Category Archives: melissakat42

Empty Rooms By Jeffrey J. Mariotte

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Richie Krebbs is an ex-cop, a walking encyclopedia of crime and criminals who chafes at bureaucracy. Frank Robey quit the FBI and joined the Detroit PD, obsessed with the case of a missing child and unwilling to leave the city before she was found. When Richie unearths a possible clue in one of Detroit’s many abandoned homes, it puts him on a collision course with Frank-and with depths of depravity that neither man could have imagined.

I have to give this book Five Stars…..because any book that’s not in my usual genre, is fraught with trigger issues for me, and still makes me devour it in big, gulping chunks must be a helluva book.

I’m a mother and a teacher, so I have huge issues with child molesters and books that deal with child molesters. Forget vampires and werewolves and other things that go bump in the night — any more, it’s the depravity people show towards the most innocent of us that gets me screaming in the night.  However, when Jeffrey Mariotte offered up an ARC of this book to me, I decided to go ahead and read it for him for review.  Since this is a trigger issue for me, I checked how many chapters there were and decided to read about 8 chapters a day.  It would take me about a week to read it that way, but it would also give me time to find a “happy” book to balance out the intensity.

Night One, I made it through the 8 chapters with no problem.  Still getting the story set up and getting to know the characters.  Missed the next night because of Life, so the following night, I decided to double up, so I wouldn’t mess up the Schedule.  Stopped at an intense part and was tempted to go on, but…. no, Must.  Stick.  To.  The.  Schedule.  Missed the following night (again, Life!), so the next day, determined to only read 16 chapters, I ended up reading…. 32, thus finishing the book.  So much for the Almighty Schedule.

So, what made me devour the book?  It has all the elements of a thriller that I love–suspense, elements that come together in ways that you don’t expect, characters with issues themselves and how they work through them.  It’s an intense novel, tautly written.  Bad things happen, but there’s always a thread of redemption woven through.

The child molestation aspect of this story is handled with sensitivity–no gratuitous depictions, although there is no doubt in your mind what probably goes on.  I also like how Detroit becomes as much a character as Richie or Frank.  Detroit may be in its death throes, but I can’t help but hope that like the legendary phoenix, it, too, will rise from it’s ashes better than it was before (and I learned something new….who knew that there were actual salt mines under the city?  Really, there are!)

Frank Robey and Richie “Maynard” Krebbs work well together.  Frank is a more “old school” detective, who doesn’t get along with his partner (I’d love to see more of that dynamic), and Richie is a former Detroit PD officer who is more interested in the psychology of the criminal mind.  Also in the mix are Richie’s wife, Wendy and Frank’s girlfriend, Marcia.  Both women are frustrated by their men, but recognize that their obsession with this case (more intellectually for Richie, and more personally for Frank–at least at first), is part of who they are.

Upshot of this:  if Jeffrey Mariotte writes another “Robey and Krebbs Casefiles,” you can be sure I’ll be first in line to get my copy.  Yeah, it’s good enough to make me jump genres and dwell in the dark shadows of the human psyche.

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Most Anticipated Fantasy Books of 2015

Happy New Year!

Continuing with yesterday’s post (Best Books of 2014), here are the books we’re looking forward to the most in 2015. Descriptions, release dates, and covers have been added where possible.

Shane’s (SJardine):

The Aeronaut’s Windlass (Cinderspires #1) by Jim Butcher:

The Cinder Spires is set in a world “of black spires that tower for miles over a mist-shrouded surface” and follows a war between two of the Spires: Spire Albion and Spire Aurora.

It’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen meets Sherlock meets Hornblower. There are goggles and airships and steam power and bizarre crystal technology and talking cats, who are horrid little bullies. – From Goodreads

I’m not 100 percent positive that this book will be published in 2015, but I really hope it is. Jim Butcher is one of my favorite authors, and if anyone can pull off a great Steampunk novel, he can.

Fool’s Quest (Fits and the Fool #2) by Robin Hobb:

This will be the continuation of Hobb’s the Fitz and the Fool trilogy, and I find myself checking daily to see if any more information has been released about it. I can’t wait to find out what happens after the events of Fool’s Assassin. Fitzchivalry Farseer never seems to catch a break.

Tentative publication date: August 11th 2015 by Del Rey

Magic Shifts (Kate Daniels #8) by Ilona Andrews:

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Mercenary Kate Daniels and her Mate, former Beast Lord Curran Lennart, have broken with Pack, but Curran misses challenges of leading, so he grabs when Pack offers him its stake in the Mercenary Guild. As a veteran merc, Kate can take over Guild’s unfinished jobs, not knowing they are connected. An old enemy has arisen.Goodreads

The Kate Daniels series is another Urban Fantasy series I’ve discovered in the last few months that I burned through in just a couple days. The name Magic Shifts sounds like it will describe this next book perfect, everything is starting to change for Kate and Curran.

