Sunday, December 31, 2017

Melanie's Year in Review - December 31, 2017

Happy New Year! I hope you have had a good festive season. It's been awhile since I last posted but life has been a bit frantic with finishing off the semi finalists for SPFBO 2017. I had to take a bit of a reading sabbatical for anything not related to SPFBO. Be sure to check out what we read and who we put forward to the final round.

You should feel super lucky as you get to enjoy 2 of my 'year in review' during 2017 as my last one was posted on the 1st of Jan 2017. :) I have been reflecting over the last few weeks on the books I have read during the last year. Comparing my short list to last year's it appears it has been a lean year books that I loved as I was spoiled for choice to nominate 10. This year I have 5 faves of 2017. In reverse order my faves are:

5. Kitty Peck series by Kate Griffin

I came to the Kitty Peck series quite late on as book 1 - Kitty Peck and the Music Hall Murders was first published in 2013. However, I made up for lost time by slamming back all 3 books in a number of days. I loved everything about these books - the industrious, courageous Kitty, the dirty mean streets of Whitchapel in the late 1800s and the various mysteries that Kitty had to solve. The books in this series are traditional page turners and completely 'can't put downable'. If you haven't started this series be sure to clean the house, buy in some ready meals and make a thermos of tea before you turn page 1. I can hardly wait for instalment 4 and urge Griffin to put me out of my misery!

4. Wildfire by Ilona Andrews 

Ilona Andrews gave fans of their Hidden Legacy series a big treat in 2017 with the release of White Hot (book 2) and Wildfire (book 3). I was pleasantly surprised by this series as I wasn't sure how it would hold up to either the Kate Daniels or the Innkeeper Chronicles series which I also loved. Wildfire gives the reader almost everything they need to feel satisfied at the end - a bit of a mystery, the right amount of romance, well developed characters and an interesting world for the characters to interact in. Initially I loved the fact this was a trilogy (why drag it out?) but now I am already missing my new fave heroine. Andrews teases fans with the fact there may be more books in the series but who knows if that will come off or not.

3. Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill

Sea of Rust is a bit like The Terminator told from the robot's perspective. Humanity has been wiped out and the story is told from one of the few remaining free robots. This story was very gritty and had a big surprise at the end that you could easily miss if you aren't paying attention. Can you feel sympathy for a robot? Well prepare yourself and have a hanky ready for the protagonist robot Brittle.

2. By Gaslight by Steven Price

By Gaslight is one of the very few actual books I have read in the last 4-5 years. I am pretty much a total eBook convert and when my sister handed me the hefty hardback By Gaslight my first thought was 'how am I going to carry that around?' Lucky for me I had a holiday coming up and I managed to squeeze it into my luggage. For such a big book it was such a quick read. Set in London in the late 1880s we follow the main characters through the dark and foggy streets, bystanders as the story unfold. Back and forth between the past and present the reader is taken on the same journey as the characters. I was mesmerized from the first sentences all the way to the end. A must read for anyone who enjoys historical fiction.

1. Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel

Book 1 of the Themis Files - Sleeping Giants was my 2nd favourite of 2016 and here is book 2 Waking Gods my fave of 2017. This is a series that was excellent from the first instalment and somehow manages to get even better in the second. Wanting to know more about the mystery narrator is even more pressing but Neuvel keeps the reader in the dark. The story is one roller coaster after another and I can't even imagine what Neuvel has in store for us next.

I can't recommend this series enough but it is vital you start at the beginning. I am confident that these books will soon form part of your favourite collection.

That is it from me for 2017. I hope you have been enjoying my Week in Review and my Review of 2017. I wish you the very best for 2018 and looking forward to sharing some of my favourite reads in the year ahead.

Kitty Peck and the Music Hall Murders
Kitty Peck 1
Faber & Faber, September 11, 2017
    Trade Paperback, 368 pages
Faber & Faber, June 25, 2013
    eBook, 368 pages

Limehouse, 1880: Dancing girls are going missing from 'Paradise' - the criminal manor with ruthless efficiency by the ferocious Lady Ginger. Seventeen-year-old music hall seamstress Kitty Peck finds herself reluctantly drawn into a web of blackmail, depravity and murder when The Lady devises a singular scheme to discover the truth. But as Kitty's scandalous and terrifying act becomes the talk of London, she finds herself facing someone even more deadly and horrifying than The Lady.

Bold, impetuous and blessed with more brains than she cares to admit, it soon becomes apparent that it's up to the unlikely team of Kitty and her stagehand friend, Lucca, to unravel the truth and ensure that more girls do not meet with a similar fate. But are Kitty's courage and common sense and Lucca's book learning a match for the monster in the shadows? Their investigations take them from the gin-fuelled halls and doss houses of the East End to the champagne-fuelled galleries of the West End.

Take nothing at face value: Kitty is about to step out on a path of discovery that changes everything . . .

