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The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

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Melanie's Week in Review - May 21, 2017


Melanie's Week in Review - May 21, 2017

Happy Anniversary to me!!!! 12 years ago today, in pretty much the same crappy weather, I got married. I had actually forgot (ooops) and probably wouldn't have remembered if my 88 year old next door neighbor hadn't dropped a card in my letterbox. Yikes! I haven't however, forgotten the two books I read this week. So before I go off to celebrate let me tell you what I read.

Melanie's Week in Review - May 21, 2017
Melanie's Week in Review - May 21, 2017
I received Larry Correia's Hard Magic in the post from the very generous Qwill several months ago and I mislaid it. How naughty was I? Especially as it was signed by the author himself and look how cute his signature is!

Jake Sullivan works for the Feds as private investigator....but he isn't your average PI. He has a unique ability to manipulate his environment allowing him to crush a rock with a mere flick of a finger, or change the gravity in a room, or to survive a fall from a tall building. Fresh out of jail Jake now works for the government and his next case sends him on the trail of an old friend...one who is as strong as he is. It's not long before Jake finds himself trapped between two warring factions of magical enhanced humans. Jake just wants to live a normal life but there is an evil coming and he might be the only one that can save the world.

I enjoyed Hard Magic and thought it was a jolly good read. I liked Jake and thought that Correia gave the 1920's a good twist with his magically enhanced characters. If you judge the book by the cover and the description you would assume that Jake was the main character but he really shares the limelight with the Faye, a teenage 'Traveller'. Quite a large part of the story centers on Faye and her ability to travel through space (not time). Jake and Faye are joined by a strong cast of supporting characters who help to give these main characters a bit more depth. While this is a standard 'good vs evil' story there are a couple of events that were a surprise. No spoilers here folks.


Melanie's Week in Review - May 21, 2017
My next book was the final instalment of Emma Newman's The Split Worlds series with All Good Things. The story starts immediately after the events of book 4 where Cathy escapes her disastrous marriage to Will and is now staying with Lord Iron aka Sam. Sam has also given refuge to Bea, a sorceress who has killed many in an attempt to bring down barriers between the worlds. Joined by Max and the gargoyle, Sam and Cathy try to find a way to bring balance between the worlds while at the same time trying to stop anyone else getting killed in the process.

I have enjoyed this story but did not enjoy this final book. It felt like several chapters were missing as there is a big hole in one of the plot lines. I actually went back and re-read a couple of chapters as I thought my Kindle had jumped ahead. Cathy's husband Will was exceptionally annoying and in times Cathy was just a bit too whiny. Due to this I found the latter half of the book a bit jarring and rushed at the end. I wasn't really sad to see this story end which was too bad as I really enjoyed the earlier books.


That is all for me this week. I hope you have found something enjoyable to read. Until next week Happy Reading.





Hard Magic
Grimnoir Chronicles 1
Baen, April 24, 2012
Mass Market Paperback, 624 pages
Hardcover, Trade Paperback and eBook, May 3, 2011

Melanie's Week in Review - May 21, 2017
Jake Sullivan is a war hero, a private eye-and an ex-con. He's free because he has a magical talent, being able to alter the force of gravity in himself and objects in his vicinity, and the Bureau of Investigation calls on him when they need his help in apprehending criminals with their own magical talents. But the last operation he was sent along to help with went completely wrong, and Delilah Jones, the woman the G-men were after, who just happened to be an old friend of Jake's in happier times, had a lot of magical muscle with her, too much muscle for the cops to handle, even with Jake's help.

It got worse. Jake found out that the Feds had lied to him about Delilah being a murderer as well as a bank robber, and they had lied about this being his last job for them-he was too valuable for them to let him go. And things were even worse than Jake imagined. There was a secret war being waged by opposing forces of magic-users, and Jake had no idea that he had just attracted the attention of one side, whose ruthless leaders were of the opinion that Jake was far too dangerous to be permitted to live...





All Good Things
The Split Worlds 5
Diversion, June 6, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 360 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - May 21, 2017
From Emma Newman, the award-nominated author of Planetfall and Between Two Thorns, comes the long awaited conclusion to the Split Worlds series, described by Locus Magazine as “an intriguing mix of modern world, Victorian/Regency England, and faery.”

