**Notice** Due to transfering back from a godaddy hosted wordpress blog back to blogger, reviews published before june 2017 don`t all have a pretty layout with book cover and infos. Our apologies.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Alive: Book One of the Generations Trilogy

Em has found herself in a troubling situation.  She doesn't know where she is or when it is.  She doesn't even really know who she is having adopted the name Em from the initial M. on the box she woke up in.  Em is pretty certain it's her 12th birthday until she takes a good look at her own body and sees that she's a bit more physically mature than that.

This is how Scott Sigler starts us out in his book Alive, the first book in his Generations Trilogy.   Now, I hate spoilers and I always do my best to avoid any clues to the best plot points.  With this book, I feel the imperative even stronger since Mr. Sigler opens the book with a letter asking readers not to give too much away.  After finishing the book, I can see why.  If I had to sum up this book in one word it would be: exposition.  From scene to scene the variety and likelihood of what the true situation is changes and evolves.  This is aided by the narration being done by Em herself.  Her assumptions are guided and pushed by observation, emotion and reflection.  All of which leads the reader through each of her wild and varied suppositions.

The idea of character development and even evolution through self discovery to this degree is an intriguing concept that the author employed very skillfully.  Most characters come to us with at least some knowledge of self where as here, there is only the barest of facts known.  Outside of language and a few rudimentary skills, Sigler gives us very little to start with but, all the fun is in the making. It is a very interesting idea to see how somebody would shape who they are with very little to emulate or instruct.

Alive by Scott Sigler is not only entertaining but, thought provoking and may inspire some to take a good inward look.  I have to give this one a PG13 rating because of some of the violence and violent imagery.  There's not much in the way of language or mature subject matter.

Roberts Signature

Monday, September 28, 2015

Wicked Charms by Janet Evanovich and Phoef Sutton

Every Janet Evanovich book I've read has managed to make me laugh out loud at some point or another and this one is no exception. Wicked Charms is full of hilarious, I-can't-believe-that-happened moments and is your typical Evanovich novel. This book was way overdue since the previous one in this series was published four years prior. Most of the time, I find it difficult to read a book from a series if it has been years since I've read the previous book. However, reading Wicked Charms was effortless and ultimately a really good idea.

For a reason I ignore, Janet Evanovich co-wrote this book with Phoef Sutton but I honestly, didn't see much difference in the writing. Lizzy and Diesel are still trying to "save the world" by finding the SALIGLIA stones, the stones of the seven deadly sins. The unlikely pair also have other teammates that help them from time to time, like Glo, the wannabe witch and Carl, the monkey. Although Lizzy wishes she could live an ordinary life, nothing is ordinary when it comes to living in the Salem area. Especially when she has the special ability that enables her to sense objects of magical powers.

Her ability to sense these items is the reason why Diesel originally demanded her help, but now I like to believe that she's the reason he keeps coming back. They're obviously attracted to one another but apparently if two people with magical powers sleep together, one of them will lose their ability. Lizzy doesn't want to risk Diesel losing his powers because that would mean being stuck with saving the world on her own. Diesel hesitates because he's obviously comfortable with his special abilities and it would be the end of everything for him if he were to lose them. Diesel's abilities are a little bit of a mystery. We don't know the exact extent of his powers but I like the fact that as readers, we don't know everything about him. Actually, we know very little about him. I really hope we get to learn more about the organization Diesel seems to be working for. It's not very clear why he's searching for the stones, and exactly where he keeps the other two that they found, but I'm anxious to find out more about his intentions.

As for Lizzy, except for her special ability, she's actually a very normal person. A pastry chef in a small bakery, one of her aspirations is to publish her cookbook in order to make more money and fix up the historic house she inherited from her great-aunt. She drives a beat-up car and has a one-eyed cat named Cat. So pretty normal, despite the special powers and the saving the world bit.

