Friday, 15 December 2017

Mass Effect: Initiation - Book Review


Mass Effect: Initiation (Mass Effect: Andromeda #2)
by N.K. Jemisin and Mac Walters


What is it about:
Lieutenant Cora Harper joins the Andromeda Initiative, a mission to send a fleet of colonization arks to the Andromeda Galaxy, each carrying a different council race. When key data is stolen by unknown parties, Alec Ryder personally recruits Harper to retrieve it before it can be used against the Initiative. If she fails, the Andromeda mission may be crippled before it begins. Harper is a human who has trained with the asari squad known as Talein's Daughters, under the direction of Nisira T'Kosh herself. Yet her training may not be enough when she discovers that she can trust no one-perhaps not even Ryder himself.

What did I think of it:
I'm addicted to the Mass Effect games and had hoped for some cool DLCs for Mass Effect Andromeda. Now that it's clear that's not going to happen, I decided to feed my addiction with this prequel. I really didn't like Cora in the game, but I thought maybe this book could change my mind.

Well, I will confess I did enjoy the story for the action and the intrigue, but it lacked in emotion, making it hard to see Cora in a new light. There were some attempts to show what Cora is feeling, but it never went too deep. And the one scene that could have been really emotional and could have been used to make haters change their minds about Cora, was told from the perspective of Alec Ryder! Talk about a missed opportunity. It's as if they want me to keep disliking Cora.

I really enjoyed revisiting places and even a minor character from the original Mass Effect trilogy and I'll confess I took a break from this book to replay Mass Effect 3. So in worldbuilding and creating atmosphere this book did a great job.

All in all this is a nice read if you love the Mass Effect Universe and action-packed and intrigue-filled SF. Nexus Uprising is the better book in this particular series though. Still I'll keep this book even though I don't think I'll reread it.

And I'll keep an eye out for the next book, which is set in Andromeda and won't have Cora in it.

Why should you read it:
If you love Mass Effect you'll enjoy this read.


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Thursday, 14 December 2017

Teasing on a Thursday - Wanted & Wired


"So, partner, when are you planning on telling me how badly I just fucked up?"
Definitely a muscle twitch that time.

(page 18, Wanted & Wired by Vivien Jackson)


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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: - Grab your current read - Open to a random page - Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) - Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

The Last Namsara - Book Review


The Last Namsara (Iskari #1)
by Kristen Ciccarelli


What is it about:
In the beginning, there was the Namsara: the child of sky and spirit, who carried love and laughter wherever he went. But where there is light, there must be darkness—and so there was also the Iskari. The child of blood and moonlight. The destroyer. The death-bringer.

These are the legends that Asha, daughter of the king of Firgaard, has grown up learning in hushed whispers, drawn to the forbidden figures of the past. But it isn’t until she becomes the fiercest, most feared dragon slayer in the land that she takes on the role of the next Iskari - a lonely destiny that leaves her feeling more like a weapon than a girl.

Asha conquers each dragon and brings its head to the king, but no kill can free her from the shackles that await at home: her betrothal to the cruel commandant, a man who holds the truth about her nature in his palm. When she’s offered the chance to gain her freedom in exchange for the life of the most powerful dragon in Firgaard, she finds that there may be more truth to the ancient stories than she ever could have expected. With the help of a secret friend — a slave boy from her betrothed’s household — Asha must shed the layers of her Iskari bondage and open her heart to love, light, and a truth that has been kept from her.


What did I think of it:
Dragons are cool, so I had to get my trotters on this book. It looked like it might be included in the November FairyLoot box, so I ordered that box and hoped I was right, while promising myself to order the book if it wouldn't be in the box.

Luckily it was - with a lovely silver edition of the cover - and even better: it turned out to be a beautiful read!

Asha is so used to being feared and reviled that she has closed her heart and is always on guard. Only when she's with her cousin or her brother she lets her guard down. If it wasn't so clear she loves her cousin and is fiercely protective of her, it would have been easy to dislike Asha. But the small glimpses of the real Asha, buried deep inside the hard outer shell she gave herself made me fall in love.

I was totally invested in her struggle to gain freedom, and could understand why she hesitates to do what's right instead of what's safe for her. She's stubborn and makes mistakes, but out of the wish to gain her freedom instead of just being irrational or unthinking.

As she slowly learns to question what she's taught and she becomes more aware of the world around her, and her own place in the world, she has choices to make. And none of them are easy.

Not just the story is wonderful, but the worldbuilding as well. I loved the dragons! Next to Asha there are a couple of really cool and intriguing characters as well.

This book is readable as a standalone and won't leave you with a cliffhanger. From what I understand the next two books will be companion novels, featuring side characters from this book. I'll keep my out for those for sure!

Why should you read it:
It's a wonderful YA Fantasy with dragons.


