Sunday, March 31, 2013

Books of Note-- March Reads

I didn't get to read as many books as I wanted to this month due to finishing Anthony Maxwell which was no loss, obviously. But the books I did read were very good, and I got to read my first new release of 2013, The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Neilsen 

A kingdom teetering on the brink of destruction. A king gone missing. Who will survive? Find out in the highly anticipated sequel to Jennifer A. Nielsen's blockbuster THE FALSE PRINCE!

Just weeks after Jaron has taken the throne, an assassination attempt forces him into a deadly situation. Rumors of a coming war are winding their way between the castle walls, and Jaron feels the pressure quietly mounting within Carthya. Soon, it becomes clear that deserting the kingdom may be his only hope of saving it. But the further Jaron is forced to run from his identity, the more he wonders if it is possible to go too far. Will he ever be able to return home again? Or will he have to sacrifice his own life in order to save his kingdom?
The stunning second installment of The Ascendance Trilogy takes readers on a roller-coaster ride of treason and murder, thrills and peril, as they journey with the Runaway King!


Thoughts on the Overall Book: After reading the first book in the series, I had a couple problems with the way the story was brought out and the plot was revealed, but I had hoped that the second one wouldn't have any of that in it. As it turned out, it didn't at all, and the author has progressed brilliantly in plotting (though writer to writer, the plot of the first book was kind of tricky, so I understand where the problems originated). This one however I really didn't have any complaints on it, and since nothing threw me like it did in the first book, I was able to just sit back and enjoy it far more.

Cover--Yea or Nay: I really like the covers for this series. They are simple, but neat. I love the font of the title and really I love swords on covers. That's a thing of mine.

Characters: Sage/Jaron (though I'll always call him Sage) is who sold me in the first book despite my couple complaints, and I really wanted to read more about him. I loved how in this book, he stayed the same in character, but yet, you can tell he has also matured a lot since the first book. That showed in the sacrifices he had to make in the series and the very hard decisions and even betrayals he had to make to keep people he loved safe. I continued to like Imogen, she's just the kind of female character I like reading about. I would have liked to see more of Tobias, but I have a feeling we'll get to see more of him in the next book.

There were a couple new characters I enjoyed meeting too. Fink, the urchin boy, is a new favorite of mine, and I love how he kind of treats Sage as an older brother and vise versa. Erick too, was kind of an interesting character because you were never sure whether he would be good or bad. Another favorite addition was Harlowe, even though he wasn't in the story all that much. I just adored the little father-son relationship between him and Sage.

The Romance: There's not a lot of time for romance, but you can kind of tell there is definitely something between Sage and Imogen [and I was actually really sad that their feelings are kind of unrequited. They are a couple I would root for, but the end of the story is yet to be told!

Writing Style: As I said earlier, I think that, in ways of flow, "The Runaway King" is much improved over "The False Prince" which is exactly what I had hoped. The writing and dialogue and everything in the first book was good, it was just the few flow issues that I complained about. But this one flowed very well and I was gripped through the whole thing. It's definitely one of those books that grabs you. Also, extra points because Jennifer A Nielsen can write pirates that don't come across as the lame cliché pirates that usually get thrown into books these days. They were actually like real pirates to me, and making them mercenaries to the highest bidder was also a good turn. Also, I appreciate, like I did in the first book, that wounds are actually mentioned in this story. People who follow my reviews (and who have read my own books) probably know that I hate it when a character is wounded pretty badly and two minutes later they are running and fighting the baddie. The fight Sage has when his leg is broken is pretty accurate. It's like a 'I need to do this no matter the fact that I have a broken leg' than the usual "oh, I only have a broken leg". It was his determination that kept him going.

Problems/What bothered me: I really didn't have anything to complain about in this one.

Conclusion: 5 stars I enjoyed it a lot, I'm just sad I have to wait for the next book after that evil cliff hanger at the end! I have a feeling the third book is going to be pretty awesome. For a middle trilogy book, this book was awesome in itself. So many times, the middle books are kind of blah.

Recommended Audience: Fans of the first one, Ranger's Apprentice fans would enjoy this as well, 12 and up.

(Read Mara's Review of "The Runaway King" here. Though it's pretty much the same :P)

Having ended the Edgar-Award-nominated Shelter with a jaw-dropping cliffhanger, Coben picks up Mickey’s story right where it left off in this suspenseful new adventure. Mickey and his loyal new friends, sharp-witted Ema and adorkably charming Spoon, once again find themselves in over their heads on the hunt for missing pieces to a puzzle they have yet to understand. As the mystery surrounding Mickey’s dad’s death unfolds, he soon learns that they may be in more danger than they could have ever imagined.


Thoughts on the Overall Book: This was another really action packed suspense novel that gives me hope for this series and its quality. I liked how it continued almost immediately after the first book so it's not really a change of pace, and that, while we have a little closure, there's still plenty of twists and plots and foreshadowing that makes the reader look forward to the next one a lot.

Cover--Yea or Nay: I liked this cover way more than the first one. It makes more sense to me according to the story and I really loved how there's an outline of a face in the fire. Very cool!

Characters: Mickey is still a likable and great protagonist/narrator. I enjoy reading him a lot. Ema and Spoon are pretty much the same too, and I'm glad we finally got to find out a little more about Ema too. Rachel is still kind of an enigma and I kind of like that, she's one of those characters who can sometimes surprise you. There wasn't really a baddie like Buddy Ray in the first one, but I like the foreshadowing of the blond guy and know this is likely not the last time we see him.

The Romance: There's not really any romance to speak of. I'm actually not even sure what will happen in that department, but in my opinion, I like it the way it is right now.

Writing Style: Same as the first. Fast paced, but without seeming movie-ish and thankfully not in present tense. Really good for a contemporary novel from a guy's perspective.

Problems/What bothered me: I didn't really have any problems. The plot wasn't quite as epic or dangerous as the first one, but I didn't enjoy the book any less because of it, and it was still a really good page turner, I mean, I stayed up super late just reading the first half of it, and only stopped because my eyes got too tired.

Conclusion: 4 stars. I enjoyed it a lot and I'm eagerly awaiting to see what happens next. I can't wait until the next book comes out and hope it's not too long!

Recommended Audience: Suspense/mystery fans would enjoy. A good guy read or girl read 15 and up.

Divorced and down on his luck, Gaius Petreius Ruso has made the rash decision to seek his fortune in an inclement outpost of the Roman Empire, namely Britannia. In a moment of weakness, after a straight thirtysix- hour shift at the army hospital, he succumbs to compassion and rescues an injured slave girl, Tilla, from the hands of her abusive owner.

Now he has a new problem: a slave who won’t talk and can’t cook, and drags trouble in her wake. Before he knows it, Ruso is caught in the middle of an investigation into the deaths of prostitutes working out of the local bar. Now Ruso must summon all his forensic knowledge to find a killer who may be after him next.
With a gift for comic timing and historical detail, Ruth Downie has conjured an ancient world as raucous and real as our own.


Thoughts on the Overall Book: I'm really glad I gave this book a go, because now I have found another historical series that I really love! "Medicus" is a somewhat quirky, easy to read historical fiction novel, and just the kind of book I love to sit down with before bed. I never thought I would enjoy a 'hospital drama' so much, but I really wouldn't put it in that category at all anyway. Number one, Ruso is an army surgeon who I always have much more respect for and can usually like, and two, it's light hearted, and not based around the hospital, so plus, plus.

Cover--Yea or Nay: I like the cover. It's obviously set in the Roman era, and it's simple, yet it looks like a mystery novel.

Characters: Okay, so I loved Ruso right off the bat. I adore dry witted characters, and even though this book wasn't in first person, it feels like it is because you're pretty much in Ruso's head. He's so good hearted, yet all this stuff happens to him because of it which totally makes for a sympathetic hero. I loved the quips between him and Valens. Ruth Downie writes men's relationships very well and can also tell truths about them only women would ever write about--such as the anti-cleanliness on their living quarters. Reading about how filthy their bachelor's quarters were and how they didn't care just made me crack up because I know all too well how true that is. I also really loved Tilla. She's just the kind of female protagonist I love to read about. She was capable of doing what she needed to, and yet she was never once annoying, though I wanted to shake her a couple times for listening to people she should have known better not to trust. But that all just made me sympathize with her in the end. Priscus was throughly fun to hate too. And though he wasn't a really evil baddie, the reader still wished to see Ruso get the better of him.

The Romance: There's not much at all, but it's definitely hinted (and expected) that Ruso and Tilla will have some sort of relationship in later books. And I support their romance because I genuinely care for them.

Writing Style: While not the most engaging mystery plot I have ever read, the characters were who really drove this story and made it enjoyable. You cared a lot for the characters. If I hadn't, I probably would have been more disappointed that there wasn't a better mystery plot line, but I really didn't feel cheated at all at the end of the book because of it. Ruth Downie's writing style is what really sold the book though, and made it work. It's filled with lovely wry humor that I adored, and is snappy, and engaging without being overly descriptive as some historical novels can be at times. I also appreciated that she addressed all the inaccuracies in the book in her author's note. As an author, and one who has dabbled in this time period and setting, I understand completely how hard it is to find real information for thorough research. The reader will notice the somewhat modern flair in the novel, but it is only going to make it a funner read unless you're a really stuffy person who shouldn't be reading anything but text books.

Problems/What bothered me: I really didn't have any complaints which made me really happy. Even though parts of this book take place in a brothel, nothing is described in detail. And for the people who don't like blood, there's not much of that either, considering this is a novel about army surgeons. I was really glad that the birthing scene was not detailed but even as it was, there was still too much detail for my liking. That is one of the few things that can make me want to throw up while reading.

Conclusion:4 stars, I really liked it, and am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

Recommended Audience: People who like an easy historical read would enjoy this. Also fans of the Falco novels would appreciate Ruso.


  1. Out of those three, which was your favorite? Out of my three, THE RUNAWAY KING definitely was.

  2. I'd have to say "The Runaway King" too. I just can't believe we have to wait probably until next year for the last one D= But at least there's more books to keep me occupied ;)

  3. I know!! Between THE RUNAWAY KING and the next LUNAR CHRONICLES book - CRESS - I'm not sure how I'm going to make it through this year. To top it off, I'm waiting for the next INCORRIGIBLE CHILDREN book to be released, and its date has been bumped from May to September. Agh! They shouldn't be allowed to do that. At least THE HOUSE OF HADES has a definite release date now. Yay! :)

  4. I hate it when that happens. Or when they don't even give a release date :P At least I still have all the "Heroes of Olympus" series to get through, hehe ;) I'm going to buy the last Percy Jackson book when I get to B&N again. By the way, I started "Entwined" last night and am enjoying it so far =)