Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Jaz Parks 3: Biting the Bullet

Well, she followed the formula again. This time the new race of spookies were these creepy emotion-suckers that steal emotions from the host while the host kills or tortures someone. Creepy, eh?

But, we find out some really crazy intel on Jaz's family members during this book. Life-changing crazy intel. And, Vayl and Jaz have their own little dramas throughout. A pretty intense drama at one point. And, of course, Cole takes the opportunity to profess his undying love to Jaz and finally ask her if they can act on those feelings. We'll see where that goes in the future. So, not much new to report, still a fun read and on to the next book.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Jaz Parks 2: Another One Bites the Dust

This one had all the requirements for a sequel that I like. It was as action-packed and bum-kicking as the original AND it added a new race of "others" to the list of bad guys. This time Jaz goes after a few reavers in her search for Samos. And they do some pretty cool things. They have shields that only Jaz can see with her new sensitivity.

She basically has to time her attacks to slide between the reavers' shields. The term reavers makes me think of the creepy things from Firefly. These are not exactly similar. But, they are soul-eaters who lick souls with their studded tongues and slurp them into the third eye on their forehead (eww!). So, Jaz has to deal with these guys while trying to thwart a terrorist attack by vampires that could trigger a world war.

Heavy, right? This is a great fun read. If you're into urban fantasy heroine-focused series, this is a great one to get on your ereader to-read list.

Definitely a good time! Next up, Jennifer Rardin's Jaz Parks series book three: Biting the Bullet.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Way of Kings, Brandon Sanderson

I finished Brandon Sanderson's The Way of Kings, book one of The Stormlight Archive. It. Is. Awesome. Granted, I've been in love with Sanderson's writing since Elantris. But this is excellent. He is an amazing world-builder, magic system constructer and such a concise and (a huge deal for my inner-editor) grammatically skilled. I just hate when a fantasy writer rambles on about a knoll for three pages or his or her writing is marred by being riddled with typos and grammatical errors. But I digress.

Way of Kings reminds me in some ways of Mistborn, but bigger. Sanderson revisits some devices from Mistborn also. The introductions to the chapters in Mistborn were paragraphs from a journal kept by one of the characters. Sanderson uses the exact device here. I won't spoil whose journal this is, as you don't discover that until well into the book.

Also, Way of Kings protagonist (one of many) Kaladin harkens back to Mistborn's Kelsier. It bothered me at first. I kept wondering who this character reminded me of and I think my brain just ignored Kelsier because of the name similarity. Just like I initially ignored my comparison of Mistborn's Vin to Wheel of Time's Min for the same reason. But, the feeling both characters leave me with is that of a strong rebel who turns into a fierce leader due to circumstance. Kaladin is by no means the "main character" here, though he is one of my favorites. There are a ridiculous amount of main characters. And, instead of an ensemble cast of underdeveloped characters, Sanderson employs a technique used in some of the classic fantasy series. Each character is developed in epic detail by going back and forth between the realms of each "main" character. At some point, the realms will likely collide.

In its character, The Way of Kings may be the beginning Sanderson's own Wheel of Time. He is already finishing that series for deceased author Robert Jordan (and, in my opinion, no offense to Jordan as he was ill the last several books, he is doing a better job than was being done in the previous several WOT books). Now Sanderson is creating his own in The Stormlight Archive. The series promises to be excellent. If the rest of the book and series follow through with the grace that the first half of The Way of Kings has, The Stormlight Archive may be this generation's ultimate fantasy series. Its creativity and detail in world-building and character (and even national) interaction lead it to stand out as only a few modern works are capable, Wheel of Time being the most recent and Lord of the Rings being the most prominent.

My mind boggles at how all the events could possibly happen in one book that occurred in Way of Kings. And, of course, I cannot wait for book two to come out. It looks like the plan is to release book two in fall 2012, two years after the first book's release. That seems like an awfully long time to wait. In between those books, Sanderson will release the final installment of the more than 20-year Wheel of Time saga as well as another Alcatraz the Librarian series book. So, it's not like he's just twiddling his thumbs. But I still find myself a little impatient for the Stormlight Archive release.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Opal Cowan Series Review

I just finished Maria V. Snyder's Glass/Opal Cowan series (Storm GlassSea Glass and Spy Glass). It was compelling and included just the right amount of "cameos" for the Study Series characters. All of the major players were included (save perhaps the Commander, who was only mentioned) but did not dominate scenes or events in the book. They were used appropriately as supporting cast. It was great to see those characters alive again without turning the series into Study, Part 2.

I only have one chief complaint, which has nothing to do with the writing, just an issue I had with a relationship between characters in the book. I won't espouse on that now, as it would be a spoiler. Suffice it to say, it's a sort of Team Edward vs. Team Jacob kind of thing. But, beyond that, the message is a poor one sort of like saying vampires are OK to date, but something more rational and real world that should mean someone is undateable. But I digress.

Snyder again fleshed out her characters well and made me read all three books in the span of a few days (much like when I read the Study series). It's a beautifully-written modern fantasy series and Snyder's Inside Out is in my ereader to be accessed in the very near future.

Jaz Parks Once Bitten, Twice Shy Review

I recall in college a friend of mine would compare whether it was a "good movie" or a "good time," meaning it was either truly a good piece of cinematic art or just an enjoyable movie to watch. The Jaz Parks series is definitely a "good time," it's not epic literature, it's just a fun read. It's an action-oriented urban fantasy with a strong female lead (one of my guilty pleasures). I loved it.

With the holidays, this one took me a while to read, but it was one of those I wished I didn't have to put down. The heroine, Jaz, and her love interest, Vayl, are pretty well developed in this first book and I look forward to some of the other side characters like family members, co-workers and friends being fleshed out a bit more throughout the series. Author Jennifer Rardin debuted this series well with Orbit Books. They immediately booked her for two more in the series and she has since published a total of 7 in this series.

The action and character development progress in parallel well, without dropping one or the other for two long. The story progresses well and (sometimes more importantly) ends well, but still leaves you wanting to see what's next for the characters.

I've been known to drop a series or two after the first book if I don't truly enjoy it, but this will not be one of them. This urban fantasy series fits the bill for those who love characters like Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake and Kim Harrison's Rachel Morgan.

Happy reading!

PS: Looking for a virtual book club? Check out Life as Mom's, I'll be joining in.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

In my ereader now...

I have Jennifer Rardin's Jaz Parks series. Book one, Once Bitten, Twice Shy published by Orbit Books has been in my ereader for a while now (the holidays slowed me down). The series is an urban fantasy set in the vein of Kim Harrison's The Hollows series, Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake and Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson series. The superbad heroine, policesque protagonist who has some sort of supernatural powers or connections.

These books are short ones (about 150 pages) so the series should go fast. So far, it's action packed and filled with vampires, soul-eaters and mysterious humans.

Also, be sure to check out Lifeasmom's Booking it in 2011 project.

Site Launch

Welcome to I'm an ereading junkie! I will be letting you in on what's burning up my ereader this week as well as what's in the "hopper" for the upcoming weeks and months. I read a variety of thrillers, crime novels, fantasy and urban fantasy but I'm open to just about anything!