Waiting on Wednesday: Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where bloggers feature a book that we just can’t wait to get our hands on!


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After getting back into the world of Shadowhunters this past year with Lady Midnight, I am (not) patiently awaiting the release of Lord of Shadows in April. I was surprised by how much I loved this debut in this new series and sure enough I was hooked by Cassie Clare again! The dark world of the Shadowhunters and Downworlders is probably about to get a whole lot darker, plus we’ve got young adult relationship drama galore!! IT’S LIKE A SOAP-OPERA BUT GOOD. I’ll be honest, if I were one of those lucky readers that got an ARC of this I would literally do a book dance.

Hounded by Kevin Hearne – Review

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Published: May 3, 2011

Publisher: Del Rey

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Pages: 292 (Mass Market)

My Rating: 3.0/5.0

 

Synopsis:

Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old—when in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.

Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries. Now the determined deity has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power—plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, his vampire and werewolf team of attorneys, a bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good old-fashioned luck of the Irish—to kick some Celtic arse and deliver himself from evil.


Hounded was a bit of an impulse buy, but it just sounded so interesting that how could I not buy it? I don’t think I’ve ever read (or listened to) a book with a druid as the main character and it proved to be entertaining and somewhat educational in regard to Irish mythology. I learned a bunch of new names and roles in the Irish pantheon and am now considering doing some more educational reading. Actual education, not education via fiction, which isn’t quite as legitimate.

Atticus O’Sullivan is a 2100 year old druid that currently resides in Arizona with his Irish Wolfhound Oberon. He runs a book store/herbiary and generally tries to stay under the radar. Atticus has stayed up to date on technology and culture, so he doesn’t sound like a 2100 year old, but rather the 21 year old that he appears to be. I found that his lingo felt forced and awkward at times, and I just shook my head and kept going. I did like Atticus, but the narration seemed to go from poised and formal to swearing teenage with surprising rapidity. Oberon, the wolfhound, was actually one of my favorite characters because he could talk (to Atticus) and ended up being a humorous addition.

The story was filled with myth, magic, and lots of action. All of these elements combined really made the story feel unique, fun, and dangerous all at once. There was a pretty decent amount of violence in all mediums- magical, sword fighting, physical, etc., so if that’s not your thing then I’m not sure why you’re reading most SFF books. Atticus is in possession of an ancient and powerful sword called Fragarach, which is super cool and a significant part of the plot, but I kept hearing it as Fraggle Rock which was a Muppet movie. I couldn’t un-hear it. Hounded was an attention grabbing debut and had some very memorable scenes, none of which I will spoil here since they’ll lose their effect.

Hounded is, unfortunately, another one of those books that I didn’t enjoy in audio format. The narrator didn’t really appeal to me and I think I may continue on with the series in a different format. Overall I thought the story was an extremely fun read with Harry Dresden vibes and a great urban fantasy setting. I do admit to loving stories that are laced with a dose of mythology and the Iron Druid series was satisfying in that regard.

Currently Reading: 10/31/16

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Reign of Madness by Kel Kade

I am unashamedly addicted to this series and I’ve been squeezing in reading time at all possible opportunities. Kel Kade knows how to hook an audience and and write characters that you want to be BFF’s with in real life because they’re that frikkin’ awesome. As I write this post, I’m really thinking about how much I’d rather be reading this. It’s on Kindle Unlimited and Audible, but I highly recommend the audio version because Nick Podehl does a fantastic job with all of the voices and conveying tons of emotion!

 

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The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle

I just started this Friday during my lunch break and haven’t gotten very far into it. I think it’s alright so far, but I can’t make a definitive judgement yet. It’s set in 1920’s New York, and I think the book is supposed to be vaguely Lovecraftian, which isn’t really my thing.

 

 

I’ll be starting at least one other book this week, but I haven’t decided which one yet!!

Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia – Review

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Received from Goodreads giveaway in exchange for honest review.

Published: October 25, 2016

Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books

Genre: Fantasy – Urban

Pages: 336 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 4.0/5.0

 

 

Synopsis:

Welcome to Mexico City… An Oasis In A Sea Of Vampires…

Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is busy eking out a living when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life.

Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, must feast on the young to survive and Domingo looks especially tasty. Smart, beautiful, and dangerous, Atl needs to escape to South America, far from the rival narco-vampire clan pursuing her. Domingo is smitten.

Her plan doesn’t include developing any real attachment to Domingo. Hell, the only living creature she loves is her trusty Doberman. Little by little, Atl finds herself warming up to the scrappy young man and his effervescent charm.

And then there’s Ana, a cop who suddenly finds herself following a trail of corpses and winds up smack in the middle of vampire gang rivalries.

Vampires, humans, cops, and gangsters collide in the dark streets of Mexico City. Do Atl and Domingo even stand a chance of making it out alive?

Silvia’s debut novel, Signal to Noise, has been selected as a finalist for the British Fantasy, Locus, Aurora and Solaris awards, and was named on seven year’s best lists in 2015: B&N’s Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog, RT, BookRiot, Buzzfeed, io9, Vice, and Tor.com. She has also been nominated for a World Fantasy Award for her work on the anthology She Walks in Shadows.


