Book Review – Furies of Calderon – Codex Alera #1 by Jim Butcher

Furies of CalderonSynopsis (from Goodreads): For a thousand years, the people of Alera have united against the aggressive and threatening races that inhabit the world, using their unique bond with the furies – elementals of earth, air, fire, water, and metal.

But now, Gaius Sextus, First Lord of Alera, grows old and lacks an heir. Ambitious High Lords plot and maneuver to place their Houses in positions of power, and a war of succession looms on the horizon.

Far from city politics in the Calderon Valley, the boy Tavi struggles with his lack of furycrafting. At fifteen, he has no wind fury to help him fly, no fire fury to light his lamps. Yet as the Alerans’ most savage enemy – the Marat – return to the Valley, he will discover that his destiny is much greater than he could ever imagine.

Caught in a storm of deadly wind furies, Tavi saves the life of a runaway slave named Amara. But she is actually a spy for Gaius Sextus, sent to the Valley to gather intelligence on traitors to the Crown, who may be in league with the barbaric Marat horde. And when the Valley erupts in chaos – when rebels war with loyalists and furies clash with furies – Amara will find Tavi’s courage and resourcefulness to be a power greater than any fury – one that could turn the tides of war.

Buy on: Amazon

My first impression of this book was that it was a little formulaic. You have a magic system that everyone possesses expect for one person, who is considered a freak for not having that magic. There is a plot to overthrow a ruler and the person who is abnormal becomes embroiled in it.

But, formulas exist for a reason. They work.  Plus, Jim Butcher is an amazing story teller. He may have started off with a formula, but this story quickly took on a life of it’s own, with Butcher’s excellent writing skills.

The magic system in this book (series) is a unique one. People bond with elemental spirits called furies, which then allows them to “craft” in various ways depending on the element of the fury. I’m been an avid reader of fantasy for the majority of my life and I always love the different types of magic that fantasy encompasses.

The world building in this book was somewhat lacking, but I credit that to the story taking place in a valley kind of on the outskirts of the kingdom. We don’t get to see much of the world beyond that valley, so there isn’t much opportunity to expand on the various peoples of this world.

The characters in this book were all very interesting. Indeed, I like almost all of them, even the “bad guys” with the exception of Kord and his son, but I don’t think anyone is actually meant to like those two. Tavi, the main character,  is a fifteen-year-old boy who has no fury and no skills with furycrafting. By most people, he is considered a freak or at least abnormal. What Tavi lacks in fury skills he more than makes up for in other ways. Not only is he clever, but he cares about other people and his willing to put his own life in danger to save others.

Jim Butcher does amazing at descriptions, making the reader feel like they are there in the thick of things. The battle scenes were especially vivid.

This book could have been a stand alone and the reader would be satisfied with the ending. The immediate conflict of the plot is wrapped up, but the author leaves some strings dangling for the sequel to pick up. I have some questions and suspicions that I hope are addressed in book 2.

My rating for this book is 4 out of 5 stars and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys fantasy.

*this post contains affiliate links. If you choose to click on them, I may receive a small compensation. 

February 2020 Wrap Up

January was an epic month of reading for me! I got through so many books and got a really good head start on my yearly goal. It looked like the momentum was going to continue into February, but then I got sick with a pretty bad cold.

When I get sick, my brain just kind of turns to mush and about all i can do is lay on the couch and watch animated movies. I didn’t even bother trying to read during that time as I knew I wouldn’t remember anything of what I read.

Thankfully, my cold has now cleared up and my brain is functioning at a level where I can read again. I had started reading Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher before I got sick, so I will be continuing with that and hopefully the rest of that series in the month of March. It’s a six book series, which I don’t think is an unreasonable amount to read in a month.

How was your February reading? Any goals for March?

Adventures in Video Gaming #2

If you read my Adventures in Video Gaming #1 you’ll know that I started playing Lollipop chainsaw and got stuck in stage one. Well, not one to give up quite so easily, I tried and tried again. After about 10 attempts, I decided to change the difficulty to easy, and wouldn’t you know, it took me one try to get past that part.

I’m not exactly a great video game player, so I feel no shame in playing on Easy mode. I want to have fun playing games, not die constantly. I’m more the kind of player who mashes buttons and things die.

I’m more than a little proud to say that I finished the game yesterday all by myself, without having to look up anything in a walkthrough online. The only time I got stuck again was at the end with the final boss. Even on Easy that was really difficult to get past. I soldiered on and eventually beat the game.

