Please note: The only horror authors I’m familiar with are Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Paul Tremblay. Horror is a new genre to me and I’m already finding that I like being scared but I don’t like gore for the sake of gore. I’m attempting to list triggers as I can. If I missed something vital please let me know in the comments!
A disturbing new vision of terror from the author of Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke.
“Each precious thing I show you in this book is a holy relic from the night we both perished-the night when I combed you from my hair and watered the moon with your blood.
You’ve lost a lot of blood . . .”
I honestly don’t know what to think about what I just read!
I first encountered Eric Larocca about a year ago when I read Things Have Gotten Worse Since Last We Spoke and thought that the title and cover art was absolutely hysterical (if morbid) and picked up the slim volume not realizing what I was reading. I read it in a single sitting and I’m still thinking about that brilliant, disturbing book to this day. I never read anything like that before. Even King didn’t make me shiver like that.
What’s this about? Well I don’t want to give anything away. I went into this blind but I will say that this was another book that creeped me out! It’s short but packs a punch straight to the gut! I’m devouring everything by the author that I can get my hands on. Highly recommend!
It feels even longer since I wrote a Netgalley review than a regular review. I’m hoping that this turns out well, but if any links aren’t working please let me know in the comments! I would really appreciate it!
Iron Widow is proclaimed as Pacific Rim meets Handmaid’s Tale and from what I read it’s a story about a girl getting vengeance for her murdered Big Sister and getting into a lot of trouble along the way. First in a series written by Xiran Jay Zhao. It’s Chinese history and mecha science fiction for YA readers, from what Penguin Books says. This book blew me away, though it took me a bit before I was hooked and grabbed it left me wanting more.
Book Title: Iron Widow
Book Author: Xiran Jay Zhao
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Series: Book One
Page Count: 400
The boys of Huaxia dream of pairing up with girls to pilot Chrysalises, giant transforming robots that can battle the mecha aliens that lurk beyond the Great Wall. It doesn’t matter that the girls often die from the mental strain.
When 18-year-old Zetian offers herself up as a concubine-pilot, it’s to assassinate the ace male pilot responsible for her sister’s death. But she gets her vengeance in a way nobody expected—she kills him through the psychic link between pilots and emerges from the cockpit unscathed. She is labeled an Iron Widow, a much-feared and much-silenced kind of female pilot who can sacrifice boys to power up Chrysalises instead.
To tame her unnerving yet invaluable mental strength, she is paired up with Li Shimin, the strongest and most controversial male pilot in Huaxia. But now that Zetian has had a taste of power, she will not cower so easily. She will miss no opportunity to leverage their combined might and infamy to survive attempt after attempt on her life, until she can figure out exactly why the pilot system works in its misogynist way—and stop more girls from being sacrificed.
I actually started writing notes at a quarter of the way through the book. It was intense reading (and I had no idea it was 400 pages, it flew by fast!) But I still loved it. I did have my issues with the book, but it thankfully came with trigger warnings listed at the front! (I wish more authors would do this!)
Trigger Warnings: misogyny and femicide, rape mentioned, physical and emotional abuse, suicidal ideation, alcoholism, blood and gore, murder, torture, torture of a child
This is not a book for the faint hearted or those easily offended.
Wu Zitan is a girl fixing to go off to war for her family, as she has no desire to be married. She also doesn’t want to die but it’s common knowledge that girls don’t live long upon serving the men in the army. Wu Zitan is only going so that she can get vengeance for her Big Sister who was killed recently. (Unsure if this is a SPOILER) she succeeds… and falls into worse trouble.
I loved Wu Zitan’s character. She was strong willed despite shit after shit flung at her, and she still triumphed against all odds though that cliffhanger was definitely not what I saw coming. I had suspicions for something else entirely but it’s nice to be surprised. I liked that there wasn’t a love triangle. I won’t say anything because I don’t want too many spoilers. But I’m happy for how the relationship turned out. The books cliffhanger is still frustrating and I need the second book. I can’t begin to rate this highly enough but I believe it’s earned it’s rating!
My thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a copy of the book. I definitely look forward to the sequel!
