Waiting on Wednesday: Strife’s Bane

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine where we readers salivate over the books we wish were on our bookshelves yesterday.

This week’s victim: Strife’s Bane by Evie Manieri
Publication Date: November 28th, 2017

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Normally, I would provide the blurb that clues in the details of the book’s plot and talk about all the amazing aspects that are clued in from said blurb. But, time for a confession: I have actually only read the first book in The Shattered Kingdoms series, Blood’s Price. I haven’t actually read Fortune’s Blight yet. I even own it, ironically enough. So I’m avoiding providing a blurb here, let alone reading it, for Strife’s Bane, third book in the series, because, you know, spoilers.

I will say this: I absolutely loved the first book. It’s stuck with me since I read it, which feels like ages ago (which, in reality, it was). Manieri quickly climbed as one of my favorite authors of all time, even after only reading one book. Hell, I loved it so much that when Fortune’s Blight came out, I splurged and immediately bought it. Of course, life got in the way and I haven’t read it yet, but every time I see it on my bookshelf, I’m always wondering why I haven’t continued a series that captivated me so utterly and left my speechless after finishing book one.

So it may be weird for me, this week, to choose a book to be stoked about when I haven’t even finished the other books ahead of it. But now that I’ve realized this book comes out this year, I have a little extra incentive to not only read Fortune’s Blight, but reread Blood’s Price, as well.

Because who doesn’t want to reread an awesome story every once in a while?

Read on!

Dark Immolation

This book.

This freakin‘ book.

If you read my review of Duskfall, you’d know I was a pretty big fan of that debut and its author, Christopher Husberg. I don’t just call any book the best new book I read in 2016, yet Duskfall was, hands down, certainly that.

Since reading it, I’ve have been eager to see what would happen next. Eager to get my hands on the sequel, to see if Husberg would continue the trend of writing characters that pull my emotions in a thousand different directions at once; creating situations and twists that boggle my mind and leave me whispering profanities at an alarming rate as I struggle to turn the pages fast enough; weave a world so intricate and beautiful and terrifying that I’m just stunned with awe and wonder; and leave me with an ending that makes me so desperate for more, I’d actually consider striking a deal with Azael just to get a glimpse of what happens next in Blood Requiem. 

Friends.

I was so not disappointed.

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I’m not even sure where to begin. I guess, I could start, with the beginning: the way the book started was…brilliant. It was intriguing, it was different and I suddenly found myself feeling two very conflicting emotions at once: curiosity at the new developments we’re immediately thrown into and yet a feeling of…home. A feeling I’ve missed since I last journeyed with these characters. Yet the more pages I read, the more at home I felt.

You know, if that home was on fire and you were just sitting in the middle of it, thinking it can’t get worse because you’ve already lost the kitchen, the basement and the dining room, but then you turn around and suddenly the entire second floor has collapsed as well, yet you don’t move because you still believe the flames will cease and things can’t get worse. Cue repeating until your entire home is nothing but ash.

Because shit goes down in this book.

Amazing shit. Crazy shit. Baffling shit. Jaw-dropping shit. Just a ton of epic and awesome shit.

And I have a distinct feeling that Husberg is just getting started.

I read this book in 100-page chunks because anything less than that would just not be enough. Even now, after reading all 500+ pages, I’m left feeling unsatisfied. That feeling, however, is not to say that this book wasn’t amazing and I didn’t completely enjoy what happened within it–because that’s totally the case. Dark Immolation is a fantastic sequel that not only delivers on all the epicness we came to expect from Husberg after reading Duskfall, but it continued to elevate and evolve those expectations. As the series continues, I have no doubt in my mind that Husberg will continue to deliver. No, I’m unsatisfied because I’m selfish and impatient and I just want to know the result of SPOILER SPOILER and figure out what happens to SPOILER SPOILER now, instead of waiting until June 2018.

You know. A year from now.

