Saturday, March 21, 2015

Clash of Eagles (Clash of Eagles #1) by Alan Smale

Clash of Eagles (Clash of Eagles #1)
by Alan Smale

The blurb:
It’s The Last of the Mohicans meets HBO’s Rome in this exciting and inventive debut novel from Sidewise Award-winner Alan Smale that will thrill fans of alternate history, historical fiction, and military fiction.

In a world where the Roman Empire never fell, a legion under the command of general Gaius Marcellinus invades the newly-discovered North American continent. But Marcellinus and his troops have woefully underestimated the fighting prowess of the Native American inhabitants. When Gaius is caught behind enemy lines and spared, he must reevaluate his allegiances and find a new place in this strange land.

This is the first alternate history novel I've read and it was a pleasant surprise. Clash of Eagles was a well written story that just flowed so smoothly.

It's the thirteenth century and Praetor Gaius Marcellinus travels to Nova Hesperia to quench the Roman thirst for gold. Early on, Marcellinus's legion falls and the Cahokian people of the Mississippi river valleys take the Praetor in. Throughout the book, Marcellinus learns about the Cahokia culture and introduces the people to many Roman ideas and inventions. Rich with graphic descriptions of battle, I found the day to day interactions between Marcellinus and the Cahokian people to be my favorite. If you like alternate history novels, this read might be for you.

Great read.

4/5 stars   

**Thank you to Del Rey Spectra, a part of Random House, and NetGalley for providing me with a digital ARC copy of this book for review**

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Thyme Fiend: A Tor.Com Original by Jeffrey Ford

The Thyme Fiend by Jeffrey Ford is a dark fantasy novelette about a young man who can only prevent seeing visions by eating or smoking thyme. When he finds the skeleton of a missing man the skeleton begins to haunt him. What does it want? 

This was a bit of a dark read, but totally worth it.  The story of a young boy whose parents help him navigate his demons by making tea and cigarettes with thyme. My favorite part was when the kid's father was teaching him how to roll thyme cigarettes. But then the story sputters to an ending that didn't seem as creative as the rest of it.

3/5 stars

Read it here:

The Infinite by Lori M. Lee

The blurb:

The walls of Ninurta keep its citizens safe.
Kai always believed the only danger to the city came from within. Now, with a rebel force threatening the fragile government, the walls have become more of a prison than ever.
To make matters worse, as Avan explores his new identity as an Infinite, Kai struggles to remind him what it means to be human. And she fears her brother, Reev, is involved with the rebels. With the two people she cares about most on opposite sides of a brewing war, Kai will do whatever it takes to bring peace. But she’s lost her power to manipulate the threads of time, and she learns that a civil war might be the beginning of something far worse that will crumble not only Ninurta’s walls but also the entire city.
In this thrilling sequel to Gates of Thread and Stone, Kai must decide how much of her humanity she’s willing to lose to protect the only family she’s ever known.

Strangely, this was better than the first book, but the ending didn't hit the spot. The author leaves the series open for the third book in the series, but there was just something lacking in the last 25%. In THE INFINITE we see Kai and Avan's relationship struggle to be what it was. Also, there's more world!

I'm not sure why I picked this up to read, since the first book wasn't my favorite. I'm thinking it's those darn covers which are just so pretty.

3/5 stars

ARC received for an honest review.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Shape of My Name: A Tor.Com Original by Nino Cipri

The Shape of My Name: A Tor.Com Original 
by Nino Cipri

Another great short read from Tor. 

If you've ever associated a period in time with smells, you have to read this. And the ending does not disappoint. 

4/5 stars

Read it here:

The Hell of It by Peter Orullian

The Hell of It by Peter Orullian

This was a free short story that I read on I didn't realize that they offered these shorts until I started seeing them in my Facebook feed. So, like a sci-fi junkie, I click each time I see one and read.

One thing that I love about these Tor shorts is the artwork for the cover image!

THE HELL OF IT starts out strong. The world building is pretty awesome and unique. A father and son struggling on the docks, a missing mother, a whole heck of hopefulness. It was the tragic ending that ruined it for me. If it had turned out differently I would have added another star, but the author broke my heart a bit.

3/5 stars

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Unleashing (Call of Crows #1) by Shelly Laurenston

The Unleashing (Call of Crows #1)
by Shelly Laurenston
After reading the blurb this was a book that I was excited to get my hands on. This book started off great but slowly seemed to go… nowhere. The story seemed to get lost in all the kick-ass, cool girl high school-ness, and pop culture references that make sense if you might live in LA or somewhere closer to the west coast. I seriously felt lost, and the best parts, the interactions between Kera and Vig, were short lived and far between. Still, it was entertaining, I just didn’t love it :(

3.5 stars
*ARC received by the publisher for an honest review.