2013 – A bookish year

 So another year is behind us and in spite of the personal life stuff going on resulting in the dearth of reviews, reading was still going on behind the scenes.

So what books made us sit up and beg?

Grete

The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett – The fantastic third book in the Demon Cycle.

Fortress Frontier by Myke Cole – Military sci-fi with superheroes.  This second book was an excellent addition to the Shadow Ops series.

Abaddon’s Gate by James S.A. Corey – This series needs to be on either the big or small screen – any screen!  Until then it’s an amazing sci-fi story and this third book was a brilliant addition to the Expanse.

Parasite by Mira Grant – An amazingly creepy but riveting novel. If you liked her Newsflesh trilogy, you are going to love this!

Kevin HearneThe Iron Druid Chronicles was a series that entranced me so much, I ended up romping through and didn’t take time to review.  It’s a fantastic series and one I will be re-reading, slower this time, so I can actually do reviews!

Bound by Night by Larissa Ione – The first in a new series by Larissa and just as exciting as her Demonica/Lords of Deliverance.  Speaking of which, the next book in that series, Reaver, is on this list too as it was utterly fantastic and had my jaw dropping several times as things were revealed.

Fifth Grave Past the Light by Darynda Jones – This is another series I love so much that I keep racing through them and end up not reviewing.  It’s a habit I really have to stop as my memory is just not up to it these days!  Charley Davidson is one of my favourite paranormal heroines and I just can’t get enough of her!

Styxx by Sherrilyn Kenyon – I loved, loved, loved this book.  I cried, I laughed, I may have shouted a few times.  A worthy companion to Acheron and a brilliant addition to the Dark-Hunter’s series.  It does take you through the wringer though!

The Shambling Guide to New York City by Mur Lafferty – I absolutely loved this light hearted approach to the paranormal and look forward to the next one, out this year!

Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan – A gritty and powerful epic fantasy debut.  I loved the magic system he devised and I hold high hopes for the second book.

Ice Forged by Gail Z. Martin – First in a new series by Gail and it’s off to a promising start.  I loved her two previous series a lot so it had a lot to live up to!  Looking forward to book two!

J.D. Robb – Thanks to Tracey, I discovered the In Death series and devoured the whole lot one after the other.  It amazed me how good they are and how, even 35+ books in, they are still extremely enjoyable and great reads.

Watch Your Back by Karen Rose – So many of Karen’s books have characters that appear or are related to people in other novels and this one felt like it had been a long time coming.  It was utterly amazing and prompted me to go back and read ALL the previous books!

Blood Song by Anthony Ryan – This book honestly surprised me and I’m annoyed at myself that I didn’t do a review after I read it, as it so very much deserved it.  It’s an amazingly gritty fantasy, written with a single focus and I urge anyone who loved David Gemmell’s work to pick this up.  I will be re-reading this (and reviewing this time, dammit)!

Unseen by Karin Slaughter – Every time I think Karin has outdone herself, she releases the next book and raises the bar even higher.  I can’t get enough of Will Trent and Sara Linton!

Lover at Last by J.R. Ward – The latest book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series was hotly anticipated and I was not left disappointed!

Tracey

While my list has some similar ones to Grete, I also have some totally different genres to her.  Being much more of a romantic sap, it will come as no surprise that I have a number of romances on my list.

The books I share Grete’s love for are :

Styxx of course – the most anticipated book of the year for me and one that did not disappoint. Probably my book of the year!

Reaver by Larissa Ione – another eagerly awaited novel that ticked all the boxes for me.

The In Death series by J.D. Robb – I read all 35 books in 4 weeks and absolutely loved them.

For me though the year was all about romance! There were books from my favourite romance authors: Stephanie Laurens, Eloisa James, Julia Quinn, Sarah MacLean and Sarah Morgan.

I really cannot express all the books that I loved this year, I read well over 100 of them! Since I tend to read books I know I will enjoy, it is so hard to only pick a few.

If I was to recommend a few books to other readers I would go with the following:

Sleigh Bells in the Snow by Sarah Morgan – I have been a fan of Ms. Morgan for many years, reading all her Mills and Boon books and it was great to have a longer book to enjoy. This is romance at its best and a great start to a new series.

Nora Roberts has featured heavily in my reading this year but a trilogy I particularly enjoyed was the Key Trilogy – Key of Light, Key of Knowledge and Key of Valour. This has a paranormal slant with Ms. Roberts’ usual excellent romance story.

Sarah MacLean’s Rules of Scoundrels series is recommended reading, particularity if you enjoy historical romance. I have loved all the books in this series and look forward to the next one hopefully coming in 2014!

Will definitely be doing more reviews this year, even if only a few lines, there are so many great books I want to share my love of.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Promise of Blood

 I will hold my hand up and say I was less than enthusiastic about this book based purely on a brief read of the cover blurb.  However, since I was still enjoying being on a fantasy kick and wanting something new to sink my teeth into I picked it up.

It was actually the strapline on the cover that rescued the book for me – “The Age of Kings is dead… and I have killed it.” I loved it, both powerful and intriguing and that alone was enough to turn the first page.

I’ve never been happier to have been proved wrong.  I was pleasantly surprised by the plot – while it might have seemed like a common fantasy trope at first glance, Brian McClellan managed to turn it on its head and shake it around.  The result is an amazing debut that entertained and engaged me, while giving me that tingle of discovering something good and very special.

