Waiting on Wednesday: Crossroads of Canopy by Thoraiya Dyer

waiting on wednesday

crossroads of canopy by thoraiya dyerCrossroads of Canopy (Titan’s Forest #1) by Thoraiya Dyer
Release Date: January 31, 2017

At the highest level of a giant forest, thirteen kingdoms fit seamlessly together to form the great city of Canopy. Thirteen goddesses and gods rule this realm and are continuously reincarnated into human bodies. Canopy’s position in the sun, however, is not without its dark side. The nation’s opulence comes from the labor of slaves, and below its fruitful boughs are two other realms: Understorey and Floor, whose deprived citizens yearn for Canopy’s splendor.

Unar, a determined but destitute young woman, escapes her parents’ plot to sell her into slavery by being selected to serve in the Garden under the goddess Audblayin, ruler of growth and fertility. As a Gardener, she yearns to become Audblayin’s next Bodyguard while also growing sympathetic towards Canopy’s slaves.

When Audblayin dies, Unar sees her opportunity for glory – at the risk of descending into the unknown dangers of Understorey to look for a newborn god. In its depths, she discovers new forms of magic, lost family connections, and murmurs of a revolution that could cost Unar her chance…or grant it by destroying the home she loves.

I saw CROSSROADS OF CANOPY on someone else’s Waiting on Wednesday post last week and instantly added it to my TBR. I’m in the mood for fantasy — too bad I have to wait until next January for this one! But this book sounds quite unique, so it’ll be worth waiting for. I love the idea of a fantasy set in the trees, and the god/goddess system sounds neat, too. Plus it’s Ancient Greek inspired. Lots of great stuff in CROSSROADS OF CANOPY.

(BTW, while you’re here, make sure to check out my giveaway of INK AND BONE.)

Socialize with the author:
Website
Twitter

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

– leeanna

Book Review: Frontier Grit by Marianne Monson

Book Review: Frontier Grit by Marianne MonsonFrontier Grit by Marianne Monson
Published by Shadow Mountain on September 6, 2016
Genres: History, Non Fiction
Pages: 208
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
3 Stars
These are the stories of twelve women who "heard the call" to settle the west and who came from all points of the globe to begin their journey: the East Coast, Europe, and as far away as New Zealand. They endured unimaginable hardships just to get to their destination and then the next phase of the story begins. These are gripping miniature dramas of good-hearted women, selfless providers, courageous immigrants and migrants, and women with skills too innumerable to list. All the women in this book did extraordinary things. One became a stagecoach driver, disguised as a man. One became a frontier doctor. One was a Gold Rush hotel and restaurant entrepreneur. Many were crusaders for social justice and women's rights. All endured hardships, overcame obstacles, broke barriers, and changed the world, for which there are inspiring lessons to be learned for the modern woman.

Book Review:

FRONTIER GRIT tells the unlikely but true stories of twelve women on the frontier. The author defines the frontier as “a place where your people have not gone before (p. vii),” and to me, that seems accurate. Also, by broadly defining “frontier,” the author isn’t limited to the American frontier.

The women included in FRONTIER GRIT are absolutely incredible, and I think it’s a real pity I’d never heard of any of them before. That’s whitewashed, male history for you. I liked that the author included women of different nationalities and backgrounds in this book. There’s a Mexican-American author, a freed slave, a Native-American activist, and so on.

The chapters in FRONTIER GRIT are informative, each giving a biography of the woman and what they did. Sources are included at the end of each chapter. I’d recommend this book if you want to learn a lot about some truly inspiring women.

The one thing I didn’t like about FRONTIER GRIT was the author trying to give me a takeaway lesson about each woman. At the end of each chapter, Monson tells the reader what she thinks is important about each woman’s life. I found the author’s intrusion jarring and out of place. It just didn’t fit into the idea of the book for me.

Socialize with the author:

Marianne Monson:
Website
Facebook

– leeanna

Book Review: And I Darken by Kiersten White

Book Review: And I Darken by Kiersten WhiteAnd I Darken by Kiersten White
Series: The Conquerors Saga #1
Published by Delacorte Press on June 28, 2016
Genres: Alternate Universe, Historical Fiction, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 496
Format: ARC
Source: Amazon Vine
Goodreads
4 Stars
NO ONE EXPECTS A PRINCESS TO BE BRUTAL.

