Summoned to Thirteenth Grave Blog Tour

Official Blog Tour Stop


Welcome to Read What I Like’s stop on the blog tour for Summoned to Thirteenth Grave by Darynda Jones!  I’m so excited to be participating in the buzz surrounding the release of the last book in the Charley Davidson series!  I have a long, but fun post planned for you all, it will be broken down into several sections starting with book and author info followed by a joint review of the first and last book in the series.  Up next is some fun facts about the series provided by Ms. Jones herself and last but certainly not least a link to a giveaway where you can win the complete series!!!


Book Info

Book Genre:  Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy

Book Series: #13 Charley Davidson Series

Released: 1/15/2019 by St. Martin’s Press

Pages:312   Price: $27.99 Hardcover

Links:  GoodreadsBuy the BookSMP Romance TwitterSMP Romance Website

 

 

 

 

Book Synopsis:

Grim Reaper Charley Davidson is back in the final installment of Darynda Jones’ New York Times bestselling paranormal series! 
Charley Davidson, Grim Reaper extraordinaire, is pissed. She’s been kicked off the earthly plane for eternity—which is exactly the amount of time it takes to make a person stark, raving mad. But someone’s looking out for her, and she’s allowed to return after a mere hundred years in exile. Is it too much to hope for that not much has changed? Apparently, it is. Bummer.  She’s missed her daughter. She’s missed Reyes. She’s missed Cookie and Garrett and Uncle Bob. Now that she’s back on earth, it’s time to put to rest burning questions that need answers. What happened to her mother? How did she really die? Who killed her? And are cupcakes or coffee the best medicine for a broken heart? It all comes to a head in an epic showdown between good and evil in this final smart and hilarious novel.

About the Author

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author DARYNDA JONES won a Golden Heart and a RITA for her manuscript First Grave on the Right. A born storyteller, she grew up spinning tales of dashing damsels and heroes in distress for any unfortunate soul who happened by, annoying man and beast alike. Darynda lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband and two beautiful sons, the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys.

Darynda’s Social Links:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Pinterest


First Grave on the Right &

Summoned to Thirteenth Grave Joint Review

When they asked me to be a part of the blog tour the publishers asked that participants review their favorite book in the series along with the last book.  Many of my followers might know that I already reread the entire series this year in preparation for this release so I wasn’t sure which book I wanted to read again.  I settled on the first book which I actually read after finishing the thirteenth.  I wanted to absorb the end before going back to the beginning with fresh eyes to see if my opinion of it change or what clues I might have missed now knowing how everything plays out.  If you are looking for clues as to what happens in the last book I’m sorry but this review is going to be a disappointment for you.  I do not want to spoil one second of your enjoyment of the last book.  Believe me, this hurts me as much as you as I am dying to talk to someone about what all went down in the last book! I will probably post a spoiler review on the blog after the book releases in January so keep an eye out for that.

When I think about the two books that start and finish this amazing series I am delighted to see how much of what I loved about that first book carries through until the last book.  The humor and camaraderie between the characters that is the backbone to this series stick with it until the end.  As does the more somber moments that leave me in tears weeping over my nook and reaching for tissues.  This series would take us on a rollercoaster ride in each book and leave us clamoring for more.  Which makes me so sad to know that Summoned to Thirteenth Grave is the last ride we get to take with Charley and Reyes and it was just as thrilling as the first!

That doesn’t mean Charley hasn’t grown as a character over the years, because she has.  She is so much stronger than I think she could have ever believed herself to be in the last book, this last battle.  Charley has truly come into her own in this book and it was quite the sight to see!  Charley started out as almost a goofy character that was a bit awkward at times and struggling to live with this unique ability or role she was given. Simply trying to understand it all and live as normal a life that she could.  By the end though, she is a force to be reckoned with and I can’t wait until you can read all about it.

Then there is Reyes, oh sure he is what we all secretly long for in a book boyfriend but I feel his has probably transformed the most out of anyone in the entire series.  When I read how he started out and then to see where he finished.  I was simply amazed.  They truly are a perfect match and complete each other beautifully.

