Coming Soon: Death’s Mistress by Terry Goodkind

January 10, 2017

Title: Death’s Mistress

Author: Terry Goodkind

Series: Sister of Darkness: The Nicci Chronicles #1

Genre: Fantasy

Release Date: January 10, 2017

The Overview: Onetime lieutenant of the evil Emperor Jagang, known as “Death’s Mistress” and the “Slave Queen”, the deadly Nicci captured Richard Rahl in order to convince him that the Imperial Order stood for the greater good. But it was Richard who converted Nicci instead, and for years thereafter she served Richard and Kahlan as one of their closest friends–and one of their most lethal defenders. Now, with the reign of Richard and Kahlan finally stablized, Nicci has set out on her own for new adventures. Her first job being to keep the unworldly prophet Nathan out of trouble… –Goodreads

Nik’s Notes:

No. Goodkind can’t do this to me after I finally made peace with DNFing Omen Machine. Now he has to come out with a new series from Nicci’s point of view? As soon as I found out about this, I started agonizing whether or not I really wanted to read it. After all, I DNFed Omen Machine for a reason (it was as if all of his bad habits of repetition and redundancy were back with a vengeance… I found the entire thing unbearably self-indulgent). Death’s Mistress means I’ll either have to catch up with the storyline (I don’t wanna), start it out of order (OCD WARNING: SYSTEM FAILURE!), Or ignore it. I’m both looking forward to and dreading its release in January.

What book are you waiting on?

by Niki Hawkes


Book Review: Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews

Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews

Title: Magic Burns

Author: Ilona Andrews

Series: Kate Daniels #2

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Rating: 4/5 stars

The Overview: Down in Atlanta, tempers – and temperatures – are about to flare… As a mercenary who cleans up after magic gone wrong, Kate Daniels has seen her share of occupational hazards. Normally, waves of paranormal energy ebb and flow across Atlanta like a tide. But once every seven years, a flare comes, a time when magic runs rampant. Now Kate’s going to have to deal with problems on a much bigger scale: a divine one. When Kate sets out to retrieve a set of stolen maps for the Pack, Atlanta’s paramilitary clan of shapeshifters, she quickly realizes much more at stake. During a flare, gods and goddesses can manifest – and battle for power. The stolen maps are only the opening gambit in an epic tug-of-war between two gods hoping for rebirth. And if Kate can’t stop the cataclysmic showdown, the city may not survive… -Goodreads

The Review:

After a while, all urban fantasies start to sound alike. Magic Burns was, unfortunately, no exception. Boasting a kickass, gun-toting heroine with unique powers, it was the epitome of typical. It also utilized cultural mythology to create the bad guys, which I suppose is a mite more creative than your typical werewolves and vampires, but still pretty common. So for those reasons, I can’t say I found anything about Magic Bites original…

…But I still really liked it.

Especially compared to Magic Bites (book 1 in the series), with which I had a lot of issues. This writing duo seems to have gotten into their stride with the second novel because all of my issues with the first one were nonexistent here. There was great romantic tension, the storyline felt more structured, and there was a more clear direction. I also laughed more within the first few chapters then I did the entire first book. In fact, I think it cracked me up more often than Harry Dresden, and that’s saying something.

I have to say thanks to all my Goodreads friends who urged me to keep reading because I enjoyed it Magic Burns thoroughly and can’t wait to pick up the next one. I’m now starting to appreciate why Ilona Andrews is considered a staple of the genre, and I have it on good authority that I ain’t seen nothing yet! :-)

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes


Tackling the TBR [18]: December 2016

tackling the TBR

It’s once again time for my favorite feature: Tackling the TBR! There’s nothing I love more than picking out which books to read next, and this slightly organized method of reading has really amped my enjoyment to the next level. Bring on the mantras!

Read the best books first.
Life is too short to read books you’re not enjoying.

However you put together your TBR for the next month, the goal is to reduce the amount of obligation in reading and increase the fun.

Here’s a look at how the system works:

1. Identify the titles that take top priority in your TBR.
2. Combine them all in your own Tackling the TBR post.
3. Throughout the month pick from that pile as the mood strikes you.

Here’s what mine looks like:

December 2016 TBR Tackler Shelf:

No doubt about it – Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs is the highest priority on this month’s Tackler Shelf (I’m so excited!). I have a lot more 500+ pages fantasy this month, so I doubt I’ll be able to make it through more than half of these titles.