And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, who’s expected to rule a nation, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.

But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.

Book Review:

AND I DARKEN asks one very cool question: what if Vlad the Impaler had been a girl? That was all I needed to pick up this book, because I really liked the idea of gender-swapping Vlad into Lada.

THE GOOD:

–Lada. Lada is the real standout of AND I DARKEN. I absolutely loved that she was vicious and mean. Sometimes she’s almost a silly caricature (because she’s always so bloodthirsty), but I so adored having a female character who didn’t want to be liked and didn’t care about what other people thought of her. If I were Lada, stuck in her world where women were supposed to embroider and be gentle and marry like chattel for the advantage of their fathers, I’d be just as nasty and determined to find my own way. Vlad the Impaler didn’t have an easy childhood, and neither does Lada.

–The love triangle. I’m quite surprised that I liked the love triangle aspect of this book. Well, I liked some of it. There’s no obvious choice here. Mehmed really could have Lada or Radu or both. I liked that the author explored the toxic branches of the triangle, the jealousy and hard choices it made for Lada and Radu.

THE BAD:

–Too long. AND I DARKEN is almost 500 pages. It’s the first book in a trilogy. AND I DARKEN is way too long. There were parts where I wanted to put the book down and take a snooze. I appreciate the author trying to make sure the reader understood the various politics of the time, but I wish she had condensed some of it.

–Mehmed. I didn’t like Mehmed at all. I didn’t really know why Lada and Radu were both attracted to him. The author kept telling me he was charismatic and a great guy, but she never showed me he was. She did show me he was a jerk — I can’t believe he told Lada the women of the harem were just a duty, not special like she was. I can’t see vicious Lada buying that, can you?

Overall, I liked the idea of AND I DARKEN. The execution was off at times, but it’s a series I would continue. I need more of Lada in my life!

Socialize with the author:

Kiersten White:
Website
Twitter

– leeanna

Book Review: Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine

Book Review: Paper and Fire by Rachel CainePaper and Fire by Rachel Caine
Series: The Great Library #2
Published by NAL on July 5, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
4 Stars
In Ink and Bone, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine introduced a world where knowledge is power, and power corrupts absolutely. Now, she continues the story of those who dare to defy the Great Library—and rewrite history…

With an iron fist, The Great Library controls the knowledge of the world, ruthlessly stamping out all rebellion, forbidding the personal ownership of books in the name of the greater good.

Jess Brightwell has survived his introduction to the sinister, seductive world of the Library, but serving in its army is nothing like he envisioned. His life and the lives of those he cares for have been altered forever. His best friend is lost, and Morgan, the girl he loves, is locked away in the Iron Tower and doomed to a life apart.

Embarking on a mission to save one of their own, Jess and his band of allies make one wrong move and suddenly find themselves hunted by the Library’s deadly automata and forced to flee Alexandria, all the way to London.

But Jess’s home isn’t safe anymore. The Welsh army is coming, London is burning, and soon, Jess must choose between his friends, his family, or the Library willing to sacrifice anything and anyone in the search for ultimate control…

Book Review:

INK AND BONE, the first book in the Great Library series, was one of my favorite books last year. I’ve been looking forward to the continuation of Jess’s story ever since, and PAPER AND FIRE did not disappoint.

I described INK AND BONE as a book lover’s nightmare. PAPER AND FIRE is a herd of nightmares trampling over every page.

Now that Jess is part of the Library proper, in the High Garda (the guard for Scholars and the Library), he sees even more of the horrors initiated by the Archivist and those under his control. Every move he makes is like a chess match, as the Archivist is watching for Jess to put half a toe out of line. But Jess, being Jess, doesn’t hesitate to throw himself into danger to save others. I really liked how he protected his chosen family, and how the author showed blood isn’t always thicker when it comes to families.

The main story in PAPER AND FIRE is the rescue of Thomas. In INK AND BONE, the postulants were told Thomas had been killed, but Jess discovers otherwise. If you’re dangerous but still useful, the Library takes you, tortures you, and exploits you. The first half of the book is a little slow, but looking back, I saw the Archivist’s trap closing around Jess and his friends as they tried to find whatever information they could. The second half is action-packed, with Jess, Glain, Santi, Wolfe, Khalila, Dario, and Morgan. It was great to see the “crew” again, as well as see how the decisions of the Library and fighting against it impacted each of them.