But what about the supporting characters? You might ask.  What happens to them?  Most everyone that started the book finishes the books, there were just a few that we lost along the way.  I promised that I wouldn’t spoil anything but you are in for a couple of surprises in the last book.  Nope, not going to say more than that I was just as sad to say goodbye to all of them as I was to Charley and Reyes.  I simply don’t want to give any of them up.

But we must, all good things must come to an end and this was a pretty awesome ending in my opinion.  I look forward to reading this series, this adventure many times over the years.  When I know I need to laugh, or cry, or simply some really good smut!  I know that Charley, Reyes, Cookie, Ubie, and all of them are there waiting for me.  I might know how the story ends now but I will never stop loving the ride!


Series Fun Facts!

  • First Grave on the Right: The concept for First Grave came about while Darynda was working as a sign language interpreter in her hometown. She stole many of the names from students at the schools where she worked, including Reyes, Garrett, and Amber. As far asDarynda knows, they have all forgiven her for her thievery.
  • Second Grave on the Left: Uncle Bob is a combination of two people: Darynda’s oldest brother, Luther, and the principal at the high school where she worked for several years.
  • Third Grave Dead Ahead: This was originally titled Third Grave Straight Ahead, but Darynda’s web designer, Liz Bemis, asked her to change the name to Dead Ahead. Firstly, it fit the content better, and secondly, Liz got tired of spelling the word Straight wrong while updating the website. Dead is much easier to type.
  • Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet: Quentin Rutherford makes his first appearance in this book. While his first name was stolen from Darynda’s little brother and his last name stolen from yet another Jr. High student, Quentin is physically sculpted from her oldest son, Jerrdan, a bona fide blond-haired, blue-eyed devil with a sparkling smile that melts even the staunchest of hearts. And, like Quentin Rutherford, he was born Deaf. Not that he let it stop him for a second.
  • Fifth Grave Past the Light: This book was fun to write! Darynda was trying to come up with something truly creepy to throw into the book, and she figured what would be creepier than having an apartment full of departed women crawling up the walls, skittering across the ceiling, and huddling in the corners? Also, it is one of the hotter books, so that was fun, too. Because, you know, Reyes.
  • Sixth Grave on the Edge: Darynda really wanted to open this one on a humorous note. She wanted to have Charley on a stakeout with a departed elderly man, who also happens to be naked, riding shotgun. Which begs the question: Are we really stuck in (or out of) whatever we are wearing when we die for all eternity? ‘Cause that would suck.
  • Seventh Grave and No Body: Osh’ekiel was originally supposed to be in one book only. And he was supposed to be a very bad guy. But Darynda fell in love with him while writing the book and decided to redeem him and give him a bigger role. Just how big his role would become didn’t come to Darynda until plotting Eighth Grave. He has been one of her favorite characters since she wrote that first scene with him.
  • Eighth Grave After Dark: Darynda wanted to really turn the tables on Charley and force her to have to stay in one place, thus the sacred ground of the convent came into play. It was fun and challenging to write a “locked room” mystery, so to speak, but that’s why she loves writing so much.
  • The Dirt on Ninth Grave: One of Darynda’s favorite books in the series, she looked forward to writing this book ever since she came up with the concept while plotting Sixth Grave. Part of what makes a romance so fun is the falling-in-love part, and she wanted Charley to fall in love with Reyes all over again. This book was doubly fun because the audience knows all the characters’ backstories, and they get to watch in anticipation as Charley slowly unravels the mysteries of her past while seeing her fall head-over-heels for the same guy all over again.
  • The Curse of Tenth Grave: This book had one of those too-close-for-comfort calls. Right before Tenth Grave went to print, after going through editors and copyeditors and readers of all shapes and sizes, a savvy proofreader let Darynda in on a little secret: A Sherpa is part of a culture, not an occupation. Thanks to this razor-sharp reader, Darynda narrowly escaped insulting an entire culture in one fell swoop. Aka, her worst nightmare. Her gratitude is unending.
  • Eleventh Grave in Moonlight: Darynda dreamed of going to Scotland for so long, she finally decided to just put it in one of her books. She had Charley accidentally materialize in the magical country, only to find out weeks after finishing the book that she would finally get to go there herself. In person. For realsies. It was even more magical than she’d imagined it would be, and she can’t wait to go back.
  • The Trouble with Twelfth Grave: This book has one of Darynda’s favorite epiphanies EVER!!! She thought, what if someone out there in the universe, a child perhaps, knows everything about Reyes and Charley? Everything starting from their supernatural heritage to their human identities? And what if that person wrote a book about them? Or a series of books? Say, perhaps, a set of children’s books and Garrett just happens to stumble upon them while doing research? How fun would that be? And the international bestselling children’s book (fictionally speaking) The First Star was born.
  • Summoned to Thirteenth Grave: By far the hardest story in the series to write, penning the last Charley book was a bittersweet experience. But Darynda knew she had to go big or go home, so what better way to go out with a bang than to end the world as we know it by starting the zombie apocalypse? Because that’s what writers do. We start apocalypses.

