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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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Celeste’s Top 10 Books of the Year So Far (January 1st, 2018 – July 31st, 2018)

Celeste’s Top 10 Books of the Year So Far (January 1st, 2018 – July 31st, 2018)

So far, 2018 has been a wonderful reading year for me. I’ve found new favorite authors, and had the opportunity to read new work from authors I’ve loved for years. Of the 93 books I’ve read and reviewed this year, I gave 76 of those at least a 4 star rating on Goodreads. The books I’ve chosen have been overwhelmingly successful for me. When Petrik mentioned each doing a Top 10 from the books we’ve read so far this year, I jumped at the suggestion. But now, looking at the books I have to choose from, I’m regretting my decision. How on earth am I going to choose just ten out of the dozens of fantastic books I’ve read so far this year?! All I can do is my best, right?

To help narrow things down, I’m going to follow the same rules Petrik used for his list:

  • Rereads don’t count.
  • One book per author.
  • Not every book was published this year.
  • Other than the top spot, these are in the order I read them instead of any ranking.

Every book below is one I rated 5 complete stars. Links to my full Goodreads reviews will be provided within each mini-review. Without further ado, here are my favorite books of the year to date!

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City of Blades (The Divines Cities, #2)

City of Blades (The Divines Cities, #2)

City of Blades (The Divine Cities, #2)City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Dying nobly is preferable to living savagely.”

I’m completely blown away by Bennett’s world building. City of Blades thrilled me and surprised me and cut me to the quick with its rich character development and lore. I cared so much about the characters, and felt every emotion they felt as I read. Bennett’s world is unlike any I’ve ever come across; he absolutely excels at creating both empathetic characters and compelling mythology and history to add a depth and uniqueness to his writing that I believe to be rare.

“O, the things we kill for our dreams, forgetting all the while we shall wake up to find them naught but dust and ash!
What fools we are to pretend that when we walk to war we do not bring our loved ones with us.”

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City of Stairs (Divine Cities #1)

City of Stairs (Divine Cities #1)

City of Stairs (The Divine Cities, #1)City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Time renders all people and all things silent. And gods, it seems, are no exception.”

I have a confession to make. I purchased this trilogy in February of 2017, even preordered the final installment though I hadn’t read the first two. I just knew that it was a trilogy that I would love based off of the synopsis. There is nothing in the realm of fiction that I love more than unique religions and overt philosophizing. While setting and characterization and plot and prose are what make a book function, the books that make me happiest are those in which religion and philosophy play a vital part. However, even though I was almost positive that I would love Bennett’s trilogy, I kept putting it off for some reason. Petrik finally convinced me to give in and read it, and I’m so thankful that he did. It was everything I hoped it would be and more.

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