The Bone Witch (Rin Chupeco) – Review

The Bone Witch, Rin ChupecoThe Bone Witch
Rin Chupeco

Sourcebooks Fire
Sci Fi & Fantasy, Teens & YA

SYNOPSIS: When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training. In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha—one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.

REVIEW: The Bone Witch wasn’t quite what I was expecting but then again, I probably couldn’t adequately describe what I was expecting. Inside this YA fantasy tale, the reader will find a heady mix of genres: supernatural thriller, coming of age tale, political intrigue, witchcraft with a well-crafted magic system, zombie raisings, espionage intrigue, mystery and a few others I’m probably forgetting at the moment. The book also includes post-chapter flash-forwards which hint at what’s to come in future volumes, including revenge and epic battles—conclusions based upon events we aren’t quite privy to in the first book but can anticipate learning about in the next book. It’s quite a juggling act. Chupeco is a skilled author, adept at world building.

Posted in Book Review | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Counterpart (Machinations Book Two) by Hayley Stone – Review

Counterpart (Machinations Book 2)Counterpart (Machinations Book Two) by Hayley Stone

Publisher: Hydra (Random House LLC)
Now Available

From the Description: The high-intensity sci-fi thriller series that began with Machinations continues as reincarnated insurgent Rhona Long faces off against the one enemy she can’t outwit: her own clone…. [V]ictory is elusive. The machines have a new technology designed to overcome humanity’s most advanced weaponry. Despite Rhona’s peacekeeping efforts, former nations are feuding over resources as old power struggles resurface. Worse, someone inside the resistance is sabotaging the human cause—someone who, from all appearances, seems to be Rhona . . . or her exact replica.

My Review: I enjoyed Machinations which, compared to the sequel, Counerpart, was more focused. While I continue to enjoy Stone’s writing, graceful metaphors and her resistance-leader protagonist, I had hoped for more interactions with the machines in book two, which led to a bit of frustration. The story does, however, build to a big confrontation with the enemy. In the meantime, Rhona deals with the implications of her clones and how they undermine her position in the resistance no matter if she reveals or conceals their existence. Either she is guilty of traitorous actions or she is, herself, no longer trustworthy. Additionally, she begins to doubt her place as the one-true-clone/heir to the original Rhona Long with a few humorous Highlander references tossed into the mix. In hindsight, Counterpart feels like a table-setter for the third book in a trilogy (though these books are billed as a series), where the machines won’t be her only adversary, because the greatest enemy she’ll eventually have to face is a version of herself.

Posted in Book Review | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Latest Galley Received: The Bone Witch (Rin Chupeco)

The Bone Witch, Rin ChupecoThe Bone Witch
by Rin Chupeco
Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Sci Fi & Fantasy, Teens & YA
Pub Date: March 7, 2017

Description:  In the captivating start to a new, darkly lyrical fantasy series for readers of Leigh Bardugo and Sabaa Tahir, Tea can raise the dead, but resurrection comes at a price…

Let me be clear: I never intended to raise my brother from his grave, though he may claim otherwise. If there’s anything I’ve learned from him in the years since, it’s that the dead hide truths as well as the living.

When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.

In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha—one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.

Memoirs of a Geisha meets The Name of the Wind in this brilliant new fantasy series by Rin Chupeco!

Advance Praise for The Bone Witch:

“Readers who enjoy immersing themselves in detail will revel in Chupeco’s finely wrought tale. Game of Thrones fans may see shades of Daenerys Targaryen in Tea, as she gathers a daeva army to unleash upon the world. Whether she is in the right remains a question unanswered, but the ending makes it clear her story is only beginning.” -Booklist

“Chupeco craftily weaves magic, intrigue, and mystery into a captivating tale that will leave readers begging for the promised sequel.” -School Library Journal

Posted in Galleys | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Recently Received Galleys: Counterpart, God of the Internet, The Delphi Effect

Counterpart (Machinations Book 2)Counterpart (Machinations Book Two) by Hayley Stone

Description

The high-intensity sci-fi thriller series that began with Machinations continues as reincarnated insurgent Rhona Long faces off against the one enemy she can’t outwit: her own clone.

The machines believed their extermination of the human race would be over as quickly as it began. They were wrong. As the war against extinction intensifies, people are beginning to gain the upper hand.

