Sunday, July 31, 2011

Errant by Diana Peterfreund

Title: Errant

Author: Diana Peterfreund

Published: Noise Court Press, April 2011

Series: Killer Unicorns Novella

First Line: "The unicorn hunter brought her own unicorn, which was good as none had been seen in the countryside for years."

Summary: In 18th century France, a noble family prepares to celebrate their daughter’s arranged marriage by holding a traditional unicorn hunt. But when an unusual nun arrives at the chateau with her beloved pet to help the rich girl train, nothing goes as expected. Starring hunters, fine ladies, fancy frocks, and killer unicorns.   (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: A short story set in the same universe as the killer unicorns in Rampant and Ascendant, Errant is just as awesome as Rampant.  I like unicorns; when they’re bad.  Luckily, Diana Peterfreund’s unicorns are just the kind of unicorns that I love to read about.

Errant starts off a little confusing as you’re not too sure whats happening, who it’s happening to and why it’s happening but as you read on things become quite a lot clearer and it’s quite an interesting story.

I love Diana’s writing, I’ve read Rampant and a short story in the Zombies Vs Unicorns anthology and her writing was just as superb as in Errant.  The words flow and the descriptions are pretty vivid so you can imagine what these unicorns look like immediately.

Another really good thing about Errant is that while it is set in the same universe as Rampant and Ascendant you don't really have to have read them to enjoy the story.  You'll be missing a bit of the back story but it works quite well as a little introduction to the universe of the killer unicorns.

I liked both main female characters, they were both really different and I really liked that.  The ending was quite surprising as I did not expect it but it was still really good.

Errant is a very short story so it doesn’t take too long to read.  I really enjoyed it and if you’re a fan of Diana’s Killer Unicorn series then you’ll definitely love this one as it runs along the same veins.  Definitely check it out if you haven’t already.

Source: Smashwords

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Title: Little Brother

Author: Cory Doctorow

Published: Tor Books, 2008

Pages: 382

Summary: Marcus, a.k.a “w1n5t0n,” is only seventeen years old, but he figures he already knows how the system works–and how to work the system. Smart, fast, and wise to the ways of the networked world, he has no trouble outwitting his high school’s intrusive but clumsy surveillance systems.
But his whole world changes when he and his friends find themselves caught in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco. In the wrong place at the wrong time, Marcus and his crew are apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security and whisked away to a secret prison where they’re mercilessly interrogated for days.
When the DHS finally releases them, Marcus discovers that his city has become a police state where every citizen is treated like a potential terrorist. He knows that no one will believe his story, which leaves him only one option: to take down the DHS himself.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: Paranoia, terrorism, people gone amok, fear, uprising, technology and coffee.  This is mostly what Little Brother by Cory Doctorow consists of.  A few chapters into Little Brother I started thinking it seemed a little like a modern day 1984.  With the government keeping tabs on everyone and there being a select group of people trying to rebel.

I didn’t really like any of the characters in the book.  They all had little things that annoyed me.  Marcus just didn’t interest me all that much.  I just thought he was kind of boring.  I was more interested in his mum, she seemed like a more interesting and deep character.  When he was doing all the getting back at the man stuff, I thought that was interesting.

There was a lot of information in Little Brother in regards to technology and that was the stuff I liked the best.  I thought the stuff about xbox was very interesting.  Also, the technology on how they keep tabs on people was very interesting; I have to say that it definitely made me glad that I don’t have to endure that type of privacy invasion.

The ending of Little Brother disappointed me a little bit; there was just something about it that wasn’t quite right.  It felt kind of cheesy and unrealistic.

Overall, I thought that Little Brother was an interesting enough book.  It’s not a book I’d read again but it was interesting to look at in regards to technology and privacy and how far is too far when it comes to invading privacy and taking away human rights.  I just wasn’t a fan of the main character Marcus.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Books I Yearn For (2)

There are a lot of these type posts around the blogosphere where people show off books that they simply cannot wait for.  I have decided to create my own version of these posts because sometimes I obsess over a book for so long that I just have to get it out of my system.  Whether they be old or new these are books that I just wish I had my hands on.