The writing was descriptive without being too wordy.  I could clearly envisage the scenes in my head, even without extra padding and that made for easy reading that flowed right to the end.

The characters were superbly envisioned and no one was clearly cut out as good or evil, just varying shades of grey.  Believing you are doing the right thing is a powerful force even in the face of evidence to the contrary.  As the plot unfolded, my allegiances changed, time and time again and while I have to confess my favourites were Taniel and Adamat, both were very different characters but there was something special about them that really touched me.

The magic system McClellan conjured was just as intriguing as the story.  Magic is very common but in the majority of the Knacked population it’s very minor and often no more than a help to do their job.  The more powerful Marked are pretty dangerous and the top ranking Privileged are utterly lethal.  Then there are powder mages, those who can use gunpowder to augment their abilities, often making them unbeatable in a fight.  Of course that’s a very simplistic description of something integral to the story so I can only suggest you read and find out the intricacies for yourself!

The ending of Promise of Blood was nicely done even and sets things up solidly for the next book. As an aside, I really liked the fact that while I really want to read the next one, I’m not left feeling desperate due to a cliffhanger.  It was no less powerful an ending because of that either.

Definitely an author to watch and highly recommended for any fantasy fan.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Book Information
  • Author: Brian McClellan
  • Series: Powder Mage Trilogy (1)
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Our Week in Books – Week 15, 2013

 Tracey

Another slow week for reading this week but I still managed to fit four books in. I finished Blood Born by Linda Howard and Linda Jones – a very good start to the series and I am looking forward to the rest, full review to appear later this week – 4 stars.

I then went back to my Kindle and started Scandal of Love by Janelle Daniels, I enjoyed it but it was a bit too short for me, I am not a big fan of novellas unless they are linked to a favourite series. The story was good though, definitely more of a pure romance and not really as scandalous as the title suggests. I do enjoy a good romance though and would look to read the others in the series if I could find them very cheap or free on kindle – 3 stars.

Next I started a review copy I received from NetGalley – What a Lady needs by Kasey Michaels (Published by Harlequin), and is released 30th April.  I loved this one and a full review will follow this week – 4.5 stars

Having been nagged constantly by my husband about reducing the amount of physical books I have, I felt I should read another and picked up a romance by Kathleen Creighton – The Sheriff of Heartbreak County. While I expected an enjoyable romance I actually got a good suspense story too. A good read which kept me glued throughout and of course a wonderful romance – 4 stars

Thats all for this week folks!

 Grete

I’m still trying to get up to speed with my reading as I have so many great books begging to be read!

I finished Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan which ended up really surprising me.  Find out why in my review in the next few days 😉

Next I turned to Darynda Jones and her Charley Davidson series.  I read, loved (and reviewed) the first book at the start of the year but with my memory being what it is right now, I wanted to re-read it so the characters were fresh in my mind before I moved on to the second.  So First Grave on the Right was just as good the second time round and I finished Second Grave on the Left yesterday which was fantastic.  A review will be coming and I am going to start Third Grave Dead Ahead tonight!

That’s it from me, time to get my nose stuck in a book 😉


Our Week in Books is a regular blog post from Tracey and Grete, catching up on everything they’ve read recently.

Our Week in Books – Week 14, 2013

TraceyTracey

I had a week off from work this week, lots of reading time I thought – it would appear not, not sure what I did all week but did not read anywhere near as much as I expected!

I started the week with book two in the key trilogy by Nora Roberts – Key of Knowledge. This is probably my favourite series by this author, it has a paranormal basis with of course a solid romance running through. I love the characters and am looking forward to reading the final book in this trilogy even if it is very far fetched. If you are thinking about reading it start with the first one – Key of light. 4.5 stars.

I then decided to read some books on my Kindle which have been building up. I started with Never a Mistress, No Longer a Maid by Maureen Driscoll and really enjoyed it. A very romantic story with strong characters – the heroine is working as an unofficial surgeon in a small village, shunned by people she once thought of as friends after a major scandal (for the 19th Century anyway!). The hero is part of a large ton family – the Kellingtons, the great thing is there are books about all the family members – yay! It did not always seem appropriate to the period in either language or deeds but I still enjoyed it – 4 stars

I then moved on to The Dying Game by Beverley Barton. I always enjoy her books, the plots are so good and keep you guessing all the way. Those of you who enjoy a good romantic suspense should give her books a try, she has a lot! 4.5 stars

My next book is currently in progress – Blood Born by Linda Howard and Linda Jones, very good so far – comments to follow next week.

Unfortunately I am now back at work – something else to interfere with my reading time!

GreteGrete

Well I failed miserably on the reading front this week, as I have been doing spring cleaning and getting some of the clutter out of the house. There have also been several PC games I have been waiting for, so in the last few weeks have finished the new Tombraider, Bioshock Infinite and Dead Space 3, all highly recommended!

I have read some more of The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan but am taking another break to start Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan.  It’s great so far, excellent beginning and there should be a review up this week!

That’s all from me for now… must try harder!! 😉


Our Week in Books is a regular blog post from Tracey and Grete, catching up on everything they’ve read recently.