Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Recent Additions to TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists! http://www.brokeandbookish.com/

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list  that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. 

This week the subject is Recent Additions to tbr. My tbr is for books that I have purchased or downloaded but haven't yet read so I had plenty of books to choose from this week! I decided to look at the latest books in series that I have started but not caught up with.
1) Benedict Jacka-Alex Verus series
I loved Fated for its fast moving magic based plot, the character development and the fact that there was something interesting about each character and situation. The last book Hidden came out in September and the newest addition will be Veiled, due out this summer. Hopefully I will have caught up by then!
2) Jennifer Estep-Elemental Assassin series
I really liked Spider's Bite but I haven't read the rest of the series yet. Black Widow, book 12, came out last year but the new book Spider's Trap comes out this summer so I'll be grabbing that. In the ideal world I'll have caught up by then but I have my doubts about that!
3) Christina Henry-Black Wings series 
I very much enjoyed the first book Black Wings which is the only one I've read so far, and the series concluded with book 7 Black Spring in October last year. I'm looking forward to catching up with Maddy and her pet gargoyle!
4) Rachel Caine-The Morganville Vampires series 
OK so this series finished a while back but it has been sitting on my tbr since then waiting to be read. I loved book 1 Glass Houses, and I kept planning a series catchup that I never found time for. Now I'll be reading the whole series in one mad readathon when I can fit it in!
5) Kevin Hearne-The Iron Druid series
This is another series where I've only read book 1 but really enjoyed it. The last book published was Shattered, back in the summer last year and the next one isn't due out until 2016. OK I definitely plan to have caught up with the series by then!  
6) Kelly Meding-Dreg City series 
I loved the first book Three Days to dead and when the publisher pulled the plug on the series after book 4 I was pleased that the author decided to self publish. Book 5 Requiem for the Dead came out in September 2013 but no sign of the paperback copy yet!
7) CE Murphy-The Walker Papers series
I really liked Urban Shaman where one of our heroes is a taxi driving pensioner! Great stuff! I haven't read the rest of the series yet but the final book Shaman Rises came out last year. Must put in the effort to catch up with it soon!
8) Rob Thurman-Cal Leandros series 
I haven't read any of the books in the series but I'm obsessed with buying them! The last book Downfall came out around last summer and I don't know when the next book is coming out. One of the many things I want to catch up with this year!
9) Carrie Vaughn-Kitty Norville series
This is another series where I read and liked the first book, grabbed the whole series but never got back to reading it! Book 13 Low Midnight came out in December so I have some serious catching up to do! 
10) Jaye Wells-Prospero's War series
I read the first of the Sabina Kane books and liked it so I've since grabbed most of what the author has written, and of course I'm way behind! This series has gorgeous covers so I really hope I like it! Deadly Spells which is Book 3 came out in February. 

Cover Reveal: The Sower Comes by Melissa Eskue Ousley (Solas Beir #3)

“Kneel before the Light...and stand against the Darkness.”

As the new king of a world in turmoil, life for David Corbin is grim, at best.

Abby Brown, the love of his life, has vanished without a trace, and David fears the worst: that she was brutally murdered by the Daughters of Mercy, vicious creatures employed by Tynan Tierney, an evil lord vying for the throne. One of David’s best friends, Jon, has been captured by the Kruorumbrae, Tierney’s army of bogeymen, and David has no idea if he’s still alive, or how to rescue him. The powerful Eastern Oracle has pledged loyalty to Tierney’s cause, and all communication with David and the other three Oracles has ceased. Cai Terenmare is on the brink of war. And, to make matters worse, a new evil has arisen, the mysterious Sower, a monster puppeteered by Tierney himself.

On the bright side, David has his treacherous aunt locked up in his dungeon. Lucia’s not happy that her ex, Tierney, tried to kill her, and she owes David for saving her life. Lucia may have critical information about Tierney’s plans for the Sower, but after all the trouble she’s caused, can David ever trust her again?

Melissa Eskue Ousley is the award-winning author of The Solas Beir Trilogy, a young adult fantasy series.

She lives in the Pacific Northwest with a piranha, her family, and their Kelpie, Gryphon. When she’s not writing, Melissa can be found hiking, swimming, scuba diving, or walking along the beach, poking dead things with a stick.

Before she became a writer, she had a number of enlightening jobs, ranging from a summer spent scraping roadkill off a molten desert highway, to years of conducting research with an amazing team of educators at the University of Arizona. Her interests in psychology, culture, and mythology have influenced her writing of The Solas Beir Trilogy.