In this book, Diesel has a lead on the stone of Avarice. Unfortunately many other people are searching for it too. Obviously, Diesel's cousin Wulf is after the stone since he's after all of them for his own selfish reasons. There's also a billionaire that thinks he's a demon who wants the stone for evil purposes. A few other players in the hunt are trying to get to the stone first for fame and fortune. And so, the treasure hunt for the lost stone becomes a race and Lizzy is stuck in the middle, simply trying to survive. However, she's a key player in the race since she's one of the two people that can sense and find the stone.

I really like this series because the books are all easy and short to read. The entertainment factor is always very high. Personally, I just need a fun book that will make me laugh from time to time and Evanovich is one of my go to authors for books full of hilarity and incredible scenes. Fans of Evanovich should obviously read this book, but if you're new to her books, I definitely recommend checking out this series, starting with Wicked Appetite.

stephsig moon

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Stacking The Shelves

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!


 Hey guys,

Sorry for the late Stacking the Shelves. I moved last Saturday and I have been sick as a dog for the past two weeks with no time what so ever for myself, so I forgot to assign someone to do this week's post. Obviously I have nothing to show you, but please do share your links with us :)

Have a great week end!

[inlinkz_linkup id=567032]

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

Bella is a DRAMARAMA MAMA in this third installment in the Twilight saga!  There's a mysterious string of murders in nearby Seattle, evil vampire Victoria is still after Bella, someone broke into Charlie's house... and all Bella does is agonize over Team Jacob vs Team Edward, and after-graduation plans.  She pushes Jacob away and then wants him back (on her terms)... then pushes him away, then wants him back.  Edward, lucky guy, gets to ride that emotional roller coaster by her side.

I was pretty optimistic about the first two books in this saga.  They were much better than I expected, and I chose Team Jacob.  Eclipse, however, seems to live up to the more negative reviews of the saga.  It's a bummer.  I was so hopeful!

The first 3/4 of the book is Bella's senior year.  She spends the year worrying about how soon she can let Edward make her immortal, and whining about his conditions.  (He is completely unreasonable.  He insists that she seriously consider the fact that she'll no longer be human, and to enjoy her last months as a human.  He also insists that they get married before they sleep before, and before he turns her into a vampire.  And that he gets to buy her a new, more reliable car.  He's obviously insane.)  She also spends time alternating between wanting Jacob to be her best friend, and wanting to never see him again.

If you're really into drama-filled romance, you'll probably enjoy the first half of the book.  Edward continues to be perfect, always-forgiving, and to make grand romantic gestures.  Jacob continues to try to court Bella too.  So she's getting lots of positive attention.

For me, the action really picked up in the last quarter of the book or so.  Things come to a head with the evil vampires in Seattle, and the Cullen family has to make some unusual alliances to fight them off.  The Cullens and Bella work together, using all their extra abilities, to plan a great counter-offensive when they hear that the other vampires are coming to the Forks area.  And then the battle itself!  Exciting!  It's fast-paced and unpredictable.  It had me on the metaphorical edge of my seat until the end.  (Remember, even though the saga is old, I managed to avoid nearly all spoilers.)

Like with the first two books, I listened to Eclipse as an audiobook.  It was good!  Same reader, so same good cadence and clear narration.

P.S. (Still Team Jacob at the end of Eclipse.)

P.P.S. Already began reading Breaking Dawn today.  Gotta see how the story ends!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Dead as a Doornail (Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire Book 5)

Dead as a Doornail is the 5th book in the Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire book series by Charlaine Harris.  This review will deal with events from the other four books so, if you wish to enjoy the adventure  of the story fresh and have thoughts of starting this book series at some point, turn back now or be spoiled for ever!

