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Archive for the category “Fantasy”

#TuesdayBookBlog – The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks @BrentWeeks

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My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars for EACH Book!
Pure Enjoyment!

I’m sorry to admit this, but I’m so pressed for time this week, it was either no review at all today, or a very, very short one. I opted for short: Read this trilogy.

For those who might require more depth to their reviews, I’ll add this: If you love well-written fantasy, with strong characters, intricate plotting, friendship that knows no bounds, painful and heartbreaking sacrifice, and really, really weird names: READ THIS TRILOGY!

And to back up my suggestion, here are the blurbs and links for each of  the three Night Angel books. (I’m serious. Read. This. Trilogy.)

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5 of 5 Stars

For Durzo Blint, assassination is an art-and he is the city’s most accomplished artist.

For Azoth, survival is precarious. Something you never take for granted. As a guild rat, he’s grown up in the slums, and learned to judge people quickly – and to take risks. Risks like apprenticing himself to Durzo Blint.

But to be accepted, Azoth must turn his back on his old life and embrace a new identity and name. As Kylar Stern, he must learn to navigate the assassins’ world of dangerous politics and strange magics – and cultivate a flair for death.

Way of Shadows

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5 of 5 Stars

Kylar Stern has rejected the assassin’s life. The Godking’s successful coup has left Kylar’s master, Durzo, and his best friend, Logan, dead. He is starting over: new city, new friends, and new profession.

But when he learns that Logan might actually be alive and in hiding, Kylar is faced with an agonizing choice: will he give up the way of shadows forever and live in peace with his new family, or will he risk everything by taking on the ultimate hit?

Shadow’s Edge

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5 of 5 Stars

Logan Gyre is king of Cenaria, a country under siege, with a threadbare army and little hope. He has one chance – a desperate gamble, but one that could destroy his kingdom.

In the north, the new Godking has a plan. If it comes to fruition, no one will have the power to stop him.

Kylar Stern has no choice. To save his friends-and perhaps his enemies-he must accomplish the impossible: assassinate a goddess.

Beyond the Shadows is the action-packed conclusion to the Night Angel Trilogy.

 

 

 

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The #GrishaTrilogy by #LeighBardugo #TuesdayBookBlog

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My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

I may have disappeared for far too long, being caught up in writing five novels over a three-year period, but I’ve decided I really want to get back to this blog, and my love of sharing great books with other readers. I plan to make Tuesdays my day for reviews, and I’m starting today with a series of books that knocked my socks off: Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy.

As usual, I don’t like to give away very much about the plot of any book, but I will tell you exactly what I think of the writing, the characters, and the story line.

For my money, Leigh Bardugo knocked this series right out of the ballpark. She put just enough spin on her fantasy world to make it intriguingly different, filled with a highly developed political structure, and exactly the right amount of backstory to let readers know how it all came to pass. The story line was strong and very interesting, but for me, the real success of the entire series rests with the excellent character development. I adored the love story at the heart of the adventure, and thought Alina and Mal were perfect, even down to their IM-perfections, which were what made them so believable. The turmoil plaguing a land in desperation was dark and disturbing–almost as much so as the source of it all, The Darkling, a truly compelling and frightening creation. Even the secondary characters were well developed and worth caring about.

There were times when I was heartbroken, fearing the worst would happen to the people I’d grown to love, and times when my heart sang with shared happiness as they conquered yet another seemingly insurmountable task. But I never gave up hope that Good would conquer Evil, and the world would be made whole again. Were my hopes justified? I’ll let you decide.

If you enjoy richly developed fantasy worlds with believable heroines and heroes, accomplishing UN-believable things, this series ought to be just your cup of tea. You should head right on over to Amazon and buy these books today. Go ahead and get all three. Once you’ve read the first one, you won’t be able to stop. (And then you’ll likely do as I did, and start right in on Bardugo’s next book, The Six of Crows–even the COVER is gorgeous on that one.)

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My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

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My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Shadow and Bone

Siege and Storm

Ruin and Rising

 

Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

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My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

If you are looking for the type of review that goes into great detail about plot and characters, you may as well quit reading right now. I don’t do an awful lot of that anyway, and I’m darn well not going to give away a single thing about this book, except this: it’s bloody wonderful! Finished it over breakfast today, crying on my poached eggs, and any book that brings me to tears like that is a 5-star book in my mind. It means that it engaged me so completely that the characters and the world became real, and I was fully invested in each.

