Saturday, June 27, 2015

Isaac Hooke, diabolical cliffhanger genius

I recently attended the funeral of a family member. This man was a very great man and left behind quite a great legacy. He was very proud of his service in the Navy. During this time of transition, it was kind of poignant to be reading a space Navy novel even if it was a little more fantastical in setting, the emotions are every day.

ATLAS 2 by Isaac Hooke

I will keep this review spoiler free so first time readers can go pick up ATLAS and start an amazing series. I will warn you now--Isaac Hooke is a diabolical genius with a cliffhanger. I wasn't even sure if I really planned on reading the first book (for reasons that can be found in my review over here). I enjoyed the story, but then I got to the ending. I just had to get ATLAS 2.

And here we arrive to the second review--with a second cliffhanger that slaps you in the face.

Usually a cliffhanger just makes me mad because there is no point. The author obviously has another book coming and just picked an arbitrary point in the story line to stop. Most of the time I'm not all that inclined to get the next novel (and have actually stopped two series this way). Not the case with either of the ATLAS books. They are both an introduction of new material that is such a spur to go pick up the next novel. I ended this book white-knuckled screaming "are you serious" with that last sentence. I really wanted to turn the page and find answers.

Once again, I will point out that sci-fi has never really been my genre. I definitely prefer elves to aliens. So I continually get surprised when I find a sci-fi book that fits my reading pallet. ATLAS 2 is full of aliens AND robots. Actually, I really have not been able to pinpoint the actual draw of these novels for me. I just seem to be hooked on these books.

The naval concept of loyalty and honor are probably the big draws. The characters are very authentic and good people. It is refreshing to read something not full of political intrigue or morally grey characters. The bad guys of the story are reprehensible in a very clear world domination way and manage to just end up creeping me out. I will not be able to look at slugs the same moving forward. Then we get to the Phants, and the true reasons why this story are successful come out. You'll have to pick up your own copy to understand.

Now I'm on my way to third novel with eager enthusiasm. Amazon has book one for $3.99 and book two for $4.99 digital.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Where would the ladies be without their gentlemen?

How are we already into summer? My, my. I guess it is time to start putting together the list of beach books. If you have not started the Magnificent Devices series, then I highly recommend you put the entire set on your list. You'll be set all beach season.

A Gentleman of Means by Shelley Adina

A Gentleman of Means by Shelley AdinaYet another amazing book in this series. I am continuously impressed with the direction these novels take each time. Books 1-4 focus on the fabulous Claire Trevelyan, Lady of Devices. Book 5-6 cover the mysterious background of the Mopsies. While we take adventures with these excellent female leads, we are able to meet some other very fascinating personalities. Alice Chalmers becomes the star of book 7. 

The stories are comprehensive, but I never feel like any character is getting stale. Each novel brings a very new direction for the series. Shelley Adina set her writing future up nicely when she had Lady Claire adopt a quirky band of misfit orphans. We are going to solve the mystery of Tigg aka Thomas Terwilliger. 

The previous novels have centered around the lives of some very formidable women. My favorite aspect of this novel is yet another new angle on the Magnificent Devices world. We will now experience the men that hold the women up. The dynamic balance in all the relationships present in this series hearten me. Both genders balance and raise their partners to the best heights. Their is love and bonding through friendship and loyalty.

Not only that, but Tigg's story has adventure, heartbreak, and intrigue. The whole thing paces along just right. I rode up and down with the emotions of the characters. These novels are so easy to get invested in on all levels. This one may have even taken place as my favorite of the series.

Some strings that were left unraveled in book 7 get picked up here and tied up quite nicely. All the favorite characters are back: Lady Claire, the Mopsies, Jake and Alice, Ian Hollys, Snouts, and Gloria. There are even a few new faces in the orphanage (even more promise of new books?--I certainly hope so!). All these wonderful people moving about with one another without getting chaotic or confused. A feat I still am impressed by.

Hope by the end of this you have already picked up your copy.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Mecha invasion of outer space!!

I wanted to get my husband involved with my reading somehow. All the activities I did pre-husband are very feminine and isolated to one person. All of his pre-wife activities are Eagle Scout, uber athlete related. It has been one heck of time finding some middle ground. As I am a super nerd, video games have become one outlet. He especially loves the mech games such as Armored Core. In an attempt to get him reading, I searched my wonderful friend Netgalley for books about mechs. 

