Review: Pyromantic by Lish McBride

pyromantic

**Spoilers I was lucky enough to receive a Advance Copy back in September.  There will be Spoilers**

It was worth the wait. I really love Lish McBride’s writing. It’s fast paced and full of humor and just so wonderful.  Pyromantic begins a month or two after Firebug ended.  Ava and Cade are trying to figure out their relationship now that they know they are daughter and father.  Ava is still smarting from turning down Lock for a date.  Ava is still coterie but she can’t quite figure out her new boss, Alistair.  Like, when is he going to start killing people for no reason because that’s what Coterie does, right?  Let’s just say there is a lot to get used to.  That’s when this strange and unpredictable things start happening that Ava, Lock, Ezra, Sid and Bianca now must investigate.

I love Ava.  She’s funny, sarcastic and a little cynical.  She is full of insecurities and considering everything that she has been through it’s not surprising.  She lost her Mom after years of being on the run.  She is forced to work for Venus and the Coterie like an indentured servant.  She doesn’t have many friends outside of her team Lock and Ezra and Sylvie, who works at Cade’s bookstore.  When Lock asks Ava out it throws her off.  What if they break up?  How will that effect that their friendship?  So she avoids them both Lock and Ezra. When the strange a disease ravages the area they are forced to work together.  After all the twists turn it makes for a great book.  It’s so different. I mean who doesn’t love Kelpies who wear sweaters?  Or Werehares who knit and in a biker gang?  I love it all.  But most of all I love the friendship between Lock, Ezra and Ava.  They is a true sense of family with them.  They love each other and they are there for each other.  They tolerate each other faults and support each other when they are down.  I’m also loving the friendship of Ava and Sylvie.  They are both polar opposites.  Sylvie is all sunshine and rainbows and Ava is just fire but it works.  I’m know vague on the plot points but this was a wonderful sequel to a great book.  I really hope you all go out and support Lish because she really writes some amazing stories that are weird and funny.  I’m not sure what else to say but go read!

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Top 10 Books I’m Looking forwarded to reading in 2017

So 2016 is almost over.  Thank God or Oh No.  Who knows what 2017 will bring but we do know it will bring plenty of good books.  Here are 10 I’m really looking forward too.

pyromantic

  1. Pyromantic by Lish McBride. – I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of this one and it was everything I hoped it would. I can’t wait for it to come out in March so I can read again.
  2. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas – The second book was one of my favorite books of this year and the way it ended makes me even more excited for it.  Feyre is back in the Spring Court with Tamlin but this time she knows who she is and who he really is.
  3. Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han – I didn’t even know this was even in the works when I read To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before and it’s sequel P.S. I Still Love You earlier this year.  I found the two books to be very charming and sweet.  I loved Lara Jean and Peter and I thought their story was over but I guess not.  I’m still holding out for Kitty novel. song-rising
  4. The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon – This is another book I got an early look at and for all of you still waiting, it’ll be worth it.  I’m going to re-read The Bone Season and The Mime-Order again before this one comes out.
  5. King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard – Mare gave herself up to Maven and who knows what that sadistic bastard has planned for her.  Will Cal save her or will she save herself? Will Farley forgive her?  The rebellion continues
  6. The Untitled 3rd book of the Ember in the Ashes series by Sabaa Tahir- This is such an awesome series I can’t say enough great things about it.  Who knows what will happen next as Laia, Elias and Helene take on the Martials.
  7. Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth – This Veronica’s first book since the Divergent series ended.  No matter how you felt about Allegiant you have to admit that Roth is one brave storyteller.
  8. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – If her last series, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, is anything to go by this one is going to be a real crowd pleaser!
  9. The Ship of the Dead and The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan – Rick Riordan has been on a winning streak lately with both his Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard and The Trials of Apollo series’.  Not only are they imaginative they are truly fun.  Riordan hasn’t been afraid to take on tough subjects and bring a diverse cast of characters to his books and make them both relatable and accessible.  It’s going to be a busy year for Percy Jackson.
  10. Silver Stars by Michael Grant – In this revisionist history story we met three brave women who are fighting in World War 2.  The end of the last book saw our three heroines have all survived their first battle but the war is still a few years from ending.  There are more battles to be fought before our heroines get to go home.

What books are you looking forward to reading in 2017?

