The Aeronaut’s Windlass (The Cinder Spires #1) by Jim Butcher


Jim Butcher, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Dresden Files and the Codex Alera novels, conjures up a new series set in a fantastic world of noble families, steam-powered technology, and magic-wielding warriors…

Since time immemorial, the Spires have sheltered humanity, towering for miles over the mist-shrouded surface of the world. Within their halls, aristocratic houses have ruled for generations, developing scientific marvels, fostering trade alliances, and building fleets of airships to keep the peace.

Captain Grimm commands the merchant ship, Predator. Fiercely loyal to Spire Albion, he has taken their side in the cold war with Spire Aurora, disrupting the enemy’s shipping lines by attacking their cargo vessels. But when the Predator is severely damaged in combat, leaving captain and crew grounded, Grimm is offered a proposition from the Spirearch of Albion—to join a team of agents on a vital mission in exchange for fully restoring Predator to its fighting glory.

And even as Grimm undertakes this dangerous task, he will learn that the conflict between the Spires is merely a premonition of things to come. Humanity’s ancient enemy, silent for more than ten thousand years, has begun to stir once more. And death will follow in its wake…

I read the Advanced Reader’s Copy that I picked up from Book Con. The final edition was released September 29, 2015.

My plan was to finish the ARC before that date, but things happened.
This novel also took me more time to read than I would have liked (October 18 to December 04, 2015), but ugh… responsibilities taking away my free time. It was also killing my back to commute with such a large book (630 pages) so after a while I left it home to read a single chapter before bed about twice a week.

Moving onward. I enjoyed the story. There is a lot of action both on the ground and in the sky. There is also world building, although, I did have some difficulty understanding what the setting looked like. Specifically the construction and layout of the spires. However, it’s a good start and I would like to know more history of their world and the backstories of the characters.

I was very happy that the story was told from several of the characters’ perspectives. I liked their interactions as well as the development of the old and new relationships. I’m going to pick my two favorite characters: the well mannered Captain Grimm and the sassy Cat, Rowl. (The Cats’ behaviors and attitudes were so on point.) I loved Rowl’s name for Bridget, “Little Mouse” because that was my sister’s childhood nickname.

The enemy exhibited ruthless behavior but I wish we had more insight into their motives. I suppose that is something to discover as the series goes on.

I don’t think I will be running out to get the next book, but I would like to read it at some point, either from the library or an ARC.

3.5 out 5 Airships.


The Drafter (The Peri Reed Chronicles, #1) by Kim Harrison


Detroit 2030. Double-crossed by the person she loved and betrayed by the covert government organization that trained her to use her body as a weapon, Peri Reed is a renegade on the run.

Don’t forgive and never forget has always been Peri’s creed. But her day job makes it difficult: she is a drafter, possessed of a rare, invaluable skill for altering time, yet destined to forget both the history she changed and the history she rewrote.

When Peri discovers her name on a list of corrupt operatives, she realizes that her own life has been manipulated by the agency. She joins forces with a mysterious rogue soldier in a deadly race to piece together the truth about her final task, unable to trust even herself.

This is one of the ARC’s I picked up at Book Con.

I started this book on August 27th. As of today, October 18, I give up. I only got halfway through and am so unmotivated to finish.

I feel bad saying this because the story sounds like it should be awesome. I was thinking it would be like a female protaganist Jason Bourne thriller.

Unfortunately I was bored. Everything moves so slow and not much of the plot develops. It is very repetitive and the action is not very enticing.

Even though I have been very busy lately (a vacation, work, NYCC, getting over a cold) a thriller like this should have me stay up at night turning the page and saying, “just one more chapter.” Instead whenever I had some downtime to read I would grunt in agony that I was still not finished.

1 out of 5 TL;DR

Book Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon


This innovative, heartfelt debut novel tells the story of a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world. When a new family moves in next door, she begins a complicated romance that challenges everything she’s ever known. The narrative unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, texts, charts, lists, illustrations, and more.

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

This was an ARC I picked up during Book Con at the Random House First In Line booth.


