Waiting On Wednesday: Inherit the Flame

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.

If you’ve read my recent book review, it comes to no surprise that I am anxiously awaiting Megan E. O’Keefe’s third installment in The Scorched Continent series, Inherit the Flame. Luckily, I don’t have to wait too long, as it is slotted to come out from Angry Robot on April 4th, 2017. And it’s a good thing the wait is short, because the ending from Break the Chains…that ending…

*starts sniffling*

However, despite the surprising and painful ending of the previous book, the blurb for Inherit the Flame actually gives me a strange amount of comfort that things might be okay.

After Detan retrieves the renowned engineer Nouli from the clutches of the empire, he returns his aunt’s city to find it under siege by Thratia’s army. With Nouli’s help, they turn back the tide – ­until imperial forces show up, prepared to hammer Thratia’s army against the anvil of the city’s walls. Worse yet, the imperial advance is aided by an elite force of deviant magic users.

His aunt is forced to forge an uneasy alliance with Thratia to keep the city from falling back under imperial control – but Detan’s wary. While Thratia and his aunt bring their forces to bear against the imperial threat, Detan puts his own plans into motion, scheming to ensure that when the final blow is dealt, Thratia and her army find themselves on the other side of the city’s walls.

Then again, Detan is involved, so that comfort is probably misplaced (sorry Detan, you know I love you. Even if it’s difficult, after what you did. AND YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DID). Regardless, I want–no, I need–to know what happens next. I feel like everything previously has been building up to this. And I’m ready for it. Oh, so ready.

Also, can we pause for a moment and just stare at this gorgeous cover?

Inherit the Flame by Megan E O'Keefe

Seriously. Whoever does the cover art for this series is top notch.

*goes back to flipping days on the calendar, hoping the gesture might speed up time*

Happy Waiting!

Break the Chains

If you read my review over the first book in The Scorched Continent (which, can we just say how fantastic of a series name that is?), Steal the Sky, it comes to no surprise that I was really, really excited to read the next installment. Unfortunately, I’m in a financial situation where buying books isn’t a luxury I get to partake in. Thankfully, I have within my grasp the glorious power of a library card. As soon as I realized that Break the Chains was already published (which was actually realized in the middle of writing that review; seriously, it’s the section in all caps), I immediately went to my library’s catalog to request it.

I’m sure you can imagine my disappointment when none of Megan E. O’Keefe’s works were there.

I’m also sure that you can continue to imagine my sheer and utter elation when I got an email saying that Break the Chains was on hold for me, because the library had bought it.

I just started using this library as my main hub for my book addiction, so I just discovered that you can request up to three books a month to be bought by the library and added to their catalog. So I requested O’Keefe’s second novel, but honestly, I didn’t really expect anything to happen. That just seemed way too good of a deal to be true.

Yet it did happen (and very quickly after I put in the request, too!) and I’ve read it and got completely floored by it and now I’m anxiously awaiting the publication of book three. So shout out to LPL for making that experience happen. And I apologize formally for all of the book requests you’ll be getting from me every month (I’m not even kidding, I’ve already maxed out this month’s request availability…).

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But now, the real reason we are all here: to rave about Break the Chains. Mostly, though, I’m going to freak about the last…eh, I’d wager ten pages.

Because holy.shit.

Don’t get me wrong: the entire book was lovely and lived up to the expectations that the first one set. Slipping back into cahoots with Detan and Tibs felt like returning into the familiar, warm embrace of a loved one. Seriously. I just want to third wheel it with those two, because I’m sort of in love with them? Then, Ripka’s journey in the prison with New Chum had some of my favorite chapters in the book. The characters they met and the situations they got themselves in were intense and also slightly heartbreaking. It was hard to watch Ripka have to restrain her actual personality through a mask, making herself lesser, in my opinion. Once again, the dialogue was awesome, the details were everything I wished all books would include more of and I continue to be fascinated by the harsh setting and great worldbuilding.

So yeah, the entire book was really, really good.

But those last ten pages, y’all.