Links:Website: http://melissaeskueousley.com/Spirit Animal Quiz: http://melissaeskueousley.com/extras/spirit-animal-quiz/Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Melissa-Eskue-Ousley/e/B00GH0T4AY
Facebook: www.facebook.com/MelissaEskueOusley

Twitter: twitter.com/MEskueOusley

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/MelissaEskueOusley

Monday, 30 March 2015

Reading with Chuckles #31

Welcome to Reading with Chuckles! This is where I fill you in on what I'm reading each week-what it is, where I got it or heard about it, what I think of it, if I'm continuing with it or abandoning it and any special offers I'm aware of where you can try the book yourself. Comments are welcome but no spoilers please! It's not fair to other readers!

This week was terrible for the damn insomnia! I was too tired at the start of last week to get anything done but the good news is that the last couple of days I have felt a bit more alert during the day and been able to read a bit. Yea! I HOPE this insomnia spell is passing now and I can get back into my mad reading spree! So this week I tackled mostly short stories, reading a few and abandoning a few. Dead Meat and Outage were good reads which I finished.  The Dead Years and Contamination were not so good but I completed them. The rest were abandoned due to various issues: State of Emergency (whiny idiot MC), Owl and the Japanese Circus (not bad but the MC's love life bored me), Kinetic (group of dreadful characters), Zombie Resurrection (dreadful writing) and Dead Days (poor plot and characters).



Sunday, 29 March 2015

Book Review: State of Emergency by Summer Lane

What would you do if the world as you know it ended in an instant?  How far would you go to survive?

Cassidy Hart is your typical High School graduate: A little shy, a little sarcastic, and a little naive. But when an electromagnetic pulse takes down the United States, she's forced to kick into full survival mode when she gets separated from her father. Yeah. Things suck. But with the help of a handsome soldier named Chris, she just might find her dad without getting into serious trouble. Emphasis on might. 

Oh. And there's the matter of avoiding getting killed in a world that's quickly turned into an active war zone. It's going to change Cassidy's life. It's going to be a major pain in the butt. 

My Review:
This was a great example of why you should go with your gut instinct when you think that a book blurb and reviews mean you should maybe avoid a book. I decided not to listen to my inner book reviewer and tried reading this one, which I now wish I'd avoided.

Los Angeles has been hit by what looks like a EMP strike, turning off power and leaving the majority of vehicles useless. People are in a complete panic and willing to attack others to get their hands on a working car. I liked the sound of this plot...I enjoy these end of the world as we know it scenarios and the first chapter is quite interesting. We have the power cuts, planes falling from the sky and Cassie running home on foot when the car gives up.

Cassie and her cop father are preppers who have long planned for such emergencies. They have supplies in a car adapted to survive an EMP and keep running and a cabin outside the city to hide out in full of all they need to survive. Cassie decides the house isn't safe with all the planes falling so she doesn't wait for her dad and takes off to the cabin-leaving him no way to get out of the city except on foot. I think perhaps she could have given him a chance to get home and hid inside the car in its secret garage to wait a bit longer than five minutes!

It is when Cassie leaves the city that the problems for me with this book start. She points out that her dad has drilled her for emergencies including don't talk to strangers and don't stop for strangers. She is supposed to be shy, friendless and lacking in social skills. So she stops the car for the first stranger she sees on a dark road who is covered in blood and is an older, fit looking man. Yes of course we will stop the car for the first potential rapist or murdered we find because Cassie says she has a soft spot for helping people. Right. That sure will keep you alive in a disaster like this. Lucky for her that he is an ex Navy Seal.

Cassie is the problem with this book. She is meant to be a nineteen year old who has been prepared for emergencies. Instead she is a nine year old pouty whiny brat who does nothing but argue with Chris to get her own way. Listen dumbass if you stop the car for Navy Seal guy, don't you think he knows better than you where to go and where to avoid? Why he kept giving in to her insane ideas which kept landing them in the shit is beyond me. For example, we'll quietly sneak into this gas station to see if we can use anything...then outside Cassie starts yelling to him inside the building that she got the radio working! Cue attack by two carjacker/rapists. Stupid bitch. She stands there outside the car until they grab her instead of getting in, locking the doors and putting her hand on the horn to alert Chris to danger. Yep she's clever.