I really loved the way it was written, like a diary with lists, illustrations, and Maddy’s little definitions and book reviews. It gave the story a real personal feel. Maddy is a girl I would have been friends with in high school. I’d be friends with her now.

Maddy and Olly came alive. They were so cute. Their interactions made me laugh but it was not just cutesy teenage stuff. There was some darkness and growing pains.

The life lessons and philosophies brought up are nothing new, but were presented in a way that makes you stop reading and think about your own life. Particularly Chaos Theory. If you could change one moment would you get the results you want? Not according to Chaos Theory. Which leads me to another favorite moment about “you’re not living if you’re not regretting.”

I want to say this without it being too much of a spoiler. My one critique was that the end, which I predicted, it’s resolution seemed too simple. Given the nature of the – condition – I thought there would be more resistance and bigger consequences for that particular illness.

Besides that, it was a fast, enjoyable and memorable story.

4.5 out of 5 humuhumunukunukuapuaas
Everything, Everything hits shelves September 1, 2015.

Nicola’s husband, David Yoon did the illustrations for the novel. I like them. They are very happy.


I put post-it notes in my books too. 🙂


LOL. I loved that part.


Book Reviews: Another Day and Every Day, by David Levithan


The eagerly anticipated companion to David Levithan’s New York Times bestseller Every Day

In this enthralling companion to his New York Times bestseller Every Day, David Levithan (co-author of Will Grayson, Will Grayson with John Green) tells Rhiannon’s side of the story as she seeks to discover the truth about love and how it can change you.

Every day is the same for Rhiannon. She has accepted her life, convinced herself that she deserves her distant, temperamental boyfriend, Justin, even established guidelines by which to live: Don’t be too needy. Avoid upsetting him. Never get your hopes up.

Until the morning everything changes. Justin seems to see her, to want to be with her for the first time, and they share a perfect day—a perfect day Justin doesn’t remember the next morning. Confused, depressed, and desperate for another day as great as that one, Rhiannon starts questioning everything. Then, one day, a stranger tells her that the Justin she spent that day with, the one who made her feel like a real person . . . wasn’t Justin at all.

Picked this ARC up at Book Con which was part of Random House’s First In Line giveaway.

I was relieved to read in the author’s note that this is not a sequel to Every Day, which I had not read, but a companion or “twin”. It’s the same time period but another character’s first person perspective. Another Day can be read on it’s own or first. Although I am sure the author prefers both novels gain readership. 😉

I could not put Another Day down. I felt a lot of nostalgia about my teen years and connected with Rhiannon.
On one particular evening I was very emotional. I decided to read before bed as a way to escape, only it was Chapter 10. I ended up crying the whole night, but I was also relieved by the outcome.

Book jackets always say not to quote from the ARC and to check the final print, but I am going to quote it anyway. This line really got the tears to stream down my face:

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A History of Glitter and Blood by Hannah Moskowitz


Sixteen-year-old Beckan and her friends are the only fairies brave enough to stay in Ferrum when war breaks out. Now there is tension between the immortal fairies, the subterranean gnomes, and the mysterious tightropers who arrived to liberate the fairies. But when Beckan’s clan is forced to venture into the gnome underworld to survive, they find themselves tentatively forming unlikely friendships and making sacrifices they couldn’t have imagined. As danger mounts, Beckan finds herself caught between her loyalty to her friends, her desire for peace, and a love she never expected. This stunning, lyrical fantasy is a powerful exploration of what makes a family, what justifies a war, and what it means to truly love.

I am back on the Book Con wagon. A friend gave me this book when I told her I only picked up one book that day after being in panels all morning. I should start off by saying that I read the ARC and the novel will be released on August 18, 2015.

This book started out confusing. The story is not linear, the world building was not described in great detail. At one point I wondered if the lore had contradicted itself. The history of the war between the different races (or is it species?) was not as well described as I was expecting.

Then you have this passage at the end of Chapter 1

Shit, what the fuck am I even doing? What kind of history book doesn’t even have a map? Once upon a time there was a writer who couldn’t write a fucking book. I don’t know what comes next. That whole chapter’s going to need to get thrown out anyway. You completely forgot halfway through that you’d said it was raining at the beginning.
Was it raining?
No one’s ever going to know, and it’s all your fault.
Put a fucking map in the next draft.