“A triumphant merger of Victorian values with modern magic” —Library Journal on A Little Knowledge

As the Iris family consolidates their hold on society within the secret world of the Nether, William Iris finds himself more powerful and yet more vulnerable than ever. His wife, Cathy, has left him, a fact that will destroy him if it becomes public. To keep his position—and survive—he needs to get her back, whatever the cost.

Cathy has finally escaped the Nether, but hates that she must rely so heavily on Sam’s protection. When the strange sorceress Beatrice offers her a chance to earn true freedom by joining the quest Sam has been bound to, Cathy agrees. But can she and Sam navigate Beatrice’s plans for the future without becoming two more of her victims?

And Beatrice, a self-taught and powerful killer, is not without her enemies. Rupert, the last sorcerer of Albion, is obsessed with finding and destroying her. He orders Max and his gargoyle to help him, pulling them away from protecting innocents. As the Arbiter and his partner face the ugly side of their responsibilities to Rupert, they begin to question where their loyalties should truly lie.

Amidst death, deceit, and the fight for freedom, friendships are tested, families are destroyed, and heroes are forged as the battle to control the Split Worlds rages to its climatic conclusion.

“Emma Newman is an extraordinary new voice in SF/F.” ––Paul Cornell, Hugo Award winner and author of London Falling and Saucer Country

Melanie's Week in Review - January 8, 2017


Melanie's Week in Review - January 8, 2017


Happy January! I can't believe that is my first WIR of 2017 already. Hopefully, I will have lots of fantastic books to tell you about this year. I am going to give you the review 'sandwich' again. For those of you who aren't familiar with this it's the same concept as giving feedback - good news, bad news, good news. I have used this before on my WIR and here it is again. So what did I read?


Melanie's Week in Review - January 8, 2017
I will admit that I read Genevieve Cogman's The Burning Page back in October when I received it via NetGalley. However, I couldn't tell you about it as it won't be published until January 10th. I was really having to bite my tongue not to let anything slip out....or should I say bite my fingers? Anyway, I was really looking forward to the next instalment of the Invisible Library series and Cogman doesn't disappoint.

In this instalment The Library is in lockdown. Librarians are being killed, doors to the library are being rigged to explode...and worse and it's all down to Library's arch nemesis Alberich. Our favourite Librarian Irene is still on probation after the events of the previous book but that doesn't stop her and her side kick Kai from finding themselves in more danger than they can handle. Alberich is determined that the Library dies and Irene with it so she will need every trick up her sleeve and the help from her friends to keep both herself and her beloved Library from falling to Alberich's malevolent plot.

I love this series and The Burning Page is very good. I enjoy the growing friendship between Irene and Kai and we learn more about the inner workings of the Library in this instalment. It is very action packed with Irene pulling off one escape after another from the evil Alberich. However, I didn't love it as much as I have loved books 1 and 2. Where I felt the teeniest tiniest let down was Irene's dubious choice of romantic partner. It just didn't seem like something she would do or someone she would be attracted to and came out of the blue. I also thought it could have easily been the final instalment of the series so I am a bit concerned what future books will hold when the over arching plot seems to be wrapped up. I am really splitting hairs though as it was quite good.


Melanie's Week in Review - January 8, 2017
For the middle of this review sandwich was Monster Hunter Memoirs: Sinners by Larry Correia and John Ringo. I started this new spin off series focussing on the memoirs of the monster hunter Chad back in December and I found book 1 Grunge a bit disappointing. However, I almost gave up on book 2 partway through. What I liked about the original series was that Owen was very likeable and I liked him and the other supporting characters. In contrast Chad is egotistical, maniacal womaniser and quite frankly a bit of a jerk. The plot consisted of - kill monster, eat bourbon chicken or barbeque (he has moved to New Orleans now), pick up a lady, kill monster, repeat. It was just a tad dull. I don't think I will continue with this series.