So, what did I think of it? Well, first of all it is rated M and it has that rating for a good reason. There’s a fair amount of foul language, blood, gore and sexual innuendos. Not to mention the fact that the main character, Juliet, is wearing a cheerleader uniform through the whole game while swinging around a pink chainsaw and doing high kicks. Panty shots abound. This game is clearly geared towards a more male audience.

Normally, scantily clad women in video games annoys me, but in this case it didn’t really. Juliet is a cheerleader and therefore it makes sense that she’s wearing a cheerleader uniform. What really bothers me is when women are supposed to be warriors but their “armor” doesn’t cover their stomachs or half their legs.  anyone with half a brain would know that leaving your midsection exposed in a battle is a really bad idea.

Overall, if I were to give it a rating, I’d give it 4 out of 5 stars. the game play was simple enough for someone like me to play enjoyably without having to do really fancy moves. It loses a star for the stupid sexual jokes and innuendos.

Happy with my accomplishment but still feeling like video gaming, I decided to revisit Heavenly Sword. I first started playing Heavenly Sword years ago and did fairly well at first. The main character, Nariko, is a sword wielder, who draws the Heavenly Sword even though it’s forbidden to do so. Playing as Nariko is fairly simple, and suites my button masher style quite well.

Unfortunately, after a while you have to play as a different character, Kai. Although Kai is a cool character, if a bit deranged, she uses a bow and arrow only. for me, that sucks. I have the worst time playing first person shooter games because I cannot aim to save my life. Literally.

So, playing years ago, I stopped at a stage where kai is the playable character. coming back to it yesterday, I was again playing as Kai. feeling a bit boosted after beating Lollipop Chainsaw, I kept playing Heavenly Sword long after I would normally have quite in frustration. I actually kind of got the hang of it and managed to progress back to a stage where I played Nariko again. I even finished the chapter I was playing at the time. There, I chose to stop.

Are you a gamer? Have you played either of these games? If so, what did you think? Are there other games that you like that you would recommend?

Adventures in Video Gaming #1

lollipos chainsawSo, as my brain continues to recover from the cold germs that has invaded it and my concentration has not yet returned to the right level for reading, I have decided to play the videos games I have that I haven’t played/finished. Scarily, there are a lot more than I remember there being. I think they multiplied while I wasn’t looking.

Anyway, I decided to go with Lollipop Chainsaw as I had briefly played it at a friend’s how and I remember liking it. I bought the game for myself so I must have liked it. It started out well, as I chainsawed my way through various zombies and made it through the prologue no problem. I had to continue a time or two as I didn’t pay proper attention to my health and accidentally died, but I was getting the hang of it and, I thought, doing pretty well.

Then I got to a part in Stage 1, in the High School, where i came to a part where there is a giant pile of dynamite and I have to keep zombies that are on fire from getting to it. At first, the zombies appear one by one and move pretty slow so they’re no problem, but after a while they pick up the pace and appear in twos and threes. I’ve managed to kill 15 out of 24 required zombies before one of those bastards gets by and sets the dynamite off.

I tried several frustrating times to pass this part and just couldn’t do it. I’m not really sure what my problem is. Am I not strong enough yet? Maybe. It seems like Juliet can’t move fast enough to get to some of the zombies before they get to the dynamite. Then things go boom and I’m dead.

See, this is my problem with video games. I learn how to play them, progress along fairly well, then I get to a point that I just can’t get past, get frustrated and give up. Then, by the time I’m no longer annoyed with the game, I’ve forgotten how to play it and would have to go back to the tutorial to relearn the moves.

This is probably why I have so many unplayed/unfinished games.

Have you played Lollipop Chainsaw? Any tips on getting past the dynamite and fire zombies part?
Continue reading

Random Update

January was an epic reading month for me! I was on an amazing roll, getting through book after book! It was awesome!

February started out pretty good but then I got sick, and when i get sick, my level of concentration drops to watching animated movies while playing games on my phone with my cat in my lap. (the cat has nothing to do with me being sick, he’s always sitting on me). Therefore, my reading has come to an abrupt stop. While this bothers me, I know there is no point in trying to read until this cold goes away and my brain returns to fully capacity. I won’t remember what I read in this state and that is never good. Especially if I’m going to review the book afterwards.

So, now I’m starting to get a little tired of watching movies and have thought what else I can do to keep myself occupied while I recuperate. Well, the answer that came to mind is is video games. I have several games (probably like 10) that I have never played. Why, you ask, do I have so many unplayed games? Well, probably for the same reason I have so many unread book and undone puzzles. It’s much faster to shop than to play/read/build.

