Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Middle Child (book)

I’ve noticed a trend in second books. It’s like the first and third are great, and the second is just a bridge to get us from point A to point B (Legends and Liars, Symbiont). Sometimes the book is worth it, sometimes it just drags.

Some books manage to make every story individual in and of itself (Charlie Madigan, Gameshouse, anything by Gail Carriger, and of course The Harry Potter series) and still connect the stories. Each story builds to a climax and each story is just as important as the last one.

Has anyone else noticed this? It’s starting to irritate me!

Giveaway! Ready for it?

It’s been a looooong time since I’ve done a giveaway. I managed to get my hands on a few audiobooks, and I’m giving you a copy.

Win an audio copy of The Dead House.

dead house giveaway

Rules:

  • THIS IS A DIGITAL GIVEAWAY. You will get a zip folder of the audio tracks to put direlty on your ipod/computer/device. It is not a physical giveaway. Therefore, it is open to anyone with an email address!
  • You must be 16+, or have parent permission to win this book (please read my review on the content).
  • 1 entry per person. Leave a comment below with your email address.
  • bonus point: go to my review and tell me which cover you prefer.
  • bonus point: like on facebook
  • bonus point: share the giveaway post (here)
  • Giveaway open until Wednesday the 29th of June, 2015, midnight EST.

 

Aaaaand go!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Deep Work

Deep Work by Cal Newport
Genre: Self-help
ISBN:  9781455586691
Published: January 5th 2016 by Grand Central Publishing
Rating: 2

I found Deep Work very redundant and obvious. Yes, it is clear we have a problem in our society of being able to focus. Anyone who works with or has their own kids will be able to tell you that, and how it’s related to technology. I’m happy you’ve done some research to back it up, but I found the book very dry.

Not only that, the kinds of people who will be reading (or listening) to this genre is already totaly aware of the problem, so again, I found it redundant. Not only that, the book itself was very dry and dull to listen to. Sadly it’s not on my top list.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Bloodmage

Bloodmage by Stephen Aryan 
ISBN: 9780316298315
Pub date: Published April 12th 2016 by Orbit
Rating: 3

Bloodmage was a continuation of the story began in Battlemage, with an almost completely new set of characters. There were a few old favorites that were back, but a myriad of new friends to meet as well. The story jumped right in and carried you fast-paced all the way to the end (save a few chapters that dragged a little, but weren’t super slow). It ends in a way that opens up the world to many more adventures in the future.

There wasn’t quite as much a focus on the religion as there was in the first book Battlemage, nor was there as much detail on the essence and mechanism behind the magic. I was hoping for a little more insight into the relm and world of this series. Still, it was satisfactory and fun, adventuresome, and just dark enough to keep me interested.

All in all, fun and interesting, it kept me reading, but a little bit of a let-down because I expected more after the first one was so amazing.

About the Book

The people of Perizzi have survived the battlemage war, but their future is looking darker than ever.
BYRNE is a Guardian of the Peace, investigating a series of murders in which the corpse was drained entirely of life.
FRAY's expertise with magic is needed to catch the killer, but working with the Watch destroyed his father, years before.
CHOSS is a champion fighter, trying to diffuse a war in the underworld that threatens to turn the streets red with rivers of blood.
KATJA is a spy from a foreign land, attempting to prevent a massacre that will topple two dynasties and destroy the fragile peace in the city for ever.
Guardians and spies, assassins and criminals will clash on the streets in this magic-fuelled adventure from the author of Battlemage.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

So Sad Today

So Sad Today, written and narrated by Melissa Broder
Genre: Personal Essay
ISBN: 9781455562725
Published March 15th 2016 by Grand Central Publishing
Rating: 4

So Sad Today is a compilation of essays by Melissa Broder that narrates the interior monlologue of a person with mental ilness trying to survive and handle and deal with day to day life. Broder deals with a mariad of issues from sex and sexual identity, to masturbation, to anxiety attacks, to an addiction to the internet.

It was fascinating, enlightlening, entertaining, and relatable. It was violently truthful and brutally honest.

There are two sides of me responding to this book in two different ways.

The fememist inside me wants every young person to read this book for three reasons:

1. you are not alone in what you think it sweirdness and strangeness.

2. Here is someone who has experienced things you are curious about. Live vicariously throug her and learn from her mistakes but do not make the same choices.

3. This book is both a journal and a love letter, and it’s from her to you, so read it understanding it as both.

The other part of me sees the stuff she’s dealing with and ache for her. Broder is dealing with issues and trying to answer questions with no guidance and no purpose and no direction. It’s a battle I’ve never had to fight because I don’t seek for my fulfillment from me, I find it in my identity in Christ. And that part of me that sees her hungry and seeking and lost and confused really wants to take her out to coffee. So Melissa, if you get a chance to read this, I’d like to take you to coffee. Or we could just text. :)

Content/recommendation: mature and adult content. Lots of swearing and sex. 16+

About the Book

"These essays are sad and uncomfortable and their own kind of gorgeous. They reveal so much about what it is to live in this world, right now." --Roxane Gay, New York Times bestselling author of Bad Feminist

From acclaimed poet and creator of the popular Twitter account @sosadtoday comes a darkly funny and brutally honest collection of essays.