I’ve been a fan of Rachel Caine for a long time. Her Weather Warden series and its Outcast Season spin-off were terrific fun. I even enjoyed every single book in her YA Morganville Vampire series. But she has soared to new heights with this one. I loved every plot twist, every setting description, and most of all, every character. Scholar Wolfe and Jess Brightwell, in particular, as different as they are. Both broke my heart, and the only thing about the entire book that I hate is the fact that I have such a long, long time to wait for the next one. As you can probably guess, I highly recommend this new series.

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Scholar (Christopher) Wolfe

Ink and Bone

If you decide to place an order with amazon, clicking through from my links will give me credit. If you are enjoying my reviews on Bookin It, its a great way to let me know! Thanks!

Peak of the Devil by Jen Rasmussen

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My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

I’ve followed Jen Rasmussen’s blog for some time, always enjoying her intelligent, witty posts, and her dry sense of humor, though I’ve never met her personally. When she wrote her first novel, Ghost in the Canteen, I couldn’t wait to read it. I was sure I would enjoy it, and I was right. If you haven’t checked it out, you should. It’s the first book in this series, and it’s a humdinger, with a premise completely new to me. (Clue: It involves a drink called switchel, which was a word I’d never heard before reading that book.)

Peak of the Devil is Book 2 of this series, and I have to say, it’s not as good as the first one…it’s better! Rasmussen’s already solid writing was even stronger this time around. The tough-talking, snarky star of the series, Lydia Trinket, is back, giving a whole new twist to the concept of ghostbusting. Things happen she wasn’t expecting. Bad, scary things. New characters show up to add interest to her life, as if it was ever boring, and old characters are busy building new lives of their own.

Mysteries to be solved, ghosts to lay, and deals with the devil to thwart, before even more people get hurt. Or dead. It’s all in a day’s work for Lydia, and with the help of her new…friend?…Phineas, things get very, very interesting. Being the die-hard romantic that I am, I have to say I’d like to see more of Phineas. A lot more. But Lydia may have other ideas, altogether, and I’m sure they’ll still be plenty entertaining. Only time and the next book, will tell.

And speaking of the next book, Peak of the Devil ends with a great set up for Book 3, and I, for one, can’t wait. I highly recommend both of these books!

Ghost in the Canteen

Peak of the Devil

Princeps’ Fury by Jim Butcher

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My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Finished reading Princeps’ Fury at midnight last night, and it was so blasted good, I downloaded Book 6, First Lord’s Fury,  immediately, and started right in on it. Of course, I fell asleep before I finished the first chapter, but at least I found out what happened in the next scene. This series is SO action-packed, and filled with courageous souls doing heroic things, I just can’t put it down. It’s fun, it’s fast-paced, and it’s scary as heck at times. In short, I love it. And I highly recommend you start with Book 1,  Furies of Calderon, and read straight through. Yes, the books are long and there are SIX of them. But, they are oh, so worth it!

Princeps’ Fury

Cursor’s Fury by Jim Butcher

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My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Can’t imagine what took me so long to start on Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series. I guess I never figured I’d really enjoy epic fantasy, but I figured wrong. These books just keep getting better. Butcher’s writing gets stronger and stronger, just as it does during the Dresden Files series, and the characters become more engaging and interesting as the stories progress. 

Due to the scope of this tale, I’m not going to try to go into very much detail in this review, but I will say that Tavi is turning into a hero for the ages, and his journey is amazing. Amara and Bernard are a couple to reckon with, and there are villains both evil and complicated to stir up trouble in every book. Some very interesting clues have been laid out like a trail of breadcrumbs, and I find myself thinking ahead to what they all mean. I’ve been right at times, and surprised at others, and I’m eager to read the last three books and see the whole back story unraveled before me.

If you’ve never tried epic fantasy before, this could be a good place to start. If you are already a fan of the genre, but haven’t read the Codex Alera books, you should check them out. They are fast paced, full of adventure, and a lot of fun. And oh, yeah…there’s a bit of love thrown in for good measure. I highly recommend these books, and this third of the series is the best so far.