Tackler Carry-overs:

I decided to expand my TBR tackler selection list to include titles on previous Tackling the TBR posts that I either didn’t have a chance to get to or am currently part way through. It gives me a more accurate snapshot of my progress over time and more potential high-priority titles to choose from each month. I’ve already started 3 of the 5 carryovers on the list. :-)

Feel free to share your versions of how you manage your TBR pile (and the links to your posts if applicable) in the comments. Maybe we can help make each other’s systems even better. :)

What books are you Tackling this month?

by Niki Hawkes


Trilogy Review: Raven’s Shadow by Anthony Ryan

The Raven’s Shadow Trilogy
by Anthony Ryan
4.5/5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed the Raven’s Shadow Trilogy, especially the first book, Blood Song. It was easily a 5 star read and one of the best fantasies I’ve read since Sanderson’s Stormlight Archives. It focused on one character – Vaelin, and his coming of age story. Taking place in the school (one of my favorite settings) it offered a combative learning environment that honestly reminded me of Harry Potter adventures meets the medieval, gritty reality of Game of Thrones. The camaraderie that Vaelin formed with his fellow “brothers” was an excellent dynamic, one which I wish had carried through the rest of the trilogy.

After finishing the first book (and fangirling about it for a few days) I quickly became aware that people weren’t loving the second and third books nearly as much. I have a few theories as to why. The sequels are very different from the first one. What an author puts forth in initially is usually a promise to the reader of what’s to come and readers expect at least a bit of consistency of storytelling (which Ryan failed to deliver because his tale took off in a completely different direction).

His story also went from a single point of view to multiple, bouncing around in a very Game of Thrones manner. I actually liked the different perspectives, each one adding a missing piece to the puzzle and written as well as Vaelin. Ironically, though, the passages involving Vaelin, the initial hero of the saga, became the least interesting… odd, right? This overall story arc remained the same, but everything built up in the first book got swept under the rug in favor of these other storylines.

While I understand how this could lead to a lot of disappointment, I admit I enjoyed Tower Lord (book 2) almost as much is the first book. Heck, I even liked about 80% of Queen of Fire (book 3) save one chunk near the end where I was incredibly bored and found it difficult to get through… once I did though, I liked the ending.

Overall, even though my personal experience with the series differs from the majority, I still think the consensus is that Blood Song is worth reading even if you don’t plan to continue on.

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes


Coming Soon: The Turn by Kim Harrison

the-turnTitle: The Turn

Author: Kim Harrison

Series: The Hollows #0.1

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Release Date: January 26, 2017

The Overview: Kim Harrison returns to her beloved Hollows series with The Turn, the official prequel to the series that will introduce fans and readers to a whole new side of Rachel Morgan’s world as they’ve never seen it before! Can science save us when all else fails? Trisk and her hated rival, Kalamack, have the same goal: save their species from extinction. Death comes in the guise of hope when a genetically modified tomato created to feed the world combines with the government’s new tactical virus, giving it an unexpected host and a mode of transport. Plague takes the world, giving the paranormal species an uncomfortable choice to stay hidden and allow humanity to die, or to show themselves in a bid to save them.

Nik’s Notes:

I was just lamenting to a friend how sad I was that The Hollows was finished. Even though The Turn won’t center around Rachel or any of her awesome co-stars, it covers a time period before the series that I’ve always wanted to know more about (the turn, obviously). I’m so excited – this prequel feels like finding an extra present under the Christmas tree!

What book are you waiting on?

by Niki Hawkes


Series Review: The Reckoners [1.5-3] by Brandon Sanderson

The Reckoners [1.5-3]
by Brandon Sanderson

Because I’ve already gushed in detail over Steelheart [4 stars] in a previous review, I wanted to give my brief impressions of the rest of this awesome trilogy.

Mitosis #1.5

This is one of the few novellas I felt actually added something essential to the series. The ongoing arc of The Reckoners is the characters’ struggle to figure out how epics’ weaknesses work. Mitosis offers so many clues! And I came away more pumped about the series than ever. This novella is totally worth your time if you plan to read the series.

4/5 stars

Firefight #2

I read The Reckoners series for book club, and it was pretty clear that I liked Firefight a lot more than my friends. I really liked the change of setting, thought the epics introduced were interesting, and found the whole thing wildly entertaining and funny the entire way through. However, my buddies thought it was good, but a little boring, taking a long time to get going (which ironically was my issue with the 3rd book (which they all loved)). The one thing we could all agree on was that we liked it, even if some did more than others. Firefight was my personal favorite of the series.

4.5/5 stars

Calamity #3

Even though I finished this series ages ago, I still felt compelled to write a review for it. I initially rated Calamity higher [4.5 stars] because I love the author and really enjoyed the series as a whole. It felt oddly disloyal to give it anything other than a stellar rating. If I’m honest, though, Calamity was my least favorite of the trilogy. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the book – it was a lot of fun and I even like how it ended (mostly). I just felt like it was a bit too repetitive at times and took too long to get going. Even so, 3.5 stars is still a “I liked it a lot, but I didn’t really, really like it” rating. ;)

3.5/5 stars

Overall, The Reckoners is another great work from Sanderson. It’s funny, action-packed, creative, and appeals to a wide audience. It’s an easy hand-sell to customers and one of my favorites to recommend.

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes