Category Archives: 2-Meh

Nell’s Gossip and Book Hunt 10/22/17

Welcome to my Sunday book hunt and author gossip.  Keep coming back for updates on book releases and news from favorite authors.

  • I am in the middle of listening to Death Mage by Brad Magnarella.  Professor Croft is kind of half Indiana Jones, half Harry Dresden.  He’s not searching for relics, though.  He’s more about finding out who his father really is and avenging whomever killed his mother. Death Mage is working up to a major blowout.  I’m hoping that this isn’t the end of Prof Croft’s series.  I really enjoy him and his world.  I do know, however, that there will be a new series that will feature Prof Croft as a supporting character.  Author Magnarella has introduced me just recently.  Here’s what I found out.

Title: Blue Wolf
Author:  Brad Magnarella
Release date: November 2017
Publisher’s Description:  “I was leading my final mission when everything went to hell…”

Cursed by a blind witch in a remote corner of Waristan, Special Ops Captain Jason Wolfe finds himself changing into a horrid creature of local legend: a lupine referred to in fearful whispers as Blue Wolf.

Faster, stronger, and more lethal, he’s the perfect soldier – but not for the U.S. military. To break the curse, Jason must lead a war between ancient tribal foes: blue werewolves and white dragons.

In a battle spanning from the icy peaks of Central Asia to the valleys of Manhattan, and with the help of a bookish wizard named Prof Croft, Jason will push himself to the breaking point. Because with the curse now spreading to his mind, he’s running out of time – and the stakes are everything.

Win and he returns home to a fiancé to whom he’s pledged a family and future.

Lose and he dies a blood-thirsty beast.

  • Speaking about Prof Croft, the latest Prof Croft adventure is here!  Also included is Yancy Lazarus’s first adventure called Strange Magic. The short novel Croft & Wesson and full length novel of Strange Magic is part of the just-released boxed set Eight in the Chamber, which features supernatural detective stories from seven other authors in the genre (plus a bonus eighth).The more astute among you might recognize the name Wesson, as in James Wesson, from Death Mage (Prof Croft, Book 4). That said, Croft & Wesson is a standalone that can be read independently of the prior books. Sort of your odd-couple wizard sleuths in a supernatural Wild West.

Title:  Eight in the Chamber
AuthorsMaxx Abraham, Chris Underwood, Alex Berg, Brad Magnarella , M.D. Massey , W.H. Lock , Kit Hallows , James A. Hunter
Released: September 11, 2017
Publisher’s Description:  Orcs, vampires, rogue mages, and strange familiars… The night’s filled with beasts looking for kicks, who trod the urban landscape with cloven hoof or sharpened claw, keeping a yellow eye out for easy prey. But what’s a citizen to do when dark shadows lie heavy, spells become useless, and wands lose their charm?

They call on the heroes of Eight in the Chamber.

These hardboiled cops and investigators specialize in a preternatural kind of justice. They aren’t afraid to delve into dark magic or wield a cursed instrument to save the pure and innocent. They won’t quit until every dark deed is punished, and the scales of justice are balanced.

In Eight in the Chamber, a cadre of your favorite authors have banded together to bring you all the thrills of the urban supernatural, with a twist of sci-fi noir, in a collection of full length novels, spellbinding novellas, and enough short stories to choke a bag of holding. Buy your copy today, and let them take you on a thrill ride through the dark that you won’t forget!

  • I don’t have a whole lot more news this week, so I’m going to share with you my book purchases.  Normally, that would not include more than one, but I kind of went nuts this week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Fire Ascending by Chris D’Lacey

Luna wraps up her Last Dragon Chronicles read-along with the final book, The Fire Ascending.

Title: The Fire Ascending
Author: Chris D’Lacey
Series: The Last Dragon Chronicles, Book 07
Publish Date: April 5, 2012
Genre: MG Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: The much anticipated final book in Chris d’Lacey’s NEW YORK TIMES bestselling Last Dragon Chronicles!

On Earth, at the battle of Scuffenbury Hill, time has been suspended. Dragons and their natural enemies, the Ix, are trapped in a bitter, unresolved conflict. But at the dawn of history, something is working to change the past — and the future. A mysterious force is rewriting the timelines, turning what was once legend into startling reality. But is David Rain strong enough to save himself and those he loves from being written into a deadly new destiny?

David, Zanna, Lucy, Alexa, and the Pennykettle dragons return, along with some new friends and enemies, to embark on their most dangerous, most thrilling, and most magical adventure yet. Bridging the magic of the first five books with the world and characters introduced in FIRE WORLD, this fiery and action-packed final installment of the Last Dragon Chronicles will have readers racing to the exciting conclusion.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Luna Lovebooks says…

The story line for The Last Dragon Chronicles is fairly good, especially the first three installments: The Fire Within, Icefire and Fire Star. But as the series goes on, it loses its whimsy and becomes way more metaphysical. I kept finding myself wishing for the silly mayhem and the little clay dragons that may or may not come alive that we saw in the first few books.