Certain Dark Things is one of those vampire books that totally breaks the mold and sweeps you away. I was totally into vampire books as a teenager (Twilight and all that other crap) and I will admit that it’s king of a guilty pleasure to this day. Certain Dark Things is not like these other YA, paranormal romance things- it’s so legit.

Similar to Holly Black’s book The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, vampires are openly known to exist and governments across the world have begun persecuting them and forcing them from their countries. Many vampires have gone to Mexico and some of the other South American nations that are less hostile. Our story is based in Mexico City, which happens to be a vampire-free zone thanks to the human gangs uniting and forcing them from the territory, but Atl, a native vampire of the Tlahuihpochtli subspecies, is on the run and hiding in Mexico City. Her family was a major power in the northern drug trade, but was brutally murdered by the Godoy family who are Necros vampires. Nick Godoy is now hunting her and life has gotten significantly more difficult. She is alone but for her dog Cualli and her new human friend Domingo.

The story’s focus is primarily on Atl and Domingo and how they both deal with the threat of the Godoy goons. It’s a brilliant introduction to vampiric subspecies, culture, and the social impact of vampires in this new world. I do hope this will continue on as a series because there is SO MUCH POTENTIAL HERE! This could be a goldmine and really revamp (no pun intended) the vampire fiction subgenre, which suffered a case of paranormal romance for a number of years. While there is a slight note of romanticism in this book, it’s not actually what the book is about- the whole plot doesn’t center on Atl and Domingo’s relationship, though that’s certainly a big part of it.

I really enjoyed reading through Certain Dark Things and found it to be a breath of fresh air! I think fans of The Coldest Girl in Coldtown or Nightshades by Melissa F. Olson will really dig this. I can’t wait to see what else the author has in store for readers. I hope we’ll get to see more of the other vampire species that were mentioned in the information section at the end of the book because they all sound super interesting. Some mentioned had mind reading powers, bioluminescence, and even shape-changing abilities! Not you’re run of the mill vampires, huh?

 

Nightshades by Melissa F. Olson – Review

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Published: July 19, 2016

Publisher: Tor.com

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Pages: 176 (Kindle)

My Rating: 4.0/5.0

Synopsis:

Alex McKenna is the new Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago office of the Bureau of Paranormal Investigations—the division tasked with investigating crimes involving shades.

Or vampires, as they’re more widely known.

Children have been going missing, and agents are routinely being slaughtered. It’s up to McKenna, and some unlikely allies, to get to the bottom of the problem, and find the kids before it’s too late.

Nightshades is a new gritty urban fantasy from Melissa F. Olson.


I was unsure what to expect when I requested a book about vampires and FBI agents from NetGalley, but I’ve always been fond of vampire books so I figured I’d give Nightshades a shot. I was pleasantly surprised at how much excitement was packed into this little novella and found myself wishing it were a little longer.

Nightshades is set in a world where vampires exist and everyone knows it, though the common knowledge is a recent development. In light of this new threat to humanity, the FBI has created a division specially tasked with handling the vampire threat and learning more about them in an effort to defend their fellow man. This division, called the Bureau of Preternatural Investigations, has several branches in the United States, but the primary focus of this story is on the Chicago branch where a string of civilian kidnappings and vampiric attacks on agency members have occurred. The division is in the spotlight, but not in a good way and FBI golden child Special Agent Alex McKenna has volunteered to be the new lead agent of the Chicago division. He’s got his hands full, recruiting a decent team, getting information, and even working with vampires to achieve his goals.

This story is well developed and engaging despite its short length. In fact, it’s very nearly the perfect length and it left me wanting to read and learn more about this alternate world filled with vampires. I love the slight air of mystery that I was left with – clearly there is a long history with two characters in particular that I would LOVE to learn more about. Lindy, a vampire masquerading as human, is great – she appears very normal at first glance, but upon further inspection she’s more than she seems. Lindy is actually more than just your average vampire, which makes me want a sequel desperately. The epilogue of this novella left a very clear opening for continuing the storyline – YAY!

I found Nightshades to be intense and appealing- special agents and vampires are a great combination and I look forward to reading more! The closest I can come to a comparison to this book is The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black, which was surprisingly awesome for a YA vampire novel. I realized after finishing Nightshades that I actually have another of Melissa F. Olson’s books on my Kindle and I had totally forgotten that I had it! At some point I’m going to have to make time to read Boundary Crossed, which was featured as a Kindle First book some time ago.

Autumn Rose by Abigail Gibbs – Review

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Published: January 30, 2013

Publisher: HarperCollins

ISBN: 9780007504992

Pages: 416 (Paperback)

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

Synopsis:

The highly anticipated sequel to Dinner with a Vampire

Autumn Rose has the chance to save the world she loves. But how much will she have to sacrifice to achieve it?

In Autumn Rose, book two of her breathtaking series, Abigail Gibbs draws us even further into the dangerous and romantic world of the Dark Heroines.