I had absolutely no idea what would happen in PAPER AND FIRE, and I loved that. I always enjoy when a book is unpredictable. I also liked getting to see more of the world of the Library; I think this is one of my favorite worlds, ever. There are some scenes near the end, where you see how much the Library has hidden and controlled people, and I had a moment.

And that ending! Oh my, oh my. Waiting for the next volume in the Great Library series is going to be rough.

TL;DR version: Alternate history, where books are more important than a single life. The Library is all-powerful and all-seeing, but Jess can’t let it keep his friend. Full of action, thinky moments, and great characters.

Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks to the publisher, I am offering one copy of INK AND BONE to U.S. readers.

Socialize with the author:

Rachel Caine:
Website
Facebook
Twitter

– leeanna

Waiting on Wednesday: Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee

waiting on wednesday

not your sidekick by c.b. leeNot Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee
Release Date: September 8, 2016

Welcome to Andover… where superpowers are common, but internships are complicated. Just ask high school nobody, Jessica Tran. Despite her heroic lineage, Jess is resigned to a life without superpowers and is merely looking to beef-up her college applications when she stumbles upon the perfect (paid!) internship—only it turns out to be for the town’s most heinous supervillain. On the upside, she gets to work with her longtime secret crush, Abby, who Jess thinks may have a secret of her own. Then there’s the budding attraction to her fellow intern, the mysterious “M,” who never seems to be in the same place as Abby. But what starts as a fun way to spite her superhero parents takes a sudden and dangerous turn when she uncovers a plot larger than heroes and villains altogether.

I heard about NOT YOUR SIDEKICK just after BEA, I think. Thank you, book Twitter! Superhero books aren’t always my thing (I never got into comics), but supervillains are a whole different matter. Plus it’s F/F scifi! If I had superpowers, I’d get my hands on NOT YOUR SIDEKICK now. :D

(BTW, while you’re here, make sure to check out my giveaway of INK AND BONE.)

Socialize with the author:
Website
Facebook
Twitter

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

– leeanna

Book Review: My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

Book Review: My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi MeadowsMy Lady Jane Published by HarperTeen on June 7, 2016
Genres: Alternate Universe, Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 512
Format: ARC
Source: Amazon Vine
Goodreads
4 Stars
Edward (long live the king) is the King of England. He’s also dying, which is inconvenient, as he’s only sixteen and he’d much rather be planning for his first kiss than considering who will inherit his crown…

Jane (reads too many books) is Edward’s cousin, and far more interested in books than romance. Unfortunately for Jane, Edward has arranged to marry her off to secure the line of succession. And there’s something a little odd about her intended…

Gifford (call him G) is a horse. That is, he’s an Eðian (eth-y-un, for the uninitiated). Every day at dawn he becomes a noble chestnut steed—but then he wakes at dusk with a mouthful of hay. It’s all very undignified.

The plot thickens as Edward, Jane, and G are drawn into a dangerous conspiracy. With the fate of the kingdom at stake, our heroes will have to engage in some conspiring of their own. But can they pull off their plan before it’s off with their heads?

Book Review:

MY LADY JANE is a book that shouldn’t work, but it does. There’s a mishmash of things: shapeshifters, pop culture references, fourth wall breaking, tons of humor, and alternate history. Jane is still Queen of England for nine days, but Edward lives and is on a quest to retake his throne after Mary deposes Jane. And, maybe most importantly, MY LADY JANE is hilarious.

Humor can be hit or miss for me, especially in written form, but I must share a sense of humor with the authors, because I found their writing super funny. That said, I’ve never seen/read THE PRINCESS BRIDE, and I think there’s a lot of references to it in MY LADY JANE. But there were plenty of other things to keep me laughing: Jane’s bookworm antics, Gifford turning into a horse every day, Edward hearing he’s a spoiled brat, etc.

In this version of England, there are two factions. Shapeshifters (E∂ians) and non-shapeshifters (Verities). They’re not religious factions, but as people have taken sides, it’s very reminiscent of Protestants versus Catholics. Just a whole lot more fun. The authors take the idea that King Edward was poisoned and run with it, giving him a happily ever after just as they do with Jane. This is first book I’ve read that develops Edward as a real person, and I’ve read a lot of Tudor books. Same with Gifford, aka G, aka Guildford Dudley. He’s not the jerk I always assumed him to be. I had a lot of fun with the authors’ alternate versions of such famous historical figures.

