Monthly Archives: June 2014

KayKay #CRB6 Review #24 Shattered by Kevin Hearne

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This is such a great series.  It is the seventh book in The Iron Druid series, so beware spoilers of the first six. Atticus O’Sullivan is a druid who was born thousands of years ago.  For a majority of that time, he was the only druid left.  He has recently taken trained another druid (Granuaile) and recovered his archdruid from a place where he was frozen in time.  In this book, you get first person perspectives from all three druids- and it works.  Each one of them are strong enough to carry a book on their own.  Kevin Hearne is such a smart writer, effortlessly balancing pop culture and history (and an extensive knowledge of cultural religion).  I am going to give this book 4 stars.

Here’s a breakdown…

**SPOILER ALERT**

My book reviews are written as a discussion of a book, and not as an advertisement.  Please be aware that there may be information that some would consider spoilers.  Continue on at your own risk!

What is this book about?

Granuaile gets a call to come to India because her dad is possessed and she may be able to help him.  She ends up going to the Himalayas to find the yetis (the children of a frost giant and Manannan Mac Lir) to get a special weapon that may be able to save her dad.  She does get the weapon, but her dad ends up dying and Loki takes the sword.

Attitucs was trying to figure out who is after him (for the past six books).  He finds out that there are seven gods that are helping him out (Jesus, Ganesha, Odin, Inari, Buddha, Guanyin, Shango, Perun, and Brighid), but someone has been trying to kill him.  With Owen’s instinct and fresh perspective they figure out who it is (Fand).  There is an Epic Battle, with the Good Guys coming out on top, but they did let Fand live.

Owen is trying to adjust to the 21st century.  He does pretty good, befriending the werewolves and even finding a girlfriend (Gretta).

What did I think about this book?

I loved the summary of the first six books at the beginning.

I also loved Owen’s perspective, it was fun to see a different perspective on Atticus.  And as much as I love the hounds, I hope he gets a monkey.

There is a show down with Loki coming- I can’t wait for that!

The plot was interesting, the pace was good, the writing is great.  The characters are interesting and each one unique.

Favorite Lines?

“You want me to engage a werewolf in combat jokingly?” Oberon (he has some of the best lines in the book)

Final Thoughts?

This series just keeps getting better!

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KayKay #CRB6 Review #23 This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper

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This is a smartly written story about a dysfunctional family.  It reminds me a bit of the short stories by David Sedaris- as Jonathan Tropper has the ability to find humor in every situation.  This family is sitting Shiva for their dead father, while each is dealing with unresolved issues with each other and in their life.  It was a humorous look at some sad situations.  Although I really loved the writing style, I started getting bored with the plot about half way through the book.  For that reason, I am going to give this book 3 stars.

Here’s a breakdown…

**SPOILER ALERT**

My book reviews are written as a discussion of a book, and not as an advertisement.  Please be aware that there may be information that some would consider spoilers.  Continue on at your own risk!

What is this book about?

Four siblings and their mother are sitting shiva for their dead father.  I’m not that familiar with sitting shiva, but it seems to involve sitting on chairs low to the ground for a week.  Their friends/family and community come out and pay their respects during this time.

The story is narrated by Judd, who just found out his wife was sleeping with his boss.  He’s devastated and lost since that has happened, and now he has to deal with the death of his father.

The oldest brother- Paul, was a star baseball player, until an incident with a Rottweiler removed his ability to play.  Paul is responsible for the family run business and still harbors anger towards his brother Judd about the accident.  Oh, and Paul’s wife Alice, dated Judd in high school and lost her virginity to him.  And during the course of the book, Alice actually has sex with Judd in hopes of getting pregnant.

Wendy (the only sister) is married to Barry- who is always on the phone doing business and is struggling to take care of her three kids (while Paul and his wife can’t get pregnant).  She is an auxiliary character to the boys.

Phillip, the youngest brother, and stereotypically the least responsible, brings home an older lady (his sugar momma) and announces that he is going to marry her.  But, during the course of the story, he cheats on her (yes, during the mourning period for his father) and by the end of the book they decided to split up.

