Book Haunt

Book and animal lover of epic proportions.  I read a little of everything. Love SF/Fantasy, mysteries and historical fiction. Oh who am I kidding!  I love ALL books!  I've been an avid reader all of my life.  Mom used to catch me with a flashlight under the covers reading way past bedtime!  I am my most content when I have a book in my hand and feel that a life without books is no life at all!



Throne of Jade (Temeraire #2) by Naomi Novik

Throne of Jade - Naomi Novik

His Majesty’s Dragon is the second book in the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik.

When Captain Will Laurence’s ship the HMS Reliant captured one of Napoleon’s French frigates, a rare and valuable egg was part of the seized cargo. The egg hatched and out popped a delightful dragon. At first reluctant, Captain Laurence went from being a Navy man to being the handler of the newly hatched dragon. He named the dragon Temeraire and started his new service as Temeraire’s master in England’s Aerial Corps. Working together and living together, Temeraire and Laurence have become a part of each other. Neither can imagine himself anywhere else but by the other’s side. They are not just a great team in combat, they are best friends.

Read more at Book Haunt

Feast or Famine (Temeraire, #1.5) by Naomi Novik

Feast or Famine - Naomi Novik

Blurb:  Breakfast in Dover, with complications.


Dragons can be very clever when they’re hungry!


Set between the events of His Majesty’s Dragon and Throne of Jade, Feast or Famine is an amusing side jaunt along the way.  Mention of the happenings in this story are made in Throne of Jade so if you don’t read it going in you will want to on the way out. 


You can find this short story at

Immurement (The Undergrounders #1) by Norma Hinkens

Immurement: The Undergrounders Series Book One (A Young Adult Post-apocalyptic Science Fiction Thriller) - Norma Hinkens

It is the year 2069, six years after the Earth’s core overheated, causing a meltdown. In the Sawtooth Forest of central Idaho, a group of survivors has formed an underground community which is split up between 8 bunkers that are connected by a shared tunnel. These are the Undergrounders.



Echo Volume 2: The Taste of Ashes

Echo Volume 2:  The Taste of Ashes - Kent Wayne

My previous review of Echo Volume 1: Approaching Shatter     



When mankind resettled on Echo over 1200 years ago, they were led into darkness by the Regime.  Enforcing the Regime’s policies is the job of the Department of Enforcement.  As part of this department, it is the job of Kish Atriya and his elite unit of Enforcers to take down any Dissidents that have fled the Regime’s policies.


In this volume, Kish and his team have been sent into one of the areas known as the Wastes.  The Wastes are made up of the less savory types in society such as rapists, cannibals and gangs.  An assignment to the Wastes is a life-threatening escapade and they will face danger at every turn.  As if this assignment weren’t dangerous enough, Atriya knows that he has pissed off some powerful people in the Regime.  Most likely the higher-ups have fixed it so that he won’t make it out alive.  But Atriya was born to be a warrior and when the going gets tough the tough get going.  Even with the knowledge that his partner and his team are against him, Atriya must be true to who and what he is.  While logic tells him to do one thing, his instincts dictate another.  In the process of this one harrowing day, Atriya will have to make some life-altering decisions and he will find out what kind of man he really is.




Volume 2 takes off with a bang!  Atriya hits the ground running and the entire volume continues along at full speed.  Atriya’s every thought and maneuver is described in minute detail.  This is not a bad thing!  We are in Atriya’s head as he goes into a hyper-alert state and blazes away at enemies left and right.  Add in some really cool enhanced technological weaponry and armor, a terrifying Enhancile and lots of tension between the main characters and…oh man, this is getting good! 


The author states that he loves to thread everything with hidden significance so pay attention!  Although it wasn’t yet out when I finished, I am so far behind on my reviews that the next volume has now been released.  It’s called Echo Volume 3: The Dialectic of Agony and I’ve snatched it up! 


Warning: Contains language and violence.




I discovered this author through his blog on Wordpress and I recommend you check it out.  Kent Wayne can be found at 

North of Here by Laurel Saville

North of Here - Laurel Saville

Miranda has suffered a shocking loss of all she’s ever known and she’s desperately trying to find her way back to happiness. When she goes back home and starts spending time with her family’s handyman Dix, she thinks she may have found what she needs. Dix knows exactly who he is and he’s very comfortable in his skin. He is calm and peaceful and she finds comfort in his company.

David is a rich kid who has rebelled against his upbringing. He has created a new persona and taken a new name to go along with it. Now known as Darius, he reads a lot of romance in order to hone his skills as a seducer of people. Darius fancies himself a foster figure and he founds a commune to take in wayward souls. Darius’s commune is called The Source and it’s a bit reminiscent of L. Ron Hubbard’s Scientology.

