Random Musings by Frodosco

Posts tagged “Five Stars

Book of the Week: Horde

BookOfTheWeek

Every Saturday I will talk about my favorite book that I read during the week, whether it be a review or a spotlight, or maybe having the author over to talk about it. Who doesn’t want more happy bookish goodness? ^.^

This week I’m gushing about: Horde by Ann Aguirre

Summary from GoodreadsHorde

The horde is coming.

Salvation is surrounded, monsters at the gates, and this time, they’re not going away. When Deuce, Fade, Stalker and Tegan set out, the odds are against them. But the odds have been stacked against Deuce from the moment she was born. She might not be a Huntress anymore, but she doesn’t run. With her knives in hand and her companions at her side, she will not falter, whether fighting for her life or Fade’s love.

Ahead, the battle of a lifetime awaits. Freaks are everywhere, attacking settlements, setting up scouts, perimeters, and patrols. There hasn’t been a war like this in centuries, and humans have forgotten how to stand and fight. Unless Deuce can lead them.

This time, however, more than the fate of a single enclave or outpost hangs in the balance. This time, Deuce carries the banner for the survival of all humanity.

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Book of the Week is often one of the toughest posts that I write each week, which makes little sense seeing as how I should be able to go on and on about it, but when there is so little (if anything) to criticize all I can do is gush. With Horde it is no different. So prepare yourself for all of the positive feelings!

Horde, just like Rogue last week, is an excellent ending to a fantastic trilogy. It was the perfect blend of heartbreak and elation, thrilling action and tender romance. Horde is the type of book you stay up until 4 AM reading, and when you finish it you have to sit for another hour just to digest it all. There are so few books that have writing as powerful as Horde does, and considering the type of main character Deuce is, that is all the more impressive.

Let’s start with the action because that’s what Horde is filled with. Sure, some down time happens now and again, but for the most part these people are moving it across the world at a pretty fast clip. There are major battles that were written in amazing detail thanks to all of the research Aguirre did into similar wars. Add to that some cross country style running, skirmishes in the forests with traps and cunning tactics, and so many types of weapons displays it will make your head spin, and that makes for one wild and fun ride.

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Oh my goodness the characters are incredible. O_O I fell in love with all of them and Horde had me going from incredibly sad, to super excited, and then to freaked the heck out because Aguirre puts them through hell and then some. Deuce is such a different MC from anything I’ve experienced. She’s so socially awkward and hyper-focused on the battle ahead that she misses and doesn’t experience a lot of what normally is the central topics in a story, and it makes for a very interesting perspective. Deuce is fiercely loyal once she counts you as a friend/family member, one badass fighter, and the transformation she goes through from Enclave to Horde is fascinating to experience.

There are so many other great characters, from Tegan the healer, to Stalker the bad boy turned softie, to Fade the love interest. The list never really ends with this series, which is what makes the battles so freaking tough to endure. Every loss is a big blow, all of them have lasting impacts.

I Love Them All

Since I brought up the love interest I should probably touch on the romance in Horde, and the series in general. While all of this crazy action is going on and everyone is simply trying to survive, Aguirre manages to display a wide range of romance types and developing emotions. Of course Fade and Deuce (the MCs) are going to be a big one, and their romance is fantastic, but there are so many other sweet pairings! Stone and Thimble and their easy-going relationship (beginning of the series), Momma Oaks and Edmund as the ideal parental unit (Outpost & Horde), and even a hard to read type like Spence and Tully (Horde). The diversity and beautiful nature of them all is outstanding.

All of these wonderful things are contained in an equally impressive world that Aguirre created in the series. There was the tunnels and underground civilization of Enclave, which was dark and grungy but so alive at the same time. Then came the outside world in Outpost where Aguirre was able to take a character like Deuce and show how amazing all of the little things we see every day can be to one who hasn’t experienced it before. Finally, Horde showed readers beautiful forests, a huge variety of town structures and types from garrisons to standard villages, and the wonders of an island paradise.

It's so beautiful

 

Every bit of Horde and the Razorland series was epic. Horde might not be the ending I wanted in terms of some character arcs (because I’m selfish and love them all), but it was the right one. To try and fight for paradise you have to make sacrifices and incur losses along the way, and Horde proves that. If you haven’t read this series and want one of the best dystopian ones out there, then this is for you. Heck, if you just want great stories then the Razorland trilogy is for you as well. Thanks as always for reading.

