Friday, 7 May 2021

Exit Strategy - Book Review (repost)

 

Exit Strategy (The Murderbot Diaries #4)
by Martha Wells

What is it about:
Murderbot wasn’t programmed to care. So, its decision to help the only human who ever showed it respect must be a system glitch, right?

Having traveled the width of the galaxy to unearth details of its own murderous transgressions, as well as those of the GrayCris Corporation, Murderbot is heading home to help Dr. Mensah—its former owner (protector? friend?)—submit evidence that could prevent GrayCris from destroying more colonists in its never-ending quest for profit.

But who’s going to believe a SecUnit gone rogue?

And what will become of it when it’s caught?

What did I think of it:
Until I read this novella Artificial Condition was my favorite of these novellas (ART!), but now it will have to share first place with Exit Strategy.

Murderbot has answers to several of its questions and is on its way to Dr. Mensah, who bought Murderbot from its corporation and thereby giving Murderbot its freedom. But things have happened while Murderbot was gone, and soon it is in the middle of dangerous politics and games.

Once again there is lots of action while Murderbot tries to save the day. There are returning characters as well, and I loved catching up with them. I read this novella in one sitting, because it was just too suspenseful to put down. I needed to know if all my favorite characters would survive.

All in all another awesome read. I'm hooked on this series!

Why should you read it:
It's a really cool SF novella


buy from amazon

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Rogue Protocol - Book Review (repost)

 

Rogue Protocol (The Murderbot Diaries #3)
by Martha Wells

What is it about:
SciFi’s favorite antisocial A.I. is again on a mission. The case against the too-big-to-fail GrayCris Corporation is floundering, and more importantly, authorities are beginning to ask more questions about where Dr. Mensah’s SecUnit is.

And Murderbot would rather those questions went away. For good.

What did I think of it:
I'm loving Murderbot more and more with each book. It is such a cool character.

As much as Murderbot would like to be left alone to watch its shows, there's always something intruding. Certainly it can't be that it is starting to care about people, can it? To help Dr. Mensah with the case against GrayCris Murderbot is on the hunt for information. It once again ends up with people who are in way over their heads and need a SecUnit to stay alive.

I love how Murderbot thinks about itself and humans. Its internal monologues are dry and at times sarcastic. I have never related with a construct more! If not for the fact Murderbot wants to be left alone, we'd be fast friends if we ever met for sure.

The story is once again suspenseful and full of action. I cheered Murderbot on and was on the edge of my seat to see if Murderbot would save the day and all involved.

All in all this is yet another great read, and I ordered Network Effect (book 5) even before starting on Exit Strategy (book 4).

Why should you read it:
Murderbot is totally awesome!


buy from amazon

Tuesday, 4 May 2021

Teaser Tuesdays - Home: Habitat, Range, Niche, Territory


The journalist flails and runs. The others arrive in a noisy mob, questions, worry, Ratthi exclaiming, "SecUnit jumped over my head!"

(page 16, Home: Habitat, Range, Niche, Territory by Martha Wells)


read here

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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!

Monday, 3 May 2021

Artificial Condition - Book Review (repost)

 

Artificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries #2)
by Martha Wells

What is it about:
It has a dark past – one in which a number of humans were killed. A past that caused it to christen itself “Murderbot”. But it has only vague memories of the massacre that spawned that title, and it wants to know more.

Teaming up with a Research Transport vessel named ART (you don’t want to know what the “A” stands for), Murderbot heads to the mining facility where it went rogue.

What it discovers will forever change the way it thinks…

What did I think of it:
This is another Hugo read. I wasn't sure if I should read it as it's book 2 in a series, but then Jeffe told me she started it and didn't feel lost even though she hadn't read book 1, so I decided to give it a try as well.

And this is a really fun read. I especially loved ART and the interaction between ART and Murderbot. The two of them really have a unique and cool way of looking at things. I thought Wells did a great job at making them sound and act other than human.

The story itself delves into the past of Murderbot and also is about Murderbot trying to find out where it/they belong and how they want to be.

All in all a very cool novella. I think I'll go back and read the first one as well.