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Regardless of those selfish desires, I loved Dark Immolation. I loved falling right back into the world that captivated me so utterly last year. I loved how the story was constantly complicated by new conflicts and characters that heightened the narrative and forced me to keep reading well past the time I allotted for myself to do so. The plot thickens and continues to mold into something truly fantastic and I am so glad I stumbled upon this series and this author. Apologies, friends, if I continue to nag you about reading it like I have since reading Duskfall. 

But just trust me: in a series filled with political upheavals, religious revivals, charismatic and complicated characters, a healthy mix of humor with an enjoyable amount of darkness and enough twists and turns that you’re gonna wish you had a road-map and taken notes along the way…can you seriously tell me you want to purposefully choose to miss out on this adventure?

Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Read on!

PS: Also, after reading this book, I am suddenly very intrigued that both Duskfall and Dark Immolation are part of a quintet titled The Chaos Queen. *instantly vanishes to muse over potential meanings*

Waiting On Wednesday: Communication Failure

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine where we readers salivate over the books we wish were on our bookshelves yesterday.

This week’s victim: Joe Zieja’s Communication Failure
Publication Date: November 7th, 2017 by Saga Press

In this sequel to Mechanical Failure, Captain Rogers, despite his best attempts to do otherwise, has become the acting admiral of the 331st Meridan fleet. His first task: worrying. A lot.

The rival Thelicosan fleet, under the influence of bad intelligence, a forbidden romance, and a communication officer with an eardrum injury, is about to break a two-hundred-year-old nonaggression pact. They have offered a vague, easily misinterpreted message: “We’re invading.” Rogers isn’t sure, but he thinks that’s probably bad.

War is hell, especially when you’ve forgotten how to fight one.

Why am I so excited for this book?

Mostly because I want more hilarious droids back in my life.

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Also, did you actually read that overview quoted above? How can you not be excited about a book that includes (but no doubt is not limited to) “bad intelligence, a forbidden romance, and a communication officer with an eardrum injury”? I’m hoping that forbidden romance includes a certain character who I adored from the first book, Mechanical Failure. I also wouldn’t mind if the entire book was just focused on Deet. Don’t get me wrong, Captain Rogers (or should I say, Admiral Rogers?) is one hilarious character in his own right. But he can’t replace my love for Deet.

Mechanical Failure got me hooked with a fantastic cast of characters, enough laughter that I counted reading that book as my ab workout for the week and with such an ending that I was left desperate for more. I’m still desperate, as the book doesn’t come out for a couple more months, but we are ever closer to returning to such a hilarious and fantastic universe that I wish I never had to leave. So bring on the antics of Communication Failure. I’m most certainly ready for them.

Read on!

PS: That cover? *heart eyes*

Waiting on Wednesday: The Iron Hound

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine where we readers salivate over the books we wish were on our bookshelves yesterday.

This week’s victim: Tim Akers’ The Iron Hound.
Publication Date: August 22nd, 2017 by Titan

MAD GODS WALK THE LAND

Tensions flare between north and south, and hatreds erupt into war. Yet the conflicts of men are quickly overshadowed by a far greater threat. Creatures long kept confined rise from below, spreading destruction on an unimaginable scale.
The flames of war are fanned by the Celestial Church, whose inquisitors and holy knights seek to destroy the pagans wherever they are found. A secret cabal creates unexpected allies, and pursues its own dark agenda…

While Malcolm Blakley seeks to end the war before all of Tenumbra is consumed, his son Ian searches for the huntress Gwendolyn Adair, and finds himself shadowed by the totem of his family, the Iron Hound. Gwen herself becomes allied with the pagans, and wrestles with the effect of having been bound to a god.

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I’m really excited to read this book. If you read my review of the first in the series, The Pagan Night, you’d know I have some opinions regarding not only the characters, but the situations they find themselves in. It was such a compelling read. And the way that book ended, I’ve been pretty anxious to find out what happens next and to see if my allegiances that I swore to at the end still hold true. Based off the teasing description above, I know readers will be in for a fantastic adventure and I, personally, am ready to start it.