Giveaway Info!

Enter for a chance to win the entire Charley Davidson series by Darynda
Jones, an ARC of the epic finale, Summoned to Thirteenth Grave, plus
fun swag!

Giveaway Link


Closing thoughts

Thanks for visiting I hope you had a great visit and learned all kinds of fun stuff about the series and the upcoming final release.  If this is your first time here I hope you will be back!  I post honest reviews of everything I read and every so often I have fun posts like this one to share with everyone. Be sure to check out the all the blogs on the tour as I’m sure there are loads more interesting posts to check out!

~Happy Reading!

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Wolf Undaunted by Shannon Curtis

Book Review

 


Wolf UndauntedBook Genre: Romance, Paranormal

Book Series: N/A

Released: 5/1/18 by Harlequin Nocturne

Pages: 304 Price: $4.99 e-book

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley for an honest review.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

Mortal enemies…

…bound by a kiss

When his spirit is separated from his body, werewolf Zane Wilder is invisible to everyone—except Vivianne Marchetta. A vampire who has good reason to loathe all lycans, Vivianne is eager to be rid of her shifter shadow. But the spell that should sever the connection between this mismatched pair only deepens their bond. Can they trust each other enough to survive this transformation, or will it destroy them both?

My Review:

I have a confession.  I’ve never read a Harlequin romance before.  Ever.  There is a certain undeserving stigma that comes with the brand that sells millions of popular books each year in the romance genre.  Romance, in general, tends to get looked down upon as “trashy” but publishers like Harlequin seem to catch the brunt of the prejudice.  I, like many of you, grew up with mothers and grandmothers devouring these books by the shelf full and in high school, I had friends that would raid those very shelves for reading material during study hall.  I simply never picked one up to read myself before now.  When I spotted this interesting title available for review I decided to rectify that immediately!

I wasn’t expecting a bad story after all a company does not stay in business 69 years by publishing books that people don’t want to read.  I was expecting a stand-alone paranormal romance and I don’t think that was the case.  After exploring other titles by this author I have a feeling that this title is part of a series and I was jumping in on the action mid-plot a bit.  I wasn’t lost but it would have been nice to read the other stories first.  That is my biggest complaint about the book.

It was a fun read, though, I like the tough heroine and the enemies becoming lovers plotline worked for me.  The steam level of the story was just right, enough to keep it interesting but the plot wasn’t simply a series of setups to get these two in bed.  Plenty of action as well along with quite a suspenseful scene near the end of the book where both the hero and heroine got to shine and become united as one.

This is perhaps why I enjoy romance books the most.  I know when I pick one up what to expect.  I know I’m going to get a funny or thrilling or suspenseful or mysterious plot where two people come together and overcome their circumstances to build a future together.  I want that happy ending, especially in the world where reality fails to deliver constantly.  This title delivered on all those points but I really wish I had read its predecessors first.  I would have been more invested in the characters and action.  Still, it was a good story and I’m glad I tried it!

My Rating: 3 Stars

Herding Cats by Sarah Andersen

Book Review

 


Herding Cats (Sarah's Scribbles, #3)Book Genre: Graphic Novel, Comic, Humor

Book Series: Sarah’s Scribbles #3

Released: 3/27/18 by Andrews McMeel Publishing

Pages: 112  Price: $14.99 Paperback

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.

 

Book Synopsis:

Sarah valiantly struggles with waking up in the morning, being productive, and dealing with social situations. Sarah’s Scribbles is the comic strip that follows her life, finding humor in living as an adulting introvert that is at times weird, awkward, and embarrassing.

