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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blackout

 I have to apologise for the spoiler contained in the review of Deadline.  It can be incredibly difficult to review a book when an event that is so integral to the story happens. It’s almost impossible to allude to, rather than be able to mention it.  That being said, I try very hard not to use spoilers and didn’t think to put a warning (there is one now).  Lesson learned!

The sneak peak at the end of Deadline had my jaw dropping and luckily I had Blackout to dive straight into.  If I’d had to wait, I think I might have imploded.  This book was the perfect closing to the trilogy for many reasons.  We got to see just how deep the conspiracy ran, the reasoning behind it all… in short, the Truth that Georgia and Shaun Mason had been searching for.  It cost a lot to get there, some might say too much, but Shaun’s tenacity is like an unstoppable force.

The pace of the story of all three books were perfectly measured to me. In Feed it started slowly and gained speed, in Deadline it increased to a nail-biting run, and finally, in Blackout it was an edge of your seat, can’t-put-it-down-until-I’ve-finished-it full sprint.  It suited the story really well and there was no wasted time.

There was more ground covered in this book than the previous two, the characters often being separated because of need and it was interesting having the point of view switching around quite a bit.  It was never confusing, however, as to who was ‘speaking’.  The little snippets of blog entries also let you know how other characters were feeling, be that happy, angry or sad.

There are so many emotional punches just waiting to pounce on you throughout the story.  The biggest one, I won’t mention, but you will instantly know what I mean when you start reading.  It floored me and made me both happy and sad.  Along with that the characters accompanying Shaun were brilliant and well written, as important to the story as Shaun himself.  There was one moment that made me shout ‘I knew it!’ after having suspicions formed from the previous novels. It also made me very happy!

As each revelation came, I got more and more shocked at just what was going on and how people were both capable and felt justified in their actions.  It harks back to other atrocities in our history, where people in a position of power thought they were right in doing what they did.  But this is so much more.  Shaun wanted the truth… and the truth is more terrifying than I could have imagined.

This is an amazing series and if you even remotely like a conspiracy thriller with a dose of zombies, then this is for you.  You do need to read them in order though, so start with Book 1, Feed.

Rise up… and read it!

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: Mira Grant
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

 

Deadline

 ***Spoilers for Feed follow, read it first and then come back!***

Convinced he’s going mad and still reeling from his devastating loss, Shaun Mason no longer wants to be in the world, but can’t leave it until he has found the truth behind Georgia’s death.  He didn’t bank on the conspiracy being far bigger than anyone could have realised but the mission has always been the Truth, even if it means losing everything.

Deadline carries on after the shocking and heartbreaking ending of Feed and a part of me didn’t want to read this second book because of it.  I take my hat off to Mira Grant for figuring out how to still keep a sense of Georgia in the story.  My heart about broke every time her death was referred to, and seeing Shaun’s grief so vividly on display.  He is unravelling at the seams but my goodness, his tenacity and determination are what make him such an outstanding character.

As the saying goes, ‘The plot thickens’ and I think it has never been more true than in this book.  There are many different layers going on, some that go back to the first book but mostly it’s new developments, new understandings and new and terrible truths.  It’s an accurate reflection of just what people in a position of power and no scruples might do, to hold on to that power.

I was on the edge of my seat for pretty much the whole book, the pace is fast and events are coming at you left right and centre, leaving me reading with my mouth open, and making involuntary verbal exclamations at times.  It packs a heavy emotional punch too with the sacrifices people make, to do what must be done.  What the characters have to go through is mind blowing, but at the same time I think if anything like the Rising were to happen, it’s people like that you would want on your side. I still liked the excerpts from the blogs of the characters, it added depth and a brief glimpse at their thoughts.

The writing is as smooth and engaging as the first book, just catching me up and unable to let go until the last page.  And those last few pages… wow.  I can’t say any more or it would be a spoiler but I did not see that coming.

I absolutely can’t wait to dive into book three, Blackout and I am going to do that right now!

