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#TuesdayBookBlog Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine

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My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

I’ve been waiting for SOOO long for this second book in The  Great Library series, and finally, I have it. On my shelf, and again on my Kindle, because it’s so beautifully done, I didn’t even want to take a chance of creasing a single page. Truly a stunning cover, to go with another stunning story. If you didn’t read my review of Book 1, Ink and Bone, you can check it out HERE. I adored it, and I adored this one no less.

Rachel Caine is a very strong writer, and creates characters that are flawed but endearing. I’ve been a fan of hers since the Weather Warden series, and read her YA Morganville Vamps series, as well. The Great Library books are nothing like either of those, except in the quality of writing, and the strength of the characters.

I do not do book synopses, and I hate spoilers. Even small ones. I don’t read reviews that have them, and I won’t write them either. But what I can tell you is that Jess Brightwell is an endearing and touching character, who finds himself in a world he never imagined being part of. One where nothing is as he had always believed, and time is running out in which to right great wrongs. And even though the cast of players is largely a young one, you never doubt for a minute that they will find a way. It’s more a question of how, and who, if anyone, will fall to the enemy along the journey. There are tense moments galore, believe me.

My personal favorite things about the book–besides the great library of Alexandria itself, which in this world, was never destroyed, but has become the most powerful force in the world–would have to be the automatons. Automata? Oh, the huge mechanical lions and sphinxes, and even the giant, spear-wielding Spartan! I loved the scenes describing them.

And the ending, while wrapping up the part of the story focused on in this book, has left me panting for Book 3. I will put it on pre-order the first day I can. And that, my friends, is about the highest testimonial I can give it.

If you’ve read Ink and Bone and enjoyed it as much as I did, you will want to read Paper and Fire. If you haven’t read either, you can find them here:

Ink and Bone

Paper and Fire

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Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

ink and bone
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

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Ink and Bone Website…Check It OUT!

ink and bone

Just got a newsletter from Rachel Caine with a link to her new Ink and Bone website. Great goobley oobley! Caine has gone ALL OUT on this page, and it is drop dead gorgeous! The artwork is to die for, and there are lots of fun things to look at and read. A couple of videos to watch, too, though I haven’t had time for that, yet. You really should stop by. If this doesn’t make you want to read the book, I don’t know what would.

The Great Library

Top Ten Tuesday List: Summer Reading 2015

Top Ten Tuesdays are a fun meme, hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. The idea is to  feature lists related to all things bookish–characters, authors, titles, and favorites. What a neat way to find new and interesting books on all sorts of topics. Good way to discover bloggers who love the sorts of books you do, too.

Check out The Broke and The Bookish for their top ten and lists of other bloggers who participate! And maybe give it a try, yourselves.

The subject for June 16 is:  Top Ten Books On My Summer 2015 Reading List. Since I’ll be home recovering from foot surgery through all of August and probably into September, I might actually make some progress on these. So without further ado, here’s my list:

blue lily

1. Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater. This is the third book in The Raven Cycle series, which I adore. The first two books were among my favorite reads of the last couple of years, but then again, Maggie Steifvater is one of my very favorite writers, too. I’ve been taunting myself with this one for weeks, but saving it for some quiet, uninterrupted reading time.

hollowcity

2. Hollow City by Ransom Riggs. This is the sequel to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, a very creepy, totally bizarre book that I couldn’t explain to you if I tried. But don’t worry. There are photos. Really weird photos. Sort of like this one on the cover of Hollow City. I really liked the first story, and am looking forward to seeing what happens next.

kings mountain

3. King’s Mountain by Sharyn McCrumb. Most people who know me at all, know how much I love the Appalachian mountains. I’ve read nearly every Sharyn McCrumb book out there, because she writes about them so beautifully, and can’t wait to read this. They often have an element of supernatural to them, be it a wandering ghost or two, or a character with The  Sight. But not always. This one focuses on the Revolutionary War battle of King’s Mountain, a site I’ve visited, myself. I have no idea what the story line will be, but it’s Sharyn McCrumb. Good enough for me.

thewayofkings

4. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. I first discovered Brandon Sanderson with his novel The Alloy of Law. I enjoyed that book so much, I went back and read the earlier series it’s part of, The Mistborn Trilogy. Loved that, too. So I’m now working my way through all  of his books, and this one is Book 1 of the Stormlight Archive. I’m sold on Sanderson.

ink and bone

5. Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine. I loved Rachel Caine’s Weather Warden series, and the Outcast Season spinoff. I loved her YA Morganville Vampires series. Didn’t get into the Working Stiff one, but this book sounds like the start of something big. It deals with the great library of Alexandria, and the premise sounds loaded with possibilities. Can’t wait.

the veil

6. The Veil by Chloe Neill. I haven’t yet read a lot about this one, but frankly, Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland Vampires series is so darn good, I’ll give anything she writes a chance. Two words: Ethan Sullivan. Best vampire, EVER. So come August, I’ll be finding out what the Veil is all about.