Cursor’s Fury

The Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher

furies of caderon 2My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Well, I finally got desperate waiting for the next Dresden Files book to come out. (It’s still a long way off!) I’ve never been a big follower of anything that smacked of epic fantasy, but beggars can’t be choosers. So I downloaded Book 1 of Butcher’s Codex Alera series, Furies of Calderon. And guess what? I liked it. A lot, actually, especially considering that Butcher’s writing has improved greatly over the years. Still, the concept was good, the characters engaging, the monsters nice and scary, and the action fast and furious. All in all, I was so pleased, I immediately downloaded Book 2, Academ’s Fury, and started right in on that. And now, I’m reading Book 3, Cursor’s Fury. Read more…

Wednesday Guest Blogger: Vanessa Finaughty

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Instead of our regular Author Interview today, I’d like to introduce my first guest blogger, Vanessa Finaughty. Vanessa is in the middle of a blog tour, and has taken the time to answer some questions about her new series. Hope you enjoy finding out why you should love Lashlor Leaflin . I confess, I’m intrigued.

5 Reasons to Love Wizard of Ends’ Main Character, Lashlor Leaflin
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Wizard of Ends is the fast-paced fantasy adventure series in which Lashlor Leaflin is the main character. Lashlor is one of the author’s favourite characters across all her books, and here are five reasons for you to love him too: Read more…

Wednesday Author Interview: Jennifer Melzer

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Today, Bookin’ It would like to welcome Fantasy author, Jennifer Melzer. So nice to have you here with us, Jennifer. Can you tell us a bit about how you became a writer? When did you decide that’s what you wanted to be, and what steps did you take to prepare for a writing career?

JM: When I was ten, I got a Fisher Price typewriter for my birthday. Before that, I made up extravagant lies about everything under the sun. After, I started typing the lies out and hiding them in a shoebox I kept under my bed. I don’t know why I hid them. Probably because my mom taught me that lying was morally wrong, but as I got older I started to realize there was so much more to it than lying. I was making up stories, living out little fantasies through these elaborate falsehoods I would never get to live out in any other way. By the time I was sixteen, I had dozens upon dozens of full notebooks of handwritten short stories and novels and I was relatively sure the only thing I would ever know how to do is tell stories. Eventually, I went to university and majored in English and creative writing, and experience I highly recommend.

BI: Well, hiding stories in a shoebox under the bed is a new one. Thanks for sharing that. I love it! Were you inspired by any particular authors, past or present, and what is it about their work that impresses you, or moves you? 

JM: Neil Gaiman has been one of the greatest inspirations throughout the course of my life. As a teenager, I was enraptured by the Sandman comics and absolutely fell in love with Neverwhere when it came out. One of the things that inspires me about his work is that Gaiman has never been afraid to take risks. Sometimes the more fantastic the risk, the better and no matter what kind of stories we tell. 

BI: I’m a big Neil Gaiman fan, myself, though I only discovered him recently. Still catching up with him and Terry Pratchett, another late discovery. What genres do you read most often for pleasure today, Jennifer…those books you gravitate toward the minute you walk into a bookstore? 

JM: Fantasy is my go-to genre of choice, followed by historical fiction centered around the Dark Ages and Medieval Period. Epic fantasy, urban fantasy… Dragons, sorcery, fairytales. I might be a bit of an escapist, but I love stories that take me out of this world. Historical fiction has the same appeal for me because it is a world we’ve already been to, and yet it seems so alien to the world we live in now. 

BI: Good point, about historical fiction being alien to our world today. I can see that. Do you have a dedicated workspace, and are you consistent with the amount of time you spend writing each day? 

JM: At the moment, I work in my bedroom, tucked away from the rest of the household for several hours a day. Consistency, however, depends highly on where I am with what I’m working on. If I’m fully absorbed, I can spend anywhere from five to ten hours a day writing, forgetting there is a world beyond my keyboard. If I’m struggling with a plot point or a character is giving me a hard time, I am far more easily distracted. 

BI: Makes sense to me. Those characters can really run amok with our minds. Do you use visual aids, like Inspiration Boards/Photos or maps of your book’s setting? What reference books or other material do you consult most frequently as you write? 

JM: It’s funny, but as a fantasy writer I have to use a lot more resources than one might think. I find myself consulting maps quite a bit, especially when constructing my own maps of the fantastical worlds I create. Linguistic resources come into play quite a bit, and so do mythology texts. Even when you’re making up monsters or fantastic beings unlike any the world has ever seen before, inspiration is often found in other mythological beasties and stories. 