Deadline  is a tense, fast paced, and utterly absorbing zombie thriller.  The end of the world is truly nigh!

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: Mira Grant
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Books I can’t wait for in 2011

There are so many books in already established series’ I am looking forwards to reading this year, not to mention new ones I have yet to discover.  Here is a selection that I really can’t wait to get my paws on :

Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

January

A Hard Day’s Knight (Nightside) by Simon R. Green (Ace Books)
Kitty goes to War (Kitty Norville) by Carrie Vaughn (Gollancz)

March

River Marked (Mercy Thompson) by Patricia Briggs (Orbit)
Invincible (Chronicles of Nick 2) by Sherrilyn Kenyon (ATOM)
Lover Unleashed (Black Dagger Brotherhood) by J. R. Ward (Piatkus Books)

April

Ghost Story (Dresden Files 13) by Jim Butcher (Orbit)
Side Jobs: Stories from the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher (Orbit)
Born of Shadows (League 4) by Sherrilyn Kenyon (Piatkus Books)

June

Hunt the Moon (Cassie Palmer) by Karen Chance (Signet Books)
Deadline (Newsflesh Trilogy) by Mira Grant (Orbit)

July

Kitty’s Big Trouble (Kitty Norville) by Carrie Vaughn (Gollancz)

August

Pale Demon by (The Hollows) Kim Harrison (Harper Voyager)
Retribution (Dark-Hunter) by Sherrilyn Kenyon (Piatkus Books)
Downpour (Greywalker) by Kat Richardson (Piatkus Books)

October

Envy (Fallen Angels) by J. R. Ward (Piatkus Books)

Fantasy

March

Land of Painted Caves (Earth’s Children Book 6) by Jean M. Auel (Hodder & Stoughton)
Twilight’s Dawn (Black Jewels) by Anne Bishop (Roc)

April

Shadow Chaser (Chronicles of Siala) by Alexey Pehov (Simon & Schuster)

Chick Lit

February

To the Moon and Back by Jill Mansell (Headline)

March

Summer of Love by Katie Fforde (Century)
Kiss and Tell by Fiona Walker (Sphere)

May

Any Man of Mine by Rachel Gibson (Corgi)

Crime

January

You Belong to Me by Karen Rose (Headline)

May

Virals by Kathy Reichs (Arrow (Young))

Feed

The Rising was a time of horror, a realisation that in mankind’s arrogance  to assert control over nature’s most basic forms, it almost annihilated them.  Those that died didn’t stay dead, they rose and the deadly and infectious virus urged them on, an insatiable need to feed.  Twenty years on, bloggers Georgia and Shaun Mason are offered the chance of a lifetime, to follow a political campaign and report the truth as they see it.  Some truths hide behind dark conspiracy and sometimes it’s worth killing for.

Having literally just finished reading Feed, I’m still in a bit of a state of shock.  The book itself shows an amazing in-depth look at how the world would be if there really was a zombie outbreak and the ramifications for everyone.  What caught me though is how well written and emotional the main story was.  The characters of Georgia and Shaun especially; I felt like I knew them and perhaps some of that is because we already live in a blogging world where people post their innermost thoughts.  It’s not written from the point of view of a blog – but it is the background from where the story comes from.  Bloggers are the ‘modern’ world’s news givers and the pieces you do get are almost familiar.

Georgia and Shaun were wonderfully real, practical and determined, and their bond as siblings was very touching.  I loved how the sense of danger the world lives with every day was portrayed, with the virus inactive in everyone until they die, or are encouraged into converting.  Then they come back as something else, something highly infectious, deadly and with only one mandate: Feed.

The book itself is so much more than just another zombie apocalypse story.  The apocalypse has already happened, not because of any supernatural or mystical means but due to human error and a combination of events.  It’s set after the ‘Rising’ for one thing and while it starts off being a survival story it then adds in crime, horror, intrigue, heroism and sacrifice.  A heady mix and a wonderful story.  Highly recommended if you like to read any of those things.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Book Information
  • Author: Mira Grant
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)