Chris would've done better cutting her throat and stealing the car instead of babysitting an idiot. Despite his yells about a trap, Cassie just can't resist getting out the car and running off to check out what was a set ambush. Does this dumb cow know anything? She keeps telling us how prepared her father was and what he taught her but she seems determined to ignore all practical advise and do whatever she wants, putting both of them at risk. Then she gets into a really immature fight with Chris about it where she sounds like a stroppy five year old who isn't getting sweets.

I had enough of this moronic female and by the time she suceeds in giving the car away to rampaging nutters, I didn't care what happened to her and quit reading. 
star rating photo: 1 star orange-1star.jpg

Book Review: Contamination-The Onset by TW Piperbrook (Contamination #1)

White Mist, New Mexico
Population: 1

After the murders of his wife and daughter, Sam Cooke is rebuilding a peaceful life as White Mist’s sole resident. Without warning, a strange man enters his store, and Sam is attacked and forced to flee town.

Noah and Kendall just finished moving a young couple from Las Vegas to Albuquerque. On the return trip, they stumble upon a bloody scene in a small southwestern town. They are soon entangled in a struggle for survival, accompanied by the frightened storeowner of White Mist and a mysterious girl.

The infected are taking over. The contamination has begun….

My Review:
This book was a bit disappointing after enjoying the prequel book a lot more. This book lacks the tension and tight plot that the other book had. The book seems to involve a haphazard plot that doesn't really seem to be going anywhere. Our heroes are running around the place getting chased but never seem to get very far. We get hints about how this outbreak started with contaminated meat and a slight suggestion that the trucker at Sam's place might have been transporting it but we don't really see how that has caused these attacks we are witnessing. We get very little about the reasons behind what is happening and I find it all a bit frustrating.

If the meat has turned ordinary people into psycho monsters, why do these creatures get described in a way that makes you think they have paranormal abilities? Sam talks about the creature appearing out of nowhere as if it was a spirit made out of dark mist that can disappear on you. How does that make sense? That was the image I got in my head each time they appeared-mist creatures like The Fog who become flesh to attack you then fade away again. It doesn't really fit with the zombie type creatures we saw in the prequel.

While I liked Sam and the boys, I never saw the point of Delta. Why would you drive all the way to this guy's house just to tell him that the killer of his family, your father, is dead??? Send a letter! Has it occured to her that she might be the last face he wants to see since he saw her in court when the killer was sentenced? Delta just does not interest me and I see little point to her. I never felt connected to her or her story and didn't really care what happened to her.

This felt more like a B Movie than a zombie novel and while I would like to know what happens to Sam, and I'm keen to see Dan again, I'm concerned about what I'll think about the rest of the series. 
star rating photo: Two Star Rating 2stars.png

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Stacking the Shelves #77

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews
Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks! Click on the link under the book to find its page on Goodreads or Smashwords. 

Please note that I always leave a message on your STS/SP if you visit me, but if you use DISQUS or a similar third party I will not be able to leave a comment on your page. And sometimes, I have problems leaving messages on blogs hosted by Wordpress so you might get a double message sometimes! Blame them, not me!

This has been a frustrating week. I'm having more struggles with insomnia which leaves me exhausted during the day, too tired to read at night and yet I toss and turn most of the night. It is ruining my reading and blogging and I'm getting really grumpy about it! No point going to the doctor as I'm allergic to sleeping pills...I've tried things like Camomile Tea and nothing seems to work. Any suggestions are welcomed! 

So progress on the reading side of things was limited and I decided to cheer myself up by buying a pile of books, dvds and other cool things to console myself. Not helpful to the tbr but at the moment I don't really care! I plan to feel sorry for myself for at least a few days yet! So I've been in a bit of a Godfather mood and I've snagged some books written about the characters by three different authors. I also did two book trades this week which was nice. For Wishlist Wednesday I picked Ebola K at random to talk about so imagine my delight at getting a free copy this week! Yea! I've read the first book in the Nevermore trilogy(Sundered) so I was pleased to pick up books 2 and 3 to complete the set.




Friday, 27 March 2015

Book Review: Seven Kinds of Hell by Dana Cameron

When archaeologist Zoe Miller's cousin is abducted by a vicious Russian kidnapper, she must come to grips with a haunting secret. Unknown to even her closest friends, Zoe is not entirely human. She's a werewolf and a daughter of the "Fangborn," a hidden race of werewolves, vampires, and oracles.