makeme

7. Make Me by Lee Child. Jack Reacher. Enough said

cruciblezero

8. Crucible Zero by Devon Monk. Started reading Devon Monk’s House Immortal series, and found it very entertaining. I won’t try to explain the complicated premise, except to say the main characters are made up of Pieces/Parts…kind of like  Frankenstein, or maybe chicken nuggets, whichever you prefer. 🙂 It’s not quite as icky as it sounds, and I’m quite looking forward to this next volume.

color of magic

9. The Entire Discworld Series by Sir Terry Pratchett. After discovering the  Wee, Free Men a year or so ago, I knew I wanted to read more of Pratchett’s famous Discworld series, and I’ve finally started. I’m on The  Wyrd Sisters, which is Book 6, and plan to keep on reading straight through. Yes, all 763 books. Or so. 🙂 Hilarious beyond belief. I’m very fond of Rincewind, Death, and maybe most of all, The Luggage. A concept that makes me laugh every time it trundles onto the page, using all it’s teeny-tiny feet. Not to be missed. (Not that I’ll finish the whole series this summer, you  understand. But I plan to make a good dent in it.

aeronauts windlass

10. The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim  Butcher. Saved the best for last! You can’t have spent much time around here and not know that Butcher’s Dresden Files series is my favorite Urban Fantasy series of all time. Jim Butcher RULES. And Jim Butcher plus Steampunk? I’ve died and gone to heaven! (Even though this new series has no doubt slowed down the next Dresden book. But if it’s as good as I’m guessing, I’ll try to forgive him. )

And there you have it. Hope you find something new and interesting to check out.

My Top Ten Urban Fantasy Series

storm front

Was thinking yesterday about all the great Urban Fantasy series there are out there, and decided to make a list of my very favorites. I tried to list them in order, and then realized that they tend to shift up and down the list a bit, based on the latest book, or a current favorite plot twist, perhaps. All except one. I’m sure it’s no surprise to those of you who have been following this blog for a while. My number one all time favorite Urban Fantasy series has never changed. Why? Because none of the rest appeal to me quite as much, in spite of the fact that I love some of them like crazy. Here they are, in order from first to…everything else. 🙂

1. The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher: The best characters, good and bad, best plot lines, best adventures, best…and longest drawn out…love affair)

2. Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz: Yes, he’s a master of horror, but while the Odd Thomas books can be scary, they are so much more than that…funny, endearing, hopeful, and poised on the edge of redemption, since I haven’t read the last one yet. Been saving it for just the right moment.

3. The October Daye series by Seanan McGuire: Toby Daye’s world of the fae is filled with all the Celtic legends a person could imagine: selkies,  kelpies, mermaids and mermen, The Luidaeg or sea hag, barghests, trolls, and all the high Queens and Kings of the Fae, complete with their courts and the attendant political intrigue and discord. There are banshees and barrow wights, kitsunes and Tylwyth Teg, and best of all for a cat lover, the Cait Sidhe, led by Tybalt, King of Cats. And all set in  San Francisco! *sigh* It’s a world like no other!

4. The Chicagoland Vampires series by Chloe Neill: Talk about political intrigue…those obsessive, control freaks, the vampires, pretty much outdo every other supernatural being when it comes to mind games and power plays. I love how well it’s done in these books, but most of all, I love the liege of Cadogan House, 400-year-old vampire,  Ethan Sullivan. Best. Vampire. EVER. He and his house Sentinel, Merit, are a couple to be reckoned with, though it took them a few books to get to that point. A solidly entertaining and satisfying series.

5. The Alpha & Omega series by Patricia Briggs: This one is a spin-off of the popular Mercy Thompson series, mostly about shifters and skinwalkers, though a few other creatures pop in now and then for good measure. While I very much enjoy the Mercy books, I think the Alpha & Omega books are even better. I’m very partial to Charles and Anna, largely because angsty, somewhat frightening men are interesting (as long as they aren’t actually hurting innocent people or battering their women around, of course), and this was the first series to introduce me to the concept of an Omega wolf. It’s extremely well done and never fails to hold my interest to the last word.

6. The Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews:  This one has it all, too. Shifters and magic, horrible, totally non-sparkly OR sexy vampires, and all sorts of complex shenanigans going on. But mostly, it has Kate and her love, Curran, who just happens to be a lion when the mood strikes him. There’s a healthy dose of humor, which I love, and which Kate uses to keep; “his furriness” in line. I’ve enjoyed every single book in this series, and am always looking for the next one.

7. The Weather Wardens by  Rachel Caine: This one wrapped up a couple of years ago, but it was one of the most original concepts I’ve come across. The weather wardens keep the earth safe and spinning smoothly, controlling rain, storms, floods, fire, earthquakes, etc, to the best of their ability. They can’t eliminate these things, but they can shape them, soften them, steer them a bit, and otherwise try to blunt the trauma wrought by Mother Nature, who is always trying to scrape humanity off  the surface of the planet. And did I mention there are djinn? Oh, I love djinn. Especially David, who is the love interest in this series. It’s a fun, action-packed romp, and the 4-book spinoff series, The Outcast Season, is equally entertaining.

