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14

14

14 by Peter Clines
My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

A fascinating and engaging genre-bending novel with excellent characterisation, elevated by the narrator’s superb voice-acting.

14. Firstly, the number, when spoken in Chinese sounds like “will/must die”. Due to this superstition, there are numerous buildings in my part of the world which do not use this number. You will instead get Level 13a or Unit 13a in place of 14, and sometimes even a jump from 13 to 15. I started the book with this notion at the back of my head. And all I knew about the story then was that the building was strange and mysterious. A potent and thrilling combination, and yet I was still pleasantly surprised with the direction the story took.

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Connections in Death (In Death, #48)

Connections in Death (In Death, #48)

Connections in Death by J.D. Robb
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don’t know that I’ll ever find another series that feels as much like coming home as this series. Which is pretty amazing, considering all the murder.

I’ve made my love for Nora Roberts and her pen name abundantly clear over the course of my book reviews, but let me just reiterate that I absolutely adore everything she writes. There’s a flow to the prose that, while lovely, sucks me into the story in such a way that the words just disappear. That’s even more abundantly true in regards to the In Death series. Eve Dallas and Roarke and the family they’ve unwittingly built from friends and coworkers are all so insanely well developed by this point that they actually feel more real to me than many living, breathing people. Connections in Death marks the 48th full length novel in this series, and it’s still such a joy to get to revisit the characters and catch up on what’s been going on in their lives since the last book.

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Relic (Pendergast, #1)

Relic (Pendergast, #1)

Relic by Douglas Preston
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

My introduction to Preston and Child was unfortunately lackluster. I found Relic to be solidly okay, the literary equivalent of tuning into a television show just to let it serve as background noise. While the premise was interesting and isn’t something I’ll be forgetting anytime soon, I just couldn’t make myself care. There were two main contributors to this lack of interest: poor characterization and an overabundance of science.

Let me start with the science first. This is very much a personal preference thing. Anytime a book begins getting very scientific in its content, I just start tuning out. It’s why I stay away from hard science fiction. I know that many people love when there is science present to back up a wild claim that is central to the plot, as it helps readers suspend their disbelief in the moment.

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Leverage in Death (In Death, #47)

Leverage in Death (In Death, #47)

Leverage in Death by J.D. Robb
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

There is something about Nora’s writing, both as herself and as J.D. Robb, that hooks me from the first sentence and doesn’t let me go until I’ve read the final chapter. So it’s no surprise that Leverage in Death worked incredibly well for me and broke my first ever (and hopefully last!) reading slump. While I’ve picked up some great books in the past month, nothing grabbed me enough to entice me further into its pages. I should’ve known that Nora would prove to be the cure to my dilemma.

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Planetside

Planetside

Planetside by Michael Mammay
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Planetside was a very impressive military sci-fi debut.

I’m actually surprised that so few people I know (close to zero) are talking about Planetside this year. Seriously, Harper Voyager and reviewers really should’ve advertised this book more, it’s a fantastic debut and if it weren’t for my friend, Niki Hawkes, I wouldn’t have heard about this gem at all.

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Boy’s Life

Boy’s Life

Boy’s Life by Robert R. McCammon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A coming-of-age standalone masterpiece.

Fantasy and sci-fi will always be my favorite genres to read. I’m not ashamed to say that I haven’t read a lot of novels outside SFF; mainly because I found the popular and the highly acclaimed non-SFF books to be mostly disappointing or just not satisfying enough. However, there will always be that rare occurrence where I pick up a random book outside of my favorite genre and realized that I have been transported by a magical portal. Boy’s Life was that kind of book; it grabbed my full attention since the prologue and it still dazzled me after I finished it.

Picture: Boy’s Life by David Ho

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The Prince of Cats

The Prince of Cats

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

The Prince of Cats by Daniel E. Olesen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Prince of Cats was an enjoyable new beginning to a planned trilogy with a self-contained story that worked absolutely well as a standalone.

Honestly, The Prince of Cats by Daniel E. Olesen was never in my radar at first. When the author asked me to review this book, I wasn’t completely sold yet and the pressing mountain of books to read and review made me certain that I won’t be reading this anytime soon. However, when an early impression by Mihir from Fantasy Book Critic—a friend and one of the very few professional SFF reviewers I trust—stated that it was “The Lies Of Locke Lamora in an Arabian Nights setting with a solid dose of mystery and espionage.”, it immediately got my attention; I accepted the book, read it in two days—could’ve done it in one day but The Haunting of Hill House ruined my schedule—and here I am.

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King of Assassins (The Wounded Kingdom, #3)

King of Assassins (The Wounded Kingdom, #3)

King of Assassins (The Wounded Kingdom #3)King of Assassins by R.J. Barker
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I honestly can’t believe I almost didn’t pick up this trilogy; King of Assassins was a superb finishing touch to The Wounded Kingdom.

Bloody, poignant, intense, heartwarming, tragic, and dark; I finished this entire trilogy within six days, I just didn’t expect it to be this damn good and engaging. The Wounded Kingdom trilogy practically stole my life for an entire week, and the only antidote to my addiction was to finish reading the entirety of the series.

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Blood of Assassins (The Wounded Kingdom, #2)

Blood of Assassins (The Wounded Kingdom, #2)

Blood of Assassins (The Wounded Kingdom, #2)Blood of Assassins by R.J. Barker
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Blood of Assassins magnificently transitioned The Wounded Kingdom into a much darker series in an awesome way.

Girton and his master have been living as a mercenary for five years since the end of the event in Age of Assassins. The past five years experience has changed or repressed Girton’s personality to something worse. This sequel was a much darker book than its predecessor; at times I feel like it totally belongs in the grimdark genre due to how grey the moral code of Girton was. Barker strengthened his storytelling skill in this installment by making sure the story was unpredictable, full of intense twists and turns, and the entirety of the book to focus heavily on the theme of redemption and prejudices against sorcerer/magic. Plus, the murder mystery aspect in the book also was much more engaging to follow than before.

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Age of Assassins (The Wounded Kingdom, #1)

Age of Assassins (The Wounded Kingdom, #1)

Age of Assassins (The Wounded Kingdom, #1)Age of Assassins by R.J. Barker
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

A highly enjoyable debut; I finished Age of Assassins in less than 24 hours.

I think people need to set their expectations right when they’re going to read this book. If you expect this to be an Assassin’s Creed type of story where the assassin goes on full throttle killing mode or be involved in a battle against another assassin for the majority of the book, you’re most likely going to be disappointed. I came into this expecting it to be something along the line of Robin Hobb’s Assassin’s Apprentice and with that mindset, I had a fantastic time with this addictive debut.

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