ATLAS by Isaac Hooke

I found ATLAS as a wonderful compromise of my husband's interest with my desire for him to more actively read with me. What I didn't expect was my reading it and absolute enjoyment of it.

I should express at the beginning of this review that I have worked with former soldiers on a daily basis for the last four years. Military jargon is far from foreign to me at this point, and I have every occupation of the Navy and Marine Corps practically memorized. I must admit that this in depth knowledge is probably what increased my interest in this novel. Isaac doesn't leave the non-military reader in the dark, though. All the acronyms and slang are fully explained to keep the reader on track without feeling like a constant lesson is in place.

The giant mechanical military suits of kickassitude probably also helped make the story so awesome. Though, I was highly surprised how long it took them to make their entrance into the story considering they are on the cover and a large part of the book hook. I didn't have the highest hopes going into this story for character development and overall qualities that make books good to me. Was I surprised! The lead characters development through basic and onto advanced training; their interactions with one another; the emotional depth of connectivity to each one of them--wow! I closed this book with complete satisfaction of what I had just read.

The ending was absolutely wonderful despite it's cliche science fiction sign off. It really made me interested to find the follow up story. As the third book is getting ready to launch next week, Netgalley allowed reviewers to catch up on the series. I really am glad to have been a part of that. I finally found strong men to wash out the overdose of femininity flooding the shelves right now. 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Want some more cover reveals?

Well I do! Three books of the summer I am highly anticipating.

This first one I look forward to because of the monumental impact of the first book. The Singular and Extraordinary Tale of Mirror and Goliath made my reading decade. The book is so fantastically disturbing. It is Mad Hatter proportions off the wall. Read my full review here. So without further ado I give you yet another stunning cover from Ishbelle Bee with the exclusive reveal at Barnes & Noble.

The next two book covers are exciting to reveal because I actually know the author. We used to lay on the floor of our senior English class listening to Indian flutes and our unique teacher chanting to let our limbs fall through the floor and relax our minds. I am so proud to see that she has come far enough to have not one, but two!, cover reveals on my blog. Click at the fold to see the amazing covers from Caitlyn McFarland!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Is it steampunk; is it fantasy? Your call.

Travelling for work put my schedule a little behind again. I feel that this year I am constantly apologizing for being late on a post. Well, it is also unfortunately meaning that I am egregiously behind on my to-read list. The plus side--the books I have read lately have been worth falling behind. Released this week is the first in a series of books that I can't quite fit onto any one shelf, an excellent quality in a book.

The Shadow Revolution by Clay Griffith

I came to this ARC in a search for male leads. I realized the other week that I have been binged out on female protagonists. It seems a sad direction for my reading and the general publishing world. Where did all the non-sparkly males go? Do I have to read some form of military novel or other such violent story to find a male character that is not swooning over life and little lily-livered? Fortunately not with this novel.

The husband-wife duo managed to create an interesting fantasy with a man leading the show. There is also alchemy, magic, supernaturals, and a strong female. There was actual balance to this novel, from the characters to the genre bending.

The magics used are interesting and I look forward to seeing their development through the rest of the trilogy. The druidic mysticism just built Simon's character of male cockiness and intrigue. I really do look forward to more runes and their natural interaction with our own human abilities. Alchemy is always good and very welcome in a fantasy that sits on the steampunk line; a very welcome addition to the traditional druid magic. The authors were very authentic with the feel of scientific endeavor and inquisitiveness instinctual to the ever searching nerd type. The whole science added a natural strength to Kate's character of will.

There are no automatons or dirigibles from your usual steampunk and the magic-supernatural creatures combo is a little more than traditional fantasy. I will say again that this book just had an excellent balance to the old genre traditions and the newer tastes of modern readers. My favorite were the homunculi, though. Creepy. So very creepy. But a subject I have been drawn towards since I watched Fullmetal Alchemist. I was glad to see them present in a fantasy novel.

The action moves along at quite a clip and there really are no dull moments. Witty dialogue keeps the plot moving when steampunk motorcycles and rocket launchers aren't carrying away the show. All the characters have depth and interaction in ways to connect to most every reader type. There really are few things to notice wrong with the story.

I will highly recommend this story to all. It is now on sale. Head out to your local indie retailer or hit up a digital copy for your e-reader. The even better part? The second and third novels will be releasing within quick succession!