Fei can remember, there has been no sound in her village, where rocky terrain and frequent avalanches prevent residents from self-sustaining. Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom.

When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink and many go hungry. Fei’s home, the people she loves, and her entire existence is plunged into crisis, under threat of darkness and starvation.

But soon Fei is awoken in the night by a searing noise, and sound becomes her weapon.

Richelle Mead takes readers on a triumphant journey from the peak of Fei’s jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiugo, where a startling truth and an unlikely romance will change her life forever...

2.5 Stars

Strengths:
[Read more…]

Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George eARC {2.5 Stars}

Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George is the first in a new historical fantasy series from one of my favorite middle grade authors. However, my expectations came back to bite me because Silver in the Blood ended up being rather slow with a fairly predictable plot and characters switching personality traits as often as dresses. Maybe historical fantasy just isn’t for me?

Note: I received an advanced copy of Silver in the Blood from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George eARC {2.5 Stars}

Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George (Silver in the Blood #1)
Published by Bloomsbury on July 7th, 2015
Genres: Historical Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 358 pages
How I got my copy: NetGalley
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Society girls from New York City circa 1890, Dacia and Lou never desired to know more about their lineage, instead preferring to gossip about the mysterious Romanian family that they barely knew. But upon turning seventeen, the girls must return to their homeland to meet their relatives, find proper husbands, and—most terrifyingly—learn the deep family secrets of The Claw, The Wing, and The Smoke. The Florescus, after all, are shape-shifters, and it is time for Dacia and Lou to fulfill the prophecy that demands their acceptance of this fate . . . or fight against this cruel inheritance with all their might.

With a gorgeous Romanian setting, stunning Parisian gowns, and dark brooding young men, readers will be swept up by this epic adventure of two girls in a battle for their lives.

2.5 Stars

Strengths:
[Read more…]

Dove Arising by Karen Bao Audiobook {2.5 Stars}

Dove Arising by Karen Bao is the story of a future where we’ve colonized the moon and science has taken over as the main pillar of society. Phaet has a bright future ahead of her in biology (engineering new crops :D) when a string of bad luck pulls everything apart. Fortunately there’s a cute boy to save the day and a corrupt government to overthrow. The narrator was pretty good though!

Note: I received an advanced audio copy of Dove Arising from the publisher. Audio influences my experience with the book.

Dove Arising by Karen Bao Audiobook {2.5 Stars}

Dove Arising by Karen Bao (Dove Chronicles #1)
Published by Viking Penguin on Feb. 24th 2015
Genres: Dystopia, YA
Page Length: 336 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Phaet Theta has lived her whole life in a colony on the Moon. She’s barely spoken since her father died in an accident nine years ago. She cultivates the plants in Greenhouse 22, lets her best friend talk for her, and stays off the government’s radar.

Then her mother is arrested.

The only way to save her younger siblings from the degrading Shelter is by enlisting in the Militia, the faceless army that polices the Lunar bases and protects them from attacks by desperate Earth-dwellers. Training is brutal, but it’s where Phaet forms an uneasy but meaningful alliance with the preternaturally accomplished Wes, a fellow outsider.

Rank high, save her siblings, free her mom:  that’s the plan. Until Phaet’s logically ordered world begins to crumble...

2.5 Stars

Strengths:
[Read more…]

Black Dog by Rachel Neumeier eARC {2.5 Stars}

Black Dog by Rachel Neumeier is a fresh twist on the werewolf and witch urban fantasies in the young adult genre. Black Dog focuses on the lives of three siblings as they run from Mexico to the northern United States, escaping from the stray Black Dog pack that murdered their parents. I loved the premise of werewolf myths actually coming from these black dogs with shadow magic and the idea of main characters from Mexico! However, Black Dog never pulled me in and I just couldn’t manage to connect with either of the narrators. Even when people were being eviscerated, I just didn’t care, making Black Dog a very slow read given its length.

Note: I received an eARC of Black Dog through Netgalley for an honest review. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Black Dog by Rachel Neumeier eARC {2.5 Stars}

Black Dog by Rachel Neumeier
Published by Strange Chemistry on Feb. 4th, 2014
Genres: Urban Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 448 pages
How I got my copy: NetGalley
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Natividad is Pure, one of the rare girls born able to wield magic. Pure magic can protect humans against the supernatural evils they only half-acknowledge--the blood kin or the black dogs. In rare cases--like for Natividad's father and older brother--Pure magic can help black dogs find the strength to control their dark powers.

