Tag Archives: publisher: broadway books

City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett

City of Miracles

City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett

Series: The Divine Cities, Book 3
Published by: Broadway Books on May 2, 2017
Rating: 4 stars (★★★★☆)

Sigrud je Harkvaldsson has been waiting to be called up by his old friend, former Prime Minister Shara Komayd, thinking it possible the day may never come. But when Shara is assassinated, Sigrud knows he must act, that he must avenge his friend. It quickly becomes clear, however, that Shara was more active than anyone expected in retirement and she fully intended for Sigrud to pick up her war exactly where she left off. And when it comes to anything mysterious going on in Bulikov, you can almost guarantee there’s some connection to the Divinities. And even though they’ve all supposedly been defeated, they always seem to keep coming back. But to win Shara’s war and, as it seems, to survive, Sigrud will need to find a way to put an end to what amounts to an ancient curse that tests the limits of even his own understanding.

This is an action-packed final installment in what I personally consider to be an epic fantasy trilogy. It is interesting to read a Sigrud-driven story, considering his involvement in the previous two books. And there are elements here that tie back to the very beginning, where the motivations for the events that triggered the start of the first book are explained. And the explanation and Sigrud’s journey take readers down some unexpected paths. An excellent read, and a fitting close to this series…

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via the Blogging for Books program.]

Eleanor by Jason Gurley

Eleanor

Eleanor by Jason Gurley

Published by: Broadway Books on March 7, 2017
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Eleanor’s twin sister, Esmerelda, died in a tragic car accident that nearly broke her family. Her mother, Agnes, lost her mother at a young age, and the loss of another family member may very well have proved too much. But when Eleanor begins to experience strange moments where she is transported to mysterious places, an already unstable situation appears like it might only get worse. But the force behind all of this is one that Eleanor never would have expected. And it just might lead to a solution from across time that can help heal her family and make it whole once again.

The story here is honestly a bit surreal and comes across as a bit strange at first. But as things move forward, the connections between the various characters–those named and those unnamed–starts to become clear. And the power of grief and love to transcend the impossible is illustrated in some unexpected ways.

[Disclaimer: This review is based on a copy of the book received from the publisher via the Blogging for Books program.]

June by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

June

June by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

Published by: Broadway Books on February 14, 2017 (originally published May 31, 2016)
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Cassie Danvers has isolated herself in her family’s estate, needing the time to herself to mourn the loss of her grandmother, June. And she really would like to be left alone. Which is why she’s none too happy to be disturbed by a man she’s never met before. And she has no idea what to think when he informs her that she’s been named as the sole heir to the fortune of Jack Montgomery, a famous movie star. Jack has two daughters who have their own interest in the inheritance, and they would like Cassie to submit to a DNA test to prove she has no claim to the money. But, again, Cassie just wants to be left alone.

Contrary to Cassie’s wishes, Jack’s daughters soon show up on Cassie’s doorstep, not willing to let their father’s fortune get away from them. And in between flashbacks to June’s childhood, they begin to understand what it means to be family, famous, and fortunate.

There are some interesting twists in this one that I will admit I did not see coming. It proved to be just enough to keep me interested and turning the pages to see what would happen next. The flashbacks to June’s story were helpful in understanding how things got to their current state, but they didn’t always have a strong connection to an overall thread in moving the plot forward. That said, it all builds to an unexpected ending.

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via BloggingForBooks.]

Nonsense: The Power of Not Knowing by Jamie Holmes

Nonsense

Nonsense: The Power of Not Knowing by Jamie Holmes

Published by: Broadway Books on October 11, 2016 (First published April 21, 2015)
Rating: 4 stars (★★★★☆)

I often think that the unknown is the scariest thing for us to confront as human beings. After all, what is the common cornerstone of most thriller and suspense films? When we don’t know who the culprit is, when they’re going to strike, what is going to happen, etc. we don’t know what to do. We often fill in the blanks ourselves, many times choosing the worst case scenario, and cause ourselves more panic and worry. And those films capitalize on that.

But beyond films designed to put us on edge, ambiguity and uncertainty crop up all the time in our lives. And not knowing usually makes us uncomfortable. There is almost a sense of not being in full control when we don’t have all the details or when something happens to show us that our understanding of something is incomplete or incorrect. And these moments can paralyze us, cause us to act irrationally, or become an opportunity to expand our horizons and see things in a different way.

In Nonsense: The Power of Not Knowing, Jamie Holmes explores the concepts of ambiguity and uncertainty and the ways in which we, as humans, approach them. Drawing from research in psychology and sociology as well as practical examples, the author explains how ambiguity and uncertainty can limit us or serve as an opportunity to find productivity and success. It’s an insightful and eye-opening read that certainly convinced me that, as the Mr. Holmes writes at the end of the book’s prologue, “[I]n an increasingly complex, unpredictable world, what matters most isn’t IQ, willpower, or confidence in what we know. It’s how we deal with what we don’t understand.”