My Review:

I’ve read this author’s first book in this ‘series’ but somehow managed to miss the second book when it was on Net Galley.  When this one popped up I decided to give it a shot since I have enjoyed her work before.  I was expecting a compilation of her latest work but was delighted to find more within the pages of the book.

There is, of course, some charming and witty comics where Ms. Andersen captures perfectly how many of us feel about the world, online and off. I found myself repeatedly thinking that is exactly how I feel or that was such a great observation.  I chuckled as I turned the pages until I reached the second part of the book where Ms. Andersen gives us a pep talk on how to survive this vicious online world that we all must learn to navigate.  She was coming from the area of an artist who must put themselves out there and become vulnerable to attack from all the negativity that makes up much of the online world.  I, however, believe her point and words of wisdom could apply to just about anyone that has felt the negative impact of too much social media.

This was a particularly timely read for me as I am currently struggling with how to deal negative interaction online and the desire to just give it up completely.  I’ll definitely take her advice to heart at the end.  This little book was a great read that not only entertained but made me think.  I recommend.

My Rating: 5 Stars

If Tomorrow Comes by Nancy Kress

Book Review

 


If Tomorrow Comes (Yesterday's Kin, #2)Book Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian

Book Series: Yesterday’s Kin Trilogy

Released: 3/6/2018 by Tor Book

Pages: 336 Price: $27.99 Hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  

 

 

Book Synopsis:

Ten years after the Aliens left Earth, humanity has succeeded in building a ship, Friendship, in which to follow them home to Kindred. Aboard are a crew of scientists, diplomats, and a squad of Rangers to protect them. But when the Friendship arrives, they find nothing they expected. No interplanetary culture, no industrial base–and no cure for the spore disease.

A timeslip in the apparently instantaneous travel between worlds has occurred and far more than ten years have passed.

Once again scientists find themselves in a race against time to save humanity and their kind from a deadly virus while a clock of a different sort runs down on a military solution no less deadly to all. Amid devastation and plague come stories of heroism and sacrifice and of genetic destiny and free choice, with its implicit promise of conscious change.

My Review:

When I was given the opportunity to read and review the upcoming release from the Yesterday’s Kin Trilogy I jumped all over it.  I loved the first book! I appreciate the complex characters, moral dilemmas, and real science (as far as my liberal arts educated mind can tell) that Ms. Kress uses to weave her story.  So I cleared my reading calendar and sat down to see what happen next in If Tomorrow Comes.

If you are or have picked up this book without reading the first in the trilogy I think that you will be alright.  I still encourage you to go back and read that first book but I think you will still appreciate this story.  It could almost work as a stand-alone title if it wasn’t for the freaking cliffhanger at the end.

I have to confess that while I enjoyed this book I loved it a bit less than the first.  Still dealing with great topics but the book got a little bogged down in the middle.  I managed to zip through the first hundred pages but after a short break to finish another book (due back at my library) I struggled with the second half a bit.  Of course, that could be attributed to interrupted reading time.  Every time the story started getting good again I had to set it down.

What I loved about this book; the chance to explore a human society that developed vastly different from humans on earth.  Almost an opportunity to see how we could have been without many of the societal hangups we have here on Earth.  Of course, being the humans we are we still manage to muck up this other world with our influence.  I did appreciate how Kress didn’t make this other human race a utopian society.  It had its own share of issues but compared to the current state of our society it sure fell like a vast improvement.

I think what hurt this story the most for me was a character for me to truly connect with.  There were several I definitely didn’t care for but there wasn’t really anyone I really rooting for.  Perhaps humanity as a whole, but it wasn’t quite enough.  The end of the book managed to wrap things up nicely and if I had ended the story a chapter or two early I could have walked away satisfied and ready to move on.  But I didn’t and that last chapter reached out an grabbed me and now I anxiously away the next book to see how this trilogy ends.  I need to know what happens next and I think you will too!

