- the magic of books -

Reading is magical to me...I'd rather read than do almost anything else.  Well, ok, there are a few things I'd rather do, but ... you get the picture.


I read mostly genre fiction - currently fantasy, thrillers, sic-fi and my newest craze, urban fantasy.


I'm a reader - not an author - as you can most likely tell by my love of ellipsis, my inappropriate use of commas, and my current infatuation with en dashes.

Best Served Cold

Best Served Cold - Joe Abercrombie

I've been reading more dark fantasy, and while I do enjoy it, I struggle with that part of me that wants heroes, dammit!  This book is set in the same world as the First Law books, which is bleak and grim. Did I like it?  Yep, but it was bordering on the edge for me. I kept hoping someone, anyone, would find some sort of redemption or step outside of their character and do something heroic but then, this is Joe Abercrombie's world and heroes are few and far between.  


The story follows Monza Murcatto, a mercenary captain at the top of her game who develops a taste for vengeance.  Life is brutal in this world, and Monza is most definitely of this world, so the quest for vengeance is harsh, brutal and bloody. What was interesting is that as the story progresses, the POV seems to shift between what the character is telling us happened and how they feel about it, to brief glimpses of what actually happened and what was behind those events.  Throughout the book you start to see more clearly how someone can interpret an event and act on that knowledge when what was actually happening would have provoked a different response.  (I'm describing this poorly but I can't figure out a way to explain it without giving away too many spoiler-ish details).


There was a saying used throughout the book - "mercy equals cowardice" - and that pretty much sums up the bleakness of this world.  As the book progressed, it did seem as if that thought came true more often than not, simply because the world almost required a certain lack of compassion in anyone with a smidgen of desire to survive.  Betrayal seems to be de rigueur. Coin is king.  Honor doesn't exist.  This is a dark and depressing world. There were glimmerings of hope, though, by the end.  


Among other characters brought over from the First Law series, Best Served Cold  brought back Nicomo Cosca from First Law in all his sartorial splendor, along with the Northman Shivers, Practical Vitari, and others.  While this is classified as a standalone book, I think reading the First Law series would help give background to a lot of what is happening.


The next book I'm going to read is Abercrombie's Heroes.  Maybe, just maybe ... :)


Source: http://ennui.booklikes.com/post/732130/bestservedcoldreview

Great North Road

Great North Road - Peter F. Hamilton

What a great read!  It's been a long time since I've read any sci-fi, but since I'm trying to expand my reading choices, I snagged this one.  It's a great mix of sci-fi, detective thriller and monster hunt.  What was so intriguing about it was while my brain tends to glaze over with anything technological, it didn't matter - it somehow felt logical so I was able to easily accept it and move on.  -and now I know where Google glass is heading!


The story takes place about 100 years and starts out with a murder, but as that investigation is going on, there's also a monster hunt on another world, and a lot of government & corporate politicking and maneuvering going on.  Tons of characters, but the way the author weaves backstories in along with small glimpses of personal lives, I didn't find myself lost but was able to connect with them.


Another author to add to my "gotta read more" list.

Reading progress update: I've read 17 out of 100 percent.

Great North Road - Peter F. Hamilton

Really loving this so far - it's a great classic-type detective story set in the future with some fascinating techno sci-fi type advances. Weird because I feel like I've read so many books lately that have had technological advances (mainly some sort of 'wiring in' of all humankind) be total 1984 big-brotherish and evil.  So far in this story, that type of connection is a tool, but doesn't have that pervasive 'big brother' vibe.  Of course, there's a lot of story to read yet ...

The Husband's Secret

The Husband's Secret - Liane Moriarty

I've been reading a slew of dark fantasy and wanted to read something different - something more contemporary but well written and I picked a winner in this.  Wonderful characters, great writing with a sly sense of humor thrown in.  There is a lot of sadness intertwined in the events of this book and while I can't speak to the authenticity of character's responses and actions because I haven't gone through something like this, but I felt like I knew them and could understand what they were going through. 


