Monday, October 31, 2016

November Titles on the reading list

November looks good people! Funny thing I notice, most of the hotly awaited books release on Nov 1st. Maybe I will put up another post for the books releasing later this month. For now, I have got quite a good list to read and finish for the month.

The Facefaker's game by Chandler Birch

Typical marketing hype that compares debuts to established authors sometimes might backfire. And we are talking Scott Fucking Lynch here! The Facefaker's game is another gem of a debut that's high on the most-awaited list of 2016, the protagonist being a young beggar boy who tricks his way into a guild of thieving magicians. Comparisons being drawn to Locke, of course.
Well, you had me at theiving magicians! This one's up next on my reading list.

Releases Nov 1st, from Ace books.



The Operative by Gerald Brandt


I missed out on The Courier, a cinematic sci-fi thriller set in a futuristic California that came last year from Gerald Brandt. A San Angeles novel, the Operative is the sequel to that explosive debut that saw Kris, a motorbike courier go into hiding with the underground resistance after witnessing a murder. Tailor made for a cyberpunk movie! I hope to pick up the threads soon and jump onto this one.

Releases Nov 1st, 2016 from DAW books.




The Burning Isle by Will Panzo


Grim dark fantasy debut perfect for the fans of Joe Abercrombie and the likes, this one's definitely one of the most anticipated titles for me, this year. Initial chapters don't dissapoint, the world building seems epic and its suitably dark and drenched in blood for me to revel in ( grin!)

Follows the adventures of a mysterious mage, Cassius newly arrived at this lawless island called Scipio ruled by merciless gang lords and an invisible army camped out in the Jungles. Look at the glorious cover, it's just mindblowing!

Releases Nov 1st from Ace Books.

The Smoke Hunter by Jacquelyn Benson

Another odd one out in my list this year, this one is touted to be Indiana Jones meets Lara Croft in an intense action thriller. Well, you sure got my attention people.

Set in 1898, a lot of history and mythology woven together in this fun action caper, I am definitely in on this.






Dominion by Peter Mclean

I read the Drake, Burning Man#1 that was Peter's debut last year and it sure was a crackler. An explosive urban fantasy set in the seedy undergrounds of a London we don't know, featuring an anti-hero and his devilish demon, fallen angels and like. Cannot wait to get back to this world and figure out how Drake survives the next predicament, big and ugly as they are. What with deals with the Devil Himself.

Releases Nov 1st from Angry Robot books.




Jekyll Revelation by Robert Masello

This one's a bit different, a mystery/thriller inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson's creation of the Strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. And the blurb definitely sounded promising.

A curse from the 1880's London transported to modern day California. Robert Masello is the best selling author of the Einstein Prophecy and I have never read him before. The historical references sounded intriguing and so I will definitely be taking this one up.

Releases Nov 8, from 47 North. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Remember Yesterday ( Forget Tomorrow #2) by Pintip Dunn

When I was approached for a blog tour of Remember Yesterday, I jumped for the chance. As I had really enjoyed the opening chapter in the series, Forget Tomorrow by Pintip Dunn and along with the rest of the world, was waiting with bated breath about the fate of Callie Stone and the world she was trying to save.



A YA sci-fi with time-travel forming a critical part of the narrative, the first book was definitely a hit with the readers - mainly because of the delightful world built up and also how Pintip chose to portray her heroine, Callie Stone - a strong and level-headed girl, selfless to a fault; her ultimate sacrifice that probably prevents the world from plunging into a disaster. But after that ultimate shocker of an ending, Pintip comes back with an even stronger sequel - raising questions about time-travel with some breezy recap on this world-altering incident. Did it really save the world and her sister Jessa ?

As I plunged back into this familiar, well realized world, set sometime perhaps in our own near future, I thought that a quick brush up of acronyms from book one would have been helpful. FuMA, the now disgraced Future Memory Association tasked with making sure the memories get assigned to people on their designated date. TechRA - Technology Research Agency, working to "re-invent" future memory after Callie's momentous decision and action change the future course of this world. There, that is now out of the way. Trust me, the whole book centers around these two agencies that could define the future of this world.

Right in the beginning, the switch in POV to Jessa, Callie's sister who was all of six in book one, grown up to a rebellious and headstrong sixteen year old  by the second book, is an interesting plot device. So the beginning of the book feels really different from the rock-solid, fun caper that defined book one. We are talking about teenage crushes, rebel yells, the angst and confusion and the hormonal overdrive that defines typical sixteen years going through their transformation stage and a lot of the initial narrative is basically Jessa trying to live beyond the shadow of the legacy that Callie has left behind in this world. Coupled with that are twinges of jealousy and guilt that makes Jessa basically run away from the civilization to join a nomadic group called Harmony - who are the voice of dissent against the tyrannical government agencies.