My Rating: 4 Stars

Baby, I’m Howling for You by Christine Warren

Book Review

 


Baby, I'm Howling for YouBook Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy, Suspense

Book Series: Alphaville #1

Released: 1/30/18 by St. Martin’s Press

Pages: 304  Price: $7.99 Paperback

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

Renny Landry is a wolf on the run. Pursued by a shapeshifting stalker and his slobbering pack of killer coyotes, she is forced to flee her job as a librarian to find sanctuary in the wooded hills of Alpha, Washington. A well-secluded safe space for troubled shifters, Alpha is Renny’s last hope. But the first person she meets there is a gorgeous alpha male with fiery eyes, fierce tattoos, and one ferocious appetite—for her…

Mick Fischer thought he left his past behind when he moved to Alpha. But fate has a way of biting him in the tail when a female wolf shows up on his property. Wounded, desperate—and disarmingly hot—Renny brings out the snarling, protective alpha beast in Mick like no other woman he’s known. Can these two haunted, hunted wolves manage to mate for life…even as the deadliest past demons howl at their heels?

My Review:

Ms. Warren is a hit or miss author for me yet I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to try her spin-off series Alphaville, after all its fun, and frustrating…, to be part of a great new series from the beginning, even if that means having to wait for future releases.  I was also offered a copy of the prequel novella so I already had a feeling this was going to be a fun read, having enjoyed Something to Howl About.

I was not disappointed!  This book was just as action-packed and steamy as its predecessor.  The book started with quite the nail-biting chase scene as the female lead Renny was literally running for her life and land in the lap of Mick who just happens to be her mate.  Not really a cute meet but definitely a memorable one.  Of course Mick is the typical stoic alpha male and Renny is a little more beta than I’m used to in my paranormal novels, but she does stand her ground from time to time and gives Mick a challenge to his domineering ways.

The plot is a bit dark yet timely for the current debate over the Me Too movement.  As it deals with issues of harassment, stalking, and touches on rape (no actual rape takes place in the book).  We get to know a few members of the community and I look forward to future books where we get a chance to explore the town and its residents.  I think the next book features one of the lion shifters of which there were two in this story.  I enjoyed them both, brother and sister, and one of them finding a mate might be a lot of fun.  Especially if the other sibling has protection issues.

This was a good read, took me longer than I thought it would but that was all on me no fault of the storyline.  When I found the time to sit down and read I was surprised at how quickly I consumed the pages. There was tons of action and suspense mixed in with just the right amount of steam.  If you are looking for a new shifter story to sink your teeth into then I would check this one out for sure!

My Rating: 4 Stars

Dead Eye by Alyssa Day

Book Review

 


Dead Eye (Tiger's Eye Mystery, #1)Book Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Mystery

Book Series: Tiger’s Eye Mystery #1

Released: 2/27/17 by Alyssa Day

Pages: 257 Price: $4.99 Ebook

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

For Jack Shepherd, tiger shape-shifter and former soldier, life is heading for a dead end. Dead End, Florida, to be exact. When he learns that he inherited a combination pawn shop/private investigation agency from his favorite uncle, Jack’s first job is to solve his uncle’s murder. Because sometimes it takes a tiger’s eye to see the truth.

Tess Callahan, who owns half a pawn shop in the strangest town in Florida, didn’t expect Jack to show up and be so very enticing. And exciting. And annoyingly over-protective. But when yet another dead body shows up on her doorstep, it’s time to take action. And if she has to team up with a sexy tiger shape-shifter to do it, well, that’s just a bonus. 

Welcome to Dead End, Florida, where Bigfoot keeps a winter home. And welcome to the Tiger’s Eye Mysteries!

My Review:

When I took a chance on this book I did not realize it was a spin-off from this author’s Warriors of Poseidon series.  Not that I have a problem starting with a spin-off but I had tried the other series and didn’t care for it.  I’m glad I didn’t know that when I picked up this one because I really enjoyed this book.  I did feel that there was some information that I was missing out on not having read the other series but it didn’t bother me enough to stop reading this book.

Another thing that surprised me was that this story is told from Tess’s perspective only.  When you read the synopsis on Goodreads it ends with the first paragraph above and there is no mention of Tess’s character at all.  (They synopsis above was taken from Net Galley in order to save you the confusion I felt)  Not a big deal but I thought I was in a male’s head and when he started checking out the other male character…well let’s just say I thought the book was going to take quite the different path than I expected.  I finally figured out I was in a girl’s head it became a story that I was much more familiar with.  Although, the other would have been fun too.  Might have to look into checking out some LGBTQIA shifter tales to see what I think.

