Archive for the ‘Books We Love’ Category

City of Stairs

Posted: August 29, 2017 by Writer Dan in Books We Love, Review
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This is another one of those authors that I’ve been meaning to get to for a long time now. Long time. Yeesh. Ever since I read Steve’s review of The Company Man. I’ve even bought two of this guy’s books at a second-hand store without even looking at the blurb since reading that review, but I just hadn’t worked any of them into my reading queue yet. Ugh, and I’m so regretting the fact that it took me this long. Because, you see, there are authors that write decent books, and there are authors that write good books, and then there are authors that make you never want to miss anything else that they ever write. Period. Like Abercrombie. Like Reynolds. Like Abraham. Like Erikson. And even though I wouldn’t say that Bennett writes like any one of these authors in particular, in reading this book I did find that he does have the chops to land himself in the same category of books as those storied authors: those of Books We Love.
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Nothing Left To Lose

Posted: August 17, 2017 by Writer Dan in Books We Love
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I can still remember reading I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER like it was just last week, though my rational brain tells me it was significantly longer ago than that. That book had a hook that hit me hard and deep. It was an easy setup to summarize, and so I told all my friends about it. Lots of them read it. Everyone liked it at first. About half of them decided they didn’t anymore when they found out it was a freaking “fantasy” book halfway through the thing. The other half, like me, crowed when the demon first made its appearance, and it was the appearance of that first demon that opened John Wayne Cleaver’s eyes to the wider world and what was out there. First one demon, and then another, and another, and soon he found out that there was a whole flock of them spread throughout the world. From that first view until now, I have loved every minute of this series and the story it’s brought me. But now the fear is finally setting in. The fear that this just might be the last time I get to ride this bike, and it’s scaring me half to death.
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Posting my Top Ten cuz people have asked and, yes, they are listed in a particular order (however they’re subject to change should something better come along)–my favorite is listed first, because I’m not mean. I’m also not going to claim that any of these are The Best Books Anyone Should Read, but if you agree with my reviews, you would probably enjoy these, too.

#1. PALADIN of SOULS by Lois McMaster Bujold (2005)

Dowager Queen Ista’s life’s purpose has changed: she’s now a widow, her daughter is married, and her invalid mother is gone. At the start of the book she’s a wrung-out and heartbroken woman who wants to escape a painful past. In a desire to leave her family’s estate and find a new purpose, she cooks up a pilgrimage and takes to the road with a female courier as her handmaiden, the priest of a half-demon god, and a small escort. Now finally–finally!–Ista’s true personality can emerge from a woman who’s lived in the shadow of her family to someone with confidence and presence who must lead her entourage through difficult circumstances. There’s magic, gods, demons, fascinating characters, scenery pertinent to the story, and a big problem only Ista can solve. It helps that Bujold’s prose is crisp and she provides a steady stream of revelations. I read this book about once a year to help me remember that just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean you can’t have adventures or learn something new about yourself. (more…)

The Monstrous

Posted: May 18, 2017 by Writer Dan in Books We Love
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tm_ebrThere is a certain way that little old ladies look at you when they find you reading books with covers like this one. There were several times while reading the book, however, that not only did I catch some of those little-old-lady glances, but I caught myself looking at the book itself with what I imagine to be a very similar facial expression to those ladies. It’s been a while since I’ve come across quite so many great stories as those that have been contained in these horror anthologies compiled by Ellen Datlow. The best part is that I have one more of these beauties sitting on my shelf, waiting for me to sink my claws into it. And after this one, I can’t wait to do just that.
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We’ve followed Lady Trent from the mountains of Vystrana to war-torn Eriga to the high seas to the deserts of the Akhia all for the sake of studying dragons. Now here we are at the fifth and final novel in this fantastic series, WITHIN THE SANCTUARY OF WINGS, and finale well worthy of Isabella and company.

After years of making a name for herself as a result of her study of dragons, Isabella, Lady Trent, has settled into a routine of study from her home in Scirland, supporting her husband’s linguistic endeavors, and encouraging her son’s education. While she’s happy with her life, she yearns for the adventure associated with her scientific finds that changed the face of the study of dragons. But what else is there for the woman who’s done everything?

Until one fateful day when a man brings her the story of the remains of a strange species of dragon found in the snow of the highest mountains in the world. Unfortunately in order to see it, she would have to travel to a territory claimed by Scirland’s enemies. Remember, this is Isabella we’re talking about, and little things like being banned from a country or traversing the highest mountain range will never deter her from her profound curiosity for all things dragon. (more…)

Sins of Empire

Posted: May 4, 2017 by Writer Dan in Books We Love
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I’ve been meaning to read this guy’s books for quite a while now. Well, ever since his first book came out, because I heard it was pretty awesome, and how could you not love a story that mixed magic with black powder? For whatever reason, though, I just never picked one up. Until I listened to him speak at a writer’s convention. He mentioned something about how awesome Daniel Abraham’s most recent fantasy series was, and I figured if the guy loved Abraham’s method of storytelling, then he likely wouldn’t have written a bad book about black-powder mages, which was still a freaking cool idea, and I should give the guy a shot. The sooner the better. And after reading it, I think if you haven’t read his books yet, then you should “give him a shot” too. Ha. I kill myself sometimes.
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Do you remember, as a young child, that one fantastical story which captured your imagination? Of course you do, because it’s the story that molded your childhood. It’s the story that filled you with a new wonder about the world around you, and of all that was possible. For me it was the story of Robin Hood. It had adventure, dashing heroes, young love, forests to explore, castles, and evil villains. I read many versions of Robin Hood in my youth and have probably watched every movie or TV show made on the subject. It’s stories like these that help us—when we’re children trying to understand the world—to discover our own role in the world.

MY GRANDMOTHER ASKED ME TO TELL YOU SHE’S SORRY by Fredrik Backman captures the wonder and joy these kinds of stories have for us. Now, I know MY GRANDMOTHER is strictly a fiction novel, there’s no fantasy, not even any unexplainable events—just so you know, because I don’t want you to read it expecting that. But I’m sure you do remember what it was like to have those fantastical stories of your youth permeate your life and shape the kind of person you want to be. This is the book that will help you re-live those days.

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