But before Natividad's mother can finish teaching her magic their enemies find them. Their entire village in the remote hills of Mexico is slaughtered by black dogs. Their parents die protecting them. Natividad and her brothers must flee across a strange country to the only possible shelter: the infamous black dogs of Dimilioc, who have sworn to protect the Pure.

In the snowy forests of Vermont they are discovered by Ezekiel Korte, despite his youth the strongest black dog at Dimilioc and the appointed pack executioner. Intrigued by Natividad he takes them to Dimilioc instead of killing them.

Now they must pass the tests of the Dimilioc Master. Alejandro must prove he can learn loyalty and control even without his sister's Pure magic. Natividad's twin Miguel must prove that an ordinary human can be more than a burden to be protected. And even at Dimilioc a Pure girl like Natividad cannot remain unclaimed to cause fighting and distraction. If she is to stay she must choose a black dog mate.

But, first, they must all survive the looming battle.

2.5 Stars

Strengths:

  • I was so happy to see that Black Dog had POC characters narrating the story. This also added a fun twist with the potential to bring in more Mexican culture to the over saturated urban fantasy genre. Plus, the cover doesn’t look white-washed, woot!
  • I loved the spin on werewolves that Black Dog developed. Black dogs are people that can turn into hellhounds, basically, but the transformation comes from their shadow coming up and enveloping them. There is the same struggle with the human mind versus the black dog instincts, but with the added bonus of shadows and hellish influences. The Pure magic described in the synopsis is pretty much a spin on good witches, since they use pentagrams and other religious symbols to cast protective magic. I liked the dynamic between Pure magic and black dog shadows, plus the whole sibling thing worked all these concepts together well.
  • I took Spanish for a year or two when I was around five, so I definitely do not understand written Spanish. Black Dog did a fairly good job of incorporating Spanish words (since it’s narrated by Spanish-speakers), while still including enough English explanations so that I didn’t get lost.

Weaknesses:

  •  I was unfortunately not able to connect with either Natividad or Alejandro (the two narrators) at any point during Black Dog. While it was interesting hearing about the magic that both of them have, and Alejandro certainly has struggles with his Black Dog, they both felt like very bland characters to me. Natividad isn’t a girl that I would likely connect with if I met her in real life based on my impressions of her in Black Dog, and that is a big problem for me.
  • Black Dog takes place in an alternative world from ours as far as I can tell. There is mention of vampires previously keeping the general populace unable to see magical critters, but the vampires have recently been defeated so the humans are starting to figure things out. That’s about all I know about this world, however, since that’s all that is mentioned. It felt very strange for there to be these obvious disconnects from our world, but not much to fill in the holes left behind.
  • Black Dog was never able to make me feel tension for the characters’ fates, even during the action scenes. There are a couple of fairly large fights with the bad guys and people do definitely die, but I was never really worried about the main characters. There just didn’t seem to be any real risk in Black Dog in that I didn’t believe the author would let anything bad happen to our characters.
  • There is a really creepy arranged marriage vibe hinted at in Black Dog. The Pure women are protected by certain Black Dogs and considered highly desirable because they can have children with Black Dogs. Therefore, when Natividad shows up at this new pack, she is informed she will have to choose someone in a few months and one of the strongest men basically lays claim to her…. What the hell???

Summary:

Black Dog had a lot of potential but just ended up coming off stiff and dull. I was intrigued with the alternative world history that was hinted at, but we never got enough information to really understand what was going on in this world. I was excited to get to know some characters a little different from the typical young adult cast, but I was completely unable to connect to them for reasons I’m honestly still not able to pin down. When I finally looked at the page count of Black Dog in order to write this review, I felt a little bit better about how long it had taken me to read it, since it just felt like it kept going on. If the premise sounds really awesome to you, you might give it a try, but be prepared for a bit of a slow read.

2.5 Stars
Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

– Anya

 

 Black Dog by Rachel Neumeier