This weeks book:

Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews

Description: *May Contain Spoilers*  Kate Daniels cleans up the paranormal problems no one else wants to deal with-especially if they involve Atlanta's shapeshifting community. 

And now there's a new player in town-a foe that may be too much for even Kate and Curran, the Lord of the Beasts, to handle. Because this time, Kate will be taking on family. (Taken from Goodreads)

Why do I want to read this book so badly?
The ending of the third book.  Oh wow did it leave me needing to read the next book.  I'm not usually one to be interested between the romance between the characters in a book but in this series the way it's written just makes me want to read the next book to find out about the romance between Kate and Curran. Then the whole story line is amazing.  I absolutely love fantasy.

My Review of Magic Bites
My Review of Magic Burns

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews

Title: Magic Strikes

Author: Ilona Andrews

Published: Ace, 2009

Pages: 310

Series: Book 3, Kate Daniels

Summary: Drafted into working for the Order of Merciful Aid, mercenary Kate Daniels has more paranormal problems than she knows what to do with. And in Atlanta, where magic comes and goes like the tide, that’s saying a lot.

But when Kate’s werewolf friend Derek is discovered nearly dead, she must confront her greatest challenge yet.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I absolutely love this series.  The first two books were so good and after reading the third book I stand by my word that this series is awesome.

I love Kate, I love Curran, I love Derek, I love Julie, I love Andrea and I love Jim.  Really, all of the characters are great.  Especially Kate though, she’s so kick-ass.  Another thing I loved was that I got to find out more about Kate’s history and who she is.  You also get to find out a little more about some of the other characters which was really good.

The story line was really interesting and it definitely kept me reading.  There’s mystery and fantasy which are my two favourite genres.

Then there is the whole Kate and Curran element.  The chemistry between them is right there and they just keep fighting it.  It’s so frustrating but so fun to read about.

I loved the ending.  I had this huge grin on my face at the end because it was truly awesome and I just loved it.  I definitely cannot wait to read the next book.

I could rave about Magic Strikes forever because it’s an awesome read.  If you like fantasy books with a bit of mystery thrown in then you’ll love Magic Strikes and the Kate Daniels series.

Source: Library

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Quirky Christmas by William G. Bentrim

Title: A Quirky Christmas

Author: William G. Bentrim

Illustrator: Jan Button

Published: Bearly Tolerable Publications, 2011

Pages: 28

Description: It is easy to like people who are, act and behave just like we do.   It is harder to like people who behave differently and who we see as being selfish.   A real friend is someone who accepts the way you are.  A real friend helps you when you are in need.   A real friend accepts that there are some days you may be grumpy and selfish.  A real friend sees the good that lies within you.  In this story, Quirky shows the meaning of friendship.   Quirky demonstrates kindness and understanding to someone who seems preoccupied with himself and his things.    Quirky and his friends show that even squirrels understand the Christmas season is a wonderful time to show kindness to others.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: A Quirky Christmas is a neat little story about four squirrels and how three of them are friends but the fourth one is a bit mean to the others. 

I enjoyed the story of A Quirky Christmas.  It was a nice simple story line that young children could follow quite easily.  It’s a really nice and sweet story too.  There is also a hidden message about sharing within the story.  The story teaches that even though someone is mean or rude it is a good idea to be nice and share with them when they need it.

I love the illustrations.  They’re really pretty and I spent quite a few seconds looking over each illustration.  The illustrations just add that extra element to the book that makes it all the more enjoyable.

Overall, A Quirky Christmas is a really neat picture book about squirrels and sharing.  It’s well worth a read.