I had no idea who was speaking there. For a while I thought it was Hannah Moskowitz herself talking to us, the readers. My immediate thought was, “Oh, it’s supposed to sound like a first draft manuscript on purpose.”

Pages 68-84, it all starts to make more sense. I realized the reason why the story sounded like a journal with scrapbook clippings. Also, once I realized the different between the races I knew that an error had not been made with the mythology.

Basically, it starts out strange and disjointed, not everything is as well explained or developed as it should be, but stick with it because it’s an enjoyable story. It’s also written in such a unique way that it stands out from other fantasy novels.

The story is more about the effects the war has on these young fairies, gnomes and a tightroper. It’s about the twisted relationships and trying to survive their circumstances.
There are dark themes: what is murder and what is self-defense during war time, teenage prostitution, and mentions of rape.

I also got the sense that in this world, there are no hangups about sexual orientation. There are prejudices, discriminations and slurs thrown around for other reasons, but not for one’s sexual orientation. I wonder if that was intentional as part of the world building.

I found myself engaged in the characters and their story, and it was not all what I was expecting.

4 out 5 specs of glitter. 

Alive (The Generations Trilogy #1) by Scott Sigler


“I open my eyes to darkness. Total darkness. I hear my own breathing, but nothing else. I lift my head . . . it thumps against something solid and unmoving. There is a board right in front of my face. No, not a board . . . a lid.”

A teenage girl awakens to find herself trapped in a coffin. She has no idea who she is, where she is, or how she got there. Fighting her way free brings little relief — she discovers only a room lined with caskets and a handful of equally mystified survivors. Beyond their room lies a corridor filled with bones and dust, but no people … and no answers.

She knows only one thing about herself — her name, M. Savage, which was engraved on the foot of her coffin — yet she finds herself in charge. She is not the biggest among them, or the boldest, but for some reason the others trust her. Now, if they’re to have any chance, she must get them to trust each other.

Whatever the truth is, she is determined to find it and confront it. If she has to lead, she will make sure they survive. Maybe there’s a way out, a rational explanation, and a fighting chance against the dangers to come. Or maybe a reality they cannot comprehend lies just beyond the next turn.

I picked up an ARC at Book Con. The release date is July 14, 2015. I will be respectful of author’s request and keep this spoiler free.

I enjoyed Alive very much. It’s an exciting page turner. Sigler does a great job of writing about human behavior. During the characters’ journey and discoveries they face many ethical, phycological, political, and other challenges.

The characters are well developed and play off each other in a manner that the reader feels like they are a part of their group.

I have to mention this and I won’t give anything away. I’ll just describe it in a general summary. There is a very subtle love triangle but it was not the main focus, which I loved. It’s more about basic human emotions of attraction and some jealousy, rather than anything mushy, idealistic and moving way too fast.

I like the sci-fi aspect. It was not what I was expecting since I thought it would be a supernatural story. Some answers I guessed correctly and other times I would go back and reread chapters to absorb all the details again. There is some world building that really interests me and I want more details.

The pacing is just right. I didn’t get frustrated by drawn out mysteries but there are questions I hope are addressed in the next two books.

I can say without a doubt I am interested in this trilogy and look forward to the release of book two.

5 out 5 (circles) O


Eeny Meeny (Helen Grace #1) by M.J Arlidge


The “dark, twisted, thought-provoking” (#1 New York Times bestseller Tami Hoag) international bestseller—first in the new series featuring Detective Helen Grace.

Two people are abducted, imprisoned, and left with a gun. As hunger and thirst set in, only one walks away alive.

It’s a game more twisted than any Detective Helen Grace has ever seen. If she hadn’t spoken with the shattered survivors herself, she almost wouldn’t believe them.

Helen is familiar with the dark sides of human nature, including her own, but this case—with its seemingly random victims—has her baffled. But as more people go missing, nothing will be more terrifying than when it all starts making sense….