I liked a whole lot about MY LADY JANE:
♥The alternate history, as I already mentioned. Jane Grey deserves a happy ending, and I’m really happy to see her get one.

♥The E∂ian concept was fun, although at one point I thought Oprah was passing out shapeshifting forms (and you get a dog! and you get a horse! and you get a bird!).

♥The romances. Jane and G are arranged, just like they are in history. But here, G turns into a horse every single day, leaving almost no time for him and Jane to get to know each other. And at first, Jane’s furious she had to marry G, who she assumes is a philanderer, because no one knows the truth about him. Over the course of the book, they really develop as a couple, with plenty of misunderstandings and tender moments. They go from enemies to friends at a believable clip.

MY LADY JANE is perfect for when you need a combination of history and humor.

Socialize with the authors:

Cynthia Hand:
Website
Facebook
Twitter

Brodi Ashton:
Website
Twitter

Jodi Meadows:
Website
Facebook
Twitter

– leeanna

Getting Started With Warcraft Books, Part 2

world of warcraft book guide

Welcome to Part 2 of my guide to Warcraft books! If you missed it, Part 1 is here. Now we’re getting to the books set just before or during World of Warcraft. World of Warcraft is a MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game), which really just means you play with other people. You don’t have to do activities with other people, but the game world of populated with real players as well as game-created content, like enemies to kill and shopkeepers to buy stuff from. Some of my fondest online memories involve playing Warcraft with various friends over the years — I’m still friends with some of them!

I’m oversimplifying here, but Horde = orcs and Alliance = humans.

By the way, I realized that I forgot a book in my first post. Sorry! It’s a graphic novel, so it flew under my radar.

warcraft: bonds of brotherhood by paul cornellWARCRAFT: BONDS OF BROTHERHOOD by Paul Cornell. Goodreads.

As I just said, BONDS OF BROTHERHOOD is a graphic novel, and tells the story of Llane, Lothar, and Medivh. AKA the Alliance side of things. It’s the official graphic prequel to the movie, even though it’s set decades in the past. It’s a cool idea, to have both a graphic and a novel prequel. And that’s all I have to say about it, because I can’t find many sample pages to preview!

 

 

LEVEL 30: Books set during World of Warcraft

warcraft: cycle of hatred by keith r.a. decandido WORLD OF WARCRAFT #1: CYCLE OF HATRED by Keith R.A. DeCandido. Goodreads.

CYCLE OF HATRED is one of my least favorites in the universe. I remember feeling like the author didn’t have a good grip of Jaina or Thrall, both of whom are big characters in the game. In the book, Jaina (Alliance) and Thrall (Horde) are trying to avoid a fight between their factions, but a demon is trying to stir up trouble. My 1 star review.

warcraft: rise of the horde by christie golden WORLD OF WARCRAFT #2: RISE OF THE HORDE by Christie Golden. Goodreads.

Another Christie Golden book! She overwrites sometimes, but it’s also super obvious that she plays the game. She always puts little details in her novels that players will recognize and appreciate. RISE OF THE HORDE details just that: the rise of the Horde. How the peaceful orcs changed into a warrior race. How the orcs got tricked by the Burning Legion. And why the orcs need a new world. My 5 star review.

warcraft: tides of darkness by aaron rosenberg WORLD OF WARCRAFT #3: TIDES OF DARKNESS by Aaron Rosenberg. Goodreads.

TIDES OF DARKNESS is another one that didn’t impress me, but it still tells an important part of the Warcraft story. I personally didn’t like the author’s writing, but that’s because I read it just after Christie Golden’s RISE OF THE HORDE. Anywho! TIDES OF DARKNESS shows the formation of the Alliance as the different human nations (and dwarves and night elves) band together to fight the orcs and trolls. It’s the story of the Second War. My 2 star review.

warcraft: beyond the dark portal by aaron rosenberg WORLD OF WARCRAFT #4: BEYOND THE DARK PORTAL by Aaron Rosenberg and Christie Golden. Goodreads.