Melissa Broder always struggled with anxiety. In the fall of 2012, she went through a harrowing cycle of panic attacks and dread that wouldn't abate for months. So she began @sosadtoday, an anonymous Twitter feed that allowed her to express her darkest feelings, and which quickly gained a dedicated following. In SO SAD TODAY, Broder delves deeper into the existential themes she explores on Twitter, grappling with sex, death, love low self-esteem, addiction, and the drama of waiting for the universe to text you back. With insights as sharp as her humor, Broder explores--in prose that is both ballsy and beautiful, aggressively colloquial and achingly poetic--questions most of us are afraid to even acknowledge, let alone answer, in order to discover what it really means to be a person in this modern world.

Amazon | Goodreads | Audible | Author Site | Twitter

About the Author

Melissa Broder is the author of four poetry collections: SCARECRONE, MEAT HEART, WHEN YOU SAY ONE THING BUT MEAN YOUR MOTHER, and the forthcoming LAST SEXT (Tin House, 2016). She is also the author of the essay collection, SO SAD TODAY(Grand Central, March 2016).

Poems appear in POETRY, The Iowa Review, Tin House, Guernica, Fence, The Missouri Review, Denver Quarterly, Washington Square Review, Redivider, Court Green, The Awl, Drunken Boat, et al. You can read the online ones HERE.

Broder received her BA from Tufts University and her MFA from City College of New York.  By day, she is Director of Media and Special Projects at NewHive. She lives in Venice, CA.

Monday, May 16, 2016

This Week at The Life and Lies

Lots of exciting things this week guys! I have had an interesting time reading Deep Work shortly followed by So Sad Today, keep your eyes posted for the reviews for both coming up this week.

Also a little something special this weekend!

Reviews this week

Deep Work by Cal Newport

So Sad Today by Melissa Broder

Bloodmage by Steven Aryan

Author Watch: M. R. Carey

M. R. Carey (who also writes as Mike Carey and Adam Blake) is the author of The Girl with All the Gifts, and his new novel, Fellside. I loved the first and am super excited for the second!

About M. R. Carrey (from goodreads)

Mike Carey was born in Liverpool in 1959. He worked as a teacher for fifteen years, before starting to write comics. When he started to receive regular commissions from DC Comics, he gave up the day job.

Since then, he has worked for both DC and Marvel Comics, writing storylines for some of the world's most iconic characters, including X-MEN, FANTASTIC FOUR, LUCIFER and HELLBLAZER. His original screenplay FROST FLOWERS is currently being filmed. Mike has also adapted Neil Gaiman's acclaimed NEVERWHERE into comics.

Somehow, Mike finds time amongst all of this to live with his wife and children in North London. You can read his blog at www.mikecarey.net.

Read my review of The Girl with all the Gifts here!

About Fellside

About The Girl with All the Gifts

Fellside is a maximum security prison on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors. It's not the kind of place you'd want to end up. But it's where Jess Moulson could be spending the rest of her life.

It's a place where even the walls whisper.

And one voice belongs to a little boy with a message for Jess.

Will she listen?

Amazon | Goodreads | Audible

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr. Caldwell calls her "our little genius."

Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children's cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she'll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn't know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

Amazon | Goodreads | Audible

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Snakewood

Snakewood by Adrian Selby, narrated by Joe Jameson 
Genre: Fantasy
ISBN: 9781478960935
Pub date: March 15th 2016 by Orbit
Rating: DNF

Snakewood’s first little bit (the intro and the first scene) started out really good, but it kept switching over to other little scenes and narrators, and I couldn’t figure out what was going on. The text was full of Jargon (terms you would understand only if you worked the field) and it was hard to follow. I gave up after about an hour of listening. Just to make sure I wasn’t an idiot, I went on goodreads to see what others have said about the book and I discovered I wasn’t the only one.

Amazon | Goodreads | Audible

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Sword of Destiny

Sword of Destiny: book # of The Witcher by Andrew Sapkowski, narrated by Peter Kenny.
Genre: Fantasy
ASIN: B017WP42JA
Pub date: December 2015 (Originally published in 1992)
Rating: 4.5

Sword of Destiny is one of the books earlier in the Witcher series. For some reason, the audio books were released out of order. I was totally okay with it, even though the journey has taken me around in a circle.

Gerald is younger and less grumpy (though less grumpy is still very grumpy by anyone else’s standards). We meet little Siri before she becomes Geralt’s Destiny (whatever that means) and get a little more insight on who they are, and how he and Siri became what they are today. It’s filled with mini-adventures that involve dragons, magic, mermaids, evil creatures, and our favorite sorceress, Yennifer.

There are a few sections where it feels like there’s a track missing, even though there isn’t. It jumps around and skips stuff and expects you to follow along and go with it, and I found it disorientating. Even with those few sections, and even though I listened to them out of order, it’s still an excellent adventure that I’d recommend to anyone who has a love of fantasy, action, adventure, and romance!

