Alana Weatherbee is a fantasy story set at a school for magic. It is a middle grade to YA level read.
When I first started reading this I felt lots of...moreAlana Weatherbee is a fantasy story set at a school for magic. It is a middle grade to YA level read.
When I first started reading this I felt lots of Harry Potter vibes. I had a sudden disappointment, believing this story would be a Potter knock-off.
As the character backgrounds became more filled out, my worries began to disappear. Yes, there is a school for magic. Yes, the characters are teens. Yes, there is even a 'Labyrinth' competition. However, these things are not just Potter-isms, they are classic fantasy. Mr. Sorenson made great efforts to separate his story from any we have seen before.
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this. I was actually sad when I reached the end...but it was a cliffhanger, so I know more is coming soon.(less)
Demon Hunter: Saga is a dark fantasy collection of the entire Demon Hunter Trilogy.
From the very beginning this story oozes with dark, creepy, gothic...moreDemon Hunter: Saga is a dark fantasy collection of the entire Demon Hunter Trilogy.
From the very beginning this story oozes with dark, creepy, gothic atmosphere. The feeling was a combination of old Universal Pictures monster movies and Robert E. Howard's pulp stories. The Demon Hunter, Cain Coleridge, reminded me of the classic hunter, Solomon Kane.
The main character, Costa Calabrese, has an interesting background, orphaned at a young age and sold into slavery. As the plot progresses, he is 'rented' out by his master to the Demon Hunter,Coleridge.
Book One was back story plus a coming-of-age/finding your destiny narrative. The story also points to Costa as the Chosen One to be the next Demon Hunter. I have gotten tired of the "Chosen" slayer/hunter/mate/savior stories because they are everywhere. This one, however, does not over-do the "chosen one" device.
As things move on through the rest of Book 1 and through Books 2 and 3, the author treats readers to mystery, action, horror, humor and even a little bit of romance. There is even room for lessons on what is really important in life. I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of things packed into this trilogy.
With all of these positives, there just had to be a downside. Battles, confrontations, and quests were not well fleshed out. Everything came too easy and battles were over way too quickly. Just a little more detail, suspense, tension, struggle and the saga would have probably received that elusive 5th star!(less)
I received this book from a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.
Help! Wanted is a collection of short horror stories centered around the workplace. Each s...moreI received this book from a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.
Help! Wanted is a collection of short horror stories centered around the workplace. Each story was from a different author, some new and others more well known.
My experience with anthologies has been hit or miss in the past. Shared theme collections tend to be more erratic in quality that shared world or joint story-telling, but I never let that deter me from something that could be good.
I was pleasantly surprised at the consistent level of story quality throughout the anthology. Although I did catch a couple of typos (technical errors), the level of story-telling was great almost across the board.
The stories ranged from terror inducing suspense to gut wrenching levels of grotesque. I actually felt like part of the enjoyment came from experiencing such a wide range of ideas from every corner of the horror genre.
I liked so many of the stories, but one of them stood out as my favorite. (Even though it did kinda fit into one of the older horror formulas.) - 'New Orleans' Best Beignets' by Vic Kerry was by far the most fun to read!
So, for those who don't mind developing a healthy fear of the workplace...I heartily recommend this book!(less)
The Harp of the Grey Rose has been called many things. A collection of cliches...a same old quest fantasy...nothing special.
For me, it was much more....moreThe Harp of the Grey Rose has been called many things. A collection of cliches...a same old quest fantasy...nothing special.
For me, it was much more. This book was a return to my reading roots. I grew up in the days of Terry Brooks first fantasy stories and cut my reading teeth on Raymond Feist. This was built to appeal to the audience that dominated the mid-80's.
This was the first book de Lint actually wrote, but it was the second or third that he published. It is rough and I easily recognized the base fantasy model in the story of Cerin. Even with this basic approach, the reader can pick up on the voice of Charles de Lint and his own original touches.
My favorite part of de Lint's works is the mystery and vastness he portrays in his fantasy universes. The author did not give away all of the secrets of this literary universe in one book. He saved some for other stories such as Riddle of the Wren. This approach has carried over into much of his later works in his Newford universe.
Overall, if you are a fantasy lover or a de Lint fan...I recommend this highly.(less)
I received this book from the author to read and review.
