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Coming Soon: The Core by Peter V. Brett

 

Title: The Core

Author: Peter V. Brett

Series: The Demon Cycle #5

Genre: Fantasy

Release Date: August 15, 2017

The Overview: For time out of mind, bloodthirsty demons have stalked the night, culling the human race to scattered remnants dependent on half-forgotten magics to protect them. Then two heroes arose—men as close as brothers, yet divided by bitter betrayal. Arlen Bales became known as the Warded Man, tattooed head to toe with powerful magic symbols that enable him to fight demons in hand-to-hand combat—and emerge victorious. Jardir, armed with magically warded weapons, called himself the Deliverer, a figure prophesied to unite humanity and lead them to triumph in Sharak Ka—the final war against demonkind. -Goodreads

Nik’s Notes:

Because of the slow-goings an odd story construction of the first two books in this series (of what I’ve read so far, anyway) I would have a very difficult time recommending it. That said, I currently feel very invested in the story and its characters. I think I’m enjoying the story a lot more then several of my Goodreads mates. It’s nice being the odd man out in a good way for a change, you know? ;-) In any case, assuming I continue enjoying each book, I’m hoping to be ready for the final one, The Core, out in August. This is one instance where I’m glad the books have been collecting dust on my shelves for years – I get to devour them all in one fell swoop!

by Niki Hawkes

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Short Story Reviews: Brayan’s Gold and The Great Bazaar by Peter V. Brett

The Reviews:

I hadn’t originally planned to write reviews for these short stories, but I have a few more opinions than anticipated lol. Here goes:


Brayan's Gold by Peter V. Brett

The Book Info: Brayan’s Gold by Peter V. Brett

The Overview: Arlen Bales 17, apprentice Messenger in brand new armor, is ready for the first time beside a trained Messenger on a simple overnight trip. Instead Arlen finds himself alone on a frozen mountainside, carrying a dangerous cargo to Count Brayan’s gold mine, one of the furthest points in the duchy. And One Arm, giant rock demon, hunts him still. Novella. -Goodreads

[3 stars] Of these two, I liked Brayan’s Gold the most. It was a true tangent from the middle of The Warded Man and had nothing to do with the overall arc of the main story (more so than usual, anyway… this author definitely has his own unique way of getting to the point). But I did enjoy it, mostly because I thought the snow demon was pretty cool. While I feel it was worth my time, I can’t say the same about the next one.


The Great Bazaar by Peter V. Brett

The Book Info: The Great Bazaar by Peter V. Brett

The Overview: Humanity is nearly extinct after 300 years of hungry demon corelings. A handful of Messengers brave the night between the increasingly isolated populace behind protective wards. Arlen Bales will search anywhere, dare anything, to save the world. Maybe Abban, a merchant in the Great Bazaar of Krasia who purports to sell anything, has the answer. -Goodreads

Great Bazaar [1.5 stars]: I didn’t get a single thing out of this short story that wasn’t already presented in The Warded Man. The first few pages were promising, but it was all downhill from there. I was hoping for more cultural immersion or at the very least some character development, but all I got was an expansion of a minor plot element for which I’d already known the outcome. I’d say pass on this one and move right along to The Desert Spear – it’ll give you cultural immersion tenfold.


Overall, I’m really excited to read more from this author, despite the hit or miss with the short stories. I find his unconventional story construction oddly refreshing. I’ve been warned about the second and third books by multiple people, so we’ll see how it goes. XD

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes

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Top Ten Upcoming 2017 Book Releases!

I may have mentioned at some point that I write bi-weekly reviews for a local newspaper [suindependent.com]. Recently they requested an upcoming releases feature and I was more than happy to oblige. Some of the text may look familiar from other posts I’ve done, but don’t let that distract from your excitement of these awesome new books!

Top Ten Upcoming 2017 Book Releases!


Book Info: Apex by Mercedes Lackey [Hunter #3]

Release Date: September 5, 2017

Mercedes Lackey strikes again!! Hunter and Elite are easily my favorite YA releases from the last couple of years. They have interesting characters, great action, awesome fantasy elements (with a slight dystopian twist), and a storyline revolving in no small part around competition. I totally devoured them, and have been waiting impatiently all year for the next book.


Book Info: Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson [Stormlight Archive #3]

Release Date: November 14, 2017

I imagine Oathbringer is number one on most people’s list of most anticipated releases of 2017. The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance are two of the best books I’ve ever read and I consider them must-reads for the genre. Having read everything Sanderson has on the market, I’m justifiably confident that this third Stormlight Archive book is going to be amazing! I CAN’T WAIT!!!