So, quite a bit happened in Book 4, Dead to the WorldFirst and foremost, we found out there are witches in Bon Temps!  We also found out what it would be like if Eric wasn't Eric anymore.  These two occurrences  are not mutually exclusive.  Sookie found Eric after the witches took away his memory away.  Sookie was then convinced to take care of Eric while Pam found a way to get rid of the witches.  Of course the plan relied on Sookie and some werewolves (why not).  This is where Alcide's psycho-ex, Debbie comes in.  Proclaiming herself there to help, she found an opportunity to try and take Sookie out.  Long story short, Debbie was unsuccessful and nobody knows where she is.  That's mainly because Sookie blew her away with Jason's shotgun and Eric buried her somewhere while his memory was messed up.  Once he was back to himself, he didn't remember anything that happened when he didn't remember his real self.  Too bad since he and Sookie really hit off then! Then, there's Jason and the were-panthers (sounds like a U/F doo-wop group)

The thing that I liked about Dead to the World, I love about this book.  Charlaine Harris not only gives us a primary story to deal with but, she layers a few subplots to spice up this book.  The stories are woven in a way that aids the pacing so that, we're never bored though still not left exhausted by an abundance of action.

Sookie is as ever on her road to self discovery.  This is the one spot that the book way outpaces the HBO show.  In the books, she does not just deal with situations, she learns from them.  We see some of the same from the other characters but, it's more obvious with Sookie.  I do have to give Jason his due.  In the first book, that character was rather less than we saw on TV but, he has starting really evolving lately.

Dead as a Doornail was probably just what I needed from the series to keep my interest.  There is plenty of action and exposition to keep a reader entertained.  It still gets an R rating from me for its violence, language and frank use of mature situations.


Roberts Signature

Monday, September 21, 2015

Crucible Zero by Devon Monk

As much as I enjoyed the other two books in the series, Crucible Zero managed to be so much better. Time travel and alternative realities are not always easy to navigate but Devon Monk does it seamlessly. Her characters are also incredible, especially Matilda who, as a heroine, isn't a know it all and admits she needs help to attain her goal. Matilda and Abraham's relationship, although different in this reality, continues to be entertaining and steamy.

At first, it was a little confusing as to why Matilda ends up in an alternate universe where she didn't even exist before, but at least all her loved ones and some of her family members are alive in this one, unlike in her original timeline. In Infinity Bell, Matilda had to travel back in time in order to save billions of people from a 300 year old experiment, but obviously not everything goes according to plan. The time travelling did change the future, in some capacity, but more specifically changed the course of Abraham's long lived life as he waits for the reappearance of Matilda Case, the mysterious future girl who saved him three centuries before.

The galvanized, like Abraham and Matilda, live extra long lives because of the ramifications of that long ago time travel experiment called Wings of Mercury. In order to survive, they sometimes need to be patched up and stitched so they are quite often recognized by their patchwork of skin and stitches. Living for a long time can get quite lonely and in the previous books, I was glad Matilda and Abraham found each other. However, in this new reality, they meet again for the first time and Matilda is the only one with memories of their time together. The chemistry between the two character is definitely still there and it's quite interesting to see them fall for each other a second time.

After the time travelling, Matilda still isn't done saving the world. This time, she plan to prevent a tyrannical leader from taking over the world. However, killing another galvanized isn't that easy so she'll need all the help she can find. In this new timeway, she also has to deal with new obstacles such as a plague, deadly ferals and mercenaries. I really like Matilda as a character. She has a strong mind and isn't afraid to do what she thinks is right. When she sets her mind on something, she tries her best to accomplish it but she's not afraid to ask for help. Physically, she's quite strong but she knows her limitations. However, physical limitations may not be what prevents her from attaining her goal. She admits multiple time that she's never killed anyone, yet her ultimate goal is an assassination. It's quite interesting to see Matilda go through various emotions. As a galvanized, her kind aren't always seen as human, but there's there's nothing more human than Matilda.