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Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn: Frodo’s Review

Complicit

Summary From Goodreads

Two years ago, fifteen-year-old Jamie Henry breathed a sigh of relief when a judge sentenced his older sister to juvenile detention for burning down their neighbor’s fancy horse barn. The whole town did. Because Crazy Cate Henry used to be a nice girl. Until she did a lot of bad things. Like drinking. And stealing. And lying. Like playing weird mind games in the woods with other children. Like making sure she always got her way. Or else.

But today Cate got out. And now she’s coming back for Jamie.

Because more than anything, Cate Henry needs her little brother to know this one simple truth: she’s not the crazy one and never has been. He is.

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

Complicit, to me, can only be described one way: it’s a mind-fuck book. The story is told from the point of view of Jamie who has a variety of mental health issues, many of which are present from the beginning of the story. This makes his character’s “voice” a bit muddled, as confused and unsure as he is at times, and often appear untrustworthy. However, what it does more than all of that is come off as genuine, it felt real. The detail Kuehn went into in terms of Jamie’s issues was excellent and made his various conditions come to life for me in a way that few books have.

Mind Fuck

The sheer amount of twists and turns in Complicit will make your head spin. Any hunches that I had during the first half of the book were proven completely incorrect. The way Kuehn shapes and molds the story around Jamie’s neuroses definitely kept me from being able to guess what would happen next at any point, but it didn’t make things so confusing that the story was too difficult to follow. That balance is so hard to do with mental illness main characters and I was really impressed.

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It is hard to describe the other characters because they are seen through the untrustworthy eyes of Jamie, so how they actually are often proves much different then his reality. His sister is seen as wild, crazy, and deranged even, but there are motives behind her actions.

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The ending is worth the read by itself. It blew my mind in the best way and really made the book come together perfectly. Overall the book is fast paced, has a wonderful if slightly scary way of portraying mental illness, and will keep you guessing. I definitely recommend it to all lovers of mind-fuck books. Thanks for reading! ^.^

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Frodo’s Frisky Friday: Another Full Moon

Frodo's Frisky Friday

Another Full Moon: Deadly Liaisons SCD #1 (Werewolf Detective Story)

Summary From AmazonAnother Full Moon cover

This is a 7,000 word SHORT story.

Detective Julie Nova’s life was ruined three years ago when she was bitten by a werewolf. Now she’s the lead detective in New Franklin, Pennsylvania’s Supernatural Crimes Division.

A vamp tramp (someone who enjoys being bitten by vampires) is found ripped to pieces after a full moon. It’s up to an exhausted Julie Nova to fight her urges for a snack and a nap, and bring the wolfish killer to justice.

This is a companion story to the Deadly Liaisons paranormal romance series. It can be read as a stand alone story.

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

While Another Full Moon may be set in the same world as the Deadly Liaisons main series, this first entry into the Werewolf Detective Story arc is far from the same kind of content. I would definitely consider this a mature read still, but because of a violent and graphic nature to some of the story, not anything sexual. There are some sexual tones that might lead to something later on in this new short story series, but it isn’t really the case here.

Another Full Moon, unsurprisingly, brings the focus to the werewolves as opposed to the vampire one of the Deadly Liaisons main series, and that brings a refreshing change of pace. Wilder’s werewolves aren’t like others you might have encountered though, with a darker, harsher side being unveiled that I urge you to take a look at. These aren’t Jacob clones, nor are they the somewhat over-sexualized ones of series like Jessica McClain, but hardier folk that have to go through some hardships because of their way of life.

This story, while it may be short, is well worth the read, and Wilder’s talent shines through as they often do with her vibrant characters and vivid, unique worlds. Click the link or cover above to get a copy on Amazon, it’s only a dollar, and if you like what you find check out the main series, it’s naughtier but just as exquisitely told. Thanks as always for reading.

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Review: Poisoned Pawn by Jaleta Clegg

Poisoned Pawn

Summary From Goodreads

Dace and Jasyn have everything they ever wanted – their own trading ship and freedom.

Their only issue, regulations require a second pilot and the only one available on Viya Station is a little too perfect for Dace’s comfort. But his credentials check out and everything seems fine.

Until Dace disappears and Jasyn learns the truth.

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I received an e-book copy of Poisoned Pawn in exchange for an honest review.

It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews! This is where I write a review in the time I have before I go to work or before I go to bed. Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

I’m really excited for this post since it was scheduled on the release day of Poisoned Pawn! Go get yourself a copy and thank me later!