Book Info: Into the Bright Unknown by Rae Carson [Goldseer #3]

Release Date: October 10, 2017

Carson’s Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy is my all time favorite teen fantasy series, and I have to say, even though the Walk on Earth a Stranger and Like a River Glorious leaned more towards historical fiction than fantasy, I enjoyed them immensely. This author writes amazing characters, compelling plot lines, and completely immerses her readers into her stories. I have no doubt Into the Bright Unknown will be a stellar conclusion to this great series.


[May 16, 2017] Assassin's Fate by Robin Hobb

Book Info: Assassin’s Fate by Robin Hobb [Fitz and the Fool #3]

Release Date: May 9, 2017

I’m very passionate about Hobb’s epic Fitz and the Fool saga. There have been so many profound moments throughout it, and it only seems to get more poignant with each book. I’m especially excited for Assassin’s Fate because it’s likely going to incorporate characters from The Rain Wilds series (which focused heavily on dragons <3), so I couldn’t be more excited. This is the sort of armchair adventure series that’s guaranteed to be a good read every time. I can’t wait!


Book Info: Midnight Jewel by Richelle Mead [Glittering Court #2]

Release Date: June 27, 2017

Richelle Mead has long been one of my top authors. The Glittering Court was the perfect cure for my Selection (the series by Kiera Cass) hangover. It had smart writing, girls in pretty dresses, and a fun dynamic between all the characters. Even though the story took an odd turn (for my tastes, anyway), I’m still eager to see where things go in the Midnight Jewel.


Book Info: Iron Gold by Pierce Brown [Iron Gold #1]

Release Date: October 31, 2017

If you haven’t yet read Red Rising [check out my Trilogy Review], chances are good that you’ve at least heard of it. And let me assure you, it’s worth every bit of the hype it receives. Iron Gold is a next-generation continuation of the story, and you’d better believe I’m excited to read it. Brown created such a cool framework for his society, and I am most eager to see how it has evolved after Morning Star’s events. October can’t come too soon!


August 15, 2017

Book Info: Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin

Release Date: August 15, 2017

I raved about this series in my reviews of Fifth Season & Obelisk Gate, and can’t imagine Stone Sky being any less brilliant. It’s such a unique story. Maybe a little hokey on occasion, but I guarantee you’ve never read anything quite like it. I’m mostly looking forward to having all of my questions answered… there are so many layers of mystery in this series that will hopefully come together with a bang.


Book Info: Persepolis Rising by James S.A. Corey [The Expanse #7]

Release Date: December 5, 2017

Reason for Recommending: The Expanse series is easily my favorite space opera science fiction on the market. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every book so far and hope Persepolis Rising regains some of that awesome momentum that Babylon’s Ashes was missing. The series has a lot of action, great characters, and tons of memorable moments. If you haven’t picked it up yet, what are you waiting for? It’s awesome!


Book Info: Legion of Flame by Anthony Ryan [Draconis Memoria #2]

Release Date: June 27, 2017

Reason for Recommending:  The Waking Fire is one of the best books I’ve ever read – it felt like it was written just for me! Dragons, adventure, steampunk, and so much more – it was awesome! Sandrunners: A Draconis Memoria short story was pretty good, but it didn’t do much to hold me over. I’m so excited for Legion of Flame, I can hardly stand it. Is it June yet?


Book Info: Obsidian and Stars by Julie Eshbaugh [Ivory and Bone #2]

Release Date: June 13, 2017

If you caught my recent review of Ivory and Bone, you’ll remember me saying I really enjoyed the book, but had a few issues with the logistics feeling a bit forced. Eshbaugh was modeling the story after Pride and Prejudice, trying to follow the same basic storyline. I am really hopeful that this sequel will feel a little more organic and free-flowing. I’m anticipating liking it even more. Ivory and Bone had such a cool prehistoric setting that I find myself already eager for more!


With so many great upcoming releases to look forward to, I feel I still have the best of 2017 to look forward to. I’ve added all of these amazing books (plus a few honorable mentions) to a shelf on my Goodreads page if you’d like to go read more about them. Please note that release dates are subject to change at any moment (and do), so don’t take my word as final. Happy reading! :-)

by Niki Hawkes

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Mini Book Review: Cursor’s Fury by Jim Butcher

Cursor's Furey by Jim Butcher

Title: Cursor’s Fury

Author: Jim Butcher

Series: The Codex Alera #3

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 5/5 stars!