Commander Rhona Long understands survival better than most. Killed in combat, she was brought back to life using her DNA, and she’s forged a new, even more powerful identity. Now the leader of the resistance, she’s determined to ensure the machines are shut down for good.

But victory is elusive. The machines have a new technology designed to overcome humanity’s most advanced weaponry. Despite Rhona’s peacekeeping efforts, former nations are feuding over resources as old power struggles resurface. Worse, someone inside the resistance is sabotaging the human cause—someone who, from all appearances, seems to be Rhona . . . or her exact replica.

God of the Internet (LipinskiGod of the Internet by Lynn Lipinski

Description

When a hacker known as G0d_of_Internet hijacks millions of computers to do the bidding of an Islamic jihadist group, their first act is to disrupt the water treatment systems in Boston, Dallas and Los Angeles. Next, the power grids go down. Is this the start of a digital world war?

The only thing standing between the terrorists and their goal to weaponize the internet is a small band of white hat hackers, including cybersecurity guru Mahaz Al-Dossari and his wife Juliana.

The search is on for a couple hundred lines of code and a global hacker network before they can make good on their ultimate threat to divert money from the world’s banks. But G0d_of_Internet has been tracking their every move. And it’s Juliana, a PR manager lacking in technical skills, who may hold the key to unmasking the hacker.

 

The Delphi Effect (Rysa Walker)The Delphih Effect by Rysa Walker

Description

Posted in Galleys | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Hatching (Advance Reader Copy Review)

The Hatching by Ezekiel BooneThe Hatching: A Novel (The Hatching Series)
Ezekiel Boone
Atria Books
Atria/Emily Bestler Books

Synopsis:

An astonishingly inventive and terrifying debut novel about the emergence of an ancient species, dormant for over the thousand years, and now on the march.

Deep in the jungle of Peru, where so much remains unknown, a black, skittering mass devours an American tourist whole. Thousands of miles away, an FBI agent investigates a fatal plane crash in Minneapolis and makes a gruesome discovery. Unusual seismic patterns register in a Kanpur, India earthquake lab, confounding the scientists there. During the same week, the Chinese government “accidentally” drops a nuclear bomb in an isolated region of its own country. As these incidents begin to sweep the globe, a mysterious package from South America arrives at a Washington, D.C. laboratory. Something wants out.

The world is on the brink of an apocalyptic disaster. An ancient species, long dormant, is now very much awake.

Review:

Due to the global scope of the narrative, the first half of The Hatching feels slightly disjointed. I began to wonder if certain characters would appear later in the story or if they were of the one-and-done variety. Early longer chapters contribute to this sense of disconnection. But the latter half of the novel picks up steam with shorter chapters and a much faster pace, bringing all the plot threads together into a cohesive web. (See what I did there?) The Hatching plays out like an international monster movie thriller and I can easily imagine this story on the big screen. The Hatching delivers an enjoyable and creepy ride. [Warning to the intensely arachnophobic: Avoid at all costs.] Be aware though, that the story is not complete and ends on a cliffhanger of sorts — a pause in the unfolding horror rather than a true cliffhanger. I’m not sure when the next installment in “The Hatching Series” comes out, but consider it a chance to catch your breath. [4 out of 5 Stars]

Posted in Book Review | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Machinations by Hayley Stone (Review)

Machinations (HayleyStone)Machinations
Hayley Stone
Print Length: 343 pages
Publisher: Hydra (Random House LLC)
Publication Date: July 26, 2016

 

My Review: Hayley Stone’s MACHINATIONS begins after the Robot/Artificial-Intelligence apocalypse has nearly wiped humanity from the planet. And shortly after the story begins, Rhona Long, the heroine of the novel, dies. Before this,  however, she had set in motion plans to have herself (and possibly others) cloned in the event of her death. She returns with her DNA and most of her memories intact. But she needs to win back the trust of the human resistance leaders and her friends, specifically those in her inner circle who know she is a replacement, including her boyfriend, Camus.

MACHINATIONS is a smooth, enjoyable read, well-written in a confident style that doesn’t get in the way of the narrative. Although the scope of the story is global, the focus of the narrative remains on Rhona’s life, post-resurrection and her place in the resistance. I’m looking forward to seeing more of the machines—and more of this dystopian world—in future volumes. [Note: Counterpart, the sequel, is due out OCT 11, 2016.]