The Book of the Forsaken is the first in a series of books called The Game. The story begins w...moreI received this book from the author to read and review.
The Book of the Forsaken is the first in a series of books called The Game. The story begins with 3 misfits/bad people who happen to possess special powers that are conscripted into a plot to assassinate Russian officials and steal important documents.
Among the things they are tasked with stealing...the Book of the Forsaken. This book chronicles the TRUE history of our world. This includes the fact that over a million people on Earth are powerful Magi. Also, the book tells of many creatures thought to be myth, but were actually real (better known as the Forsaken).
The story weaves bits of magical action and glimpses of mythical creatures with a bigger plot paralleling the war between Heaven and Hell. There is so much amazing that could have come from this premise, but the book does not execute all that well. The pacing is a bit inconsistent, so lull periods drag too much and action sequences are over way too fast. After finishing book 1, I am still not sure just what is happening, nor have I found any character that I care much about. Sure, I am curious to see how the story gets resolved, but the characters feel too interchangeable for me to invest much time in them.
Overall, I enjoyed reading the story and it went by very quickly. Unfortunately, it is not something that makes me really want to read more.
First, I want to thank the authors for providing a copy of this book for me to read and review.
Demon Days is a short novel about the beginning of the...moreFirst, I want to thank the authors for providing a copy of this book for me to read and review.
Demon Days is a short novel about the beginning of the End of Days. We've seen this before, right? Not so fast...it is put together so differently than all the other books out there about the Apocalypse.
The main character is a journalist who gets caught up in a supernatural plot soon after a helicopter accident in which her fiance experiences a NDE (Near Death Experience). the plot involves the Middle East, Satan, and possessed assassins. No more spoilers though...on to my thoughts about this book.
At the beginning of the book, I got distracted by the choppy dialogue sequences, but it did not take long to forget any awkward sentences and get immersed in the action. The pace of Demon Days is 'break-neck' and does not let up at all. At times, the speedy pace hindered scene development. Interestingly enough, this began to create an atmosphere of desperate urgency. This urgency made every scene a harrowing tightrope walk that made me, as the reader, feel like I had as much at stake as the characters.
This book is only the beginning. I have begun reading the next book in this sequence. I could not wait to start because Demon Days really sent my appetite for apocalyptic, supernatural, conspiracy fiction into overdrive!
It is a fast read that is worth every minute! Pick it up and try it out. I think you will like it!(less)
Wow! Why did I wait so long to start reading this series. After reading The Tomb, I was hooked. Now that I have finished Legacies, I am ready for yet...moreWow! Why did I wait so long to start reading this series. After reading The Tomb, I was hooked. Now that I have finished Legacies, I am ready for yet another dose!
In Legacies, we catch up with Jack several months after the events in The Tomb. He is once again going about his "urban mercenary" lifestyle of righting wrongs for a small fee. This time, however, we see the power of his moral compass. Jack is the "anonymous" super hero. He needs no credit, glory, or fame. His goal is to make a dent in the dark side of humanity...and to sometimes profit from it.
The Jack seen in Legacies is the man that many good-hearted people wish they could emulate without getting into trouble for it. F. Paul Wilson has created a character that combines the relentless justice-seeking of the pulpy action heroes like Mack Bolan and Doc Savage with the intelligence and complexity of stories like the Bourne series.
In this book, Jack is hired to help a troubled doctor deal with complications surrounding her inheritance. Dr. Alicia Clayton adds an emotional side that Wilson pulled off very well. It was very interesting to see how Jack's emotions responded to those of his client. This gave me another reason to love Wilson's hero, Jack.
Although there is an element of weird in this story, embodied by a 'straight out of science fiction' super-device and Jack's developing 'sixth sense', the overall plot sticks to action/mystery without delving into the horror side like its predecessor. That did not hurt anything, but I hope the next installment heads back down that road.
I highly recommend this book to those who like the Bourne Identity and also those who like good detective stories. Jump in and enjoy! (less)
The Riddle of the Wren is not the first Charles de Lint book I have read. However, it is the first time I've read a book set in his own created worlds...moreThe Riddle of the Wren is not the first Charles de Lint book I have read. However, it is the first time I've read a book set in his own created worlds (previous reads were set in Farmer's Dungeon series). Many people had given the book very good reviews.