This was a fun read all around.  It felt a lot like the Sookie Stackhouse series and if you enjoyed that world I would suggest giving this one a try.  I liked Tess and found her pawn shop to be a hoot.  There are tons of potential plots to be had in that setting.  Jack was interesting but I felt like I didn’t get a chance to know him as well as Tess.  That might be because he was brought over from the other series and I missed out on some key history for his character.  The town was a good mix of fun supporting character and creepy bad guys, some I really wanted to tear into myself.

The author did a great job of making me invested in this town and its resident.  I see that there are two more books out, a novella and another full-length novel and I really want to pick them up to find out what happens next.

My Rating: 4 Stars

Something to Howl About by Christine Warren

Book Review

 


Something to Howl About (Alphaville, #0.5)Book Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Shifter, Novella

Book Series: Alphaville #0.5

Released: 1/2/18 by Swerve

Pages: 86 Price: $0.99 Ebook

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

WELCOME TO ALPHAVILLE, where the she-wolves and alpha-males play. . .for keeps, in a brand-new paranormal romance series from New York Times bestselling author Christine Warren.

Dr. Annie Cryer has been called many things: Genius. Child prodigy. Scientific wonder.

Wolf Shifter.

Banished from her pack years ago, Annie’s lone wolf wandering has brought her to Alpha, Washington, home to all shifters who don’t quite fit in in the “normal” shifter word. Now Annie has the chance to go back home…if only she can make good on a favor her alpha owes the mayor of “Alphaville.” But it’s not much of a favor when you’re helping the hottest shifter in town…

Grizzly shifter Jonas Browning has a clan in trouble. They haven’t had a child born in over a hundred years…and their clan faces going completely extinct. Genetic scientist Anne Cryer has been sent to help save them. But what Jonas doesn’t count on is being irresistibly drawn to the small wolf shifter, and his bear isn’t about to let her go…

My Review:

I requested and was approved for the first book in this new series by Ms. Warren, Baby, I’m Howling For You.  A week or so later I was offered a copy of the prequel novella along with an invitation to join the blog tour.  Unfortunately, health issues prevented me from being able to join in the fun… I’m still battling the flu.  Anyway, I finally found a moment and motivation in wanting to finish just one more book before 2017 ends and decided to spend the afternoon reading this title.

I’m so glad I did because I now plan to spend the first day of 2018 devouring the next book!  This was such fun read that had me laughing at so many moments.  It was simply perfect!  There was humor, science (y) plot, relationship drama, and a really good steamy scene.  We have a smart sassy strong female lead and a horny yet bumbling commitaphobe mate that really puts his foot in his mouth.  My only complaint is that it was simply too short! The dialog was great and setting up of this new society was just right no info dump here but I didn’t feel lost either.  I do understand that this is to be a spin-off from her Others series but you do not have to have read that one to dive into this world.

I’ve not read a shifter series for a while and it looks like Alphaville is going to be a fun new playground for me to spend my reading time in.  This book while short had plenty to offer and I hope you go grab a copy for yourself after all the price is quite the deal. Perfect to get you hooked.  This was a great title to end my reading year on!

My Rating: 5 Stars

Artemis by Andy Weir

Book Review

 


ArtemisBook Genre: Science Fiction, 

Book Series: N/A

Released: 11/14/17 by Crown Publishing

Pages: 384 Price: $27.00 Hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Buy the Book: Amazon Artemis: A Novel

Source: I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

Jazz Bashara is a criminal.

Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you’re not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you’ve got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent.

Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of her problems, as she learns that she’s stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself—and that now, her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even riskier than the first.

My Review:

Let me start this review off by stating that I love The Martian,  I mean really love that book.  If you follow my blog then you already know this because it seems like I am constantly pimping the book.  I have reviewed it three times after all…(all linked in this review) I was super excited to get my hands on Mr. Weir’s second title because I have also enjoyed many of his short stories that he has published on his website.  Let me also get this out-of-the-way, Artemis is not as strong a story as The Martian.  It simply isn’t.  That’s okay, though, there was a lot to live up to in The Martian and that doesn’t mean that Artemis isn’t a thoroughly enjoyable book because it is.  I’m still giving it five stars, not that I think they are equal, just that The Martian probably deserved like ten stars from me.