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Source: http://ennui.booklikes.com/post/667308/the-husband-s-secret

Prince of Thorns

Prince of Thorns - Mark  Lawrence

This is definitely dark fantasy.  I started this book a couple of times, but just couldn’t find the heart to continue after the first chapter or so.  It's grim and brutal.  The main character, Jorg, is a thirteen year old boy who seems to be, at the least, a sociopath.  He is leading a band of Brothers, men who are equally disturbed, on a rambling journey through a broken land, burning villages, raping, pillaging, all narrated by a very emotionless and practical Jorg, with flashes of a dark humor that took me aback but made me laugh in spite of it all.  


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Source: http://ennui.booklikes.com/post/655987/princeofthorns

Tairen Soul Review

Crown of Crystal Flame - C.L. Wilson

This was another series I found recommended by other bloggers here, so thank you again!


I’m placing this review on the 5th book, but it really covers all the books.  I do have to say that the first book I was a bit 'meh' about - it was good, but it wasn’t grabbing me like I thought it might.  By the middle of the 2nd book, I was hooked and inhaled the rest of them.  


While this does have a lot of the typical epic fantasy tropes (average girl has glimmers of special powers, evil overlord etc.), it was the journey our heroine  and hero take that really hooked me.  Their relationship, and the relationship between the various supernatural and mortal folk inhabiting this world was fascinating.


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Source: http://ennui.booklikes.com/post/655966/tairensoulreview


Deathwish - Rob Thurman

Deathwish is the 4th book in the urban fantasy Cal & Niko series.  I haven’t reviewed books 1 through 3, but will touch on what I thought of them in this review.  First of all, the supernatural/otherworldly entities in this world are mostly bizzare, bloodthirsty, and outrageously gross.  According to this world, Tolkien and every other fantastical narrator got it wrong, I tell ya, completely wrong. 


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Source: http://ennui.booklikes.com/post/636156/deathwishreview


Chimera - Rob Thurman

Rob Thurman is another new-to-me author I found through my book feed here at BookLikes, so a big ole “Thank you!” to BL readers!


Chimera has elements of a medical sci-fi thriller, but is primarily a story about family and family ties between two brothers - Stefan, a reluctant bodyguard/enforcer for the Russian mob, and his younger brother, Lukas.  Seven-year old Lukas is kidnapped from their family compound, and never heard from again.  Stefan, 14 years old at the time, blames himself for placing his kid brother in harm’s way and has made his life’s goal the tracking down and rescue of his brother.


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Undone Deeds

Undone Deeds  - Mark Del Franco

This was the final book with Connor Grey, and I thought it was a very satisfying ending to the series.  There were a few twisty-ish surprises and a few resolutions I was unsettled about but after thinking about it they do make sense.  I don't want to go into too much detail for fear of spoilers, but overall, this is a series I'm happy I found and read.


Source: http://ennui.booklikes.com/post/610336/undonedeedsreview

Storm Front

Storm Front - John Sandford

John Sandford is one of my favorite series authors.  I really enjoy the Lucas Davenport Prey series, I loved the Kidd novels, and once he started with Virgil Flowers I was overjoyed.  Virgil is such a great character, with a laid-back sexy charm all his own. He’s obsessed with fishing, and moonlights as a fishing/nature writer, has an understanding with God, almost never carries his gun with him because ... well ... death ‘n all that.  Yet, when it comes down to it, he can be deadly mean, and take down the best of them when necessary.   


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Source: http://ennui.booklikes.com/post/581773/stormfrontsandfordreview

Perfect on Paper

Perfect on Paper: The (MIS)Adventures of Waverly Bryson - Maria Murnane

Well, at 25% I was pretty 'meh' about this book, and at the end I was still feeling 'meh'.  It just didn't do it for me.  It was touted as a lighthearted funny romance - for me it felt fairly pedestrian.  I found the main character and her two bffs to be boring.  The supposedly hilarious string of bad dates Waverly goes through to find the man of her dreams was ... boring.  Her supposedly endearing klutziness was ... boring.


