Saturday, December 31, 2011

Best and Worst of 2011 and what to expect in 2012

I know my bro will weigh in later, but i wanted to throw down some literary thoughts for 2011 and tell you what you can expect for 2012. This has been a fun project for Del and I to partake and I plan on making this blog much more dynamic in the coming months.

What does that mean?

More reviews. I've read tons of books this past year and I'll be honest, I haven't found but a handful that I felt I would want to put on here. That I would even recommend that you read. But I see now that this kind of thinking is short sighted. I should just give my opinion on whatever I read. So from now on, that's what's going to happen. If I do not like a book enough to actually give it a rating, I'll just not rate it and give you my general opinion of the book. As I've stated before, I'm not here to rip someone's work apart. I'll be honest, but I'm not going to crucify someone. It'll be a simple recommend/do not recommend.

on to my favorites:
Best new author/great find
Kevin Hearne :  Iron Druid Chronicles
Guys, this series is super entertaining. The author is super nice, he actually interacts with his fan base. I have two, count em two, different things signed by him. One was a gift from my brother and the other was a prize I won, just for being a fan. How awesome is that?

Best Epic Book I read this year:

Patrick Rothfuss: The Name of the Wind
This book was so entertaining, I felt smarter after reading this novel. It's long, but don't let that scare you, the journey, you're allowed to tag along for is amazing and well worth your time as a reader. Give it a shot.

Best continuation in a series:

Ilona Andrews: Magic Slays Book 5 in the Kate Daniels Series.
I love this series, I've been reading it for a few years now. I love a bad ass female heroine with humor. She's authentic and you don't read the book and think to yourself "hmm, they seem to be trying to make her into some alpha butch woman who secretly needs rescuing" like so many other books with a female lead. Kate Daniels kicks ass and it's as simple as that.

Biggest Flop of the Year:
It would have to be the latest Sookie Stackhouse book. I know, shoot me, whatever. I don't care. I am not the writer and I am not the type of reader that gets pissed when an author does something and demand that they change it. blah blah. (Chicagoland series, I still love them even when she killed off a main character) But as a reader i have the right to not like where you're going, or how you've utterly changed the main character from a spunky, fun survivor to a defunct, somewhat sad shell of her former self character. I just didn't think it was a good book. I didn't find that humor that normally makes me like these books. It just is, what it is. I've stuck with this series, because I loved them. But it has just progressively gotten sadder and less dynamic with each book. I hope the next one turns it around.

See I feel like an ass for even posting that, b/c I really do enjoy Ms. Harris' writing, I just did not enjoy the last three S.S. books. oy.

anyway, that's my list for 2011. I'm sure Del will add more. Also in 2012, I plan on releasing chapters here and there for my latest book. So keep an eye out and I promise we'll be much more active in this coming new year.

your literary hound,

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Ominous Truth(Sword of, that is)

As the Sister mentioned in an earlier post, we are both huge fans of Terry Goodkind's, Sword of Truth series. I have been in love with this series for years. The moral, political and philosophical stances that are reflected really hit right on with a lot of my personal views. And hey, who can help but love a story where the hero overcomes after lots of trials and tortures and does so with some really awesome female companions who can kick some major butt on their own?
Goodkind is one of the few authors, in my humble opinion, who has successfully written and wrapped up a rather long series of books. When he "ended" the SoT series, everything was complete, he did an awesome job of tying up all the bothersome loose ends and the conclusion was pleasantly cathartic. While I hated to see the journey of my well-loved characters come to an end, he ended it well. Hobbits would sing of them in song if they were in a Tolkeinverse. But........
He wrote another book in the series. The Omen Machine. It picked right up from where the last book left off, which is nothing new in that regard, he did that with most of the series. It works well for the storyline. However, this story felt weak to me. There was a lot of stuff going on with nothing really happening. The story had a very pointless feeling about it. Now, I am NOT going to slam Mr. Goodkind, I love his story and it is his. However, this story didn't have good direction, there was a lot of filler "stuff" going on and whats worse, it had no completion. Even though his stories have always led into one another, they always felt like a complete story. The Omen Machine just felt incomplete. I was not riveted by his writing this time around and it was very hard for the book to keep my interested. I was able to stick to previous books in the serious even when reading one for the 4th or 5th time. With The Omen Machine, it was almost painful to keep reading. However, without giving out spoilers, the ending, which really felt like the book just stopped, definitely gave him a chance to redeem the story. I don't see anyway that there is not another sequel already in the works.

