June 26, 2012

Review: City of Fallen Angels, by Cassandra Clare

Author: Cassandra Clare
Title:  City of Fallen Angels
Series: The Mortal Instruments (#4)
ISBN: 9781442403543
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Buy your copy: Hardcover | Paperback | Kindle

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“The Mortal War is over, and sixteen-year-old Clary Fray is back home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her. She's training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power. Her mother is getting married to the love of her life. Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at last. And--most importantly of all--she can finally call Jace her boyfriend. But nothing comes without a price.

Someone is murdering Shadowhunters, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second, bloody war. Clary's best friend, Simon, can't help her. His mother just found out that he's a vampire and now he's homeless. Everywhere he turns, someone wants him on their side--along with the power of the curse that's wrecking his life. And they're willing to do anything to get what they want. Not to mention that he's dating two beautiful, dangerous girls--neither of whom knows about the other one.

When Jace begins to pull away from her without explaining why, Clary is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: she herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves. Even Jace.

Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge. The stakes are higher than ever in "City of Fallen Angels."
” GoodReads’ blurb

It’s taken me over two months to get through this book. I got started, gave up, started up again, fell asleep... Rinse and repeat. Hopefully, the review will be easier to deal with.

June 24, 2012

Review: The Way of the Black Beast, by Stuart Jaffe

Author: Stuart Jaffe
Title:  The Way of the Black Beast
ISBN: 9781466321847
Publisher: Stuart Jaffe (September 2011)
Disclaimer: Received for review purposes

Buy your copy: Kindle | Paperback

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Malja wants answers. She wants to know why the two most powerful magicians in all of Corlin ripped her from her mother's arms, raised her only to fight, and then tossed her away to die at age ten. She wants to know why they are trying to recreate the spells which caused the Devastation that wiped out most of the world's population, leaving behind skeletal cities and abandoned technology. And she wants to kill them.

With Tommy, an orphan bearing the tattoos of a sorcerer, she crosses this shattered land. Despite the challenges they face -- crazed magicians, guitar-playing assassins, mutated beasts -- Malja pursues her vengeance with a single-mindedness that may destroy all she holds dear, forcing her to make a terrible choice between the family she lost and the one she has built.
” GoodReads’ blurb

I’m not sure what I was expecting to find when I began reading The Way of the Black Beast. I suppose, in a way, I was ready to discover an entertaining, somewhat typical story with your classical fantasy world and larger-than-life heroine. 

When was the last time I was this wrong again?  

June 22, 2012


Fandom: Vampire Knight (Manga)
Author: Hino Matsuri
Genre: Shoujo | Mystery | Supernatural
Status: Ongoing (2005)

Cross Academy is attended by two groups of students: the Day Class and the Night Class. At twilight, when the students of the Day Class return to their dorm, they cross paths with the Night Class on their way to school. Yuki Cross and Zero Kiryu are the Guardians of the school, there to protect the Day Class from the Academy's dark secret: the Night Class is full of vampires. (Manga summary)

Title: Crimson Door
Author: Blackened Wing
Must have read original: Not necessary. Deviates after ch. 32 and is clear enough anyway.
Status: Complete (2008)
Rating: M
Genre: Hurt / Comfort / Angst

Kaname's enemies concoct a dark plot to get to the pureblood through Yuki and Zero, putting all three in grave danger. Zero is left half dead and Kaname in the hands of sadistic captors. Only Kaname can give Zero what he needs to stay alive, and perhaps only Zero can save the pureblood from a fate worse than death… if only both of them can keep from killing each other first. (Fanfiction summary)

I might have to give some warnings here: one, this is a couple of guys; two, there’s enough angst to surpass Jace himself from The Mortal Instruments; three, it’s a long fic. 

I also have to say something else about this piece: I’ve actually re-read it. It’s that good. 

June 19, 2012

Review: Queen of the Dead, by Stacey Kade

Author: Stacey Kade
Title:  Queen of the Dead
Series: The Ghost and the Goth (#2)
ISBN: 9781423134671
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH (May 31st 2011)

Buy your copy: Hardcover | Paperback

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“After being sent back from the light, Alona Dare - former homecoming queen, current Queen of the Dead - finds herself doing something she never expected: working. Instead of spending days perfecting her tan by the pool (her typical summer routine when she was, you know, alive), Alona must now cater to the needs of other lost spirits. By her side for all of this - ugh - “helping of others” is Will Killian: social outcast, seer of the dead, and someone Alona cares about more than she’d like.

Before Alona can make a final ruling on Will’s “friend” or “more” status, though, she discovers trouble at home. Her mom is tossing out Alona’s most valuable possessions, and her dad is expecting a new daughter with his wicked wife. Is it possible her family is already moving on? Hello! She’s only been dead for two months! Thankfully, Alona knows just the guy who can put a stop to this mess.

