Friday, 21 October 2016

The Masked Empire - Book Review

The Masked Empire (Dragon Age #4)
by Patrick Weekes

What is it about:
Empress Celene of Orlais rose to the throne of the most powerful nation in Thedas through wisdom, wit, and ruthless manipulation. Now, the empire she has guided into an age of enlightenment is threatened from within by imminent war between the templars and the mages, even as rebellion stirs among the downtrodden elves To save Orlais, Celene must keep her hold on the throne by any means necessary.

Fighting with the legendary skill of the Orlesian Chevaliers , Grand Duke Gaspard has won countless battles for the empire and the empress But has he fought in vain? As the Circle fails and chaos looms, Gaspard begins to doubt that Celene’s diplomatic approach to the mage problem or the elven uprisings will keep the empire safe. Perhaps it is time for a new leader, one who lives by the tenets of the Chevalier’s Code, to make Orlais strong again.

Briala has been Celene’s handmaid since the two of them were children, subtly using her position to help improve the lives of elves across Orlais. She is Celene’s confidante, spymaster, and lover, but when politics force the empress to choose between the rights of Briala’s people and the Orlesian throne, Briala must in turn decide where her true loyalties lie.

Alliances are forged and promises broken as Celene and Gaspard battle for the throne of Orlais But in the end, the elves who hide in the forests or starve in the alienages may decide the fate of the masked empire.

What did I think of it:
Being the Dragon Age fanpiggy I am, I'd most probably picked up this book no matter who wrote it, but knowing this book was written by the same person who wrote some of my favorite Mass Effect and Dragon Age characters and Mass Effect story arcs, I was quite excited to read this book. Even though I am totally not a fan of Briala in the game!

And this is a great read!

I will confess this book didn't manage to redeem Briala - it even made me dislike her more - but I loved the story and extra world building it gave me. I also liked getting to know more about Celine, Gaspard and Briala. (And it makes I'm now even more thorn on what to decide in Dragon Age: Inquisition where it comes to Orlais.)

I loved learning more about life in the cities of Orlais, both for the high born and the elves. There's also a questy trip through the countryside and the woods that I very much enjoyed.

There was one really cool character - Felassan - who was my favorite. Some remarks by Felassan made that the ending wasn't really a surprise for me. Still this was a really cool story!

All in all another must have for fans of the games, and I already ordered the one missing book in this series so I can read that one soon as well.

Why should you read it:
It's a really cool Dragon Age novel

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Thursday, 20 October 2016

On McPig's Radar - Caraval

I saw the Dutch translation of this book in my local bookstore and the cover looked interesting enough to read the blurb, even though I don't read translation anymore. It sounded so cool I immediately looked up the English version, only to discover that the English version will not release until January 2017. You bet I pre-ordered it right away!

Caraval (Untitled #1)
by Stephanie Garber

Before you enter the world of Caraval, you must remember that it’s all a game . . .

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their ruthless father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the legendary, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

Then, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation to Caraval finally arrives. So, Tella enlists a mysterious sailor’s help to whisk Scarlett away to this year’s show. But as soon as the trio arrives, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nonetheless soon becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with her sister, with Legend, and with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

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Wednesday, 19 October 2016

A Cat, a Hat and a Piece of String - Book Review (repost)

A Cat, a Hat and a Piece of String
by Joanne Harris

What is it about:
'Stories are like Russian dolls; open them up, and in each one you'll find another story.'

Conjured from a wickedly imaginative pen, here is a new collection of short stories that showcases Joanne Harris's exceptional storytelling art. Sensuous, wicked, mischievous, uproarious and wry, here are tales that combine the everyday with the unexpected; wild fantasy with bittersweet reality.

From the house where it is Christmas all year round, to a ghost who lives on a Twitter timeline; from the Congo where a young girl braves the raging rapids to earn a crust of bread, to Norse gods battling for survival in Manhattan; and a newborn baby created with sugar, spice and lashings of cake, these stories will ensnare and delight you with their variety and inventiveness.

What did I think of it:
So far I only read complete novels by Joanne Harris, and I loved those. So when I came across this book with short stories I had to give it a try.

And this is a wonderful collection of short stories. Joanne Harris' style is in itself enough to keep you reading, no matter the subject of her stories. I loved the flow of her prose: it's vivid and imaginative.

But her style isn't the only thing to love in this book. The stories themselves are beautiful as well. Some are funny, some deep, some touching, while yet other stories are all of those things in one.

As in all collections there were stories I liked more than the others, and stories I liked less, but overall I very much enjoyed this book and I look forward to getting my hands on more books by Joanne Harris.

Why should you read it:
It's a well-written collection of short stories.