Read on!

Kangaroo Too

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10 minutes after I wished the book wasn’t over

I read Kangaroo Too in two days.

(Well, two and half, technically, but two sounds much more impressive and dramatic, so we’re just going with that.)

There were a lot of factors, I think, that played into why I read this book so quickly and enjoyed it as much as I did. It had all the elements I loved from the first book: the antics, the humor, the characters I’d grown so attached to, sci-fi elements and science that I still don’t fully understand (hello, the pocket) but still love to read about anyway. It also included so many new elements, from every single bloody plot twist that left me absolutely floored to learning more about certain characters’ personal lives (even if extracting that information made pulling teeth look easy), this book expanded everything I loved from Waypoint Kangaroo and took us on a new mission that I enjoyed as thoroughly as I did the last. It most certainly left me eager for the next book.

Because, seriously? How is Kangaroo meant to handle SPOILER?

Those reasons alone are enough to fall in love with this book and fly through it. Yet I have another, more personal reason, as well.

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It was the only thing that, for a few days, kept me from being depressed.

It’s not even that life is that hard, right now. Life is pretty good. Yet sometimes, you just get in that frame of mind where depression slips in anyway, even though at that moment, your life is nothing to complain about and once it ensnares you, it becomes hard to shake. And that’s been my week, this week. I slept in too late. I didn’t work out or do any physical activity whatsoever. Video games just frustrated me. I’d waste hours scrolling through social media when I had so many things on my To-Do list still to complete. Hell, even writing wasn’t enough to pull me out of this sudden slump that I slipped into this week.

Yet, for some reason, reading Kangaroo Too, did.

I can’t pinpoint why or exactly how it did, but after an entire week of being down in the dumps, following Kangaroo as he ventured around the Moon helped me smile when I felt like doing nothing. Kangaroo’s cheesy jokes, Jessica’s glare, Clementine’s sass and every surprise we were offered in the last 100 pages; all of that and more made me feel something when all I continued to feel was either numb or sadness. For a few hours, I was able to escape.

When reading, can you really ask any more than that?

So thank you, Kangaroo. Until our next mission. I can’t wait to see what kind of situation you’re thrown into next.

Read on!

PS: I FIGURED OUT THE PUZZLE AND I HAVE NEVER FELT SO COOL IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. *attempts to calm down, fails and decides to ride a high horse for the rest of the night*

Ten Ten: Books I’ve Read in 2017

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish where a different theme is posted each week and book bloggers respond. This week’s theme is: Top Ten Books I’ve Read in 2017.

And this week’s theme also comes with a confession: I might, ah, have not even read 10 books yet in 2017.

*cue dramatic and ridiculous music*

According to my Goodreads, I’ve only read 8. That’s…a tad bit embarrassing, to be honest. Though these books have become my top ten by default, I have been really lucky in that all of them were really, really good, so even if I had read more, they prolly would have been on this list, anyway.

So, let’s begin, then.

The Bloodbound Trilogy by Erin Lindsey
Reviews: HereHere and Here

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Must read: if you want fantastic, strong characters, political turmoil and enough “Oh, shit,” moments to keep the pages turning well past your bedtime.

The Scorched Continent Series by Megan E. O’Keefe
Reviews: Here and Here

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Must read: if you love a snarky duo who complement each other to perfection, attention to detail that puts you in the story and epic airships.

Warlock Holmes: The Hell-hound of the Baskervilles by G.S. Denning
Review: Here

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Must read: if you’ve ever wanted to see Sherlock Holmes with a fantasy twist (and see it done well) and to laugh so hard your coworkers yell at you. Repeatedly.

The Desert Spear by Peter V. Brett
Review:

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Must read: if you want to know how to kill a Corling multiple different ways, you want to learn Jardir’s backstory and you want to have your mind challenged and expanded.

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
Review: Here

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Must read: if you want your “best book I’ve ever read” spot to have a new contender. Because holy shit.