Zoe's attempt to rescue her cousin leads her on a quest for artifacts—including Pandora's Box, an object of world-ending power. With the fate of humanity in the balance, Zoe will be forced to renew family ties and pit her own supernatural abilities against a dark and nefarious fo.

At once captivation, deftly worded, and character-rich Seven Kinds of Hell expands vampire legend and werewolf noir in both intensity and charismatic bite.

My Review:
This book was info dump heaven so if like me, you don't like info dumps, proceed with caution!

This was potential unfulfilled. I liked the idea of the story-mother and daughter staying on the run to avoid her father's wicked shifter family, and as Zoe buries her mother, she is being stalked by other shifters. There should have been menace and drama in this but instead it actually felt slow and boring because it an unbelievable amount of info dumping in it, stopping the flow of the story. Some of the information relating to how Zoe first discovered she was a shifter were necessary to the story so this was fine.

However it was the story coming to a full halt with information that we just didn't need that was the problem. We get the complete family history, in depth details about her job, Danny's history, Sean's history, the broken friendship, the broken romantic relationship, the Fangborn, memories of her ex boyfriend, stealing from where she works...there was just too much that wasn't needed especially when it was all shoved into the opening chapters. Perhaps if the author had concentrated on Zoe's beast and her stalkers then gradually told us about Fangborn, it might have worked better and got me into the story instead of feeling bored by the whole Sean and Danny thing.

Zoe herself was annoying. All her life it has been drummed into her to keep away from her father's people. On her deathbed her mother told her to leave NOW. Instead Zoe dawdles around town for another couple of days, hanging around with the people she cares most about, having a great big public funeral and letting her stalkers find her and endanger her loved ones. Yeah just ignore everything your mother ever taught you.

Even the Fangborn parts were confusing. First we have all the people stalking and then confronting Zoe. Then we find out there are actually TWO different groups of Fangborn-the ones who want to hurt her and the ones who want to help her and they are all in town at the same time. And then another group happen to be in town to kidnap Danny to make her steal similar artifacts to what she stole herself...? To be honest by this point it was confusing and a bit dull and I found that I didn't really care if the whole world wanted to find/use/kill Zoe.

I have heard in other reviews that as the book progressed, the action came thick and fast which is the kind of book I like. But the problem is, I hate ploughing through stuff I find slow or boring to get to the good parts, and I rarely continue for long with a slow starting book. If it had got off to a faster start with less info dumping I might have continued with it.

star rating photo: Two Star Rating 2stars.png

Book Review: Fat Vampire 3 by Johnny B Truant

The story of Reginald -- the world's slowest, weakest, most out-of-shape vampire -- continues in this third installment of the FAT VAMPIRE series…

Following the infamous "Ring of Fire" incident, the world's vampires are in a state of panic. Having been commanded by their creators to restore a better balance between humans and vampires, panicked bloodsuckers everywhere have begun "restoring" in the best ways they know -- by killing huge numbers of humans and turning the rest.

As more and more vampires go rogue and threaten to wage war, two-thousand-year-old Maurice's power as Deacon comes under fire, as the tens of thousands who hate him begin to rally together. And all the while, the Vampire Nation is falling apart, tumbling into chaos... as a war threatens to break, and as Reginald begins to discover some strange new supervampire abilities...

Will the center hold? Or will chaos overtake the Nation before Reginald even has a chance to eat that pizza he ordered?

My Review:
Reginald knows that he and Maurice have screwed up by not paying enough attention to the small law changes that Charles has tagged onto the laws Maurice has passed. These changes have gradually increased the power of Fangbook over law changes and gradually reduced the areas the Deacon can control, meaning the veto Maurice has is pretty worthless. Reginald feels angry with himself for taking his eye off the ball and not noticing the subtle changes.

The vampire world is in uproar and they take the Angels message as a warning that they are not killing enough humans. Suddenly vampires are on a murderous rampage and humans are being openly slaughtered. Our gang are alarmed at the anarchy and bloodshed but nobody heeds their plea for calm, preferring to follow Charles as he lets the Council itself run wild. The streets are unsafe and Reginald is worried for the safety of Claire and Victoria. Vigilante vampire hunter groups are now out on the street and they are determined to kill anyone with fangs which is bad news for a fat vampire who can't run away.

