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The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

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Melanie's Week in Review - December 15, 2013


Melanie's Week in Review - December 15, 2013


Hello everyone! Hope you had a good week. I had a very busy one at work with loads of interviews (the interviewer not the interviewee). I think I could offer courses on interview technique. My two top tips for anyone looking for a new job is not to tell the interviewer they are wrong and never, ever swear in an interview. So a week of lots of work stress I thought I would need to take it easy on the reading front. I am quite surprised this was not the case. So what did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - December 15, 2013
I started the week nice and easy with a short story  - The Last Vampire by J.T. Geissinger. If you been following my reviews or my WIR (Week in Review) you will know that I have read and enjoyed Geissinger's Night Prowler series and this short story did not disappoint. The story is told through a love letter from one vampire to a soon to be other vampire. I think that Geissinger excels at writing sniffy, heart wrenching love letters as this was quite reminiscent but significantly longer than the one at the start of Shadow's Edge (Night Prowler 1). I loved it but wonder how it will continue into a series. If you like this author then The Last Vampire is a must read.

Melanie's Week in Review - December 15, 2013
I then hit my Kindle to look for a full length book to go to next. From my ever growing TBR I went for Under the Empyrean Sky (Skyscape, July 2013) which is the first in the Heartland Trilogy YA series by Chuck Wendig. I love this author. He is a prolific writer and seems to churn out a couple of books a year....in different series and in different genres or styles. His Miriam Black series is as addictive as the drug 'blue blazes' from his Mookie Pearl series. Under the Empyrean Sky is a dystopian story in which the earth has been scorched and only corn will grow. The rich and lucky live on flotillas high in the air while everyone else scratch out a living on earth, fighting for survival against both the corn and mutating cancers. The story focuses on the seventeen year old Cael McAvoy who yearns for a better life. Cael wants something better from himself and it burns like a fever through is body. His life, and that of his friends take a big change (not necessarily for the better) when they come across a secret garden, a garden that shouldn't exist amongst the corn.

This is a fantastic read and I loved every minute of Cael's story. Unlike many of Wendig's other characters, Cael is likeable and it isn't hard to feel sympathy for his plight and of those around him. I thought the plot was a tiny bit reminiscent of Suzanne Collin's Hunger Games series with the elite having everything and the poor having nothing but despair. I am really looking forward to finding out what happens next and I tip my imaginary hat at Wendig's ability to change genre and his ability to write such an engaging tale.

I then started...but literally only just started Clockwork Fairytales: Collection of Steampunk Fables.  This is an anthology of stories by such authors as Philippa Ballantine, Kat Richardson, James C. Bassett and many more. I have really only read one story so will have to will have to share with you what I thought another time.

Melanie's Week in Review - December 15, 2013I needed something quick to read that wasn't going to break my interviewed out brain so I turned to Eternal Kiss of Darkness (Night Huntress World 2) something I had read before. You might remember I re-read two of Jeaniene Frost books a few weeks ago. I couldn't really remember how Mencheres came on the scene so went back and read his story.  I haven't enjoyed it as much as the others I think mainly due to Mencheres. I think he is a bit overly noble and perfect. Plus he was a pharoh and born in something like 2000 BC? I don't really like it when a character is that old as it seems too preposterous. Overall, this was a great time filler and I appreciated having a re-read that 're-read' so quickly.

If you read my WIR last week I said I had planned to give you my thoughts on Three Lives of Tokomi Ishikawa by Benjamin Constable in a full review but have decided against it. This is largely due to the book not actually being speculative fiction but almost more importantly, I didn't really like it. I don't like to write DNF reviews, perhaps more than I reading a DNF book! I did finish this book but I only read it due to my desire to see if it got any better. The story centres around Ben Constable (yes, the author names his character after himself) and his friendship with Tokomi who he believes has committed suicide. Tokomi has sent him on a treasure hunt, leaving him clues that take him around Paris and to New York. Ben soon realises that there is a lot he doesn't know about his good friend.

I couldn't figure out who annoyed me more - Ben Constable or Tokomi Ishikawa. Both were completely and utterly self obsessed with not one ounce of moral fiber. Sometimes this type of character lends itself well to the plot but in this case I was just left thinking 'who cares' and 'what is this book about?. I am still not sure what message Constable was trying to make and part of me wishes he hadn't bothered.

All in all I thought I did quite well considering at one point I was certain I would only get one book read. I am keeping my fingers crossed for a more productive week next week. Until then Happy Reading. 

Melanie's Week in Review - December 8, 2013


Melanie's Week in Review - December 8, 2013

This has been both a good and an average week for me on the reading front. On the good side I managed to finish two books I had been planning to read for months now although on the average side I only managed read two of them. So what was I able to read?

Melanie's Week in Review - December 8, 2013
I started the week by reading Three Lives of Tomomi Ishikawa by Benjamin Constable (Gallery Books, June 2013). I will be doing a full review of this book so I can't give too much away. What I can share with you at this point is that it is a really unusual book so stay tuned to the blog for more detail about what else I thought of it.

I also finished Taste of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder which is the third and final installment of the Healer series and due to be released on the December 31, 2013 by Harlequin MIRA. I had really enjoyed this series so far and had been looking forward to this book. I was quite excited when I saw it on NetGalley. When we left Avry at the end of Scent of Magic (Book 2) she had escaped the evil Tohon but in the process Kerrick had been infected with the plague. Book 3 starts almost immediately afterwards with Avry searching for Kerrick who disappears during the night. The rest of the 'gang' thinks he has gone off to die but Avry is convinced he is still alive. She struggles to continue the search while at the same time help Prince Ryne save the Fifteen Realms. The road to freedom isn't an easy one and Avry gets lots of help from her friends to help her not just save the kingdom but herself in the process.

Melanie's Week in Review - December 8, 2013Unfortunately, I felt really let down by Taste of Darkness as it almost read like it had been written by a different author. Gone was the strong, forthright and opinionated Avry that I loved from the previous books and in her place as a whiny, impetuous and not very sensible one. I got the impression that Snyder either had too much story to tell or didn't have enough so had Avry travel hither and yon saving almost every minor character possible. I think she also journeys to nearly every corner of the Fifteen Realms and back again while almost dying in each of the many battles. Kerrick was much more palatable and the changes to his magic almost make him interesting. Tohon was by far the most interesting and he wasn't even a physical presence for most of the novel. Part of my struggle with this book was of no fault of the author as I had an eArc with rather dodgy formatting. There were no defined chapters and I got confused several times when the chapters switched rather too seamlessly between Avry and Kerrick (especially confusing when one of them was allegedly dead). Overall, I was disappointed but this won't put me off reading other books by this author.

Well I am hoping to have more to tell you next week as this has been a very short 'WIR' (although maybe you like that?). Until next week Happy Reading.

Melanie's Week in Review - December 15, 2013Melanie's Week in Review - December 8, 2013

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