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Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Amid the Winter Snow - Release Day Alert


Amid the Winter Snow

As the snows fall and hearths burn, four stories of Midwinter beginnings prove that love can fight its way through the chillest night…

THE DARKEST MIDNIGHT, by Grace Draven

The mark Jahna Ulfrida was born with has made her a target of the cruel and idle all her life. During the long, crowded festivities of Deyalda, there’s nowhere to escape. Until a handsome stranger promises to teach her to save herself…

THE CHOSEN, by Thea Harrison

In her visions, Lily sees two men fighting for her tiny country’s allegiance: the wolf and the tiger, each deadly, each cunning. One will bring Ys chaos and death, one a gentler path—but she’s destined to love whichever she chooses. The midwinter Masque is upon them, and the wolf is at her door…

THE STORM, by Elizabeth Hunter

When her soul mate died in a massacre of the half-angelic Irin people, Renata thought she’d never feel happiness again. She’s retreated to the snowy Dolomites to remember her hurts—until determined, irrepressible Maxim arrives to insist on joy, too. And before she can throw him out, they discover a secret the Irin have to know…

THE SNOWS OF WINDROVEN, by Jeffe Kennedy

As a blizzard threatens their mountain keep, the new Queen Amelia of the Twelve Kingdoms and her unofficial consort Ash face their own storm. Ash knows a scarred, jumpy ex-convict isn’t the companion his queen needs. But when a surprise attack confines them together in their isolated sanctuary, the feast of midwinter might tempt even Ash into childlike hope…



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Monday, 11 December 2017

Demon Apocalypse - Book Review


Demon Apocalypse (The Demonata #6)
by Darren Shan


What is it about:
Hell is revealed in the sixth nail-biting, hair-rending, creepy cool episode of the Demonata.Fire! It's all around me, fierce, intense, out of control. I feel the hair on my arms singe and know I have only seconds before I burst into flames. Total panic. There's a horrible shrieking sound, piercing and destructive. My eardrums and eyeballs should burst. "It's hell!" I moan.One boy's life ripped to shreds before his eyes...One wrathful demon master hellbent on revenge...An army of grisly Demonata on the rampage...It's the end of the world as we know it.

What did I think of it:
This is yet another entertaining read.

Shan pulls a stunt he also used in the Cirque du Freak series and which isn't something I particularly like. Still it's not as big a cop out as it is in Cirque du Freak, so I let it pass with only a little bit of grumbling.

All in all an entertaining read with one very interesting development. On to the next book.

Why should you read it:
It's an entertaining read.


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Friday, 8 December 2017

The Kiss of Deception - Book Review


The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles #1)
by Mary E. Pearson


What is it about:
The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can't abide. Like having to marry someone she's never met to secure a political alliance.

Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love.


What did I think of it:
What can I say?

Although I can understand that Lia isn't happy about her arranged marriage, I thought she really didn't think through the consequences of her actions before running off. But then again Lia isn't the sharpest tool in the shed.

She has this huge very recognizable temporary tattoo made especially for her marriage. So when she and her maid have reached the town they want to start their new life, she of course goes bathing in a creek instead of waiting for her maid to finish bathing in the tub inside their cottage! And they talk about their former life while walking around town. At times it's like Lia wants to get caught.

And you don't want to know how prejudiced Lia is, or the weird conclusions she draws from a minimum of information.

The main suspense for a big part of this book is which of the two handsome strangers is the prince and which is the assassin. Both of course fall head over heels for Lia, although it's a bit of a mystery for me what it is in Lia that makes her the object of their obsession. As for which one is what: let's say that I would have written the story differently.

The worldbuilding is sparse, but imo hints at this being a SF Fantasy world. In other words: A long long time ago, in a galaxy far away they once set out to colonize a new world and somehow ended up going back to medieval/renaissance times. But I could be wrong.

Still this is an entertaining read, even if it's just to see what stupid things Lia gets away with. I also liked some of the secondary characters. I will most probably get hold of the next book to see if Lia will learn or will keep bumbling around.

Why should you read it:
It's an entertaining YA Fantasy read.


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Thursday, 7 December 2017

In McPig's TBR Pile - Crossed

I fell in love with Matched and immediately bought the other books in this trilogy.

And then I let them linger on my shelves, because I'm afraid they won't be as good as Matched...

One of these days I'll gather the courage to pick this book up.


Crossed (Matched #2)
by Ally Condie


The Society chooses everything.

The books you read.
The music you listen to.
The person you love.

Yet for Cassia the rules have changed. Ky has been taken and she will sacrifice everything to find him.

And when Cassia discovers Ky has escaped to the wild frontiers beyond the Society there is hope.

But on the edge of society nothing is as it seems...

A rebellion is rising.

And a tangled web of lies and double-crosses could destroy everything.



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