This is one of the free books I picked up at Book Con this year.

It was ok for me. Crime thriller novels are not my usual genre. I’m not usually into the who-done-it and the catch the serial killer before he or she strikes again, unless it’s on TV. Sometimes the story went really dark, and the details were quite gross. I understand the theme of the novel and painting a whole picture for the reader, but it was almost like torture porn.

There were also the typical red herrings, one of which I guessed early on.

On to the positive aspects. I liked the short chapters from different characters’ persectives. Not only did it make it a fast read, it also gave a wider view of the psychological consequences. The trauma and PTSD the characters went through was well written. As for the villain’s motive, while not justifiable was understandable. I don’t have much experience reading crime thrillers so I have this unfair assumption that the villains are written to be sick and twisted for no reason. Knowing her reasons made the character more dimensional than just someone who kills to further the story of the protagonist/lead detective.

I also liked the way the female detectives worked together on the case.

Fans of crime novels will enjoy this series. I think for now I am one and done. Unless I pick up a free copy of the next book at a convention. There is a whole series planned. My copy has a conversation with M.J. Arlidge and he said when he first discussed Eeny Meeny with his publishers he also verbally pitched the first seven novels in the Helen Grace series to them. The next book, Pop Goes the Weasel, comes out October 6, 2015.

2.5 out of 5 locked rooms.

Book Con – May 30 – May 31, 2015


The set up was an improvement from last year. There was room to walk around and they gave out bracelets for the panels being held in the Special Events Hall. That prevented people from queuing up at 10AM for a panel that didn’t start till 3PM.

Started off Saturday morning getting bracelets for Mindy Kaling in conversation with BJ Novak at 11AM and Room Film panel featuring first look and cast discussion.

Mindy and BJ were very funny. I liked them both on The Office, and I can’t deny, I ship them in real life. I forgot how Mindy knew this story but it was a funny one about how when Tom Hanks and Dave Chappelle were filming You’ve Got Mail. It was at the time of the Seinfeld series finale and after a long day of filming they couldn’t find a place to watch it. So being on the Upper West Side (where much of Seinfeld took place) they figured everyone would be home watching it. They knocked on some strangers door and asked if they could watch the finale with them. Ok, when I tell the story it is lame, but look for this panel on YouTube and Mindy tells it right.

I read the book sampler of Why Not Me? and I liked the part in the first essay about when you are still best friends with your best friend and you have that inside joke that lasts for years. And even just one phrase of that inside joke will still make you laugh.

I read Room back in 2012 and had no idea it had been adapted into a film. It was because of Book Con that I found out. So I loved the book and was very excited about this panel.

Emma Donoghue spoke about her process of writing the novel and then adapting it into the screenplay. I am so happy to hear she wrote the screenplay. I have much more faith in a book to film adaptation when the author is the screenwriter.

She also said that a small Irish film company produced the film. Good, those big Hollywood suits often screw things up anyway.

Brie Larson, playing Ma, and Jacob Tremblay, playing Jack, also spoke about their roles. Brie actually secluded herself for a month to prepare for the role. She also went on a special diet and built muscle tone to be able to keep up with a energetic 5 year old.
Jacob was adorable and seemed a bit nervous but spoke really well in front of a large audience.

Then it was up to the Exhibit Hall. We were not crammed into a tiny corner like last year. There was room to walk around and not feel like a salmon swimming up-stream.

I didn’t see many book give-aways on Saturday. I picked up a few chapter samplers. I only picked up one free book, H2O, by Virgina Bergin. It came with a poncho!
Also, one of my friends gave me a ARC she picked up, A History of Glitter and Blood, by Hannah Moskowitz. 


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Book Review: The Prophet by Michael Koryta


A new thriller from international bestseller Michael Koryta: the killer of a teenage girl terrorizes a small town and reopens decades-old wounds.
Adam Austin hasn’t spoken to his brother in years. When they were teenagers, their sister was abducted and murdered, and their devastated family never recovered. Now Adam keeps to himself, scraping by as a bail bondsman, working so close to the town’s criminal fringes that he sometimes seems a part of them.

