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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-02-14 21:28
Book Review - Knight of Flames by Amelia Faulkner.
Knight of Flames (Inheritance, #2)Knight of Flames by Amelia Faulkner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Knight of Flames is the second of Amelia Faulkner's Inheritance books and dayam, it was even better than the first!

The book takes up almost immediately after Jack of Thorns. Laurence Riley has killed a god, and not just any god, Jack, or Jack in the Green (the god, not Myriam's flower shop), was The Green Man, one of the aspects of Cernunnos, the Celtic god of fertility, life, animals, wealth, and the underworld. But the fight had literally been to the death and Laurence, despite his fast healing abilities, was six weeks in healing. And during this healing the dream Myriam told him about finally came. Turns out Laurence isn't your average run of the mill psychic, oh no, he's descended from Herne the Hunter, and is a demigod. Just another day in the life of Laurence Riley, right? And then there's Quentin.

Quentin has his own demons to struggle with. Jack had used his weakness against him in the fight to destroy the god and to Quentin that was entirely unacceptable. He needed Laurence more than air, more than his own life. Laurence is... everything good and wonderful and wholesome to Quentin so he works with single minded purpose to overcome his fears, control his burgeoning abilities and be worthy of the man who is _his_. That means he needs to conquer his fear of sex, of physical intimate touch. But it's worth it if it means he gets to keep Laurence.

As if that isn't enough on his plate, a chance encounter reveals there are more psychics in San Diego, including one who can control other people through words alone. Well not Quentin, but Laurence definitely. The fact that Quentin is immune is mystery and one that Kane Wilson, one of the new psychic, is most troubled by. Oh and then Freddy, Quentin's twin shows up from home. Quentin's first instinct is flight but that would mean leaving Laurence and that is entirely unacceptable. So he must start to face the fears that chased him from his home and his country head on.

Kane invites Quentin to help teach control the psychic children he's gathered to him. But what is the man's end game? Laurence doesn't trust Wilson, and nor does Freddy. Laurence's visions reveal the man to be a murderer and one with an agenda that includes outing all psychics so it's up to Quentin, Laurence, and Freddy to thwart his end game. But are they playing Kane or is Kane playing them?

And what is Laurence going to do about his urges to hunt down prey? Things never run smoothly in the course of love and for these two men, well they've got a tsunami of troubles coming at them.

Amelia has done an amazing job of building up this world and populating it with rich, powerful, emotionally evocative characters. I get sucked in more and more and I can't wait to see where Book 3, Lord of the Ravens, goes with this storyline!

View all my reviews

 

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review 2018-02-14 02:31
The Wars of Gods and Men (The Earth Chronicles #3)
The Wars of Gods and Men - Zecharia Sitchin

It seems that Earth has always been a battlefield, from today all the way back to the beginning of history humans have been fighting one another, or maybe we learned from others in prehistory?  In the third book of his series The Earth Chronicles, Zecharia Sitchin examines ancient texts from cuneiform tables of Sumeria to Egyptian hieroglyphs to the Bible itself to reveal long memory and devastating results of The Wars of Gods and Men.

 

Sitchin begins the book going over the wars of the ancient world and how the chroniclers of those wars described that the gods intervened in those wars and determined the outcome, following this he went over the wars of the gods for supremacy of Earth from Horus against Set in Egypt, the generational wars of the Greek pantheon, and battles of the Indian gods.  Sitchin then set about showing that all these tales of battles reflect events in prehistory of members of the ruling house of the extraterrestrial Anunnaki, fighting for supremacy of “heaven” (Nibiru their homeworld) and Earth, with the rivalry between royal brothers Enlil and Enki extending into their children and grandchildren.  Soon these wars began to include the “gods” human followers joining them in battle after the beginnings of civilization in Sumer, Egypt, and the Indus valley.  Sitchin details that some of the Anunnaki put their personal interests above their own families resulting in various alliances with cousins against their own siblings, and parents in some cases, which began a chain of events that led Abraham out of Sumer to Canaan and how Sodom and Gomorrah were obliterated by nuclear weapons.

 

This book began as a more academic read like its predecessor, The Stairway to Heaven, but Sitchin quickly switched gears to more engaging prose as he brought forth his evidence for and the explanations of this theories.  Sitchin did not rehash his evidence and arguments from the previous two books, only alluded to his findings so as to allow the flow of the book to progress along the line of thought he had focused on.  Yet even though Sitchin did not rehash his arguments, he did contradict some of his findings in The 12th Planet in this book—namely with the identity of “ZU”—but did not state that further research had changed his conclusions which would have made a better book.  However, the most intriguing part of the book was Sitchin’s discussion about Abraham, his family history, and his journey to Canaan especially in light of his theory that extraterrestrials were the “gods” of the ancient world (though he does not specifically name which Anunnaki sent Abraham on his journey).

 

The Wars of Gods and Men is a very intriguing, well written book with a theory and evidence that Sitchin lays out in an engaging matter.  Even with the academic beginning and with some unacknowledged reversals in some Sitchin’s findings, this book gives the reader a worthy follow up to The 12th Planet that The Stairway to Heaven was not.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-02-13 15:49
Book Review of Jack of Thorns

Jack of Thorns (Inheritance, #1)Jack of Thorns by Amelia Faulkner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Jack of Thorns by Amelia Faulkner

OMG this book was sooo good!

I admit I was hesitant to read it at first because there are some themes that, while they aren't triggers, I do find disturbing; drug addiction and child abuse hurt my heart in a major way so I tend to avoid books with them in general. That being said I am SO glad I read this book!