BI: I can understand that, and I think good world-building would require a ton of research, to be sure it all works together like it should. Jennifer, when you have an idea for a new book, do you sit down and start typing, or do you start with an outline, and figure out all the major plot points first? In other words, is your working style structured and organized, or more organic and free flowing? 

JM: I am what is often referred to as a “pantser,” meaning I write from the seat of my pants. I struggle with outlines, their rigidity and structure making me feel like I’m suffocating. My first draft almost always turns out to be what others might consider their outline. I have tried being a good little plotter my whole life, but the more I plot and plan something, the less likely I am to finish it because I really do feel like I can’t breathe. 

BI: I’m a firm believer in “whatever works for you.” There’s more than one way to write, just like pretty much everything else in life. It’s good you’ve figured out your own approach. Let’s talk about reading again. Do you prefer eBooks, or print? Why? 

JM: I still prefer reading good old fashioned books. I love the way the smell, the way they feel in my hands and there’s no threat of your tablet or eReader battery dying just when you get to the really good parts. As much as I love traditional paper books, however, I tend to buy more eBooks these days because it’s easier and often less expensive. 

BI: I love both, myself, each for different reasons. Can you tell us about the books have you published, and where we can buy them? 

JM: My current project is The Serpent of Time series. The first book in the series, Edgelanders, came out in February, 2014, and is available in paperback and eBook formats. The audiobook, narrated by the incredibly talented Veronica Giguere, will be available by summer’s end. When Princess Lorelei of Leithe overhears her fiancé’s plot to murder her on the way to their wedding, she does the only smart thing: she runs.  Into the Edgelands, the savage, woodland home of the legendary U’lfer, a race of fierce wolves who walk as men, she knows she is as good as dead, but she would rather be torn apart by werewolves than die by Trystay’s hand.  A young U’lfer warrior named Finn catches her scent on the wind and finds himself possessed by an unnatural desire to shield and protect her from that which hunts her. From the moment he first sees her, Finn knows she is his. He feels her heartbeat, knows her soul, and he will do anything, even suffer exile from the Edgelands to be with her.  But there is more to Lorelei than meets the eye. She is like Finn; there is U’lfer blood in her veins, a beast beneath her skin she never knew was there. The answers she seeks lie south, in the frozen tundra of Rimian, where a village of people just like her have been waiting for Lorelei to come and save them since before she was even born. 

There is a page on my website with links to worldwide sales venues, as well as free samples of text and audio. 

BI: Great synopsis of the story line, and absolutely beautiful cover, too! Edgelanders sounds like something I’d enjoy. (Have added it to my TBR list). Are you currently working on a new book? When do you expect it to be available? 

JM: I am wrapping up edits on the second book in the Serpent of Time series: Sorrow’s Peak. It will be available in eBook and paperback formats by autumn 2014, but an exact release date has not been announced at this time. 

BI: You’ll have to keep us updated on that one. I’d like to know what you think is the best thing about being a writer? The worst? 

JM: I love everything about being a writer, and I always have. I love the stories and the characters, working through difficult plot points and coming out feeling as if I’ve only just returned from someplace incredible I can’t wait to share with others. As a storyteller, one has so much freedom and it’s a beautiful thing.   

One of the hardest things is often the amount of self-promotion one has to do in order to make noise in the void of competitive voices vying for reader attention. I love talking about my books, but I love writing them far more and often feel my attention would best be spent on that aspect. Sadly, I know that can’t always be the case. 

Thank you so much for being here with us today, Jennifer. I’m really looking forward to checking out Edgelanders, and I wish you the best of luck with the whole series. 

Jennifer Melzer ap

 Fantasy author Jennifer Melzer enjoys spinning elements of the fantastic with strands plucked from the heart. She spent most of her life denying the romantic overtones sewn into her fiction, but awoke one morning and realized every single tales she’d spun somehow revolved around the heart. She has since given into the whim, spinning yarns woven from heartstrings. 

She currently resides in Northeast Pennsylvania with her husband, daughter and a houseful of dragons she must train regularly to keep them from setting fire to the curtains. Nightly she dreams she is laying on the beach watching stars burst over the Atlantic Ocean. 

Connect with Jennifer Melzer all over the ‘net!

Facebook

Twitter

Google +

Goodreads

Tumblr

Wattpad

You can get a copy of Edgelanders from Jennifer’s own website, Jennifer Melzer, Author

Or from amazon.com: 

Edgelanders: Serpent of Time Book 1 

 

 

What Are You Reading?

