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.

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

Wednesday 14 April 2021

The Year of the Beasts - Book Review


The Year of the Beasts
by Cecil Castellucci and Nate Powell (Illustrator)

What is it about:
Every summer the trucks roll in, bringing the carnival and its infinite possibilities to town. This year Tessa and her younger sister Lulu are un-chaperoned and want to be first in line to experience the rides, the food... and the boys. Except this summer, jealousy will invade their relationship for the first time, setting in motion a course of events that can only end in tragedy, putting everyone's love and friendship to the test.

Alternating chapters of prose and comics are interwoven in this extraordinary novel that will break your heart and crack it wide open at the same time.

What did I think of it:
I've loved everything I've read by Cecil Castellucci, but somehow never got to reading this book until now.

And this turned out to be the first book by Castellucci that's not for me.

It's not the format. The alternating chapters of prose and comics was a cool idea, and I really liked Powell's illustrations. It's that I didn't connect with the lead character Tessa. The way the story was told kept me at a distance and didn't make me feel for her. I even disliked her at times.

And then there's the ending. Didn't much care for that either. The ending was supposed to be the culmination of everything that happened that summer, but it felt more liked a separated event. How Tessa reacts to it has indeed to do with what she experienced that summer, but it just felt off to me.

Maybe it's just me, and this book just doesn't work for me at this moment in my life. I will pick up another still unread book by Castellucci soon, or reread one of my favorites by her.

Why should you read it:
It's a YA about first loves, growing up, and friendship. 

Tuesday 13 April 2021

Teaser Tuesdays - Storm Cursed


"The police have important things to do," said the boy.
"Maybe dead goats, even twenty of them, would not be important."

(page 44, Storm Cursed by Patricia Briggs)

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 12 April 2021

The Body Finder - Book Review


The Body Finder (The Body Finder #1)
by Kimberly Derting

What is it about:
Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her "power" to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes that the dead leave behind in the world... and the imprints that attach to their killers.

Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find the dead birds her cat left for her. But now that a serial killer is terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.

Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet on her quest to find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved by her hope that Jay's intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she's falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer... and becoming his prey herself.

What did I think of it:
A nice enough read, but the interpersonal drama overshadowed the body finding part. I had wanted a bit more mystery, suspense, and danger.

I also wasn't that invested in Violet, she wasn't annoying, but I didn't really like her either. The relationship drama between her and Jay is all about miscommunication. If only those two had talked the book would be a lot shorter. I could have liked on of her friends if she had a bigger role, instead she was just there to make it seem Violet interacted with more people than just Jay.

All in all an easy read that kept my attention just enough to not DNF. I won't read any other books in this series. 

Why should you read it:
It's a nice YA read.

buy from amazon

Friday 9 April 2021

A Fugitive Truth - Book Review


A Fugitive Truth (Emma Fielding Mystery #4)
by Dana Cameron

What is it about:
The past's blood stains the present

The opportunity of a lifetime awaits archaeologist Emma Fielding in the Berkshire foothills of Western Massachusetts: the chance to study the eighteenth-century diary of Margaret Chandler, the accused witch and murderess whose home Emma excavated only months before. However, the three other Shrewsbury Foundation fellows she must share the premises with are a disturbingly odd bunch, and before too long one of them is dead.

But Emma can find no solace in the bleak beauty of the surrounding wilderness, for there are dark secrets encoded in Madam Chandler's writings, and shocking parallels between an ancient slaying and the strange brutal demise of her colleague.

When the killer strikes again, Emma realizes her own life is at stake. And suddenly there is no choice left: she is driven to investigate bloody crimes past and present -- before her own death becomes a footnote in a chilling, three-centuries-old story.

What did I think of it:
I loved the first three books in this series, but there are so many books I want to read that I kept forgetting to pick up the next book in the series.

I seriously need to step up and finish this series though as this book was yet another awesome read.

Emma is a fun character. She's serious about her work, but also curious to the point it puts her into harm's way. I rooted for her to both uncover the secrets of the diary she's researching and to find the killer who is stalking her and others.

I loved how this murder mystery has parallels with Emma's research, creating more mystery and suspense. I was invested and intrigued and couldn't put this book down. I feared for the life of some of the characters and hoped my favorites would survive.

All in all a great read, and I'll have to get hold of Sugarplums and Scandal which contains book 4.5 in this series, so I can dive into book 5 afterward.

Why should you read it:
It's a really cool Murder Mystery.

Buy from Amazon

Thursday 8 April 2021

On McPig's Wishlist - Daybreak

This might be a cool read

Daybreak (Girl from the Stars #1)
by Cheree Alsop

Liora Day, half-human, half-mess with her and you’ll die Damaclan, had been thrown onto a rough path at a very early age. But when she is broken out of a cage by Devren, the young captain of the SS Kratos, she is shown that perhaps humanity does have a heart. The Kratos is set on a mission to rescue fallen surveyors from the Revolutionaries, and Liora is given the choice to follow her Damaclan instincts, or trust Devren’s dark eyes and captivating smile that promise an adventure unlike any she has ever experienced. 

buy from Amazon