Book 2
Book 3

A Hidden Legacy Novel 3
Avon, July 25, 2017
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

From Ilona Andrews, #1 New York Times bestselling author, the thrilling conclusion to her Hidden Legacy series, as Nevada and Rogan grapple with a power beyond even their imagination…

Nevada Baylor can’t decide which is more frustrating—harnessing her truthseeker abilities or dealing with Connor “Mad” Rogan and their evolving relationship. Yes, the billionaire Prime is helping her navigate the complex magical world in which she’s become a crucial player—and sometimes a pawn—but she also has to deal with his ex-fiancée, whose husband has disappeared, and whose damsel-in-distress act is wearing very, very thin.

Rogan faces his own challenges, too, as Nevada’s magical rank has made her a desirable match for other Primes. Controlling his immense powers is child’s play next to controlling his conflicting emotions. And now he and Nevada are confronted by a new threat within her own family. Can they face this together? Or is their world about to go up in smoke?

Book 1
Book 2

Sea of Rust
Harper Voyager, September 5, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 384 pages

A scavenger robot wanders in the wasteland created by a war that has destroyed humanity in this evocative post-apocalyptic "robot western" from the critically acclaimed author, screenwriter, and noted film critic.

It’s been thirty years since the apocalypse and fifteen years since the murder of the last human being at the hands of robots. Humankind is extinct. Every man, woman, and child has been liquidated by a global uprising devised by the very machines humans designed and built to serve them. Most of the world is controlled by an OWI—One World Intelligence—the shared consciousness of millions of robots, uploaded into one huge mainframe brain. But not all robots are willing to cede their individuality—their personality—for the sake of a greater, stronger, higher power. These intrepid resisters are outcasts; solo machines wandering among various underground outposts who have formed into an unruly civilization of rogue AIs in the wasteland that was once our world.

One of these resisters is Brittle, a scavenger robot trying to keep a deteriorating mind and body functional in a world that has lost all meaning. Although unable to experience emotions like a human, Brittle is haunted by the terrible crimes the robot population perpetrated on humanity. As Brittle roams the Sea of Rust, a large swath of territory that was once the Midwest, the loner robot slowly comes to terms with horrifyingly raw and vivid memories—and nearly unbearable guilt.

Sea of Rust is both a harsh story of survival and an optimistic adventure. A vividly imagined portrayal of ultimate destruction and desperate tenacity, it boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, yet where a humanlike AI strives to find purpose among the ruins.

By Gaslight
Picador, October 3, 2017
Trade Paperback, 752 pages
Hardcover and eBook, October 4, 2016

A literary tour de force of a detective's ceaseless hunt for an elusive criminal

By Gaslight is a deeply atmospheric, haunting novel about the unending quest that has shaped a man’s life.

William Pinkerton is already famous, the son of the most notorious detective of all time, when he descends into the underworld of Victorian London in pursuit of a new lead on the fabled con Edward Shade. William’s father died without ever finding Shade, but William is determined to drag the thief out of the shadows.

Adam Foole is a gentleman without a past, haunted by a love affair ten years gone. When he receives a letter from his lost beloved, he returns to London to find her. What he learns of her fate, and its connection to the man known as Shade, will force him to confront a grief he thought long-buried.
A fog-enshrouded hunt through sewers, opium dens, drawing rooms, and séance halls ensues, creating the most unlikely of bonds: between Pinkerton, the great detective, and Foole, the one man who may hold the key to finding Edward Shade.

Steven Price’s dazzling, riveting By Gaslight moves from the diamond mines of South Africa to the battlefields of the Civil War, on a journey into a cityscape of grief, trust, and its breaking, where what we share can bind us even against our darker selves.

Waking Gods
The Themis Files 2
Del Rey, March 13, 2018
Trade Paperback, 352 pages
Hardcover and eBook, April 4, 2017

In the gripping sequel to Sleeping Giants, which was hailed by Pierce Brown as “a luminous conspiracy yarn . . . reminiscent of The Martian and World War Z,” Sylvain Neuvel’s innovative series about human-alien contact takes another giant step forward.

As a child, Rose Franklin made an astonishing discovery: a giant metallic hand, buried deep within the earth. As an adult, she’s dedicated her brilliant scientific career to solving the mystery that began that fateful day: Why was a titanic robot of unknown origin buried in pieces around the world? Years of investigation have produced intriguing answers—and even more perplexing questions. But the truth is closer than ever before when a second robot, more massive than the first, materializes and lashes out with deadly force.

Now humankind faces a nightmare invasion scenario made real, as more colossal machines touch down across the globe. But Rose and her team at the Earth Defense Corps refuse to surrender. They can turn the tide if they can unlock the last secrets of an advanced alien technology. The greatest weapon humanity wields is knowledge in a do-or-die battle to inherit the Earth . . . and maybe even the stars.

Book 1
Book 3


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