The Kingdom of Liars by Nick Martell was a fast paced political fantasy with rebellion, a unique magic set up, and plenty of intrigue. Yet though the writing was strong, I didn’t connect with the characters despite finding Michael Kingman an interesting character.
This six hundred page fantasy epic had both magic and guns, explosions and betrayal, and a large cast of characters each with their own unique history. There was a political system and a magic system.
And yet, I found myself struggling by 55% through. No fault to the book, or writing but I could not seem to care overmuch about the characters in general. I may give this book another go in the future but for now, I’m leaving as is.
Title: Eye Spy
Author: Mercedes Lackey
Series: Book 2 of the Family Spies
Page Count: 400
Type of Book: Hardback, Arc
Rated: 4/5 stars
Review Word Count: 500
Notes: unsatisfactory ending, leaving it wide open. Mentions of assault, asexual main character, and lots of drama + danger in this latest installment
Abi’s ‘gift’ is unique in that she can sense where things are stressed and about to break apart. It doesn’t become evident until she’s on a popular bridge with her friend, the Princess Kat, and then it’s a mad dash to save everyone, including themselves from disaster. Abi’s new gift has potential, as it’s the only one of its kind. Abi’s unique as well, in that she’s asexual-she doesn’t have any interest in either gender romantically at all.
This wasn’t my favorite Valdemar book. I definitely enjoyed Perry’s story more than this one, but while it wasn’t my favorite it was still a quick and enjoyable read. There were lots of action scenes, some small spots of angst, and Mercedes Lackey tackled assault of a girl in school fairly well I thought.
It echoed current events of today; from dams threatening to break apart, assault and bullying, how asexual characters deal with their realization that they’re not interested in anybody…it all tied in very nicely with the plot, though I was unsatisfied with the ending, and now require book three to see how she handles Dudley Rump, our chief villain in this book-who seems to be a sniveling though wealthy coward determined to get his goals completed, most of which seems to make Abi miserable after she humiliated him when defending herself.
I can’t say too much more within the review, because that would give away the plot. Mags had very little appearance in here as he’s getting older, along with that of his family. I’m still entertained by Mercedes Lackey, so of course I’m definitely still going to be reading her works.
Overall, 4/5 stars for a solid reading experience, and definitely continuing onwards with book three. My thanks to the publisher for sending me an unsolicited copy, and I sincerely look forward to seeing more of Mercedes Lackey’s works.
Title: The Hills Have Spies
Author: Mercedes Lackey
Series: Book 1 of the Family Spies
Page Count: 400
Type of Book: Mass Market Paperback (it doesn’t match my book two hardback!)
Rated: 5/5 stars
Review Word Count: 500
Notes: The new generation of Herald Mags.
While I’m sad we’re not getting more adventure stories from Mags point of view, Perry is still almost as interesting as that of his father. This series continues to be one of the longest ones that I’ve ever read, as it is well over 40+books and counting. I’ve started reading these books when I was in my teens, and seen many a herald come (and tearfully go) and adore this series with all my heart.
Perry’s story is interesting, though. He mindspeak-not just with Companions, but with any animal, be it magical or otherwise. I thought it a cool ‘gift’ to have, and handy as well when you’re training to become a spy and can use animals to help you escape troubling situations, overhear conversations too far out of reach, or see things beyond areas that you can’t see. Perry is a good lad, strong, capable, and determined to be just like his hero of a father, Herald Mags.
Trouble abounds, and father and son set out to go and take care of it, with lots of little interesting scenes filled along the way. Perry picks up a crow as a familiar, along with a few other animals as friends, and things progress. The story evolves quite nicely, and there’s adventure and danger at every turn.
This felt a little rushed, to be honest, in some places. However, I still enjoyed this story, and there are two more children that Mags has that I’m interested in reading about, a boy and girl each. Amily is also one I’m interested in, being Mags wife from the previous series.
Though not my most favorite of the series (that would be Vanyel), this was still a quick and exciting adventure to page through within a few hours. I’m definitely going to check out the next in the series, and probably continue reading these books as if they were candy. 5/5 stars for a lovely time in Valdemar and highly recommend for those who haven’t read the books yet.