In my opinion, this series has reached a new height with Crucible Zero and I have no clue if Devon Monk will be able to surpass it. Honestly, I have no clue if there's going to be a next book because the story felt quite finished. No cliffhanger ending for this one. I don't want the series to be over because it happens to be one of my favorite Urban Fantasy series lately but I wouldn't be surprised if it is. Crucible Zero, like the other two books in the series, is exceptionally written and highly recommendable.

stephsig moon

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Stacking The Shelves [177]

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!


 Happy weekend! I hope everyone is having a better week than I am. I injured my ankle playing softball about a week ago and it's slowly getting better. My foot is in a walking cast for at least the next three weeks. :(  My softball season is definitely over but I hope I can heal fast enough so that I can lace up my skates for ringette season.

On the bright side, this means I'll have more time for reading and reviewing. So, on to the books I got this week. Nothing much but I definitely got something special. I haven't had my reviews featured in many books so I was quite excited when I found this earlier this week, in the book I purchased (seventh from the top).

sts sept 2015 c

sts sept 2015 b


Crucible Zero by Devon Monk


The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

Elementary: The Ghost Line by Adam Christopher

Thanks for dropping by this week! Share your link down below!

stephsig moon

[inlinkz_linkup id=564886]

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

I had really, really high expectations for this book, and I think that influenced my 2.5 of 5 stars rating.  For me, Grasshopper Jungle was solidly middle ground.  When it first came out, I read tons of reviews of it that praised it like it was the New New Testament in high school boy literature, but I just didn't find that to be true.

I don't want to be negative, and I am able to say some positive things about the book.  For example, it is totally 110% a high school boy book.  There's weird monster bugs to fight, a pretty girl to save, lots and lots of talk about body odor and masturbation and sex and balls.  Andrew Smith doesn't shy away from using language, either.  (So you may want to take that into account before giving it to a younger teen.)  All in all, it read very authentic to the sixteen-year-old male brain.  I could absolutely see myself recommending this to an older reluctant reader.

I can also say that this book has really unique plot points.  First, the giant bugs.  While that has been done a number of times in movies and television, I don't recall seeing too many giant-bugs-attacking-humanity plots in books.  Also, even though giant-bugs-attacking-humanity sounds pretty outlandish at first glance, Smith manages to write the novel in such a way that the reader could find themselves nodding, like, "yes, I could see that happening in Iowa."  The whole book reads very contemporary, with a sci-fi element thrown in for added kapow.  Secondly, the main character's sexuality is never established.  This was praised over and over again in reviews when the book was first released.  LGBTQ issues are definitely included in the "we need diverse books" movement, and this book helps to satisfy that.  Austin is very confused about his feelings toward his best friend and his girlfriend throughout the book.  (His best friend is gay and his girlfriend is straight.  He cares deeply for them both.)  Grasshopper Jungle shows a situation where a teen doesn't know their sexual orientation (he's not "fighting" it; he honestly can't decide) and it's ok.  Teens can be a very confused sector of our society, and they need to see themselves, and that confusion, in the books they read.

Now for the unfortunate detractors: language and repetition. Grasshopper Jungle is chock full of s***. Literally. It felt overwhelming, and distracted me from the actual story. I know teenage boys cuss, but this seemed superfluous. It's not just the actual word usage, either. Felt like every page had at least one (if not more!) mentions of horniness and erections. There's also a lot of repetition. Mentioning that his grandfather died while relieving himself in Italy during World War II felt entirely unnecessary the first time.... The fourth time it was brought up, I was way over it.

Overall: interesting, unique premise that has a potential audience... Unfortunately, that audience didn't include me.

Interesting note: I read Winger (same author) and loved it! So don't discount Andrew Smith on the basis of Grasshopper Jungle.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Ink and Bone: The Great Library By Rachel Caine

Jess Brightwell loves books.  Since the family business is selling books, one might think Jess would be like a kid in the candy store.  The problem is, the Brightwell's book business isn't legal by any stretch of the imagination and Jess' father can only see the books for the coin they can bring.