My Top 10 Books I read in 2016

I will say this about 2016, I read a lot of good books this year.  It was hard to narrow it down to just 10.  So without further ado and in no particular order.

  1. hammer-of-thorHammer of Thor by Rick Riordan – So it was hard to pick between this one and his other book Riordan wrote, The Hidden Oracle, but I choose this one because of the characters.  I love that Rick has added diverse characters to his worlds.  Not to mention his characters get sassier with every book.
  2. A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir – A cross between historical fiction and dystopian novel.  It’s quite a thrill ride and it left a real cliffhanger as to how the series is going to end.
  3. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas – After a so-so first book this one was a real game changer for the series as a hole.  It delved into matters trauma and emotional abuse but still keep the story flowing.
  4. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater – It’s Maggie and It’s Gansey, Blue, Ronan, Adam and Noah.  It’s the perfect ending to a perfect story.
  5. Half LostHalf Lost by Sally Green – It was as beautiful as it was heartbreaking.  Nate didn’t have an easy life and nothing about this book was easy too.  It was very true to life.  It doesn’t always turn out the way you expect and in war there are always painful loses.
  6. Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard – Now this is a fun series.  It’s a dystopian fantasy with X-Men qualities.  Mare is not perfect.  She’s complicated and conflicting but she means well and the writing only gets better with each book.
  7. Pyromantic by Lish McBride – This book doesn’t actually come out until next year so I’ll wait to tell you about it but let’s just say you are going to love it.
  8. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo – It’s a crime caper and a fantasy.  You root for the the thieves and the con men to win.  It’s wonderful.
  9. Ms. Marvel No Normal by G. Willow Wilson – likable and charming, Kamala Khan is worthy addition to the Avengers.  She proves that it doesn’t matter where you come from and what you believe, you can still be a superhero.
  10. The Midnight Star by Marie Lu – Another great ending to well thought out series.  I may have qualms about who the real villain was but I think it was heartbreaking as it was beautiful.

What I’m Currently Reading: Pyromantic by Lish McBride

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Just last week I talked glowingly about Lish McBride’s series of books.  I decided to take a chance and email her publisher and I was rewarded with an ARC of her new book, Pyromantic!  Thank you Morgan Dubin for sending me the book.  Five chapters in and I’m already loving it!  Review to come closer to the March publication.

 

Series You Should Check Out: Necromancer and Firebug by Lish Mcbride

hold me closerIt’s been awhile since I did one of these. In fact it’s been 5 months.  Oops.  I think it’s about time I did another one, don’t you think?  I can’t think of a better series to welcome back this column then Necromancer and Firebug series’ by Lish McBride.  Really, I can’t believe I have waited this long to write about them.  It’s actually two different series but they take place in the same world, just on opposite coasts.  Necromancer consists of Hold Me Closer, Necromancer and Necromancing the Stone. Two of the best book titles in history of literature. I decided to read the first book based on the title alone.  With a title like Hold Me Closer, Necromancer it had to be good right? Firebug at the moment is the only book in it’s series but the sequel, Pyromantic, another great title, comes out in March of next year.  (I hope, I’m pretty sure. It’s released date has been pushed back more then once to my chagrin)  They both take place in the underground world of the supernaturals.  Sam, our hero in Necromancer is a necromancer.  When he is discovered by another Necromancer he brought into a world of werewolves and other supernaturals creatures that he didn’t even know exist but now is in the thick of it.  You’ll think about Seattle in a different way after reading this book.  Ava, our little firebug from Firebug, is forced to work for the Coterie, a magical mafia.  She along with her friends, Lock and Ezra, she must track down creatures of all kinds who are behind in their payments or doing something they are not supposed to.

necromancing the stoneSo why do I like these books so much?  For one thing they are hilarious!  Like laugh out loud funny you just can’t help yourself.  The situations the characters get in are at times so ridiculous and absurd it’s just too funny.  They are also very original. Sure, there are a lot of other books that feature werewolves, ghosts, nymphs and other supernatural beings but nothing is like this.  I’m not sure how to describe the weirdness of these books but they just work.  There is also a realness to them as well.  Sam and Ava are both great protagonists.  They both find themselves in situations that are out of their control but with the help of their friends and their own gumption they find ways out of them.  They both have a little sassiness to them that I love in my characters.  The supporting characters are more then just comic relief or filler but true characters in their own right.