Before I started my review I decided to check out some of the other blogger’s thoughts on Artemis and found a mixed bag, some glowing some more critical.  I tend to agree with many of the points of either type of review but they didn’t sway my opinion and decision to give this book five stars.  Let me tell you why.

Lets start with Jazz who seems to receive most of the harsh criticism from reviewers.  Yep she is a little rough around the edges and it can be difficult for a male author to capture the essence of female-hood.  Not that it can’t be done, but it can be a challenge, just as the opposite can be true of a female writing a male.  The tendencies to get carried away with stereotypes can be strong, also sometimes the character can come off feeling a bit off.  Personally I liked Jazz.  I thought she was well written, sure a bit awkward at times and juvenile, but that isn’t necessarily mean she isn’t authentic.  When you take into account the history of the character I think Jazz is pretty true to form.  She was a young girl raised by a single father on the moon.  She is a tomboy and probably didn’t have a strong female role model in her life.  I think she works and have known people in real life like her.  She was smart and funny and I appreciated the strong moral code she lived her life as a smuggler under.  She was flawed but redeeming which makes for a pretty strong character in my book. Just because you might not like someone and think they are awkward doesn’t mean they are lacking.

Now for what I love most about Andy Weir’s books.  The science!  I love that his science fiction is based in real science.  He doesn’t cheat, at least to my non-scientific liberal-arts fine art-degree mind that is.  I might not understand everything he explains in his stories but I love the fact that he takes the time to anyway and doesn’t make me feel stupid in the meantime.  I also enjoy how the lead character talks to the reader, breaking the fourth wall can be tricky.  Easily overdone but not in this instance.  Weir uses it to keep the reader engaged and invested in the story not to mention for comedic reasons.  I loved it!

On last point in this book’s favor that I feel has been overlooked in all the reviews I’ve read thus far.  The diversity in this book is amazing!  I can’t think of a more diverse cast of characters in any book that I’ve ever read, and there have been quite a few.  I don’t know if this speaks more to my reading taste or the industry in general but one of us needs to expand our horizon’s more.  This book was amazing in this regard.  Jazz is a Muslim Saudi female who is the hero of this story!!!  I don’t want to spoil anything else (that was leaked already by Mr. Weir on Facebook) but this book does an excellent job of portraying a diverse blended society.  One other thing I noticed in this book was the lack of Americans.  I’m sure they were there but most of the main functions of this society were not run by companies or people from The United States.   Hmm.  I wonder if this was a bit of social commentary by the author of what might happen to a powerful society that rejects science.  I think it does.

Is the book perfect.  No it can feel a little awkward at times but it was still fun and the ending was amazing.  I can’t wait to add this title to my home library permanently.   I also can’t wait to share this review and book with you my followers and my library patrons.

My Rating: 5 Stars

Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore

Book Review

 


Reincarnation BluesBook Genre: Fantasy, Fiction, Humor

Book Series: N/A

Released: 8/22/17 by Del Rey Books

Pages: 384 Price: $27.00 Hardcover

Links:  Goodreads,

Buy the Book: Amazon  Reincarnation Blues: A Novel

Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

A magically inspiring tale of a man who is reincarnated through many lifetimes so that he can be with his one true love: Death herself.

What if you could live forever—but without your one true love? Reincarnation Blues is the story of a man who has been reincarnated nearly 10,000 times, in search of the secret to immortality so that he can be with his beloved, the incarnation of Death. Neil Gaiman meets Kurt Vonnegut in this darkly whimsical, hilariously profound, and wildly imaginative comedy of the secrets of life and love. Transporting us from ancient India to outer space to Renaissance Italy to the present day, is a journey through time, space, and the human heart.

My Review:

I absolutely loved this book.  Completely.  I actually believe in reincarnation, much like what was described in this book.  My belief is that we come back to Earth time and time again in order to experience every part of humanity and evolve as a soul.  I also believe we plan each life, to some extent, in order to reach our goals so while this is a great story of human nature and love there was also the added bonus, for me, that so much of the plot fed into my belief system of life and death and reincarnation.  Score!