Why should you read it:
It's a very cool SF novella.

Notes on rereading:
Although this book is also perfectly readable on its own, I must say it's a more solid read if you also know what happened in the first book. I got a better grip on what's going on in Murderbot's head and was more invested. I still totally love ART!

Buy from Amazon

Friday, 30 April 2021

Roar - Book Review (repost)

 


Roar (Stormheart #1)
by Cora Carmack


What is it about:
In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.

Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage.

She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough.

Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.


What did I think of it:
I first heard about this book when I was investigating the authors who would be at the Love Letter Convention in Berlin last month. It sounded awesome and when I read the description of the June FairyLoot box I was 90% certain it would have Roar in it. This sounded like a win-win situation for me: Get a box full of cool loot and a book I really wanted to read, so I immediately ordered.

When I was in Berlin I was cheeky enough that I asked Cora Carmack if she could confirm Roar was in the June FairyLoot box, and she did!

So you bet I immediately started on Roar when my box arrived last week. (The rest of the box was totally awesome as well, btw.)

And for once I think this book is certainly worth the hype.

I really liked Aurora. She's had both a sheltered and a hard life, making her both inexperienced at some things, while hardened at other things. I could relate and rooted for her from the start. She really wants to do the right thing, but when she has to choose between what looks like the fast route to a secure future and her own happiness she decides to let her happiness come first.

There are 4 other viewpoint characters if I counted correctly. All were interesting, but some were more likeable than others. There were two viewpoint characters I'm very interested in learning more about. One of those is clearly an ally to Aurora, the other can still go in either direction. It will be interesting to see how both of them develop in the next book.

I loved the world building and the storm hunting. The team of storm hunters that Aurora encounters is a diverse bunch and I liked how they interacted with each other. I hope some of them will get bigger roles in the next book as well.

There's lots of cool action and a bit of romance. I wasn't impressed with the love interest, so for once I'm hoping for some triangly drama to spice things up.

All in all this is a really cool and fun YA Fantasy that ends not in a cliffhanger perse, but it does end in a way that makes me eager for the next book. You bet I'm going to get my grabby trotters on that as soon as it releases.

Why should you read it:
It's an awesome action-packed YA Fantasy read


Buy from bookdepository

Thursday, 29 April 2021

Stay or Go - Onyx and Ivory

 

I started on this book when I just got it, but didn't connect with the lead characters. Did you read it? Should I try again or DNF?


Onyx and Ivory (Rime Chronicles #1)
by Mindee Arnett

They call her Traitor Kate. It’s a title Kate Brighton inherited from her father after he tried to assassinate the high king years ago. Now Kate lives as an outcast, clinging to the fringes of society as a member of the Relay, the imperial courier service. Only those most skilled in riding and bow hunting ride for the Relay; and only the fastest survive, for when dark falls, the nightdrakes—deadly flightless dragons—come out to hunt. Fortunately, Kate has a secret edge: she is a wilder, born with magic that allows her to influence the minds of animals. But it’s this magic that she needs to keep hidden, as being a wilder is forbidden, punishable by death or exile. And it’s this magic that leads her to a caravan massacred by nightdrakes in broad daylight—the only survivor her childhood friend, her first love, the boy she swore to forget, the boy who broke her heart.

The high king’s second son, Corwin Tormane, never asked to lead. Even as he waits for the uror—the once-in-a-generation ritual to decide which of the king’s children will succeed him—he knows it’s always been his brother who will assume the throne. And that’s fine by him. He’d rather spend his days away from the palace, away from the sight of his father, broken with sickness from the attempt on his life. But the peacekeeping tour Corwin is on has given him too much time to reflect upon the night he saved his father’s life—the night he condemned the would-be killer to death and lost the girl he loved. Which is why he takes it on himself to investigate rumors of unrest in one of the remote city-states, only for his caravan to be attacked—and for him to be saved by Kate.

With their paths once more entangled, Kate and Corwin have to put the past behind them. The threat of drakes who attack in the daylight is only the beginning of a darker menace stirring in the kingdom—one whose origins have dire implications for Kate’s father’s attack upon the king and will thrust them into the middle of a brewing civil war in the kingdom of Rime.