First of all, I made a woopsy and bought this book instead of the first book in the Dark Heroines series, but it doesn’t matter!!! This book is kind of tied in with the first novel, The Dark Heroine: Dinner with a Vampire, but not so much that you actually need to read the first book. I was a bit confused near the end where some parts are skimmed over because they were described in detail from a different perspective in the first novel, but it wasn’t too crazy and I pretty much knew what was going on. I will most certainly go back and read the first novel because it’s got legitimately blood thirsty vampires and a kidnapped girl that I’m sure will play HUGE roles in the forthcoming novels.

I haven’t actually expressed how much I enjoyed Autumn Rose. Plainly put, it was phenomenal and one of the best paranormal fantasy type novels I’ve read in so long! Probably the best since I picked up the Dresden Files and fell in love. The cast of characters was varied and awesome and if I’m totally honest with myself, I thought Fallon was a hottie. Autumn Rose Al-Summers and many of the other characters are not quite human; they are Sage, which means they are dimension-crossing magic users. From what I understand, the Sage are kind of like peace keepers or moderators for the dark beings that reside in other dimensions. Though this sounds uneventful, it is anything but that. Sage are guardians in human schools around the world and fight the Extermino, which are like a rogue branch of the Sagean tree.

Initially the book seemed straightforward, but the longer I read the more intricate details appeared. There is a complex socio-political element involving the various Sage houses, the humans, the other dimensions and even the media. I was surprised and I loved every single moment of it! I so wish that I could learn more about Autumn Rose’s upbringing at the St. Sapphire’s school and her early life in the Athenean court because it sounds superb, and I desperately want descriptions of ball gowns and magic classes. Did I mention that there’s even a treaty that has to be upheld to prevent war between the different peoples?

There was so much depth packed into a pretty average sized book. I am hungrily waiting for the third novel in the series to be released so I can hopefully read about the discovery of the third Heroine and maybe see even more of Autumn Rose and her fabulous temper. I highly recommend this book to readers of YA, paranormal fantasy, or just fantasy in general. The only aspect I have a qualm with is that Autumn Rose was just so young! I wish she had of been around 18(+) just because she acted older than 15-16 and she had such responsibility placed upon her. Despite this, I adore the book and think Abigail Gibbs will be on my auto-buy list from now on.

The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon – Review

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Published: January 27, 2015

Publisher: Bloomsbury

ISBN: 9781408857397

Pages: 510 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

Synopsis:

Paige Mahoney has escaped the brutal prison camp of Sheol I, but her problems have only just begun: many of the survivors are missing and she is the most wanted person in London…

As Scion turns its all-seeing eye on the dreamwalker, the mime-lords and mime-queens of the city’s gangs are invited to a rare meeting of the Unnatural Assembly. Jaxon Hall and his Seven Seals prepare to take centre stage, but there are bitter fault lines running through the clairvoyant community and dark secrets around every corner. Then the Rephaim begin crawling out from the shadows. But where is Warden? Paige must keep moving, from Seven Dials to Grub Street to the secret catacombs of Camden, until the fate of the underworld can be decided. Continue reading

Waiting On Wednesday: The Thorn of Emberlain by Scott Lynch

Cover- The Thorn of Emberlain

Expected Release: 7/21/16

I know that July 2016 is a LONG way off, but I am super excited for The Thorn of Emberlain! After reading the Republic of Thieves, I was disheartened because I felt the story had really gone into a slump. I disliked Sabetha, the flashbacks were not my favorites, and I was annoyed by the “shocking revelation” near the end, so the whole experience was kind of meh. I have high hopes that this next book will really pick it up and regain the atmosphere that the first two novels had because Locke and Jean are two of my very favorite characters of all time. They are clever, loyal, and ambitious and I just love them!!

You can read the synopsis of The Thorn of Emberlain here. The plot will revolve around Jean and Locke getting swept up in a war in the Kingdom of the Marrows. If you recall, they spoke of unrest in Emberlain in The Lies of Locke Lamora when they were performing the Don Salvara game. I think that the books are going to start coming full circle, which will be fun to see play out.

If you haven’t read The Lies of Locke Lamora yet, you should! It’s fantastic, and lets face it, no one should miss such fun and exciting reads!

The Shadow Revolution by Clay & Susan Griffith- Review

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They are the realm’s last, best defense against supernatural evil. But they’re going to need a lot more silver.

As fog descends, obscuring the gas lamps of Victorian London, werewolves prowl the shadows of back alleys. But they have infiltrated the inner circles of upper-crust society as well. Only a handful of specially gifted practitioners are equipped to battle the beasts. Among them are the roguish Simon Archer, who conceals his powers as a spell-casting scribe behind the smooth veneer of a dashing playboy; his layabout mentor, Nick Barker, who prefers a good pub to thrilling heroics; and the self-possessed alchemist Kate Anstruther, who is equally at home in a ballroom as she is on a battlefield.

After a lycanthrope targets Kate’s vulnerable younger sister, the three join forces with fierce Scottish monster-hunter Malcolm MacFarlane—but quickly discover they’re dealing with a threat far greater than anything they ever imagined. Continue reading