Ten is a rough estimate, as I had to return the book to its proper home at my kickass public library. But there I was, just reading my way innocently along (translation: actually home sick and feeling utterly miserable, Break the Chains being the only thing powerful enough to help me forget for a moment that I felt like death). And then suddenly, a certain character reappears. She has…done things. And then Detan…freaking Detan…

I couldn’t believe it. I actually got pissed. I’m no genius by any means, but usually, I can pick up a feel for a book’s momentum and not guess the ending, necessarily, but nine times out of ten, I’m not caught off-guard. I know where the book is headed. This ending? Completely caught off-guard. And not in a good way. Not at bloody all (which, actually, is a great thing, because O’Keefe masterfully manipulated my emotions and completely shredded my heart and, as a writer, I am so impressed; as the heartbroken reader, I’m anxiously awaiting for April 4th so I can read Inherit the Flame, with the full expectation that O’Keefe will FIX THIS. Because you can’t just ends things like this. You just can’t).

Ahem.

Obviously, you’re annoyed right now, because I have detailed you nothing about what actually ripped my soul to shreds. I’m not kidding–my chest physically hurt after I put the book down, floored (and I really don’t think the coughing my lungs out was the sole cause). But just as obviously, I can’t tell you what happens. It’d spoil everything. And this is not a series to be spoiled. It is a series to be read and enjoyed and then discussed with me, because none of my friends have read it yet and it’s driving me nuts having no one to talk to about this.

So what are you waiting for? Go. Invest your heart into fictional characters only to have it broken, which still hurts even though you know the pain is going to happen. Read. That’s what I meant. Go read O’Keefe’s The Scorched Continent. 

Read on!

The Lies of Locke Lamora

1.

I read a lot of books. I read a lot of good books. Hell, I usually rate most of the books I read 4+ stars because, as a reader, it doesn’t take a lot to please me and it takes a helluva lot to make me think a book isn’t enjoyable. That being said, The Lies of Locke Lamora deserves a category all of it’s own. This book…it is unlike anything else I’ve ever read. And considering I got made fun of in middle school for reading like it was the only way I could breathe, that statement says a lot. To read something so…refreshing, is an experience I don’t usually get to undergo very often. And it wasn’t just the story itself, that I enjoyed immensely, that made this book so enjoyable and so difficult to put down. It wasn’t the fantastic world and its rich depth. It wasn’t the beautiful banter, heart-wrenching one-liners or the wide array of tone that constantly awed me. It wasn’t even the amazing chemistry between the characters, who I got ridiculously attached to (to the point that I unconsciously wrote my short story with my protagonist named Lanora and named my four cannibal characters on board game night after the four Gentlemen Bastards). No, what made this book so damn enjoyable and refreshing was the beautiful, expertly unique way it was written.

2.

It all went downhill on page 466.

You see, when I first started reading this book, I was constantly in a state of tension. As the world and the characters were being introduced and I immediately fell in love with Locke Lamora and his knack for antics (and his natural genius), I was constantly waiting for something to go wrong. Especially as we were thrown into Locke’s most recent brilliant thieving scheme. I knew, without a doubt, that I couldn’t be lured into a sense of false security. I couldn’t trust that things were going to continue going right. I wasn’t that lucky and neither was Locke, even though he thought he was. I had to be ready for everything to go downhill.

The first one hundred pages went by.

Then the next.

And the next.

Suddenly, without even realizing that I had fallen into the false comfort that I was so determined to avoid when I first started out, I wasn’t nervous at all. I had the utmost confidence in Locke and the rest of the Gentlemen Bastards. They were going to pull of their scheme. They were going to continue twisting everyone to their rules and whims. They were going to evade the Grey King. They were going to continue weaseling out of Barsavi’s fingertips. I had no doubts. No fears.

And then I reached page 466.

3.

I’m not talking about simple ways to stand out, writing wise, like vocabulary usage or expert sentence crafting (both which were still present within this novel). I’m talking about the actual way it was written. I think the book incorporated three main elements that shaped this: chapters set in the present, set in the past (usually told through Interludes) or focused on worldbuilding. We would start reading in one of these elements–let’s say the present, to make things simple–reading about Lukas Fehrwight planning to steal from Don Lorenzo Salvara, for example. Then, at a very pivotal moment, the chapter ends and the next chapter is set in the past, when Locke is but a mere boy trying to past another of Chain’s tests. We’re angry that we just got taken away from what we really cared about, yet we are suddenly engrossed at what is happening “now”, in the past. I’m sure you can guess what happens next: at that pivotal moment, when our emotional investment is at its peak, we are ripped away into another element. That’s been done in books before, this playing with time. I’ve always been impressed by this. Yet then you incorporate the worldbuilding–entire chunks of chapters thrown in, interrupting the narrative to describe how a certain game is played or how one culture has these quirks–and suddenly, you’re not just playing with time, but you feel like you’re getting a crash course in Camorr history. These interruptions feel like exactly that, these random insertions of knowledge that usually aren’t written so bluntly, so encyclopedia-esqe. And you would think that the natural reaction would be to blink in confusion at these interruptions to the main narrative. Yet that was never the case. Every break, every switch in time or character, every history lecture…it always tied back together and made the utmost sense. Every single time.

