Tag Archives: 4 stars

Geekomancy by Michael R. Underwood

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Have you ever read such a good [fantasy] book that by the end of it you believed in magic…if only a little? Or maybe watched Star Wars, episode 2 and walked away from it feeling that if you only found a Master and practiced your latent Jedi powers would manifest? What about reading one of Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden novels and then find yourself shopping for a trench coat and a skull? Or walking away from an episode of Firefly itching for a sixshooter and a spaceship…?

If so, this is the book for you. Geekomancy is a love song written by a geek for geeks. This book is pure comedy wish fulfillment for the person who wishes that the force really exists.

Ree Reyes is a screenwriter (see “barista”) who suddenly finds herself in a world in which magic exists…and that the geeky TV shows, books, movies and games that she has always loved powered that world.

Ree jumps into this newfound world of magic and danger with both feet…and of course she gets slapped sideways, lol. Ree has does has help, however. Her introduction to “Geekomancy” (the use of magic fueled from the world of Pop Culture) is by Eastwood, a scruffy old Geekomancer who becomes her mentor. She also hooks up with another character that totally stole the show for me, Drake, a Steampunk inventor and adventurer extraordinaire. I ♥ Drake. As you wish. 😉

Ree and Eastwood’s task is simple (on the surface): find out who is causing a string of teenaged virgin suicides and stop them before they kill again. But…as anyone who’s ever read any Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Comic books or played any MMORPGs…things are never quite as simple as they seem.
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Shadow Blade by Seressia Glass

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I heard about this series and author via a recommendation at Dear Author. We were discussing the way [some] authors and [most] publishers are really screwing with the sub-genre “Urban Fantasy.” Urban Fantasy started as basically Sword & Sorcery but in a modern format and urban location. Somehow someway…Urban Fantasy became Romances with angry, sword wielding women who dressed in strings and had sex with paranormal creatures. Thank goodness someone in the comments section pointed me to this book.

This book…isn’t like that. I mean, it’s still an Urban Fantasy so it stays pretty close to the trope…but there is no emphasis on sex. The moment the heroine made a stupid decision…something bad happened to her. And there are POC characters!! Wow!

One of my favorite scenes in the book? When Khefar (hero) and Kira (heroine) are kissing and they stop. Because they have more important things to do…like planning for and killing the evil bad guy. 😀 There is no sex in this book.

This being an Urban Fantasy, Kira is the strongest Shadowchaser in quite a while. Kira is a bit of loner but it’s not because she’s angry with the world. She is gifted (or as she considers it, cursed) with a power that does not allow her to touch people in any way with her bare skin. If she touched them she would severely hurt them and possibly kill them. That puts a damper on interpersonal relationships, I’d say. She does have some really good “normal” friends but only a few – those she can trust. There is a relationship brewing in this book but it is not the focus of the story. Kira is fascinated with Khefar…but a huge portion of that comes from the fact the he is the only human she can touch.

Another thing I really liked about the book was its ethnicity and different focus. Kira is African American and Khefar is Nubian. Both Kira and Khefer worship Egyptian deities (Kira worships Ma’at and Khefar worships Isis). Egyptology is a large focus of this book (and I’m assuming the series). I haven’t ran across many (if all) fantasy books with this focus so kudos to the author!

While Kira is presented as very powerful, she is faced with a villain she cannot fight alone. She has to grow and learn teamwork during the course of the book. I appreciated the fact that Kira was shown as fallible and I hope that she will be forced into additional growth during the series. I do have a small concern: will she become too powerful? That becomes boring.

There is some info dumping at the beginning of the novel. Some of the terms are not really explained and the author leaves the reader to figure it out via context clues.

All in all, this is a fun book with great characters and a fresh background. I’m glad I ran across this author and I will be continuing this series.

Review: World War Z by Max Brooks

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I’m not really a fan of zombies, but I figured since it’s October I might as well try something different. I’m really glad I did! This turned out to be pretty awesome. I really liked the style it was written in (as a series of interviews with survivors of the zombie war). It made info dump sections feel less info dumpy, and kept me interested from beginning to end. I think for some people this will come across as really slow and dry.. But I don’t know, that didn’t really bother me at all. I liked it just the way it is.

