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A blog about books and other things speculative

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Melanie's Week in Review - June 7, 2015


Melanie's Week in Review - June 7, 2015


Wowser! Its been a 3 whole weeks since I regaled you with reviews of all the books I had read. Have you missed me?  I certainly hope so for I have missed you and writing this. I apologise for the lack of WIR but I have been on holiday, mainly visiting my elderly mother which didn't leave a lot of time for either reading or writing reviews. I am back now and I have a couple of great books to tell you about.


Melanie's Week in Review - June 7, 2015
I started my holiday with the final book in Susan Ee's Penryn and the End of Days series. I absolutely loved book 1  - Angelfall which introduced us to the plucky teenager Penryn, her disturbed mother and disabled sister. She was doing everything she could to survive following the angel apocalypse. She is joined by one of the enemy  - an angel named Rafe who has lost his wings. I didn't however, enjoy book 2 - World After as much as I felt Penryn spent more time swooning over Rafe than she did trying to save her family. Book 3 is the end of the trilogy which finds Penryn a leader in the revolution against the tyranny of the angels. Part of her journey involves uncovering Rafe's past and she isn't sure whether or not he is as innocent as those snowy white wings have led led her to believe. I thought this final instalment was an improvement on the previous novel however, neither has lived up to the gripping excitement and overall 'coolness' of book 1 - Angelfall. I think that Ee would have had a much more powerful story had she not resorted to the happy ever ending.


Melanie's Week in Review - June 7, 2015
I then discovered that the latest in the Charley Davidson series by Darynda Jones had been published - Eighth Grave After Dark. The story starts several months after the end of book 7 with Charley and Reyes now living in an abandoned convent so that she can escape the hellhounds that are baying for her blood. Charley has more than just the birth of her baby to celebrate but the marriage of her best friend Cookie and her uncle Ubie. Nothing is ever straight forward for Charley as the ghost of an murdered nun needs her help to solve her murder, there is the issue of the hell hounds to resolve, Reyes hasn't slept in months and oh yeah, she is about to give birth to a prophecy. All in a days work.

I have enjoyed this series but I did find that this instalment really dragged until almost the ending. Apart from the dead nun plot line it could have read like one of those filler shows on TV composed of flashbacks. However, things started to get very exciting towards the end and Jones leaves us with a corker of a ending. I can hardly wait until book 9!


Melanie's Week in Review - June 7, 2015
Another instalment out this week was Red Angel which is the fourth in Helen Harper's Bo Blackman's series. Bo has become somewhat of a celebrity following the events at the ending of book 3. With the help of the daemon X Bo's rise to stardom turns meteoric much to her disdain. Her popularity with the press makes it very difficult to investigate the missing persons case of Tobias Renfrew - the billionaire daemon who went missing in the 60's. The investigation is secondary and you could even say tertiary to the real storyline which is Bo's relationship with her maker the enigmatic vampire Michael and the ever increasingly blurred line between her humanity and the monster within.

I liked this instalment. Harper keeps it gritty with Bo's descent into her dark side through the events that unfold during her investigation of the missing person's case. This is a very quick read as are all of Harper's books. I wouldn't say it is the best writing ever but still entertaining. Love, love, love the cover!


Melanie's Week in Review - June 7, 2015The final book I am going to tell you about switches from urban fantasy to science fiction with Elizabeth Bear's Jenny Casey series, specifically book 1  - Hammered. This is very much the story of the former Canadian soldier Jenny Casey who is one of the first human cyborgs. She had been enjoying relative anonymity until the army comes calling again and she finds herself just another cog in the race into space. Jenny is lured back to Canada with a tale that her implants are failing and without more pioneering surgery she will soon die. The stick to this carrot is that Jenny has to help the government get the first spaceship up and running. While the story is about Jenny we are also introduced to Razorface her enhanced friend and gang kingpin who along with a former cop and an assassin try to solve a murder and to find a way to help Jenny. The story also include POVs from other minor characters but the 'action' is focused on what is happening to Jenny and to Razorface.

I enjoyed this book and thought that Bear was brave having her protagonist be a 50 year old female who is covered in scars and is almost more machine than human. I also found the pacing consistent all the way through with a good mix of action and back-story. I did, however, find some of the wording a bit odd and I felt in parts that it had been translated into English (and not the parts where the characters were speaking French either!). Overall, a good read and I have already bought book 2.


That is it for me for this week. I hope you have had a good week in reading.  I have some crackers of books lined up for next week so until then Happy Reading.

The Pros and Cons of Being an Angel - December 6, 2013



The Pros and Cons of Being an Angel - December 6, 2013I was never a big fan of books involving angels. It wasn't until I read Angelfall by Susan Ee and when I was completely blown away by that book that I decided that perhaps angels were better heroes than I had thought. I am sure that you think I am weird for not liking these heavenly creatures but they were always just a bit too good, a bit too gorgeous and a bit too stereotypical for me to really think they were credible hero material. I have read a number of books since and a few with other avian species such as harpies, gryphons and other birds but I feel that maybe I have been more unfair to more saintly of our feathered friends. I have been thinking about what it would be like to have your very own set of celestial wings and have come up with a list of the pros and cons of being an angel.




