December readings | Personal Development, Dystopia, Thrillers & Smut

Title: The Lost Daughter
Author: Elena Ferrante
Genre(s): Contemporary, Cultural, Literary Fiction
Page count: 140 pages
Published: 01 March 2008

My review | Book | Audiobook

Title: Station Eleven
Author: Emily St. John Mandel
Genre(s): Post Apocalyptic, Fiction, Dystopia
Page count: 333 pages
Published: 09 September 2014

My review | Book | Audiobook

Title: Killing Floor
Series: Jack Reacher 1
Author: Lee Child
Genre(s): Fiction, Thriller, Mystery, Action, Crime
Page count: 524 Pages
Published: 25 April 2006

My review | Book | Audiobook

Title: The Bullet Journal Method
Author: Ryder Carroll
Genre(s): Self-Help, Productivity, Personal Development, Journaling
Page count: 336 Pages
Published: 23 October 2018

My review | Book | Audiobook

Title: Cold Fire
Author: Keegan Kennedy
Genre(s): MM Romance
Page count: 428 pages
Published: 29 Junes 2017

My review | Book | Audiobook

Title: Home Invasion!
Author: John Valjean
Genre(s): Adult, MM Erotica, Taboo, Dubcon, Fiction
Word count: 8920
Published: 16 April 2019

My review | Book

Title: Daddy’s Construction Workers
Series: Forced Assault
Author: John Valjean
Genre(s): Adult, MM Erotica, Taboo, Fiction
Word count: 6600
Published: 17 October 2019

My review | Book

If you’re interested in any of these books are also available on The Book Depository, Smashwords, or you can get them from the links above at no extra cost to you

Book Review: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Set in the days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time—from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains—this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet.

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How was it? For a book written in 2014 the first part rings very true to the early days of COVID. However I was glad that the pandemic this book is kind of about isn’t the sole focus. We’re not spending too much time on the descend, the collapse of civilization, but it basically goes from the bottom up.

The story has a nice pace to it. I loved the back and forth between the past and the present, telling us what happened to the world and how the people the story follows lived and are living. The clever way some these characters are connected was an odd delight. Whether they knew it or not they basically had one connection in common, Arthur Leander, an actor who died on the same night the Georgia Flu pandemic began. There’s nothing mystical about the way they’re connected – at least I didn’t see it that way – they just happened to have crossed paths with Leander at one point in their lives pre-pandemic.

At some point, the steady pace in which the author tell us about this “collapsed” world with none of the trapping of modern society, felt slow or maybe monotone. I wanted to get to the end and was tempted to skip ahead. It wasn’t really out of boredom but a crescendo toward the end would have been appreciated. Besides the connections between the characters and the marvelous way this post apocalyptic world is described, there’s not much going on. There’s no big mystery to be solved, or cure to be found, and the book doesn’t need that but there’s a sameness that creeps in that makes the book a little interesting the further you go along. It takes the book a tad too long, even though it’s quite still somewhat entertaining.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Station Eleven is available on The Book Depository, Amazon, Audible and other book retailers near you.

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February readings | Shifters, Magic, and Mysteries

Title: Red Notice
Series: Tom Buckingham #1
Author: Andy McNab
Genre(s): Mystery, Action, Thriller, Military Fiction
Page count: 416 pages
Published: 5 November 2012

My review | Book | Audiobook

Title: Shadow and Bone
Series: Shadow and Bone #1
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre(s): High Fantasy, Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Page count: 358 pages
Published: 5 June 2012

My review | Book | Audiobook

Title: Face Offs & Cheap Shots
Series: CU Hockey #2
Author:Eden Finley, Saxon James
Genre(s): Contemporary, Sports, Romance, MM
Page count: 302 pages (ebook)
Published: 5 October 2020

My review |
Book | Audiobook

Title: Jon’s Spooky Corpse Conundrum
Series: Jon’s Mysteries case 3
Author: A.J. Sherwood
Genre(s): Paranormal, MM Romance, Mystery
Page count: 207 pages
Published: 2 August 2019

My review (soon) | Book | Audiobook

Title: The Capital
Series: The Knight and The Necromancer #1
Author: A.H. Lee
Genre(s): Fantasy, Historical, Romance, LGBT
Page count: 222 pages (ebook)
Published: 23 March 2020

My review | Book | Audiobook

Title: Captivate Mate
Series: Mismatched Mates #2
Author: Eliot Grayson
Genre(s): Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Romance, LGBT
Page count: 207 pages (ebook)
Published: 15 August 2020

