Tuesday, October 21, 2014

ARC Review: The Accidental Apprentice (Accidental Magik #1) by Anika Arrington


Published: October 4th 2014 by Xchyler Publishing
Genre: Fantasy
Format: ebook
Source: provided for honest review
Goodreads Summary

Brilliant and ambitious, Rezdin the Wizard has one goal: impress the king, but he answers to Baron von Dappenshien who refuses him access to Court. Before Rezdin can maneuver himself into the limelight, the king charges von Dappenshien for treason, and Rezdin goes to ground. The wizard finds himself dependent upon the wits and good will of a starving street urchin. But what can he offer little Tommy in return? When old dangers and new alliances rear their menacing heads, Rezdin must decide where his true loyalties lie, and what to do with his new-found entourage of one.

The former street urchin in me wanted to spit at the baron's feet. The educated magician wanted to shrink him until he understood just how small he made others feel. But on the whole, I didn't fancy prison, so I let the temptations slip away.


The Good

So it has some fun spells as well as an interesting landscape. The history of the land and what was going on with the people, keeping some plotting and others loyal was great. While I liked a lot of the characters in the book, hero and villain, I wish there was more about Marco Calico. Rezdin's cat was my type of character; good, sarcastic, able to help but holding back because you asked him to (not realizing he could help). Its ok he believes you can do it lol.


The Bad

It took me a few chapters to get into the book. As there is a lot of ground work laid down, no real action and a lot of political plotting is going on at first. Oh and it has a bit of 'I'm rich so my magic toy needs to be better then so-n-so's magic toy or I'll throw a fit'.


The Romance

The romance was interesting as it was on the villain side. The villain takes advantage of her jellyfish of a husband to try and overthrow the government. Yet despite how she walks over him and treats him like dirt, ignoring him at times, he continues to love her.

Conclusion

Overall, a fun little fantasy book. The spells and few magic items are fantastic. The characters are different (No he-man/Conan heroes to be found that I can recall). If you enjoy government overthrows, plotting with the enemy with magic tossed in, I suggest you give this book a read.




Excerpts


I needed to protect myself. I needed to run. I needed a beer.

"The more folks disappear around you, the more people will look at you too close. Magik ain't everywhere in Havensgate. Lower folk can't afford it most times. You start doing spells anytime
someone looks at you twice, and you won't last long. I can help you."

"Your  Rezdin's cat?" I asked in disbelief.
"Technically, Rezdin is my wizard," he corrected. "And he knows me by the name I chose in this world. The pair of you can call me Marco Calico."


"If by fun you mean a never-ending obstacle to tranquility, then yes." I wandered back to my chair and conjured a cup of tea. "Aren't you supposed to be keeping an eye on my student?

"He's reading under the miniature maple in the courtyard. Apparently, he's actually got an interest in all this magikal hogwash."Calico leapt down from my shoulder and returned to his place in front of the fire. "Looks like I'll have to get my entertainment elsewhere."

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday Cover Scramble [89]


Let's have some fun! I am going to post covers on here every Sunday that are scrambled up graphically, making it hard to tell what cover it is. I would like your guesses on what cover you think I've posted. I won't answer you until I'm posting the next one to let you know if you are right, allowing others to guess as well. Some will be hard, and others may be easy. Let me know in the comments if you'd like some more hints and I'll offer some more if no one guesses it correctly.


I'm changing up the format a little bit! I am going to be pulling covers off the Most Popular Page on Goodreads.









Saturday, October 18, 2014

Review: The Best Horror of the Year, Volume 6 edited by Ellen Datlow


Published: June 3, 2014 by Night Shade Books and Imprint of Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
Genre: Anthology, Horror
Source: Provided for honest review
Amazon Overview

"The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown."

This statement was true when H. P. Lovecraft first wrote it at the beginning of the twentieth century, and it remains true at the beginning of the twenty-first century. The only thing that has changed is what is unknown.

With each passing year, science, technology, and the march of time shine light into the craggy corners of the universe, making the fears of an earlier generation seem quaint. But this "light" creates its own shadows. The Best Horror of the Year, edited by Ellen Datlow, chronicles these shifting shadows. It is a catalog of terror, fear, and unpleasantness, as articulated by today's most challenging and exciting writers.