firebugFirebug came out two years ago and I have been waiting (mostly) patiently for Pyromantic to come out.  Like I said earlier, publication has been pushed back a few times because well life I guess.  Lish Mcbride is not just an author but also a bookseller as well.  The biggest secret of the publication world is that just because you have a book published doesn’t mean you are set for life. Most authors don’t live off of their writing.  They have to have day jobs to make ends meet.  Recently Lish started a Patreon page.  If you not familiar with Patreon, it’s sort of a crowd sourcing website for creators and artist.  You can pledge to give so much money a month to an artist and in return you get exclusive material from them.  Lish so far has posted a new short story and read a chapter from Pyromantic. It’s been satisfying so far.  It ties me over until her new book comes out and I also can feel good about supporting an author I love.  It’s a cool way to support artists and all for that.  So before Pyromantic comes out, I suggest you read Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, Necromancing the Stone and Firebug and read her public post on patreon page.  You will not be disappointed.

Reviews: A Hattrick of Novellas

After I finished reading A Dance of Dragons, I decided I needed something quick.  So I read three novellas.  It has become a trend for YA authors with successful series to write short stories or novellas to supplement the series.  Most of them are inconsequential.  They may add a little hint of what’s going to happen in the series or they are just fluff. They can write a few stories.  Publish them first as an e-book and then later can republish them all as a collection.  Obviously both the author and publishers can get a little bit more out of a trilogy (not to mention, a little more cash) and keep readers interested between books.

Authors use them to either bridge the gap between the end of one book to the beginning of another.  Sort of a “What I did over the Summer” essay, one does on the first day of school.  Other times, authors write a pivotal scene but from another characters perspective.  Usually, it’s from the love interest’s perspective but not always.  Other times, these novellas give authors a chance to play in the world they’ve created without really messing up the story they are writing.  They can do this by writing a story about a supporting character that takes place outside the current story line.  Sometimes, the stories are prequels.  Giving readers a chance to see the hero or heroine before the series began or give a glimpse of life was before.   Whatever the reason for writing the novellas, they are usually fun to read.

Featured imageThe novellas I read came from very different series. The first is The Queen from the Selection series by Kiera Cass. This is actually the third novella from this series and the first that is a prequel, taking place long before the action of the first book, The Selection. First, if you are not familiar with this series. It’s been dubbed as the Bachelor version of the Hunger Games.  I think that’s not a very good description because the only thing they have in common is that they both take place in a dystopian society and both plots revolve around a sort of Reality TV show premise.  In The Selection, America Singer is one of 35 girls picked to compete in the Selection, and win the heart of Prince Maxon.  It’s all taped and televised and other things happen too.  The Queen is about the Queen Amberly, Prince Maxon’s mother’s own Selection, that she obviously won since she is now the Queen.  It doesn’t add too much to series but it does gives more of a look at King Clarkson, who is sort of the villain in the series.  Why he is who he is and also a little sadness for Queen Amberly.  She is a good person who truly loves him and he likes her because he knows she will do whatever he says and is easy to manipulate.  Not exactly a romance.

Featured imageThe second is Burnt Sugar, a prequel novella of Firebug by Lish Mcbride. You may remember that Firebug was one of my favorite books from last year This short story is about Ava, Lock and Ezra on a job for the Coterie to collect money from a witch who has stopped paying her “protection” payments.  Of course, the job goes awry as they run into some unexpected complications.  As is, the witch lives in a Gingerbread house, eats kids just like in Hansel and Gretel and they get captured.  I love their team dynamic.  Lock the responsible leader, Ezra the fox doing what foxes do and Ava, who sort of just likes to wing it.  It has the same sense of humor as the book but just a small dose.  Just enough for me to pine even more for the next book.

