While I have been eyeing the author’s book for a long time, this is my first Yoon Ha Lee read. I was drawn in by the cool dragon on the cover, and a synopsis that sounded unique and interesting. In my opinion Phoenix Extravagant lives up to that billing.
Shadow Shinjuku is a Japanese crime thriller and Ryu Takeshi’s first published novel. It is so interesting that the synopsis mentions noir, as well, because that was the vibe I got while reading it. I found the combination of urban fantasy, crime noir, and thriller to be fascinating. The book also has some supernatural elements, too, so it is hard to nail this book down to one genre.
I had been putting off reading Brian Naslund’s Dragons of Terra series until it was finished because I was afraid once I started reading it I would not want to stop. I had heard it was absolutely addictive, plus adventure fantasy is my favorite, and also, well, you know, dragons, so I was not interested in waiting a year for book 2, and another year for book 3. And I could not have been more right in that decision. Had I had time between books it would have driven me absolutely bonkers. This is the kind of series that makes me want to shout from the rooftops… *ahem*… let me clear my throat:
READ IT NOW!
Now that the yelling is out of the way, let’s get to the details of what makes this series so good.
The Darkest Dusk is the second installment in D.W. Ross’ Onyxborn Chronicles series and the follow up to Cold from the North (which I reviewed earlier this year: review link). In the first book, I noted liking the plot, characters, and setting, but wanting more climactic events along the way to the end. In book 2, I think Ross did a nice of job sticking with what worked in the first book and expanding on those things while doing a better job with the narrative ups and downs.
The Body Scout is my first Lincoln Michel book, and I have to say I was impressed with the writing, for the most part. Lots of intrigue and mystery, and characters with interesting storylines. The author did a great job of catching – and keeping – my interest.
I am so happy to review my second book of spooky season! I want to read more horror/thriller this year, and The Last House on Needless Street is a super creepy book that really hits those Fall vibes right on the head.
I think this book is more thriller than horror, maybe a combination of both (thorror?), though it is more eerie than violent. Which, in my opinion, is much harder to do. Do not get me wrong, I am 100% down with a good slasher (and writing in that styles comes with its own set of difficulties), but making the hairs stand up on someone’s arm with just a description of a scene or person is much more challenging, I think. Catriona Ward does an amazing job of bringing those feels to this book, and that is not surprising. While this is my first of the author’s books, Ward is an award-winning horror author who has several published novels already out in the world.
I am actually not going to talk too much about the book, because I am in super non-spoiler mode on this one. It is such a trip that you really have to experience it yourself, but know this: I heard the hype pretty loudly before reading, and I am always skeptical; but, guess what? It definitely lives up to fanfare. It is just as chillin and thrilling as is its billing. The plot, the characters, the setting… it all comes together in a near-perfect combination that had me on edge until the last word.
I mean that literally, because one of the aspects of this book I was really impressed with was the fact that it felt like it just kept on going. I often watch shows or movies, or, more often, read books that I just do not want to end. This book, while not long by any stretch, left me completely fulfilled, and I think that is due to the way the author unravels everything at the end. The reveals felt very systematic, which I really enjoyed. Not everything was resolved at once; it came a piece at a time. Completing the story in this way allowed me to ruminate on each fragment and chew it 28 times before taking the next bite. This method also gives the reader a cascade of information, one after the other, at the end versus what could have been more of a data dump.
By the way, not to sound like a cliche, but, yeah, Olivia is my favorite character. I know, everyone loves the cat. Olivia is sassy and smart and weird, and really levels up the story with her spunky attitude. You could read this book for Olivia alone and not be disappointed.
The only reason I am not giving the book a perfect rating is that there was one character whose story I would have liked to see go a little differently at the end. But, you are going to have to read it to find out.
It’s spooky season, y’all! Set it off! If you are looking for a great thorror (I have said it twice now, so that officially makes it a thing, right?) to get you in the mood, read The Last House on Needless Street. It has definitely set the tone for me.
Activation Degradation is well-known author Marina J. Lostetter’s latest published novel, and I found it to be a really interesting story. Dubbed as “The Murderbot Diaries makes first contact…”, I only found a tertiary connection to the famous cyborg. Honestly, though, it does not need the comparison, as the story is able to stand on its own two feet.
The Liar of Red Valley is listed as an “occult fiction” book and “magical realism”. I guess that makes sense, because it probably falls short of horror, even though there is a lot of creepiness. I really enjoyed it, and I have no problem saying it is an early entry into spooky season.
The Justice in Revenge is the second installment in Ryan Van Loan’s The Fall of the Gods series, and if you want to know more about book 1 (The Sin in the Steel) you can find my review at this link. Suffice to say, I thought it quite a jaunt and found myself really looking forward to book 2. Now that it is here I can say with confidence: The Justice in Revenge does not disappoint.
A Psalm for the Wild-Built is a novella and the first in Becky Chambers’ Monk & Robot series. It is a lovely story about a monk and robot who meet under interesting circumstances.
Sometimes I struggle with reviews of series finales because I find it difficult to find something new to say. I have already spoken at-length about characters, plot, setting, writing style, emotional connection, etc. I try to stay away from repeating myself too much, because who wants to read that? (By the way, if you want to read my previous reviews, you can find them here: The Legacy of Ash (Book 1); The Legacy of Steel (Book 2).