Buy from Amazon


Wednesday, 28 April 2021

All Systems Red - Book Review (repost)

If you saw my Teaser Tuesday post yesterday you might have already guessed that I am rereading the Murderbot Diaries. So here's a repost of my review of the first book.

All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1)
by Martha Wells

What is it about:
In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.

But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn't a primary concern.

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied 'droid—a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as "Murderbot." Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.

But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it's up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.

What did I think of it:
I totally read this series out of order by reading the second novella last year for my Hugo reading without reading the first book. I loved the second book, so bought the first and read it in between other reads last year, but didn't review as I read it rather haphazardly. So time for a reread and time to maybe read the rest of the series as well, especially as there's now also a novel.

And this is such a fun and cool read!

I love Murderbot. It is an android with human components that hacked itself to be free from its owner's control. As it works for a group of scientists Murderbot has to decide who it is and how it wants to act towards humans.

Strange and dangerous things start happening and it's up to Murderbot to keep the humans it works with safe.

I loved the interaction between Murderbot and the humans, and I loved how Murderbot questions itself and the world and people around it. I will confess I could really relate to Murderbot. It has a worldview that's just as cynical as mine while it still cares for those put in its care as long as they're not being stupid about it.

All in all this is a great first novella in what I'm guessing will become a quest for Murderbot to find out who it is and what happened in its checkered past.

Why should you read it:
It's a fun and suspenseful SF novella


buy from Amazon

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Teaser Tuesdays - Artificial Condition

 


For my entire existence, at least the parts I could remember, I had done nothing but accept the inevitable. I was tired of it.


(page 35, Artificial Condition by Martha Wells)


buy from amazon

---------

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!

Monday, 26 April 2021

Storm Cursed - Book Review

 


Storm Cursed (Mercy Thompson #11)
by Patricia Briggs

What is it about:
My name is Mercedes Athena Thompson Hauptman, and I am a car mechanic.

And a coyote shapeshifter.

And the mate of the Alpha of the Columbia Basin werewolf pack.

Even so, none of that would have gotten me into trouble if, a few months ago, I hadn't stood upon a bridge and taken responsibility for the safety of the citizens who lived in our territory. It seemed like the thing to do at the time. It should have only involved hunting down killer goblins, zombie goats, and an occasional troll. Instead, our home was viewed as neutral ground, a place where humans would feel safe to come and treat with the fae.

The reality is that nothing and no one is safe. As generals and politicians face off with the Gray Lords of the fae, a storm is coming and her name is Death.

But we are pack, and we have given our word.

We will die to keep it.

What did I think of it:
This book is a wonderful addition to an awesome series. There's even zombie goats!

As if the tension between humans and the supernatural creatures isn't enough, someone is raising dead goats, cows, and more. Mercy will have to figure out what's happening or there might be an all out war.

There are some cool revelations in this book, and both old favorite characters and relatively new ones shine in this suspenseful story. I was eager to find out if Mercy would be able to save everyone who's important to her.   

All in all this is definitely one of the better books in the series in my opinion (all are awesome, but this one just shines a bit more than most) and I'm excited to pick up the next one.

Why should you read it:
It's a really cool Urban Fantasy read.


buy from amazon

Friday, 23 April 2021

They All Fall Down - Book Review (repost)

 


They All Fall Down
by Roxanne St. Claire


What is it about:
Every year, the lives of ten girls at Vienna High are transformed.

All because of the list.

Kenzie Summerall can't imagine how she's been voted onto a list of the hottest girls in school, but when she lands at number five, her average life becomes dazzling. Doors open to the best parties, new friends surround her, the cutest jock in school is after her.

This is the power of the list. If you're on it, your life changes.

If you're on it this year? Your life ends.

The girls on the list have started to die, one by one. Is it a coincidence? A curse? Or is the list in the hands of a killer?

Time is running out for Kenzie, but she’s determined to uncover the deadly secret of the list...before her number’s up.


What did I think of it:
This was a very entertaining read.