This is the world woven by Rachel Caine in her book Ink and Bone: The Great Library.  A world where being a librarian is more of a calling than a career and libraries hold the keys to all the knowledge and whose power is absolute.  Ms. Caine does a masterful job of bringing us to a world inspiring accomplishments under the iron fist of an authority afraid of what can be done with the knowledge it safeguards.

From the streets of London to the alleys of Alexandria, we learn about Jess' world right along side him as he learns from his father, his family, his friends and of course his instructor, Scholar Wolfe.  A young person's introduction to the way a world works is still by far my favorite way of entering a new reality.  In Ink and Bone, we get not only Jess' views and lessons but, a peek into those of his friends and fellow students.  It makes for a richer is somewhat skewed vision of this world.

Rachel Caine also uses her characters to add depth to the reality she created.  Not only what we see but, also places we're only told of.  Each character is a post card from their homeland and given their complexity, gives us a small window into places we don't get to see in this book.  As we grow familiar with each character, we start to understand how it is living under the control of the Great Library and different ways the different peoples live within that control.

This is a book of sometimes stark and often striking imagery as well as thought provoking and emotionally evoking moments that seem to swirl around a central theme: If knowledge is power, who has the right to own the knowledge.  Of course we all have own thoughts and I, for one, love the way this book challenges and affirms many of them on this subject.

Ink and Bone is not just really good allegory, it's wonderful entertainment.  There is a sufficient  amount of violence and mature subject matter that I would give it a PG13 but, only just.  I actually suggested it to my 14 year old for a school reading assignment.

Roberts Signature

P.S. On a personal note, I would like to thank again, Ms. Rachel Cain for being so kind and generous with her time during her book signing at San Diego Comic-Con this year!!

Rachel Cain



Monday, September 14, 2015

Blood Sky by Traci L. Slatton

After almost two years, I was really happy when I heard the author had finally published this book. Originally, I thought this series was supposed to be a trilogy but as it turns out, the author had more to write about, and the series will be stretched out into few more books. Honestly, the third book finished in such a weird way and the cliffhanger was so unbearable that there had to be more. The After Series is a really good post-apocalyptic series that explore a varieties of subjects such as survival, honor, love and science.

As I began reading Blood Sky, I was a little bit confused because I couldn't quite remember what had happened in the previous installment. But as the author slowly recapped the previous book, pieces started coming back. Emma and Arthur are still together, and along with their bunch of survivors, they are slowly making their way across Canada to hopefully make their way back to Europe. Their long trek on horseback is honestly a little slow and anticipation was definitely there because I couldn't wait for something to happen. I was actually quite surprised when the group of travelers separated because of conflicting ideas about the mists, the whole reason behind the apocalypse. The mists are scary to begin with since they can instantaneously turn objects, animals and humans into dust, but what's even scarier is the fact that they're beginning to adapt and evolve to the world. While Emma simply wants to eradicate the mists from the world, Arthur starts thinking about keeping them and trying to control them to better the world.

Honestly, I never thought those two would disagree on something so big. I thought they would stick together through everything, especially when Emma made the heartbreaking decision in the previous book to abandon her daughters in order to continue her quest with Arthur. I don't completely agree or disagree with the decisions Emma made but that's what makes her such a great character. She's plagued by some of the decisions she made and her faults make her so much more realistic. Emma might appear to struggle with leadership but she's a strong character, which allows her to surpass anything.

I was a little disappointed with how the book ended with a poker game. While I can appreciate the allusion that life is just a game, personally I'm not a fan of poker and I don't think it makes a great denouement. A poker game really does fit into the world they live in because every decision is a gamble but I would have hoped for more after the game.

I especially liked this latest book because we got to see a whole new side of characters I thought we already knew. New characters are introduced in this book too but I anticipate a big reunion of old characters in the next book. I really hope I don't have to wait two more years for it. Reading this series is definitely not a gamble because it really is a great post-apocalyptic/dystopian series.


stephsig moon

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Stacking The Shelves [176]

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!


