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Book Review: ‘Shadowed Souls’ Edited By Jim Butcher & Kerrie L. Hughes
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Waerloga69   |  @   |  
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Jim Butcher Shadowed Souls header

Shadowed Souls
Paperback | Kindle Edition
Edited by Jim Butcher and Kerrie L. Hughes
Roc Books, an imprint of Penguin Group
Release Date: November 1, 2016

Now this is my wheelhouse, folks. Dark and twisted, verging on the edge of being considered horror fantasy; full of magic, monsters, and mayhem. Yep, Shadowed Souls has it all. It’s made up of not just one tale, but eleven, all of which are loosely connected through the title of the book. If spooky and abnormal is up your alley, then your alley must look a lot like mine. Edited by Jim Butcher and Kerrie L. Hughes, this anthology covers a wide range of fantasy sub-genres, including some I didn’t even realize existed!

I won’t go through every one of the shorts, but there are a few that stand out to me, such as the first story from Butcher himself, Cold Case. While it is part of the Dresden Files, it focuses on Molly Carpenter and her new position as one of the Queens of Winter. Only a week into her gig as the new Winter Lady, she finds herself in scenario that isn’t as cut and dry as what she might like. There are lessons here, but none she will enjoy. She seemed to forget that she was on a mission for Winter; one that was meant to harden her, I presume.

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Book Review: The King’s Justice: Two Novellas by Stephen R. Donaldson
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The King's Justice by Stephen R. Donaldson

The King’s Justice: Two Novellas
Hardcover | Kindle
Written by Stephen R. Donaldson
G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date: October 13, 2015

In his first published work since finishing his Thomas Covenant series, Stephen R. Donaldson delivers two all original novellas in The King’s Justice. I’ve long been a fan of this author, stemming all the way back to the late 1970s when I began voraciously reading his The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant The Unbeliever. It was well beyond my 8-year-old reading level, but it forced me to try harder and it certainly increased my vocabulary. I loved both of those trilogies and was ecstatic when he decided to revisit the character in 2004; those final books are amazing and well worth the wait. But we are here to talk about two all new stories with which Donaldson has seen fit to grace us! So, good reader, let us get to it!

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Book Review: The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass By Jim Butcher
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The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut's Windlass by JimButcher

The Aeronaut’s Windlass
Book 1 of The Cinder Spires
Hardcover | Kindle | Paperback | Audible Audiobook | Audio CD
by Jim Butcher
Roc | Penguin Random House
Release date: September 29, 2015

Jim Butcher‘s long-running supernatural hard-boiled detective series The Dresden Files has had fans clamoring for more, while his more traditional fantasy books of Codex Alera have been well-received over the past decade. Now the best-selling author is launching a new series called The Cinder Spires, which combines fantasy and steampunk for a high-flying adventure, starting with the first book, The Aeronaut’s Windlass.

In The Aeronaut’s Windlass, the world is engulfed in a dangerous mist that caused humanity to move up above the clouds to Spires, divided into multi-tiered Habbles, where noble houses vie for power and airships are the main mode of transportation, shipping, and military. When the children of noble houses come of age, they enlist for a year’s service in the Spirearch’s Guard. On Spire Albion, Gwendolyn Lancaster — who’s House is the most prestigious — is a new Guard trainee, joining cousin Benedict Sorellin-Lancaster, one of the warriorborn, humans who possess feline-like characteristics. At the Academy, the cousins meet Bridget Tagwynn, who’s of a lower, dying house (it’s just her and her father left in their line), and Bridget’s protector, Rowl, a cat who is the first of his kind to be accepted into the service.

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Book Review: Burn
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Burn Walter Jury Sarah Fine Header

Burn
Hardcover | Kindle Edition
Written by Walter Jury and Sarah Fine
G.P. Putnam’s Sons/ Penguin Group
Release Date: May 12, 2015
Cover Price: $17.99

His father is dead. His mother was shot. The scanner was taken.

Tate Archer is in big trouble. The H2 alien race that has mixed with humans for eons, leaving only the 50 First families (pure human) has it, and he knows it is all his fault. So much was left unsaid between him and his father – about emotions not shown, and technology and secrets not shared. His father must have thought they had more time. He now understands what he has been training for all his life – this confrontation.

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Book Review: Scan
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Scan review bannerScan
Hardcover | Paperback | Kindle Edition | Audible
Written by Walter Jury and Sarah Fine
G.P. Putnam’s Sons/ Penguin Group
Release Date: May 1, 2014
Cover Price: $17.99

Tate Archer has been in training his entire life. For what, he has no idea. His secretive weapons inventor dad harps on “family responsibility” and “high stakes” but won’t clue Tate in on just what that means. All Tate needs to do right now is to follow his punishing exercise regimen, eat according to his carefully prescribed nutrition plan (protein gel, anyone?), and sharpen his ever curious mind (learned chemistry in kindergarten).

The bright spots in his life are his girlfriend Christina, and sneaking into his dad’s high security lab whenever possible, with his makeshift replicant fingerprints. He “borrows” what looks like a scanner, triggering a shoot-out, which results in his father’s death. Now Tate is right in the middle of a centuries old secret alien war on Earth, and everyone wants that scanner. Tate and Christina are on the run, joined by Tate’s formerly-out-of-the-picture mom, and don’t know who to trust. All Tate knows is that the scanner is more than it seems, and he has to keep it out of everyone’s hands.

