Posts that have been categorized as: "Books We Like"

Good Guys

Posted: April 20, 2018 by Allan Bishop in Books We Like Tags: Steven Brust, Supernatural Thriller

Sometimes I wonder if Urban Fantasy is stuck in the year 2005. Vampires. Werewolves. Angels. The Fae. And then once in a while, lo and behold, I find a novel that fulfills a certain niche: mages versus mages. Except this isn’t Hogwarts, or Harry Dresden walking into yet another CSI murder scene that turns into the Fae having a turf war. No. It’s Steven Brust, author of the acclaimed Vlad Taltos series, returning with his first standalone in twenty plus years. And it has all the trademarks of Brust’s usual style: dry wit, working-class grit, and a whole lot of talking. GOOD GUYS asks a simple question: Is it good to be working for a shady organization who pays you peanuts for a wage? Maybe.
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Sorcery for Beginners

Posted: April 18, 2018 by Vanessa in Books We Like Tags: Fantasy, Middle Grade

Owen is your average Middle Schooler: he’s ok at sports, he passes his classes, and he has a couple friends. But when his mom leaves to work in Sumatra and dad takes him to live in Las Vegas, Owen is sure life will never be the same.

Even then, he didn’t account for finding the Codex Arcanum bookstore and buying SORCERY FOR BEGINNERS. Now his life is *really* going to change.

SORCERY FOR BEGINNERS claims it’s what the title says: that this book will teach you, via story and real-life examples, how to become a sorcerer. You’ll follow Owen’s story as he buys the book after being promised the “Spell to Rewrite History” which Owen plans to use to revert to the time before his mom left.
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The Genius Plague

Posted: April 3, 2018 by Jane Funk in Books We Like Tags: David Walton, Techno Thriller

I was telling a friend about this book and the first thing that came out of my mouth was “I learned a lot about fungus.” Don’t worry! There are plenty of other fun things to recommend this book, such as NSA code breaking and creepy assassinations, but Walton has found an interesting hook and then amplified it until you will willingly read an entire book about fungus taking over people’s brains. Really.
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Posted: March 27, 2018 by Jane Funk in Books We Like Tags: Brandon Sanderson, Fantasy

I love a good series. From J.R.R. to George R.R., there’s a plethora of ways to enjoy the intricate plot and character development that occurs when you start counting pages not in the hundreds, but in the thousands. But sometimes I just… want to read a book? Singular?

Brandon Sanderson’s ELANTRIS is one of these rare standalone novels; rare in the sense that the genre, and Sanderson in particular, tends towards producing series. Not that I would complain if ELANTRIS became a series–I had a great time reading it and I would say that thirteen years after its initial publication the story is as fun and compelling as ever.

ELANTRIS begins with Princess Sarene of Teod sailing into the kingdom of Arelon only to discover that she is a widow. The man she was supposed to marry, Prince Raoden, has died, but her marriage contract stipulates that she is still his wife, whether or not she had the chance to meet him. Disappointed but not distraught, Sarene immediately begins puzzling out the political situation in Arelon.
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Children of the Fleet

Posted: March 21, 2018 by Jane Funk in Books We Like Tags: Orson Scott Card, Science Fiction

I first learned the term “bottle episode” while watching “Community” (thank you, Abed). One episode of Season 2 takes place entirely in a locked room as the characters search for a missing pen. While the premise is absurd, trapping everyone in the same room allows for hilarity, as well as serious revelations about their relationships, to ensue. Not only are ‘bottle episodes’ cheap to shoot, relying on one set instead of several, they are also light on plot, allowing writers to spend more time focusing on character development. In his newest addition to the Enderverse, CHILDREN OF THE FLEET, Card immerses his readers once again in a world of precocious children, absent but watchful adults, and a life or death mission. While it’s not exactly a bottle episode, Card’s narrative shares a similar intense focus on depth, not breadth. By limiting himself to a relatively simple plot and using the already familiar setting of Battle Fleet School, Card can fully explore the emotional journey of Dabeet Ochoa.

Set in the aftermath of Ender’s victory in the Third Formic war, CHILDREN OF THE FLEET begins after Battle School has been converted to Fleet School, a place to train future leaders for humanity’s colonization efforts. Dabeet Ochoa is a preternaturally intelligent child who is convinced that he belongs in Fleet School, not stuck on Earth.Read the rest of this review »

Seriously Hexed

Posted: March 14, 2018 by Vanessa in Books We Like Tags: Tina Connolly, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

Cam is your typical teenager. She’s got friends, wonders how her awesome boyfriend could like such an awkward girl as her, and is frantically studying for her American History test. The only exception is that she’s a witch. However, it’s that extra complication that makes her high school years less than typical.

For example, most teenagers don’t have to deal with their mother disappearing during a coven meeting.Read the rest of this review »

Burn Bright

Posted: March 6, 2018 by Vanessa in Books We Like Tags: Patricia Briggs, Urban Fantasy

Bran is out of town, leaving Charles in charge of the Marrok’s pack. But the situation is a little strange because he isn’t answering his phone when Charles calls. And he mentioned visiting Africa? Charles and Anna aren’t sure what’s going on, but they’re doing their best to hold down the fort until Bran decides to return…whenever that will be.

But they get a call from the mate of one of the “wildings”–which are unstable (usually old or traumatized) wolves that live in the Marrok’s territory, but are removed enough physically for the safety of the rest of the pack. Jonesy’s cryptic call leaves Charles concerned and confused, and with Anna decides to investigate.

They discover something much more than they expected.

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Romance isn’t exactly a genre that we here at EBR dip our toes into very often. In point of fact, I just looked up how many reviews of books we have that are labeled as being tagged as “romance”. Want to know how many there were? Two. And one of those, I was tricked into reading. Seeing as how having only one review in a given genre is kind of silly, and having two seems more like an excuse to remove the genre than even one did, I thought I’d add to that total and provide the third review in this oft-forgotten genre here at EBR. I know. I’m too much. You can thank me later for my generosity. No, in all seriousness I also kind of wanted to review this book because then I could mention the fact that the author of this book is none other than Sam Sykes’s mother, and if you don’t know who Sam Sykes is, then you should watch out for my next review. Until then, there’s this one, and it ain’t too shabby either.
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The Stone Sky

Posted: December 12, 2017 by Vanessa in Books We Like Tags: Fantasy, N.K. Jemisin

Essun plans to move the moon back into orbit around the earth, and in THE OBELISK GATE she learned that there may very well be a cost–her own life–if she attempts it. But first, she needs to find her daughter Nassun, who, it’s turning out, is as powerful an orogene as her mother.

Yet so many things still stand in Essun’s way.

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The Stone in the Skull

Posted: November 2, 2017 by Vanessa in Books We Like Tags: Elizabeth Bear, Fantasy

If you read Elizabeth Bear’s The Eternal Sky series (RANGE OF GHOSTS starts the trilogy), then you’ll love her new The Lotus Kingdoms series (which takes place in the same universe) starting with THE STONE IN THE SKULL. However, even if you haven’t read her before, if you like clever and beautifully written novels, then you should be reading more Elizabeth Bear.

From the dustjacket: “The Gage is a brass automaton created by a wizard of Messaline around the core of a human being. His wizard is long dead, and he works as a mercenary. He is carrying a message from a the most powerful sorcerer of Messaline to the Rajni of the Lotus Kingdom. With him is The Dead Man, a bitter survivor of the body guard of the deposed Uthman Caliphate, protecting the message and the Gage. They are friends, of a peculiar sort.

“They are walking into a dynastic war between the rulers of the shattered bits of a once great Empire.”Read the rest of this review »