Book 42: Her Dark Curiosity (The Madman’s Daughter #2) – Megan Shepherd

Shepherd, Megan - Her Dark Curiosity (The Madman's Daughter #2)It is very rare that a second novel, let alone a middle novel in a trilogy, can surpass the first. In this case, not only has Shepherd done it, she’s surpassed an incredibly well written debut novel with an even more creative, intense and harrowing follow-up. It is NOT a place holder as many middle books are in trilogies and I was incredibly impressed.

Whereas H.G. Wells’ The Island of Doctor Moreau inspired The Madman’s Daughter, took her inspiration for this novel from Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and I CANNOT wait for the third novel, thankfully it give me time to read the book it’s based on, but I won’t tell you in case you want to read it as it’s revealed in the final pages of this novel.

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Book 38: The Rise of Endymion (Hyperion Cantos #4) – Dan Simmons

Simmons, Dan - The Rise of EndymionI’m exhausted. This series has spanned 2.200+ pages and more than 10 centuries! It covers lifetimes of characters, many lived over and over and a few lived once throughout the entire story! (20 years shy of 1000 years old, one character!) The story was convoluted and continuously changed which ultimately worked for and against the series.

As the concluding novel in this epic story, it felt a little hollow. There were definitely moments of amazement and creativity and Simmons intelligence once again comes across unquestionably, but for some reason it just felt a little hollow and most definitely rushed at the end. Even though I hadn’t fully thought through the end of the novel when I got there I was not surprised at the ending. It did feel a little deus ex machina, but with a “machine” like the Shrike, how could it be any other way?

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Book 37: Endymion (Hyperion Cantos #3) – Dan Simmons

Simmons, Dan - EndymionIf I’m completely honest, I expected this book to fail miserably. After the feeling of utter astonishment at the brilliance of the first two novels in the Hyperion Cantos, how could the follow-up novels remotely compare?

Thankfully, this first one was excellent. Simmons solved part of the problem by fast forwarding almost 300 years into the even further future and starting from there. As with the first two novels, Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion, this novel is told from someone who is simultaneously outside (looking back) and inside of the story, essentially revolving around them. The novel’s opening definitely put me on guard and I was very worried that I wouldn’t see any of the characters from the previous novels, but we already knew the technology existed to extend life well beyond a normal lifespan and thankfully some came back!

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Book 35: The Fall of Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos #2) – Dan Simmons

Simmons, Dan - The Fall of HyperionWhat a follow-up! After reading Hyperion, the first in the Hyperion Cantos, I immediately moved into the second! So glad Alex gave us both of them or I wouldn’t have known what to do, or I would’ve gone out and bought it. Although the style changed from the first novel, this one was just as strong and incredibly intelligent. There are definitely spoilers after the next paragraph so you’ve been warned.

The start of this book was a bit more confusing than the first, again it starts in the middle of the story, but with different characters. Rather than immediately going back to our seven pilgrims and their stories, Simmons introduces us to Joseph Severn, another cybrid (originally a John Keats), and brings in the character Meina Gladstone, CEO of the hegemony and mentioned many times in the previous book. There are of course other characters and they all add to the amazing story, but the core group remain the same.

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Book 34: Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos #1) – Dan Simmons

Simmons, Dan - HyperionIf there is a novel that could make someone fall in love with and/ or enjoy Science Fiction, this is the novel. My friend Alex gave Hyperion and Fall of Hyperion, along with a couple of other books, to our house for Christmas. When I asked him which ones I should read he specifically said these and boy was he right! I was so excited finishing this one up, while I was purchasing a guidebook for my sister I picked up the third book in the Hyperion Cantos (four books) and will definitely read all of them.

This review WILL NOT contain spoilers, but no promises for the rest of the Cantos. The way I read, I read an entire series as one story and sometimes blend things together not knowing what comes from which particular installment, but the first one is always easiest to keep spoiler free. What was most exciting about this novel and what kept me so interested was Simmons’ intelligence and writing ability!

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Book 25: Love Comes In Darkness (Senses #2) – Andrew Grey

Grey, Andrew - Love Comes in DarknessThe second novel in Andrew Grey’s Senses series with Dreamspinner Press didn’t disappoint, but paled in comparison to the first (and third). It wasn’t as great as Love Comes Silently, but is definitely better than 95% of the M/M romance novels out there. I received a copy of this via his publicist and received no compensation for my honest response. Love Comes in Darkness definitely mad me cry, but not in the way that Love Comes Silently did.

Whereas in the first book of the series where Grey bashes your emotions until you’re so low you wonder why you’re still reading the book and then does something so over the top that you wonder how you were ever that sad, in this novel it just felt as if sadness drove the story. I don’t think this is something he actively chose to do, but that came from this story’s set-up.

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Book 24: Love Comes Silently (Senses #1) – Andrew Grey

Grey, Andrew - Love Comes SilentlyAfter starting Love Comes Home and falling in love with the characters and writing of Andrew Grey, I started to research him (and Dreamspinner Press) and quickly found it was the third in a series titled Senses. I immediately reached out to his publicist to see if they would provide copies of the first two, Love Comes Silently and Love Comes In Darkness to review and they did! This is my honest opinion of the book and I received no compensation.

Love Comes Silently is the story of Hannah, Ken and Patrick. A doctor diagnoses Hannah in the prologue with cancer, after she and her father, Ken, recently moved to Michigan. Patrick, a neighbor dealing with his own inner demons, slowly becomes a major part of their lives and this is their story. Now we all know I’m a sap, but this novel (and Grey’s amazing intuition with story line placement) really got to me. I found myself crying on three separate occasions.

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