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A blog about books and other things speculative

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Melanie's Week in Review - December 13, 2015


Melanie's Week in Review - December 13, 2015


Well hello December.  You almost passed me by in a flurry of things to do and not many books read. I think the unseasonably warm weather we are having in the UK has tricked my brain into thinking Christmas isn't just around the corner. I had had so much to do recently and not enough of it involved reading good books. I have managed to get a couple goodies  read to tell you about So what did I read?


Melanie's Week in Review - December 13, 2015
I thought I would start by telling you about a new release from one of my favourite authors and favourite series - Magic Stars by Ilona Andrews. I was very lucky to receive an e-ARC from the author.

Magic Stars is a novella from the Kate Daniels world and tells a story from the POV of the now lone wolf Derek and Kate's ward, Julie. Derek has been ordered to find justice for the murder of a young family including two children. Derek isn't at all impressed to discover that Julie is also on the trail of the person behind the murders. Together, they start out hunting a murderer and end up as the prey on the race through the city to find an evil warlock. Killer mermaids, a deadly hunt and ancient magic are all in store for this young pair in their race to save Atlanta from yet another evil force.

I really enjoyed Magic Stars as I thought it worked well as a tool to develop two of the secondary characters from the main series. According to Ilona Andrews' blog fans have been requesting a short story that featured Derek and I am glad that they waited until now to tell that story. While Derek is now in his 20's, Julie is only 16 and getting those two together earlier, even in the non-romantic sense, would have been creepy. I also think that it is really interesting that Derek has separated himself from the pack and that Julie is taking magic lessons from none other than Roland, her quasi grandfather. Their internal struggles with this change in their circumstances gives both characters more depth and makes them interesting in their own rights rather than just as supporting characters to Kate or Curran. All in all a great read and thank you again to Andrews' for giving me the opportunity for an early read.


Melanie's Week in Review - December 13, 2015
If you remember a few weeks ago I was doing a NetGalley tidy up and trying to finish books that had been there for awhile. I had not yet finished Apex, book 3 of Ramex Naam's fabulous Nexus series. While I had really enjoyed books 1 and 2 I missed completing the series until just this week. In Apex Kade and Sam have escaped to India while Rangan is in hiding in the States all while a Nexus fueled revolution is underway. The tortured and once dead scientist Su-Yong is now attempting to take over the world one nanite at a time. Humanity is on the brink of extinction as the Nexus enhanced post-humans are set to take over with Su-Yong as their goddess.

Apex is a great book and a fantastic end to the series. I wasn't really sure how the good guys were going to win this one and it even got a bit fuzzy regarding who were the good guys in the end. This final book of the series had everything going for it - great character development, enough action to keep things exciting and a complex plot line. I also thought Naam's chapter at the end  - the Science of Apex - was really interesting and really added credibility to his science fiction based plot. This is a must read for any and all science fiction fans.



Melanie's Week in Review - December 13, 2015
My final read was Vigilante Vampire by Helen Harper. This is the next instalment of the Bo Blackman series. I didn't realise the next book was out until I inadvertently signed up for a trial of Kindle Unlimited. Oooops. I better get reading. Poor Bo has had a rough ride as a new vampire and things don't improve in book 5. Bo has separated herself from her friends and loved ones by joining forces with the daemon X. She is running around town killing baddies and basically being a 'vigilante' - no surprises why Harper chose the title. X has Bo looking for a missing girl all in the backdrop of an ever increasing war between humans and vampires. The stakes are high and Bo is more than willing to do what it takes no matter what the cost.

While I thought that Bo was feeling sorry for herself a bit more in this instalment she is definitely a lot more hardcore. She hurt and even killed people left, right and centre. Not at all what I was expecting from the previous 'goody two shoes'. I hope Harper ends this series on a high especially after the exciting cliff hanger at the end of this book. Also, high fives to Harper on yet another fantastic cover.


That is it for me this week. I have been wondering if it is time for a change with my Week in Review. I have been thinking of options but would really love to know what you think. I would be eternally grateful if you could spare a couple of minutes to answer the poll below regarding what should happen to this Week in Review. Happy Reading!




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Magic Stars
NYLA,December 8, 2015
eBook, 64 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - December 13, 2015
From award-winning author, Ilona Andrews, an original novella, set in the New York Times #1

bestselling Kate Daniels World and featuring fan-favorites, Derek, and Curran and Kate’s very independent ward, Julie.