The best horror writers of today do the same thing that horror writers of a hundred years ago did. They tell good stories--stories that scare us. And when these writers tell really good stories that really scare us, Ellen Datlow notices. She's been noticing for more than a quarter century. For twenty-one years, she coedited The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, and for the last six years, she's edited this series. In addition to this monumental cataloging of the best, she has edited hundreds of other horror anthologies and won numerous awards, including the Hugo, Bram Stoker, and World Fantasy awards.

More than any other editor or critic, Ellen Datlow has charted the shadowy abyss of horror fiction. Join her on this journey into the dark parts of the human heart . . . either for the first time . . . or once again.



This is a compilation of pretty amazing horror stories.  Since this is an anthology, my review will detour from my usual format.

Overall a great read with great stories.  Some I wish was a little longer and some were just right.  If you are a fan of horror, this is defiantly a good read.  It has a grab bag from all different kind of horror; from supernatural, creatures, killers, you name it there is a story for you!

All the short stories are well written with just the right amount of suspense and horror.  There are plenty of horrifying images this book will bring to your imagination and stay there.    I for one am TERRIFIED of birds.  Well, there is a very creepy story about a freakishly large killer bird.  It just reaffirms my beliefs birds are evil!  I enjoyed almost all the stories.  There were a few that stood out to me.  The Good Husband was probably my favorite.    Very chilling and graphic story A+ stuff!  I enjoyed the Soul in the Bell Jar because it was a ghost/mad scientist story from a new angle.   I also loved the Only Ending We Have a fictional story/character based in reality of Albert Hitchcock’s films.    I liked the fact it took something all horror fans know well and made an interesting and satisfying story.  The stories in this collection include:

"Apports" by Stephen Bacon
"Mr. Splitfoot" by Dale Bailey
"The Good Husband" by Nathan Ballingrud
"The Tiger" by Nina Allan
"The House on Cobb Street" by Lynda E. Rucker
"The Soul in the Bell Jar" by K.J. Kabza
"Call Out" by Stephen Toase
"That Tiny Flutter of the Heart I Used to Call Love" by Robert Shearman
"Bones of Crow" by Ray Cluley
"Introduction to the Body in Fairy Tales" by Jeannine Hall Gailey
"The Fox" by Conrad Williams
"The Tin House" by Simon Clark
"Stemming the Tide" by Simon Strantzas
"The Anatomist's Mnemonic" by Priya Sharma
"The Monster Makers" by Steve Rasnic Tem
"The Only Ending We Have" by Kim Newman
"The Dog's Paw" by Derek K√ľnsken
"Fine in the Fire" by Lee Thomas
"Majorlena" by Jane Jakeman
"The Withering" by Tim Casson
"Down to a Sunless Sea" by Neil Gaiman
"Jaws of Saturn" by Laird Barron
"Halfway Home" by Linda Nagata
"The Same Deep Waters as You" by Brian Hodge

I wouldn’t say there was anything I could point out as bad.  Of course some stories were better than others.  There were even a few I wasn’t really sure what I just read.   But in my opinion the point of short stories are to get your imagination flowing and you create your own conclusions.  And there was a time or two my conclusion was...I am confused.   All in all, this is a solid collection.  I love horror and these stories do the genre justice!




Thursday, October 16, 2014

Harry Potter Moment of the week [36]


This is a meme hosted by Uncorked Thoughts.The aim of this meme is to share with fellow bloggers a character, spell, chapter, object or quote from the books/ films/ J. K. Rowling herself or anything Potter related! She is picking a topic within HP for us to focus on each week and then if anyone wants to take part feel free! All she asks is to link back to her blog :). There is now a full list of the topics to come here.

       Where would you live as a witch/wizard? (With muggles, magical surrounding etc.)



Magic all day, every day. Who would want to live like the Dursleys when you can live like the Weasleys?