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Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Black Diamond - Release Day Review + Giveaway

Black Diamond (Wilds of the Bayou #2)
by Susannah Sandlin

What is it about:
For some people, the untamed beauty of the bayou is a place to hide. For Louisiana wildlife agent Jena Sinclair, it’s a place of refuge—one where she can almost forget the tragedy that scarred both her skin and her soul. But when the remains of yet another fisherman turn up, Jena realizes that Bayou Pointe-aux-Chenes is not safe for her…or anyone else.

The mysterious deaths aren’t her only problem. A dangerous drug known as Black Diamond is circulating through Terrebonne Parish, turning addicts into unpredictable sociopaths. Jena’s investigation leads her to Cole Ryan—a handsome, wary recluse struggling with his own troubled history—who knows more than he’s willing to admit. If they want to stop the killer, Jena and Cole must step out of the shadows of their pasts and learn to help each other…before the evils lurking in the bayou consume them both.

What did I think of it:
I've loved everything I've read by Susannah Sandlin/Suzanne Johnson so far, so you bet I pre-ordered this book.

And it's yet another great read.

The way Sandlin describes the bayou makes that I could easily picture it and imagine I was there. I loved the mood and atmosphere in this book, just as I loved it in the previous one.

I liked Jena in the first book, so I was rooting for her from the start. Events from the first book had a serious impact on Jena, and the drugs flooding the parish aren't her only problem. Cole is an intriguing character as well, and I had to keep reading to find out what would happen to both of them.

Another thing I love about this series are the minor characters. They play an important role in the story and seeing these recurring characters makes that you feel for not only the lead characters, but the entire Parish. (And I so want to read a book with Paul as the lead character!!)

All in all this is a gripping and suspenseful read, with a fast developing, but believable romance, great characters and writing, and gators! I can recommend it to anyone who's looking for a great Romantic Suspense read.

Why should you read it:
It's an awesome Romantic Suspense read. And did I mention the gators!


Time to spread the book love!
One reader of my blog can win either Black Diamond or Wild Man's Curse (book #1) in print.

Leave a comment on this post
Leave a way for me to contact you
Do so before October 26th, 2016
A winner will be randomly selected and contacted soon after

Open to everyone who is legally allowed to enter and lives somewhere bookdepository ships to.

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Monday, 17 October 2016

Teasing on a Monday - Replica

Her eyes stung from the sudden vapor of dust, which seemed to rise all at once and everywhere, like a soft exhalation. People were screaming. An alarm kept hitting the same high note of panic, over and over, without end.

(page 68, Replica - Lyra by Lauren Oliver)

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: - Grab your current read - Open to a random page - Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) - Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Friday, 14 October 2016

Asunder - Book Review

Asunder (Dragon Age #3)
by David Gaider

What is it about:
A mystical killer stalks the halls of the White Spire, the heart of templar power in the mighty Orlesian Empire. To prove his innocence, Rhys reluctantly embarks on a journey into the western wastelands that will not only reveal much more than he bargained for but change the fate of his fellow mages forever.

What did I think of it:
Yes: I got my trotters on another Dragon Age novel.

And this is a very enjoyable read especially for fans of the Dragon Age games.

Not only are there a couple of characters from the game in this book, it also delves into the reasons the mages rebelled. A rebellion that leads to the events in Dragon Age: Inquisition.

Gaider's writing is much better than it was in The Calling and the story feels less like a written rpg as well. There are still some scenes that do remind you of typical gameplay scenarios, but not enough to annoy, in my opinion.

Rhys does have all the characteristics Gaider seems to love in his male leads, but he's different enough that he wasn't a bad Alistair clone, like Anders was in Awakenings. I also really liked Evangeline, an honorable templar, and Shale, the Golem from Dragon Age Origins. I had more trouble with Wynne (DAO) and Cole (DAI), but then I don't like them much in the games either, so that's probably not surprising. This story did give me more insight in Cole though, and I liked learning more about his past.

All in all I had a great time with this book and next I'll pick up The Masked Empire to learn even more about the world of Dragon Age.

Why should you read it:
It's a cool read for fans of Dragon Age.

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Thursday, 13 October 2016

McPig is Curious - Good or Bad?

When looking for new books to add to my wishlist I came across this one. The blurb is so vague that now I'm curious if the book is good or as bad as the blurb. Anyone read it?

The Sword (The Sword, the Ring, and the Chalice #1)
by Deborah Chester

Two men. One is a prince of royal blood. The other is a half-breed, part human, part elf. But the part that is human is also royal. Two women. One is a princess, pampered and protected. The other lives in the forest, the leader of a band of rebels. She too has elven blood.

This is their story -- the tale of love and hate, courage and cowardliness, and magic both dark and light.