Lords of the Sith – Paul S. Kemp

Synopsis: Anakin Skywalker, Jedi Knight, is just a memory. Darth Vader, newly anointed Sith Lord, is ascendant. The Emperor s chosen apprentice has swiftly proven his loyalty to the dark side. Still, the history of the Sith Order is one of duplicity, betrayal, and acolytes violently usurping their Masters and the truest measure of Vader s allegiance has yet to be taken. Until now.

On Ryloth, a planet crucial to the growing Empire as a source of slave labor and the narcotic known as spice, an aggressive resistance movement has arisen, led by Cham Syndulla, an idealistic freedom fighter, and Isval, a vengeful former slave. But Emperor Palpatine means to control the embattled world and its precious resources by political power or firepower and he will be neither intimidated nor denied. Accompanied by his merciless disciple, Darth Vader, he sets out on a rare personal mission to ensure his will is done.

For Syndulla and Isval, it s the opportunity to strike at the very heart of the ruthless dictatorship sweeping the galaxy. And for the Emperor and Darth Vader, Ryloth becomes more than just a matter of putting down an insurrection: When an ambush sends them crashing to the planet s surface, where inhospitable terrain and an army of resistance fighters await them, they will find their relationship tested as never before. With only their lightsabers, the dark side of the Force, and each other to depend on, the two Sith must decide if the brutal bond they share will make them victorious allies or lethal adversaries. Continue reading “Lords of the Sith – Paul S. Kemp”

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The Colorado Kid – Stephen King

Synopsis: On an island off the coast of Maine, a man is found dead. There’s no identification on the body. Only the dogged work of a pair of local newspapermen and a graduate student in forensics turns up any clues.

But that’s just the beginning of the mystery. Because the more they learn about the man and the baffling circumstances of his death, the less they understand. Was it an impossible crime? Or something stranger still…?

No one but Stephen King could tell this story about the darkness at the heart of the unknown and our compulsion to investigate the unexplained. With echoes of Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon and the work of Graham Greene, one of the world’s great storytellers presents a surprising tale that explores the nature of mystery itself… Continue reading “The Colorado Kid – Stephen King”

Best Served Cold – Joe Abercrombie

Synopsis: Springtime in Styria. And that means war.

There have been nineteen years of blood. The ruthless Grand Duke Orso is locked in a vicious struggle with the squabbling League of Eight, and between them they have bled the land white. While armies march, heads roll and cities burn, behind the scenes bankers, priests and older, darker powers play a deadly game to choose who will be king.

War may be hell but for Monza Murcatto, the Snake of Talins, the most feared and famous mercenary in Duke Orso’s employ, it’s a damn good way of making money too. Her victories have made her popular – a shade too popular for her employer’s taste. Betrayed, thrown down a mountain and left for dead, Murcatto’s reward is a broken body and a burning hunger for vengeance. Whatever the cost, seven men must die.

Her allies include Styria’s least reliable drunkard, Styria’s most treacherous poisoner, a mass-murderer obsessed with numbers and a Northman who just wants to do the right thing. Her enemies number the better half of the nation. And that’s all before the most dangerous man in the world is dispatched to hunt her down and finish the job Duke Orso started…

Springtime in Styria. And that means revenge. Continue reading “Best Served Cold – Joe Abercrombie”

Pork Pie Hat – Peter Straub

“Back then, I didn’t know anything about grief, and Hat wore grief about him daily, like a cloak. Now that I am the age he was then, I see that most of what is called information is interpretation, and interpretation is always partial.”

This novella is about a jazz saxophonist, his memories about something horrible that he experienced on Halloween night when he was just 11 years old & the journalist he recounts his story to. In ways, this could be considered a coming-of-age story about childhood horror. That childhood horror then lapses into something much more. Real harrowing adult fears like addiction, aging & prejudism.

I received this in the Stephen King Nocturnal Reader’s Box. I have yet to read anything by Peter Straub (I STILL need to read The Talisman novels with King. I know. I KNOW!) so this was my first introduction to his writing (that I recall, anyway!)

I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had a bit of time to squeeze in a shorter read before jumping into a MASSIVE FANTASY EPIC OF STABBY EPICNESS. You know, my usual kind of read! I read it in a day, which isn’t all that impressive, considering how short the book is. But it was an entertaining enough autumn read! Straub is obviously a competent writer & I will definitely be checking out more of his work outside of his books with King.. because there isn’t a question about those. I will literally read the phone book if King wrote it!

Inside the physical book is quite lovely. Not only are the black & white illustrations fantastic & atmospheric, but the extra details on the pages are quite pleasing to my eye! Cemetery Dance did a nice job with this, for sure!

