Invasive

Warning: if you decide to read this book outside while you’re laying out by the pool and you’re only a third of the way through it and then you glance down and notice ants marching underneath your chair and then suddenly you find yourself only reading the book indoors, you should not feel ashamed.

You also shouldn’t feel ashamed if you accidentally flinch every time a new chapter starts and you just so happen to read those pages a little quicker, just in case those printed ants suddenly have the power to come off the page and then rip pieces of your face off.

But Nicole, they’re just ants. Ants don’t

You obviously haven’t read Invasive by Chuck Wendig.

Yes, they can. 

*ahem*

So, I discovered this book in a sorta roundabout way. I stumbled upon Wendig’s blog, which I immediately fell in love with. There’s hardly a week that goes by when I don’t share one of his posts and wonder how he manages to write directly to me and what I needed to hear. I started following him on Twitter and had the same effect, though I suck at social media, so I didn’t follow that as often. But one day, I remember him writing about anxiety, replying to a comment from a reader who was discussing a book he’d written, called Invasive. This was months ago and I wish I could find the comment exactly, to reference it. But it was enough that I wanted to read that book. I wanted to experience what those other readers were experiencing. Honestly, I wanted some advice on how to navigate and control anxiety and I thought, hell, maybe Invasive can teach me.

Granted, it took months before I made that happen, but a trip to the library and three days later and I can successfully claim that I’ve finally, indeed, read Invasive. 

It wasn’t what I imagined it to be.

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Though I can’t recall the conversation on Twitter precisely that piqued my interest, I assumed that the anxiety the character dealt with–which, in this case, is Hannah Stander–was similar to my own. A naive assumption, because anxiety comes in so many different forms and demons. The kind that Hannah dealt with–one that was ingrained because of her survivalist parents and is brutal enough to cause panic attacks–is a kind I have never experienced and one I’m not super familiar with. But as I kept reading, it’s also the kind I can’t imagine trying to cope with, because it’s intense. It’s difficult.

Yet Hannah did.

That, in and of itself, was inspiring as hell.

Because I was intrigued about how Hannah dealt with and managed her anxiety, I didn’t really know much about the plot before I picked up the book. I had no idea it’d be a murder investigation surrounding genetically modified ants. Yet it was a great break from my traditional epic fantasy and light science fiction niche.

Honestly, I didn’t truly get into the book until the ants started killing people.

Don’t get me wrong: the first third of the book was still great. Hell, I enjoyed this entire book thoroughly and will definitely be taking a look at Wendig’s other series. But once the investigation switched from figuring out the clues and piecing together the culprit(s) to being a battle of survival, told in glorious, gruesome detail, I was hooked. I flew through the last 200ish pages like a fiend (even to the point where, when I had to go to work and only had 20 pages left, I snuck the book back out once I got in my cubicle so I could finish it. Proud to report that I only nearly got caught, because I’m a sneaky sneak thief).

It was also written in such a way that you can’t help but fly through the pages. The shorter chapters, the breaks within the chapters, the short sentences, the well-tuned balance between in-scene description and fast-paced dialogue; all of those elements together, paired with a compelling plot and a fascinating focal point through Hannah, made this book practically impossible not to inhale.

It also, inevitably, inspired both an appreciation and a fear of ants. I also experienced formication at least a dozen times.

Including now.

Dammit.

I highly recommend this book, friends. Just, maybe read it inside in a sealed room while you’re covering head to toe in anti-fungal spray.

Just to be safe.

Read on!

Waiting on Wednesday: Nanoshock

waitingonwednesday

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: Nanoshock by K.C. Alexander
Publication Date: November 2nd, 2017 by Angry Robot

As Riko works to rebuild her shattered cred, following the events of Necrotech, she’s stuck fighting off every jerk looking to raise their standing on the streets. But when a corp with some serious influence ups the stakes, Riko’s going to have to take the fight to them, put this nonsense down for good. Nothing is what it seems when corp politics are in play, and another necro blight right where her answers are buried might very well be the end of the life she didn’t know she’d borrowed.

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Nanoshock is a sequel to Necrotech, a book that I reviewed and was positively awed by. It was a book that wasn’t necessarily within my comfort zone (i.e., it dealt with some tech that was a bit over my head, being that I’ve just recently gotten into the science fiction genre, and the main character was completely my opposite in every way, yet I still sympathized with her) yet I still enjoyed the hell out of it. So needless to say, I’m pretty stoked to see what happens in the next installment of Riko’s adventures and who else (foolishly) tries to get in her way. Also, it gets published a day before my birthday, so that’s pretty freakin’ neat.

Can we also just adore that cover for a second? If that doesn’t scream badass motha-fucka coming through, I don’t know what does. And personally, I could use a few more badass women in my life.

Read on!

Waiting on Wednesday: Strife’s Bane

waitingonwednesday

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

waitingonwednesday

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!