Unfortunately for Alona, Will has other stuff on his mind, and Mina, a young (and beautiful) seer, is at the top of the list. She’s the first ghost-talker Will’s ever met—aside from his father—and she may hold answers to Will’s troubled past. But can she be trusted? Alona immediately puts a check mark in the “clearly not” column. But Will is - ahem - willing to find out, even if it means leaving a hurt and angry Alona to her own devices, which is never a good idea.

Packed with romance, lovable characters, and a killer cliffhanger, Queen of the Dead is the out-of-this-world sequel to The Ghost and the Goth”
GoodReads’ blurb

Living up to The Ghost and the Goth wasn’t easy at all, and I think Queen of the Dead suffered from some middle-book syndrome, but I still loved getting back to Will and Alona. Even though half the time I wanted to smack Will over the head, and though I couldn’t help siding with Alona this time.

Anyway, let’s try to explain things a little.

June 18, 2012

Review: Predestined, by Abbi Glines

Author: Abbi Glines
Title:  Predestined
Series: Existence (#2)
ASIN: B007Q3O7C6
Publisher: (March 29th 2012)

Buy your copy: Kindle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“You would think after helping save her boyfriend from an eternity in Hell that things would go back to normal. Well, as normal as life can be when you can see souls and your boyfriend is Death. But for Pagan Moore, things are just getting weirder.

The high school quarterback and reigning heartthrob, Leif Montgomery, is missing. While the town is in a frenzy of worry, Pagan is a nervous wreck for other reasons. Apparently good ‘ol Leif isn’t your average teenage boy. He isn’t even human. According to Death, Leif doesn’t have a soul. The quarterback may have skipped town but he’s still showing up in Pagan’s dreams... uninvited.

Dank has known from the beginning Leif wasn’t human. But he hadn’t worried about a simple soulless creature. Now, he realizes he made a grave mistake. Pagan’s soul has been marked since birth as a restitution, to a spirit so dark not even Death walks near it. Dank knows saving Pagan’s soul won’t be easy but Pagan is his. And he’s already proven he’ll defy Heaven to keep her. If Hell wants a piece of him too, then bring it on.
” GoodReads’ blurb

I read Existence. I liked it, I could see how it’d appeal to a lot of paranormal readers, but there were a couple of things that didn’t quite click with me.  Back then, I wanted to read Predestined, but I could wait.

Now, I’m officially counting the days for Existence #3 release date.

June 15, 2012


So, I've been thinking. What if I started a new feature? Yes, I know you're all busy with Follow Fridays and what nots, and they are nice, but I'd like to share something different.

You see, I love fanfiction. I started writing in there, and I spent a long time reading fanfic in my computer before I got my e-reader (shelf space has been a rare commodity in my place... since I was 14), and some of the fics out there I'd pay to read them, I swear.

Actually, while I do have a hefty pile of TBR and checking my schedule sometimes induces vertigo, I find myself drifting back into fanfiction from time to time. It's the perfect way to sooth an itch, and you can find almost anything you're in the mood for.

You can even find something good, really. There are some talented people out there, and who hasn't had a "what if" moment? Perhaps you'd not like to commit to a 100K unedited manuscript when you have book waiting for you, but wouldn't you like to read about "that" perfect scene that's been playing around in your head for ages about Alec and Magnus? Or what if Tessa hadn't loved Will, but Jem?

The Hunger Games? Vampire Academy? That sucky ending of the Inheritance cycle?

And what if someone could point you straight to the good stories, without having to sort through them yourself?

Yep. That's my point. I want to talk about fanfiction, and about fanfiction writers, and to point readers to places where they can get as much satisfaction as if they had brought a new installment of their favorite series. Knowing me, mostly I'll talk about games and manga, but there'll also be books... and besides, that's where you get to help as well.

What do you say? Meet me next friday for the first recommendation?

June 13, 2012

Indie Author Blog Hop

So! Giveaway time. Again? Yes, again. I like debuts, and you know I love indie. Thanks to I am A Areader not a Writer and to Krazy Book Lady for hosting... and let's move on to what YOU actually want to hear, hmm? That's right! The prizes!

June 12, 2012

Review: The Fuller Memorandum, by Charles Stross

Author: Charles Stross
Title:  The Fuller Memorandum               
Series: The Laundry Files (#3)
ISBN: 9780441018673
Publisher: Ace (July 6th 2012)

Buy your copy: Kindle
 | Paperback

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Bob Howard is taking a much needed break from the field to catch up on his filing in The Laundry's archives when a top secret dossier known as The Fuller Memorandum vanishes-along with his boss, who the agency's executives believe stole the file.
Determined to discover exactly what the memorandum contained, Bob runs afoul of Russian agents, ancient demons, and the apostles of a hideous faith, who have plans to raise a very unpleasant undead entity known as the Eater of Souls...
” GoodReads’ blurb

So... We’re back to Bob.