Source: William G. Bentrim for review

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sacred Evil by Heather Graham

Title: Sacred Evil 

Author: Heather Graham

Published: Mira, 26 July 2011

Series: Book 3, Krewe of Hunters

Pages: 400

First Line: "Someone was following her."

Summary: The details of the crime scene are no coincidence. The body – a promising starlet – has been battered, bloodied and then discarded between two of Manhattan’s oldest graveyards.

One look and Detective Jude Crosby recognizes the tableau: a re-creation of Jack the Ripper’s gruesome work. But he also sees something beyond the actions of a mere copycat. Something more dangerous…and unexplainable.

As the city seethes with suspicion, Jude calls on Whitney Tremont, a member of the country’s preeminent paranormal investigating team, to put the speculation to rest. Yet when Whitney and Jude delve deeper, what they discover is more shocking than either could have predicted, and twice as sinister…  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: A lot of people know about Jack the Ripper.  I know about Jack the Ripper, but I didn’t know too much about him other than he plagued the streets of London in the 1800s.  Sacred Evil features a killer who is determined to copy Jack the Ripper’s kills, on the streets of New York.

Not knowing much about JTR I found Sacred Evil to be really fascinating on that front.  It definitely captured my interest from page one and kept me reading.  I ended up finishing Sacred Evil in two sittings.

I really loved that Sacred Evil tied back to things that happened in the first two books and characters who appeared in those books were still around and things had progressed with them.

Speaking of characters, Jude was an interesting new character; I quite liked him to be honest and I thought that the chemistry between him and Whitney was really interesting and it held my interest because the chemistry was just right.

As with all of Heather Graham’s novels that I’ve read I thought I had some idea who the killer was but then at the very end I was proven wrong.  That’s one thing I really like about these books is that they keep you guessing all the way through.

The ghostly element of Sacred Evil was there and while it wasn’t as creepy or prominent as other books in the series, I thought this ghostly element was very interesting and quite different indeed.

Overall, Sacred Evil is an awesome addition to the Krewe of Hunters series.  I would say that Sacred Evil was even my favourite of the series.  They are definitely well worth a read if you’re into ghosts, history and murder mysteries, with a touch of romance sprinkled in.

Source: NetGalley

Monday, July 25, 2011

Book Tour: Tower of Parlen Min by Matt Xell

Title: Tower of Parlen Min

Author: Matt Xell

Published: 23 July 2010

Pages: 345

First Line: "There are many seemingly unending roads in the world of Everlon, and it is said that if you do not know where you are going, what you are looking for or why you are looking for it, will wander these roads forever."

Summary: Ves Asirin wins a trip to the Tower of Parlen Min. There, with 19 other children, he competes in the Sword Challenge; a series of puzzles and tasks, for $12 million. As fantastic and glorious as the tower seems to be, Ves finds that it keeps a dark and secret history that he has been connected to for over 150 years, a secret that will define his destiny ... if he can escape 'The shadow'.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts:  I thought that Tower of Parlen Min sounded like a really exciting and awesome book full of puzzles and tasks that the main character Ves would have to go through throughout the book.  While it did have that element to it, there was also a whole lot more to the story.

I really enjoyed Tower of Parlen Min.  I’ll admit that at first I thought things were a bit boring and slow going but that was only because the characters and the background for the story had to get set up.  Once the story got deeper into things however, I was very hooked.

Where to start?  There are so many things going on.  First up there’s the challenges set up by Jacobius Trent and the 12 million dollar prize awarded to the winner.  I thought that the challenges were so intense.  I would have failed straight away most likely.  It was really fun reading about the challenges and they were so creative and so different.

Then there was the whole mystery of what was happening to Ves and the history of the house and its inhabitants.  I am a sucker for mysteries of any kind so of course I was going to keep reading to find out about all of these things.

The fantasy element was there as well and I loved it.  The magic was really magical and it was quite different to a lot of the magic you see in books these days.  Not to mention the creatures.  Some of them were rather different and it just made for a really interesting story.