She forms her most meaningful relationships here in the wild, With Ryder, a boy her age adopted by Mikey (Logan's brother from book-one) who is sort of the head of this rebel group. Now Ryder I thought had great potential, to be this side-kick who teaches all sorts of physical sports to Jessa including neat hover-board tricks. But as the book proceeds, this one goes to the sideline. In favor of the more candy-floss teenage hormone-driven romantic allusion she has with Tanner Callahan, a boy-genius and a scientist working at TechRA.

So put Tanner - the quintessential good looker with the IQ off the charts and a cocky attitude to boot. And Jessa - a punk rebel, headstrong and brash who is desperately trying to find her own purple haven - together, there is bound to be romance. In fact, in this aspect, Pintip does a xerox copy of the love-story that was building up between Logan and Callie from book-one. But somehow, this one really struck a chord with me as a reader. There are plenty of things happening through the book - twisted events that helps answer the questions about the damaged past, beautifully interjecting time-travel into the narrative. The romance builds up naturally even as these events transpire and define their characters in the story.

In fact Remember yesterday is pretty much the motto that Jessa lives by - Callie's sacrifice that rewrote the timelines and the solution to their problems might lie in the past. The breezy second part brings back some "crucial" characters who shape the destiny of this world and I thought this was really very clever.  And while I have to say, I saw the end coming, Pintip's energetic writing still makes this reading all sorts of fun - tying up a lot of threads neatly. The time-travel paradoxes are cleverly handled and the room is left wide open for an interesting climax by the series ender, definitely looking forward to wrap this one up as Jessa and her friends head for one hell of a showdown.

Overall, an extremely strong sequel to a wonderful sci-fi YA series that definitely will be remembered, today and tomorrow. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Book Tour: Remember Yesterday by Pintip Dunn

http://www.chapter-by-chapter.com/blog-tours/

So I loved NYT Bestselling and RITA™ Award-winning book Forget Tomorrow by Pintip Dunn that came out roughly the same time, last year - and am super excited by the next part in that series, Remember Yesterday that released on Oct 4th, excited enough to sign up and be a part of the tour!

The full schedule can be found here. Oh and don't forget to read on to the end - to take part in an exclusive give-away associated with this tour.

Book Details

Book Title: Remember Yesterday (Forget Tomorrow, #2)
Author:  Pintip Dunn
Release Date: October 4, 2016
Genre: YA Sci Fi

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Sixteen-year-old Jessa Stone is the most valuable citizen in Eden City. Her psychic abilities could lead to significant scientific discoveries, if only she’d let TechRA study her. But ten years ago, the scientists kidnapped and experimented on her, leading to severe ramifications for her sister, Callie. She’d much rather break into their labs and sabotage their research—starting with Tanner Callahan, budding scientist and the boy she loathes most at school.

The past isn’t what she assumed, though—and neither is Tanner. He’s not the arrogant jerk she thought he was. And his research opens the door to the possibility that Jessa can rectify a fatal mistake made ten years earlier. She’ll do anything to change the past and save her sister—even if it means teaming up with the enemy she swore to defeat.

You could get your hands on the book here: 


About the Author


Pintip Dunn is a New York Times bestselling author of YA fiction. She graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B. in English Literature and Language. She received her J.D. at Yale Law School, where she was an editor of the Yale Law Journel.

Pintip is represented by literary agent Beth Miller of Writers House. Her debut novel, Forget Tomorrow, won the RWA RITA® for Best First Book. Her other novels include The Darkest Lie and the forthcoming Remember Yesterday.

She lives with her husband and children in Maryland



A few seconds later, Tanner comes barreling down the circuit, just as my best friend predicted. Ryder gives me a little shove. "Quick, do another one of your tricks."

My mind whirls. "Which one?"

"Does it matter? Just go!"

Moving fast, I set my hoverboard on the coping. But when I push off, my balance is wrong. The board doesn't feel glued to my feet. Instead, it slides out from right under me.

Keep loose! I hear Ryder's voice in my head. Roll.

Ooommmpppphhhh.

I hit the concrete with my shoulder, keeping my elbows tucked in. I roll with the fall, spreading out the impact. I do everything right, but curse the Fates, it hurts. A LOT.

"You okay?" a voice says from above me.