Okay putting that aside for those of you who don’t share my beliefs this is still an amazingly good book.  The story is entertaining, the characters not taking themselves too seriously, willing to poke fun at themselves.  They were also full of depth, complex and unique.  Some of their quirks had me laughing but the author also knew how to set the fun aside and get serious for a chapter or two.  There were such profound moments in this book that it made my heart wrench for the characters.  The author did an excellent job of showing the human race for what we are, blemishes and all.  He also showed us the potential for what we could become, though.  That in each of us we have the potential to do great things and some pretty crappy things too.  Of course, then there is karma which will get us in the end and rewards us for our actions be them good or bad.

The synopsis leads one to believe this is a story about love and it is but it is also so much more.  I would have to say that the love plot line almost took a back burner for me.  Oh sure I wanted to see those two crazy kids get together and have their H.E.A (e standing for eternity here) but it isn’t what kept me engaged in the story.  The observations on humanity are what kept me turning the page.  The jumping back and forth in time, done well by the way and not confusing at all, to observe how the human race evolved over time and how one small act can ripple through out time and change the course of humanity for years to come.

This is simply a great read done by a talented author who can weave a complex and fresh story that not only entertains but makes one stop and think for a moment.  It is one of those books that I’m better for having read it and you will be too.

My Rating: 5 Stars

ARC Miniatures: The Very Short Fiction of John Scalzi by John Scalzi

Book Review

 


Miniatures: The Very Short Fiction of John ScalziBook Genre:Science Fiction, Short Stories, Humor

Book Series: N/A

Released: 12/31/16 by Subterranean Press

Pages: 144  Price:$40.00 (!) Hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley for an honest review

 

 

Book Synopsis:

The ex-planet Pluto has a few choice words about being thrown out of the solar system. A listing of alternate histories tells you all the various ways Hitler has died. A lawyer sues an interplanetary union for dangerous working conditions. And four artificial intelligences explain, in increasingly worrying detail, how they plan not to destroy humanity.

Welcome to Miniatures: The Very Short Fiction of John Scalzi.

These four stories, along with fourteen other pieces, have one thing in common: They’re short, sharp, and to the point—science fiction in miniature, with none of the stories longer than 2,300 words. But in that short space exist entire universes, absurd situations, and the sort of futuristic humor that propelled Scalzi to a Hugo with his novel Redshirts. Not to mention yogurt taking over the world (as it would).

Spanning the years from 1991 to 2016, this collection is a quarter century of Scalzi at his briefest and best, and features four never-before-printed stories, exclusive to this collection: “Morning Announcements at the Lucas Interspecies School for Troubled Youth,” “Your Smart Appliances Talk About You Behind Your Back,” “Important Holidays on Gronghu” and “The AI Are Absolutely Positively Without a Doubt Not Here to End Humanity, Honest.”

My Review:

I am fairly new to the genius that is John Scalzi.  Redshirts was my first introduction, followed by Locked In and I have Old Man’s War signed and waiting for me up on my to-read bookcase.  I had an opportunity to met him in Chicago last spring after BEA and am so glad I did.  I love this man’s humor and writing style. When this book of short stories popped up for review on Net Galley I put in a request and promptly crossed my fingers in hope that I would be approved.  About a week later I received an email that it was waiting for me over on the site!  Made. My. Day.

Then life got in the way and having like two months to read this short collection of short stories I put it off for a month before diving in.  Most of the stories have been published someplace before and Mr. Scalzi gives us a little intro to each story sharing its inspiration or when in his writing history they came into being.  One of them even shares how you can find the story being read by Mr. Scalzi and his friend Wil Wheaton at a library on YouTube.  (How delightful! I had to watch it twice.)  This is simply a fun little book filled with witty stories from a great mind and I found myself laughing out loud as they brightened my day.

The only drawback to this book that I can see is the price.  It is listed as $40 for a hardcover version, but perhaps that will change.  I know it would have prevented me from picking up this one no matter how delightful it might be.  If it is too much for your budget to absorb I suggest suggesting it to your local library for purchase.  If you are a huge fan of Mr. Scalzi, though, and collect everything he has written then this is going to be a fabulous addition to your home library.

My Rating: 5 Stars