I will say this though.. This book screwed with my dreams. I don’t know what it was about it that did it, but while I’ve been reading this I’ve had seriously messed up dreams every single night. It’s not even a scary book! I have no idea why it gave me bad dreams. I mean hell.. The first night that I picked it up I only read about 10 pages, just to get a quick feel for it before bed. I don’t even think there were any zombies in those first 10 pages. But what did I dream about that night? Axing zombies in the head. There were zombie killing dreams, being eaten by zombies dreams, chasing zombies and being chased by them… Everything. Hell, there was even one night that I dreamed I was laying in my bed sleeping, but when I opened my eyes there was either a child or a little person standing beside the bed staring at me…… Wearing a big white bunny head. Like the cheerful type, a costume bunny head. I tried to scream, couldn’t, couldn’t move.. Just sat there with bunny person looking at me, screaming silently in my head. I mean come on! That one wasn’t even about zombies! But I still blame this book. Ridiculous.

Anyway… Good book. Bad dreams. 4 stars.

Review: Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

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I can’t tell you how many times I considered starting this series, but put it off because of the God awful covers. Likewise, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard from friends that I should read it, that despite the God awful covers it really is a great series. Well, I finally bit the bullet and dove in…

And I’m really glad I did. The cover of this book isn’t a good indicator at all of the content within. It’s not about some trampy PNR chick being all bad ass and dark and shit, it’s about a smart and competent woman doing her best to help her friends and those in need. She’s still bad ass.. I mean she’s a mechanic, how hot is that? I’m a mechanical engineer and I can’t even work on cars. I can change a tire, do my breaks, change my oil (although I’d need a refresher for that one, haven’t bothered doing it myself in years), but that’s about all I have in my secret arsenal.

Just a side note.. I still can’t believe I’m reading and enjoying books like this. A year ago a scoffed at it all. Werewolves and vampires and other paranormal crap? No thanks. But I don’t know.. It’s just entertaining. It’s a great genre to use to break up all of the Epic Fantasy I read, and I’m glad I gave it a chance.

As for how this series compares to other Urban Fantasy out there.. I don’t know. I’m still young in my UF adventuring, having only conquered Dresden and Kate Daniels thus far. Still, I really really really enjoyed this story, and I’m very excited to check out the next book in the series.

Quickie: Spell of the Highlander by Karen Marie Moning

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Powerful. Sensual. Seductive. He is all that is shamelessly erotic in a man. In her sexiest Highlander novel yet, New York Times bestselling author Karen Moning stirs up a sizzling brew of ancient mystery and modern passion as she brings together a devilishly handsome Celtic warrior trapped in time . . . and the woman who’s about to pay the ultimate price for freeing him. Age-old secrets haunt them. Deadly danger and irresistible desire shadow their every move. It’s a relationship for the ages. And all that separates them is a mere thirteen hundred years. . . .
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Review: Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding

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I was pretty bored during the entire first third of this. I almost gave it up several times, just because it was taking me so long to dredge through it. I wasn’t digging the plot or the characters, I just didn’t think the premise was “my thing”. Science fiction, sky pirates… Sounded weird to me. But I’m really glad I stuck with it. The characters grew on me, the plot stepped it up, and I got sucked in. Hell, I got so emotionally attached to the characters that I almost teared up in one spot. I’m not a crier when I read books, so almost tearing up is a pretty big deal.

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Review: City of Dragons by Robin Hobb

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This is definitely (in my humble opinion of course) the best of the Rain Wild Chronicles series so far. It’s still not quite at the Farseer/Liveship/Tawny Man level, but regardless, it’s at least a solid four star rating for me.

I’ll say this though.. It’s definitely only half of a story. Actually, it’s more like half of the second half of a story. Each book so far in the RWC series has been significantly shorter than normal Hobb novels, really the series probably could have been a two book duology and done better that way. The first two started and completed a story arc, and it seems like these two will as well. This one ends sort of abruptly, and I almost wish I hard waited for the last in the series to come out before I read it. It’s not necessarily a cliff hanger.. But neither are any story lines wrapped up. But still… It was a Hobb fix. And we all know I loves me some Hobb.

There’s really not much else to say. If you’re looking for reviews of this book, chances are you’ve read the first two, so you know what to expect. And if you haven’t read the first two, then you’re looking up the wrong review, you need to check out Dragon Keeper. And for that matter.. Even though this series does sort of stand alone, it definitely should be read after the Liveship series for maximum impact. But not before Tawny Man… And Liveship has to come after Farseer. Really though. Reading all of the books in order is well worth it. The Farseer Trilogy, then the Livership Trader books, then the Tawny Man series, and finally the Rain Wild Chronicles. Honestly… That’s the only way to go. You’re missing out if you skip straight here and read this as an independent series! Just saying.

Anyway, back to the review.. Four stars. This was an enjoyable continuation of the series, and I’m looking forward to the release of the last book.