When you hit level 58 in Warcraft, you go to Outlands. Outlands is the broken form of the orcs homeworld, Draenor. BEYOND THE DARK PORTAL takes the heroes of the previous book, TIDES OF DARKNESS, and sends them to the orcs’ homeworld to try and stop villain Ner’zhul, because if they stop him, they think they can stop the Horde’s invasion of their own world, Azeroth. My 3 star review.

warcraft: night of the dragon by richard a. knaak WORLD OF WARCRAFT #5: NIGHT OF THE DRAGON by Richard A. Knaak. Goodreads.

Welcome back Krasus from the War of the Ancients trilogy! Richard A. Knaak is responsible for a lot of the dragon lore in Warcraft. NIGHT OF THE DRAGON is a follow-up to one of the books mentioned in Part 1, DAY OF THE DRAGON, so I’d advise reading that one first.

warcraft: arthas by christie golden WORLD OF WARCRAFT #6: ARTHAS: RISE OF THE LICH KING by Christie Golden. Goodreads.

ARTHAS: RISE OF THE LICH KING follows Arthas Menethil’s journey from heir to the throne of Lordaeron to the monstrous Lich King. If you play the game, chances are you’ve seen “Why is the Lich King’s mount called Invincible if I can still see it?” posted in /2 [Trade Chat]. Invincible is Arthas’ horse, and even the horse’s rise and fall is depicted in this book. My 3 star review.

warcraft: stormrage by richard a. knaak WORLD OF WARCRAFT #7: STORMRAGE by Richard A. Knaak. Goodreads.

If you play a druid, chances are you’ve heard of the Emerald Dream. In STORMRAGE, the Emerald Dream has been corrupted. Tyrande Whisperwind, leader of the night elves, must enter the Emerald Dream and save Malfurion Stormrage, her beloved and the first druid.

warcraft: the shattering by christie golden WORLD OF WARCRAFT #8: THE SHATTERING: PRELUDE TO CATACLYSM by Christie Golden. Goodreads.

If you’re a new player to Warcraft, you’ll be hearing all this stuff about Warlords of Draenor or Legion, orcs, and demons, and the Iron Horde. Etc. But you’ll be hearing that stuff from other players/news sites, because in game, the big thing when you’re leveling is Deathwing. The Cataclysm expansion pack changed a lot of the leveling zones, but they haven’t been updated since ~2010. THE SHATTERING leads into that expansion pack, so it’ll give some background information.

warcraft: thrall: twilight of the aspects by christie golden WORLD OF WARCRAFT #9: THRALL: TWILIGHT OF THE ASPECTS by Christie Golden. Goodreads.

After the events of THE SHATTERING, Thrall travels around Azeroth and tries to heal the damage from Deathwing.

warcraft: wolfheart by richard a. knaak WORLD OF WARCRAFT #10: WOLFHEART by Richard A. Knaak. Goodreads.

One word: WORGEN!

warcraft: tides of darkness by christie golden WORLD OF WARCRAFT #11: JAINA PROUDMOORE: TIDES OF WAR. Goodreads.

TIDES OF WAR is about the fall of Theramore, set just before the Mists of Pandaria expansion pack.

warcraft: shadows of the horde by michael a. stackpole WORLD OF WARCRAFT #12: VOL’JIN: SHADOWS OF THE HORDE by Michael A. Stackpole. Goodreads.

It’s a TROLL BOOK. Sorry about my excitement, but trolls are my favorite race in Warcraft. Most Warcraft books focus on orcs/humans, with some dwarves and night elves. Plus, Michael A. Stackpole wrote some of my favorite Star Wars books.

warcraft: war crimes by christie golden WORLD OF WARCRAFT #13: WAR CRIMES by Christie Golden. Goodreads.

WAR CRIMES is set at the end of the Mists of Pandaria expansion and before the Warlords of Draenor expansion.

I thought there would only be two installments in this series, but I was wrong! Be sure to check back at the end of the week for the third and last. It’ll be short, I promise ;)

– leeanna

Book Review: Hope and Red by Jon Skovron

Book Review: Hope and Red by Jon SkovronHope and Red by Jon Skovron
Series: Empire of Storms #1
Published by Orbit on June 30, 2016
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 416
Format: ARC
Source: Amazon Vine
Goodreads
5 Stars
In a fracturing empire spread across savage seas, two young people from different cultures find common purpose. A nameless girl is the lone survivor when her village is massacred by biomancers, mystical servants of the emperor. Named after her lost village, Bleak Hope is secretly trained by a master Vinchen warrior as an instrument of vengeance. A boy becomes an orphan on the squalid streets of New Laven and is adopted by one of the most notorious women of the criminal underworld, given the name Red, and trained as a thief and con artist. When a ganglord named Deadface Drem strikes a bargain with the biomancers to consolidate and rule all the slums of New Laven, the worlds of Hope and Red come crashing together, and their unlikely alliance takes them further than either could have dreamed possible.