Anyway, I was thinking I should give some of these games a shot, since I obviously thought they looked like fun or wouldn’t have bought them in the first place.

Also, between movie watching, I’ve been on YouTube. I found an interesting channel of these people who make music videos using video game footage and creating their own original songs to go along with the videos. They are very cool. They’ve done all kind of game videos and the songs are amazing. A lot of it is rap, just fyi. You should check them out here.

Anyway, my next post my be a book review, since that’s what this blog is supposed to be about, or I may change it up a little and talk about whatever video game I decide to play.

Want to help me choose? I have Devil May Cry, Assassin’s Creed, Skyrim, Lollipop Chainsaw, Mortal Kombat (forget which number. i have one for ps2 and one for ps3). Any recommendations?

Book Review – Descendant Omnibus – The Complete Nikki Glass Series by Jenna Black

DescendantSynopsis (from Goodreads): For Immortal Huntress and cunning private investigator Nikki Glass, vengeance trumps all in this complete collection of acclaimed author Jenna Black’s addictive urban fantasy series!

The omnibus edition of all four Descendant novels, as well as the e-novella Pros and Cons that takes place between the events of Deadly Descendant and Rogue Descendant, is a must-have for all urban fantasy fans.

Buy Now: Amazon

Originally I had intended to review each novel within the omnibus on it’s own. However, I got too into reading this and didn’t want to pause to write individual reviews. Instead, I’ll review the entire thing and do my best to avoid spoilers.

I really liked Nikki. She is a very relatable character. It’s easy to empathize with her and understand where she’s coming from. Not only does she have a thick skin, she’s also a self proclaimed bleeding heart. She sympathizes with others even when logic says she shouldn’t.

The majority of the other characters are male. At first, none of them are likable, but considering the situation in which Nikki meets them, I don’t think it’s possible to like any of them. Only Jamaal and Anderson get much in the way of character development. I found Anderson to be a really interesting character. I didn’t have particularly strong feelings about Jamaal.

I would really have liked to find out more about the other characters. Many of them have been alive for centuries. There’s got to be some good stories there.

I didn’t particularly like the way the romance aspect went. As always, I can live without the sex scenes, although there were little details there that added to character development.

The one thing I really don’t like is the fact that the series is over! There is so much potential for this series to keep going. There’s plenty of characters that can be developed and so much that could be used for plot points. The book ends with a really great lead into another book. I don’t know why the author chose not to write more. I think I will always keep an eye out for a new book in this series.

I rate this book 4/5 stars. I would recommend it to anyone who likes urban fantasy, especially if you want a supernatural creature that isn’t the typical vampire, werewolf or fae.

Have you read this series? What did you think? Have you any other book by Jenna Black?

Monthly Wrap-up – January 2020

Wow, today is the last day of January. Already! I know a lot of people think that January always goes by slowly, but for me, January flew by.

To say that I’ve got a good head start of my reading goal for this year would be an understatement. I’ve already read 11 volumes of manga and 9 novels, for a total of 20 books this month! For me, that’s pretty darn good. Especially considering how miserably I failed at reaching my book goal last year. So yeah, I’m pretty proud of myself.

I don’t have any concrete plans for what I want to read in February. I’m currently reading the Nikki Glass series by Jenna Black, so I will finish that and then see what I am in the mood for. I seem to be in the mood for Urban Fantasy so I might read the Kate Daniels series.

My mood is a bit unfortunate, considering I have several trilogies that are strictly fantasy and I really want to read things that are finished. My mood could change at any time though, and I kind of hope it does.

How was your January reading? Did you reach any goals you set for yourself? Plans for February?

Review – Moon’s Fury – A Tale of the Sazi #5 – C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp

moons furySynopsis (from Goodreads): Cara Salinas has been leading the small Mexican red wolf pack in Tedford County, Texas, since she was thirteen.

Adam Mueller, formerly a beat cop from the toughest part of Minneapolis, must find a way to integrate his exiled Minnesotan wolves with Cara’s red wolves.

Cara and Adam clash in the way only fated mates ever do–and both refuse to accept their destiny. But when a pack of vicious Sazi raptors start to feed on the wolf-children of both packs, Cara and Adam must learn to respect each other, and embrace their future together to save the future of the Texan wolves.

