New Cover! Shadow Scale (Seraphina #2) by Rachel Hartman

It feels like I’ve been waiting forever for the sequel to my beloved Seraphinabut we finally have a cover and blurb!  Shadow Scale comes out March 10, 2015.

The kingdom of Goredd: a world where humans and dragons share life with an uneasy balance, and those few who are both human and dragon must hide the truth. Seraphina is one of these, part girl, part dragon, who is reluctantly drawn into the politics of her world. When war breaks out between the dragons and humans, she must travel the lands to find those like herself—for she has an inexplicable connection to all of them, and together they will be able to fight the dragons in powerful, magical ways.

As Seraphina gathers this motley crew, she is pursued by humans who want to stop her. But the most terrifying is another half dragon, who can creep into people’s minds and take them over. Until now, Seraphina has kept her mind safe from intruders, but that also means she’s held back her own gift. It is time to make a choice: Cling to the safety of her old life, or embrace a powerful new destiny?

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Review: Andromeda’ Fall (The Prequel Legion Series #1) by William C. Dietz

Genre: Science Fiction
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Publisher: Ace (December 4, 2012)
How I got this book: Bought
Links: Amazon Goodreads

Blurb from Goodreads:

The roots of the Legion of the Damned lie deep within the mythology of the future. But now, national bestselling author William C. Dietz goes back to the Legion’s early days with the story of one recruit’s rebirth and redemption…

Hundreds of years in the future, much has changed. Advances in medicine, technology, and science abound. Humanity has gone to the stars, found alien life, and established an empire.

But some things never change…

All her life, Lady Catherine Carletto (called Cat) has lived for nothing but the next party, the next lover, the next expensive toy. Until, in a bloodthirsty power grab, Imperial Princess Ophelia and her cadre of synth assassins murder her brother the emperor, and go on to purge the galaxy of his friends and supporters—including Cat’s family. The Carlettos are known to be staunch supporters of the Emperor and Carletto Industries has been in the forefront of his pet project—developing cybernetic technology for use by the masses.

Now Cat, one of the last surviving Carlettos, is on the run. And, like countless others before her, she finds her sanctuary among the most dangerous of society’s misfits.

Welcome to the Legion.

Cat Carletto vanishes, and in her place stands Legion recruit Andromeda McKee. A woman with a mission—to bring down Empress Ophelia—or die trying.

My rating: 4/5 Stars – A good read. I really enjoyed it.

Review: 

I’m not a regular reader of military science fiction, but Andromeda’s Fall caught my eye, and I’m extremely glad that I gave it a try.  Even though I’ve never read Dietz’s Legion of the Damned series, I found this book very accessible; I slipped easily into the world of the Legion and its cyborg soldiers and didn’t want to leave.

One thing the story does exceedingly well is capture the gritty, merciless reality of war. While not overly gory, certain battle scenes pack a brutal punch, especially those that demonstrate the suicidal bravery of the legionnaires.  I also love the main character, Catherine/McKee. She’s a doer, not whining about her circumstances, but doing whatever she needs to do to survive.  As she finds herself in the midst of a war that’s far from black and white, she’s forced to make some difficult moral choices and decide how far she’s willing to go to achieve her ultimate goal.

Spurts of action intermixed with worldbuilding and character development keep the pages turning at a steady pace, and the ending is perfect.  I can’t wait to see where McKee’s story goes from here.  Overall, I highly recommend this book for both scifi buffs and dabblers alike.

4stars

Reading Order:

  1. Andromeda’s Fall
  2. Andromeda’s Choice
  3. Andromeda’s War – expected December 4, 2014

 

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Better Late than Never: BEA/BookCon 2014 Recap

Here’s a roundup of panels and signings I attended at this year’s BookCon (formerly called BEA’s Power Reader Day) at the Javits Center in New York City.

IMG_0764John Grisham in Conversation with Carl Hiaasen

These two were great!  Florida crime novelist Carl Hiaasen (left) was hilarious, and I especially loved hearing about all the inventive ways he and John Grisham (right) come up with character names! Attendees received an ARC of Skink: No Surrender by Hiaasen as well as A Time to Kill and Sycamore Row by Grisham.  This year marks the 25th anniversary of the publication of A Time to Kill.  Sycamore Row is that novel’s follow-up.

IMG_0781Cary Elwes

The line to meet Cary Elwes was too long for me, but I was still able to see him signing copies of his new book As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of the Princess Bride.

I also headed over to the Horror Writers Association to pick up a free copy of The Best Horror of the Year, Volume Six and get it signed by editor Ellen Datlow.

