A Hero At The End Of The World
Ewan Mao was the one prophesised to save the world. Instead his best friend Oliver Abrams defeated the magical tyrant ruling their alternative version of contemporary London. Life hasn't quite gone his way ever since.
Five years later and Ewan is suddenly at the centre of a plot to end the world and his estranged friend is also caught up in events.
This book was originally Kickstarted as part of the start up of Big Bang Press who specialize in publishing original fiction by highly regarded fanfic authors. I bought it as part of a Humble Bundle.
I really quite enjoyed this slice of romantic and humourous urban fantasy and I particularly enjoyed the copious amounts of snarky banter between the characters. It kind of reminded me of Tom Holt or a less out-there Robert Rankin.
Stripping The Billionaire
Benjamin Damon is a billionaire's heir who has run away from family obligations and money to live a less hypocritical life.
When his gorgeous friend and next-door neighbour invites herself along when his mother asks for his help to remodel her house he finds himself falling for her.
This one is incredibly formulaic but I find Adams pretty readable compared to other authors who give romance novels away for free on iBooks.
To avoid an incident with the daughter of a potential business partner at a party a callous billionaire announces that he's engaged to a cash-strapped and compliant young women he'd just met.
They agree to get married to make him seem more respectable and so she can finally afford to restore the family home.
As with all these kind of stories she's not as compliant as she seems and he's not so callous and (spoilers) they fall in love for real.
Romancing The Duke
Typically if I'm reading a romance I'm looking for a contemporary piece preferrably one with some humour.
I only read this competently written historical romance because of an intriguing online recommendation that talked about this book's depiction of fandom in glowing terms.
This seemed a good enough reason to give Romancing The Duke a try.
The heroine is the penniless daughter of a famous writer who made a fictional version of her younger self the star of his novels.
She inherits a castle from a family friend, a fan of the novels. Only to discover that the castle is falling to bits and is still occupied by a blinded Duke who claims the pile is still his.
The fandom bits are the best thing about the book.
I liked the way the author captured the burden and privilege of having a popular public persona.
As examples the limits on who the heroine can appear to be in public and the absolute loyalty she can call on from the fans of the books.
I've definitely read worse romances and if you have a background in fandom and a weakness for historicals then you'll lap this one up.
The Goblin Emperor
This book has been nominated for Best Novel in the 2015 Hugo Awards.
As a Hugo voter this year I received an ebook copy of in the Voter Packet.
This is a very well written and reasonably enjoyable slice of Fantasy.
It's very much about the intrigue behind the scenes of the imperial court of an ancient empire.
The titular character (whose real name is Maia) starts the story as a spineless ingenue. This quickly gets annoying. Fortunately he grows and gets to show some real personality and character as the plot develops.
By the end I really wanted to see what was going to happen next. It's set up in a way that makes me think that I will find the sequel more enjoyable than this book.
I certainly recommend The Goblin Emperor if you like well-written, character led Fantasy and you're more a fan of political intrigue than grimdark fantasy violence.
This five volume series is an expertly and cynically constructed slice of epic fantasy.
Nearly every clichéd trope of the genre is trotted at one point or another but the sheer pace of storytelling stops it from becoming boring.
I've read this series many time but even after all this times I find myself enjoying some of the characters and rooting for the (inevitable) happy ending.
It's outdated, generic as all hell but it's one of my comfort reads.
If you're looking for a quick, easy-to-read fantasy fix then this is an acceptable option.
A Midsummer's Nightmare
After reading The DUFF I discovered that Keplinger had other novels set in the same town and as I was interested to see if anything about the DUFF characters cropped up I picked up this one to read.
The lead character of this book is a teenage girl called Whitley.
She's looking forward to escaping her embittered mother for a summer of booze and beach side lounging with her semi-famous anchorman father. When he picks her up at the airport she discovers that he's getting remarried and she's staying with his fiancee and his two kids. One of whom is a guy she had a one night stand with at the end of the school year.
Whitley is an unhappy, lonely, screwed up kid. She takes her frustrations and pain out on everyone around her and it gets her in a lot of trouble.
This book is easily as well written as The DUFF and it was nice to see some of those characters again if only for a few paragraphs but I found Whitley a hard character to relate to or sympathize with. That's probably because I'm a long way past my personal teenage angst (all my angst is middle-aged thank you very much).
It's worth reading but there's nothing outstanding or especially memorable about it.
This is an entertaining YA novel about a smart and cynical teenager called Bianca who is told one day that she's the DUFF of her friend group - the designated ugly fat friend.
The book follows her as she internalizes that idea and as she falls off from the beaten path of her regular life into chaos before finding a new kind of equilibrium.
I read this because I'm very intrigued by the film they've made of it. I'm going to go see it at some point.
As for the book it's enjoyable but it's also slightly uneven. The main characters are strongly written but the plot isn't hugely compelling. The biggest point in it's favour - I find myself wanting to see what the characters are up to after the story ends.
Sex. Lies & Online Dating
I've read this generic romance before. To be honest I'm not sure why I read it all the way to the end on this re-read because it isn't good.
Indexing is kind of a mash up between The X-Files and Fables.
The story follows one team of government agents as they battle to prevent fairy tales from causing chaos in death when those narrative archetypes begin to impact on everyday life.
It's quite a lot of fun and I particularly liked the characters of Henry and Sloane. Henry's the lead agent and a perpetually ticked off almost-Snow-White and Sloane is a violent, misanthropic, permanently teenage Wicked Sister.
It feels a bit less polished and less fully realised than a lot of McGuire's stuff I've read but it's very enjoyable and worth a read if you like her brand of urban fantasy.