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.]

City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett

City of Blades

Book Info

Title: City of Blades (The Divine Cities, Book 2)
Author: Robert Jackson Bennett
Published: January 26, 2016
Pages: 464
Publisher: Broadway Books
Publisher’s Website: link
Rating: ★★★

Review

The city of Voortyashtan was the home of Voortya, the goddess of war, death, and destruction. It was her followers who, after unleashing as much death as possible, were transformed into the sentinels who terrorized the Saypuri slaves. And they were the first people who were promised an afterlife by a Divinity. Thankfully, with the death of all of the gods and goddesses and the Blink, the Divinities and their miracles are a thing of the past. But the recent discovery of a mysterious ore near Voortyashtan, while not Divine in nature, has some people concerned.

Among those concerned is Prime Minister Shara Komayd. But her political position leaves her with few options to investigate. So she enlists Turyin Mulaghesh, retired general still trying to live off the grid after her victory at the Battle of Bulikov five years earlier, to go into the city and investigate. It’s not something that Mulaghesh would willingly sign up for, but Komayd is persuasive. And before she knows it, Mulaghesh is thrust into the investigation of a mystery that brings up just as many ghosts from her own past as it does ghost of Voortyashtan. And in the process, she learns that sometimes we can be held to promises and oaths we take long after we expect–and what it truly means to be a soldier.

I have been looking forward to this book since I finished City of Stairs back when it was released. The world that Robert Jackson Bennett has created is one where I am willing to spend as much time as he can make possible. The rich history, the dynamic characters, and the political intrigue add so many layers to these epic fantasy stories. And the unexpected twists along the way make them that much more interesting and entertaining.

The character development in this story is also something that I hadn’t really expected. The arc that we see Turyin take from start to finish is something to behold. And it’s rare to see a writer take a character on a journey like this in a way that feels organic and not forced at all. And as someone who puts character development and character-driven stories high up on my list of what’s important in a book, it takes this great story to the next level in my eyes.

Very highly recommended!!

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.]

 

2 A.M at the Cat’s Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino

Cat's Pajamas

Book Info

Title: 2 A.M. at the Cat’s Pajamas
Author: Marie-Helene Bertino
Published: August 5, 2014
Pages: 288
Publisher: Broadway Books
Publisher’s Website: link
Rating: ★★★

Review

Madeleine Altimari is a precocious young girl who aspires to be a jazz singer, inspired by her late mother who was also a performer. The death of her mother is still fresh, and her father is still coming to terms with it himself. Sarina Greene is Madeleine’s teacher, fresh off a divorce and preparing to attend a dinner with her old high school circle of friends (including her former crush and prom date). And the owner of The Cat’s Pajamas, Lorca, recently broke up with his girlfriend, is struggling to keep a connection with his son, and has just learned he may be forced to close down his club forever. The lives of these three people (and a large cast of supporting characters) intertwine in some very unexpected ways during the span of 24 hours on the day before Christmas Eve. Madeleine searches for the place where her voice can be heard. Sarina is wrestling with whether to reignite an old flame. And Lorca wants stability and opportunity for his son. Will any of them be able to find what they are looking for?

This story is broken down into timestamped snippets that jump around from character to character. It’s an interesting method of storytelling, but I did find it to be confusing at times to know what was going on (there are flashbacks thrown in that aren’t clearly indicated, as well). The side characters definitely add to the story, but the few scenes that solely focus on them with no connection back to one of the main characters also left me a bit puzzled at times. Overall, I did find this book to be engaging and entertaining, but part of me was left scratching my head at the end to really understand the point of it all. Perhaps that’s what happens with a day-in-the-life/slice-of-life novel. I ended up giving this three stars because of quality of the overall story balanced with the less-than-stellar execution.

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book via Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review.]

Big Bang Generation by Gary Russell

Big Bang Generation

Book Info

Title: Big Bang Generation (Doctor Who)
Author: Gary Russell
Published: September 8, 2015
Pages: 240
Publisher: Broadway Books
Publisher’s Website: link
Rating: ★★★

Review

Sometimes we need to be careful what we decide to seek. For Professor Horace Jaanson, who has studied ancient history all of his life, it’s finding the most important artifacts of the past, long lost and hidden. But sometimes those things are lost for a reason. And when Jaanson’s expedition is usurped by an unlikely band of explorers, he might start to regret his search. Things are more complicated than they seem and the leader of this newest group calls on an old friend, The Doctor, to help them sort out the mess–a mess that might actually lead to the end of the universe and all existence. After all, there is a reason the Ancients made their technology difficult to find in the first place…some things should be left alone.

