30 July, 2019

Cover Reveal | Adventurous Ali: Temple of the Monkey God by Tyler H. Jolley and Mary H. Geis

After Alison Liv Isner is sucked into an old globe that sat on her father’s desk, she wakes beside a campfire in a lush jungle, surrounded by five talking animals. She quickly realizes these are the same friends her mom wrote about in her expedition journal. Now, at only eleven-years-old, she has the opportunity to complete her deceased mother’s unfinished expedition in the Temple of the Monkey God.  

With her new found friends, a monkey, a fat rat, a bat, a burro with a piranha in a mason jar tied around his neck, Ali decides to face the treacherous booby traps inside of the temple and save the monkey idol from an evil group called The Geese. 

As she learns more about her deceased mom through her adventure journal, Ali and her friends realize the book is the key to lead them through the tunnels of the dreaded Temple of the Monkey God. If not, their lives are at stake and Ali will be trapped in the expedition realm forever. 

Release day: September 10, 2019

Full disclosure: Tyler is a friend of mine, but I've read his work and really liked it. It's always nice to be able to support small press/self-published authors when I can.

23 May, 2019

Review - The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson #1) by Rick Riordan

28187So my 8 year old watched the movie at a friend's Percy Jackson party and immediately devoured all 5 books in the series. Literally it was faster than I've ever read anything. Yes, he did make fun of me for taking 6 months to read a Wheel of Time book, but in my defense that was book 8 in the series...

Sharing the Lightning Thief with my son is everything I've been dreaming about for the past 8 years, but with the fear of accidentally getting too excitable about this and killing any desire he would ever have to be a reader like his dad. I've bided my time and slowly given him other recommendations. At least he's felt the passion behind really being into a book series so I don't think I can take that away from him.

That doesn't mean that I still won't be careful with overly recommending things to him.

Of course his first instinct, like any booklover (especially those on this site will understand) after loving a series he immediately recommended that I should read it!

Well, I can't very well say no when I expect him to read my 4 bookshelves worth of books stacked 2 or three deep now can I?

And it's really a fun series. Well, at least book one is. I had a blast reading it though my opinion may be a bit colored by the fact that it was even more fun to geek out with my oldest about it!

There were definitely a healthy amount of contrivances and eye rolls had by me. This IS YA amiright? But overall, it's a great world Riordan's created and it's so fast-paced you not only get into it extremely quickly, it's easy to overlook some of the deus ex machina. I've seen a glimpse into why so many of my son's friends are reading this stuff.

4 out of 5 stars (highly recommended, especially to bond with your kid)

22 May, 2019

Review - Memories of Ice (Malazan Book of the Fallen #3) by Steven Erikson

Memories of Ice (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, Book 3)

This is one of those books I leave and I'm just emotionally drained and devastated, yet I consider this one of the best books ever to be written. On reread, it's even more impactful because I actually understand what's going on. It's actually quite funny thinking how much I had no clue about. There are so many instances on the reread that you know exactly who that vaguely-mentioned character is now that you've had as much experience with Erikson as I now have. *brushes off shoulder*

There's always talk about the books that are shades of gray when it comes to right and wrong and Malazan is at the top of that list for me. It's so human, so real. For instance, you have Anomander Rake, leader of the Tiste Andii, super-powered ascendant who's been fighting against the Malazans for years along side one of his only real friends, Caladan Brood. Yet, he acknowledges the Malazans have actually been good for the cities they've conquered. Former dungheeps have become thriving metropolitan areas. 

How much more could we use people who can acknowledge their own failings. There's another good example I have quote below with Lanas Tog.

There's a great quote I saw on r/fantasy on reddit:

"the most unrealistic part of fantasy books is when 18-year-old boys spend five books insisting they're not the chosen one instead of immediately saying "yeah that sounds right." Johnny McNulty

Kallor is one of these.

Holy cow, Memories of Ice is so good, but spoilers from here on out:

I think I realized why I like Gardens of the Moon so much while I was reading MoI and it's because it has so much Whiskeyjack and there are only two books that really feature him to any degree more than a passing mention, this and GotM. And you really get to know what a great guy he is in this book. He's a powerful leader, amazing swordsman apparently (could spar with Dassem Ultor and give him a hard time for a while), compassionate with Silverfox and the "little guy," and clearly a great lover too (eh Korlat...). 

Then there's Gruntle, the last person who would ever want to have anything to do with the gods getting "appointed" mortal sword. Oh and you really get to know Ganoes Paran and Quick Ben, and just the whole Bridgeburner thing. There's so much greatness to this book and a lot of that is probably because of the sheer depravity of the Pannion Domin; the Tenescowri.

And don't get me started on Itkovian and the Grey Swords. Tragedy after tragedy in this book.

Now, to add to this ridiculously jumbled review, it's quote time, from my own book and some cut and pasted from this site:

Lanas Tog (talking about Onos T'oolan's disagreement with going through the ritual):
"Hate him? No. Of course I disagreed. We all did, and so he acquiesced. It is a common belief."
Lady Envy waited, then crossed her arms and asked, "What is?"
"That truth is proved by weight of numbers. That what the many believe to be right, must be so. When I see Onos T'oolan once more, I will tell him: he was the one who was right."

“Kallor shrugged. '[...] I have walked this land when the T'lan Imass were but children. I have commanded armies a hundred thousand strong. I have spread the fire of my wrath across entire continents, and sat alone upon tall thrones. Do you grasp the meaning of this?'

'Yes,' [said Caladan Brood.] 'You never learn.” 
― Steven Erikson, Memories of Ice

“I'll not deny I am impressed by your mastery of six warrens, Quick Ben. In retrospect, you should have held back on at least half of what you command." The man made to rise.
"But, Bauchelain," the wizard replied, "I did.” 
― Steven Erikson, Memories of Ice

5 out of 5 Stars (First in, last out)

Article: Why You Should Read Malazan

21 May, 2019

Review (really just musings) - Deadhouse Gates (Malazan Book of the Fallen #2) by Steven Erikson


I missed so much my first time through Deadhouse Gates by Steven Erikson. So. Much. I always liked this book very much but it was never my favorite like I know it is for a lot of people. With my experienced Malazan eyes, this has jumped right to the top. 

One of my issues with Deadhouse, I've come to realize, is that the desert setting really got to me. The writing so clearly puts you in the desert, under these terrible conditions, that I think I was physically affected when I first read through this.
Coltaine, Mappo and Icarium, Iskaral Pust, Fiddler and Kalum, Heboric and Felisin (and the whole thing with Baudin made so much more sense!), Duiker and the chain of dogs. This was so good and so much planted for the rest of the series. 

Take Mappo and Icarium alone. This is why I love fantasy. It lets you explore philosophy like regular life doesn’t allow. What do you do when your best friend, who’s as kind as can be, commits (and has the ability to commit) genocide when he hulks out of his mind? Keep him confused? Deliver him to a higher power that will imprison him for his entire immortal life? If that power can even hold him...

Brilliant, and I haven’t even gotten to the tragedies that are rife in this book. I think they were too hard to take on my first read so it made this a book that was good but not the best but now to see how Erikson managed this magic without the visceral initial shock was pure magic. 

This series is simply the best out there. Yep I said it. 

5 out of 5 Stars