Happy Saturday, everybody!!  Autumn is just around the corner and that means Halloween is just around the corner.  I got a couple of titles to help set the spirit along with a couple of other books that looked interesting.

Robert's STS


Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris and Tales from the Nightside by Simon R. Green are definitely a couple of titles to start getting one in the mood for Halloween.  I may have more to say on those books later. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab can also help set the tone for that holiday and I've already let you know my thoughts here.

The Sign of Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle takes me back to where I got my love of detective stories with yet another Sherlock Holmes mystery. I even got a more modern take on murder mystery with Death and the Redheaded Woman by Loretta Ross.  It's not a real heavy story but, it's very entertaining.

The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah was a surprise discovery.  It's set in World War II France and gives us a peek into the war-torn country.  Ms. Hannah allows us to see French society in the microcosm of one French family.  It is one of the more touching and poignant stories I've read this year.

My lovely bride has treated me again, this time with the Divergent box set.  I have yet to read any of the books or even see the movies.  Odd since one of my nephew's is an extra in the second movie.

So, please, let me know what mysteries, myths and memoirs have made it on to your shelves!

Roberts Signature[inlinkz_linkup id=562777]


Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Wicked Awakening of Anne Merchant by Joanna Wiebe

Warning! The Wicked Awakening of Anne Merchant is the second book in the V Trilogy.  The first book has a plot twist that will probably be revealed below, so please visit my review of The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant instead if you haven't started the series!

If I were to use one word to describe this book, it'd be "dark."  Wow, this book takes things to a whole new level of dark!  But now that we know that all the students are dead and that the faculty are devils and demons from hell, that really shouldn't surprise us, should it?  Anne is back on Wormwood Island after her escape attempt, and is back in the running for the Big V.  Whereas in the first book, Anne discovers secrets about Cania Christy and her fellow students; in this book she discovers secrets about herself that could change her life forever.

So, as I mentioned:  dark.  This is not a feel-good book.  Even the "good" characters feel somewhat tainted, when seen through the lens of the Cania Christy atmosphere.  For example, one of Anne's friends is pretty eternally optimistic, but the other girls (and even Anne, to some extent) really look down on her for her lack of competitiveness.  Even the literal atmosphere, the setting, is dark:  the bulk of the story takes place over winter and early spring, and the island is described as being damp, foggy, overcast, cold, windy, snowy, rainy.   If I remember correctly, it's raining for the first three chapters or so.

But let's look on the bright side:  girl has gained some major confidence!  At the beginning of The Unseemly Education, Anne is so very low on confidence.  You can imagine her walking around a little hunched over and very quiet.  Now, Anne is taking control!  She is not going to let some demons decide her and her father's fates!  And that, my friends, takes a lot of confidence.  In this book, Anne discovers a strength within her that will help her as she plots to overthrow the status quo.  No more singular Valedictorian each year!  Anne wants every student to win the grand prize, and she'll stop at nothing to give it to them.  She shows herself over and over to be selfless and confident (even if sometimes she seems to be almost self-destructive in her pursuits).

Another bright side:  romance!  If you're looking for some truly angsty teenage romance, this is the book for you.  The "will they won't they" is drawn out to it's very limit, but not beyond.  This sub-plot definitely kept me coming back, to find out how the relationship between Anne and Ben would (or would not) continue to grow.  The poor pair; they just want what every teen couple wants:  some dates, some kisses, maybe some love notes back and forth.  Instead, they often have to table the relationship to deal with the Big V competition or demons.  And the threat of not winning the Big V is always hanging overhead.

Speaking of romance, though, there is a slight advisory with this YA book:  there are some questionable sexual situations, so I'd only probably hand this book to older teens.  No spoilers, but there's sexual come-ons from an older man to a younger girl, and some physical descriptions that would make some teens blush.