4.

I had the unfortunate luck to not read through The Lies of Locke Lamora as quickly as I wanted to (translation: in one sitting). Life, as it does, would get in the way, causing me to go days without reading. Thankfully, the story was never difficult to get back into and always easy to re-engross myself exactly where I left off.

One evening, at work, I innocently picked it back up and decided to sneak in a few chapters before we closed the library. It’d been a few days since I got to read and I really needed to get back into Locke’s life. I opened the book and began reading the last paragraph on page 465.

My coworkers stared at me in startled surprise when I threw the book down against the desk, inhaling rather sharply, after barely dipping into page 466.

My trust had been broken. The realization that I had built up a false comfort at all finally dawned. I reread sentences, trying to piece together the reality of what I just read. And I forced myself to continue for a few more pages before work got in the way.

Three deaths.

Three pages.

Three days without reading in protest.

How could you?

5.

I was blown away by Lynch’s mastery. How he could interweave so many threads at once and never make me feel lost. How I slowly learned how to pick up on how different threads would connect to the main narrative before reaching the obvious connections. I will never fully understand how purposefully every chapter must have been placed, every clue and hint dropped, in order to make this book as unique and fantastic to read as it was. How any author could be so talented to purposefully create this almost seems unfair. And brilliant. And completely jaw-drop worthy. And he standards that the rest of the series has now risen to, after reading The Lies of Locke Lamora? Lynch has skyrocketed to hang amongst the top of my favorite authors’ list, but he will have to pull a very Locke-like stunt to surpass the book that made me fall in love with said character with his other works.

I’m very, very eager to find out if he does.

Read on!

Waiting on Wednesday: The Tethered Mage

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: The Tethered Mage by Melissa Caruso.

This is Caruso’s debut novel and even without a cover, as far as I’m aware (I’m sorry I keep finding books without a cover, but there are just too many good books that are coming out that I want to rave about, eye candy or no!), just based off the blurb alone, I am absolutely so stoked to read the start of this new fantasy series:

In a world where magic is scarce, those born with power must be strictly guarded—for their own good, and for the good of the Crown. Conscripted by the Falcon army from childhood, the mage-marked are cared for, trained, and housed in luxury. But for some, the life of a Falcon is a prison.

Zaira has lived her life in hiding to avoid becoming a Falcon, thieving on the streets to survive. But a rare and dangerous magic flows through her veins: fire bends to her will, and sparks rise at her thoughts alone. Without training, she is a threat to herself. And to the entire empire.

Lady Amalia Cornaro was never meant to be a Falconer. Heiress and scholar, she was born into a treacherous world of political machinations. There are many that would see her dead, simply for the power her last name holds.

But fate has bound the heir and the mage. And as war looms on the horizon, a single spark could turn their city into a pyre.

Why isn’t this hardcover already on my bookshelf!?

I discovered Caruso on Twitter, where I started following her blog. I immediately fell in love with it and ensure I never miss a post. Her posts are a delight to read. They have spunk, they are usually about writing (so obviously, as an author myself, I always get giddy when I find awesome writing blogs) and they are so informative and fun. And it’s allowed me to follow her publishing journey as we both, I think, anxiously await the release of The Tethered Mage, which is ambiguously coming out this Fall from Orbit Books. I have a pretty good feeling this is a writer and trilogy that we are all going to get stoked about. I’m certainly waiting for her debut to find out.

*stares at the calendar hoping a magical date will appear of when her wait will end and the glorious nights of staying up past her bedtime reading begins*

Cheers.