Poisoned Pawn, the third book in the fantastic Altairan Empire series, is filled with just as much action, adventure and witty banter (my personal favorite part) as the previous books. The strength of this series has always been its characters. Clegg does a masterful job in giving them each their own distinct and truly enjoyable personalities despite the difficult task of using multiple points of view. From reading so much this year I can’t stress enough what a feat it is to do that and have the characters be instantly lovable, whether you start the series from the beginning (which I recommend) or jump right into Poisoned Pawn. Dace is a wonderful main character, in my favorite kick-butt heroine mold but with a few quirks that separate her and make her unique. She’s tough and you want her on your side in a fight, but she isn’t invulnerable which makes her easy to relate too and seem more realistic. All positives.

The new recruit, Clark, is excellent and might even be my favorite. He plays his role very well and has personality and a sense of humor in excess but manages to turn on the “hero” mode in a flash (pardon the obvious superhero pun, I couldn’t help it). He doesn’t do as good of a job as he thinks he does keeping his feelings in check all the time, but he is very loyal to those he befriends. I’d love to break down his character more, especially with him being a new one, but I don’t want to give anything away. (River Song Voice – Spoilers!)

The plot is teeming with action, danger, scheming and everything else you can possibly think of. With the addition of Poisoned Pawn to the series Clegg has established herself as one of the best writers in the Space Opera genre. Don’t know what Space Opera is? Make sure to check out her guest post here! I loved Poisoned Pawns and the only thing keeping me from gushing on about how much I do is needing to be up at 3:30am, sorry! Definitely go check it out for yourself, you will be glad that you did, and thanks for reading!

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #94/200

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Day 2: Always Remember to Tip Your Ninja: And Other Maxims for the Clinically Absurd by Jeremy C. Shipp

Day 2

Summary From Goodreads:  Always Remember to Tip Your Ninja by Jeremy C. Shipp

What is the secret of happiness?

Can the laws of attraction help you to cheat death?

What’s the best way to get rich during the zombie apocalypse?

How do you fix your life with nothing but a spork and a DVD box set of “Charles in Charge”?

Why do you see evil clowns every time you close your eyes?

These are just some of the questions this book won’t answer for you.

ALWAYS REMEMBER TO TIP YOUR NINJA contains 99 absurd maxims that will change your life forever, or at least make you chortle.

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For this particular book I thought it would be fitting to pick out my top 10 favorite absurd maxims to give you a little taste of what is inside this hilarious piece by the always amazing (and bizarre) Jeremy C. Shipp. So without further ado, here’s my top 10 in reverse order:

10. If you wake up and smell the coffee, you need to find out who broke into your house.

9. Rubber chicken soup is beneficial for the clown’s soul.

8. Juggling babies is almost always wrong.

7. You can tell a lot about a person by what he screams in his sleep.

6. Evil twins are people too.

5. The best part about being in a pickle is eating your way out.

4. If you’re feeling stressed out, take a deep breath, close your eyes, and imagine a world without the Star Wars prequels.

3. Imitation is the sincerest form of copyright infringement.

2. Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. But leave the mimes out in the cold where they belong.

1. Kill zombies for the rush, but eat their brains for the irony.

I hope you enjoyed them and make sure to check out the entire collection for yourself if you did! Jeremy C. Shipp quickly became one of my favorite writers last year and each time I read something he wrote I’m only more impressed. Thanks as always for reading and I’ll see you tomorrow for Day 3! ^.^

Genre Reading Challenge – #2/30 – Category – Parodies; Mount TBR Challenge #2/150+; 2013 TBR Pile #2/50; Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #2/365

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Day 1: Necromancing the Stone by Lish McBride

Day 1

Necromancing the Stone

Summary from Goodreads: With the defeat of the evil Douglas behind him, Sam LaCroix is getting used to his new life. Okay, so he hadn’t exactly planned on being a powerful necromancer with a seat on the local magical council and a capricious werewolf sort-of-girlfriend, but things are going fine, right?

Well . . . not really. He’s pretty tired of getting beat up by everyone and their mother, for one thing, and he can’t help but feel that his new house hates him. His best friend is a werebear, someone is threatening his sister, and while Sam realizes that he himself has a lot of power at his fingertips, he’s not exactly sure how to use it. Which, he has to admit, is a bit disconcerting.

But when everything starts falling apart, he decides it’s time to step up and take control. His attempts to do so just bring up more questions, though, the most important of which is more than a little alarming: Is Douglas really dead?

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When I finished reading Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, which is also by Lish McBride, I was incredibly thankful that I had Necromancing the Stone already so I didn’t have to wait to dive into the next part of this awesome journey. Necromancing the Stone, unlike its predecessor, delves into a more somber and serious part of Sam’s life. There are still plenty of jokes and fantastic lines (and freaking awesome chapter titles!) throughout, but the story itself doesn’t have nearly as light of a feel to it. Despite that fact I thoroughly enjoyed Necromancing the Stone. The writing was excellent, the characters excellently hashed out and developed, and the plot moved along at a comfortable pace while allowing for some side stories to emerge. New types of beings were brought into the story and served to enrich the already beautiful world that McBride created.