Just like The Unseemly EducationThe Wicked Awakening ends on quite the cliffhanger!  This is not a bridge book; it does have it's own plot that wraps up nicely, but then a twist!  And guess what?  The third book, The Twisted Deliverance of Anne Merchant, won't be released in America (where I am) until 2017.  :( :( :(  So if anyone in Canada (where the author is) wants a new best friend, you can totally hook me up with a copy of the third book when it's released there in January 2016.  :)


Wednesday, September 09, 2015

The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut's Windlass by Jim Butcher

Jim Butcher makes a grand departure from both The Dresden Files and Codex Alera and does so on the decks of The Predator, an airship captained by a privateer named Captain Grimm.  The Predator may be a sound vessel but, Capt. Grimm seems to have less than a sound reputation having been kicked out of the Albion Admiralty for cowardice.  So, how do members of the aristocracy and military cadets as well as a couple of more unique inhabitants of Albion find themselves entangled with such a person? That can be answered in the pages of The Aeronaut’s Windlass the first book in The Cinder Spires series by Jim Butcher.

This really is a departure from what we have becomes accustom from Mr. Butcher in the past.  In a break from stories set in worlds full of magic. Now he takes us to a world of flying ships and people who have learned to harness energy that flows around them.  Though we are plunged right into this new world, we are eased into some of the uniqueness of this world by using the best trope for the job: Training some of the characters.  We get to meet three parts of Albion society each as they learn and then as they learn to act together.  This has long been my favorite way to learn a new world in a book since long explanations of how things work can be made easier to follow.  Explaining the next stage of the story and how it’s accomplished breaches my spoiler boundary so, let’s just say, we’ve seen done before but, this is done well.

A new book series certainly means new characters and Windlass has some interesting ones.  Along with Capt. Grimm of the Predator, we have his Executive Officer and crew.  There’s almost always tension between the XO and the crew, which happens in real life as well (XO’s almost always play the heavy).  We also meet a variety of aristocrats and other denizens of Albion and other Spires.  I really don’t want to spoil the masterful job of exposition by the author but, I will say, meeting these individuals is unique for each one.  Some characters may seem a bit flat in the beginning (especially those in the aristocracy). But, a bit of patience pays off as they allow their true colors to show.  For all the cat lovers out there, you may find some of the characters very interesting indeed!

The Aeronaut’s Windlass is a very entertaining story and well worth the effort to read the 600 plus pages.  This is definitely the first book in a series evidenced in both exposition and ending and I look forward to the next installment.  There is a fair bit of violence and a few discussions of mature matters so, this one lands in the PG13 range but, not too deep in.

Roberts Signature

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Stacking The Shelves [175]

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!


 Hey everyone!

First I'd like to apologize for my lack of reviews in the past weeks. I spend all my free time getting papers in order for the new house or packing so I haven't finished a book in forever :(

Speaking of books, I haven't bought any and mine are all in neat boxes ready to be hauled to my new place. As of yesterday, I am officially the owner *happy dance* As you read this I am probably hard at work removing wallpaper lol

My official move is on September 19th, but in the mean time I'll be cleaning, fixing, painting and hauling boxes. All fun stuff lol

Since I don't have any books to show you, I'll show you pics of my youngest who is now 18months old. Time fly by sooo fast!

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Happy reading!

tynsignew[inlinkz_linkup id=560033]

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Fire in the Sea by Myke Bartlett

I downloaded this little gem from Edelweiss forever ago, but I never heard any chatter about it, and kind of forgot, then picked up last weekend.  WOW!  So good!  My library doesn't own a copy, but I plan to suggest it.