As usual there is a lot of good humour in the book. Reginald's encounter with the vampire hunters is funny. The thought of him stuck headfirst in a manhole shouting insults at redneck slayers who are firing bullets at his butt is hilarious! The insults that he hurls at the rednecks while claiming to have slept with every female they know were really funny. I couldn't stop laughing at his brilliant escape plan either! Brilliant entertainment! Reginald is The Man!

It was nice to also find out a bit more about Maurice and his private life and of course Nikki has now had to become a vampire for her own safety as the war is about to start. Her insatiable appetite for blood and sex is depressing Reginald as much as his own failings. I enjoy all the references to Fangbook and wish we could actually read what is posted there! I figure it would be pretty entertaining and much better than Facebook. I love the characters and I'm always wondering what the next disaster will be for poor Reginald! 
star rating photo: Four Star Rating 4stars.png

Book Review: Fat Vampire 2 by Johnny B Truant

The story of Reginald -- the world's slowest, weakest, most out-of-shape vampire -- continues in this second installment of the FAT VAMPIRE series… 

It's been six months since fast-food-addicted Reginald Baskin was turned into a vampire too fat to live peacefully amongst the glamorous undead -- six months in which Reginald and his two-thousand-year-old maker Maurice have learned that power doesn't equal popularity. Sure, Maurice is now calling the shots, but the Council is up to new and dirty tricks, threatening to once again upset the balance…But when the Vampire Nation faces genocidal violence at the hands of an unstoppable force and the very future of vampirekind is threatened, Reginald, Maurice, and Nikki must find their allies elsewhere… buried deep underground in a foreign land.

As is the case for the follow-up to any epic tale, Fat Vampire 2 isn't afraid to ask (and answer) the truly important questions in literature and in life:

* Where did vampires come from, and can they possibly survive a force that bests them at every turn... that may even know them better than they know themselves?
* Is there a war coming... and if so, who will ally with whom?
* Why is Wilford Brimley in Reginald's kitchen?
* Is that an incubus in your pocket, or is it just really damn cold in here? 

My Review:
You would think that after coming up with a great plan to overthrow the Vampire Council leader, saving himself, Maurice and Nikki, that things would get better for Reginald. Er, no.

Firstly he is tortured during a treadmill demonstration by an incubus who says that recent bombings at the Vampire Council were a warning by the Angels that changes were to be made. Maurice refuses to lead the council, sending a proxy and not caring much as long as he can veto stupid laws that he and Reginald don't approve of, and makes his fat vampire's life miserable by insisting he take gymnastics lessons with Claire. Their arch enemy Charles does everything he can to undermine their leadership and almost everyone still wants Reginald dead.

I'm so enjoying this series! The humour that made the first book so much fun continues here with Reginald's treadmill episode and having to wear a T Shirt that proclaims 'I, The Jiggy Motherfucker' which had me choking on my hot chocolate! The gymnastics lessons are really funny, as poor Reginald has Claire and her mother for an audience and the more Reginald pranced around showing off his moves, the more I laughed! He really would be a great guy to just hang out with. I'd happily watch Columbo with him and share a few pizzas! I also loved the office party scene where Reginald gets his own back on an office bully.

There are lots of laughs and sniggers throughout the book but it also has a good story to it. Reginald is still moping about being the worst vampire ever and is reluctantly trying to expand his powers. Maurice is sulking around like a goth kid and refusing to do most of his Deacon duties, allowing Charles to plot against them. Nikki is preparing to become a vampire and cements her position as Reginald's girlfriend. We also have the threat of the Angels and why they are killing vampires, something that only Reginald has the brains to tackle.

I can't get enough of the adventures of Reginald Baskin... 
star rating photo: Four Star Rating 4stars.png

Cover Love: The Morganville Vampires

We all love to look at our gorgeous book covers don't we? We love to browse the beautiful books on the shelves and the nicer the cover, the more likely we are to pick it up to look at the blurb, and perhaps make that purchase. So welcome to Cover Love where I will celebrate all things cover related-the best books with certain coloured covers, a series with beautiful covers, books that made me buy it based partially on the covers, great books that need better covers, covers that were better than the books and so much more!

This time, I am looking at The Morganville Vampires by Rachel Caine. I was in a bookshop late on a dull afternoon and these beauties were shining in the artificial light and catching my eye. I went over to see what they were and thought 'oooh vampires!' and bought the first two books! I read and enjoyed book one but have yet to read the rest of the series though my dad nabbed them and loved it! 

No plot spoilers please!  Have you read any of them? Which covers do you like best? If you have done a similar post, give us your link and we can stop by.