Amelia Faulkner has created such an amazingly rich world and mythos in this book. The premise? What if the old Gods really do exist and interact with humans? What if demi-gods are still being born today? What if you accidentally call down a God that you don't mean to and you find out he's a massive DICK, a user and an abuser to boot? This is the world Amelia creates, a world where Herne the Hunter married a human and now has a line of descendants, demi-gods, with amazing abilities. A world where The Green Man is a great big douchebag of a God who is as flawed as any mortal. A world where men can move things with their minds and demi-gods can make things _grow_ like crazy. It's fantastical and amazing but also gritty and realistic because she makes the characters real and flawed and doesn't shy away from the darkness of addiction and abuse.

The story starts with one of our main characters Laurence (only my mom calls me Bambi!) Riley getting a heroin fix and nearly dying. It was his near death that triggers his 'inheritance', his gifts. Laurence is an addict, he knows it and despairs because he can't resist the white rabbit, whether it's through the marajuana he uses his ability to grow, or the heroin he scores when the need gets too desperate. His visions of the future show him going back to rehab time and again, so his self-loathing only increases, which only increases his need for a hit in a vicious cycle of addiction, overdose, rehab, regret and self-hatred. Until the day Quentin D'Arcy, Earl of Banbury, happens into his life after a chance meeting in a park.

Banbury is on the run from a life of privilege, wealth and family he loathes. Being an aristocrat doesn't protect you from predators, not if they're family members. The peerage protects itself and proclivities are overlooked for the 'greater good'. But Banbury knew nothing else and he was his father's heir so he stayed, he endured and he survived. Until his mother was murdered. Now he's in San Diego, flying under the radar, vowing to not set foot back on English soil until his father does the decent thing by dying. Banbury - or Quentin as Laurence calls him - despises bullies, is ashamed of his body and freaks out at the merest suggestion of sex. Except when Quentin freaks out bad things happen to the weather... and to the people trying to hurt him. Because Quentin can move things with his mind, not that he knows he does it. When Quentin is threatened he simply shuts down, escapes within himself, and his abilities protect him with wild fury.

A tentative friendship blooms between the two psychic's, but Laurence has a stalker ex-boyfriend and he might have accidentally summoned a God to help him sort out his life; a god who is an absolute dick and who will help Laurence for a price - he needs Laurence to 'feed him' by getting sex regularly. Problem is, Laurence is falling for a guy who's fear of sex is potentially lethal, so sex is off the table. Suffice it to say, the God does not react well and very bad things ensue.

In order to survive the wrath of the God, Laurence and Quentin must learn to control their dubious gifts, learn to trust each other, and face their pasts head on. Easy peasy right? Oh hell NAW!

This book had me on the edge of my seat, turning each page with bated breath. I was seduced by the way Quentin talks, my heart broke for Laurence time and again as I watched him struggle with the demon of addiction, and watching their relationship unfurl like a fragile bud and blossom into a beautiful, strong, plant with deep roots was amazing.

I can't wait to dive in to book 2, Knight of Flames, to see what happens to the boys next.

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Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/2289293367
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review 2018-02-03 13:12
Enemy
Enemy (On the Bones of Gods Book 1) - K. Eason

Enemy was a book that divided me. On the one hand I was liking it, even though the story was not that special and fits very well in the well established fantasy genre. On the other hand, the writing was, for want of a better word, quirky and it didn't always work for me. So much so, that I still am undecided on this book.

But, my interest has been sparked and I might give the second book a try as well.

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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text 2018-01-20 19:19
2017 Year in Review: Stats
Shadowhouse Fall - Daniel José Older
Ninefox Gambit - Yoon Ha Lee
A Conspiracy in Belgravia (The Lady Sherlock Series) - Sherry Thomas
Food of the Gods: A Rupert Wong Novel - Cassandra Khaw
The Ballad of Black Tom - Victor LaValle
The Stars Are Legion - Kameron Hurley
The Heiress Effect - Courtney Milan
An Extraordinary Union - Alyssa Cole
The Stone Sky (The Broken Earth) - N.K. Jemisin
Clean Room Vol. 3: Waiting for the Stars to Fall - Gail Simone,Jon Davis-Hunt
Did anyone else end up with a broken counter on the Goodreads stats page? I know they had an issue with the date read field earlier in the year. While that eventually worked itself out, my total for 2017 is way off. The states page claims over 100, but the list is really only 79.
 
My breakdown of the 79 "books" I finished in 2017:

anthologies: 0
collections: 0
Adult novels: 50
YA novels: 8
MG novels: 0
graphic novels: 1
art book: 0
comic omnibus: 15
magazine issues: 0
children's books: 2
nonfiction: 3
 
I make a demographics list every year as a way of giving myself the opportunity to think about who I've read and how I can do better.
 
Across all categories:
  Written by Women: 53 (67%, down from 72% in 2016)
  Written by POC: 29 (37%, up from 17% in 2016)
  Written by Transgender authors: 5 (6%, up from 1% in 2016) 
  Written by Non-binary authors: 2 (3%, up from 1% in 2016)
 
While this looks like a large improvement from last year, I should note that this is not unique authors, but total across all my reading. I went on Cassandra Khaw and Daniel José Older benders this fall that account for a lot of my non-white reading. I also went on a Courtney Milan bender in January that is helping inflate the written by women category. 
 
My favorite book from 2017 were really hard to select! It was a great reading year, but I narrowed it down to 10. Please don't ask me to order them as that's clearly an impossible task. They should all appear in the banner at the top, but here's a list, alphabetically:
 
 
I reviewed all 79 titles read in 2017, which is really more than I expected. Not all those reviews are great, but in terms of quantity, I beat my expectations. 
 
My favorite new-to-me author of 2017 is Cassandra Khaw. She's talented and her range includes (nay, celebrates!) splatterpunk. 
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