Time reveals that Miranda’s troubles are more deep-seated than we know. She is completely the opposite of Dix. She picks at everything around her, she’s constantly irritated by her life and she just cannot find inner peace. As her relationship with Dix begins to fall apart, she is drawn to Darius and taken with his outlook on life. She wants to participate in the work he does at The Source and feels that it may give her life new meaning. But Dix is concerned about Miranda spending time with Darius. He begins to wonder what’s really going on out at The Source.

North of Here is an exploration of the human psyche. Whether a person is born rich or poor, they still need to find what might bring true happiness and purpose to their life. Ultimately happiness comes from within. People need to explore their inner psyche in order to understand who they really are and where they fit into the world. While this book makes a good point, I just wasn’t overly enthused. The overall atmosphere was somewhat dreary and I just didn’t find that one thing in this book that will make it memorable for me. The whole commune thing is overdone and I’m so bored with it. I think this one would really depend on each individual reader.

I won a hardcover of this book and another one from Magdalena Johansson’s book blog A Bookaholic Swede. As you know, there are a lot of blogs for book reviews because those of us who are readers love to share our discoveries. In this big world of book reviewers, Magdalena is among the truly superb! Please check out her blog. I promise you’ll love it!

I want to thank the publisher (Lake Union Publishing) for providing me with a copy of this book through A Bookaholic Swede’s blog contest for an honest review.


Bone War by Steven Harper

Bone War (The Books of Blood and Iron) - Steven Harper

It is from the Fates that Danr and his friends have learned that every action, every decision, every act, no matter how small, will cause ripples throughout the world and twist the future down a different path. Now the future of that world is in jeopardy once again when one of the three Fates is kidnapped by the wicked Elf Queen.

The two Fates that are left enlist Danr to find the missing Fate. But first he must find a legendary sword known as the Bone Sword. The Fates will also need Aisa’s help during this dark time. Danr and Aisa will be separated from their companions but in the end all characters will converge as this trilogy comes to an end.

This final book in the trilogy wraps things up on a more serious note and brings into question Danr and Aisa’s continuing relationship as the Fates cause them to examine life and the future. All of the loose ends are nicely tied up, giving us a final showdown between Death and Queen Vesha, and most of all, letting us know what on earth will happen with Aisa. Girl has so many options!

The Books of Blood and Iron is a series that follows in the footsteps of other great fantasy works, with all of the expected characters, but Steven Harper has given us a fresh perspective on these characters. I have to say I liked them a lot! Well most of them (I really wanted to smack the Elf Queen). The Norse-based mythology is very well done. I also really liked the way the author addresses the growing pains of a new love and how two people will handle the obstacles put in their path. This is an enjoyable series full of adventure and well worth the read.

I want to thank the publisher (Berkley Publishing Group) for providing me with the ARC through NetGalley for an honest review.

Blood Storm: The Books of Blood and Iron by Steven Harper

Blood Storm: The Books of Blood and Iron - Steven Harper

“I am Prince Hamzu, son of Kech and Halldora, TruthTeller from Under the Mountain, Nephew to Queen Vesha of the Stane.”

A man of many names, Hamzu, TruthTeller, Trollboy, Danr;


Danr and his companions are the renowned heroes of the Battle of the Twist.  They have united Kin, Stane and Fey when it was believed the three would never live together in the same city.  Danr is hated by many and adored by many, but all he really wants is to be left alone.  He longs to become a farmer and lead a calm, predictable life with his lady love, Aisa. 


Aisa is troubled.  She loves Danr but now she has seen his monster unleashed, and the memories haunt her.  While she is also being hailed as a hero, she finds herself being carried along in the wake of Danr and his friends, taking her further away from her dreams of the ocean.  Her dreams keep calling to her and she’s becoming restless for more.


Danr and Aisa first visited Death last year when she sent them after the Iron Axe.  Death rewarded them handsomely and she has since called for Danr and company’s assistance a few times.  Now as Death sits knitting, she tells Danr of the power of the shape, a gift once wielded by the Kin before the Sundering, sacrificed in order to destroy the Axe. 


Danr longs to find the power of the shape, for with it, he could become fully human and live a normal life.  But others want the power of the shape just as bad.  They will force Danr to find it whether it is for his use or theirs.  Before it’s over Danr and Aisa will have to confront a giant wyrm known as Grandfather Wyrm, along with the Three Gardeners, the Fates known as Nu, Tan, and Pendra.  They will find themselves sailing the stormy seas, and Aisa will actually get to see those mermaids she’s longed to keep company with.