As of right now I do not know if there will be a third book in this series, but there were enough loose ends where another entry could certainly be warranted (and in my case welcomed with open arms). However, the major conflict was definitely resolved and it was done so masterfully. I don’t want to spoil the book for anyone who hasn’t read it yet, but I was quite satisfied (and a bit relieved) by how McBride decided to move forward.

The world that is continued in Necromancing the Stone seems to go back and forth between showing how all of the differences these characters (and types of beings) accentuate the world as a whole, and simultaneously making fun of itself. There are mischief makers and beings of great power that hearken back to civilizations that are long gone (and often forgotten). It is a combination that is not easily done but that, in this case to me, seemed to be flawless. I loved the references to various cultures and deities, some of which are not very well known, giving the book a feel of realism and weight that Hold Me Closer, Necromancer didn’t have.

Overall, as this rambling session has clearly expressed, I loved Necromancing the Stone. I hope that McBride does indeed write a third book and that we are lucky enough to see even more depth drawn out of the plethora of characters that I have come to know and love. I encourage any book lover to pick this up as well as Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, they are fantastic books and must reads in my (humble) opinion. Thank you as always for reading this and I’ll see you tomorrow for book #2 in 2013!

Genre Reading Challenge – #1/30 – Category – Paranormal; Mount TBR Challenge #1/150+; 2013 TBR Pile #1/50; Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #1/365

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Review: Stitch by Samantha Durante

Review: Stitch

I won an eBook copy of Stitch by Samantha Durante in a giveaway over at Passionate Book Divas. I am also thrilled to have been included in the Stitch Blog Tour, thank you Samantha!

Alessa has seen a ghost. What she can’t understand is why her instinct is not to turn and run, but rather to go toward it, she is powerless. Alessa is a college freshman who among dealing with the normal college issues of exams and sorority life is combating nightmares where she is trapped in some sort of cage in the future. However, when she decides to get to the bottom of this apparition the truth she discovers is much worse, and dangerous. The truth is Alessa is not a student, this is not really a college campus and that handsome ghost-like man she keeps seeing is quite real indeed. Will Alessa be able to put all the pieces together? Can she escape the danger she until recently didn’t even know existed?

Before I jump into my review of Stitch I need to qualify what I’ll be saying. I completely forgot about the premise of the book before I read it. Normally that would be a bad thing but in this case it helped make the story fresh and when the characters were surprised you can bet I was too.

I thoroughly enjoyed Stitch. The writing was excellent and the twists that were thrown in completely caught me off guard. I’ve been a sci-fi fan for years and also a hopeless romantic so Stitch appealed to just about every part of the reader in me. The characters were very well done. Alessa’s loss at the beginning of the book and her corresponding apathy toward doing anything productive is something I’ve seen and been a part of in real life so I was easily able to identify with her. If there was anything I could say about the character development that bothered me, though I understand why it was done this way, is that it took so long to get the ghost’s point of view. I would have liked to have more depth with that character and his connection to Alessa rather than the singular point of view that was presented for so long. Oh, and I love Alessa’s best friend Janie, her character was done exquisitely but I can’t go into too much detail without giving it all away. As River Song always says, spoilers!

The plot was very fluid and moved at a good pace, at least for me, though I tend to like a bit more detail than most so it may be just a bit slow for those who prefer a quick breeze-through type of read. Though the college life tends to be mundane, when you combine the appearance of a ghost and the twist that Alessa is actually drawn TO him it certainly was not a dull start to the book. Then when she discovers who the ghost is and that her life as she knows it is a lie the book takes off and flies by until the end. I am happy to say that though this is the first in the series, and there are plenty of questions to be answered it is not a cliffhanger ending. Some cliffhangers can be done well but overall I prefer to have each book in the series be capable of being a stand alone and Stitch definitely is.

I wouldn’t call myself paranoid necessarily, but I often think things might not be as they seem so when Alessa starts to notice that the college campus is really anything but I could envision how she would notice different oddities in her environment. I could easily picture the campus in my mind as I was reading as the imagery was done very well. Oh and the scenes near the end, wonderful! I wish I could say more but again, spoilers.

I can’t wait to read the next book in the series! I would definitely recommend this for anyone, but especially those who love a sci-fi/romance feel but with a more modern/realistic setting. Thank you as always for reading and I hope you enjoy Stitch as much as I did! If you would like to leave a comment I would appreciate it, I love reading them. ^.^

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