Friday, September 30, 2016

Brand New 52 - September Edition

Summer is over and the air is getting cooler and the leaves are beginning to change colour. It's one of my favorite times of the year. Not to mention that it's the perfect time to curl up somewhere and read on those rainy days.

Here's what I read this month:

by Patricia Briggs

287 Pages

Shapeshifter Mercy Thompson hit the #1 spot on the bestseller list with Iron Kissed... 
And she's planning a return trip.
Marsilia, the local vampire queen, has learned that Mercy crossed her by slaying a member of her clan. Now, she's out for blood. But since Mercy is protected from direct reprisal by the werewolf pack-and her relationship with its sexy Alpha-it's not Mercy's blood Marsilia is after...

These book are getting better, which I'm happy about. There is less and less misogynist crap from the werewolves, although it is still there, at least it's addressed. Mercy actually spends most of this book recovering from the last book and it's nice to see that her PTSD isn't just swept under the rug. 
It was nice to get away from the same old people and places and I'm glad they widened their net.

by Charlie N. Holmberg

224 Pages (7:24 Hours)

Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic… forever.
Yet the spells Ceony learns under the strange yet kind Thane turn out to be more marvelous than she could have ever imagined — animating paper creatures, bringing stories to life via ghostly images, even reading fortunes. But as she discovers these wonders, Ceony also learns of the extraordinary dangers of forbidden magic.
An Excisioner — a practitioner of dark, flesh magic — invades the cottage and rips Thane’s heart from his chest. To save her teacher’s life, Ceony must face the evil magician and embark on an unbelievable adventure that will take her into the chambers of Thane’s still-beating heart—and reveal the very soul of the man.

This is one of those books that a character actually goes into someone else's heart and thus sees everything there is to know about said person. It wasn't a bad book, but I'm not overly fond of that trope. I feel there are better ways of getting to know a character and having her fall in love with him through this process got a little creepy. I loved the magic in this book. Paper magic holds a level of creativity that most magic doesn't have. I'm thinking about reading the rest of the series based solely on the fact that I found everything else quite interesting.

by T. Kingfisher

226 Pages (6:47 Hours)

Rhea is an ordinary miller’s daughter, engaged to be married under suspicious circumstances to a man not of her choosing. He has unknown powers and a manor house full of mysterious women.
Rhea has a hedgehog. It claims to be ordinary, but normal hedgehogs don’t act like that.
It’s probably not going to be enough.

This book is loosely based on the story of Blackbeard, which is a fairy tale I'm not overly familiar with. But as a short audio book, it was silly and fun and I found myself enjoying it even when it got weird (I'm looking at your Scarecrow Wife and Clock Wife)
Mostly this book made me want a hedgehog more than I already do (which is a lot!) and to have one as my familiar would be even better. I'm curious to read more of Kingfisher's work to see what she does with other fairy tales that I know better.

by Rowena Cory Daniells

396 Pages

Rolencia's ancestry enemy, Merofynia, has invaded and marches on King Rolen's castle. Powerless to help, thirteen yeard old Piro watches as her father, King Rolen, listens to poisoned whispers against Bryen. How could the King doubt his second son? Determined to prove his loyalty, Bryen races across the path of the advancing army to ask the Abbot to send the warriors monks in defence of the castle.

This book picked up at the exact moment the first one left off. I really love when they do that. It makes jumping into a new book so much easier.
This book was as good as the first and I'm beginning to think I might like it even more than her other series, which I loved.
Things continue to go to  Hell for this family as they are maneuvered farther and farther apart from each other, yet each story keeps you on the edge of your seat wondering what will happen next. I can't wait to read the next one.

Insurance Agent
by Larry Correia

2:04 Hours

Have you ever seen a planet invaded by rampaging space mutants from another dimension or Nazi dinosaurs from the future?
Don't let this happen to you!
Rifts happen, so you should be ready when universes collide. A policy with Stranger & Stranger can cover all of your interdimensional insurance needs. Rated "Number One in Customer Satisfaction" for three years running, no claim is too big or too weird for Tom Stranger to handle.
But now Tom faces his greatest challenge yet. Despite being assigned the wrong—and woefully inadequate—intern, Tom must still provide quality customer service to multiple alternate Earths, all while battling tentacle monsters, legions of the damned, an evil call center in Nebraska, and his archnemesis, Jeff Conundrum. Armed with his Combat Wombat and a sense of fair play, can Tom survive? And will Jimmy the Intern ever discover his inner insurance agent?
It's time to kick ass and adjust claims.
Adam Baldwin (Firefly, Chuck) performs Larry Correia's madcap interdimensional tale of underwriting and space travel, where the only thing scarier than tentacle monsters is a high deductible.

For a short story about an insurance salesman, this one has it all. I listened to the whole book in one go. I just couldn't put it down. It was super absurd, but in a great way. There's even a comicbook convention in it!
I love that Adam Baldwin narrates this, since he is actually a character in it as well.
Very much worth listening to.

by A. Lee Martinez

295 Pages

Meet Monster. Meet Judy. Two humans who don't like each other much, but together must fight dragons, fire-breathing felines, trolls, Inuit walrus dogs, and a crazy cat lady - for the future of the universe.
Monster runs a pest control agency. He's overworked and has domestic troubles - like having the girlfriend from hell.
Judy works the night shift at the local Food Plus Mart. Not the most glamorous life, but Judy is happy. No one bothers her and if she has to spell things out for the night-manager every now and again, so be it.
But when Judy finds a Yeti in the freezer aisle eating all the Rocky Road, her life collides with Monster's in a rather alarming fashion. Because Monster doesn't catch raccoons; he catches the things that go bump in the night. Things like ogres, trolls, and dragons.
Oh, and his girlfriend from Hell? She actually is from Hell.