-Holly

 

Battlefront: Twilight Company – Alexander Freed

“He would die with a grin & a battle cry.”

Alexander Freed is quickly becoming one of my favorite Star Wars writers. Not surprising really, considering he used to work at BioWare on probably my favorite gaming franchise of all time, Mass Effect! He is a great fit within the Star Wars universe.

Battlefront: Twilight Company was inspired by the video game, Star Wars Battlefront. It is about the war between the Empire & the Rebellion, while focusing on the Sixty-first Mobile Infantry. This is better known as the Twilight Company. It’s rare that we get to see so closely into the grim war side of the Rebellion, especially with the prior Legends novels. Canon really is about expanding & diversifying the universe, which is a fucking righteous thing for me to see happen as a long time fan.

Twilight Company allows the reader to viscerally experience what it is like on the battlefield. It is described as being Band of Brothers, set in the Star Wars universe. Which ticks so many boxes for me, personally! I really enjoyed this interstellar adventure. It was a fast-paced, gripping, realistic, gritty read. There are even a few brief encounters from some recognizable faces, which is always fun for us nerds!

There were a few questionable things that happened towards the end of the book, which I didn’t think flowed with the rest of the story. But it hurtles towards a worthy conclusion.

I have read close to 60 Star Wars novels & besides Lost Stars, another fantastic canon tale, this is the only other one that I can think of that focuses so deeply on the militarization of Star Wars. It shows a more realistic side to both the Rebel Alliance & the Empire. A grittier side to the Rebellion, comprised with many soldiers that had nowhere else to go & where not all of the Empire were horrific monsters.

I hope this will open up the door for more military-themed Star Wars books. The possibilities are endless when it comes to this ever immersive galaxy far, far away!

~Holly

Gwendy’s Button Box – Stephen King & Richard Chizmar

“I am what you might call a rambling man, and America is my beat.” 

Would you take candy from a stranger.. in a park.. wearing a bowler hat.. who wants to “palaver?” Hmm. But what if he offered you a magical box filled with special animal-shaped chocolates & silver coins & various buttons & WORLD DOMINATION?! Or something like that.. yeah. No. I’m good. Thanks, but no thanks. Continue reading “Gwendy’s Button Box – Stephen King & Richard Chizmar”

Fuzzy Nation – John Scalzi

“Get off my planet, you son of a bitch.”

This is a retelling of the 1960’s H. Piper Beam novel, Little Fuzzy. I was unfamiliar with this source material prior to reading this, so I cannot compare the two. However, I enjoyed this John Scalzi interpretation!

Continue reading “Fuzzy Nation – John Scalzi”

Thunderbird – Chuck Wendig

Miriam just laughed, because, c’mon. Titmouse. Titmouse. The ranger just stood there, annoyed –blink, blink, blink–and Miriam of course explained because Miriam of course enjoys digging holes and jumping in them. She said, “Because first you imagine a mouse, a little squeaky mouse, and then you imagine a tit–a boob, a breast, a sweater monkey that has escaped its underwire cage–and now it’s attached to the mouse? Like, on its back? Or the top of its head? Flopping around like a damn Jell-O mold? Huh? Right? Oh, come on. That’s funny. That’s just… that’s just good humor, lady.”

Thunderbird is the fourth book in Chuck Wendig’s Miriam Black series. Just like the three books that came before it, this was fucking glorious! I devoured it within 24 hours, a major thing for me these days between life & writing. It’s one of my favorite series for a reason! I find it so easy to fall into this messed up, authentic world that Wendig has created. Continue reading “Thunderbird – Chuck Wendig”

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – Alexander Freed

In the instant before he’d risen from the bunker, he’d questioned his own wisdom: How might he separate the will of the Force from his will, his ego, demanding action where action was unneeded? But there was no doubt in his heart now. The Force expressed itself through simplicity, and all it asked of him was to walk.

I am one with the Force and the Force is with me.

Well fuck. Just when I think I am finally emotionally stable enough to delve in before watching the movie again, this. THIS. I devoured this like the masochist I am! Continue reading “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – Alexander Freed”

King of Thorns – Mark Lawrence

I drive my knife in low, at the base of his scrotum. I leave it there. I don’t want it back. Also, if I pull it free he will bleed to death quickly. I think he should linger.

I am in love with this series! Mark Lawrence is a new favorite, for sure. This is a violent story told in a grim future, but with Lawrence at the helm there is a haunting elegance about it which makes my senses tingle in all of the best ways! Continue reading “King of Thorns – Mark Lawrence”