Thursday, June 27, 2013

SPARTAN FROST by Jennifer Estep

Title: "Spartan Frost"
Series: Mythos Academy #4.5
Author: Jennifer Estep

Publisher: Kensington

Publication Date: June 25, 2013


Logan Quinn, Spartan and boyfriend of Gwen Frost, has left Mythos Academy. He blames himself for the latest attack by the Reapers of Chaos and the near death of his friends. The events of that day still haunt his nightmares, and Logan is determined to protect his friends, even if it's from himself.

But just because Logan is back home doesn't mean that the Reapers are taking the day off.  When the Protectorate learns of a local Reaper hideout, Logan is ready to go with them and get revenge.

My Impression

I was surprised when I found out that this novella was being published.  I was checking Jennifer Estep's website to see when Midnight Frost will be released when I saw the announcement.

This novella takes place two weeks after the events of Crimson Frost and is told from the perspective of Logan Quinn.  I really enjoyed this novella (more than I enjoyed the other novellas in this series).

Even though Gwen has used her psychometry magic on Logan in previous books, this is the first time that we really get to see Logan's perspective.  Whenever Gwen "flashes" on Logan, we learn about his feelings for her, but this novella gives us an insight into how the Reaper attack really affected Logan. For the first time in the series, Logan doubts himself, and I like that his experience really got the chance to be shown instead of explained/summarized in the rest of the series.

I also liked that some of the events in this novella foreshadow the events at the beginning of Midnight Frost, though I didn't realize it at first.

Though this novella had a complete arc, I would have loved it to be longer.  It's a common complaint, but I really would have enjoyed reading more about the inner workings of Logan Quinn's mind and his relationship with his dad.

Why I Picked Up This Book

I am pretty in love with this series, so, naturally, I must read every new story as it appears.

My Rating: Four Stars
Genres: Mythology, Romance, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

Interested in other books by Jennifer Estep?

Check here to read my reviews of other books from this series.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Hello Lovely Readers and Followers!

So, as those who follow this blog will notice, I have been a bit behind with posting reviews (unfortunately graduate school just seems to suck the time out of the day).  But the good news is that IT'S SUMMER!  That means lots of free time to read and review!

Right now I am re-reading Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniels series in preparation for the release of the next book in the series, Magic Rises.  After I have reviewed the books and novellas from that series, I will be moving on to other books/series that cover the multiple bookshelves in the my apartment.  Since I've already read most of the books I own, it will be a lot quicker for me to read/review them, so I'm hoping to get a lot more reviews out soon!  This will also help me catch up on a lot of the series that I had to put on standby because of school work.

I want to thank those followers that have stuck through this dry spell with me!  I really appreciate it, since we all know there are times when life gets just too dang busy.  I will also be posting a new page on my blog, titled "Summer Reading List".  This is going to be a list of all of the authors/series on my shelves so you can see what reviews will be appearing (hopefully) sometime this summer!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline

Title: Ready Player One
Author: Ernest Cline


It's the year 2045 , five years after the death of James Halliday, the creator of the massive multiplayer virtual game known as the OASIS.  Most of the world uses the OASIS on a daily basis, preferring the  online world over the world's dystopian reality.  But when James Halliday died, he left his fortune, and ownership of the OASIS, to whichever gamer can find the hidden Easter egg within the game.  Anyone with access to the OASIS can search for the Easter egg, but their only clues are a riddle, Halliday's journal (known as Avorak's Almanac) and Halliday's obsession with pop culture from the 1980's.

Wade Watts, known by his avatar name of Parzival, is still on the hunt for the first key to unlocking the Easter egg.  He has seen all of the movies, listened to all of the music, and played all of the games mention in Avorak's Almanac, looking for any clue to the riddle.

Most had stopped searching for the answer to the riddle, but when Wade discovers the answer to the first riddle and finds the first of the three keys needed to recover the Easter egg, everyone is determined to be the first to the Easter egg.  But one group, a media conglomerate known as the IOI, will stop at nothing to be the first to the egg, even if that means killing Wade and the other gamers.

My Impressions

I was amazed by how many pop culture references appear in this book.  There are a TON of references to comics, movies, music, and video games that were popular in the 1980's, though there are references to a lot of "geek culture".  Not only were there a lot of references, but there is a lot of background for the references, such as actors, directors, game designers, evolution of game systems, etc.  It is clear that the author loves pop culture and is extremely knowledgeable on the subject.  I learned a lot about various movies, games, and comics, which I probably wouldn't have discovered outside of this book.

While I loved the references, I can see where some people might not enjoy them.  I was familiar with at least 70% of what was mentioned, and since I love "geek culture", I was able to follow most of the references and their importance to the story.  However, if you are not someone who has an interest in video games, comic books. and/or movies and television, then the pop culture references could get tiresome.  I had trouble following the descriptions of various computers and their capabilities because I don't know much about how computers work in general, so those parts of the book were a bit over my head.

I also liked the dystopia that the novel presents.  Though very little of the book takes place outside of the OASIS, the things we do learn about the economy of planet Earth is an extreme case of our current situation: unstable currency, severe global climate changes, growing populations, poverty, and the desire to escape into virtual reality.  I found it realistic that the characters in the book would spend most of their time in the OASIS to escape, and I believe that our world can end up this way if we aren't careful.