I will say that I sniffed out the Who or What of the story very early on, but the Why was more difficult because it was a bit out there. Even so, the story is suspenseful and very enjoyable. I liked Kenzie and her best friend and loved reading how Kenzie tries to stay alive and to figure out what's going on and why.

There were a couple of situations where I wanted to kick some sense in Kenzie, but this being a YA thriller I must say she was acting more sensible than expected. And I actually was rooting for the right guy in the inescapable teen romance drama triangly thing for once.

All in all a fun read. I might try other books by St. Claire in the future.

Why should you read it:
It's a very entertaining YA read


Buy from bookdepository

Thursday, 22 April 2021

On McPig's Radar - Other People's Things

 


Other People's Things: A Novel
by Kerry Anne King

From the Amazon Charts bestselling author of Whisper Me This comes a witty, magical story about improbable connections, difficult gifts, and the unexpected events that heal us and bring us together.

Jailbird. Klepto. Spectacular failure to launch. Nicole Wood’s sticky fingers have earned her many names, but it’s not that she’s stealing—some objects just need to be moved elsewhere, and the universe has chosen her to do it. Still, being a relocator of objects isn’t easy. With her marriage on the rocks, no real-world skills, and the threat of prison hanging over her head, Nicole is determined to change her ways.

Things seem to be looking up, thanks to a godsent job with her sister’s housecleaning business—until she encounters a seemingly harmless paperback that insists on moving from one client’s home to another’s. Nicole hopes no one will notice, but the action stirs up long-hidden secrets and triggers a series of fateful events that threatens to destroy the life she’s creating and hurt those closest to her. She’ll need to embrace her unwieldy gift and take a chance on love in order to unravel the mystery and fix what’s gone wrong. 


Expected publication: September 21, 2021
buy from Amazon


Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Judgement Day - Cover Reveal

 


Judgement Day
by Josie Jaffrey

Vampires don't get happily ever afters.

Jack Valentine finally has her shit together. She has a great job, great friends (well, one at least) and a girlfriend whom she loves, even if she can't work up the courage to tell her that yet. Unfortunately, she also has an archnemesis who's about to punish her crimes in the worst possible way: by making her spend time with him.

Which she could cope with, maybe, if she didn't have problems at work as well. When the body of a human judge is found in a locked library, there's no denying that she was murdered by one of the Silver – by a vampire – and the evidence points worryingly close to home. If that wasn't bad enough, some of Jack's least favourite people are opening a new blood bar in Oxford with questionable motives. For Jack and her team, it's becoming increasingly hard to separate allies from enemies.

With conspiracies on every side, the simmering tensions in Silver society are about to come to a head. As usual, Jack intends to be right in the middle of it. She does like it when things get messy.

Judgement Day is the second book in Josie Jaffrey’s Seekers series, an urban fantasy series set in Oxford, England.


RELEASE DATE
6 May 2021





Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Teaser Tuesdays - The Underworld Library

 


Everything was reduced to black and white here, as the King had intended when he created it millennia ago. Like many places in the Underworld, it was both beautiful and terrible to behold.


(chapter one, The Underworld Library by Laura Bickle)



buy from amazon

---------

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!

Monday, 19 April 2021

The Sorceress Queen and the Pirate Rogue - Release Day Book Review

 


The Sorceress Queen and the Pirate Rogue (Heirs of Magic #2)
by Jeffe Kennedy

What is it about:
A Lonely Road

Stella has always been one to count her blessings. Empath, sorceress, shapeshifter, and healer, she’s grateful for the gifts the goddess of shadows has bestowed on her. Yes, she’s sensitive to emotions and can’t bear to be in large crowds for long. She’ll never be able to take a lover as she’s unable to withstand physical contact with anyone but her twin brother. Now that he’s found his true love, she feels more alone than ever. None of it haunts her, however, like the vision of the lonely tower where her life path ends.

An Unrequited Love

Jak is a man of simple tastes: good whiskey, some coin in his pocket, and a fine blade in his hand. Though he’s no prince, not a shapeshifter, and not blessed with any magic, he’s happy in his skin. And yet he seems doomed to live the life of a hero from a tragic ballad, because the only woman he’s ever wanted barely knows he’s alive. As much as Jak longs for Stella, he’s resigned himself to being forever in the background. At least he can guard her back.