This is a fun romp with characters that I’ve grown fond of.  The series is just travelling right along on the high seas of adventure…and you know it’s gettin’ good when the mermaids show up!

Iron Axe: The Books of Blood and Iron by Steven Harper

Iron Axe: The Books of Blood and Iron - Steven Harper

In Steven Harper’s The Books of Blood and Iron series we are introduced to a world where trolls, dwarves, and giants are known as the Stane; elves, sprites, and fairies are known as the Fae; and humans are known as the Kin.


The main character, Danr is 16 years old, his mother was Kin and his father was Stane.  When Danr was brought into the world, his mother was frowned upon for the birth of her half-troll child, and she was forced to accept work as a thrall to an unkind farmer.  Danr has suffered the cruelties that the world has to offer by being born as socially unacceptable and touted as a monster.  Now his mother has passed away and he desperately misses her.  He also knows that he must never forget to abide by the one piece of advice she always gave him, which was not to unleash the monster inside him. 


One of Danr’s few friends in the village is Aisa, who is a couple of years older than Danr.  Aisa has also suffered a hard life.  She was sold into slavery by her father and after being a slave to the elves in Alfhame, she is now a slave to a man named Farek, who sexually abuses her.  Aisa hides from the world by keeping herself covered from head to toe in a dark cloak and never allowing her face to show.  But she dreams of one day travelling to the South Sea, healing the sick and earning enough money to buy a small boat so she can sail out among the merwomen and regain her face. 


As these two try to escape the harsh realities of the life they’ve been given, a series of unusual events takes place which will change their paths.  Rumors are heard that the Stane have come down from the mountains and killed some villagers.  Now those villagers’ spirits are haunting the village and cannot be laid to rest.  As the rumors spread that the hated Stane are responsible, Danr’s place in the village becomes precarious.   Danr decides to flee the village and he sets out to find the truth behind the rumors and to learn more about his Stane heritage.  Danr is joined in his travels by Aisa and a new friend, Talfi, who bears no memories of who he is or where he came from.  Danr’s quest brings the group into contact with Death herself, who tells them that they must recover a powerful weapon known as the Iron Axe in order to tip the balance of the world back to its rightful place.  As they pursue the Iron Axe, they also wind up on a deeper quest for the truth about themselves and the world around them. 


Iron Axe features strong, loveable characters that each have their own personal struggles.  It is written in a straight-forward, no frills manner.  Harper has also effortlessly included gay characters within the story.  While the story at times seems simplistic, the characters have been through a lot of darkness.  Told in the style of traditional fantasy, the story moves along at a good clip and comes to a satisfactory end, with two more books to follow in this series.  I can also easily see this as a graphic novel, appealing to young adults and adults alike.  If you’re looking for a good book with a Beauty and the Beast crossed with a Norse-type Mythology vibe, you will enjoy this one.

Gaslight Grimoire: A Steampunk Collection by K.C. Finn

Gaslight Grimoire: A Steampunk Collection - K.C. Finn

Book Blurb

Enter a whole new world of possibilities...
Expert storyteller K.C. Finn ventures into the Victorian world of steampunk fantasy for this brand new collection of tales, featuring everything from classic fairy stories, to cautionary horror fables and thrilling new adventures.
Suitable for readers of all ages, this anthology contains eight brand new stories and three much beloved reprints, as well as the full-length novella of MIRA AND THE MAW, featuring Mirabelle Blake: Victorian Zombie Hunter.
Prepare for a world like no other: a world filed with dragons, magic, fairies, ghosts, beauties, beasts and, perhaps most importantly, cogs and steam!


My Thoughts

This is a great collection of short stories featuring many wonders of the fantasy world.  I was initially drawn to the very cool cover when I spotted this book.  Little did I know that it would also prove to be some of the best steampunk reading that I’ve read to date.  Since I am not that big on short stories, I wasn’t sure about it.  But each story proved to be a delight all its own and in this day of all of the never-ending series, it was actually quite refreshing to read these.      


About the Author

K.C. Finn was born and raised in Cardiff, South Wales, where her love for storytelling grew at a precociously young age. After developing the medical condition M.E. / C.F.S., Kim turned to writing to escape the pressures of disabled living, only to become hooked on the incredible world of publishing. Kim spends most of her time locked in the writing cave with an obscenely large mug of tea. When not writing, she can be found pursuing her PhD in Linguistics, watching classic British comedy, or concocting evil schemes in the secret laboratory in her attic.


I would like to thank the author, K.C Finn for providing me with the ARC through the LibraryThing Giveaways program for an honest review. 