The mother, has been having a lesbian relationship with the lady across the street (and it seems her husband was OK with this).  This relationship also comes out at the end of the book.

What did I think about this book?

I believe he purposely built caricatures of people and slapped their hands when they tried to do something they weren’t ‘supposed’ to do. (i.e. a normal guy marrying a beautiful woman, or a older woman falling for a younger man.)

I did like the way the story unfolded.  We would get hints of backstory before getting the full scoop- for example, we knew Paul had some type of incident with a dog, but it’s not until later we find out the details of how it occurred and the part Judd played in the incident.

Favorite Lines?

“When I try on the black on Mom has chosen it fits perfectly…I am somewhat surprised, because I’ve always seen him as taller than me.  I never got close enough to know better.”

“These are the facts: The Tracys of this world will always fall for the Phillips, who can always be counted on the f*ck the Chelseas.  And round and round we’ll go, doing our pathetic little dance, denying our own true natures in the name of love, or something we can pass off in it’s place.”

Final Thoughts?

I would read another Jonathan Tropper book, as I loved the writing.  But I do prefer this style of writing in the form of short stories, as I don’t feel the plot supports a novel of this length.

KayKay #CRB6 Review #22 The Immortal Crown: An Age of X Novel by Richelle Mead

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This is the second in the Age of X series.   I really enjoyed the first book in the series, Gameboard of the Gods, and I had high expectations for this story.  Fortunately, Richelle Mead delivered.  Without going into spoiler territory in this part of my review, I will just say the pace was great, the characters are memorable and I love the concept of several gods battling it out with humans as their pawns.  There are so many fantasy books where there are mentions of religion and gods, but rarely do the gods make an appearance.  In this series they are pulling the strings behind the scenes, and we get glimpses of them.  I hope in the third book they all come out!  I am going to give this book 4 stars.

Here’s a breakdown…

**SPOILER ALERT**

My book reviews are written as a discussion of a book, and not as an advertisement.  Please be aware that there may be information that some would consider spoilers.  Continue on at your own risk!

What is this book about?

Despite the illegality of religion, several gods are amassing followers.  In the last book we saw the Morrigan make a play for Mae and Odin make a play for Justin.  In this book, Justin goes all in with Odin and Freya is pursuing Mae.  However, Freya lets Mae down, and at the end of the book she is approached by Loki (who I just love because I associate him with the awesome Tom Hiddleson).

In this story Justin and Mae are sent to another territory (Arcadia- the former southeastern US) and they have gone conservative on their treatment of women (they basically have no rights).  While in this territory, Mae finds her niece (with help from Freya) and helps her and other stolen girls escape.  Justin unwittingly recruits new followers for Odin and also helps them escape.

Justin and Mae are so obviously into each other, but Justin is holding back because of the deal with Odin that once he seals the deal with Mae, he will be committed to Odin.  Not wanting to commit himself to Odin, he refuses a relationship with Mae.  When he rejects Mae, she goes home and someone shows up at her door that appears to be Justin and they have sex.  Afterwards she finds out it wasn’t him, and she feels totally violated (and pissed that Freya didn’t protect her).  Justin finally tells her the reason he hasn’t acted on his feelings, and she decides to get reassigned to the front line- so not to tempt him.  The twist is that since he admitted his feelings to Mae, he has meet the terms of his agreement and now becomes Odin’s (even though Mae has left).

What did I think about this book?

There were several chapters written from Tessa’s point of view.  It seemed to be more of a filler perspective and not as interesting as Mae and Justin’s story line.

I really love the concept of this book.  There are so many wonderful characters and tales that can be modernized, and the recycling of these classic characters is done well.

Favorite Lines?

“It just didn’t seem like a good idea to trust control of a bunch of large machines to humans alone.”  [Mae’s comment when she found that humans actually drove cars in Arcadia.

Final Thoughts?

Considering Tessa’s point of view, I should have given this a 3.  But I love the concept so much…and come on, LOKI…

KayKay #CRB6 Review #21 The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

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This book was all over CBR last year, and I had it on my list of books to read.  A few friends decided to start a book club, so I thought this one would be good for discussion.  I’m writing this review before the discussion, and so my feelings may change (that does happen sometimes!)  At this point, I thought it was a beautifully written story with interesting characters.  The pace of the book was a crescendo, with all the stories weaving together and building up to a big ending.  I felt the build up dragged a bit, and would have like to see the pace picked up.  I am going to give this book 3 stars.