Content/Recommendation: Some sexual content, plenty of blood and gore. Ages 18+

Amazon | Audible | Goodreads

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Warlords and Waistrels

Warlords and Waistrels by Julia Knight, narrated by Angèle Masters 
Genre: historical urban fantasy, adventure, action
ISBN: 9781478960683
Pub date: December 15th 2015 by Orbit
Rating: 4

This series was a great start that kind of had a dead point in the middle, then got really good again with this third book, then the last little bit was kind of a let-down. The book itself, the plot, the twists and surprises, the murder, it was all great. But the ending and how it finished was very unsatisfactory. It felt like it came out of nowhere. It made some big changes to the characters lives. I feel like if you’re going to make a big change, you need to hint at it, leave some little for-shadowing clues in the body of the work, etc. Don’t just throw someting at me at the last page. That was the only part of the book I didn’t like.

All in all it was a good conclusion and a nice finish to a fun and exciting story. Not a Joe Abercrombie or a James Patterson or a Gail Carriger, but still fun and lots of swordfights. And we all know swordfights are really the only reason I listen to audiobooks.

Amazon | Goodreads | Audible

 

About the Book

The epic conclusion to the fast-paced new adventure fantasy series, the Duelists trilogy, from one of the most exciting new talents in fantasy.

Vocho and Kacha may be known for the first swordplay in the city of Reyes, but they've found themselves backed into a corner too often for their liking.

Finally reinstated into the Duelist's Guild for services rendered to the prelate, who has found himself back in charge, Vocho and Kacha are tasked with bringing a prisoner to justice. But this prisoner is none other than Kacha's old flame Egimont. The prelate wants him alive, and on their side. However the more they discover of Egimont and his dark dealings with the magician, the more Kacha's loyalties are divided. Soon she must choose a side -- the prelate or the king, her brother or her ex-lover.

The fate of Reyes is balanced on a knife-edge...

Monday, May 9, 2016

Legends and Liars

Legends and Liars by Julia Knight, narrated by Angèle Masters
Genre: Historical Urban fantasy, thriller, action/adventure
ISBN: 9781478960485
Pub date: November 10, 2015 by Orbit
Rating: 3

Legends and Liars was full of exciting moments with two of my new favorite characters. The writing was good and the wit was in rare form. The biggest problem I had with this book was there wasn’t any real plot. A lot of things happened, but there was no real plot that can be summarized in one word, asside from a lot of riding horses and trying not to die. Though trying not to die is really important! But it’s not really a plot.

I still enjoyed the book, and it did move the overall story along… I just wish there had been that one distinct overall thing to center everything. It feels like a bridge, not a stepping stone. I am already reading the third book in the series!

read my review for Book 1 here!

 

About the Book

Legends and Liars is the second book in the Duelist's trilogy -- a fast-paced adventure from one of the most exciting new talents in fantasy.

Vocho and Kacha are brother and sister, and between them they've got quite a reputation. They were once know for the finest swordplay in the city of Reyes. The only problem is, ever since they were thrown out of the Duelist's Guild for accidentally killing a man they were sworn to protect, it seems everyone wants them dead. Including a dark magician whose plans they recently thwarted...

Now Vocho and Kacha are in the midst of an uneasy truce, not sure whether to trust each other, or anyone else for that matter. What's more, the sinister magician is rumored to have returned. Now he knows who was behind the failure of his last plan, he's determined to put a stop to Vocho and Kacha permanently.

And this time, the flash of steel may not be enough to save them.

Amazon | Goodreads | Audible | Author site

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Un-review: Chasing the Dime

Chasing the Dime by Michael Connolley, narrated by Jonathan Davis
Genre: crime thriller
ISBN: 9780446611626
Pub date: 2002
rating: DNF

I woke up, and rubbed my eyes. I pushed myself up. my shoulders hurt. Probably from all the hard work I did yesterday, sitting in front of a computer and debating about a review I wrote. I rolled my neck. Slowly I pushed myself up, swung my legs over the side of my bed, and stood up. I was cold. I decided it was a good idea to grab a bath-robe or something.

Pointless jabber. That’s what that feels like. Tons of stupid little details that I don’t really need to know and really don’t care about.

The whole book so far has read like the above paragraph. I don’t want to know the details behind setting up your voicemail. I felt like this whole section so far could have been done in one or two chapters rather than te several that I’ve listened to so far. It was boring, slow, and redundant. I’ll always give a book a chance, but I don’t have time to waste on walking into the office, signing into the log, and noticing all the little details about old coffee cups and ugly posters on the wall, and the memories associated with them.

Which is really too bad, because there’s a great story in there. But the execution was poor.

Amazon | Goodreads | Audible

Copyright

All content is property of Haley Mathiot except where otherwise noted.

No reviews may be copied or reprinted except to quote, or with permission.

FTC

I do not post a disclosure on every blog post, I post them beside the title on my Reviews page. Click here for my Disclaimer. See Sources to see my suppliers of review copies.