Book Review:

HOPE AND RED is the first in the Empire of Storms trilogy. The book follows Hope, a girl trained as a monk assassin to get vengeance for her slain village and Red, an orphaned thief with a gift for smooth talking his way in and out of trouble.

Sounds like your run of the mill fantasy, right? Wrong.

HOPE AND RED is dark and gritty fantasy, two underdogs taking on the corrupt empire. It’s also funny, with characters like Sadie the Goat and lots of the underprivileged making fun of the rich and their lacey ways. And it’s serious, such as when female characters challenge and beat male expectations. Add in plenty of action, scary magic, and there’s a lot to like.

The author has a real gift for making memorable characters. Hope and Red are the standouts naturally, and I liked both for different reasons. But even characters who only showed up for a page stayed with me. Such as Hope’s father, who wore his daughter’s gift of a necklace and didn’t care that the other fishermen mocked him. Or Captain Carmichael, whose life eventually showed Hope vengeance wasn’t the only answer.

While we don’t get to see the entire empire in HOPE AND RED, we do get a good introduction to how life is for the poor. From Hope’s village being destroyed for a biomancer experiment to Red’s mother dying from toxic paints, life sucks a lot if you’re poor. Crime bosses and their gangs control what the imperials don’t.

I was sucked into the hard world of HOPE AND RED from page one, and I couldn’t get enough. Also, the author created some slang, which fit perfectly into the world. Most words are easy to figure out, but there’s a funny glossary at the end, written by one of the laceys.

I made myself read HOPE AND RED in several sessions, so I could enjoy the book for longer. But I really wanted to read the whole thing at once, because I enjoyed it that much. I definitely can’t wait for book two, BANE AND SHADOW, because I know it’s going to be even more epic.

Socialize with the author:

Jon Skovron:
Website
Facebook
Twitter

– leeanna

Book Review: Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger

Book Review: Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul KruegerLast Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger
Published by Quirk Books on June 7, 2016
Genres: New Adult, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Source: Amazon Vine
Goodreads
3 Stars
A sharp and funny urban fantasy for “new adults” about a secret society of bartenders who fight monsters with alcohol fueled magic.

College grad Bailey Chen has a few demons: no job, no parental support, and a rocky relationship with Zane, the only friend who’s around when she moves back home. But when Zane introduces Bailey to his cadre of monster-fighting bartenders, her demons get a lot more literal. Like, soul-sucking hell-beast literal. Soon, it’s up to Bailey and the ragtag band of magical mixologists to take on whatever—or whoever—is behind the mysterious rash of gruesome deaths in Chicago, and complete the lost recipes of an ancient tome of cocktail lore.

Book Review:

LAST CALL AT THE NIGHTSHADE LOUNGE is a fun, quirky urban fantasy. Featuring a squad of “new adult” bartenders taking on the dark forces of the night, the book is definitely one I’d recommend for aficionados of properly mixed beverages.

Fresh out of college and unable to find a job, Bailey’s working as a barback for her friend Zane’s bar. It’s not a job worthy of her Ivy League education, but Bailey tries to overachieve anyway. One night she mixes herself a screwdriver, walks home, and is ambushed by a gruesome creature. But that screwdriver? It gives her the power to knock the beast into smithereens.

Bailey finds herself in a secret part of Chicago, where a perfectly mixed drink gives the imbiber magic powers for as long as the drink’s in their system. Each drink gives different powers based on its ingredients. Scattered throughout LAST CALL AT THE NIGHTSHADE LOUNGE are pages from The Devil’s Water Dictionary, Bailey’s guide to mixing magic drinks. Those pages were quite cool; one of my favorite parts of the book. They really added to the flavor of the author’s world.