The Overview: The power-hungry High Lord of Kalare has launched a rebellion against the aging First Lord, Gaius Sextus, who with the loyal forces of Alera must fight beside the unlikeliest of allies-the equally contentious High Lord of Aquitaine.  Meanwhile, young Tavi of Calderon joins a newly formed legion under an assumed name even as the ruthless Kalare unites with the Canim, bestial enemies of the realm whose vast numbers spell certain doom for Alera. When treachery from within destroys the army’s command structure, Tavi finds himself leading an inexperienced, poorly equipped legion-the only force standing between the Canim horde and the war-torn realm. -Goodreads

The Mini Review:

The Codex Alera is shaping up to becoming one of my favorite fantasy series. It’s already responsible for one of the best books I’ve ever read (Academ’s Fury) and I’d be hard-pressed to tell you why Cursor’s Fury doesn’t deserve a spot of honor right next to it. It focused more on the legionary aspect of the story, which brought along with it an excellent mix of battle scenes, intrigue, and character development. I loved absolutely everything about it. I’ve been stingy with solid 5-star ratings lately because I want them to signify an outstanding book and really mean something when I assign them. Cursor’s Fury deserved every last star and more.

Overall, I’m thrilled with this series and can’t wait to continue on. The first book, Furies of Calderon,was so average I almost didn’t keep reading. I am oh, so glad I did!

Other books you might like:

 by Niki Hawkes

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Tackling the TBR [22]: April 2017

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:

April 2017 TBR Tackler Shelf:

The Rithmatist and The Dragonbone Chair are both Buddy Reads with my Goodreads group, which should be fun (come join us!). Quite a few short stories in this line up because I’m on a kick (and it seems like a good way to catch up with my Tackler Carry-Overs. The book I’m most excited to read this month is Captain’s Furey by Jim Butcher.

Tackler Carry-Overs:

I AM CLEARLY FALLING BEHIND lol. I don’t mind having so many amazing titles to choose from each month, but this carry-over thing is getting a little out of hand. Never fear! I have a catch-up a month coming up in June.

In my defense, at lease six of these are in “currently reading” status.


Niki’s Incomplete Series Challenge [Via Fantasy Buddy Reads]

April 2017 Titles Tackled:

Finished Series: 0

Series Brought UTD: 1
Sandrunners: A Draconis Memoria Short Story – Anthony Ryan

Series Progressed: 5
Magic Bleeds – Ilona Andrews
Winter – Marissa Meyer
The Great Bazaar and Other Stories – Peter V. Brett
Brayan’s Gold – Peter V. Brett
Cursor’s Fury – Jim Butcher

New Series Started: 1
A Darker Shade of Magic – V.E. Schwab

Abandoned: 0

Pathetic. I may have started too many books at once. April’s totals should offset this considerably.

2017 YTD Tracker:

Finished Series: 1
Up To Date Series: 8
Series Progressed: 5
New Series Started: 8
Abandoned: 1

I think my new goal going forward in 2017 will be to get more series marked “finished.” It sounds good in theory, but I have a ton I just started that have 5+ books or more, so this might take a while… I am quite proud of the number of series I brought up to date.


Now, I can tell you from experience that this Tackling the TBR experiment is so much more fun and rewarding when there’s more than one person (me) participating. Does anybody want to play along?

Even if you don’t specifically use my system, 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

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Coming Soon: Legion of Flame by Anthony Ryan

Title: Legion of Flame

Author: Anthony Ryan

Series: Draconis Memoria #2

Genre: Fantasy

Release Date: June 27, 2017

The Overview: For centuries, the vast Ironship Trading Syndicate relied on drake blood–and the extraordinary powers it confers to those known as the Blood-blessed–to fuel and protect its empire. But now, a fearsome power has arisen–a drake so mighty that the world will tremble before it. Rogue Blood-blessed Claydon Torcreek, Syndicate agent Lizanne Lethridge, and ironship captain Corrick Hilemore embark upon perilous quests to chase down clues that offer faint hopes of salvation. As the world burns around them, and the fires of revolution are ignited, these few are the last hope for the empire, and all of civilization. -Goodreads 

Nik’s Notes:

 The Waking Fire is one of the best books I’ve ever read – it felt like it was written just for me! Dragons, adventure, steampunk, and so much more – it was awesome! The Sandrunner short story that goes along with it has also been really good, but it’s not doing much to hold me over. I’m so excited for Legion of Flame, I can hardly stand it. Is it June yet?

WHO ELSE IS EXCITED?!!

by Niki Hawkes