Review: Dragon Coast, by Greg Van Eekhout

Dragon Coast, by Greg Van Eekhout

Dragon Coast by Greg Van Eekhout
Published by Tor Books on September 15, 2015
Series: Daniel Blackland, #3
Genre(s): fiction, adventure, dystopia, fantasy, young adult
Format & Length: hardcover, 320
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Purchase at AmazonBarnes & Noble

Dragon Coast: the sequel to Greg Van Eekhout’s California Bones and Pacific Fire, in which Daniel Blackland must pull off the most improbable theft of all.

Daniel’s adopted son Sam, made from the magical essence of the tyrannical Hierarch of Southern California whom Daniel overthrew and killed, is lost-consumed by the great Pacific firedrake secretly assembled by Daniel’s half-brother, Paul.

But Sam is still alive and aware, in magical form, trapped inside the dragon as it rampages around Los Angeles, periodically torching a neighborhood or two.

Daniel has a plan to rescue Sam. It will involve the rarest of substances, axis mundi, pieces of the bones of the great dragon at the center of the Earth. Daniel will have to go to the kingdom of Northern California, boldly posing as his half-brother, come to claim his place in the competition to be appointed Lord High Osteomancer of the Northern Kingdom. Only when the Northern Hierarch, in her throne room at Golden Gate Park, raises her scepter to confirm Daniel in his position will he have an opportunity to steal the axis mundi-under the gaze of the Hierarch herself.

And that’s just the first obstacle.

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Review: The Liberty Box, by C.A. Gray

The Liberty Box, by C.A. Gray

The Liberty Box by C.A. Gray
Published by Wanderlust Publishing on May 19, 2016
Series: The Liberty Box, #1
Genre(s): fiction, dystopia, science fiction, young adult
Format & Length: audiobook, 6:38:00
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Purchase at AmazonBarnes & Noble, Book Depository

Kate Brandeis has it all: a famous reporter at the age of twenty-four, she’s the face of the Republic of the Americas. She has a loving fiancee and all the success she could wish for. But when she learns of the death of a long-forgotten friend, her investigations unravel her perfect memories, forcing her to face the fact that she’s been living a lie.

Jackson MacNamera, trained from a young age in the art of mind control, returns to the Republic for his mother’s funeral. Within a few hours of his arrival, authorities collect Jackson and take him by force to a room ironically called The Liberty Box, where he must choose between surrendering his thoughts to the new Republic, or fleeing for his freedom.

Kate, bereaved and confused, finds her way to a cave community of refugees, where Jackson seems to offer her an escape from her grief. The two forge an uneasy bond, and in the process Jackson learns that Kate has some insight which may help the hunters in their attempt to free other citizens from the tyranny of the Potentate. Against the expressed wishes of the Council, the hunters plot a series of daring raids, attempting to prove that not only is freedom possible, but that the citizens are not too far gone to desire it. But with the odds so stacked against them, can the refugees succeed in their rescue missions right under the Potentate’s nose?

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Review: The Stone Sky, by N.K. Jemisin

The Stone Sky, by N.K. Jemisin

The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin
Published by Orbit on August 15, 2017
Series: The Broken Earth, #3
Genre(s): fiction, dystopia, fantasy, post-apocalyptic
Format & Length: paperback, 416
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Purchase at AmazonBarnes & Noble, Book Depository

THIS IS THE WAY THE WORLD ENDS… FOR THE LAST TIME.

The Moon will soon return. Whether this heralds the destruction of humankind or something worse will depend on two women.

Essun has inherited the power of Alabaster Tenring. With it, she hopes to find her daughter Nassun and forge a world in which every orogene child can grow up safe.

For Nassun, her mother’s mastery of the Obelisk Gate comes too late. She has seen the evil of the world, and accepted what her mother will not admit: that sometimes what is corrupt cannot be cleansed, only destroyed.

The remarkable conclusion to the post-apocalyptic and highly acclaimed trilogy that began with the multi-award-nominated The Fifth Season.

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Review: Drift Stumble Fall by M. Jonathan Lee

Drift Stumble Fall, by M. Jonathan Lee

Drift Stumble Fall by M. Jonathan Lee
Published by Hideaway Fall Ltd. on April 12, 2018 (expected)
Series: n/a
Genre(s): fiction, contemporary
Format & Length: paperback, 310
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Purchase at AmazonBarnes & Noble, Book Depository

Richard feels trapped in his hectic life of commitment and responsibility. From the daily mayhem of having young children, an exhausted wife and pushy in-laws who frequently outstay their welcome, Richards existence fills him with panic and resentment. The only place he can escape the dark cloud descending upon him is the bathroom, where he hides for hours on end, door locked, wondering how on earth he can escape.

Often staring out of his window, Richard enviously observes the tranquil life of Bill, his neighbour living in the bungalow across the road. From the outside, Bills world appears filled with comfort and peace. Yet underneath the apparent domestic bliss of both lives are lies, secrets, imperfections, sadness and suffering far greater than either could have imagined. Beneath the surface, a family tragedy has left Bill frozen in time and unable to move on. As he waits for a daughter who may never return, Bill watches Richards bustling family life and yearns for the joy it brings. As the two men watch each other from afar, it soon becomes apparent that other peoples lives are not always what they seem.

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Review: Ace of Shades, by Amanda Foody

Ace of Shades, by Amanda Foody

Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody
Published by Harlequin Teen on April 10, 2018 (expected)
Series: The Shadow Game, #1
Genre(s): fiction, fantasy, young adult
Format & Length: e-book, 384
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Purchase at AmazonBarnes & Noble, Book Depository

Welcome to the City of Sin, where casino families reign, gangs infest the streets…and secrets hide in every shadow.

Enne Salta was raised as a proper young lady, and no lady would willingly visit New Reynes, the so-called City of Sin. But when her mother goes missing, Enne must leave her finishing school—and her reputation—behind to follow her mother’s trail to the city where no one survives uncorrupted.

Frightened and alone, her only lead is a name: Levi Glaisyer. Unfortunately, Levi is not the gentleman she expected—he’s a street lord and con man. Levi is also only one payment away from cleaning up a rapidly unraveling investment scam, so he doesn’t have time to investigate a woman leading a dangerous double life. Enne’s offer of compensation, however, could be the solution to all his problems.

Their search for clues leads them through glamorous casinos, illicit cabarets and into the clutches of a ruthless Mafia donna. As Enne unearths an impossible secret about her past, Levi’s enemies catch up to them, ensnaring him in a vicious execution game where the players always lose. To save him, Enne will need to surrender herself to the city…

And she’ll need to play.

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Review: The Obelisk Gate, by N.K. Jemisin

The Obelisk Gate, by N.K. Jemisin

The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin
Published by Orbit on August 18, 2016
Series: The Broken Earth, #2
Genre(s): fiction, dystopia, fantasy, post-apocalyptic
Format & Length: paperback, 410
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Purchase at AmazonBarnes & Noble, Book Depository

THIS IS THE WAY THE WORLD ENDS… FOR THE LAST TIME.

The season of endings grows darker as civilization fades into the long cold night. Alabaster Tenring – madman, world-crusher, savior – has returned with a mission: to train his successor, Essun, and thus seal the fate of the Stillness forever.

It continues with a lost daughter, found by the enemy.

It continues with the obelisks, and an ancient mystery converging on answers at last.

The Stillness is the wall which stands against the flow of tradition, the spark of hope long buried under the thickening ashfall. And it will not be broken.

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Top 10 All-Time Favorite Mysteries

Top 10 all time favorite mysteries

If you’ve been following this blog for a bit, you’ll know mystery is one of my favorite genres. Ever since picking up my first Agatha Christie novel some twenty something years ago, the genre had me hooked and keeps me coming back time after time! Although some people think of mysteries as synonymous with detective fiction, I tend to use the classification more loosely to encompass stories that involve getting to the bottom of a puzzle or secret. So, the following list includes a variety of types of mysteries, from the classic whodunit to legal thriller and domestic suspense to psychological thriller.