8. The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater: This is a YA series that is profoundly moving and beautiful. Stiefvater’s writing is second to none to my mind. Lyrical, strong, and often heart-wrenching, without being maudlin, it will suck you in and wring you out! I’ve read the first two books, and have the third lying right next to the final Odd Thomas book. I’m torturing myself with them, daily, but soooooon. Sooooooon, my precious! I WILL read them, and mourn them when I’m done. If you’ve never read Maggie Stiefvater, I recommend starting with The Scorpio Races, a book so beautiful and dark, it will speak to your heart in shivery whispers you won’t soon forget.

9. The World of the Lupi series: Eileen Wilks: Shifters with intriguing pack politics, power struggles, and romance, all done better than most, by far. Interesting secondary characters, and complex plotting make this series a solid standout, book after book.

10. Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs: Mentioned above, this is a solid series featuring Mercy, who is a coyote skin-walker, and a host of other interesting characters, including the occasional vampire and troll. Some Native American lore here and there, and enough drama to make it all very interesting, and all of it, very well done.

Ooops…did I say TEN? Surely I meant FIFTEEN? And since they are ALL tied for second place after The Dresden Files, it doesn’t matter too much, anyway.

11. The Rachel Morgan series by Kim Harrison: This one is at the top of most lists, and I admit that I enjoyed it very much, and looked forward to each book, but I can’t put it at the top of mine because there were some things…and some characters…I just didn’t like. Don’t get me wrong…the series was still worth reading every single book, but I can’t quite rate it as highly as I have some others. I’ve reviewed enough of these books that some of you already know the things that annoyed me, so I’m not going into that here. But suffice it to say, no self-respecting list of good Urban Fantasy would be without these books. And Trent Kalamack will always be a favorite character of mine, as will the demon Algaliarept, and the obnoxiously funny pixie, Jenks.

12. The Leandros Brothers by Rob Thurmon: I’m adding a caveat to this series. It was one of my very top favorites…until it wasn’t. Things happened, and I found I wasn’t enjoying the new direction the books seemed to take. So I was hesitant to mention it in this list. However, if I’m honest, I got enough enjoyment, shivers, AND snarky laughs out of the first 7 or 8 books to warrant including it, even if I won’t be reading any more. Cal Leandros was a character I truly adored for a long time, and I won’t forget the books I loved, though I’ll try to forget the ones I didn’t.

13. Tales from the Nightside series by Simon R. Green: These quirky, off-the-wall, sometimes hilarious, sometimes horrifying books are like nothing elses out there. Noir meets Poe meets King, perhaps. Just bizarre, and filled with wonderful characters like John Taylor, Private Eye…who actually HAS a private…EYE. And Dead Boy, and Suzie Shooter. Oh, there’s no way to describe all of them. You’ll just have to visit the Nightside yourself…that world beneath London, where it’s always three o’clock in the morning, the hour of the wolf, when most people die, and most babies are born. You want shivers? Head to the Nightside.

14. The Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine: Another YA series, but one with such a well-done cast of characters, and entertaining plot lines, I just couldn’t leave it out. I devoured every single book, because…hello? Town run by vampires. You can get in, but you can’t get out. And yet, the good guys never give up, and their way of making it all work is totally believable. Assuming you’re the kind who can believe in vampires at all for the duration of a book. Solid writing, unexpected twists, and a very satisfying ending to the series.

15. Monster Hunters International by Larry Correia: Non-stop action from page one right through the series. This is serious, kick-butt and take no names stuff. A manly kinda supernatural series, with plenty of things that go bang and boom and give off a lot of smoke. Manly, yes, but I like it, too! 😉 Fun. That’s it in a nutshell.

And there you have it, folks. Fifteen terrific Urban Fantasy series, with something to please just about everyone. Hope there are one or two in the list you haven’t yet tried. Check ’em out! Tell ’em Marcia sent ya!

😀

Dean Koontz's Odd Thomas Cover

Daylighters by Rachel Caine

daylighters

My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Okay, let’s get the obvious out of the way right up front. Yes, this is a Young Adult series. Yes, it is about vampires. And yes, there are some teenagers involved. But that’s where the similarities to other teen vampire books ends. First of all, Read more…

Unbroken by Rachel Caine

Rachel Caine's Unbroken Cover

My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

A TERRIFIC finish to the Outcast Season series, a spin-off from the Weather Warden books. Cassiel really came into her own through these four books, and my only complaint is that with this final Outcast Season book,  the whole Read more…

The Weather Warden Series by Rachel Caine

Rachel Caine's Ill Wind Cover

My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Rachel Caine is one of my favorite Urban Fantasy authors, just because her books are so much fun.  Filled with loads of action and just enough romance to suit me perfectly,  almost all of her series have been great reads.  Based on the fun factor and good, solid writing, I’m giving Ill Wind and each of the other 8 books in the Weather Warden series, 5 stars.  They may not be Read more…

Those Who Fight Monsters by Justin Gustainis

Justin Gustainis' Those Who Fight Monsters Cover

MY RATING:  3 of 5 Stars

Another fun anthology, my favorite type of book for “cleansing my palate” between novels of any sort. As is usually the case, some of these short stories were much better than others, but only a couple were truly bad to my mind, so overall, I enjoyed the book.

There is a real trick to Read more…

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