Melanie's Week in Review - January 8, 2017
Book 3 of this WIR was a real book! The lovely Qwill sent me a care package and in it was Belle Chasse by Suzanne Johnson. I don't often read actual books anymore so this was a real treat..plus it was hardback so made it even more 'treatier'. This is book 5 of the Sentinels of New Orleans and the now unemployed wizard DJ has been shot, has a death sentence hanging over her and is in hiding in the Beyond. A war is about to break out between the wizards, the Fae and the Elves and guess who is caught in the middle? DJ is desperate to clear her name, keep her pregnant friend safe and get back in the arms of her hunky shapeshifter boyfriend.

I enjoyed Belle Chasse and I definitely loved the cover. I don't think I liked it quite a much as the other books. I felt this was a bit of a filler book and not a lot happens until the final few pages and even so this didn't really advance or resolve the over arching plot that much. I am not saying that nothing happened but I felt that Johnson could have been a bit bolder in drawing this series to a close. I am a bit worried it will continue and continue and continue with not much happening apart from DJ saying how much she misses New Orleans. Although, Johnson doesn't mess around and bad things still happen to good people in this instalment so definitely worth a read. Plus love the cover!


That is it for me for my first WIR of 2017. I have read a couple of crackers this week that I am looking forward to telling you all about next week. Until then Happy Reading!





The Burning Page
The Invisible Library Novel 3
Roc, January 10, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - January 8, 2017
Librarian spy Irene and her apprentice Kai return for another “tremendously fun, rip-roaring adventure,” (A Fantastical Librarian) third in the bibliophilic fantasy series from the author of The Masked City.

Never judge a book by its cover…

Due to her involvement in an unfortunate set of mishaps between the dragons and the Fae, Librarian spy Irene is stuck on probation, doing what should be simple fetch-and-retrieve projects for the mysterious Library. But trouble has a tendency of finding both Irene and her apprentice, Kai—a dragon prince—and, before they know it, they are entangled in more danger than they can handle…

Irene’s longtime nemesis, Alberich, has once again been making waves across multiple worlds, and, this time, his goals are much larger than obtaining a single book or wreaking vengeance upon a single Librarian. He aims to destroy the entire Library—and make sure Irene goes down with it.

With so much at stake, Irene will need every tool at her disposal to stay alive. But even as she draws her allies close around her, the greatest danger might be lurking from somewhere close—someone she never expected to betray her…





Monster Hunter Memoirs: Sinners
Monster Hunter Memoirs 2
Baen Books, December 6, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 304 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - January 8, 2017
A NEW NOVEL IN THE MONSTER HUNTER MEMOIRS SERIES. TWO AUTHORS, WHO COMBINED HAVE OVER FOUR MILLION BOOKS IN PRINT AND 10 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERS, TEAM UP TO EXPAND LARRY CORREIA'S MONSTER HUNTER UNIVERSE!

NIGHTMARE IN THE BIG EASY

With New Orleans out of control, Chad Oliver Gardenier, one of Monster Hunter International’s premier hunters, has been dispatched from Seattle to reinforce the beleaguered members of MHI'S Hoodoo Squad in their fight against the darkness.

Chad had once taken a werewolf while wearing only jogging gear. With half a dozen or more loup garou appearing every full moon, mysterious shadow demons, houdoun necromancers, fifty-foot bipedal crocodiles showing up every couple of months and more vampires than a Goth concert, New Orleans in the '80s gives a whole new perspective to the term “Hell on Earth.” In fact, more monsters are popping up than crawfish at a fais do do! Chad may be able to collect enormous bounties for the monsters he kills. But there’s one catch: he has to stay alive to do it!





Belle Chasse
A Novel of The Sentinels of New Orleans 5
Tor Books, November 8, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - January 8, 2017
Suzanne Johnson's "strong and intriguing" (Publishers Weekly) urban fantasy series continues with Belle Chasse. The Sentinels of New Orleans series has earned starred reviews from Library Journal ("a resourceful heroine who relies on her magical ingenuity") and PW ("vivid...a lively tale jam-packed with action, magic, and intriguing plot twists").

With the wizard-elven treaty on the verge of collapse, the preternatural world stands on the brink of war. Unless former wizard sentinel DJ Jaco manages to keep the elven leader, Quince Randolph, focused on peace and not personal matters.