Basquiat: A Quick Killing in Art by Phoebe Hoban

Basquiat: A Quick Killing in Art - Phoebe Hoban

Basquiat: A Quick Killing in Art is an oft repetitive and scattered account of the life of the ‘80s Neo-Expressionist painter, Jean-Michel Basquiat.  Basquiat was the first contemporary African American artist to become an international star.  In this book, the author draws from interviews with ex-girlfriends, friends and peers of the art world. 


Sweeping from Jean-Michel’s middle-class upbringing in Brooklyn, NY to the height of ‘80s decadence in Manhattan, this book is as much a portrait of the excess of the times as it is of Basquiat himself.  During the heyday of clubs such as CBGBs and the Mudd Club, Basquiat toiled alongside other fellows of the arts such as Julian Schnabel, Keith Haring, Robert Mapplethorpe, Robert Longo, Francesco Clemente, David Salle, Sandro Chia, oh and of course let’s not forget Andy Warhol!  If you were around during the heyday of the 80s a lot of these names will be familiar to you.


In his school years Basquiat became one of the star illustrators in the school yearbook and newspaper.  This is where his oft-used pseudonym SAMO was born in an essay about a bogus religion.  After leaving home at 15 years old, Basquiat put his artistic talents to use by scrawling cryptic graffiti all over Manhattan under that same pseudonym.  Around that same time he collaborated with his friend Michael Holman, who is now an award-winning writer, director and producer, creating the industrial band, Gray.  By the time he started painting, Michel had already become a steady presence in the underground art/rock scene of Manhattan.  In the decade to follow he would not only become a legendary artist, he would become a victim of the times and die of a heroin overdose at 27 years old. 


Although Basquiat is remembered as charismatic, kind, gentle and loving by ex-lovers and friends, they all talk frankly of how he was also a very pained and isolated spirit.  He would unwittingly sabotage his relationships, both personal and professional.  He had a fear of betrayal and he could not maintain emotional bonds, often driving people away with his behavior.  He was not tactful, was very selfish and could sometimes be offensive. 

The one word that applies to JeanMichel is ‘excess.’ The one word is ‘more.’ If you asked JeanMichel what he wanted, the answer would be ‘more.’ He was never happy. He was obsessive about everything. He wanted more, whether it was people, or food, or drugs.

On the professional side, he yearned for and eventually got recognition by Andy Warhol, working alongside him at one point, but eventually sabotaged that relationship as well. 


As the new money of the eighties was being rapidly invested in art, art dealers were continually trying to exploit him.   He was being pressured to produce painting after painting non-stop.  John-Michel hated the ever-increasing demand on him and couldn’t take the unending pressure of being treated like a commodity.  Some of this can be seen in the art he produced as he layered meaningful messages within each piece.  It is during this time that his paintings seem to become somewhat repetitive. 


Basquiat’s art also reflected his passion for language, knowledge, pop culture, music and other things he obsessed over such as being black and his own death.  In the end, Basquiat left behind an enduring legacy in the art world.  The importance of his work, in terms of financial worth and historical relevance, has increased dramatically in the decades since his death and within the eighties generation of painters, Basquiat alone has consistently set records for the prices paid for his paintings sold at auction. 


I was very interested in reading about Basquiat and I should have liked this book.  Being a child of the 80s, I absolutely loved the music and art of that decade.  I recognize that it’s got to be hard to splice all the info contained in this book into a comprehensive timeline and it definitely shows.  The book was poorly constructed, jumping back and forth through time and becoming very repetitious.  In the end, it sounds like Jean-Michel just got tired of the same old, same old, and that’s exactly how I felt reading about it. 


I want to thank the publisher (Open Road Integrated Media) for providing me with the ARC through NetGalley for an honest review.

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova

Labyrinth Lost (Brooklyn Brujas) - Zoraida Córdova

His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik

His Majesty's Dragon (Temeraire) - Naomi Novik

His Majesty’s Dragon is the first book in the Temeraire series by author, Naomi Novik.


Will Laurence is the successful naval captain of Britain’s HMS Reliance.  Laurence comes from well-to-do family, he’s patriotic to the core and he’s got his sights set on getting home to propose marriage.  Little does he know that his life is about to undergo a drastic change.


The HMS Reliance has captured one of Napoleon’s French frigates and seized its cargo.  Included in the cargo is an unhatched dragon egg which will hatch before they make land.  In Britain and France, dragons are a valuable asset.  A dragon and its handler are assigned a crew and form part of the Aerial Corps used in combat against the enemy.  It is common knowledge that the dragon’s handler has to be a person that is present at its hatching, and he must be able to harness the dragon.  One of Laurence’s men must be willing to give up his life at sea and go into aerial combat with the dragon.  His man Carver is picked to be that person but much to Laurence’s chagrin, when the baby dragon hatches it has different ideas.  The baby dragon chooses Laurence to be the one that harnesses him. 


