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Search tags: blade-to-the-keep
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review 2018-06-19 02:28
LOVED IT!!
Blade Bound - Chloe Neill

It’s finally Merit and Ethan’s wedding and all they want is for everything to right, which it does, until just after the reception. Now they must battle even more evil forces once and for all.

This was the final installment of Merit’s story. From start to end, the book was great. As with all of the Chicagoland Vampire stories, the story was great from start to end. I’ve loved following Merit and Ethan through all of their adventures and I will be sorry to see them go. I look forward to reading more from this author.

**I voluntarily read and reviewed this book

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review 2018-06-03 10:43
Short but perfectly formed. Highly recommended.
Literature® - Guillermo Stitch

I write this review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team and thank Rosie and the author for providing me an ARC copy of this novella, which I freely chose to review.

It is difficult to describe the reading experience of Literature. I have read reviews comparing it to noir novels (absolutely, especially the voice of the characters and some of the situations), to Fahrenheit 451 (inevitable due to the plot, where fiction has been banned and nobody can possess or read books) and 1984 (although we don’t get a lot of detail of the way the world is being run, the sense of claustrophobia and continuous surveillance, and the way terrorism is defined are definitely there), and even Blade Runner (perhaps, although Literature is far less detailed and much more humorous). I did think about all of those while I read it, is true, although it is a pretty different experience to all of them.

Billy Stringer is a mixture of the reluctant hero and the looser/anti-hero type. The novella shares only one day of his life, but, what a day! Let’s say it starts badly (things hadn’t been going right for Billy for a while at the point when we meet him) and it goes downhill from there. The story is told in the third-person but solely from Billy’s point of view, and we are thrown right in. There is no world-building or background information. We just share in Billy’s experiences from the start, and although he evidently knows the era better than we do, he is far from an expert when it comes to the actual topic he is supposed to cover for his newspaper that day. He is a sports journalist covering an important item of news about a technological/transportation innovation.  We share in his confusion and easily identify with him. Apart from the action, he is involved in, which increases exponentially as the day moves on, there are also flashbacks of his past. There is his failed love story, his friendship with his girlfriend’s brother, and his love for books.

The story is set in a future that sounds technologically quite different to our present, but not so ideologically different (and that is what makes it poignant and scary, as well as funny). People smoke, but you can get different versions of something equivalent to cigarettes, but they are all registered (it seems everything is registered). And you can drink alcohol as well (and Billy does, as it pertains to a hero in a noir novel). Transportation has become fundamental and it has developed its own fascinating-sounding technology (the descriptions of both, the vehicles and the process are riveting). It has to be fed by stories, by fiction, although literature itself has been banned. We get to know how this works and, let me tell you that it’s quite beautiful.

The book is short and I don’t want to spoil the story for readers, but I can tell you the writing is excellent and it is exquisitely edited. Despite its brevity, I could not help but share a couple of snippets.

“You like her?” he said. He was looking at the knife like a person might look at an especially favored kitten. “Been with me a long time,” he said. “She’s an old lady now. But she’s still sharp.” He looked up at Billy. “I keep her that way.”

In a day very generously populated with problems, Jane’s kid brother was Billy’s newest.

I loved the ending of the book. It is perhaps not standard noir, but nothing is standard in this book.

I recommend it to anybody interested in discovering a new and talented writer, with a love for language and for stories that are challenging, playful, and fascinating. A treat.

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review 2018-06-01 07:30
Trade Deal
Trade Deal - Malka Older

After Kris' trial the dust is setting and this episode is bit slower than the last. While it wraps up several outstanding questions from the last episode, it also broadens and expands into new storylines, now that Kris has made it to be a Warden.There was a bit too much exposition for my liking but it didn't matter much. I really like this serial so far, I'm curious to see where it is going.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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review 2018-05-28 22:49
Book Review of Balanced on the Blade's Edge (Dragon Blood Book 1) by Lindsay Buroker
Balanced on the Blade's Edge - Lindsay Buroker

Colonel Ridge Zirkander isn’t the model of military professionalism—he has a tendency to say exactly what’s on his mind, and his record has enough demerits to wallpaper the hull of an airship—but as the best fighter pilot in the Iskandian army, he’s used to a little leniency from his superiors. Until he punches the wrong diplomat in the nose and finds himself issued new orders: take command of a remote prison mine in the inhospitable Ice Blades Mountains. Ridge has never been in charge of anything larger than a flier squadron—what’s he supposed to do with a frozen fortress full of murderers and rapists? Not to mention the strange woman who shows up right before he arrives…

 

Sardelle Terushan wakes from three hundred years in a mage stasis shelter, only to realize that she is the last of the Referatu, the sorcerers who once helped protect Iskandia from conquerors. Their subterranean mountain community was blown up in a treacherous sneak attack by soldiers who feared their power. Everyone Sardelle ever knew is dead, and the sentient soulblade she has been bonded to since her youth is buried in the core of the mountain. Further, what remains of her home has been infested by bloodthirsty miners commanded by the descendants of the very soldiers who destroyed her people.