Before I sign off here, I just want to reiterate that I completely love the SoT series. And even though I was somewhat disappointed in the latest installment, Mr. Goodkind won me over years ago, and I still feel, for now, anything he publishes is worth the read. As for now, I'll patiently wait to see where he takes Richard, Kahlan and the most awesome Mord Sith next.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


I've mentioned Kevin Hearne several times in this blog. His Iron Druid Chronicles series, is awesome. Super entertaining, smart, and all around enjoyable. I can't even express how excited I was to find out that he is coming to Nashville in June 2012. You see, Nashville is just a couple hours away, and I know I am so going to be there. It's funny, as soon as he posted his summer travel schedule, the brother and I both were like "THERE!".

Needless to say, you should all go to his website and check out his tour schedule. Also, if you haven't you should check out his books.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Drink Deep: Chloe Neill Chicagoland Vampires

If you've never picked up the Chicagoland Vampire, series you really should. This is book five in the series. Ms. Neill was just contracted out for five more books, I believe. So lots of fun to be had. You follow the lead character in the book, Merit, from her transition from an Academic to a unwilling vampire soldier. She's smart, she's funny and can kick ass. One thing I really love about this series, is the pace. It has a lot of banter and is loaded with edgy quips. It keeps you on your toes.

Let me tell you a little about Merit's world. She has an awesome best friend (blue hair and all), an adorably loving grandfather, her relationship with her parents is strained (Chicago nouveau riche) and of course a hunky male lead. I'm not here to review the other books, because that would take forever. I'll just give you the short run of it, I loved them. I'd give them between and B+ and an A.

Ahoy, Avast (other pirate speak) There be Spoilers Ahead.....

Book 4 in this series left me distraught. I was in tears and quite upset at where she left the series. Killing a main character (not Merit). How could you? If it had been a paperback book I was reading and not a nook, that book would have been tossed across the room. No Lie. I was iffy about this book. What if my heart was still broken months later and she has done nothing to heal those wounds for me?

It was like going somewhere that you knew you run into an ex. You have to go to that place, but you would rather not. That was the type of hesitancy I had before diving into this book. OK maybe not that much, since I did read it at 1am (as soon as the book was downloadable). But for dramatics, think I was having some existential crisis over it. Okay?

Well Merit is on the mend. She's doing her thing, she's.... well she's hanging out with Jonah, another vamp a lot. She's avoiding some other vamps and just existing. That was the book for me, she was just there. The pace was not what I was used to from Ms. Neill. I'd like harangue her and bitch about that... But I can't. I understand the purpose of this book. This book is what happens after closing a big arc. she had to give Merit time to heal a bit, get her bearings and start in a new direction.

Which is exactly what this book has done. We are introduced some new issues, resolved some old and given a new big bad. I wasn't surprised with the big bad, she's been foreshadowing it for a while.

that is on thing I'm sort of "eh" about. Her foreshadowing. She does it too much. Give the reader some credit. There's a difference between leading someone to water and ya know, water boarding them. Just sayin'.

Back on topic, the heart break is resolved. When I first read the book, for that right there I was willing to give her all the accolades in the world. You brought back my favorite male lead (yes over Vampire Eric) from the dead. I was content. But giving a starving person a single oreo, isn't the same as buying them groceries for a whole month. The momentary joy/elation I had from that revelation (that was foreshadowed to hell btw) was fleeting. It doesn't really change my "meh" about the rest of the book.

While I did have one emotional "Yippee", that was about it. I get it, this book was needed. We have different villains, hunky Ethan back, the house starting back to some normalcy, and Merit is on a new mission, with Ethan (squee) by her side.

I give this book a B-.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Oh wait! It's not quite over yet....

 We all hate to see one of our favorite series come to an end. But we all know that it's better to go out when it makes sense, rather than limp a story line along past its expiration date. At the moment I can think of several series that probably would have been better served had they wrapped up 2 or 3 books ago. But occasionally some authors end a series with such care that you don't really fell sad about the conclusion. Ends were tied up, not everyone had a happy ending, but you don't feel robbed by that fact. They just came to the end of the natural progression of the story line.

but what happens when they come back?