Fire in the Sea jumps right into the action.  I read this on my Kindle, I believe I was at 2% when the first mysterious creature from the sea makes an appearance.  From that moment on, stranger and stranger things keep happening to Sadie.  I admired how the author allowed Sadie to recognize that all of the events occurring in Perth are absolutely ridiculous and hard to believe, while still having Sadie roll with the punches, so to say, and take an active part in deciding her fate.  For example, the synopsis mentions that there's a horned beast running rampant in Perth:  unbelievable, right?  Just an escaped bull or something, right?  NOPE.  Not only does Sadie quickly come to terms with the fact there's a beast on the loose, she quickly makes decisions to fight to protect her friends and family.  She's never afraid to stand up for herself and her family.  Even though Jake is really cute and she's feeling him, she doesn't hesitate to tell him off when she perceives that he's committed a wrong.  As the action builds and builds toward an epic finale, Sadie continues to be true to herself, her values, and her family.

I'm sitting here in America reading and reviewing this book, so the Australian author and setting were also bonuses for me.  When you read books by international authors, do you hear that country's accent in your head as you read?  I do, and I really enjoyed listening to the Australian teens!  There were, of course, just a few slang terms that I wasn't familiar with, but nothing that context clues didn't help me decipher.

While Sadie was an incredibly dynamic character, and the plot was super exciting, I had a bit of trouble connecting to the secondary characters.  Sadie's cousins are just barely better than stereotypes, and her grandparents are walking talking cut-outs.  (Her grandfather's a conspiracy theory war vet and grandma is constantly cheerfully offering everyone tea after coming in from the garden.)  At the end of the book a few final pieces fall into place and a few people gain a little more dimensionality, but not enough to be truly thoroughly 3D.

I suppose that's ok, because the reader is really consumed with all the action packed into this book!  I don't think I went more than 3 pages ever without some big fight happening or decision being made.  The mystery of the creatures from the sea, the horned beast, and Jake all unfold at a good pace:  it's never too slow/bogged down, or too fast to keep up with, and it's spread evenly through the book.  The finale really fits in nicely; there was a good build-up to it, so it didn't happen out of thin air, and the ending wasn't obvious, so it was definitely a page-turner!

Overall, I'd give Fire in the Sea 3.5-4 stars.  Can't quite make up my mind.  Loved the action and the main character; struggled with the secondary characters.  Maybe there'll be a sequel someday that fleshes them out more!


Wednesday, September 02, 2015

A Darker Shade of Magic By V.E. Schwab

Kell is a daring traveler where Rhys is more the daring ‘playboy’.  Maybe if Rhys could go to the different worlds that Kell can, he wouldn’t have such an exotic taste in lovers (probably not).  He probably would not tempt fate by smuggling trinkets from those worlds the way Kell does.

A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria E. Schwab is truly a study in contrasts and complements.  Whether it’s magic, people, places or proclivities, the story in this book arranges them before our eyes tempting us to choose one or just sample many.

The people from these worlds run the gamut from dishwater gray to blindingly brash scarlets.  Since Kell has the unique ability to travel among these world by color (Red London, White London, Gray London and Black London).  The scenes and settings do a wonderful job of evoking the overall mood of each London.  Hue and tone do much to tell us about the atmosphere and history of each setting without getting bogged down in over-intricate descriptions.  The same can be said for most of the population of each, as well.

One of my favorite points to pick at when it comes to a world building in the genre of fantasy is: the magic system.  Some come off too complex while others are seem to have no rules whatsoever.  This story does well by slowly lifting the veil from what it shows yet, leaves us wanting to find out more about what was not revealed. I believe it's one of the elements that shows this story could do well as a series.

There are some exceptions to that rule in each of the worlds.  I won’t go into those so that I can avoid potential spoilers.  I will say the characters we get the most acquainted with have the feeling of real people even if they are from bland or exaggerated worlds.  There are two notable exceptions that I believe was on purpose.  I won’t go into why I think so (spoilers!)

A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria E. Schwab is a very entertaining and thought provoking book.  It has wonderfully colorful settings and characters and a very interesting system of magic.  It does address some mature situations about sex and sexuality and there is some occasional rough language.  That along with the violence has me putting this in the PG13 zone.

Roberts Signature