Scarred, solitary Derek Gaunt has separated from his Pack, and is truly a lone wolf. With no family he answers to no one; but is fiercely loyal to a chosen few. So, when several of those close to him are murdered, he’ll stop at nothing to hunt their killer through the magic-drenched streets of Atlanta.

Never one to be left on the sidelines, equally determined—some might say stubborn—Julie Lennart-Olsen soon joins in his pursuit; and what began as revenge turns into a race to save the city. Their search pits them against powers they never imagined and magic so old, it predates history. It may cost Derek his life, but there are things for which even he would risk everything.





Apex
Nexus Arc 3
Angry Robot, May 12, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 608 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - December 13, 2015
The Explosive Conclusion to Nexus and Crux

Global unrest spreads through the US, China, and beyond. Secrets and lies set off shockwaves of anger, rippling from mind to mind. Riot police battle neurally-linked protestors. Armies are mobilized. Political orders fall. Nexus-driven revolution is in here.

Against this backdrop, a new breed of post-human children are growing into their powers. And a once-dead scientist, driven mad by her torture, is closing in on her plans to seize planet’s electronic systems, and re-forge everything in her image.

A new Apex species is here. The world will never be the same.

File Under: Science Fiction [ Humanity 2.0 | Mind Matters | Hive | This Will Happen ]




Vigilante Vampire
Bo Blackman 5
November 30, 2015
Kindle eBook, 268 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - December 13, 2015
It's no more Miss Nice Vampire.

Bo has turned her back on everything that's familiar and is now working for X, the dangerous Kakos daemon who demands that his identity be kept a secret. She's prepared to do just about anything to clean the streets of London of its crime - and she's no longer sure if she cares who gets hurt in the process.

However, the vampire Families aren't going to be that easy to ignore. Lord Medici is continuing with his cold-blooded power bid - while Michael is determined not to let Bo forget him. Add a mysterious case of a missing girl into the mix and chaos is going to follow.

This is the fifth book in the Bo Blackman series.

Melanie's Week in Review - April 19, 2015


Melanie's Week in Review - April 19, 2015


Hello! Greetings from sunny London, England. I hope you have all had productive weeks. I would really like to say that I hammered my TBR list and had a big bunch of books to tell you about, but alas I don't. Well I do have 2 really good books to tell you about. So what did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - April 19, 2015
I have had Nexus (Nexus 1) by Ramez Naam on my TBR for far too long. I am kicking myself for not reading Nexus sooner. This is a great book. The story centers on Kade Lane, an extremely talented scientist who has developed a variant of an illegal drug which can link minds. Lane's 'experiments' bring him to the attention of a covert group of the American government. Captured and coerced Lane has no alternative but to do what he is told but is it for the good of the people or the good of the government? Lane finds himself in Thailand on a mission to infiltrate the lab of a prominent scientist. Nothing is as it seems. Friends are enemies, enemies are friends, the master becomes the slave, and Lane doesn't know what to believe. All he really knows is that Nexus 5 will be salvation of many or the downfall of many more. Kade is partnered with the damaged Samantha Cataranes, an agent of the ERD. Kade and Samantha both describe themselves as pawns and this is a perfect analogy. Kade is the white pawn and Samantha the black pawn: Kade the innocent who tries to do the right thing, and Samantha who will do whatever she is told to do by her superiors. It all changes when both discover that innocents are being hurt by those who are supposed to protect them.

If you are a science fiction fan then Nexus is the series for you. Naam has created a fantastic plot where you don't really know who Lane should trust. Naam perfectly balances plot development with action. There is a lot of death and mayhem but it didn't detract from the overall story. I was on the edge of my seat (or book) from the first few pages to all the way to the final one. Nexus is a great book and I can't believe its Naam's debut. Well done. I'm looking forward to Crux (Nexus 2) which is next on my list to read.


Melanie's Week in Review - April 19, 2015
The lovely Qwill reminded me of a series that I had forgotten about - Dragon Kings by Lindsey Piper. She sent me book 3 - Hunted Warrior which I devoured in just a few days. I am going to be writing a full review of this book so keep your eyes on the blog for it. p.s. I love the cover!