As for The Fire Ascending itself, it was my least favorite in the series. It started out interestingly enough but by the twists at the end I was not impressed. It does wrap events up but I feel like it was a cop-out in order to make things come full circle. The big battle between good and evil that I was waiting for never really happened.

I did like that the legend of Agawin and Guinevere goes into more detail – even if it is a different timeline. We get to see the events of the legends from the first few books playout as they would have – for the most part, again we have alternate dimensions and timelines. Upon looking at other reviews for this novel, it appears that most fans are in agreement that the first few novels of this series were the best and many became increasingly frustrated that the events took the turns they did.

While I would give the overall series a 4, I give this novel 2 dragons.

Other recommendations…

…you might try Doomraga’s Revenge by T.A. Barron, Bloodhoney by Paul Stewart, Black Dragon Codex by R.D. Henham

Pulse: The Trial by RA Crawford

In a society ruled by women, a group of human girls working toward becoming PULSE soldiers must prove their worth in a deadly trial no human has ever survived before. And if the barely uninhabitable planet they drop on doesn’t kill them first, the other women just might.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

TitlePulse: The Trial 
Author: R.A. Crawford
Series: Pulse? Series still TBA
Publisher: CreateSpace
Publish Date: December 2016
Genre: YA Dystopian
Source: Provided by the author.

Publisher’s Description: Forty of Earth’s most dangerous women compete to become warriors in the interstellar empire known as PULSE. They must endure a Trial on a death-planet filled with monsters and betrayal.

Only three will survive. And the war hasn’t even begun.

It’s a future like you’ve never seen before: one populated by amazing (and often unfriendly) aliens and a Humanity that is 100% female. A paradise in some ways, a prison in others, this handful of extraordinary women must fight to stay alive in a brutal universe, enduring an onslaught of deadly challenges, just to join the fight against a star-spanning threat they can scarcely imagine.

THE TRIAL is the first in an action-packed adventure series for all ages, crammed with creatures, combat, courage … and some of the most fascinating new characters you’ve encountered in years.

Join PULSE! See the universe! You might even survive…


Kat Mandu says…

Pulse follows two young girls, Stella and Faye, not to mention a myriad of other women (both alien and human) as they work to become enforcers for PULSE, an intergalactic space organization that goes from planet to planet and frees women from “the evil” of men (and men in general). They’ve been training for ten years, which is nice because in order to become soldiers, they must first pass a brutal trial on a wicked planet full of dangerous terrain, deadly enemies, and harsh conditions. From the moment they jump off the spaceship and have to fall to the surface, to the final confrontation as they attempt escaping, Stella and Faye have to be at their best to succeed – or else perish like every other human before them.

This is action-packed and full of fight scenes between the girls, monsters, and human nature. It’s reminiscent of the violent competitions in the Hunger Games, especially since the story is narrated by you guessed it, all women. These girls are tough and fierce, and Stella and Faye make a great duo. I liked the bonds between them and how tested their relationship became in the darkest moments of the trial.

However the writing just didn’t do it for me.

For one, I don’t mind descriptions of certain battle scenes and etc, because you’ve gotta have great visuals, yes? However this was often way too verbose in places, making you wonder what was actually happening in between three full paragraphs of unnecessary details. I found myself struggling to follow along.

Another thing is that I didn’t understand the narration. I’ve read several third-person perspective books, but none have been this chaotic. The thing that irked me the most was the shift to characters that weren’t important to the story line. For example, at the very beginning, you hear from Stella’s mother – but why? What role does she have to play in the set up, beyond offering “mental” support for Stella at random and infrequent moments? Switching to characters who don’t play a valuable role is a waste of space. Why did we have to hear from Haley right before Stella went to fight her in hand to hand combat? I felt that switching so often distracted from what the story was trying to say. I wish it would have stayed within the confines of Stella/Faye’s head (and I guess, Koot at times).

Sadly, I could not connect with any of the characters at all. I liked that they had various personality traits but I just didn’t feel for any of them, despite their situations.

I didn’t understand the unrealistic battle between Stella and Haley either. The girls have been rivals for quite some time now and they can’t stand each other. Okay, that works. A little high school drama never hurts anyone. BUT IS THAT A REASON FOR WANTING TO KILL EACH OTHER? My god no. This was my final sigh moment, even though I continued to read it. How could someone go from simply hating someone for stupid reasons – Haley often beat Stella in combat, for example – to wanting to kill them? Nope, nope, nope. It just went to an extreme level that was just…again, unnecessary.

I also missed the actual world-building. A world ruled by all women? Okay, that’s awesome. Now why? Do I need to know every detail of how the world came to be? No, I mean, even Divergent and Hunger Games had very vague reasons on how their worlds ended up like that. But these girls are going through all this trouble – this life-threatening trial – to prove themselves. Okay? Why? To free women, okay, that’s a good reason, but it’s not enough for me. Are men savages in this world? Are they corrupt? Why are these women fighting to prove? That lack of information just doesn’t work for me.

Despite all this, Pulse is not a bad story. I mean, I’ve seen the reviews on Goodreads and a lot of people really love it. I liked the action and the excitement but the rest was not for me. 

Other recommendations…

…you might try The Gender Game series by Bella Forrest, Man Hunt by K. Edwin Fritz, and The Monster Within Idea by R. Thomas Riley.

The New You by Kathleen Leverich

Welcome to Saturday Shorts, in which we review shorter works such as short stories, novellas, middle-grade books, and graphic novels.

In The New You, Abigail is a young girl who just moved to the big city. She’s got a new step-mother as well and as she adjusts, she realizes she has lost who she used to be and wants to find herself a new identity

the-new-youTitle: The New You
Author: Kathleen Leverich
Series: stand alone
Publish Date: June 1, 2000 Scholastic
Genre: MG Magical Realism
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: Abigail and self-esteem have not gone hand in hand ever since she transferred to a new school. And the harder she tries to fit in, the more things seem to come out awkward and wrong. But when she makes friends with three savvy older women, gets a fabulously flattering haircut — and ultimately what she earnestly believes is a completely new identity, suddenly things begin to look up. Is it all wishful thinking or a glimpse into the future?

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Kat_Mandu_100

 

Kat Mandu says…

In The New You, Abigail is a young girl who just moved to the big city. She’s got a new step-mother as well and as she adjusts, she realizes she has lost who she used to be and wants to find herself a new identity.

This is an okay coming-of-age story. It’s very young so I put it at lower middle-grade on my mental shelf. The New You was one of the books that I found while going through some of my old books; I couldn’t remember much about it besides that it had a future-meets-present feel, so I reread it. Boy, I wonder if I liked it more back then because my feelings toward it have definitely changed if so.

Abigail has managed to lose her friends, her hometown, and everything else she once was. Now that she’s in a new school and new city, she doesn’t quite know where she fits in. She wants to make friends but doesn’t know how because she doesn’t know if they’ll like her. So she stumbles on a makeover place called The New You in a phone book and decides to go there (a twelve year old wandering around in a NYC type area at dark? *shudder*).

What she finds is three women who treat her kindly and take her in, giving her a makeover. After a few hours of feeling comfortable around them, she starts to become ill, and goes home. She wakes a few days later and discovers she was sick. But when she starts to tell her family about the experiences she had, they tell her they never happened. In fact, she starts to investigate but finds out that the building she went to doesn’t even exist, let alone the people she met.

Yet Abigail remains hopeful and is much more comfortable in her own skin. She makes friends and realizes that these friends and these experiences are more like deja vu, and that her “dream” was just a projection of the future.

badge2v4If you’re looking for something simple and young, this book is for you. It just wasn’t for me. I missed the action that a lot more YA offers these days. Since this is an older book, it’s a lot more innocent. Which, there’s nothing wrong with, but I like my magical-realism a bit grittier.

Everlasting by L.K. Kuhl

I received an ARC of this book book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

everlastingTitleEverlasting
AuthorL. K. Kuhl
SeriesEverlasting Trilogy, Book 01
Publish Date: February 8, 2016
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Source: Provided by the author

Publisher’s Description: Seventeen-year-old Sophia Bandell is scared of boys and her biggest fear is dying. Boys make her uncomfortable and itchy and dying is …well …dying.

Sophia is surprised when her long lost friend calls her, inviting her to spend the summer with her on the beach at Charleston.

When a plastic saucer hits her in the head one day as she’s sunbathing, she has no idea it will forever change the course of her life. It is there she comes face to face with the impres-sive Tate Forester.

She is scared and …itchy, but he’s gorgeous and she can’t shake him from her mind. They begin dating and Sophia soon knows he’s the one.

But things turn dark when she finds out Tate really isn’t the person he says he is, and the real reason her friend has brought her here is to teach her about life after death.

This everlasting summer on the beach gives Sophia a taste of first love—the happiness as well as the heartbreak.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Luna_Lovebooks_100Luna Lovebooks says…

Likes: Everlasting starts out creepily enough with a weird broken phone call. I figured out the paranormal aspect quickly enough even though it is presented as a mystery. Khul has unique descriptions in her writing. The plot has plenty of potential and the characters were interesting enough, even if they made me shake my head. It did make me glad to see that Sophia grows a little and becomes less afraid of death.

Dislikes: Despite the unique plot and colorful descriptions, there were many issues in this novel. Sophia’s mother is a worrier but she allows her seventeen-year-old daughter to travel halfway across the country alone when she has had no contact with Mandy’s parents for four years? It just didn’t add up to me. Sophia seems naïve and, despite saying the opposite, falls instantly in love twice – once with a controlling and very unlikeable man.

badge2v4Even though this novel has plenty of potential, I can’t look past all the work that it needs. For this reason I give it two ghosts.

Recommendations…

I received an ARC of this book book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.