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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. 

2012 Debut Author Challenge Update - Part 13 - Chuck Wendig


What are the 2012 Debut Author Challenge Authors up to?  Perhaps you were wondering why Chuck Wendig had not yet been mentioned? So many books by Mr. Wendig have been published since the first of his Miriam Black novels, Blackbirds, that he needs his own update! This is appropriately the 13th in a series of posts.



See Part 1 here.
See Part 2 here.
See Part 3 here.
See Part 4 here.
See Part 5 here.
See Part 6 here.
See Part 7 here.
See Part 8 here.
See Part 9 here.
See Part 10 here.
See Part 11 here.
See Part 12 here.



Mockingbird
Miriam Black 2
Angry Robot, August 28, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

2012 Debut Author Challenge Update - Part 13 - Chuck Wendig
Miriam is trying to keep her ability – her curse – in check.

But when Miriam touches a woman in line at the supermarket, she sees that the woman will be killed here, now.

She reacts, and begins a new chapter in her life – one which can never be expected to go well.

File Under: Urban Fantasy [ Touch of Death | Futures & Pasts | Unlucky Louis | Enduring ]




Unclean Spirits
Gods and Monsters 1
Abaddon, May 7, 2013
Trade Papeback and eBook, 320 pages

2012 Debut Author Challenge Update - Part 13 - Chuck Wendig
The force of nature that is Chuck Wendig returns with an original urban fantasy novel, creating a brand new series for Abaddon Books.

Five years ago, it all went wrong for Cason Cole. He lost his wife and son, lost everything, and was bound into service to a man who chews up human lives and spits them out, a predator who holds nothing dear and respects no law. Now, as the man he both loves and hates lies dying at his feet, the sounds of the explosion still ringing in his ears, Cason is finally free. The gods and goddesses are real. A polytheistic pantheon—a tangle of divine hierarchies—once kept the world at an arm’s length, warring with one another for mankind’s belief and devotion. It was a grim and bloody balance, but a balance just the same. When one god triumphed, driving all other gods out of Heaven, it was back to the bad old days: cults and sycophants, and the terrible retribution the gods visit on those who spite them. None of which is going to stop Cason from getting back what’s his...




Dinocalypse Now
Dinocalypse Trilogy 1
Evil Hat Productions, May 7, 2013
Trade Paperback and eBook, 240 pages

2012 Debut Author Challenge Update - Part 13 - Chuck Wendig
AN INVASION... FROM PREHISTORY!

When the Century Club is called in to prevent the assassination of FDR, it’s just another day on the job—but what they discover puts not just the President, but the entire world in jeopardy.

With psychic dinosaurs taking over Manhattan and beyond, it’s up to Sally Slick, Jet Black, Mack Silver, and the other Centurions to save humanity—from extinction!




The Blue Blazes
Mookie Pearl 1
Angry Robot, May 28, 2013
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

2012 Debut Author Challenge Update - Part 13 - Chuck Wendig
Meet Mookie Pearl.

Criminal underworld? He runs in it.

Supernatural underworld? He hunts in it.

Nothing stops Mookie when he’s on the job.

But when his daughter takes up arms and opposes him, something’s gotta give…

File Under: Urban Fantasy [ Family Matters | When Underworlds Collide | Thrill of the Hunt | Chips and Old Blocks ]




Beyond Dinocalypse
Dinocalypse Trilogy 2
Evil Hat Productions, July 16, 2013
Trade Paperback and eBook, 240 pages

2012 Debut Author Challenge Update - Part 13 - Chuck Wendig
BOOK TWO OF THE DINOCALYPSE TRILOGY!

Thrown through time and space, Jet Black and his friends find themselves in a future that has changed everything they’ve ever known. Hunted, exhausted, and desperate to return home, they must stay one step ahead of the conquering psychosaurs who have taken over the world and enslaved humanity!

But as the world changed, so did the people they left behind. Bitter enemies turn into vital allies and old friends sacrifice their ideals to seek victory by any means necessary in this fast-paced sequel to Dinocalypse Now!




Under the Empyrean Sky
The Heartland Trilogy 1
Skyscape, July 30, 2013
Hardback and Kindle eBook, 354 pages
(Grades 7-9)

2012 Debut Author Challenge Update - Part 13 - Chuck Wendig
Fear the Corn.

Corn is king in the Heartland, and Cael McAvoy has had enough of it. It's the only crop the Empyrean government allows the people of the Heartland to grow—and the genetically modified strain is so aggressive that it takes everything the Heartlanders have just to control it. As captain of the Big Sky Scavengers, Cael and his crew sail their rickety ship over the corn day after day, scavenging for valuables. But Cael's tired of surviving life on the ground while the Empyrean elite drift by above in their extravagant sky flotillas. He's sick of the mayor's son besting Cael's crew in the scavenging game. And he's worried about losing Gwennie—his first mate and the love of his life—forever when their government-chosen spouses are revealed. But most of all, Cael is angry—angry that their lot in life will never get better and that his father doesn't seem upset about any of it. When Cael and his crew discover a secret, illegal garden, he knows it’s time to make his own luck...even if it means bringing down the wrath of the Empyrean elite and changing life in the Heartland forever.




Cormorant (Miraim Black 3) will be out in December.

Melanie's Week in Review - December 15, 20132012 Debut Author Challenge Update - Part 13 - Chuck Wendig

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