I am going to end this post by telling you about a show about a book that I am watching.  No, its not Game of Thrones either. I discovered I had a subscription to Amazon's video streaming service and came across a the TV version of the much loved book Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I knew this book had been made into a series but forgot all about it until an advert popped up. If you don't already know the Outlander is the story of a young woman, Claire who has survived being a nurse in WW2. She finds herself transported 200 years in the past whilst on a honeymoon in Scotland. Lost and alone in the Scottish highlands she ends up married into one of the largest Scottish clans - the MacKenzies - while trying desperately trying to get back to her husband in her real time.

It's easy to feel disappointed when books are turned into movies or TV shows. I can easily get disappointed even by book covers when the models/actors don't look like I pictured them or worse when the plot of the books are changed for movies/TV. This wasn't the case with Outlander. All the characters were just as I imagined. The only thing that surprised me was amount of sex Claire is having. I read these books as a young teenager and either I blocked that aspect out or I have forgotten about it. These books reminded me of how historical fiction can teach you history (provided the history is accurate). I think I learned more about this period of history from the Outlander series than I did in 5 years of history classes. Congratulations to Diana Gabaldon!

That is all for me this week. I hope you have a great week and Happy Reading.


2012 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - December 2012

It's time for the 2012 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars for December 2012!



As part of this year's Debut Author Challenge I thought it would be fun for you to choose a favorite cover from each month's debut novels. At the end of the year the 12 monthly winners will be pitted against each other to choose the 2012 Debut Novel Cover of the Year. Please note that a debut novel cover is eligible in the month in which the novel is released in the US.

Later this month you will be voting for the 2012 Debut Novel Cover of the Year!

You have 5 novels to choose from for December.































2012 Debut Author Challenge - December 2012 Debuts

2012 Debut Author Challenge - December 2012 Debuts

There are 5 debuts for December.  Please note that I use the publisher's publication date in the United States, not copyright dates or non-US publication dates.

The December debut authors and their novels are listed in alphabetical order by author (not book title or publication date). Pick one or more and let us know in the comments which one(s) you'll be reading. If I've missed any, let me know in the comments.

Take a good look at the covers. Voting for your favorite December cover for the 2012 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place later this month.





Demon's Curse
Author:  Alexa Egan
Series:  Imnada Brotherhood
Publisher:  Pocket Books, December 26, 2012
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 400 pages
Price:  $7.99
Genre:  Paranormal Historical Romance
ISBN:  9781451672909

2012 Debut Author Challenge - December 2012 Debuts
She holds the key . . .

One of the mythical race of shape-shifting Imnada and a member of an elite military unit, Captain Mac Flannery suffers under a ruthless curse. As the result of a savage massacre on the eve of Waterloo, he and the men he served with are forced to live the hours of darkness trapped as their animal aspects. Now one of them has been murdered, and Mac suspects the existence of the Imnada may finally have been discovered. His only link to unearthing the truth—Bianca Parrino, the beautiful actress whom every man desires.

. . . to his forbidden desires

Forging a new life for herself after escaping the clutches of her abusive husband, Bianca is again drawn into violence when a dear friend is brutally murdered and she becomes a suspect. Forced to place her trust and her life in Mac’s hands as they flee a determined killer, Bianca cannot deny she is falling for the mysterious soldier. But will his dark secrets tear them asunder? Or will love be the key to breaking even the cruelest of spells?





The Trouble with Fate
Author:  Leigh Evans
Series:  Mystwalker
Publisher:  St. Martin's Press, December 24, 2012
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 368 pages
Price:  $7.99
Genre:  Urban Fantasy
ISBN:  9781250006400

2012 Debut Author Challenge - December 2012 Debuts
My name is Hedi Peacock and I have a secret. I’m not human, and I have the pointy Fae ears and Were inner-bitch to prove it. As fairy tales go, my childhood was damn near perfect, all fur and magic until a werewolf killed my father and the Fae executed my mother. I’ve never forgiven either side. Especially Robson Trowbridge. He was a part-time werewolf, a full-time bastard, and the first and only boy I ever loved. That is, until he became the prime suspect in my father’s death…

Today I’m a half-breed barista working at a fancy coffee house, living with my loopy Aunt Lou and a temperamental amulet named Merry, and wondering where in the world I’m going in life. A pretty normal existence, considering. But when a pack of Weres decides to kidnap my aunt and force me to steal another amulet, the only one who can help me is the last person I ever thought I’d turn to: Robson Trowbridge. And he’s as annoyingly beautiful as I remember. That’s the trouble with fate: Sometimes it barks. Other times it bites. And the rest of the time it just breaks your heart. Again…