Buy Now: Amazon

I would say this is a pretty basic paranormal romance. There isn’t much surprising in the way of the “romance”. I actually wasn’t too drawn in until Tony Giambrocco showed up. Tony was the star of the first two books in the series, an attack victim who turned into a werewolf as well as a former mafia hitman.

Tony showing up was awesome and probably the best part of the book. Tony was a character I really liked. You don’t see a lot of mafia assassins in Paranormal Romance. At least not that I’ve read.

Cara and Adam were ok characters. I didn’t feel any strong connection with them but I didn’t dislike them either. I did like the little details about Texas that were inserted smoothly, as well as the Spanish that was sprinkled in their speech. It was believable that they were native Texans by the way they spoke.

One thing I really disliked was the final sex scene. When reading PR I know perfectly well that there will be at least one sex scene, but this one was a little too pornographic for me. Others might think of it as being “steamy” but not me. Reading it was just uncomfortable.

There is an underlying plot that goes across different book in the series, which I am interested in finding out more about.

Overall, I rate this book 3/5 stars. It was alright, but not great.

*this post contains affiliate links. if you choose to click on them I may receive a small compensation.


Alpha – Shifters #6 – Rachel Vincent – Review

AlphaSynopsis (from Goodreads):
The unscrupulous new Council chair has charged Jace, Marc and me with trespassing, kidnapping, murder and treason. Yeah, we’ve been busy. But now it’s time to take justice into our own hands. We must avenge my brother’s death and carve out the rot at the heart of the Council.
It’s not going to be easy, and loss seems unavoidable, but I have promised to protect my Pride, no matter what. With a target on my back and Marc at my side, I’m heading for a final showdown that will change everything forever. A showdown I’m not sure I’m ready for.
But life never waits until you’re ready.

Buy now: Amazon

I very nearly stopped reading this book after about 100 pages. Why? Well, this stupid love triangle is getting on my nerves more than i can explain. The first 100 pages is all about the 3 of them. The guys want to kill each other, Faythe wants to stop them from killing each other. She also wants to have them both and that just can’t happen.

I can’t empathize with her at all in this situation. The whole time it’s being talked about I want to roll my eyes and bitch slap all of them. I could care less about Jace, Marc needs to rein in his temper and Faythe needs to grow the hell up!

I really wanted her to just walk away from both of them, especially with the things Marc keeps saying to her. I get that he’s pissed off, but some of his comments cross a serious line.

Thankfully, the actual story picks up after the first 100 pages and the love triangle-ness calms down. I wish I could say the rest of the book was amazing, but that would be a lie. Even when the actual plot is the focus, the love triangle is still there, irritating me.

There were certain things I expected to happen that did and things that I didn’t see coming, so it wasn’t completely predictable. I had a pretty solid idea of how it was going to end and  I wasn’t wrong.

Honestly, I just sort of powered through this book to know how things turned out. I enjoyed parts of it, but not the book as a whole.

I rate this book 2.5/5 stars.

*this post contains affiliate links. If you choose to click on them, I  may receive a small compensation.

Shift – Shifters #5 – Rachel Vincent – Review

ShiftSynopsis(from Goodreads): Being the first female werecat enforcer isn’t easy. Scars accumulate, but I’m stronger in so many ways.

As for my personal life? It’s complicated. Choices worth making always are. Ever since my brother’s death and my father’s impeachment, it’s all I can do to prevent more blood from spilling. Now our Pride is under attack by a flight of vicious thunderbirds. And making peace with our new enemies may be the only way to get the best of our old foe.

With the body count rising and treachery everywhere, my instincts tell me to look before I leap. But sometimes a leap of faith is the only real option…

Buy Now: Amazon

Thinking about reading these books gives me anxiety. While I’m reading the books I’m so into it that I can’t read fast enough.

While I am really enjoying the story that is going on, Faythe’s personal life is getting on my nerves. I’ve always kind of liked love triangles, but this one is ridiculous. I’m pretty confident I know how it’s all going to end, so getting through all this drama to get to the resolution is killing me.

Faythe and her love life aside, this book is really good. The Pride’s enemy, Malone, is trying new underhanded methods to weaken them before the coming war. It’s fun watching Faythe navigate her way through the situations she gets into and actually becoming a responsible adult.

The next book, Alpha, is the last in this series and I can’t wait to read it. If my pattern for these book holds, I should have it done by tomorrow night! Then maybe my anxiety will go away.

I rate this book 4/5 stars.

*this post contains affiliate link. if you choose to click on them, i may receive a small compensation.