That part where Harry walks into the Burrow for the first time and sees the Weasley's clock that tracks where the members of the family are, and seeing household objects take care of chores for themselves really seals the deal. I would adore being surrounded by magic day in and day out. From the gnomes in the garden to the ghoul in the attic, I would take it all.

Would you choose living with Muggles or in a magical surrounding?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Review and Excerpt: Bad Blood by Nicky Peacock

Published: September 5th 2014 by Evernight Teen
Genre: YA, Vampire, Zombie
Format: ebook
Source: provided for honest review
Goodreads Summary

“I am Britannia. I am your protector. I will fend off the hungry hordes of undead hands that reach toward you. I am your steadfast defender. I will stand between you and the zombie masses as they try to taste your flesh. I am strong, unyielding, and dedicated to your survival. All I ask from you… is your blood.” 

A five-hundred-year-old bloody game of vengeance will need to be put on hold if vampires are to survive the zombie uprising. Britannia and Nicholas, bitter enemies and the only two surviving vampires left in London, have to work together to save un-infected humans and deliver them safely to a vampire stronghold in the Scottish Highlands. 

Unable to drink the zombie ‘bad blood’, the remaining vampires need the humans to stay alive. But will the vampires tell the survivors who they are and what they want from them? Will Britannia be able to hold back her vengeance for the greater good? Is survivor Josh the reincarnation of Britannia’s murdered true love? And can she bring herself to deliver him to the ‘safe’ hold? Survival instincts run deep, but bad blood can run deeper.



The vampire took one look at me and ran. He'd been warned. Of course he'd been warned. He was one of Nicholas' brood. I was probably the first topic of conversation Nicholas had with any of his new little children- "If you see a blue-eyed, blue-haired, tall girl dressed in tight red jeans, a Sex Pistols T-shirt, and a blue biker jacket, run for the hills."


The Good

Let's see...the good? Well vampires, zombies and a vampire zombie hybrid. Yeah, that sounds good to me. Britannia doesn’t take crap from anyone..be it vampire, zombie or elder vampire. Probably what I like most about her is she has one boss, herself. Plus, she can kick some serious butt and has some pretty cool hand scythes that she uses to cut of zombie heads. Also with Bad Blood, I can say I'm a fan of Satan and all four of his little legs.


The Bad

Just minor 'why would she make that choice' complaints. I'll share one that's in the beginning as an example... she goes home before they start their gather the humans for food but she knows the crap is already slowly hitting the fan. Well knowing this, she sends the one person on her own to where she would be taking her the next morning safely if she just had her wait in her apartment. I think she just wanted her dog.


The Romance

The romance is a bit weird as Josh is in the group. He just happens to be the reincarnation of Britannia’s murdered true love. Well, Nicholas just happens to have something to do with that. So yeah, the plot thickens. It would probably mess the book up too much if there was a zombie crowd doing a jerry chant.

Conclusion

If you like vampire books or zombie books, you'll enjoy Bad Blood. If you ever wanted to read about vampires herding humans before they all turned to zombies to keep from starving to death and at the same time being at risk of being bitten too much and becoming a vambie then this is the book you've been waiting for. Wait vambie or zompire? Vote your choice in the comments or do you have a better name for a vampire zombie?


About Nicky Peacock

I guess I’ve always been a storyteller, not in a ‘liar liar pants on fire’ kind of way, although I do work in advertising! When I was little, kids would crowd around me in the playground and I’d tell them tales of blood soaked horror filled with vampires, werewolves, ghosts and more. Yes, most would consider me a disturbed child, but my playmates couldn’t help themselves, they’d huddle around me every break time like an ancient tribe feeding off the fear; and that’s how I learned that horror stories hold a certain power, no matter what some might say, everyone is addicted to a good scare, especially if it is somewhat rooted safely in unrealistic beings… or are they unrealistic?

Writing was really a natural progression. Right now I’m obsessed with writing: a YA Urban Fantasy novel, a Paranormal Romance novella series, and several short horror stories! So I’m currently living in a functional fiction coma – and loving it!

I’ve so far been published in 5 countries: USA, UK, Australia, Ireland and Canada and had short stories included in 40 anthologies with over 17 publishers.