Squinting against the sun, my eyes travel up a pair of baggy cargo pants. I hit the low-slung waist, and my breath -- what little there is of it -- catches. The light grey thermal shirt hugs his abdomen, and I can see every line, every ridge of his six-pack. My gaze continues up, and I see a broad, well-defined chest and long, ropey muscles. I swallow hard. Whoever my rescuer is, he's hot. Really hot.
Almost in a hurry now, I drag my eyes further up. Surely, his face will be as pretty as the rest of him. Surely, he'll have the kind of eyes that will pierce right through me. Surely --

I see a lean, chiseled jaw and soft, kissable lips. Black, tousled hair brushing up against dark eyes. But the eyes don't pierce right through me. Instead, they're . . . laughing . . . at me.

Oh, good Fate. Was I actually checking out Tanner Callahan? What in limbo is the matter with me?

He holds out a hand to help me up. "You know, the six-inch curbs are over by the entrance. Maybe you should master those before you attempt a real drop-in."

My cheeks flame. "I'm not a beginner. I've been dropping in practically since I could walk."

"Oh, really?" His eyebrows raise, disappearing under his fringe of hair. "Could've fooled me."

I stare at him. This was not going the way I expected. "Did you not see me land the heel-flip trick? That's the sickest stunt of the day."

"Guess I must've missed it." He smirks. Did I think those lips were kissable? More like smackable. Of course he saw me land the trick. He was standing right there.


Ignoring his hand, I push myself to my feet, even though my elbow stings and my knee burns. What a condescending jerk. He's just trying to get a rise out of me. No wonder everyone says he thinks he's fate's gift to the world. He's just like every scientist I've ever met.

Giveaway


·         One (1) winner will receive a limited, annotated hardcover of Forget Tomorrow


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thursday, October 13, 2016

A Mortal Song by Megan Crewe

I was lured into A Mortal Song purely because of the Japanese Kami folklore appeal. Period.

Now maybe "lured" probably sounds like a negative word but trust me, A Mortal Song soars on the back of the kami essence that peppers this whole book. and it's blends fantastically well to create a unique urban fantasy story set in modern-day Japan.

So I didn't really notice that it was firmly, a YA book aimed at younger audiences and so it did take a while for my 'adult' senses, tuned in to the grim, dark violence and all the gritty circumstances that typically 'define' my favorite books of late, to be turned off. And sadly for me, it never really turned off. And that interfered a bit with my love for this book.


A Mortal Song by Megan Crew is my first book of hers - and it has got a great premise for it going. What if you aren't the chosen one and your whole life ( all sixteen of it spent honing up and prepping for responsibilities and... magic!)  just got whisked away from under your feet on the day of your birthday?

Sora, a young Kami ( Spirits of nature, divine beings as believed by the shinto faith) goes through this revelation/shock of her young life at the exact time that her place of abode on Mt. Fuji is attacked by ghosts. It's a period of extreme transformation for a soul, so young at sixteen but Sora is a fighter at heart. And she takes these shocks head-on.

Aided by her bodyguard from her days in the palace, a handsome young man called Takeo ( Yeah. The right hand corner of that "triangle") she sets out to save her people up on Mount Fuji, including her own family from this vengeful demon who's escaped from hell to rain hell-fire on everybody on earth including the handful of people who had killed him. [ psycho, right?]

So to actually save the people and to keep Mount Fuji from erupting as all the kami around are dying or being killed by ghosts or ogres, Sora has to go on a quest - to find the right heir to the Palace, the girl who is the chosen one. Who is currently unaware of her powers and is in high school in Tokyo city. Does she convince Chiyo, the actual heir to come back to save her spirit world and how they actually do it, forms the rest of the story.

So in terms of narrative, it goes like a straight arrow - not too many unpredictable twists or turns. And the love-triangle that Sora gets trapped in, was a bit flimsy, more of a distraction than actually ingrained in the story. But there are quite a few pleasant ideas explored in the book, backed by solid research and that shines. There are tons of action - with ghosts taking ethereal forms and switching to their corporal forms, ogres and demons of various sizes and shapes. Pretty engaging and novel concepts of fighting. Much like the song, I pretty much soared through the book as its a pretty light read and Megan, with so many YA books under her belt, can definitely spin a yarn.

Coming down to the characters who live the book, Sora was the sole one who mattered. And she's a fantastic person - a first person narrative helps us get into her conflicted confused head. A brave, selfless person who knows her priorities and will stick by it. Keiji, the geek-boy who follows Sora and gang from the city into the Mountain side, was an interesting character as well but sadly didn't go through so much of a development. There is no time really - the pacing of the story was such that we are all carried away into the thick of things with the Mt.Fuji threatening to explode and the ghost-lord hell-bent on his revenge. The conclusion of the whole drama, though was too simplistic and easy and that definitely disappointed me.