Ready to see my picks?

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March Reading Recap

March Reading Recap

March was a great reading month for me! I read books in a wide variety of genres, from fantasy to contemporary to mystery and more. This month was a bit heavy on review copies for me, but I managed to fit in a few just for fun reads and books I’ve been looking forward to for some time now. Only one five star book this month, but that’s one better than February!

Ready to see the list?

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Review: Prodigy Prince, by Natasha Sapienza

Prodigy Prince, by Natasha Sapienza

Prodigy Prince by Natasha Sapienza
Published by Natasha Sapienza on September 19, 2017
Series: The Seven Covenant, #1
Genre(s): fiction, adventure, fantasy, young adult
Format & Length: e-book, 335
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Purchase at AmazonBarnes & Noble, Book Depository

At seventeen, all Prince Nuelle had ever known was safety and peace while living in the Supreme Palace of Zephoris.

But one night, his older brother, Tane, defies their father by traveling to a cursed land. Now Nuelle holds the signet-ring and carries more responsibility than even Tane bore. Thrust from the palace and sent to a knight-building academy, Nuelle must discover his purpose for the entire kingdom’s sake.

From his place of banishment, Prince Antikai has been exacting revenge through fear and rebellions. Nuelle has the potential to defeat him, but he needs the help of a powerful book called the Acumen, and six gifted youths.

Summoned by Antikai, shape-shifting beasts and other enemies hunt Nuelle and the Acumen. If either is destroyed, the faithful citizens in Zephoris will perish, and darkness will rule forever.

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Book vs. Movie: Red Sparrow, by Jason Matthews

Red Sparrow, by Jason Matthews

Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews
Published by Scribner on June 4, 2013
Series: Red Sparrow Trilogy, #1
Genre(s): fiction, mystery, thriller
Format & Pages: hardcover, 431
Find on Goodreads
Purchase at AmazonBarnes & Noble, Book Depository

In the grand spy-tale tradition of John le Carré comes this shocking thriller written with insider detail known only to a veteran CIA officer.

In present-day Russia, ruled by blue-eyed, unblinking President Vladimir Putin, Russian intelligence officer Dominika Egorova struggles to survive in the post-Soviet intelligence jungle. Ordered against her will to become a “Sparrow,” a trained seductress, Dominika is assigned to operate against Nathaniel Nash, a young CIA officer who handles the Agency’s most important Russian mole.

Spies have long relied on the “honey trap,” whereby vulnerable men and women are intimately compromised. Dominika learns these techniques of “sexpionage” in Russia’s secret “Sparrow School,” hidden outside of Moscow. As the action careens between Russia, Finland, Greece, Italy, and the United States, Dominika and Nate soon collide in a duel of wills, tradecraft, and—inevitably—forbidden passion that threatens not just their lives but those of others as well. As secret allegiances are made and broken, Dominika and Nate’s game reaches a deadly crossroads. Soon one of them begins a dangerous double existence in a life-and-death operation that consumes intelligence agencies from Moscow to Washington, DC.

Page by page, veteran CIA officer Jason Matthews’s Red Sparrowdelights and terrifies and fascinates, all while delivering an unforgettable cast, from a sadistic Spetsnaz “mechanic” who carries out Putin’s murderous schemes to the weary CIA Station Chief who resists Washington “cake-eaters” to MARBLE, the priceless Russian mole. Packed with insider detail and written with brio, this tour-de-force novel brims with Matthews’s life experience, including his knowledge of espionage, counterintelligence, surveillance tradecraft, spy recruitment, cyber-warfare, the Russian use of “spy dust,” and covert communications. Brilliantly composed and elegantly constructed, Red Sparrow is a masterful spy tale lifted from the dossiers of intelligence agencies on both sides of the Atlantic. Authentic, tense, and entertaining, this novel introduces Jason Matthews as a major new American talent.

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