So, I tracked it down...and WOW! This book was exactly what I had hoped for. The story had a flow about it that I found very easy to get immersed in.
The first thing I noticed was just how likable the main character, Minda, really is. As a reader, I came to feel a genuine concern for her and her plight.
There are many supporting characters introduced throughout, but de Lint does not let this bog the plot down. On the contrary, each additional character brings another jolt of new life to the story.
Overall, the whole of the story was magnificent. This, I believe, was de Lint's first published book, but it doesn't show. I was thouroughly impressed and have now purchased more from him, including Moonheart and the Harp of the Grey Rose.
If you have not experienced Charles de Lint and you enjoy epic fantasy with a touch of folklore, please give the Riddle of the wren a try! (less)
This was the end of the trilogy and I am quite happy it is over. It was not a "bad" series, but I don't think I could have read any more. This series...moreThis was the end of the trilogy and I am quite happy it is over. It was not a "bad" series, but I don't think I could have read any more. This series felt like a trio of ScyFy original movies...fun, action-packed and mostly brainless.
I can say no more...I have lots of reading to do : )(less)
I don't often read books for Children or Middle Grade readers. I decided to take a chance on this one because I love to see what new authors can do.
Th...moreI don't often read books for Children or Middle Grade readers. I decided to take a chance on this one because I love to see what new authors can do.
The book begins in New Orleans with tragedy and a series of very creepy events that turn Zach's life upside down. He becomes an orphan and must move in with his strange aunt in an other town near the swamps.
As the story progresses, things dive deeper into eerie territory. Zach meets ghosts, monsters, and talking animals who all have some role to play in his adventures. The author's excellent descriptions of the swamp setting and his grasp of Louisiana folklore add to the feelings of dread and wonder.
Unfortunately, the great beginnings unravel and spiral out of control deeper into the book. After the halfway point, things get a little harder to follow. The climactic final battle is just a jumble of seemingly mindless happenings strung together in a chapter that lasts far too long.
There were a few things that bothered me when reading this book.
1.Several characters repeat phrases or words too much, especially when it is mostly gibberish like 'Mooshka Kalina!' and the old aunt's favorite phrase 'mum, mum'. this filled word count and could have been used effectively if it hadn't been repeated so many times.
2. Spelling errors happen to everyone, but multiple repeated misspellings of the same two words is a problem. In this book, 'too' is always spelled incorrectly as 'to'...and 'scared' is always spelled wrong as 'scarred'. When your story makes heavy use of a word...it needs to be spelled right!
3. This was presented as a children's or middle grade book. There is some fairly graphic violence which included mutilated limbs and torn out tongues and eyes. Seems a little too much to stay in a children's category.
Ok, I admit that I actually liked the characters and most of the plot. Unfortunately there are several loose ends that will have to wait for a sequel, but that is ok. I think this would make an amazing animated feature if the violence can be toned down and the 'final battle' can be cleaned up to make it flow well.
Overall, it was an enjoyable read, but I think I will probably pass on any upcoming sequels.(less)
Earlier this year, I read Moon Spell by Samantha Young. I enjoyed it and decided that I wanted to see what else she had to offer. Smokeless Fire did n...moreEarlier this year, I read Moon Spell by Samantha Young. I enjoyed it and decided that I wanted to see what else she had to offer. Smokeless Fire did not dissapoint me!
I've read lots of urban fantasy, old school fantasy, and paranormal, but I had not read any stories about current day djinn (genies) until this title. I had some preconceived notions about what a djinn story will contain. All of those preconceptions were blown away.
The story combines elements of dark fantasy, coming-of-age drama, family secrets, and a small dose of romance. Although the romantic elements were entwined through the whole story, they seem subdued and don't overwhelm the fantasy adventure plot.
The main character, Ari Johnson, gets caught up in the world of Jinn and Ifrit and becomes a pawn in the war between the Lords of Jinn, godlike beings who inspired many of the legends and folklore through human history. If that wasn't enough, she then learns secrets that shake her own sense of identity and makes her question everything she has held true.
The book is the beginning of a series, so many plotlines are still hanging at the end. Don't let that deter you. This book is excellent all by itself.
Something to consider...Ksenia Solo would fit the role of Ari Johnson perfectly. So, I hope someone decides to adapt this for film and gives her a call!(less)