Excerpts

We ran to the hospital. On the way, we encountered hardly anyone, alive or dead. Where were they all? When we arrived at the hospital car park, I understood. Zombies were pack animals. A massive crowd of them were crammed in and around the main building like they were waiting for a concert to start, all barely paying attention to their surroundings and seemingly swaying against the force of gravity. The other thing was the smell. When watching horror films filled with shuffling zombies, the horror came from their ghastly looks—the reminder that death has a tight grip on us all, well, most of us. But what the filmmakers should focus on—if they could—was the acidic rank odor zombies gave off. They had been dead barely twenty-four hours. It took a normal human body at least thirty-six hours to really start to smell, and that was with a vampire’s heightened senses. These guys smelled like they’d been out in the sun for three weeks covered in rubbish and besieged by wily maggots. They were mostly intact, though. Maybe this hospital had been Zombie Ground Zero. Most had turned so quickly their comrades hadn’t had time to feed.

“Maybe we should try a less populated target.” Nicholas twitched his nose and turned away from me to dry retch.

“Maybe you should grow a pair.”

“Maybe you should act like a lady.” He now had his hands on his hips, squaring up for yet another argument.

“Acting like a lady isn’t going to help now, is it? What do you want me to do? Drop my handkerchief in front of the zombies and watch them fight one another to scoop it up for me? Moron!”

“Always to the ‘nth degree with you, isn’t it?”

“Shut up. Look, the doors are holding, and they’re outside, not inside, which means there must be some people left in there alive to have barricaded this place so tight.”

“Or maybe there are just more zombies in there.”

“Well, there’s definitely a blood bank in there, and that’ll help matters no end!”
Nicholas looked thoughtful then nodded. He of course didn’t want to actually say aloud that I’d had a good idea. “So, how do we get past them?”
I assumed it was a rhetorical question, so I started down to the car park entrance, where most of the zombies were mobbing. I opened the outer door as quietly as possible.

“Ladies first,” Nicholas whispered in my ear.

“I thought we’d agreed I wasn’t a lady.” And with that, I shoved him as hard as I could into the throbbing throng of zombies.

Published by Evernight Teen 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sunday Cover Scramble [88]


Let's have some fun! I am going to post covers on here every Sunday that are scrambled up graphically, making it hard to tell what cover it is. I would like your guesses on what cover you think I've posted. I won't answer you until I'm posting the next one to let you know if you are right, allowing others to guess as well. Some will be hard, and others may be easy. Let me know in the comments if you'd like some more hints and I'll offer some more if no one guesses it correctly.


I'm changing up the format a little bit! I am going to be pulling covers off the Most Popular Page on Goodreads.








Saturday, October 11, 2014

JC's Bulletin of the Week [4]


Welcome to my weekly Bulletin. This is a place where you will find what's going on at JC's Book Haven lately, what I've found around the blogger world, Book News, and any books that are releasing in the next week.


Crazy busy around here lately. We are working on Halloween costume details. Zane is going as Loki this year and I'm going to be Black Widow.

Zane is doing a science fair experiment on How to Keep Cut Flowers Fresh Longer so we gathered all the materials and he just got it started. Hopefully we are going to a Fall Festival this weekend to check out a bunch of pumpkins, hay ride, and play some games. What are you all up to?

The week on the blog:

Sunday Cover Scramble
I did a Re-Read Review for Dreamfever (Fever #4) by Karen Marie Moning
I posted a Cover Reveal for Gears of Brass: A Steampunk Anotholoy
Matt did a review of Knight of Light (Watchers #1) by Deirdra Eden
Harry Potter Moment of the Week this week was - Quibbler or Daily Prophet?
Melody did a Review of Platomic by LaRon Cruz along with an interview



My Shelf Confessions tells us why It Sucks When Bloggers Delete Posts

Cait from Notebook Sisters posted a hilarious telling of 10 Things I Will Do To Improve the World (When I've Dominated It)

The Literary Oracle does a post about Why We Love the Anti-hero




Gallery Book signed Kim Harrison for a new series. Find out more about the trilogy slated for Fall 2015.