He still rocks.

That said, though, the Fuller Memorandum  didn’t hold my attention as much as the two first books. Well... Wait, that’s not correct.

June 11, 2012

Review: The Brotherhood of Piaxia, by Michael Drakich

Author: Michael Drakich
Title: The Brotherhood of Piaxia
ISBN: 9780987770608
Publisher: Drakich (March 15th 2012)
Disclaimer: Copy received for review purposes.

Buy your copy: Kindle

My rating: 2 of  5

“Years have passed since the overthrow of the monarchy by the Brotherhood of Warlocks and they rule Piaxia in peaceful accord. But now forces are at work to disrupt this rule from outside the Brotherhood as well as within! Follow Tarlok, Savan and Tessia as their paths intertwine, with the Brotherhood in pursuit and the powerful merchant’s guild manipulating the populace for their own end.” GoodReads’ blurb

This was a pleasant foray back into fantasy lands for me. It had been a while, and even longer since I read a book fitting the characteristics of The Brotherhood of Piaxia.

If I had to define the book in one line, I’d say that it’s the kind of read that will get you hooked to the genre for the first time and will make you roll your eyes when  you get back to it, years later. This is by no means “bad”: I’d put a lot of novels in that category, starting with the famous and beloved Drizzt series by Salvatore, so please don’t understand that to mean that there’s not potential, because the makings are there.

June 8, 2012

Review: Overtime, by Charles Stross

Author: Charles Stross
Title: Overtime
Series: Laundry Files (#2.5 (2))
Publisher: Tor (June 2nd 2010)

Buy your copy: Kindle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Introduced to readers in the novels The Atrocity Archive and The Jennifer Morgue, the Laundry is a secret British government agency charged with preventing dark interdimensional entities from destroying the human race.  Now, in "Overtime," the Laundry is on a skeleton staff for Christmas — leaving one bureaucrat to be all that stands between the world and annihilation by the Thing That Comes Down Chimneys. Written especially for Tor.com’s holiday season, Charles Stross’s novelette is a finalist for the 2010 Hugo Award.   Charles Stross is the Hugo-winning author of some of the most acclaimed novels and stories of the last ten years, including Singularity Sky, Accelerando, Halting State, the "Merchant Princes" series beginning with The Family Trade, and the story collections Toast and Wireless” GoodReads’ blurb

Supershort review, since this is only a novelette written for a Christmas Tor compilation, but since it’s written in one of the best universes ever (The Laundry Files, in case there was room for doubt) I had to leave a comment about it.

The Laundry started with The Atrocity Archives (my review here) and followed up brilliantly with The Jennifer Morgue (my review is here) which was a wonderful satire of good old James Bond movies.

June 7, 2012

Debut Author Hop

So, giveaway time. More importantly, Debut Author giveaway. And... no, I'm not gong to give away my own book (though you can win it if you enter the GoodReads giveaway, and it's my debut). Instead, I'm going to give you one great book that I just know heralds the beginnings of a great career... I've picked three titles that match those requirements, and you can pick your favorite. Here, check out the options:


To enter, just fill the form below. Then, you can hop on to the other participating blogs. Good luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

June 6, 2012

VBT Review: A Fall of Water, by Elizabeth Hunter

Author: Elizabeth Hunter
Title: A Fall of Water
Series: Elemental Mysteries (#4)
Publisher: E. Hunter (June 5th 2012)
Disclaimer: Copy received for review purposes

Buy your copy: Kindle | Paperback

My rating:  5 of 5 stars

““No secret stays hidden forever.”

Still grieving from their loss in the far East, Giovanni Vecchio and Beatrice De Novo discover that for them, all roads really do lead to Rome. But nothing is quite as it seems in the Eternal City. Joined by Carwyn and Tenzin, unexpected clashes greet them almost immediately, and rivalries churn beneath the glittering facade of the old Roman court. They quickly realize that allies might be enemies, and ancient rivals could hold the key to a deadly secret.

Giovanni and Beatrice will be forced to call on old alliances, ancient power, and fierce cunning to survive for the eternity they both desire. Sometimes, finding the end means going back to the beginning. Fire, Earth, Wind, and Water finally meet with devastating results in the conclusion of the Elemental Mysteries
” GoodReads’ blurb

I want to complain because Gio and B’s story is over. I know it’s not original, because everyone who knows anything about them feels exactly the same way after reading A Fall of Water... but I’m still going to say that I’m sorry to say goodbye to this cast. 

As usual, I’m going to try to write this review without giving away anything... and as usual, this task is particularly difficult with Elemental Mysteries. That’s testament to how solid the story is: each thread is so tightly woven into the tapestry that pulling just one would unravel the whole thing, and spoil a thing of beauty in the process.