Bonus Books (which are totally not added to get me up to ten total) that I’m really stoked to read and both just so happen to be in my possession currently (thanks, public library).

Kangaroo Too by Curtis C. Chen

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Excited to Read: the first book gave me a taste of hilarious science fiction I didn’t realize I’d desired and had been sorely missing out on. Plus, we get more Jessica in this book and she was prolly my favorite character in the last one (sorry, Kangaroo).

Dark Immolation by Christopher Husberg 

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Excited to Read: sequel to Duskfall, which was hands down the BEST book I read in 2016, I’ve been impatiently waiting to read what happens next since I read the last page of book one. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that I will love this one as much as I did the first and it deserves to be on this list.

Read on!

The Bloodsworn

**Copy of The Bloodsworn by Erin Lindsey graciously given by Literary Agent Lisa Rodgers in exchange for an honest review**

“Not for you.” 

*commence endless screaming*

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I realize you have no idea regarding the significance of that line, thrown in out of context like that. But oh is there significance and feels attached to it, as there are many, many feelings attached to this entire book, not to mention the whole series. So I’m just being cruel and teasing you. Trust me, you wanna find out why that line makes you want to fist-pump the air into oblivion (but you can’t because you work in a public library, so you satisfy yourself by whispering, Fuck yes” instead).

If you’ve read either of my reviews of the previous two books (The Bloodbound and The Bloodforged), you know I have some opinions (<– understatement of the year).

The first in the trilogy, The Bloodbound, gave me a feeling of nostalgia and home I haven’t felt in ages, as I returned to a story focused in a realm and time of knights; a time period that I adore and is so close to my heart, as it was these types of stories that fueled me during my youth. There, I met Alix Black, who inspired me and encouraged me in a time where I desperately needed both of those things. By the end, I wanted to be a little more like her.

Hell, I still do.

In The Bloodforged, I couldn’t even properly describe how many emotions I experienced, so I forced to try and express myself through a lot of nerdy GIFs. It has been a while since I read a book where I kept telling myself, “There is no way this can get any worse,” only to be proven wrong.

Over.
And over.
And over again.

It was, honestly, quite fantastic, even if the ending resulted in me abusing my paperback as I threw it harshly against the ground in protest. At such a plot twist, I was both wary and excited to read The Bloodsworn; excited because I had to know what happened next, yet wary because I had a sinking feeling that the events to come would make the events in The Bloodforged feel like child’s play.

And I was right.

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You know the advice writers get about being ruthless to their characters? How the best stories are formed by creating the worst possible conflict for your character to conquer? Yeah, Lindsey is obviously a master at this, because holy shit. Similar to book two, every time I dared to hope that the situation couldn’t get any worse, I was proven sorely wrong. More impressively, it wasn’t just one character going through some shit. It was multiple characters dealing with multiple problems, all of which were the most extreme circumstances where the worst possible thing that could happen usually did. But not only that, all of these situations affected and depended on the outcomes of the others. Oh, and with multi-POV, these events were revealed with expert pacing, so the tension continued to build and build until you finally reached that point where you had to know what happened to Alix, only to be shifted to Rig. Or Erik. Or Liam.

Rinse and repeat for 300+ pages.

Friends, this shit is gold.

Complete with twists and turns, political plots of epic expectations (and endings) and threads that were woven since book one and sewn together neatly (even if a little scarred with all the shit they were forced to go through) here in book three, The Bloodsworn was exactly what I wanted–and honestly, have come to expect–to end this fantastic trilogy. This entire series was such a refreshing and needed read. The characters are some I am not eager to leave behind and I’m so glad Lisa pointed this series my way. I have a feeling Lindsey will be an author I’ll be stalking admiring for a long time to come.

Oh, and as an author whose goal has been to write the perfect summer vacation novel, I’m pretty sure Lindsey’s already achieved that. I can’t wait to see what she comes up next.

Read on!

PS: I might have a crush on Rig. Maybe a really big one.

PPS: Can we get a spin-off story just on the adventures of Rudi? Talk about most underrated character.