Posted in Book Review | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Latest Galley Received: Machinations (Hayley Stone)

Just received an eGalley of Machinations by Hayley Stone. Looks interesting! I’ll let you know what I think of it soon. . . .

Machinations (HayleyStone)Description

Posted in Galleys | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

WRITTEN IN FIRE (Brilliance Trilogy #3) Review

WRITTEN IN FIRE (Brilliance Trilogy #3)

Written In Fire (Brilliance Trilogy, Book 3)Publisher Synopsis:

For thirty years humanity struggled to cope with the brilliants, the one percent of people born with remarkable gifts. For thirty years we tried to avoid a devastating civil war. We failed.

The White House is a smoking ruin. Madison Square Garden is an internment camp. In Wyoming, an armed militia of thousands marches toward a final, apocalyptic battle.

Nick Cooper has spent his life fighting for his children and his country. Now, as the world staggers on the edge of ruin, he must risk everything he loves to face his oldest enemy—a brilliant terrorist so driven by his ideals that he will sacrifice humanity’s future to achieve them.

Review:

I read A BETTER WORLD (Brilliance Trilogy #2) and WRITTEN IN FIRE (#3) back to back and mentioned previously that I enjoyed the hell out of A BETTER WORLD. For the middle book in a trilogy, WRITTEN IN FIRE was seriously impressive. No sag, no holding pattern. Full-throttle enjoyment.

WRITTEN IN FIRE, again, does not disappoint. Sakey increases the jeopardy for his characters and raises the stakes for his imagined alternate world. I haven’t enjoyed a story this much in a long time. Marcus Sakey is a consummate storyteller with an intriguing premise bristling with suspense and executed with panache. Highly recommended.

Though Sakey says he’s done with his Brilliance saga, I hope some time in the not too distant future he stumbles upon some fresh inspiration to take us back again for another fix. Good stuff!

—John Passarella

Posted in Book Review | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Recently Received Galley: Written in Fire (Brilliance Trilogy, # 3)

Just received an eGalley of Marcus Sakey’s third and final volume in the Brilliance Trilogy, Written in Fire which follows Brilliance & A Better World. I really enjoyed Brilliance and need to catch up fast and read A Better World so I can check out the finale!

Written In Fire (Brilliance Trilogy, Book 3)Synopsis:

For thirty years humanity struggled to cope with the brilliants, the one percent of people born with remarkable gifts. For thirty years we tried to avoid a devastating civil war. We failed.

The White House is a smoking ruin. Madison Square Garden is an internment camp. In Wyoming, an armed militia of thousands marches toward a final, apocalyptic battle.

Nick Cooper has spent his life fighting for his children and his country. Now, as the world staggers on the edge of ruin, he must risk everything he loves to face his oldest enemy—a brilliant terrorist so driven by his ideals that he will sacrifice humanity’s future to achieve them.

From “one of our best storytellers” (Michael Connelly) comes the blistering conclusion to the acclaimed series that is a “forget-to-pick-up-milk, forget-to-water-the-plants, forget-to-eat total immersion experience” (Gillian Flynn).

Advance Praise

Posted in Galleys | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Recently Received Galley: Ashley Bell (Dean Koontz)

I recently received a galley (ARC) for Dean Koontz’s latest novel, Ashley Bell. (Two of my favorite Koontz titles are Strangers and Odd Thomas.) Looking forward to reading Ashley Bell (Pub Date: December 8, 2015) as soon as I finish Ready Player One.

Ashley Bell (Dean Koontz)Description

From #1 bestselling author Dean Koontz—the must-read thriller of the year, for readers of dark psychological suspense and modern classics of mystery and adventure.

The girl who said no to death.

Bibi Blair is a fierce, funny, dauntless young woman—whose doctor says she has one year to live.

She replies, “We’ll see.”

Her sudden recovery astonishes medical science.

An enigmatic woman convinces Bibi that she escaped death so that she can save someone else. Someone named Ashley Bell.

But save her from what, from whom? And who is Ashley Bell? Where is she?

Bibi’s obsession with finding Ashley sends her on the run from threats both mystical and worldly, including a rich and charismatic cult leader with terrifying ambitions.

Here is an eloquent, riveting, brilliantly paced story with an exhilarating heroine and a twisting, ingenious plot filled with staggering surprises. Ashley Bell is a new milestone in literary suspense from the long-acclaimed master.

Pre-Order Ashley Bell.

Posted in Galleys | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment