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Archive for March, 2014

Free Book Friday Winner!

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

 

 

Our Winner of this week’s Free Book Friday is:

 

 Sallie M. (oldrockandroll)

 

Congratulations,  Sallie!

Your Book will be out in the mail to you shortly

Thank you to everyone who commented on the Blog, stay tuned for more great book reviews, author interviews and contest!

Free Book Friday!

Friday, March 28th, 2014

 

This week’s Free Book Friday prize is:

 

I am Forbidden by Anouk Markovits

The extraordinary story of a sister who believes and a sister who rebels, set inside the most insular Hasidic sect, the Satmar. — Spanning four generations, from pre-World War II Transylvania, to 1960s Paris, to contemporary New York, Markovits’ masterful novel shows what happens when unwavering love and unyielding law clash–a rabbi will save himself while his followers perish; a Gentile maid will be commanded to give up the boy she rescued because he is not of her faith; two devoted sisters will be forced apart when one begins to question their religion’s ancient doctrine. One sister embraces and finds comfort in the constraints of the world she’s always known, while the other knows she will suffocate in a life without intellectual freedom. Separated by the rules of their community, the two sisters are brought together again when a family secret threatens to make pariahs of them all. Dark, powerful, and utterly compelling, I Am Forbidden takes us deep inside the minds of those who leave their restrictive environments, and deep into the souls of those who struggle to stay.

ISBN 9780307984739, Hardcover

There are currently 92 members wishing for this book. We will award 1 lucky member a brand new Hardcover copy of this book.

To enter, simply leave a comment on this Blog post. You must be a PaperBackSwap member to win a copy.

We will choose 1 winner at random from comments we receive here on the Blog from PBS members.

You have until Sunday, March 30, 2014 at 12 noon EDT, to leave a comment.

 

 

Good Luck to everyone!

 

 

Note: All the books given away on Free Book Friday are available in the PBS Market. We have thousands of new and new overstock titles available right now, with more added hourly. Some of the prices are amazing – and you can use a PBS credit to make the deal even better!

Historical Fiction (Steampunk) Review – The Clockwork Wolf

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

The Clockwork Wolf by Lynn Viehl

 

Review by reacherfan1909

There is quite a lot of Paranormal Steampunk on the market these days, Gail Carriger being one of the most unique voices of the genre.  More than a few authors have gone the route of turning historical or famous literary figures into vampire and zombie hunters – including Queen Victoria and Abraham Lincoln.  The genre is popular with authors and readers alike.  Readers like Steampunk because they have a semi-familiar setting, usually in the later half of the 1800’s to early 1900’s, and a historical context that’s slightly twisted yet remains recognizable, not unlike contemporary UF, so they don’t have to imagine the entire world.  Authors like it because their landscape and history is partially set and the reader can just mentally paint in the modifications as the author refines it.  Historical errors can be dismissed, as can technology unsuited for the time, some of which is quite ‘fantastical’.    The other advantage is the existence of magic, and/or least legendary creatures, like werewolves, zombies, and vampires.  And it is the existence of magic combined with various bits of technology that Lynn Viehl uses in her Disenchanted & Co books.

The Clockwork Wolf, the second book in the Disenchanted & Co series, came out just a few weeks after publication of her first book, which was, in turn was compiled from a series the author had e-published under the Disenchanted & Co label.  Disenchanted & Co falls a category that is part mystery, part romance, and part thriller all with a magical twist.  Unlike the uniquely stylized florid prose of Carriger, Viehl’s is cleaner and leaner, yet manages to convey the period she wants.  In Disenchanted & Co, she laid the basic world building, so The Clockwork Wolf presumes the reader knows the general history of the place.  The US is still an English colony called Victoriana, or Toriana for short, having lost the Revolution.  Mages exist side by side with inventors.  The political structure remains one that is largely British with Lords and Ladies.  The city of Rumsen seems to be San Francisco, or a similar local.

Charmaine ‘Kit” Kittredge is unique.  Her gift is the ability to undo magic, except the magic of Deathmage Lucian Dredmore, a darkly handsome man who has made his interest in her quite clear.  But Kit is an independent female and not anxious to be bound by society, especially a society that made her life hell when she arrived in the city as teen orphan.  Against her better judgment, she gained some fame among upper crust when she saved the city from an invasion.  Now she is back in Dredmore’s house awaiting another client from society, the vey group she strives to avoid.

Lady Eugenia Bestly made Kit’s life hell and now she needs her talents, talents Kit is disinclined to use on behalf of someone who saw a harmless girl tossed to the mercy of the streets.  In the end, she grudgingly agrees to help and stumbles over yet another monstrous conspiracy to destroy the city, this time using clockwork wolfmen, wolfmen that are all part of high society and have systematically impregnated females to bear their off-spring.

With the help of her Grandfather Harry’s spirit – who is really an immortal Aramanthan spirit known to humans at one time as Merlin – and a Native American shaman Blue Fox, Kit unravels the plot, though some will still pay the price.

Ms Viehl does a nice job of creating the wolfmen, a combination of gears and native magic, but what is somewhat lacking in any depth on feeling in her relations with people.  As a result, Kit feels a bit 2 dimensional as a character and the author seems more at home with problem solving and adventure than with interpersonal relationships, especially love interests.  The plot is well paced and interesting.  Kit is independent and adventurous, in addition to being intelligent and insightful.  But both character and author stumble over any real emotions.  It makes the sex a bit lifeless.

Overall, The Clockwork Wolf fell a bit short of fulfilling the promise of Disenchanted & Co.  Still, despite its shortcomings, it remains a very good read.  The dialogue is fast and often witty, Kit is a strong protagonist, and the plot holds the reader and helps cover the flaws.  It gets a B- (3.8*) rating from me and is a good addition to the series.

Recommend in addition or insteadLauren Dane’s Witch’s Knot, de la Vega Cats, Cascadia Wolves, and Bound by Magic series, Kalayna Price’s Alex Craft series, or Jenn Bennet’s  Acadia Bell series.

 

 

 

Mystery Monday – The Red Box

Monday, March 24th, 2014

The Red Box by Rex Stout

 

Review by Matt B. (BuffaloSavage)

 

In the fourth novel starring rotund PI Nero Wolfe, three poisoning deaths bestir the immovable orchid fancier and gourmet to solve the case with the assistance of his PA Archie Goodwin and operatives Saul, Frank, and Orrie. The pace moves much faster in this one compared to the longer Fer-de-Lance and the decidedly sluggish The League of Frightened Men (which I feared was never going to end).

Stout has but meager skill in describing so readers have to be patient with the vague depiction of the fashion house at the beginning. But this lack is balanced by many quips and quotable asides. Archie’s down to earth pragmatism comes out often. “…I’m a great one for the obvious, because it saves a lot of fiddling around….” And “…As I understand it, a born executive is a guy who, when anything unexpected happens, yells for somebody else to come and help him.”

Plus, how a reader wishes our leaders read Stout so they could have thought about Archie’s sensible view of torture:

They [the cops] had Gebert down there, slapping him around and squealing and yelling at him. If you’re so sure violence is inferior technique, you should have seen that exhibition; it was wonderful. They say it works sometimes, but even if it does, how could you depend on anything you got that way? Not to mention that after you had done it a few times any decent garbage can would be ashamed to have you found in it.

Who says mysteries are just escapist genre fiction? The roots of the murder in The Red Box are as ghastly but plausible as in a Maigret novel by Simenon with the theme How Families Get Balled Up.

Wolfe, however, gets the best of the best lines. He loftily scolds a mouthy client, “…I know you are young, and your training has left vacant lots in your brain.” Touching on a theme dear to his fans, he chides Archie, “Someday, Archie, I shall be constrained … but no. I cannot remake the universe, and must therefore put up with this one. What is, is, including you.” He says with tongue firmly in cheek, “Nothing is more admirable than the fortitude with which millionaires tolerate the disadvantages of their wealth.” But he gets right to the pith of human relations with “The central fact about any man, in respect to his activities as a social animal, is his attitude toward women.”

 

I don’t read Nero novels in any kind of order so I don’t think other readers have to either. One critic said, “Stout’s material succeeds on general mood alone.” I’d agree –  it’s the characters, humor, and the fantasy nostalgia of old Manhattan  that make this one a classic Nero novel.

Free Book Friday Winners!

Sunday, March 23rd, 2014

 

 

 

The Winners of this week’s Free Book Friday contest are:

 

 

Dawn R. (dmr030)

 

James C. (avsfaninboston)

 

Matthew S. (mschwartz315)

 

Patricia C. (PattyJC)

 

Evelyn C. (evilynn)

 

Elvira G. (2txladybugs)

 

Sunnie (placebo-junkie)

 

Your Books will be out in the mail to you shortly!

Thank you to everyone who commented on the Blog, stay tuned for more great book reviews, author interviews and contest!

 

 

 

 

 

It Is Free Book Friday!

Friday, March 21st, 2014

 

To celebrate the first full day of spring, it is Free Book Friday!

Today’s Free Book is:

 

The Name of the Wind

by Patrick Rothfuss

 

The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day One . . . — MY NAME IS KVOTHE  — I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings.  I burned down the town of Trebon.  I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life.  I was expelled form the University  at a younger age than most people are allowed in.  I tread paths by moonlighting that others fear to speak of during the day. I have talked to gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.

You may have heard of me . . . So begins a tale unequaled in fantasy literature — the story of a hero told in his own voice.  It is a tale of sorrow, a tale of survival, a tale of one man’s search for meaning in his universe, and how that search, and how indomitable will that drove it, gave birth to a legend.

ISBN 9780756404079, Hardcover

 

There are currently 217 members wishing for this book. We will award 7 lucky members a brand new Hardcover copy of this book.

 

To enter, simply leave a comment on this Blog post. You must be a PaperBackSwap member to win a copy.

 

We will choose 7 winners at random from comments we receive here on the Blog from PBS members.

 

 

 

 

 

You have until Sunday, March 23, 2014 at 12 noon EDT, to leave a comment.

 

 

 

Good Luck to everyone!

 

 

Note: All the books given away on Free Book Friday are available in the PBS Market. We have thousands of new and new overstock titles available right now, with more added hourly. Some of the prices are amazing – and you can use a PBS credit to make the deal even better!

Young Adult Review – Killer Frost

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

 

Killer Frost by Jennifer Estep

 

Review by Kelsey O.

 

Here it is. The final installment in Jennifer Estep’s Mythos Academy series *sob*. I won’t go all dramatic or give away any spoilers. I do have to say watching Gwen Frost grow from book one until now, has been an exciting adventure. She started out shy and kind of a loner and has grown into a strong and confident woman with a great group of loyal friends surrounding her.

Because of this loyalty, these friends (both current and from the past) play a pivotal role in this final chapter. As always with Estep’s writing, the action starts right away and never lets up until the end. There are curveballs thrown in to keep the reader on their toes. We also learn the true identity of a certain someone that works in the library.

The use of mythology has been impeccable throughout the series. The way Estep weaves the history into the storyline is flawless. Now, I am sure you’re wondering why I only gave it a four rating. The reason is because of the repetition that occurs quite a lot (and not in just this book). It isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but there were times that I felt the story could move a bit faster.

Entertaining and action packed this final goodbye to Mythos Academy ended just the way it should have. For anyone that hasn’t started this YA series, it is worth your time. For those that have been reading through the series, you won’t be disappointed.

4 BUTTERFLIES