With no one on the throne, Faerie is in chaos, with rival princes battling for power. The still-undead pirate, Jean Lafitte, is building his own army of misfits, and DJ—stripped of her job and hiding in the Beyond to avoid the death sentence handed down by the wizard Council of Elders—can’t get anywhere near her beloved New Orleans or her significant something-or-other, Alex.

It's time to choose sides. Friends will become enemies, enemies will become allies, and not everyone will survive. DJ and her friends will learn a hard lesson: sometimes, even the ultimate sacrifice isn’t enough.

Melanie's Week in Review - December 18, 2016


Melanie's Week in Review - December 18, 2016


Merry Christmas to those who celebrate and Happy Holidays who those who don't. This will be my last WIR for 2016...whoop whoop! This won't be a very long post as weirdly I didn't read very much this week. So what did I read?


Melanie's Week in Review - December 18, 2016
I have been a big fan of Larry Correia's Monster Hunter International series and was interested to learn that he had a new release - Monster Hunter Memoirs: Grunge. This instalment was largely written by John Ringo but edited Correia. The story is set in the 80's and tells the story, in the form of a diary, of the ex-marine now monster hunter Chad's life and early missions as part of the MHI.

I enjoyed this story but missed the over arching plot arc that the full series had. It felt like it was just one unrelated battle after another with Chad eating salmon rolls and chasing women in between. I don't know if lack of 'cohesion' was due to the fact it was written by another author or whether the format and premise didn't lend itself well to this series. Overall, I thought it was just OK. I missed Owen from the main series and didn't really warm to Chad. I will still try out the next book - Monster Hunter Memoirs: Sinners.


Melanie's Week in Review - December 18, 2016
My second book that I didn't read but listened to via Audible was Dark and Stormy Knights. My best friend works for Audible and has been encouraging me to give audio books another try. I got this one a few years ago when I was trialing Audible and I loved a few of the authors. I was really disappointed with the first few stories - mainly a prequel in the Kate Daniels series as the voice of Kate wasn't what I was expecting. With my friend's encouragement I decided to give it another go and listened to all of the stories. On this second listen through I especially liked Jim Butcher's story of Jimmy Marcone and Vicki Pettersson's Shifting Star. I am still not totally in love with audio books. I think I have to listen to stories told in the first person or where the narrator doesn't try to change their voice for the different characters (as was the case for the Ilona Andrews story).


Guess what? That is it for me this week and for 2016 My Week in Review. Until then Happy Reading and Happy New Year!





Monster Hunter Memoirs: Grunge
Monster Hunter Memoirs 1
Baen, August 2, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - December 18, 2016
TWO MULTIPLE NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLING AUTHORS TEAM UP TO EXPAND LARRY CORREIA'S MONSTER HUNTER UNIVERSE!

When Marine Private Oliver Chadwick Gardenier is killed in the Marine barrack bombing in Beirut, somebody who might be Saint Peter gives him a choice: Go to Heaven, which while nice might be a little boring, or return to Earth. The Boss has a mission for him and he's to look for a sign. He's a Marine: He'll choose the mission.

Unfortunately, the sign he's to look for is "57." Which, given the food services contract in Bethesda Hospital, creates some difficulty. Eventually, it appears that God's will is for Chad to join a group called "Monster Hunters International" and protect people from things that go bump in the night. From there, things trend downhill.

Monster Hunter Memoirs is the (mostly) true story of the life and times of one of MHI's most effective—and flamboyant—hunters. Pro-tips for up and coming hunters range from how to dress appropriately for jogging (low-profile body armor and multiple weapons) to how to develop contacts among the Japanese yakuza, to why it's not a good idea to make billy goat jokes to trolls.

Grunge harkens back to the Golden Days of Monster Hunting when Reagan was in office, Ray and Susan Shackleford were top hunters and Seattle sushi was authentic.





Dark and Stormy Knights
St. Martin's Griffin, July 20, 2010
Trade Paperback and eBook, 357 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - December 18, 2016
It was a dark and stormy knight, and nine dark defenders embarked upon a most perilous quest….

They're the ultimate defenders of humanity—modern day knights who do dark deeds for all the right reasons. In this all-star collection, nine of today's hottest paranormal authors bring us thrilling, all-new stories of supernatural knights that are brimming with magic mystery and mayhem.