Expected publication: August 4th 2015 by Ace

The Iron Ghost (Copper Promise #2) by Jen Williams:

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Beware the dawning of a new mage…

Wydrin of Crosshaven, Sir Sebastian and Lord Aaron Frith are experienced in the perils of stirring up the old gods. They are also familiar with defeating them, and the heroes of Baneswatch are now enjoying the perks of suddenly being very much in demand for their services.

When a job comes up in the distant city of Skaldshollow, it looks like easy coin – retrieve a stolen item, admire the views, get paid. But in a place twisted and haunted by ancient magic, with the most infamous mage of them all, Joah Demonsworn, making a reappearance, our heroes soon find themselves threatened by enemies on all sides, old and new. And in the frozen mountains, the stones are walking… – Goodreads

I don’t think this series has a publisher in the US yet, so I’m probably going to have to convince one of my friends across the pond to send me a copy. I enjoyed the first one enough that I’m willing to pay international shipping just to get my copy of it.

Expected publication: February 26th 2015 by Headline

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Best Books of 2014

As 2014 draws to a close, it seemed fitting to look back over the past year and share our favourite reads. There are some duplicates, and there are quite a few we didn’t review… but read on, and share your thoughts!

Meagan’s (ARamone):

What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, by Randall Munroe

What if

What If? is a good read for scientifically-minded and just plain curious people alike. With often high-end science being explained in a down-to-earth, accessible way, this book is going to make you laugh while also making you think.

Dragons at Crumbling Castle, by Terry Pratchett

Dragons

A collection of Pratchett’s earliest work, written and published in his teenaged years, Dragons at Crumbling Castle gives us a look into the mind of a young but already skilled author. A true delight for all Pratchett fans, and a must-have for fans of his work.

The Slow Regard of Silent Things, by Patrick Rothfuss

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This book focuses on Auri, one of the most relatable characters in The Kingkiller Chronicles, and takes us through a typical week of hers. Rothfuss’ writing makes her odd logic and justifications seem perfectly normal, making this book a delightful read for any fan of the books.

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TINKERMAGE (GnomeSage #2)

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Many fantasy races have been written about:  Elves, Dwarves, even Goblins, but Kenny Soward is the first I’ve seen to write about….. gnomes.

Tinkermage is the second book in his GnomeSaga Trilogy, published by Ragnarok Publications.  The story picks up fairly soon after the events in Rough Magick, with Nikselpik Nur still unconscious after his battle with the City of Hightower’s First Wizard, Raulnock.  His sister, the Tinkerer Niksabella Nur, is waiting for him to recover before leaving Hightower for  Thrasperville, with her boyfriend, Termund.  Precisor General Dale Dillwind is desperately trying to find allies to help Hightower to fight against the Ultraworld Invaders.  To this end, he has commandeered Stena Wavebreaker, a sea captain, to command an aerostat in the hunt for the elusive Swamp Elves.  The StoneKin Jontuk, himself an Ultraworlder, also needs to talk to Niksabella about her invention, a recursive mirror, which may hold the key to freeing his people from the same invaders that now threaten Hightower, and Sullenor.

I really like the world building in these books.  Each city is it’s own state, with different laws and societal norms.  While Niksabella is something of an outcast in Hightower, Termund has convinced her that her skills would be accepted and encouraged in Thrasperville.  Termund is in Hightower to negotiate a trade agreement between the two City-States.  Although the gnomes share their gods and goddesses, there’s a sense that each city has their own patron.  The world itself feels like a real place.

The characters are well thought out.  My favorites so far are Stena Wavebreaker (or maybe it’s just that I want my own airship!) and Nikselpik.  Nik is foul-mouthed and dirty minded, but when his sister (and his city) needs him, he girds his loins and heads off to do what he can.  Niksabella is an interesting character.  Although she’s older than most of the characters in the book, her heretofore hermit-like existence makes her seem much younger.  She’s growing in these books, and has some challenging times ahead of her.

This is a fun fantasy read, with an easy pace. Although we’re following (eventually) three storylines, they all work together as a cohesive whole.  As this is the second book in a trilogy, there’s a lot of set up work for book 3, Cogweaver, but there’s also a lot of character advancement.

I was given an ARC in exchange for writing a fair review.


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