It’s difficult not to enjoy an adventure with The Doctor, though I didn’t really feel like there was as much of his personality in this one as I would have liked. This is partly due to the very large cast of characters, keeping them all sorted, and sometimes trying to figure out how they pop in and out from scene to scene. The character of Bernice Summerfield is also a big personality, often taking charge of conversation but not always the situation. This was my first experience with her, so perhaps I wasn’t really prepared for that, either.

Overall, though, an enjoyable adventure with enough ties to the current incarnation of The Doctor to make it work.

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via BloggingForBooks in exchange for an honest review.]

The Martian by Andy Weir

20829029Title: The Martian
Author: Andy Weir
Published: 2011 (re-released October 28, 2014)
Pages: 369
Publisher: Andy Weir (re-released by Broadway Books)
Publisher Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★★ ☆
Review:

Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.

Within days of landing on Mars, the crew of the Ares 3 mission is forced to abandon the planet due to a strong sandstorm. In the course of evacuating, astronaut Mark Watney is hit with an antenna and dies. But while sensors indicated he was dead to the crew, they were wrong. Watney has survived and has been left behind with no way of communicating with the crew or with NASA back on Earth and definitely not enough supplies to make it until the Ares 4 crew arrives on the planet years from now. But he’s not one to just give up without trying and plans to use both his engineering and botany training to see just how long he can make it and if there might be some way to let those back at home know he is okay.

I was honestly surprised at how easily this one sucked me in. Most of the book is Watney’s mission logs–first person accounts of what he’s doing and thinking as he works to survive on Mars–but they read easily and are, at times, a bit entertaining, too. There are some cutaways to Earth and the crew that run in parallel to the logs to provide the story of what’s going on off-planet. While this is science fiction, it reads as nearly believable, and I think that adds to the authenticity and the humanity of the storytelling. I normally don’t enjoy hard science fiction (I prefer touches of the fantastic), but I really enjoyed this one. It’s not overly action-focused and it comes off a bit understated, but it’s very much worth the read.

Doctor Who: Silhouette by Justin Richards

21481543Title: Doctor Who: Silhouette
Author: Justin Richards
Published: September 9, 2014
Pages: 256
Publisher: Broadway Books
Publisher Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Review:
Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.

After a string of mysterious murders in Victorian London, Madame Vastra and her associates find themselves on the case.  The only connection they can seem to find is the Carnival of Curiosities, an attraction visited by all of the victims shortly before their deaths.  Add to that a curious power spike, and the Doctor finds himself on the case with Clara in tow.  But who (or what) is killing people?  And to what end?

This is the second Doctor Who novel that I’ve read and it has definitely redeemed the idea of media tie-in novels for me.  I thoroughly enjoyed this story.  The characterizations of the team we know and love from the show were spot-on and this felt very much like a good episode of Doctor Who while I was reading it.  (In fact, I do kind of wish this could be made into an episode–I’d love to see it and it’s much better than anything Steven Moffat has come up with in at least the past two seasons.)  It’s a unique and engaging Doctor Who adventure and I’d recommend it to anyone who considers themselves a fan of the show.

Doctor Who: The Blood Cell by James Goss

21481545

Title: Doctor Who: The Blood Cell
Author: James Goss
Published: September 9, 2014
Publisher: Broadway Books
Pages: 256

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Review:
Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.

The Governor, warden of an ultra secure prison on a remote galaxy, is used to dealing with some of the worst criminals. And he’s certainly seen them all. When a prisoner 428 arrives–insisting on being called The Doctor and immediately taking to regular escape attempts–he knows this one is different. But as his arrival also seems to bring a sudden increase in system failures and other mishaps, the Governor soon realizes he’s dealing with something far beyond one prisoner and the young woman who keeps showing up hoping to get a visit with him.

Though I am a long-time Whovian, this was my first foray into Doctor Who novels and probably the first novel spin-off/tie-in that I’ve ever read for a media franchise. And I count myself pleasantly surprised. James Goss has certainly captured the elements of a Doctor Who adventure here in these pages and the story itself is engaging. The characters at the prison are unique and well-developed (and some are even endearing).

As a book released early in the Twelfth Doctor’s run, it was certainly interesting to get another glimpse at him to add to what I’ve seen on screen. That said, I struggled a bit with his character and felt that of all the characters, he lacked depth. Since this was a Doctor Who story, it’s a little disappointed to feel that way about the starring character, even though the rest of the story was enjoyable. Which is precisely why I’m giving this three stars instead of four.