My review (soon) |
Book | Audiobook

Title: The Border
Series: The Knight and The Necromancer #2
Author: A.H. Lee
Genre(s): Fantasy, Historical, Romance, LGBT
Page count: 228 pages (ebook)
Published: 23rd March 2020

My review | Book | Audiobook

Title: The Sea
Series: The Knight and The Necromancer #3
Author: A.H. Lee
Genre(s): Fantasy, Historical, Romance, LGBT
Page count: 180 pages (ebook)
Published: 23 March 2020

My review | Book | Audiobook

Title: Putting the Romance in Necromancy
Series: The Knight and The Necromancer #0.5
Author: A.H. Lee
Genre(s): Fantasy, Historical, Romance, LGBT
Page count: 17 pages (ebook)
Published: 23rd March 2020

My review | Book | Audiobook

If you’re interested in any of these, help us by getting them from the links above at no extra cost to you

September readings | Highly Trained Characters, Magic, Hockey, Aliens, and Ghosts

Title: On The Wings of War
Series: Soulbound #5
Author: Hailey Turner
Genre(s): Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Magic, Romance (MM), Shapeshifters, Vampires
Page count: 395 (ebook)
Published: 2 Sept 2020

My review | Get it here

Title: Summertime Butt Slut
Series: Fully Loaded Creampie Adventures #1
Author: Malcolm Van
Genre(s): MM Smut
Page count: 94 (ebook)
Published: 10 July 2019

My review | Get it here

Title: Cemetery Boys
Author: Aiden Thomas
Genre(s): Fantasy, Ghost, Young Adult, Queer, Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Page count: 352 (ebook)
Published: 1 Sept 2020

My review | Get it here

Title: Decker and the New Guy
Series: Fully Loaded Creampie Adventures #2
Author: Malcolm Van
Genre(s): MM Smut
Page count: 163 (ebook)
Published: 25 Aug 2019

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Title: Burn Zone
Series: Hotshots #1
Author: Annabeth Albert
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance (M/M), Fiction, Firefighters,
Page count: 336 (ebook)
Published: 27 April 2020

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Title: Return to Zero
Series: Lorien Legacies Reborn #3
Author: Pittacus Lore
Genre(s): Science Fiction, Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Aliens, Fiction, Dystopia, War,
Page count: 464 (ebook)
Published: 25 June 2019

My review | Get it here

Title: Trade Deadline
Series: Hat Trick #3
Author: Avon Gale & Piper Vaughn
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance (M/M), Sports, Hockey, Lgbt,
Page count: 304 (ebook)
Published: 17 Aug 2020

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Title: Classified
Series: The Elite #3
Author: Brooke Blaine, Ella Frank
Genre(s): Contemporary, Military Fiction, Romance, Lgbt,
Page count: 228 (ebook)
Published: 23 June 2020

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Title: Holiday Hijinks: Escape from the Holidays
Series: Hounds of the Hunt #3
Author: Toni Griffin
Genre(s): Paranormal, Christmas, Romance (M/M), Shapeshifters,
Page count: 154 (ebook)
Published: 23 Dec 2018

My review | Get it here

Title: Common Goal
Series: Game Changers #4
Author: Rachel Reid
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance (M/M),
Sports, Hockey, Lgbt,
Page count: 282 (ebook)
Published: 21 Sept 2020

My review | Get it here

Calamity | Brandon Sanderson

Calamity (The Reckoners #3) by Brandon Sanderson published 16th February 2016

When Calamity lit up the sky, the Epics were born. David’s fate has been tied to their villainy ever since that historic night. Steelheart killed his father. Firefight stole his heart. And now Regalia has turned his closest ally into a dangerous enemy.
David knew Prof’s secret, and kept it even when the Reckoners’ leader struggled to control the effects of his Epic powers. But facing Obliteration in Babilar was too much. Prof has now embraced his Epic destiny. He’s disappeared into those murky shadows of menace Epics are infamous for the world over, and everyone knows there’s no turning back. . . .
But everyone is wrong. Redemption is possible for Epics—Megan proved it. They’re not lost. Not completely. And David is just about crazy enough to face down the most powerful High Epic of all to get his friend back. Or die trying.

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How was it?

Firefight was a turning point in The Reckoners’ series, it felt more and more like a transition but it didn’t really explored what that transition, that transformation would be, Calamity does.

The series took a serious turn in this book, it’s familiar but feels and sounds different, and that wouldn’t be such a bad thing if it didn’t seem so abstract. The fact that the main characters are just as clueless as where are for a good chunk of the story gives the impression that Sanderson didn’t fully think through the trilogy. Calamity seemed so haphazardly stitch together at times that Megan became a convenient solution for every corner the author painted himself in. She became some sort of MacGuffin, the solution for every or any problems.