In addition, the other characters like Takeo, Chiyo or Hiro were all cardboard cutouts with no real depth. especially the chosen one, Chiyo was a royal pain in the backside with her flippant attitude towards her own responsibilities and power. Almost blew me off the read.

So while in itself, the book had a pretty interesting concept, the story that wrapped around it, was way too simple to leave any impact on me as a reader. It's a light easy read and probably, a younger audience would totally dig this one but for me, it was a one-time affair. 

Monday, October 3, 2016

The Vagrant by Peter Newman

So The Vagrant by Peter Newman has been on my TBR - now, for over a year or more. It actually came out last year in May and ever since I read all the initial reviews of this one, I have been itching to get my hands on this one.



So finally this year, I picked up a paperback version and set down to read it - a few months back. Unfortunately, the e-books on my kindle kept piling up and screaming for my attention; so despite being extremely interested in the initial couple of chapters, this intriguing, new-weird post-apocalyptic mishmash of a knockout story slipped away from my attention. I finally decided I will come back to the story earlier this week but trust me, despite this being a modestly sized fantasy book, the details are overwhelming and pretty dense if you glaze them over. So nope, I had to do a re-read to get my bearings right. And man, am I glad I did this.

So a mute hooded knight, a delightful baby, a super-sword and a stubborn goat traveling across a desolate, war-scarred landscape over-ridden by demonic apparitions towards an unknown location.

I loved Jay Posey's Three. This one drew comparisons to Jay's debut, Peter V Brett's debut ( The Warded Man) and the extraordinarily brilliant Road by Cormac McCarthy - which pretty much raises the level of the book beyond the ordinary. And trust me, this book gets full points for infusing originality into this setting despite the heavyweight comparisons. Peter's writing is spot-on and absolutely top class and keeps you swimming through this lovely, dark land of demoniacal taints, broken technology that is at once, futuristic and nostalgic and a stunning cast of warped and twisted humans, wasting and fighting to stay alive.

So a mute for a protagonist? The Vagrant, the titular character really grounds you in this whole adventure. Mute doesn't matter. Actually, it becomes the strength of the overall narrative. He is part of some order of knights on a mission - and nothing deters him from his goal. Except perhaps, his good heart. We really connect to this character, despite the fact that the author gives us little of his thoughts or real intentions. And this was the biggest draw of the book for me. As I'm obviously getting sucked in deeper to understand who this guy is, is that baby his, what's the deal with that stubborn-as-hell Goat and will this sword save the world from an apocalypse?

Chapters switch back and forth between the historical reveals and the present action. Starting with Eight years ago, till the gap is completely filled and the POV switches firmly back to The Vagrant. The rise of the demons into this technologically advanced world that later leads to the downfall is beautifully chronicled in those flashes of the past - but if not careful, you tend to lose grasp of the larger plot. The demons, or the beings that rise up to take control of the world are many. And their powers are deadly - including mind or will-control. Contact with such, actually leads to 'taint' - or mutation and hence, humanity is a sorry bunch quivering in underground holes or squalid cities under the direct protection of the biggest of such demons.

The world ( or the mutilated, mutant carcass of what was once a beautiful land) is uncertain and extremely dangerous - and so, The Vagrant is frequently involved in spectacular action set pieces that Peter Newman draws out expertly and vividly. Loved the battles but it was the story and the lovable characters who kept me hooked to the end. Some like Harm, the side-kick who becomes another foster-uncle for the baby and Captain Axler, who makes his entry late in the book ( And is the champion warrior for The Goat's cause!) are some of my favorite characters. But I guess, the Baby and The Goat - they are truly the delightful bunch who bring in the much-needed charm and light to this often brooding, dark and dangerous quest. The ending of the book, personally for me was underwhelming and sort of an anticlimax but perhaps, the most logical way to end at least this story.

This book is demanding in its style of storytelling - and the amount of staggering detail in this bleak and war-torn world that the story is set in, is a lot of take in. That is indeed my biggest grouch. The pay offs are lovely though- as the reveal happens in excruciating slowness, so stick with it. There are still questions left to be answered - and Peter does a bang-up job of getting us invested in this demon-infested, plagued universe of his for a longer run. Winged swords, demons who can subjugate you to their wills or harvest bodies to create a super-structured demon-child and lots more! There's a lot to love in this emotionally jarring, dark intense and highly original fantasy novel. You should be reading this book!

And the best part? Second book in this series, Malice is out now !