Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Fantasy Review: Autumn Republic (Powder Mage #3) by Brian McClelland

The Autumn Republic (Powder Mage #3)
by Brian McClellan

Description:
The capital has fallen...
Field Marshal Tamas returns to his beloved country to find that for the first time in history, the capital city of Adro lies in the hands of a foreign invader. His son is missing, his allies are indistinguishable from his foes, and reinforcements are several weeks away.

An army divided...
With the Kez still bearing down upon them and without clear leadership, the Adran army has turned against itself. Inspector Adamat is drawn into the very heart of this new mutiny with promises of finding his kidnapped son.

All hope rests with one...
And Taniel Two-shot, hunted by men he once thought his friends, must safeguard the only chance Adro has of getting through this war without being destroyed...

THE AUTUMN REPUBLIC is the epic conclusion that began with Promise of Blood and The Crimson Campaign.

My Review:
A solid conclusion to the Powder Mage Trilogy.

Inspector Adamat was a delight in this one, though I very much enjoyed Bo and Mila. Taniel didn’t play as strong of a role as I’d hoped, and Tamas’s character seemed a bit weaker in this one. Still, I felt connected with all of them.

Everything converges into a surprising but satisfying outcome. All the intrigue in Adopest, most uncovered by the diligent and gifted Adamat, pulls it all together.

Overall, I loved this book and the trilogy. Strongly recommended.

I purchased my copy of this book.

About the Author:
Brian McClellan is an epic fantasy author. He studied writing under Brandon Sanderson and Orson Scott Card and was an honorable mention in the Writers of the Future Contest.

Brian is an avid player of video games and reader of epic novels and history. His hobbies include making homemade jam from local berries and tending to his hive of honeybees. He lives in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife, two dogs, and cat.

Author Links:
Website
Twitter @briantmcclellan
Goodreads

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Sci-fi Thriller Review: Split Second by Douglas E. Richards

Split Second
by Douglas E. Richards

Description:
What if you found a way to send something back in time? But not millions of years back, to the age of the dinosaur. Not a day back. Not even a minute back.

What if you could only send something back less than the blink of an eye? Would this be of any use? You wouldn't have nearly enough time to right a wrong, change an event, or win a lottery.

Nathan Wexler is a brilliant physicist who thinks he's found a way to send matter a split second back into the past. But before he can even confirm his findings, he and his wife-to-be, Jenna Morrison, find themselves in a battle for their very lives. Because while time travel to an instant earlier seems useless, Jenna comes to learn that no capability in history has ever been more profound or far-reaching.

Now, as Jenna fights to defeat the powerful forces arrayed against her, nothing less than the fate of humanity hangs in the balance. . .


My Review:
Split Second was a pleasant surprise. I picked it up because I was in the mood for a thriller, and I couldn’t resist a thriller paired with time travel.

This one turned out to be hard science fiction. Nearly as much attention given to the real and fictional science as to the plot and characters, but it all worked really well. I must say I enjoyed this tremendously.

The twist on time travel in this book was like nothing I’ve read elsewhere. Kind of hard to wrap your mind around, but very well done in the context of this book. I’m still reeling from the conclusion. Should I be happy? Sad? Confused? I think I’m all three, but in a good way.

I recommend this to folks who love science fiction, thrillers and time travel based in scientific theory.

I purchased my copy of this book.


About the Author:

 
Douglas E. Richards was born on May 7th, 1962. He grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio with his parents and his sister, Pam. He went to Finneytown High School, and then graduated with a degree in microbiology from Ohio State University, a master's degree in molecular biology from the University of Wisconsin, and a master's degree in business administration from the University of Chicago.

Douglas now lives in San Diego, California with his wife, Kelly, his two children, and his two dogs.



Sound like something you'd like?
Pick up a copy of your own or find more books by this author on Amazon.



Tuesday, October 17, 2017

New Release: Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak

Seven Days of Us
by Francesca Hornak

Release Date: 17OCT2017

Description:
A warm, wry, sharply observed debut novel about what happens when a family is forced to spend a week together in quarantine over the holidays...

It’s Christmas, and for the first time in years the entire Birch family will be under one roof. Even Emma and Andrew’s elder daughter—who is usually off saving the world—will be joining them at Weyfield Hall, their aging country estate. But Olivia, a doctor, is only coming home because she has to. Having just returned from treating an epidemic abroad, she’s been told she must stay in quarantine for a week…and so too should her family.

For the next seven days, the Birches are locked down, cut off from the rest of humanity—and even decent Wi-Fi—and forced into each other’s orbits. Younger, unabashedly frivolous daughter Phoebe is fixated on her upcoming wedding, while Olivia deals with the culture shock of being immersed in first-world problems.

As Andrew sequesters himself in his study writing scathing restaurant reviews and remembering his glory days as a war correspondent, Emma hides a secret that will turn the whole family upside down.
In close proximity, not much can stay hidden for long, and as revelations and long-held tensions come to light, nothing is more shocking than the unexpected guest who’s about to arrive…


My Review:
Seven Days of us is a family drama centering around a family Christmas gathering. The Birches are under quarantine until it is confirmed their daughter, Olivia, hasn’t contracted the deadly Haag virus during her humanitarian efforts abroad. But it isn’t long before close kept secrets start coming to light, making for an awkward lock down.