Pros:
    The Pros and Cons of Being an Angel - December 6, 2013
  1. Wings make for the perfect accessory that will never go out of style. 
  2. You could save on domestic fights and never get stuck in traffic jams.
  3. You have built in sunshade for lounging on the beach.
  4. Dusting the house would take half the time with your very own in-built feather dusters.
  5. You would be the first choice for christmas concerts or singing in a choir.
  6. As you would be immortal you have lots of opportunity to learn several languages, learn to play a few instruments and play the stock market.
  7. If you didn't have a pen to hand one of your feathers would make a handy quill. Just remember to carry ink in your handbag.
  8. You never have to worry about 'does my bum look big in this' as your wings provide effective camouflage.
  9. Your innate ability to play the lute and harp would give you the potential of play at renaissance fairs or in movies set in medieval times.
  10. Someone standing to close to you? No problem, just knock them to one side by stretching out your powerful wings. Very handy if travelling on London Underground. The reverse would apply if you wanted to hide any PDAs with your sweetie - you could hide your smooching from the public with your wings.


Cons:

The Pros and Cons of Being an Angel - December 6, 2013
1. Finding clothes that fit over your wings would be extremely difficult or you need to stick to wearing halter tops. If you were a boy angel you would have to go topless which could get chilly.
2. Your friends would always want to bum a ride when they were late for work.
3. You could never have cats.
4. You wouldn't be able to go swimming or scuba diving.
5. You would be prone to show off with your glorious wings
6. You'd be stuck always sleeping on your stomach.
7. Might be hard to keep friends with your gorgeous wings, immortality and omnipotence.
8. It would be impossible to find an umbrella large enough to keep your wings dry in rainy weather.
9. It would be really hard to look over your shoulder.
10. You could never sit in a chair or sofa with a back rest. Furnishing your home might be a challenge.



If you are interested in finding out whether you agree/disagree with my list, here are some series that feature angels to get you on your way. I would LOVE to know what you think of my pros and cons and if you can think of anymore.



Susan Ee - Penryn and the End of Days

1.  Angelfall
2.  World After


    Nalini Singh - Guild Hunter 

    1.  Angel's Judgment
    2.  Angels' Blood
    3.  Archangel's Kiss
    4.  Archangel's Consort
    5.  Archangel's Blade
    6.  Archangel's Storm
    7.  Archangel's Legion


    Kate Griffin - Matthew Swift

    1.  A Madness of Angels
    2.  The Midnight Mayor
    3.  The Neon Court
    4.  The Minority Council


    Linda Poitevin - Grigori Legacy

    1.  Sins of the Angels
    2.  Sins of the Son
    3.  Sins of the Lost


    If you like angels, you may enjoy the Angels of Darkness anthology featuring novellas by Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews, Sharon Shinn, and Meljean Brook.  See Qwill's review of the Sharon Shinn novella, Nocturne, here.

    Melanie's Week in Review - November 24, 2013



    Melanie's Week in Review - November 24, 2013




    This week I am going to do something a little different. I am going to tell you a story...

    Melanie's Week in Review - November 24, 2013
    Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess slightly chubby 40-something reviewer ...who I will name Melanie. Melanie was waiting one cold and frosty morning for bus to go to the gym. She happened to glance at her mobile phone and saw an email from Amazon informing her of a recent order. To her delight the princess reviewer Melanie, read on to discover that book 2 of the Penryn and the End of Days series by Susan Ee, World After had been released. Despite it being 6am and a mere 4C Melanie jumped up and down with delight quickly downloading the book. Even though Melanie had received books from her fairy god mother Qwill  months before that she still hadn't read or reviewed such as City of Bones by Bailey Cunningham and she still hadn't finished King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence she just couldn't resist reading the book she had been looking forward to reading It wasn't long before her chariot bus arrived and she was tucked into reading the book.

    Over the next few days Melanie furiously read the book and while she had been eagerly anticipating the new release she was left at the end, a tad disappointed. The lead protagonist Penryn was still forthright and courageous but there was however, very little interaction with the angel Rafe or at least not until the very end. She felt it was aimed more obviously to a younger reader than than book 1. It was still pretty grisly in parts and a nice cliff hanger at the end that entices the reader for book 3.

    With World After finished Melanie had much to do to return her book reading kingdom to its former, more organized glory. Who knows what literary delight will be waiting for the princess reviewer the next time she waits for her chariot bus to pick her up and drive her into the golden sunrise.

    .....The End





    Melanie's Week in Review - November 24, 2013Well I hope you enjoyed that little tale. Before you think I am completely off my rocker I will share with you what else I read this week. I finished both Pantomine (Pantomime 1) by Laura Lam and at long last King of Thorns (The Broken Empire 2) by Mark Lawrence. While initially I was gripped by Pantomine I thought it really dragged at the end and I totally guessed at the ending. I knew that it was Young Adult Fantasy, but I was just hoping it wouldn't have been so obviously aimed at the younger reader. I have a bad habit of knowing a book/series is aimed at a younger reader and then still hoping the main characters don't act their age.  It's a bit unfair of me to expect this especially as Lam has created a really interesting world. Overall, I liked it want to continue with the series.

    I will admit that King of Thorns was hard going. I love Lawrence's writing style and world building however, this book with its jostling back and forth from past to present was a bit overwhelming. I think I should have pushed myself to read it in one go as with big delays between chapters made it all the more difficult to re-engage with. Jorg and the other main characters are very unlikeable so that combined with a complex plot, fantasy world and mix of past and present make the second installment of this series a bit harder to read.

    I just barely...and I mean just barely started City of Bones by Bailey Cunningham so I feel that I am on my way to getting back on my reading track. That's it for me this week. I hope you enjoyed my attempt at creative writing and that you have a great week ahead. Until next week Happy Reading.

    Melanie's Week in Review - June 7, 2015The Pros and Cons of Being an Angel - December 6, 2013Melanie's Week in Review - November 24, 2013

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