Review: The Grendel Affair

Title: The Grendel Affair
Author: Lisa Shearin
Format: Mass Market Paperback

The Plot: Makenna Fraser, a seer, loves her new job at SPI (Supernatural Protection & Investigations), an organization that protects humans and supernatural beings from each other while keeping humans unaware of the paranormal, but when she discovers a plot to set grendels loose in New York City on New Year’s Eve, her job description suddenly gets a lot more dangerous.

The Verdict: Although light, Lisa Shearin’s debut is a great little (literally; it doesn’t hit 300 pages) urban fantasy, with an engaging protagonist and plenty of action.

The Rating: 7/10

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Review: The Ice Princess

Title: The Ice Princess
Author: Camilla Lackberg
Format: Paperback

The Premise: The Ice Princess, by Camilla Läckberg, is a Swedish mystery set in the small town of Fjällbacka. When the apparent suicide of a successful woman turns out to be murder, one of her childhood friends and a police detective team up to solve the murder and discover its connection to the twenty-five year old of a local man.

The Verdict: Despite some debut-novel blunders and the predictability of its plot twists, Läckberg’s wonderful characterization and skillful use of POV manage to carry the story, and The Ice Princess is a solid and engaging, albeit not groundbreaking, start to a series.

The Rating:  4/5

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Review: Princess Ahira

Title: Princess Ahira
Author: K. M. Shea
Format: Ebook

The Plot: On her sixteenth birthday, Ahira, an unconventional princess, is abducted by dragons and becomes the personal captive princess of Azmaveth, a friendly duke of the dragons. During her stay among the dragons, Ahira has several adventures and befriends Azmaveth’s human steward, Kohath, and a wizard, Aaron. When war (led by the Valkyries) looms over the dragons, Ahira must find a way to help her new friends.

The Verdict: Princess Ahira is not incredibly original and has several flaws, but is eminently likable and entertaining. I particularly enjoyed the friendships between Ahira and Azmaveth and Ahira and Kohath, although I found Shea’s treatment of most female characters irritating.

The Score: 3.5/5

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Review: The Red Lily Crown

Title: The Red Lily Crown
Author: Elizabeth Loupas
Format: Paperback
Notes: I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway, but was not otherwise compensated for my review.

The Plot: Chiara Nerini, the poor, orphaned daughter of a bookseller and alchemist, decides to sell her father’s equipment to Francesco de Medici, the son of the Grand Duke, an alchemist in his own right. Instead, she is kidnapped by Francesco and his assistant (an enigmatic Englishman named Ruanno) and brought into the Medici household in order to assist Francesco in his attempt to create a philosopher’s stone. Over the next several years, Chiara is drawn into the plots and conspiracies of the Medici court and forms a connection with Ruanno.

The Score: 4/5

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Review: The Terrorist’s Daughters

Title: The Terrorist’s Daughters
Author: Brian Arthur Levene
Format: Paperback
Notes: I received this book free in exchange for an honest review.

When the PR person from Gully Gods publishing asked me if I would like a copy of The Terrorist’s Daughters in exchange for an honest review, my thought process went: Hey, that’s a nice cover! It looks like something from an Isabel Allende novel. Maybe this will be a thought-provoking story!

In retrospect, I really should have checked the book out before I said yes.

Far from being a thought-provoking story about gender politics in the Middle East, The Terrorist’s Daughters by Brian Arthur Levene is a racist, Islamaphobic, badly-written horror show of a story which took me three goes to actually finish.

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Classics Book Club: The War of the Worlds

Classics Book Club: March 2014

Book: The War of the Worlds
Author: H. G. Wells
New or Reread: Reread, technically, although I read it once about thirteen years ago and barely remembered it.

Spoilers for The War of the Worlds below the jump.

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Review: The Martian

Book Title: The Martian
Author: Andy Weir
Format: Hardcover

The Martian, by Andy Weir, is not so much a science fiction novel about an astronaut trapped on Mars as it is a roller coaster of awesome that hauls you from plot twist of happiness to plot twist of despair while you hang on by your fingernails, alternating between holding your breath in shock and doubling over laughing.

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