Here’s a breakdown…

**SPOILER ALERT**

My book reviews are written as a discussion of a book, and not as an advertisement.  Please be aware that there may be information that some would consider spoilers.  Continue on at your own risk!

What is this book about?

This book is several stories that intertwined.  The story of the golem, whose master died shortly after ring her to life.  She ends up living with a rabbi in New York.  The story of the Jinni, who was trapped in a copper flask and then set free by a metal smith (Arbeely).   And the story of Schaalman- an evil genius (and creator of the golem) searching for immortal life.  The golem and the jinni don’t even meet until about 1/3 of the way through the book.  The first third of the story is establishing the characters, which is done well, but moves so slow.  When the golem and the jinni finally meet, they are barely friends and seem to tolerate each other based on their ‘otherness’ from the humans.  We learn that Schaalman is a reincarnation of the man who trapped the jinni in the bottle.  And his life is tied to the jinni’s- so as long as the jinni lives, he lives.  He sets out to trap the jinni again and press the golem into his service to teach his reincarnations (none of them remember former lives).  Schaalman fails, and gets trapped in the flask himself.  The golem and jinni seem to find that they actually like each other.  The only sad note is that the jinni is still trapped in human form.

What did I think about this book?

As I mentioned in the intro I thought the pacing of the story was slow.

The character development was good, and the writing was beautiful.

The setting of story- old New York City and the depictions of Little Syria and the Jewish area.

I liked the Jinni’s skepticism towards Arbeerly’s religion.

Favorite Lines?

“Why reinforce our differences, and keep ancient laws, and never know the joy of breaking bread with our neighbors?”

“You and your relations believe that a ghost living in the sky can grant you wishes.”

Final Thoughts?

I’d like to hope that the Jinni eventually gets free.

KayKay #CRB6 Review #20 Sworn in Steel by Douglas Hulick

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This is the second book in the Tale of the Kin series.  The adventures of Drothe continue as he struggles to keep his place in the thieves hierarchy and keep his friends and family safe.  I will admit that I have already read another book before writing this review, and some of the complex story line has already slipped my mind.  I am going to give this book 3 stars.

Here’s a breakdown…

**SPOILER ALERT**

My book reviews are written as a discussion of a book, and not as an advertisement.  Please be aware that there may be information that some would consider spoilers.  Continue on at your own risk!

What is this book about?

In the last book Drothe had just ended up as a Gray Prince.  He is struggling to accept this new role, and still have his freedom to roam the streets.  He is blackmailed by a Degan to find Bronze (his ex BFF), and this search takes him to el-Qaddice, the Djanese capital.  On the way he becomes the sponsor of an acting troupe (to help him gain access into the restricted city).   He meets a group of people (neyajin) that hunt demons (the demons happen to have a similar ability to Drothe, in that they can see in the dark).  The big reveals in this book are that the Degans aren’t just a secret organization protecting the empire, they have very long lives, and they don’t recycle names, each one of them is the original member.  By the end of the book, Drothe is starting to build his organization (as a Gray Prince), since Bronze used his oath to make Drothe continue to be a Prince.

What did I think about this book?

This book was harder for me to follow than the first one.  I think it was a combination of a new location and new characters, in addition to the new hierarchies.  Even Drothe has a hard time keeping up, as he is new to that culture as well.

What I do continue to like is Drothe’s character.  He’s smart, but he still has flaws (he can really be a jerk).

I felt like this book had a lot of visual components.  There was a new location that needed to be explained, but I was lost in the details.

Favorite Lines?

N/A- not because there weren’t good lines, but the Kindle app on my phone does not allow me to highlight lines, just bookmark pages.

Final Thoughts?

Assuming the next book is the final story, I’m looking forward to seeing the empire’s character and I’m curious to know if the angels will make an appearance.  I’m not sure what will happen when the empire realizes that the Emperors re-incarnations are his doing, and not the divine will.