The Sword of Truth series is one of my all time favorite sets. It is written by reclusive author, Terry Goodkind. This 12 book set could be described best as epic novels. Very long (most over 800pgs), each story tying into another story.  These books are intense, and you truly find yourself wrapped up in the story line. He did a magnificent job crafting each story. He did an even better job wrapping it up. Yeah he did that in 2008. Initially I was sad to see Kahlan and Richard's story wrap up, but I was satisfied with their conclusion.

However, he brought them back this past May in a new arc. I have not had the opportunity to read the book. My brother has, so he can weigh in on them in separate post. But I find myself hesitant to pick it back up. I'm afraid I'll hate this new story line and feel like he has stayed past his welcome. I hate the idea of disliking my favorite series of all time.

He's the author and it's ultimately up to him. Perhaps he was shacked up in his cabin (seriously guys, he's a recluse) and his muse smacked him across the face and demanded another story. The series has everything you could want. Magic, battles, feminism, capitalism, communism, political uprisings and falls. They're epic. What if this new story doesn't live up to the pedestal I've built and put this story on?

Eventually I will break down and read the new book. It's like a Christmas present sitting there still wrapped on the 26th. It would be maddening to not rip it open and find out what prize lay beneath. But I'm holding out as long as I can. Fearful that I'll find that its stayed past its expiration. Let's hope not.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

My 2cents on Kevin Hearne

Like the sister said in her last update, we both read the Iron Druid books by Kevin Hearne. The books were very entertaining works of urban fantasy. In my opinion, Mr. Hearne did and excellent job of keeping a good pace of writing that makes sure the reader doesn't get bored, but still conveys the details and background needed to understand the back stories related to different characters. So far, there are 3 books released in the Iron Druid Chronicles series, with at least 3 more on the way. The 4th installment is due to hit the shelves next spring. I can honestly say that it has been a long time since I have enjoyed a story this much.

The main character of the story is an extremely old, yet young looking Druid, who is trying to deal with enemies of the long past and some newly made, trying to protect those around him and trying to live his life as he desires. The "hero" has a sturdy moral compass, but Hearne doesn't sicken us with writing him as too perfect or as a self-righteous beacon of morality. Pretty much he's an "everyman" to which many people can relate. Well, withstanding his super cool Druid abilities and the way he can use the Earth to some really neat stuff.

The books are written with an amazing mixture of differing mythologies and religious beliefs. Hearne pulls in all kinds of characters ranging from Norse mythology all the way to Psycho Cabalist. And he even tosses in some vamps and wolfs. No one should feel disappointed or neglected on that aspect.

He also writes in some great wit and comic relief. A great deal of this comic relief comes in the form of the hero's companion, a great big Irish wolfhound that he can communicate with via some cool mind mojo.

Lastly, for me, the main attraction to Kevin Hearnes works is Kevin Hearne himself. I greatly enjoyed his first book and had already decided that I would invest the time to read any future installments, but when I did a search to find out more about the author himself, I was truly impressed. Not only did this guy have a very informative website and make use of social media, he also personally interacts with his fans. Mr. Hearne frequently updates his website and facebook page. But, the really impressive aspect is that his facebook page isn't just a place where he, or his rep post advertisements and updates. When a fan posts something to his page, or a conversation breaks out, he actually responds, gets involved and communicates. He's very accessible to his followers and never gives the impression that he's too busy or too good to acknowledge everyone. This goes a long way in my opinion. There are many authors who refuse to interact with their fans. I know of one in particular, and I really love his set of books, that only does 1 book signing per release, never releases more than 1 book a year, sometimes even longer, his main job is writing his books and he never interacts with his followers. There is only a couple of people he deems worthy of his attention and those people are responsible for passing on what little they know to his fandom. But Mr. Hearn on the other hand, is a very busy person, has a job, has a life and makes time for his fans and makes us feel appreciated.

And for that Mr. Hearne, I applaud you. For his creativity, wit, writing style and fan interaction, I rate Him a very strong B+. I look forward to reading more Hearne in the future.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

upcoming book reviews

Patrick Rothfuss- King Killer Chronicles

Kevin Hearne- Iron Druid Chronicles

Jim Butcher- Harry Dresden Files

Over the summer the brother and I read both of the King Killer Chronicles, all three IDC, and all thirteen Harry Dresden Books. To be truthful, the Kevin Hearne books led us to the other two writers and I was pleasantly surprised to find myself deeply enthralled by all of them.