I think one of the things that I didn’t like so much about the book was the characters.  For most of the book a lot of the characters annoyed me.  However, towards the end I started seeing the majority of them in a different light.  Ves had his moments and he was a very interesting character.

One thing I have to say about Tower of Parlen Min above all is that it is highly imaginative and very unique.  It was a lot of fun and something different to the books I’d normally read.

If you’re looking for something really fun and highly imaginative then I definitely suggest reading Tower of Parlen Min.  There is so much to it that I can’t help but feel I’d like to reread it again.  I also look forward to reading more of Ves’ adventures in future books.

To Matt Xell:
To Tower of Parlen Min:
Book 1 Amazon
Book 2 Amazon
Book 3 Amazon


Liked my review?  Think you’d like to read this book for yourself?  Well with a huge thank you to Matt I have up to five copies of Tower of Parlen Min in ebook form to give to people.  If you win I will send you instructions and a coupon code so you can download Tower of Parlen Min in a format of your choosing.  Giveaway is definitely international and entries close 10th of August midnight, GMT +12.  All you have to do is fill in the form below to be entered.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi, The Story Siren.  It is a weekly feature where book enthusiasts showcase the books they got in the mail, from bookstores, from the library or anywhere else for the week.

This week I got two books.

The books I got were:

Flip by Martyn Bedford

Ever wake up in someone else's body? Fourteen-year-old Alex Gray wakes up one morning to discover he's not in his own bedroom. More surprising is that he doesn't recognize his hands, or his legs...When he looks in the mirror he gets the shock of his life! How is it possible that Alex has become another boy - a boy who everyone calls Philip? And how have six whole months passed overnight?  (Taken from Goodreads)

This one I won from Jen of Lost in the Library so a HUGE thanks to her!  And it was:

Scar Night by Alan Campbell

Suspended by chains over a seemingly bottomless abyss, the ancient city of Deepgate is home to a young angel, an assassin, and a psychotic murderer hungry for revenge - or redemption. But soon a shocking betrayal will unite all three in a desperate quest....

The last of his line, Dill is descended from legendary Battle-archons who once defended the city. Forbidden to fly and untrained even to wield the great sword inherited from his forebears, he has become a figurehead for a dying tradition. Now he lives a sheltered existence in one of Deepgate's crumbling temple spires under the watchful eye of the Presbyter who rules the city.

Spine assassin Rachel Hael has better things to do than oversee the Presbyter's angel. Each dark moon she must fight for her life among the city chains, hunting an immortal predator with a taste for blood.

But when a traitor brings enemies to Deepgate's doorstep, Dill and Rachel are forced into an uneasy alliance with the city's oldest and most dangerous foe. They must journey down into the uncharted chasm to save their sprawling metropolis - and themselves - from annihilation. Once they descend however, they learn that what lies below is far more sinister than what they've been taught to expect.
 (Taken from Goodreads)

And that was my week in books.  Can't wait to see what everyone else got.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Intoxication by Tim Kizer

Title: Intoxication

Author: Tim Kizer

Published: March 2011

First Line: "When Leslie came back from the ladies room, she found out that Rick had drunk almost all of her poisoned coffee, which Helen Romero had bought to her office just minutes before Rick had barged in unannounced."

Summary: How do you force a confession out of a coworker trying to poison you? Do you kill those who dismiss your fears and believe you are paranoid? What do you do if you start questioning your own suspicions--and sanity--as you take the law into your hands?

In this disturbing tale of derangement, a young psychopathic woman is slipping into madness as she fights an enemy that may exist only in her imagination. She has to resort to desperate measures when she realizes that a gun, security cameras in her apartment, and constant vigilance will not be enough to survive.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: Intoxication is a novella containing three short stories, each one having a slightly disturbing element to it and a slight twist in the story too.