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Book Review: Conversion
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Conversion review headerConversion
Hardcover | Kindle Edition
Written by Katherine Howe
G.P. Putnam’s Sons/ Penguin Young Readers Group
Release Date: July 1, 2014
Cover Price: $18.99

Colleen Rowley is in her senior year at St. Joan’s Academy, an all girls prep school. She is fighting for the title of valedictorian. She is fighting for spots at top colleges. Will she soon have to fight for her health and sanity?

The girls at the school are falling ill in the strangest ways: tics and twitches, going bald in a matter of seconds, losing the ability to walk, and coughing up pins. Colleen and her friends cannot figure out what the hell is going on, and neither can the afflicted girls, the school, doctors, or the health department. The media is swarming the school, to the delight of the students and to the horror of the faculty.

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Book Review: The Nethergrim
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The Nethergrim by Matthew Jobin

The Nethergrim
Hardcover | Kindle Edition
Written by Matthew Jobin
Philomel Books/ Penguin Young Readers Group
Release Date: April 8, 2014
Cover Price: $17.99

Poor Edmund Bale…..all he wants to do is read, practice a little magic, and get the girl. But he is the eldest son of a tavern-keeper and must learn to inherit that trade. Therefore, books are only useful as kindling and the girl sees him as just a friend. Ah, but maybe Edmund can prove himself to her!

Strange things are happening in Edmund’s village. A wizard visits the tavern, yet no one remembers him after they encounter him. Pigs go missing and just their pile of bones are discovered. There are whisperings of the Nethergrim’s return. But that’s impossible, isn’t it? The heroes, Tristan, John Marshall (father of Edmund’s crush Katherine), and Vithric the wizard, defeated it and saved the village Moorvale years before. Edmund’s pain-in-the-neck little brother and equally pain-in-the-neck friends disappear into the hands of the Nethergrim’s monster servants, and while the village almost mourns them for dead, Edmund, Katherine, and slave-no-more Tom set out to save them from the returned horror that is The Nethergrim.

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Book Review: The Slanted Worlds
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The Slanted Worlds by Catherine FisherThe Slanted Worlds
Obsidian Mirror, Book 2
Hardcover | Kindle
Written by Catherine Fisher
Dial Books/Penguin Group
Release Date: March 18, 2014
Cover Price: $17.99

Catherine Fisher left us off with the BIG reveal during the last two pages of Obsidian Mirror. It was cruel to make the readers wait almost an entire year to reunite with recluse Venn, fatherless Jake, Sarah from the future, enslaved Piers, trapped Gideon, tutor (or something else?) Wharton, Summer, the Shee, Janus, the wolf, the monkey (sorry–the marmoset), the seven cats, and of course, the Chronoptika, otherwise known as the Obsidian Mirror.

The Slanted Worlds, Fisher’s second book in this time journeying series, continues the battle for control of the Obsidian Mirror. Jake finds himself traveling 80 years back in time to 1940s London during the Blitz, forced to huddle in the Underground with bomb weary inhabitants, while searching for his father. There he is given a luggage tag by an old woman buried in the rubble who somehow knows his name.

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Book Review: Half Bad
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Half Bad cover by Faceout Studio, Tim Green: Penguin GroupHalf Bad
Hardcover | Paperback | Kindle Edition
Written by Sally Green
Viking/Penguin Group
Release Date: March 4, 2014
Cover Price: $18.99

Half Bad, the debut novel of Sally Green, is not half bad, pun extremely intended. We are looking at the next YA movie trilogy, since some exec was smart enough to snatch up these rights. The first book of an intended three, it moves away from the current trendy female heroine that stands up to injustice/conformity/oppression/flammable clothing, and goes back to a male witch from modern-day England (hmmm…) — Nathan. Nathan is half white witch and half black witch known as a half code. Guess which half is bad?

In Nathan’s world, white witches are good and the governing body, while black witches are bad and almost always met with a violent end. The fains (humans) are not prominent, but are muggle in their ability to ignore witchiness. Nathan lives with his white witch family, sans mom. Nathan innocently ratted out his mother’s liaison with his cavernous black eyes and traitorous olive skin. His father is not only a black witch, but the most dangerous, most deadly, most hated one in the world. All witches, excuse me, white witches, get three gifts on their 17th birthday which reveals their magical ability. Nathan will do anything to get to his father so he can receive his gifts and escape a life of ostracism, hatred, loneliness, pain, and fear. How much pain? How much fear? How much loneliness?

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Book Review: The 5th Wave
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Maximus Prime   |  
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The 5th WaveThe 5th Wave
Hardcover | Paperback | Kindle Edition
Written by Rick Yancey
Penguin Books/Putnam
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Cover Price: $18.99

What would be the one thing that, if taken away from the human race, would leave it even more devastated than if life itself had been all but obliterated? It’s humanity. The 5th Wave is coming, and through the introspective voiced narratives of a few, author Rick Yancey delivers a powerful look at the few willing to make a stand when almost all hope is lost.

After the alien invasion’s first wave, when technology stopped working, Cassie and her family, along with the rest of the world, couldn’t help but wonder where the Others had come from—or what it was they desired; the second wave left millions of people across the planet dead due to a “natural” calamity; the third wave brought sickness and death, taking the lives of Cassie’s mother and billions of others; the fourth wave made it impossible to trust any survivors, with the realization that any person left could in actuality be one of the Others in human form.

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