A Quest to Stop a Monster

But now Jak and Stella have been thrown together—along with a mismatched group of shifters, warriors, and sorceress friends—struggling to battle magic rifts that release monsters into their world. Worse, the strange intelligence behind the bizarre and deadly attacks seems to have developed a fascination for Stella. Battling for their lives and the good of the realm, they fight together to alter the course of the future before it’s too late.

What did I think of it:
This is yet another delicious read.

The action storyline continues where the last book left off, but in this book Jak and Stella take center stage.

I loved them both. Jak takes after both his parents, and Stella shows she's just as noble as her brother although in different ways. I rooted for them to find a way to be together, and for Stella to escape the future she foresees.

There's a lot of action, and our heroes have to face a lot of nastiness (including tentacle beasties!) and they have to fight to stay alive. I was as eagerly reading on to find out what was going on as I was to see Stella and Jak get together.

The ending was satisfying, but also leaves the action storyline open for much more to come. You bet I'll get my greedy trotters on the next book!

Why should you read it:
It's an amazing Fantasy Romance


Friday, 16 April 2021

Shifting Silence - Book Review

 


Shifting Silence (Mane Shift #1)
by Laura Bickle

What is it about:
This witch takes in strays. Stray animals, not stray ex-boyfriends, magical cultists, or shifters.

At least, that used to be the rule…

Luna Summerwood has always taken in strays. As a witch who runs a veterinary clinic, she’s healed creatures that fly, swim, and crawl. She’s not the most powerful Summerwood witch; her only magic is the ability to communicate with animals. But when an exotic maned wolf is brought to her in the dead of night, Luna is plunged into the shadowy underground world of shifter trafficking.

With the help of her ex-boyfriend—who also happens to be a local deputy and someone who pushes all her buttons—she investigates a series of occult crimes involving missing farm animals. After her ex is nearly killed, Luna discovers that the Casimir, a cult of magical collectors, plans to steal the maned wolf.

This beautiful maned wolf is more than he seems—he’s a shapeshifting man named Renan. He was once captured by the Casimir and forced to do their dark bidding. Luna is his last chance at finding sanctuary…and perhaps love.

But the Casimir want more than just Renan. Centuries ago, the Summerwoods warred with the Casimir. Now, these sorcerers will stop at nothing to possess the Summerwood land and the buried magic of the witches themselves.

What did I think of it:
With Laura Bickle I know I'm in for a good read, so after finishing her Crow Curse collection not long ago I decided to pick up Shifting Silence.

And this book does not disappoint.

I liked Luna and her aunt from the start. Luna might have some resentment over staying at the family farm, but she's making the best of it. Then danger arrives and she will have to put her wits and her magic to good use to survive.

There's a lot going on and I had to keep reading to see if Luna would save the day. I loved the worldbuilding and wanted to find out more about Luna's magic. There was a bit of a love triangle going on, but it wasn't annoying. The ending was intense and while some things are resolved it's clear there's more to come. 

You bet I'll get my trotters on the next book when it releases.

Why should you read it:
It's a cool Urban Fantasy read.


Buy from amazon


Thursday, 15 April 2021

Stay or Go - The Child Eater

 

I won this book with several others in December 2014. While I have read some of the others, this one is still lingering on my shelves. Have you read it? Should I give it a try or find it a new home?


The Child Eater
by Rachel Pollack

On Earth, the Wisdom family has always striven to be more normal than normal. But Simon Wisdom, the youngest child, is far from normal: he can see the souls of the dead. And now the ghosts of children are begging him to help them, as they face something worse than death. The only problem is, he doesn’t know how.

In a far-away land of magic and legends, Matyas has dragged himself up from the gutter and inveigled his way into the Wizards’ college. In time, he will become more powerful than all of them – but will his quest blind him to the needs of others? For Matyas can also hear the children crying.

But neither can save the children alone, for the child eater is preying on two worlds…


buy from amazon