Why I Picked Up This Book

I noticed this book when I was working at Hastings, though I didn't decide to read it until it was selected as the common reading book for all first year undergraduates at K-State.  (For some reason, I associated the title of the book with baseball, so I wasn't interested in it.)

Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult
My Rating: Five Stars

Saturday, March 23, 2013

FAIR GAME by Patricia Briggs

Title: Fair Game
Series: Alpha & Omega #3
Author: Patricia Briggs


Anna is worried about Charles.  Since the unveiling of the werewolves, the Marrok's laws have become more strict, and that means harsher punishments.  And when some of the alphas refuse to kill a pack member for a crime that would have once received a warning, Charles is called in to take care of the situation.  Only Anna seems to notice that Charles' responsibilities are hurting him.

With Asil's help, the Marrok finally realizes the seriousness of Charles' condition, so when a serial killer seems to be targeting werewolves, he sends Anna to work as a consultant for the law enforcement investigating the situation.  Charles, unwilling to allow his mate to go unprotected, travels as her bodyguard.

But it isn't just the werewolves being targeted by this serial killer, and when a half-fae girl gets taken from her apartment, Anna and Charles have to hurry if they're going to save the girl and catch the serial killer before the next kill.

My Impression

I absolutely love Anna and Charles.  The two seem like such an unlikely pair just based on first glance, but they are great together.  My favorite thing about them together is that when people take one of them for granted or underestimate one of them, the other is perceptive enough to see the truth. This book proves that further, as Anna senses something is wrong with Charles and has to convince both the Marrok and Asil that she isn't imagining things.  As strong as both characters are, there are times when they need the other to save them, sometimes without even realizing it themselves.

Though there are a few wolves in this book, Charles and Anna are mostly interacting with humans.  My favorite books in this series (and in Briggs' Mercy Thompson series) are almost always the ones that focus on werewolves, so I was surprised that I liked this book as much as I did.  I think the main reason that I enjoyed this book so much (aside from Charles and Anna) is that the book had a clear mystery that needed to be solved; while Cry Wolf had a mystery plot to it, this was one where the wolves are the victims.  I also liked that I got to follow along as Anna and Charles worked to figure out who was kidnapping and killing magical creatures, and is strong enough to do so.  There was also a sense of urgency that caused me to be on the edge of my seat throughout most of the book.  This is also one of the first books where the readers are introduced to a lot of the public's reactions to the existence of werewolves, since most of the books in both series mainly involve interactions with other werewolves, fae, vampires, or witches.

The plot and result of this book (which I don't want to spoil) set some major events into motion, and I can't wait to see how it plays out in the next few books.

Why I Picked Up This Book

I absolutely love Anna and Charles, so I couldn't wait to read more.

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Romance
My Rating: Five Stars

Interested in other books by Patricia Briggs?  Check here to read my reviews of other books from this series.

RIVER MARKED by Patricia Briggs

Title: River Marked
Series: Mercy Thompson #6
Author: Patricia Briggs


Mercy and Adam, with a bit of help from their friends and family, are married and off to their honeymoon at a campground near the Columbia Gorge.  Time together, and away from the pack, fae, and vampires, seems to be the perfect way for Mercy to avoid trouble; after all, how much trouble can a coyote and her mate attract?

Mercy becomes suspicious of their vacation when she learns that Uncle Mike had a hand in the honeymoon plans, and her suspicions are only confirmed when her and Adam find a canoe in the river, one whose passenger is injured.  Something in the river is killing people, and it's determined to kill Mercy next.

But river monsters aren't the only thing that Mercy discovers in their campground.  For the first time, she sees the ghost of Joe Old Coyote, her father, and she can't help but wonder why he is suddenly appearing.

In order to defeat the monster in the river, Mercy has to learn a bit about her past, and what it means to be a walker.

My Impression

I loved that Mercy finally learns more about being a walker in this book.  As much as I've wanted to know about where walkers come from and Mercy's abilities, I had to accept that it was information that would never be provided in this series.  Since Mercy's dad is dead and the only knowledge of walkers comes from legends, more information seemed impossible, so I was really happy that this book not only gave more information, but introduced other walkers.  Mercy still doesn't have all the answers, but it was still nice to know a little more.

I also liked the development of Adam and Mercy's relationship.  I'm happy that they are married, but I was glad that their marriage didn't solve all their problems.  The two have a couple of things to work out, which made their relationship seem more realistic.  Along with their troubles, there are still great moments where they are able to confide in each other and we get to learn more about both characters as a result.

It was also nice to get out of the Tri-Cities area.  It seems like the area just attracts a lot of bad guys, and that the fae, wolves, and vampires in the area are the focus of these problems being brought out.  Though Mercy does travel out of the area in Bone Crossed, the villain was still targeting her and manipulating her arrival in the city.  In this book, despite Uncle Mike's hand in pushing Adam and Mercy into the situation, the bad guy doesn't target Mercy until she is in its territory.  It appears more happenstance, like Mercy and Adam partially fell in to the problem and then were expected to be part of the solution.  However, I'm also not sure I like that danger seems to follow Mercy; I can't tell if danger follows Mercy, or if her coyote nature means that she always falls into it.  Of course, without this constant danger, there wouldn't be any more Mercy books, and that would be a bad thing.

Why I Picked Up This Book

It was the next book in the series...need I say more?

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Romance
My Rating: Five Stars

Interested in other books by Patricia Briggs?  Check here to read my reviews of other books from this series.