I thought the story was very well done. The different characters, each of which takes turns as the focus of the story, are realistic and interesting. I enjoyed the build of tension as things progressed, but there were a lot of people to keep track of.

As a novel originating in Britain, I found it pretty well adapted for US readers. Most of the prose feels US, while the UK remains in the dialog of its British characters. It’s a comfortable balance.

As for originality, well, this strongly reminded me of some of the books I’ve read for book club. Common themes are explored through the eyes of the characters to good effect. Throughout the read, I found the tone and delivery somewhere between Everything I Never Told You and Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons, both of which I enjoyed. I must admit, though, that I was disappointed in the outcome. It seemed on track for something upbeat and uplifting, but left me feeling a little down instead.

Overall, I really liked this story. I think folks who enjoy family dramas would like this. I also think this would make an excellent choice for book clubs. It’s deep enough for discussion, but still a rather straightforward and quick read.

I received an advance review copy of this book from NetGalley.


About the Author:


Francesca Hornak is a British author, journalist and former columnist for the Sunday Times. Her debut novel Seven Days Of Us will be published by Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House, in October 2017. Little Island Productions has pre-empted TV rights to the book.

Francesca's work has appeared in newspapers and magazines including The Sunday Times, The Guardian, Metro, Elle, Grazia, Stylist, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan and Red. She is the author of two nonfiction books, History of the World in 100 Modern Objects: Middle Class Stuff (and Nonsense) and Worry with Mother: 101 Neuroses for the Modern Mama.

Twitter: @FrancescaHornak

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Fantasy Review: Crimson Campaign (Powder Mage #2) by Brian McClellan

The Crimson Campaign (Powder Mage #2)
by Brian McClellan

Description:
The hounds at our heels will soon know we are lions

Tamas's invasion of Kez ends in disaster when a Kez counter-offensive leaves him cut off behind enemy lines with only a fraction of his army, no supplies, and no hope of reinforcements. Drastically outnumbered and pursued by the enemy's best, he must lead his men on a reckless march through northern Kez to safety, and back over the mountains so that he can defend his country from an angry god.

In Adro, Inspector Adamat only wants to rescue his wife. To do so he must track down and confront the evil Lord Vetas. He has questions for Vetas concerning his enigmatic master, but the answers might come too quickly.

With Tamas and his powder cabal presumed dead, Taniel Two-shot finds himself alongside the god-chef Mihali as the last line of defence against Kresimir's advancing army. Tamas's generals bicker among themselves, the brigades lose ground every day beneath the Kez onslaught, and Kresimir wants the head of the man who shot him in the eye.

My Review:
This was a great book. Lots more battles, some intrigue, and a couple of surprising newcomers.

Taniel, Tamas and Adamat carry the bulk of the story on three different fronts. I thought each one well-thought out and paced, but the book flips between them constantly, so it can be annoying when you’re getting into one of them.

I loved the blend of black powder technology and magic. Overall, I’d recommend this to fans of fantasy who want something a little different.

I purchased my copy of this book.

About the Author:
Brian McClellan is an epic fantasy author. He studied writing under Brandon Sanderson and Orson Scott Card and was an honorable mention in the Writers of the Future Contest.

Brian is an avid player of video games and reader of epic novels and history. His hobbies include making homemade jam from local berries and tending to his hive of honeybees. He lives in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife, two dogs, and cat.

Author Links:
Website
Twitter @briantmcclellan
Goodreads

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Find more books by this author on Amazon.

Monday, October 2, 2017

New Release Review: Select by Marit Weisenberg

Select
by Marit Weisenberg

Genre: YA Paranormal
Expected Publication: October 2, 2017 by Charlesbridge Teen

Description:
Coming from a race of highly-evolved humans, Julia Jaynes has the perfect life. The perfect family. The perfect destiny. But there’s something rotten beneath the surface—dangerous secrets her father is keeping; abilities she was never meant to have; and an elite society of people determined to keep their talents hidden and who care nothing for the rest of humanity. So when Julia accidentally disrupts the Jaynes’ delicate anonymity, she’s banished to the one place meant to make her feel inferior: public high school.

Julia’s goal is to lay low and blend in. Then she meets him—John Ford, tennis prodigy, all-around good guy. When Julia discovers a knack for reading his mind, and also manipulating his life, school suddenly becomes a temporary escape from the cold grip of her manipulative father. But as Julia’s powers over John grow, so do her feelings. For the first time in her life, Julia begins to develop a sense of self, to question her restrictive upbringing and her family prejudices. She must decide: can a perfect love be worth more than a perfect life?


My Review:
Select is a paranormal romance about Julia, a girl who’s banished to public high school for nearly blowing her family’s cover, and John, a broken tennis prodigy whose soul calls to hers.

I absolutely adored this book. The romance itself was sweet and yet still believable. And despite an immediate connection, there was no instalove. The progression felt natural and right. Adding in the supernatural complications only made this harder to put down.

I also welcomed the complexity of many of the supporting characters. Angus, Liv, Novak, and even John’s brother, all surprised me to one degree or another. I’d have them figured out and then they’d do something unexpected, but still in character. I think the author did a great job giving them unique voices.

Still, this was light enough of a read to be enjoyable without having to work for it.
So overall, I loved this book. I’d highly recommend this to fans of YA and paranormal romance. Young love, a bit of magic (sort of), and plenty of drama make this quite a read.

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley.


Intrigued? Pick up a copy on Amazon.