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Amy Poehler in Conversation with Martin Short

Amy Poehler discussed her upcoming memoir Yes Pleaseand told a few funny stories along the way.  Martin Short, who also has an upcoming memoir, was equally hilarious if not more so.

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Blockbuster Reads: Meet the Kids Authors that Dazzle

Left to right: Jeff Kinney, Rick Riordan, Rachel Renee Russell, James Patterson, and Lemony Snicket

Jeff Kinney (Diary of a Wimpy Kiddid a fantastic job moderating this all-star panel.

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Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson and the Olympians) and Rachel Renne Russell (Dork Diaries) laugh it up.

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James Patterson (left), known for both his adult thrillers (Alex Cross, Women’s Murder Club, etc.) and kids’ series (Maximum Ride, Witch & Wizard, and more), was insightful and interesting.  But perhaps the most memorable panelist was Lemony Snicket (A Series of Unfortunate Events), whose dry wit had the crowd roaring with laughter.  Did you know he also writes novels for adults as Daniel Handler?

This event was the perfect way to wrap up my day at BookCon.  Overall, I had a great time.  Stay in the loop for next year’s BookCon through their website, Twitter, and Facebook.

 

 

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Review: Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J. Maas

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (August 27, 2013)
How I got this book: Bought
Links: Amazon Goodreads

Blurb from Goodreads:

From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena’s world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie… and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.

My rating: 3.5/5 Stars – Could’ve been better, but I liked it overall.

Review: 

I have feelings about Crown of Midnight, some good and some bad.  Let’s start with the good.  First of all, the romance between Celaena and Chaol is swoon-worthy.  I seriously loved every minute of it.  And, out of this, something unexpected happens: Dorian matures into this amazing character, developing his own unique storyline and relationship with Celaena that ultimately became one of my favorite parts of the whole book.  It’s also satisfying to finally see Celaena kill some people (‘cause, you know, she’s supposed to be an assassin), rectifying one of my biggest problems with the first book. Overall, Crown of Midnight is exciting and deeply emotional.  Even though I can see the broad strokes of the story laid out ahead (and the big “surprise” at the end isn’t a surprise at all if you’ve been paying attention), I still have no idea where the plot of book three will take our main characters.  I can’t wait to find out.

Now for the reasons why I can’t quite give this book five stars.  The magic system isn’t explained all that well, and, once again, the quality of writing isn’t always consistent.  But those are minor issues compared to the major bone I have to pick: the death of a major character.  This person was one of the highlights of the series for me, and their death is used as nothing more than way to tug on readers’ heartstrings and jumpstart Celaena into action.  That’s it.  The author just got rid of one of her most compelling characters – one with mountains of potential – and for what?  This person could have been so much more than just a martyr.  What a waste and a disservice.

Despite my reservations, I still enjoyed Crown of Midnight, and I think fans of the first book will be pleased.  I’m extremely interested to see what happens in book three, Heir of Fire, coming out in September.

3.5stars

Reading Order:

  1. Throne of Glass – read my 3.5 Star review
  2. Crown of Midnight
  3. Heir of Fire – coming September 2, 2014

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Legend of Korra: Book 3 Trailer is EPIC

Get excited.

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Doctor Who returns this August

Great news! Doctor Who season 8 premieres this August!  Check out the Doctor’s new threads:

 

Dashing, right?  Go here to see more cast photos and a frustratingly short teaser.  Thank goodness there’s only a few short months to go!

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RIP Maya Angelou

Today we remember the great American poet and writer Maya Angelou, who passed away at the age of 86.

Maya Angelou

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

More Maya Angelou quotes

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New covers! Shifting Shadows, The Winter Long, and Heir of Fire

Shifting Shadows: Stories from the World of Mercy Thompson by Patricia Briggs, September 2, 2014

Mercy Thompson’s world just got a whole lot bigger…

A collection of all-new and previously published short stories featuring Mercy Thompson, “one of the best heroines in the urban fantasy genre today” (Fiction Vixen Book Reviews), and the characters she calls friends…

Includes the new stories…
“Silver”
“Roses in Winter”
“Redemption”
“Hollow”

…and reader favorites
“Fairy Gifts”
“Gray”
“Alpha and Omega”
“Seeing Eye”
“The Star of David”
“In Red, with Pearls”

The Winter Long (October Daye #8) by Seanan McGuire, September 2, 2014

Toby thought she understood her own past; she thought she knew the score.

She was wrong.

It’s time to learn the truth.

Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J. Maas, September 2, 2014

Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. 

Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy. 

While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love? 

This third novel in the Throne of Glass sequence, from New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, is packed with more heart-stopping action, devastating drama and swoonsome romance, and introduces some fierce new heroines to love and hate.