Author: Mercedes Lackey
Series: Tales of Valdemar/Anthology
Page Count: 400
Rated: 4/5 stars
Type of Book: Paperback
Notes: a collection of short stories, one of them being from Mercedes Lackey herself, tells various tales of various characters in the lands of Valdemar.
This was an interesting anthology. On the one hand, I really liked these new stories, on the other they obviously hadn’t come from Mercedes Lackey, but that’s not a bad thing. With fresh new voices as well as some familiar ones (Janny Wurts was a surprise and a treasure to read here, and the only other author that I recognized), this anthology definitely is one of my favorites.
As previously mentioned, I only recognized one name aside from Mrs. Lackey, and that’s Janny Wurts. I haven’t read anything from the author, though she’s been on my TBR pile for years, I just haven’t found her books easily. My library doesn’t have her books, and they’re outside my budget on Amazon. I may break down and see if Book Outlet carries her works, because I’ve been curious about her writing for years. “Beyond Common Sense, She Persisted” was one of my favorite short stories out of the collection, and if she writes that well all the time, then I have found a new favorite author. If you’re familiar with Janny Wurts, perhaps y’all might help me figure out where to start in regards to reading her massive list of novels.
Another favorite short story I enjoyed was “Of Crows and Karsites” by Kristen Schwengal. This was a completely new to me author, but the story was very enjoyable though I wished it could have been expanded into something more, as most short stories seems to be lately for me. The characters had a strong voice in this one, and I liked the overall feel of it as well.
My third favorite short story? “Women’s Need Calls Me” by Mercedes Lackey herself. Classic Mercedes Lackey, in that it’s got the tone, characters, and abilities down pat. I always love returning to this world, and this was no exception. I’m greatly looking forward to Volume Two of The Hills Have Spies (review for volume one next), and am eager to share with you my thoughts on those books as well.
Overall, I’m rating this a solid 4 out of 5 stars, for wonderful world-building, fabulous new authors to check out, and the latest new favorite short story from an all time favorite author.
Title: Murder Feels Crazy
Author: Bill Alive
Series: Book 3
Genre: Mystery, Paranormal
Type of Book: ARC, Kindle Ebook
Received: from the author
Rated: 5/5 stars
Notes: Cliffhangers suck.
I spent about four hours reading through another exciting adventure of Pete and Mark the Empath solving crime and defeating evil and really enjoyed it. It was as fun as the first few books, with a tad bit more danger than normal towards the end. We get to deal with drug addicts, furries, and drama throughout this book. There’s danger, mystery, and romance all wrapped up together.
Pete continues to be his usual witty self, with his roommate Mark continuing to use his powers for good. But in this book, Mark begins to question whether or not he wants to continue solving cases, while Pete begins to realize that Mark has a shady history than even he realized.
There’s at least four murders in this book, plenty of suspects, and a familiar threat at the end comes back to haunt Mark. But I won’t give away spoilers since Pete hates them so much. (Hi Pete!)
It’s a fun book, with plenty of humor to ease the tension and the fact that we keep learning about Mark’s empathy power is cool as well. I like when there’s always a new thing to be learned.
My main complaint about this book was the cliffhanger. Now I have to wait another year before Bill (rather, Pete) types out the next book. Especially since it’s the kind of cliffhanger where you really want to see if a, uh, hypothetically…a main character gets killed…
And with that in mind, I’m going to wrap up this review, because it’s long enough as it is at about four hundred words. While the review is short, the book definitely isn’t, but it definitely is worth continuing the series, as I’m highly recommending the series rating this one 5/5 stars. Because the characters are realistic and make all the difference, but the storyline is intriguing, and there’s also great whodunit’s…
In any case, read the series. I promise you won’t regret it.
I thoroughly enjoyed Freedom’s Child. It was intense and beautifully written, filled with believable characters and a fascinating plot. I found that I enjoyed this a lot more than I had thought that I would, actually, and I will definitely check out more by this author!
Additional Notes: Um…who’s the author? What year was it published? Could you leave me no clues at all 2015 me?! This is what a fresh new blogger looks like y’all lol. Take note not to do this! And not even a book cover! Sigh….