This was a very strange book, cute, but strange. The best part of this book were all the fantasy creatures that kept showing up and causing havoc. They were awesome. The more you read, the more crazy creatures show up. The characters themselves aren't all that interesting, other than the fact that Monster has a condition that turns his skin a different colour every time he goes to sleep and each colour corresponds with a different power, some useful, some not.
I guess you don't have to be all that interesting or likable to be thrown together by fate to save the World, but it sure helps.

by James Frey & Nils Johnson-Shelton

496 Pages

Twelve ancient cultures were chosen millennia ago to represent humanity in Endgame, a global game that will decide the fate of humankind. Endgame has always been a possibility, but never a reality…until now. Twelve meteorites have just struck Earth, each meteorite containing a message for a Player who has been trained for this moment. At stake for the Players: saving their bloodline, as well as the fate of the world. And only one can win.
Endgame is real. Endgame is now. Endgame has begun.

Ever watch a train wreck movie and wonder why you can't seem to stop watching it even though it's pretty bad? Meet Endgame. It's like someone took all the popular YA tropes and threw them together into this book. 
The World is ending, only one highly skilled teenager out of twelve can save their bloodline to re-populate the Earth after the game has been won. Wait... doesn't that mean they will all be related? That's going to get weird with re-population....
And why do the aliens want this game to be played? Seems ridiculous to train humans for generations upon generations for this game that they may or may not get to participate in.
To make it worse/better? there are clues throughout the book so that you can play along.

Google Niantic is building a mobile location-based augmented reality videogame inextricably tied to the books and mythology, a major prize will be tied to a puzzle in each book, and Twentieth Century Fox has bought the movie rights.
Read the Books. Find the Clues. Solve the Puzzle. Who will Win?

I'm sure a few people might care and want to solve these puzzles, but I am not one of them. It's an interesting way to get people more involved, if you're in to that sort of thing.

592 Pages (23:08 Hours)

The Sixth Order wields the sword of justice and smites the enemies of the Faith and the Realm. Vaelin Al Sorna was only a child of 10 when his father left him at the iron gate of the Sixth Order. The Brothers of the Sixth Order are devoted to battle, and Vaelin will be trained and hardened to the austere, celibate, and dangerous life of a Warrior of the Faith. He has no family now save the Order.
Vaelin’s father was Battle Lord to King Janus, ruler of the unified realm. Vaelin’s rage at being deprived of his birthright and dropped at the doorstep of the Sixth Order like a foundling knows no bounds. He cherishes the memory of his mother, and what he will come to learn of her at the Order will confound him. His father, too, has motives that Vaelin will come to understand. But one truth overpowers all the rest: Vaelin Al Sorna is destined for a future he has yet to comprehend. A future that will alter not only the realm, but the world.

I got this book on sale while looking for a new audio book series. It was recommended to me since I like Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson. It was a good read, although had to follow sometimes on audio. It jumps around a lot and there is never enough of a pause to tell you it's a new paragraph, possibly months or years in the future, or in one case, the past. I really enjoyed it though and that just made me pay more attention to what was happening. I do love a good epic and if you do too, I recommend picking this up.

A Local Habitation (October Daye #2)
by Seanan McGuire

377 Pages

October "Toby" Daye is a changeling, the daughter of Amandine of the fae and a mortal man. Like her mother, she is gifted in blood magic, able to read what has happened to a person through a mere taste of blood. Toby is the only changeling who has earned knighthood, and she re-earns that position every day, undertaking assignments for her liege, Sylvester, the Duke of the Shadowed Hills.
Now Sylvester has asked her to go to the County of Tamed Lightning—otherwise known as Fremont, CA—to make sure that all is well with his niece, Countess January O'Leary, whom he has not been able to contact. It seems like a simple enough assignment—but when dealing with the realm of Faerie nothing is ever as simple as it seems. Toby soon discovers that someone has begun murdering people close to January, whose domain is a buffer between Sylvester's realm and a scheming rival duchy. If Toby can't find the killer soon, she may well become the next victim.

I love the combination of fey and high-tech in this book. It's the perfect combination of urban fantasy, especially when it takes placing in a tech company. Not only is the place interesting enough on it's own with it's eclectic employees, but it becomes a whodunit mystery with fey dying all around them.
I'm really enjoying this series and I can't wait to find and read the rest of them.

by Bram Stoker

406 Pages

When Jonathan Harker visits Transylvania to help Count Dracula with the purchase of a London house, he makes horrifying discoveries about his client and his castle. Soon afterwards, a number of disturbing incidents unfold in England: an unmanned ship is wrecked at Whitby; strange puncture marks appear on a young woman’s neck; and the inmate of a lunatic asylum raves about the imminent arrival of his ‘Master’. In the ensuing battle of wits between the sinister Count Dracula and a determined group of adversaries, Bram Stoker created a masterpiece of the horror genre, probing deeply into questions of human identity and sanity, and illuminating dark corners of Victorian sexuality and desire.

This was my 3rd book from Serial Reader, and so far the longest one that I've read. I'm continuing to read book that have inspired famous monster movies. I actually quite enjoyed this book. It's the first time I've read a book written in letters and dairy entries that I have liked. It was extremely well done and actually had a purpose for being written in this form. Definitely worth checking out if you want to read a fun classic.

Books that I am currently reading

My Way to Hell (Hell #2)
by Dakota Cassidy
153 of 323 Pages

452 of 464

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1)
by Sarah J. Maas
210 of 416 Pages (8:30 of 16:07 Hours)