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Review: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line (Veronica Mars #1) by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham

Genre: Mystery
Format: Trade Paperback
Publisher: Vintage (March 25, 2014)
How I got this book: Bought
Links: Amazon Goodreads

Blurb from Goodreads:

From Rob Thomas, the creator of the television series and movie phenomenon Veronica Mars, comes the first book in a thrilling mystery series that picks up where the feature film left off. 

Ten years after graduating from high school in Neptune, California, Veronica Mars is back in the land of sun, sand, crime, and corruption. She’s traded in her law degree for her old private investigating license, struggling to keep Mars Investigations afloat on the scant cash earned by catching cheating spouses until she can score her first big case.

Now it’s spring break, and college students descend on Neptune, transforming the beaches and boardwalks into a frenzied, week-long rave. When a girl disappears from a party, Veronica is called in to investigate. But this is no simple missing person’s case; the house the girl vanished from belongs to a man with serious criminal ties, and soon Veronica is plunged into a dangerous underworld of drugs and organized crime. And when a major break in the investigation has a shocking connection to Veronica’s past, the case hits closer to home than she ever imagined.

In Veronica Mars, Rob Thomas has created a groundbreaking female detective who’s part Phillip Marlowe, part Nancy Drew, and all snark. With its sharp plot and clever twists, The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line will keep you guessing until the very last page.

My rating: 4.5/5 Stars Almost perfect. I highly recommend it.

Review: 

The Thousand Dollar Tan Line is a legit noir mystery novel, complete with a beautiful, wealthy client; a city filled with corruption, danger, and intrigue; and (of course) a cynical, hardboiled detective.  It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Veronica Mars, and this novel incorporates everything I love about the show – great characters, snappy dialogue, and a compelling mystery with twists around every corner.  I could barely put it down!

The only thing I don’t like is that Mac is relegated to the role of sidekick – she deserves more than just being the assistant Veronica orders around.  Even so, fans of the show will love the appearances by many familiar characters, including Wallace, Weevil, Dick, and more.

I have to hand it to the authors: Veronica’s voice is spot on.  I could actually picture the scenes and hear the characters as if watching them on screen.  In a way, this is VM in its truest, most pure form.  I doubt readers who haven’t seen the show will love this book as much as I do, but I think fans – especially those who enjoy crime fiction – will be pleased. I can’t wait for the next installment.

4.5stars

Reading Order:

  1. The Thousand Dollar Tan Line
  2. Untitled sequel, expected 2014
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Review: World After (Penryn & The End of Days #2) by Susan Ee

Genre: YA Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Skyscape (November 19, 2013)
How I got this book: Bought
Links: Amazon Goodreads

Blurb from Goodreads:

In this sequel to the bestselling fantasy thriller, Angelfall, the survivors of the angel apocalypse begin to scrape back together what’s left of the modern world.

When a group of people capture Penryn’s sister Paige, thinking she’s a monster, the situation ends in a massacre. Paige disappears. Humans are terrified. Mom is heartbroken.

Penryn drives through the streets of San Francisco looking for Paige. Why are the streets so empty? Where is everybody? Her search leads her into the heart of the angels’ secret plans where she catches a glimpse of their motivations, and learns the horrifying extent to which the angels are willing to go.

Meanwhile, Raffe hunts for his wings. Without them, he can’t rejoin the angels, can’t take his rightful place as one of their leaders. When faced with recapturing his wings or helping Penryn survive, which will he choose?

My rating: 5/5 Stars – Loved it! It totally rocked my socks off.

Review: 

After the amazingness that was Angelfall, I had high hopes for the sequel.  And once again, I was completely blown away.  World After doesn’t pull any punches as Penryn struggles to come to terms with having a sister who seems more monster than human. Paige’s story is utterly heartbreaking.  In many ways, this book is all about turning the definition of monster on its head and challenging our ideas about what it means to be human.

Although Penryn and Raffe aren’t reunited until near the end, Raffe’s sword gives us glimpses into his past that make the separation between the characters totally worth it. There’s so much about this story I loved – the creepy scorpion monsters, Penryn’s badass fight scenes, Uriel’s scheming, Dee and Dum just being awesome, the banter, and hints of romance.  Despite some great humorous moments, World After is even darker, bloodier, and more intense than the first book.  Once it sucks you in, you won’t be able to put it down.

In case you haven’t already guessed, World After rocked my socks off.  It exceeded my expectations in every way, and I can’t wait to get my hands on book three.  Highly recommended.

5stars

Reading Order:

  1. Angelfallread my 5-star mini-review on Goodreads
  2. World After
  3. Untitled Sequel, expected 2015

Also reviewed at:

 

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