The first short story is Intoxication which features a woman who is convinced that someone is trying to poison her.  It is a story that is filled with paranoia.  It kind of makes me glad I don’t drink coffee.  Intoxication was quite a creepy story because it was very real in just how paranoid Leslie is.  It’s also very good in that I just had to keep reading to find out exactly what was going to happen.  Intoxication keeps you reading because you want to see how events will unfold.  I really enjoyed reading Intoxication.

The second story, The Hitchhiker, is a story that seems so unreal but at the same time, it could happen.  I liked this one but not as much as Intoxication.  The thing I liked the most about The Hitchhiker was that there were little twists that appeared at various points of the story.  This one really had you hanging on in that you didn’t really know how the story was going to end and in whose favour it would end in.

The third short story is a very short story called The Bike.  It was quite an interesting story as it was quite vague.  I read through it really quickly because like the other two stories, you’re unsure of where the story is going until you reach the end.  I liked the Bike.  I liked its simplicity and just the story itself.

Overall, I really enjoyed Intoxication, the stories were all pretty creepy and definitely worth a read.  If you’re a fan of horror, or freaky stories that seem unreal but at the same time could happen, then definitely check out Intoxication.

Source: Tim Kizer for review

Friday, July 22, 2011

On the Fence: Nightshade

Sometimes we’ll be sitting on the fence when it comes to books. You may have heard really good things about it or really bad things about it. So every month we will feature a book that you may be sitting on the fence about reading.

To participate, you can do one of these things:

If you have a review of the book in question, feel free to add your link to the Mister Linky below.

If you don’t have a review but have something to say about the book then by all means comment!

Suggest a book to feature! You can do so in the comments and we’ll feature it!

This month I am sitting on the fence about Nightshade by Andrea Cremer.

It sounds interesting but I have heard so many mixed things about it. So if you have a review or opinion to share of it then I'd love to hear it!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Summoner by Layton Green

Title: The Summoner

Author: Layton Green

Published: GryphonWorks, 2010

Series: Book 1, Dominic Grey

Pages: 237

First Line: "The only thing Dominic Grey knew for certain about the disappearance of William Addison was that it was the strangest case to which he had ever been assigned."

Summary: A United States diplomat disappears in front of hundreds of onlookers while attending a religious ceremony in the bushveld of Zimbabwe. 

Dominic Grey, Diplomatic Security special agent, product of a violent childhood and a worn passport, is assigned to investigate. Aiding the investigation is Professor Viktor Radek, religious phenomenologist and expert on cults, and Nya Mashumba, the local government liaison. 

What Grey uncovers is a terrifying cult older than Western civilization, the harsh underbelly of a country in despair, a demagogic priest seemingly able to perform impossibilities, and the identity of the newest target. 

Himself.   (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: The Summoner is kind of creepy in that a man disappears during a religious ritual and nobody knows what has become of him or even how he disappeared.  One minute he was there, the next he was gone.  That coupled with another couple of events in the book creates a creepy atmosphere.

I thought that the pacing of The Summoner to be quite good.  It didn’t go too fast and it wasn’t so slow that I got really bored. Towards the end the pace picked up though and I was reading through pages as fast as I could to find out what was happening and how things would end.

There was enough character development of Dominic and Nya that I could relate to them and see their point of view about everything.  I’m hoping that in the next book we’ll get to know more about Viktor.

I really liked the storyline of The Summoner.  It’s not very often that I read a book about Africa and religions in African, so The Summoner was a really original story.  When I read the first few chapters I thought it seemed vaguely similar to the movie The Reaping because it seemed to be a guy investigating a religious phenomenon to find its scientific explanation.  I a way The Summoner is and isn’t like that.  The basic idea is the same but The Summoner has a much more interesting execution and story.

I enjoyed reading The Summoner.  It was very easy to read and it wasn’t too difficult to get my head around the African phrases in the book either.  The idea is really unique and I had a lot of fun reading it.  I definitely look forward to more books about Dominic and Viktor in the future.