As I said above, this book was quirky and fun. I also liked that the author worked in Bailey’s underemployment and living at home, as those are things a lot of college grads are dealing with. And I liked seeing her make friends, become confident, and realize she can do more than memorize and regurgitate information from a book.I liked seeing Bailey think on her toes. Let’s just say… Dumpster tank.

But there were also a few things that didn’t work for me. Sometimes I felt like the author forgot to mention stuff, like he forgot an important thing here or there, or it was edited out. Once in a while I felt like I was missing something vital. I also thought the romance between Bailey and Zane was unnecessary, awkward, and resolved way too quickly. I think it would’ve worked better if they stayed friends, rather than getting over the Fight and jumping together. I also wanted more background on the tremens.

Right now I think LAST CALL AT THE NIGHTSHADE LOUNGE is a standalone, and while I had a few issues with the book, I would definitely read more about Bailey and the Alechemists.

Socialize with the author:

Paul Krueger:
Website
Twitter

– leeanna

Getting Started With Warcraft Books, Part 1

world of warcraft

Maybe you just came from seeing the Warcraft movie (Warcraft: The Beginning), and you want to find out more about this world of orcs and humans. Or you’re a long time player of World of Warcraft looking for something to tide you over through Warlords of Draenor’s content drought.

I’ve been playing World of Warcraft on and off (mostly on) since the 2004 open beta. Right now I main a resto/balance druid and beast mastery hunter, but I have at least one of every class at 100. I’ve done hardcore raiding to casual, and everything in between. HORDE FOR LIFE!

I’ve been reading the Warcraft books ever since I knew about them. Say what you will, but books based on games/movies can be fun! I know when I get obsessed with a franchise, I want to devour everything I can. If you’re the same as me, you’re lucky — there are a ton of Warcraft books!

Sidenote, I haven’t read any of the comics, so I can’t help there. (But I think they are out of print anyways)

LEVEL 1: Official movie books

warcraft: durotan by christie golden WARCRAFT: DUROTAN by Christie Golden. Goodreads.

Because Warcraft has been around since 1994(!), the lore can be a little messed up/contradictory at times. To keep things from being too confusing for the movie, some things were simplified. I haven’t read this book yet, but I’m sure Christie Golden did a good job of setting up the events before the movie. This is a prequel to Warcraft: The Beginning.

warcraft: official movie novelization by christie golden WARCRAFT OFFICIAL MOVIE NOVELIZATION by Christie Golden. Goodreads.

This is the official movie novelization. I think that sums it up :D

Level 10: Books set during the original Warcraft games

warcraft: day of the dragon by richard a knaak WARCRAFT #1: DAY OF THE DRAGON by Richard A. Knaak. Goodreads.

The story consists of Rhonin, a mage, being sent on an observation mission into orc-held territory. He believes it is a chance to redeem himself for his previous adventure, one that went disastrously wrong. But his chance quickly turns into much more, as he is actually the pawn of two dragons who are each attempting to guide him into fulfilling their own devious plans. My 4 star review.

warcraft: lord of the clans by christie golden WARCRAFT #2: LORD OF THE CLANS by Christie Golden. Goodreads.

LORD OF THE CLANS is the story of Horde hero Thrall, from slave to warchief. While I’ve never been a big fan of Thrall (the game designers have a habit of overusing him), I did like this book. Christie Golden made me care more about Thrall than I ever did in the game.

warcraft: the last guardian by jeff grubb WARCRAFT #3: THE LAST GUARDIAN by Jeff Grubb. Goodreads.

Do you remember Garona and Khadgar from the movie? THE LAST GUARDIAN tells their original story in the game universe. I remember liking this book quite a bit, because the setting of Karazhan is one of my favorite ever Warcraft raids, and I liked seeing Medivh.

Level 20: Books set during the War of the Ancients

warcraft: the well of eternity by richard a knaak warcraft: the demon soul by richard a knaak warcraft: the sundering by richard a knaak

This series is a little hard to put in the timeline, since it has time traveling. Rhonin from DAY OF THE DRAGON goes back in Azeroth’s history to the first invasion of the Burning Legion. The Burning Legion is a force of demons who have repeatedly attempted to take over Azeroth. They’re the baddies of the upcoming expansion pack Legion, which you’ll hear about if you play the game.

Aaaand that’s enough for now! Be sure to check back next week for the second and last installment in this series.

–leeanna