Featured imageAnd finally Carnival of Lies is a novella from the Untamed City series by Melissa Marr.  The first book, Carnival of Souls (now published as Carnival of Secrets) was published in 2013 and sadly there is no plans at the moment to publish a sequel. I’m not sure if it’s one of those things that the first book didn’t do as well as they’ve hoped so the cancelled the rest of the series or if Melissa Marr is too busy writing other series.  She just published another Teen book called Made for You, which was only ok. She is also co-authoring a kids series about Norse Mythology.  Whatever the reason, we must be content with Carnival of Lies. A little background: a class of Diamons runs the City.  They have killed almost all the witches and those who survived have escaped to the human realm. The city holds a carnival where one can pay for murder or death.  Once a generation, a competition that is held.  The winners are raised to the ruling class.  The Losers are dead. In Carnival of Lies, we follow Aya as she decides to compete and her betrothed Belwas, who enters to try to save her.  Honestly, there doesn’t seem to be much of reason for this story.  We know why she entered the competition because it was revealed in Carnival of Secrets.  She was born a witch and her Diamon parents who were bewitched to believe they are her real parents.  If she were to marry Belwas and have children, as she would have too, then she would be revealed for what she is and put to death but if she wins and becomes part of the ruling class, she could live without ever having to marry and have children.  Since there is sequel on the horizon, I was really hoping for something more.  This really didn’t do much for me.

All three were a nice break from the multitudes of characters, subplots and pages of Game of Thrones and revisit some old characters and series that I really do enjoy.  Now back to my regular schedule of novels.

Books that Rocked My Face off, Part two

Kate has already posted her list. We have some of the same books in common but unlike my sister, I don’t have any qualms about reading only fiction and mostly teen fiction.  There are a few non-fiction novels I do want to read.  I’m quite interested in the Secret History of Wonder Woman. I’ll get to it eventually.  Anyway, this is about what I read this year so let’s get on with it.  I omitted a few books from contention because I read them as ARCs and they have not been released yet.  That will have to be a post for another day.

1.Blue Lily Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater.

I love her. I might have mentioned that before but I really do love Maggie’s writing style.  Blue Lily Lily Blue is the third book of her The Raven Cycle.  The search for the Welsh King, Glendower, is back with more earnest as Blue’s Mom, Maura has gone missing. Blue, Gansey, Ronan, Adam and Noah all have grown up so much in the last three books and yet, if we know anything about Maggie, they have so much to learn before the series ends in the next book.

2.The Heroes of Olympus: The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

I’m going to miss Percy, Annabeth, Nico, Leo, Hazel, Frank and Reina.  I’ll even miss Jason and Piper too.  They both did grow on me.  I thought it was a fitting ending for a great series. As a team, the Heroes came together, defeated the Giants and brought the Greeks and Romans together.  They all got a happy ending and there was a little bit of opening for some to return in Rick’s next series.

3. Landline by Rainbow Rowell

This was such a satisfying book. Georgie McCool is a TV screenwriter on a crappy show but she and her writing partner finally have a chance to get their own show going.  The problem is they have to write six episodes over Christmas, meaning Georgie has to stay in LA, while her family goes to Omaha.  Georgie’s marriage is already on thin ice; can it survive this?  While spending the night in her old room at her Mom’s house, she plugs in her old landline phone and magically calls her husband Neal in the past.  It soulds fantastical but it is based in the real world.  Rainbow has such a way of creating characters that you can’t help but fall in love with and want to be friends with.

4. The Young Elites by Marie Lu

In a revision of history, after the blood fever in the middle ages, the children who survived are left with scars.  Some were left with mysterious powers. They call themselves the Young Elite. Adelina is one of them. The blood fever left her disfigured with a scar over her left eye.  She has been shunned and abused by her father and when her powers surfaced, she’s a danger to herself and everyone else.  Marie creates a world with so much atmosphere that it was easy to get lost in it. Adelina, is filled with anger about how she is treated; you feel that it’s valid.  There are so many other layers of intrigue and one shocking ending, that the next book can not come too soon.

5. Cress by Marissa Meyer

I really do love the Lunar Chronicles.  A retelling of fairy tales with an alien twist.  I think they are really clever and the characters are so likable.  Cress is a take on Rapunzel.  She is a lunar and is hidden away in a satelite so she can spy on Earth for Queen Levana.  She is rescued from her prison but of course things don’t go as planned. She and Throne crash land in the desert.  Cinder seeks the doctors help for wolf, who is injured and Scarlet is captured by the Lunars.  Oh, and they only have a few days to stop Prince Kai from marrying Queen Levana.  I’m kind of mad that I have to wait until October or November for Winter, the final book but I’m sure it will be worth the wait.

6. Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

In the final book of the Grisha Trilogy, the Darkling has taken over Ravka and only Alina, the Sun Summoner can stop him.  I feel in the past, I have been too hard on Alina, especially how she treated Mal in the last book.  It really started to get me to think how far more critical we are on female characters then we are of male.  Alina, is a  young girl who discovers she has a frightening power that can save them or destroy them.  It is a lot to take in.  She needed someone to understand and for a while, the Darkling was really the only one who could or so she thought.  It is a fitting ending to a dark series.  I felt like all the stories were wrapped up right and they all found some kind of peace.

7. Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan

Part Gothic Novel, part Nancy Drew.  Not your usual combination but it worked for the whole trilogy.  It was funny, scary and heartbreaking without missing a beat.  It was also one of the rare YA novels that not all of the main characters get a happy ending. I sometimes feel that authors feel they have to keep them alive or they will upset their readers but lets be honest.  That’s not realistic.  How many near death experiences can one character live through?  Kami is smart, resourceful and brave and really someone I would love to be friends with.  I’m going to miss this series but I am happy with how it ended.

8. Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

Yet another conclusion to a fantastic Trilogy.  Excluding the last half of the first book, this series grabbed me and never let me go.  It was heartwarming and heartbreaking.  The sacrifices that had to be made were real gut punchers but necessary. In the end Karou and Akiva achieved what they set out to do and a surprising relationship for Liraz was perfect.

9. Firebug by Lish McBride

Firebug doesn’t have the clever names as Lish’s other books but has the sense of humor and urgency.  Set in the same world as Hold Me Closer, Necromancer and Necromancing the Stone (see what I mean about those titles) but in Maine and not Seattle.  Ava is a firebug, a rare gift. She is forced to work for the Coterie, a magical mafia.  When she refuses to kill a family friend, she and her team, Locke, a dryad, and Ezra, a werefox, go on the run.  It really is funny.  Lish has such a great sense of humor that comes out in such surprising ways.  I can’t wait for the next one.

10. Raging Starr by Moira Young

Apparently 2014 was the year to end trilogies.  This is the last book in the Dust Lands series.  A dystopian series that goes beyond what the Hunger Games did.  Miss Young has no problems killing off characters or being seduced.  Saba has found her brother and reunited with Jack and is now ready to take down DeMalo.  The problem is that Saba does not disagree entirely with what DeMalo is trying to do.  Maybe not with how he is going about it and it puts her in direct conflict with both Jack and her brother, Lugh.  I really had no idea where this series was going to take me and it was quite a ride.

Books I loved so much, that I read the whole series:

A Song of Ice and Fire aka A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

Ok so I technically haven’t finished all the books that are out.  I just started A Dance of Dragons.  Also, I did take a 8-month hiatus to watch the series and then read other things but I do love this series.  It’s so rich and challenging.  So many characters and places and plots.  How does he keep them all straight?

Obsidian, Onyx, Opal, Origin and Opposition. The Lux Series by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Daemon is a jerk and I love him for it.  He is also loyal and will do anything for his family and the ones he loves.  So the jerk with a heart of gold.  Obsidian got me hooked and well, I immediately bought the other books.  Were they the best books I’ve read this year.  No but damn, they were entertaining.

Legend, Prodigy and Champions by Marie Lu

I’ve been wanting to read these for a while and finally gave in and I’m glad. June and Day are perfectly matched heroes,  The ending was bittersweet but it did leave us with some hope.

Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door and Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Sometimes you just need a couple of good romances.  It’s really not a series but three companion novels that happen to have overlapping characters.  Anna is a new girl in an American high school in Paris, who falls for the charming St. Clair. Lola is a girl who knows exactly what she wants, except when it comes to Cricket, who lives next door and Isla has been in love with Josh, all for years of school but was to shy to do anything about it until a chance meeting over the summer. Isla is my favorite with Anna close second. Lola is ok but I just didn’t relate to her as much as the other two.  If you are looking for a sweet story with a lot of heart, you couldn’t do much better then these three.

Etiquette and Espoinage, Curtsies and Conspiraces, and Waistcoasts and Weaponry.  The Finishing Series by Gail Carriger

Sophronia is a handful for her mother. Always getting into trouble so when she is accepted into a prestigious finishing school, she’s sent packing.  However, this is no ordinary finishing school.  Not only do they teach the finer points of being a lady, they also teach the best ways to hide weapons in your skirts and what is the best poison to use.  All for Queen and Country, of course.  This steampunk look at Victorian Englad is full of humor that I did literally laugh out loud.