Waiting on Wednesday: Warlock Holmes: The Hell-hound of the Baskervilles

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.

I cannot describe how eager I am to read this week’s highlight: Warlock Holmes: The Hell-hound of the Baskervilles by G.S. Denning. I absolutely adored the first book. After meeting the author and realizing how fantastic of an individual he is–and pairing that knowledge with how much fun his books are to devour–it’s a no brainer that I’ll be supporting this series for life (and anything else he writers, frankly, so apologies in advance for how many times I rave about G.S. Denning’s books on this blog over the coming years). Oh, and as if I didn’t need another reason, the next book in the series is retelling my all-time favorite Holmes case.

And then look at this beautiful cover:

Image result for warlock holmes book 2

And then this teaser:

The game’s afoot once more as Holmes and Watson face off against Moriarty’s gang, the Pinkertons, flesh-eating horses, a parliament of imps, boredom, Surrey, a disappointing butler demon, a succubus, a wicked lord, an overly-Canadian lord, a tricycle-fight to the death and the dreaded Pumpcrow. Oh, and a hell hound, one assumes.

I mean, what more can you ask for here, friends? Oh, wait, I know: the book to be published and in my hands so I can devour it in a single afternoon. I’m just going to continue lying to myself and saying that May 16th really isn’t that far away.

Seriously, it isn’t. It’s just around the corner. In a blink, I’ll be sitting in the sunlight and snort-laughing at whatever trouble Warlock has gotten himself into. Hardly a wait at all. Hardly…any…wait…

*goes back to being impatient when her tactic at convincing herself the wait isn’t that bad fails miserably*

Read on!

Friday Firsts: The Lies of Locke Lamora

Friday Firsts is a weekly meme hosted by Tenacious Reader (and I discovered from Lynn’s blog over at Books and Travelling with Lynn) where readers post the first few lines of the book they are currently reading and their initial impressions.

This week’s victim: The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch.

“At the height of the long wet summer of the Seventy-seventh Year of Sendovani, the Thiefmaker of Camorr paid a sudden and unannounced visit to the Eyeless Priest at the Temple of Perelandro, desperately hoping to sell him the Lamora boy.”

Image result for the lies of locke lamoraI had two first impressions. One: I was impressed that the entire first paragraph was actually one sentence long (and there’s the writer in me, to notice such things). The second impression, based off of all the information given in that single sentence, was that this book was going to be filled with lore and I might, perhaps, struggle to keep up. 300 pages in and 400 more to go, I was right in regards to the first half–the lore is fantastic and in-depth and intricate. I was wrong about the second half. I am keeping up very well, particularly because the way the entire book is structured and written. I’ll say more in my review, but I will tease in saying that it’s bloody brilliant.

Read on!

Waiting On Wednesday: The Olympian Affair

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.

I know we’re supposed to highlight books that we’re stoked are being published, but this week, I’m taking it a step further and highlighting a book that hasn’t even been written yet, but still is definitely going to be published…we’ll just be waiting a long time.

But based off how much I adored the first book, it’s going to be worth it, I think.

I’m waiting on Jim Butcher’s The Olympian Affair, the second installment of The Cinder Spires series. In his steampunk debut, Butcher absolutely rocked it. From his fantastic characters (particularly men like Captain Grimm and Benjamin, who raised the bar as to what I expect from a gentleman), the vivid world and the ultimate dominance of a cat named Rowl, The Aeronaut’s Windlass is a book where the only times I put it down was to pause and wipe my eyes from laughter. It was funny, it was moving, it was such a joy to read and ever since I turned the last page, I’ve been itching for the sequel.

Which hasn’t been written yet.

Hasn’t even been started yet.

Butcher is writing Peace Talks (The Dresden Files, #16) first and then he’ll write The Olympian Affair. (I also must say that I’m eagerly awaiting Peace Talks, as I’m a huge Harry Dresden fan, so I’m not complaining about this in the slightest). So really, this post could just be titled: “Waiting (Gladly) On Jim Butcher” and it would be just as apt. Because I’m eager for everything he’s working on and while no publication dates are in sight, you know I’ll be the first one in line to pick up either of his books once they grace the shelves.

So, until we can read the next fantastic work by Butcher, let’s just enjoy him cosplaying as the fantastic Captain Grimm, shall we?

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Read on!