The Spear of Destiny
Black Sun Reich (Part 1 of 3)
Author:  Trey Garrison
Series:  Far Ranger Adventure
Publisher:  HarperVoyager, December 18, 2012
Format:  eBook, 100 pages
Price:  $0.99
Genre:  Alternate History/Horror/Adventure
ISBN:  9780062261250

2012 Debut Author Challenge - December 2012 Debuts
Black Sun Reich: Part One of three in The Spear of Destiny, the first novel in a new steampunk, horror, alternate history, action-adventure series set in a 1920s where the Nazis have begun their subjugation of the world using the occult, advanced science, and a holy relic with awesome powers.

And don't miss the other parts of this serialized novel—Part Two: Death's Head Legion and Part Three: Shadows Will Fall.

Trey Garrison recaptures the unapologetic adventure, wonder, and excitement of the classic pulp fiction of the 1930s and 1940s, blending elements of steampunk with deeply researched historical fiction and a good dose of humor. The novel also explores major philosophical and moral issues relevant to our contemporary world: the trade-off between security and liberty, the morality of preemptive war, and what fundamentally separates good from evil.

The North American continent is made up of several rival nations, and a Cold War is building among them. The Nazis rose to power a decade ago. People travel by airship, and powerful organizations calculate with Babbage's Difference Engine. The Nazis have hatched a plot to raise a legion of undead soldiers.

Enter Sean Fox Rucker and Jesus D'Anconia Lago, two Great War veterans and freelance pilots who are pulled into the quest. They are joined by a brash Greek merchant, a brilliant Jewish cowboy, and the woman who once broke Rucker's heart. This ragtag band of reluctant, bickering, swashbuckling heroes is soon locked in a globe-spanning race against Nazi occultists, clockwork assassins, and a darkly charismatic commando. In a world where science and the supernatural coexist, and the monsters of legend are as real as the necromancers who summon them from murky realms, our heroes alone stand before the rising shadows. But all their efforts may not be enough.





Nexus
Author:  Ramez Naam 
Publisher:  Angry Robot, December 18, 2012 (USA/Canada)
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook
Price:  $14.99
Genre:  Science Fiction
ISBN:  9780857662934

2012 Debut Author Challenge - December 2012 Debuts
Mankind gets an upgrade

In the near future, the experimental nano-drug Nexus can link human together, mind to mind. There are some who want to improve it. There are some who want to eradicate it. And there are others who just want to exploit it.

When a young scientist is caught improving Nexus, he’s thrust over his head into a world of danger and international espionage – for there is far more at stake than anyone realizes.

File Under: Science Fiction [ Humanity 2.0 | Mind Matters | Hive | This Will Happen ]





Sealed with a Curse
Author:  Cecy Robson
Series:  Weird Girls
Publisher:  Signet Eclipse, December 31, 2012 
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 368 pages
Price:  $7.99
Genre:  Urban Fantasy Romance
ISBN9780451416735

2012 Debut Author Challenge - December 2012 Debuts
Celia Wird and her three sisters are just like other 20-something girls—with one tiny exception: they're products of a backfired curse that has given each of them unique powers that make them, well, weird…

The Wird sisters are content to avoid the local vampires, werebeasts, and witches of the Lake Tahoe region—until one of them blows up a vampire in self-defense. Everyone knows vampires aren't aggressive, and killing one is punishable by death. But soon more bloodlust-fueled attacks occur, and the community wonders: are the vampires of Tahoe cursed with a plague?

Celia reluctantly agrees to help Misha, the handsome leader of an infected vampire family. But Aric, the head of the werewolf pack determined to destroy Misha's family to keep the region safe, warns Celia to stay out of the fight. Caught between two hot alphas, Celia must find a way to please everyone, save everyone, and oh yeah, not lose her heart to the wrong guy—or die a miserable death. Because now that the evil behind the plague knows who Celia is, it’s coming for her and her sisters. This Wird girl has never had it so tough.






Melanie's Week in Review - December 13, 2015Melanie's Week in Review - April 19, 20152012 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - December 20122012 Debut Author Challenge - December 2012 Debuts

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