Laurence names the dragon Temeraire.  When he hatches he is already very knowledgeable.  He began learning the languages of those around him while he was still in the shell.  Did I tell you that these dragons talk too?  Temeraire in particular, takes great interest in learning as much as he can and loves nothing better than having a book read to him.  Laurence is charmed by the little fellow and enjoys his company immensely.  But being Temeraire’s handler means that he will have to give up his navy career and become part of the aerial corps.  He also realizes that his station in life will now be much different and he won’t be able to make that marriage proposal.


With Napoleon’s forces drawing close, her Majesty’s forces rally to defend their country.  The question is whether Captain Will Laurence will be defending it from the air or the sea.  Can Temeraire be convinced to accept a new handler?      


Captain Will Laurence is a likeable character; he’s a stand-up guy who is well-bred, young and successful, a man you would want by your side in a time of need.  Temeraire is absolutely delightful.  His enthusiasm for learning and everything around him is infectious.  That said, this is definitely an introduction to a series of books and a lot of this book is just fleshing out the story to come.  It’s a fun premise with the combination of humans and dragons set against the background of the Napoleonic Wars.  I enjoyed it and I plan to continue reading.  I am certain that this series has a lot more to offer.

Vici by Naomi Novik

Vici - Naomi Novik

Vici is a short story introducing us to the world of Naomi Novik’s Termeraire series. If you are interested in reading this series, start here and you will get a perfect little glimpse of what you’re getting into.

Worst Journal Ever by Spencer Clark

Worst Journal Ever - Spencer Clark

Reviewed at Book Haunt

Jem: Lessons in Living

Jem: Lessons in Living - John Donald Middleton

Book Haunt review

Buried Secrets by Joseph Finder

Buried Secrets (Nick Heller) by Joseph Finder (2012-01-03) - Joseph Finder

International investigator and ex-Special Forces Operative, Nick Heller was first introduced to us in Joseph Finder’s Vanished, the first book in the Nick Heller series, which I did a review on back in September of 2016.  Here’s the link if you are interest in reading it:  Review of Vanished by Joseph Finder on


In Buried Secrets, we rejoin Nick Heller a few months later and he has moved from Washington D.C. to Boston to open his own investigative agency.  Nick has brought along his old work associate Dorothy, who is an ex-NSA employee and a digital forensics expert.  He has also hired receptionist and office manager, Jillian Alperin.


When an old family friend comes to Nick for help, Nick can’t say no.  Marshall Marcus is the richest guy in Boston.  He was employed Nick’s mother when his father, Victor Heller, went to prison, and treated her and her sons like family.  Now Marshall’s daughter Alexa has gone missing, and Nick agrees to try and locate her.  The case also brings him into contact with an old flame, Diana Madigan, who works for Child Abduction Rapid Deployment.


The story switches back and forth from Nick’s POV to the POV of Marshall’s daughter, Alexa.   Alexa is in the hands of a man she thinks of as “The Owl,” who is her only lifeline to the world.  His power over her is absolute.  He has buried her alive with very little food and water, and sends horrifying live video feeds to her family over the internet.  Here the reader feels every moment of Alexa’s terror as if we were there with her.  This kidnapper thrives on the fear he sows and as I read, I got chills down my spine. 


Nick knows that he must find Alexa because her time is running out, but he soon begins to realize that Marshall has been sandbagging him.  He has become involved with some very bad people and his reluctance to tell the truth may cost him his daughter’s life.


Nick Heller is a boldly drawn character and I have a feeling he’ll be around awhile.  He’s one of those that you shout out loud rooting for.  He never takes anything at face value, operating at full speed and he absolutely does not take any crap from anyone.  But Nick isn’t just a hardcore macho man; he genuinely cares about people.  We see this side in his relationship with his nephew Gabe, a surly teenager that Nick is especially fond of.  Nick and Gabe have some typical adult/teenage banter with Nick constantly jibing him about his taste in music.  Nick much prefers the twangy guitar licks of “The Titan of The Telecaster,” Bill Kirchen.  Somehow in my book this makes him even more interesting.  We also get a glimpse of Nick’s love life as we find out more about his former relationship with the new character, Diana.  Most of us that read these series know that the heroes usually go through relationships like water.  So far in the first two books, it’s hard to tell if that’s the case but I don’t mind reading more to find out.  These are enjoyable, fast-paced reads.

Professional Reader