 

Sardelle needs help to reach her soulblade—her only link to her past and her last friend in the world. Her only hope is to pretend she’s one of the prisoners while trying to gain the commander’s trust. But lying isn’t her specialty, especially when the world has changed so much in the intervening centuries, and if Colonel Zirkander figures out who she truly is, he’ll be duty-bound to sentence her to the only acceptable punishment for sorcerers: death.

 

Review 5*

 

This is the first book in the Dragon Blood series. I loved it!

 

Colonel Ridge Zirkander is a wonderful character. I really liked him. In fact, I have a bit of a book boyfriend crush on him. I love his irreverence and dry wit. It reminds me of the way Richard Dean Anderson portrays Jack O'Neill in Stargate SG1. He is one of the best pilots in the Iskandian army. He is charming, though irreverent, and his flying skills are in great demand, but due to an event that sees him punching a diplomat he has been given new orders and sent to prison mine in the Ice Blade mountains as the new commander. The mine contains crystals that power their dragon fliers - planes that are designed to look like the dragons that once lived millennia ago. When he arrives at the mine, he is confronted by an unusual sight - a woman wearing a summer dress in the middle of winter.

 

Sardelle Terushan is also a wonderful character. I liked her a lot. She is a sorceress and a healer. When her home, where the Referatu lived came under attack, she found refuge in a mage stasis chamber. There she stayed until she woke three hundred years later, when she was found by a couple of miners. Determined to locate her soulblade, Jaxi, but struggling to come to terms with the amount of time that's passed, she finds herself confronted by the challenge of hiding her powers in a world that detests magic users, and her attraction to the new mine commander.

 

This story is a mix of steampunk and fantasy. I started to read and didn't put it down until I finished it. I found myself completely hooked from the first page. I love the world-building the author has done to bring this book to life. I also love Jaxi, Sardelle's soulblade. She is a young sorceress who died due to illness, but before dying, her soul was magically placed within a sword. Soulblades bond with their handlers until their handlers die; guide or assist them when needed, then either bond to a new handler or allow themselves to die when they no longer wish to serve. Jaxi is six hundred years old, but because she died young she has a decidedly teen outlook at times, with sarcasm being one of her tools, as well as an irreverence for a person's privacy. I love her witty banter, some of it had me giggling.

 

Iskandia is at war with Cofahre, a rival nation that is determined to take over Iskandia. The Cofah use dirigible type balloons to fly over the ocean, thus the steampunk feel to the story. The Iskandian pilots fly planes that are shaped like dragons but remind me of the old-fashioned planes from the early 1900s - lightweight - though with a mix of propeller and thrusters which reminds me of the Harrier jets that use something similar sans the propeller. The author has mixed these two to create something unique. As the story progressed, I found myself looking forward to seeing how it all played out.

 

Ridge and Sardelle make a wonderful couple and their chemistry is instantaneous. I love how the author wove their love story together with action filled sections that kept me on the edge of my seat. The magical owl is uber scary! There are a couple of scenes between these two that are a little steamy but not explicit. I must admit that I felt a little sorry for Ridge at times, as he gets two for the price of one in this relationship, but he seems to take things in his stride. I reached the end of the book and immediately went and purchased as many books in the series I could, as well as pre-ordered the next book in the series which was due to be released. I can't wait to read the next book in the series, Deathmaker, as soon as I can.

 

Lindsay Buroker is a new author to me. I love her fast paced writing style, and the flow is wonderful too. I haven't read any of her other books before, however, she has found a fan in me. I am looking forward to reading her other book series as soon as I can.

 

Due to scenes of a sexual nature (though not explicit) and some violence, I do not recommend this book to younger readers. However, I highly recommend this book (and series) if you love steampunk, paranormal romance, low fantasy and epic fantasy genres. - Lynn Worton

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review 2018-05-27 11:52
The Gauntlet
The Gauntlet - Underwood Michael

The moment is finally there. The fight that will prove whether all that Kris did was in vain or not. Although I never really doubted the outcome of the challenge, I found it an interesting and thrilling episode nonetheless. So far, I really like the intricate world that is being created. I hope we will be getting a bit more of the council soon.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

 

Born to the Blade Season 1 Episode 4.

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