David is another “problem” unlike his weird expressions and metaphors David being reckless is not cute and yet it keeps being rewarded for it. In this book more than the others, his reckless behavior has no consequences. In the previous stories it at least seemed like he got lucky, there’s a sense of danger, impeding doom but with “don’t worry I got everything you need” Megan that just vanished.

As bad as it may sound, Calamity has its moments. Parts of the story, scenes that are engaging and really entertaining to read with a fair share of plot twists. However the book still left me with a weird aftertaste. Something or some things are missing. It’s unclear. Sanderson didn’t just leave a door open to eventually come back to the series, he delivered a “I need to get this done” book instead of a “I did it 😀.” but it’s impressive to see that even when it doesn’t look like he tried hard enough, it’s still good.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Calamity is available on The Book Depository, Amazon, Audible and other book retailers near you.

About the series:
I appreciated that the Epics, in all the levels strength and powers they possess, are still subject to time, decay, and sickness. In the series we see the ordinary humans fear and/or revere them as deities. But they are riddled with issues that you wouldn’t expect in such powerful beings to have.

More in the series:

The Reckoners 1
Review | Book | Audiobook
The Reckoners 1.5
Review | Book | Audiobook
The Reckoners 2
Review | Book | Audiobook

Firefight | Brandon Sanderson

Firefight (The Reckoners #2) by Brandon Sanderson published by 6 Janvier 2015

Babylon Restored, formerly Manhattan, may give David answers. Ruled by the mysterious High Epic, Regalia, David is sure Babylon Restored will lead him to what he needs to find. And while entering another city oppressed by a High Epic despot is a gamble, David’s willing to risk it. Because killing Steelheart left a hole in David’s heart. A hole where his thirst for vengeance once lived. Somehow, he filled that hole with another Epic—Firefight. And he’s willing to go on a quest darker, and more dangerous even, than the fight against Steelheart to find her, and to get his answers. 

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How was it?

Babylon restored might be the weirdest place to imagine but Sanderson does a good job to take you there. The more time you spend there the clearer the picture gets. The fact that Regalia, the High Epic, the Reckoners are hunting is said to be the cause of Babylon restored present state makes her enigmatic and scary in a way.

With “Firefight” I started to like David’s quirks, he still annoys the hell out of me at times but I kind of like him. The story in this second the Reckonners book is quite captivating and thought provoking but I find I’m mostly interested and amazed by the structure and writing of the book.

The world building again is spectacular, Babylar or Babylon Restaured, former New York City, is a bit weird but easy, maybe easier, to picture than Newcago in Steelheart. The new characters are just as colorful and fascinating as the mostly submerged City with glowing fruit and graffiti described here is. The characters are distinct, not one voice seems like the other, it doesn’t mean that they’re all memorable but they don’t have a sameness that could make them interchangeable in one’s memories. It’s the singularity of each characters, old and new, that bring up such strong feelings when it comes to their behaviors.
I enjoyed how some key concepts are subtly introduced in the story thus expanding this dystopian world. However it is a rather big shift from what was previously introduced. It wasn’t as smooth as it could have been, Calamity and Firefight’s powers seem to have been conveniently redefined rather than better explained.

The story remains an exciting dangerous maze of carefully laid plans, mysterious desires and motives. The main antagonist Regalia, ruler of Babylar, is much like her power, a force to be reckon with. The people and the Reckoners cell from Babylar are nothing like Newcago. David is still brimming with good intentions but still reckless and irritating. Prof and Tia’s layers are slowly getting peeled.

Firefight seems to be redefining the series, a turning point in the Reckoners’ story that isn’t very smooth but still a thrilling emotional roller-coaster.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Firefight is available on The Book Depository, Amazon, Audible and other book retailers near you.

Previous books:

The Reckoners 1
Review | Book | Audiobook
The Reckoners 1.5
Review | Book | Audiobook

Mitosis | Brandon Sanderson

Mitosis (The Reckoners #1.5) by Brandon Sanderson published 3rd December 2013

Steelheart may be dead, but Epics still plague Newcago and David and the Reckoners have vowed to fight back.

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How was it?

It’s a short, tight story that comes in as both a dessert from the excellent Steelheart, allowing us to stand more time with the Reckoners, and an appetizer to the intriguing Firefight. I felt I redeemed myself on this one because I figured out the twist, I was on it lol, but like its novel counterpart Mitosis is riveting chock-full metaphors and hints about the next book, making this novella a necessary and well worth your time read.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Mitosis is available on The Book Depository, Amazon, Audible and other book retailers near you.

Previous book in the series:

The Reckoners I
Review | Book | Audiobook