One thing I can say about Kevin Hearne, is that he is the nicest author out there in my opinion. He's really active on his facebook page, replies to most of your comments and holds giveaways all the time (I won an audiobook). Something about an author who really tries to connect to his fan base, truly impresses me.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Reinforcements have arrived

I was very excited when my dear sister, (pretty much the most awesome sister ever), asked me if I would like to join her in reviewing books here. I don't know of anyone else who shares the same tastes in books as me, as strongly as I do. But, like Dianne said, we do sometimes venture down differently literary paths. Also, we will often share different opinions of what we have both read, and sometimes, even if we both love a book, we will come at it from very different angles. So, you never know if a friendly debate will occur. That being said, I am looking forward to sharing my opinions on the written word and the people who write it with everyone here.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

lots of new things coming

I created this blog and sort of went MIA. That sort of sucked, but I'm back baby! I am bringing in reinforcements too... The only person I know that reads as much as I do, is my dear brother. I invited him to share his opinions on the various books he reads. We have similar tastes in books, but we do vary on opinions and sometimes genres. If you would like to have either one of us read/review your books feel free to contact us.

You can look forward to several new updates in the weeks to come. I have been on a war path reading different genres lately and I have fallen completely in love with a few new writers. Keep your eyes peeled for new reading suggestions and just all around awesome reviews. You won't be sorry!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Arrival: Birthright Trilogy

One of my most favorite Kiwi blogger friends had a little riddle contest and the winner (moi) got a free copy of her book. Let me direct you to Nicole's MacDonald's website first and foremost. You can read the description over there. I've been following Nicole since she began her blog. We began around the same time, but she's way more awesome than I am, because she already has her book up for purchase on Amazon, BN, Goodreads and Smashwords. I have been itching to read her book, since I've kept up with her process since the start, and I can say with all the honesty in the world, I enjoyed her first novel immensely.

This book is an adventure and a half. It had me laughing and turning green with envy over Nicole's eye for detail. I love a good fantasy meets sci-fi novel. Think Lord of the Rings meets a really interesting and witty chick lit book. At first I was afraid I would be thrown off by the switching point of views. I knew she was going to do it, but I hadn't quite prepared myself for how it would work. But it did work out well. It is actually a very interesting way to read a book. You get to try on different characters and see their point of view.

I enjoyed the relationship between the four girls. Their absolute loyalty to one another really stuck out to me. Their interactions never seemed contrived and pretty steadfast to how I see my friends and I interacting. I loved all of the love interests for each of the girls. I felt that Nicole matched them all very well with someone who would challenge them and bring them out of their shells, but do it in a unique way.

My most favorite aspect of this book is Nicole's keen eye for detail. I felt like I could see it all unfold in my mind. Which to me, is a sign of a great novelist. I found myself wanting to see the Griffin take flight and their varying colors of feathers matched with their lion-like manes. Oh and what I wouldn't give to have an Ada in real life to make my wardrobe sing.

My only grievance was the ending!!! I wanted more, which just means I'll be picking up the second book the second she releases it. I sort of felt like she ended it on the climax. I needed that payoff. But other than that, which may or may not be a good thing to others, I loved the book.

Nicole my hat is off to you on your first novel out the gate.

Rating: B+

Review Guidelines

I realized after I gave Nicole's (most awesome) book a B+ I didn't clarify what that meant. Which I will admit is pretty lame on my part. So i think I will break it down for you here.

A- to A+= Perfection, wouldn't change a thing, I love the writing style, It made me think and/or go outside my comfort zone.
some examples:
American Gods-Neill Gaiman
The Fixer- Bernard Malamud 
The Lemon Tree-  Sandy Tolan
That is some hefty competition to ever jump into A status.

B- to B+- Enjoyed the book, perhaps even loved the book. Definitely recommendation worthy.

C- to C+- Liked the book, maybe felt like there was something missing, or something annoyed me on the basic level.

I won't review a book that doesn't get at least a C-. No worries about D or F books. I don't feel like I am in this to rip into another author.

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I review for BookSneeze®

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Fate's Edge- Ilona Andrews
Tricked- Kevin Hearne (IDC 4)
The Doors of Stone (King Killer Chronicles) Patrick Rothfuss
Whatever Jim Butcher writes in 2012
Bear meets Girl- Shelly Laurenston
Biting Cold- Chloe Neill
Sacrificial Magic- Stacia Kane
Molly Harper- Jane Madison Nice Girls don't Bite Their Neighbors
Patricia Briggs- Omega #3
more, but that's a good start for now.