She uses all this angst to create a line of supposedly snarky greeting cards aimed for the single late 20's, early 30's female demographic.  Samples of the cards are strewn throughout the book and they are ... yes ... boring.  They aren't astute, pithy, or even snarky.  


There was nothing inherently wrong with the writing - it just was ... boring and predictable.  

Source: http://ennui.booklikes.com/post/572979/perfectonpaperreview

Meh so far

Perfect on Paper: The (MIS)Adventures of Waverly Bryson - Maria Murnane

25% in, and I'm just so meh about this.  I don't read a lot of romance or what is considered "chick lit", but I wanted a fun, lighthearted read for a change - something along the lines of Bridget Jones' Diary, and I'm bummed that this is so ... flat ... 


The good news is, when I'm done that's one more off my TBR list!

Unfallen Dead

Unfallen Dead - Mark Del Franco


Well, this series is picking up steam for me.  It started clicking in #2, and this one, the 3rd in the series, keeps going strong.  This one deals more with the Convergence, a cataclysmic event that brought the fey into the human world, with no foreseeable way to get back.  No spoilers intended, but yes - big stuff happens - after all, it's Samhain:)


Connor is still detecting, but as the mystical events start getting bigger and bigger, I doubt he’ll be able to do as much police procedural work as he did.  That’s ok, though, because the further along this series go, the more interesting the backstory of a lot of the characters are. 


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Source: http://ennui.booklikes.com/post/570293/unfallendeadreview

The Scorpio Races

The Scorpio Races - Maggie Stiefvater

I’m a new transplant to BookLikes from Goodreads, and this book ... this amazing beautiful book is one of my prizes.  Every time I look at my feed I end up purchasing yet another book I would have never found without those generous and thoughtful reviewers sharing their love of books.  This was one such find - an author, and a book, I had never heard of.


Well, as you can imagine from the preceding paragraph, yes, I loved this book.  Her writing is described as lyrical, and it is, but not in a way I was expecting, really.  It simply flows, effortlessly capturing sound, smell, looks - everything in a scene.  There are so many different types of relationships explored here with characters drawn so achingly clear I know them, intimately.   I could understand their choices, even if I would choose differently.  


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Source: http://ennui.booklikes.com/post/568210/scorpioracesreview

Unquiet Dreams

Unquiet Dreams  - Mark Del Franco

This is the 2nd book in the Connor Grey series, and while I enjoyed the first book it didn’t resonate with me as Butcher’s Dresden Files, or Seanan McGuire’s October Daye & InCryptid series do.


Well, I’m starting to feel the pull of this series too.  This second book expands on the characters and the world and introduces some new characters, along with giving new twists to some earlier ones.  I am appreciating the nuances of motivations, and the blurring of good guy/bad guy lines. There’s quite a bit of (mostly fey) political maneuvering in the plot, along with two murders that may or may not be connected.  Once again, Connor detects, follows clues, reasons through some ambiguities, and continues to examine his life and his motives. 


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Source: http://ennui.booklikes.com/post/565715/unquietdreamsreview

Unshapely Things

Unshapely Things - Mark Del Franco

My absolute favorite series right now is the Dresden Files, and I tend to compare any other urban fantasy type series to that.  I was pleasantly surprised by this.  I took me a while to get into it - I kept putting it aside to read something else, but around the 40% mark it hit me (yeah - I can be slow at times) - this is the closest to an actual detective story that I've read in a long time.  Connor Grey, a druid who lost his powers (due to a crazed environmentalist elf, of all things), detects!  He really does.  I know other series feature private eyes with magical powers, and while their story does involve some sort of case, they tend to get sidetracked into, say, setting things on fire (Harry!) or saving the world (Harry!).

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Source: http://ennui.booklikes.com/post/547226/unshapely-things

Currently reading

Downfall: A Cal Leandros Novel (Cal and Niko)
Rob Thurman
The God Stalker Chronicles (Kencyrath, #1-2)
P.C. Hodgell