Kent Austin is the beloved coach of the local high school football team, a religious man and hero in the community. After years of near misses, Kent’s team has a shot at the state championship, a welcome point of pride in a town that has had its share of hardships.

Just before playoffs begin, the town and the team are thrown into shock when horrifically, impossibly, another teenage girl is found murdered. As details emerge that connect the crime to the Austin brothers, the two must confront their buried rage and grief-and unite to stop a killer.

The Prophet was a wonderfully written story about grief, family ties, and a suspenseful mystery. I became emotionally invested in each of the brothers’ lives. They were developed in a well rounded way that I could understand each’s point of view; Adam’s guilt, living in the past, and wanting revenge as well as Kent’s decision to forgive, like a good Christian, and learning that life goes on.

What was also identifiable was that though Adam and Kent were estranged, in the end they would still do anything to protect each other. That end sure had me at the edge of my seat and shouting out at the characters, then ultimately I cried at the bitter-sweet outcome.

There were some questions that were not answered or not fully detailed, but it’s acceptable because this was the brothers’ story. Not the police, or the FBI, or the killer’s. It kept it simple and more character driven.

As someone who hates football unless it’s a Friends Thanksgiving episode, or movie and TV series Friday Night Lights, I liked how the football games factored in. (Which makes sense because when they handed this out at Book Con last year they described it as Friday Night Lights meets In Cold Blood.) I didn’t understand the terminology, because I just can’t grasp the rules of the game, but I was rooting for the Cardinals and for their distraught star player.

If you stumped about what you should read next, this would be my recommendation.

4.5 out 5 Touchdowns. 

Book Review: The Family Hightower by Brian Francis Slattery


In 1968 two boys are born into a large family, both named for their grandfather, Peter Henry Hightower. One boy—Peter—grows up in Africa and ends up a journalist in Granada. The other—Petey—becomes a minor criminal, first in Cleveland and then in Kiev. In 1995, Petey runs afoul of his associates and disappears. But the criminals, bent on revenge, track down the wrong cousin, and the Peter in Granada finds himself on the run. He bounces from one family member to the next, piecing together his cousin’s involvement in international crime while learning the truth about his family’s complicated history. Along the way the original Peter Henry Hightower’s story is revealed, until it catches up with that of his children, revealing how Peter and Petey have been living in their grandfather’s shadow all along.

The novel takes a look at capitalism and organized crime in the 20th century, the legend of the self-made man, and what money can do to people. Like Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex, The Family Hightower stretches across both generations and continents, bearing the weight of family secrets and the inevitable personal toll they take on loved ones despite our best intentions.

First I must note that the copy I read was an Advanced Uncorrected Proof that  I received last year at Book Con. I’m reading the books I received then before I attend this year’s Book Con at the end of the month.

Part one of the book was really thrilling and mysterious. I quickly found myself rooting for the good Peter Henry Hightower cousin.
Part two, did give great insight into the family history but it also slowed down the story for me. I had put the book down for more than a week before I picked it up again and powered through to finish. Which then made part three, that was back in the present day of part one, feel a bit anti-climatic. I thought there would be more of a suspenseful chase but the set up events made everything work out smoothly.  Still, the characters are well developed and evoke emotion from the reader. Like I said, I rooted for (the good) Peter, I even rooted for Sylvie, thought Petey was a naive, selfish, idiot, felt so bad for Madalina and her parents.
The writing style is very descriptive as the  author speaks directly to the reader.  The narration at times is more told then shown. Often the dialogue is not in quotes but just a reference in italics. Sometimes the sentence are rambling and go off on tangents, or skip between past, present and future. However, it all comes together and makes sense in the end.
There is a lot of well researched history; history of Cleveland, African nations, Ukraine and the Soviet Union, . One historic moment I especially liked was the Sugar Ray Robinson-Jimmy Doyle fight because of the way it symbolically tied in with the threat old PHH gets.
Overall it was a good historical fiction like story of a dysfunctional family and the disgusting life of organized crime.
3.5 out 5 Namesakes.