John Marcone sets aside his plans to kill Harry Dresden to go head-to-head with a cantrev lord in Jim Butcher's Even Hand. Kate Daniels is called upon for bodyguard duty to protect Saimen, a shifter she trusts less than the enemy in Ilona Andrews' A Questionable Client. Cormac must stop a killer werewolf before it attacks again on the next full moon in Carrie Vaughn's God's Creatures. And in Vicki Pettersson's Shifting Star, Skamar gets more than she bargained for when she goes after a creature kidnapping young girls—and enlists the aid of her frustratingly sexy neighbor.

When everything's on the line, will these knights complete their missions and live to fight again another day? Find out in Dark and Stormy Knights!

Includes stories from:

Ilona Andrews

Jim Butcher

Shannon K. Butcher

Rachel Caine

P.N. Elrod

Deidre Knight

Vicki Pettersson

Lilith Saintcrow

Carrie Vaughn

Melanie's Week in Review - June 8, 2014


Melanie's Week in Review - June 8, 2014


Welcome to June. I can't believe that the year is almost half over already. How time flies. I have no excuses this week for not getting some books read. So what did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - June 8, 2014
I found The Scribe by Elizabeth Hunter last week and finished it on Sunday. It was the first instalment of the Irin Chronicles which I found in my Amazon recommendations. The story centers on Ava who hears voices in her head but doesn't know what is being said. She lives a fairly solitary life and has been searching for the cause of the voices that have plagued her life. She goes to Istanbul, where the story is set, to find answers to her condition but instead it opens the door to more questions about who she is and where she came from. On her journey she meets Malachi, the enigmatic stranger who has the knowledge of who she really is and what she is capable of. Needless to say, the tall, dark and handsome Malachi also introduces Ava to romance and to all things 'hot and steamy'. I was quite interested in Ava's story until it was revealed that her race, the Irin (or Irina in her case) were descendants of angels. I am not terribly fond of angel stories and the whole plot turned a bit bland once that was revealed. Ava was, of course being pursued by 'the fallen' and out came the traditional good versus evil plot line. I was quite surprised by the ending as it wasn't your typical ending to a romance novel and this was enough to capture my interest to investigate book 2  - The Singer. I am hoping to start that over the next few weeks.

Melanie's Week in Review - June 8, 2014I also started and finished The Severed Streets by Paul Cornell which is the second book of the Shadow Police series. I enjoyed London Falling, which I reviewed last year. I will be writing a full review of this book so I don't want to give too much away here.

Melanie's Week in Review - June 8, 2014I finished the week with book 5 in one of my favourite series - Monster Hunter International. I got the eArc of Monster Hunter Nemesis from NetGalley and was so excited to receive it that I turned my back on all the other juicy books on my TBR. I really like this series and Correia keeps it fresh by focusing this instalment on Franks, the agent from the U.S. Monster Control Bureau. Franks has been a regular in the series and often comes into conflict with almost everyone including Owen Pitt who is has been the hero of the series so far. Franks isn't just any agent - he is a monster fighting other monsters but the difference is that he is one of the good guys. I have weirdly had a soft spot for the real monster of Frankenstein and now its even bigger...like a big blob of strawberry jam. Franks lives by the code - he protects mankind from evil and mankind promises never to create any more of him. The code is violated by Director Stricken when he creates a a team of super agents who are more technologically advanced and potentially stronger than Franks. Stricken hates Franks and frames him for more murders than I have fingers and Franks is on the run but out for revenge. Monsters, Monster Hunters and Franks....Monster Hunter Nemesis has it all.

I really liked this book and liked the fact that Correia gave us a new perspective by telling the story from Franks' perspective. Correia also gave us snippets from Franks' past at the start of every chapter so we had the opportunity to learn how he was created and his journey to becoming one of the most effective agents in the agency. We also get to see a different side to Franks and find out more than 1 secret about the truculent agent. Overall, this is another great book in the series and I am already looking forward to book 6.

That is it for me for this week and I am looking forward to some new books I have received in the last few weeks. Until next week Happy Reading.

Melanie's Week in Review - May 21, 2017Melanie's Week in Review - January 8, 2017Melanie's Week in Review - December 18, 2016Melanie's Week in Review - June 8, 2014

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