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If it’s Friday, it must be What Are You Reading Day! Me, I’m still working my way through Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn Trilogy. I finished Book 1, and am closing in on the halfway  point of Book 2. Still enjoying it very much, though I’m worried about some of the characters. Having already lost one I really liked, I’m not sure who else will survive all the way to the end of Book 3. All in all, I’d say it’s a pretty good introduction to a fantasy epic.

Your turn, now. What are you reading this week? As always, inquiring minds wanna know. (And some of us are taking notes!)

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

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My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Ever since reading my first Brandon Sanderson book last year, The Alloy of Law, I have been planning to read more. I loved Alloy. It was funny, witty, and very imaginative, and I decided I would delve into Sanderson’s fantasy a bit more, and read the Mistborn Trilogy. (The Alloy of Law is a sort of addendum to the Mistborn Trilogy, taking place about 300 years after that series). Somehow, I kept getting sidetracked, but when I saw Steelheart, a YA Sanderson novel, I couldn’t resist giving it a try, and I have to say I’m glad I did.

Sanderson’s imagination is wonderful, and his characters are well thought out. The book isn’t perfect, but I don’t care. I enjoyed every minute of it. Yes, I figured out several plot points before they were revealed, but it was still fun, seeing how our young hero would figure things out for himself. And speaking of the hero, David Charleston, he is a boy bent on revenge for the murder of his father, but beset by so many obstacles as to make the task seem pretty daunting. The world of Newcago is a dark, frightening place, and dealing with the evil superpowers in charge of the planet, known as Epics, is not something your typical teenage boy should be able to handle. But David joins a group of rebels, the Reckoners, with much the same goals as his, and a plan is put into action that will change his life, and the world forever.

Superheroes with superpowers aren’t normally my thing, with or without capes, but Steelheart pulls it off with flair, and I’m looking forward to seeing what David and the Reckoners get up to in their next book. If you are a Sanderson fan, you will want to read this one, for sure. If you enjoy YA sci-fi fantasy, you’ll probably want to check it out, too. And if you are just looking for a light, fun read, set in an imaginative future world, it works for that, also. But be warned. Once you have read one or two of Sanderson’s books, you’ll find yourself looking for more. I have finally downloaded a boxed set of the Mistborn Trilogy, and I’m halfway through Book 1 already. Absolutely loving it. Talk about a great escape!

Steelheart

The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson

alloyoflaw

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Let me be clear right up front. I’ve never been a big fan of fantasy or sci-fi. I prefer my tales of other worldly beings to be set right here on planet earth, often without most mortals being aware that strange things are walking among them, a la Urban Fantasy. For some reason, this has always seemed more Read more…

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane by Neil Gaiman

oceanattheendofthelane

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

I hardly know what to say about this magical, yet creepy, little book. In some ways, it was everything I hoped it would be. For certain, I couldn’t put it down once I started reading. In other ways, I found it disturbing and, in part, a bit unsatisfactory. NOTE: POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD! Read more…

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

stardust

My Rating: 3 1/2 of 5 Stars

I have very mixed feelings about Stardust, I’m afraid. It is a sweet, though short, fable with a mystical touch of fairy magic and a strange assortment of characters. There were surprises here and there that I really appreciated, and the ending was touching. Mostly. Our hero, Tristran Thorne, is off on a mission to collect a fallen star Read more…

What Are You Reading?

bearreading

Yep, it’s time for another What Are You Reading post. Inquiring minds wanna know!

I have just gotten started on Neil Gaiman’s Stardust. I’m not very far into the book, but I am thoroughly enjoying what I have read to date. I can’t wait to see how all these many characters connect to each other, and whether or not the hero’s search for a fallen star, which he intends to present to his lady love, will be fruitful. And if it is, will said ladylove really have been worth the journey, or is his destiny to meet someone else along the way? This is the third book of Gaiman’s I’ve read, and so far, his writing hasn’t failed to pull me into worlds of fantasy and dreams and occasionally, nightmares.  I will be reviewing Stardust as soon as I manage to find time to finish it.

So tell me, my fellow bloggers, what are YOU reading this week?  Let us hear from you!

The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett

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My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Where have you been all my life, Terry Pratchett?  How could you have written so many books, and I am just now discovering you?  The bad news is, I have missed out on so much good reading, here.  The good news is, Read more…

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