Random Musings by Frodosco

Posts tagged “Release Day

Review: Pickups and Pestilence by Larry Kollar

Pickups and Pestilence

Summary From Goodreads

War, locusts, vermin. The world continues adjusting to the Truckalypse, and to the sudden disappearance of billions of people, seeking a new balance. People in Laurel Hills and elsewhere survive and try to rebuild what they can.

When a dream reveals the nature of the trucks, it is young Cody Sifko who must become humanity’s champion. His friends—and the enigmatic Delphinia—will stand with him, but he must face his inner demons alone.

Pickups and Pestilence takes you on a ride from suburban Atlanta, to the heights of Heaven and the depths of Hell. Buckle up and hang on!

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I received an e-book copy of Pickups and Pestilence 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!

Allow me to plug in my last review which was of book 1 in the Truckalypse series, White Pickups, since I’m going to be continuing off of that just as Pickups and Pestilence does off of the previous story. Also, this book is being released tomorrow (May 9th) so make sure to get yourself a copy! Alright, are you all caught up? Great, now I can go to my review.

The elements of Pickups and Pestilence are very similar to those of White Pickups with some small changes. You remember all of the romantic tension caused by the love triangles and the frenzied amount of relationships that were rather quick to begin in White Pickups? Ya, you can toss those aside for Pickups and Pestilence. Unfortunately, while I wasn’t completely in love with those elements all the time (pardon the bad pun) they added some needed tension and drove the story along. While White Pickups had some discussions about the best course to take in certain situations, mostly it was just concerning whether to give into the truck (mob mentality) or not. In Pickups and Pestilence, however, there were many questions brought up that made the reader stop and think about society as it currently is and whether or not the current system is one we should keep, especially in the current capacity it is being carried out in. Questions such as whether we should rely on things like technology are asked here, or even more specifically should they use electricity when they are thus far sustaining themselves without it for the most part.

The weaknesses and the strengths that I mentioned in my last review are essentially the same as before. While there aren’t as many love triangles, there are some, but instead of creating tension that made the book more interesting and better paced they seem irrelevant and trivial. The characters from before are still very strong but the new group is not one I care much for. This story, like White Pickups, is filled with too much minutia for my taste. I think it could have been whittled down to a story with slightly less depth, but much better pacing and that would have helped to make the crazy times more impactful.

Overall I was hoping for steps in the right direction to take the good that White Pickups had and transform it into a more polished sequel. That didn’t happen and the issues I mentioned remained in Pickups and Pestilence. Yes book 2 brought up good philosophical questions, but I wanted more action, more tension, some kind of spark to go with all that depth and I didn’t get it. It’s still worth the read and it does come out tomorrow, so if you want to get it click the link above. Thanks as always for reading!

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #96/200

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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 84: Oddities by Larry Kollar

Day 84

Summary From Goodreads

An odd little anthology of flash fiction and short stories, for those who love fantasy and science fiction.

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Today was the release day of Oddities by the always amazing and entertaining Larry Kollar so I thought it only fitting that I review it today! You can get it from Amazon here for only 99 cents! Oddities is separated into two halves, the first made up of fantasy stories, the latter science fiction, both with one entertaining story after another. As usual with anthologies I will do a list, this time of my five favorites with a little about them and why I enjoyed the stories. So without further ado, my top 5, in reverse order of course:

5. Siren in Training – It’s exactly what the title would suggest, a short story about a young girl that happens to be a siren. She just finds this out at fourteen and after finally accepting of her new powers puts them to use. These powers do have some limitations and some…side effects on her life that are a nice twist on the usual siren story. A funny little story, quite enjoyable.

4. The Seventh Sage – A story that shows nothing is as it might seem. Great warriors can become great scholars if the path they choose dictates they must. The message seems to be that the greatest rewards are those that you are not even searching for, but find naturally. A more deep-thinking story, but enjoyable.

3. Bait – Another sci-fi story as well as being yet another humorous entry, Bait is about a world where humans live but are under the power of aliens, apparently which like to fish. While the aliens have a different objective, the humans believe they do so to capture them. However, the only currency remaining is obtained by risking this capture. The ending is the selling point for Bait and definitely made me chuckle as it was a pretty good comparison for how humans often assume they know what the other people are thinking when the reality is quite different. If we take Bait as words of wisdom it would be to work on communicating more clearly with other cultures and thus bring us closer together.

2. Spark – One of the science fiction stories, Spark is another one that causes some deeper thinking. In this case the story examines our dependence on technology as well as the virtual reality that so many of us lose ourselves in. It asks us what we might lose in exchange for the way we are spending our lives and whether we are willing to pay the price. Will we risk losing our spark? I loved this one, it brings up quite the quandary.

1. Asmus and the Dragon – Filled with both subtle humor (the name of a certain land Asmus, the main character, traveled to was rather funny in a punny way) as well as the downright hilarious (two words: allergic. dragon.) this story was fabulous. Though one of the shorter ones it had me laughing throughout and my only wish is that it had been longer. Besides, who can resist a good dragon story?

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #84/365

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Day 22: The Archived by Victoria Schwab

Day 22

Summary From Goodreads

Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often-violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn’t just dangerous-it’s a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da’s death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard-won redemption.

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I won an ARC of The Archived a while ago and have been dying to read it since, but I wanted to save it until release day and read/review it then, and here we are! It is only appropriate to give a major congrats to Victoria Schwab on her release! Now onto the review. ^.^

First off I just want to say that this premise was freaking awesome and when I found out that I won an ARC of The Archived I ran around the house happy dancing like a crazy person, so needless to say I was quite excited to read it. The world that Schwab created is nothing short of amazing. The intricacies of the system that the Archive uses to keep the Histories from being disturbed are brought to life in a powerful way and make you empathize for the people who would have to deal with that kind of existence. Separating the life in the Other from the duties of being a Keeper would be incredibly difficult and keeping those emotions in check is something that Schwab really forces the reader to realize, especially with the main character Mackenzie.

Mackenzie is riddled with sadness after dealing with the death of her mentor and grandfather, Da, as well as her little brother Ben. She fights those feelings throughout the book and we are given insights into her life before their passing as the story jumps from the present to the past repeatedly. However, she has some pluck about her and plenty of resolve and determination, and that in addition to her sense of humor make her a likable character. The secondary characters are done very well, especially the partner/possible love interest/comic relief Wes who is just excellent. He keeps The Archived from being too serious and gives you someone else to root for besides Mackenzie, which despite being the MC and being likable enough isn’t necessarily someone you instantly want to get behind, you do with Wes.

I did feel that the pacing was a little slow. I didn’t stop reading or want to skim, but there were times that I felt it could have been a bit more refined and that there was unnecessary repetition. I will reiterate that I was reading an ARC version, so it might have been changed up so that this was a non-entity, but I have to comment on the copy I read. The writing style was good, but there were no really noticeable quirks or idiosyncrasies to make me think “Oh so this is Schwab’s style”, that isn’t inherently bad or good, just something I noticed.

Overall I thought the high point was definitely the world created as well as Wes for characters, and while there were some minor issues the good most certainly outweighed the few negatives. I definitely recommend you go and buy a copy of it if you haven’t already and see what you think for yourself. As always thanks for reading and come back tomorrow for Day 23!

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #22/365

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