Yes? No? Maybe?

question markThere are times, as one who blogs about books, when I think I should just know more. Read more. Be up on all of the big series. And to be honest, I am trying to get there. But like everyone else, time is sometimes scarce and my existing TBR shelf is already a monster, so I don’t get into some of the authors that I really should. And really want to. I am on the home stretch of the Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong (which I picked up on Amber’s recommendation and my love of her Cainsville series), and I know I am going to tackle THE KENYON this year (which has its own range in Mount TBR). All good…but…a couple of other authors are calling my name, and I would like your take on them.

My likes are simple, really. A steady romantic interest (not a huge fan of a-new-dude-a-book), decently smart heroine, and a good storyline. Most people would roll their eyes and just say to try it for myself, but the problem with me is trying one book means buying the whole series and forcing myself to read them just because I bought them. I don’t surrender easily.

First up is Faith Hunter’s Jane Yellowrock series. I have heard so many good things about it, but someone suggested that it was a Mercy Thompson clone and that stuck in my head. But when word came of a spin-off series coming this fall, I got thinking about this one again.

The other one is Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series. As a True Blood fan, my heart says yes. As a reader? Uh, maybe. The uproar over the last book stuck with me, and while I have the first book already I am wondering how true it stuck to the show. Or vice versa.

What is your take? Love ’em or leave ’em?

 

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50 thoughts on “Yes? No? Maybe?

  1. Sandy S. says:

    As a big fan of Kelley Armstrong, I have loved her Women of the Otherworld and Otherworld series but sadly the TV show BITTEN does NOT follow the storylines or the series.

    There are so many TV series based on books that do not follow the books series such that if you are a fan of the books, the TV series may be a disappointment. If you have never read the books, then the TV series are probably enjoyable.

    I have found that the following recent TV series did not follow the books and for me there were some major inconsistencies that left me disheartened:

    Bitten
    True Blood
    Vampire Diaries
    Game of Thrones
    Walking Dead

    And let’s not get started on the movies or trilogies that did not follow the books.

    I would have to say, if you read the books, the TV shows will probably disappoint especially when popular characters from the books are killed off or vice versa. If you never read the books, then the TV series will be a draw for new fans and perhaps bring in a few new readers

    • kaleigha says:

      I actually read the books for Women of the Otherworld while watching Bitten, so I sort of combined the two and ended up liking both. But now I get a bit confused because characters died in the show that didn’t in the book, so I have to stop and think about that sometimes. I like Vampire Diaries, True Blood and Walking Dead, but haven’t read any of them yet. Same goes for movies, I guess – you like what you experienced first more.

      • Sandy S says:

        You are correct about the characters in the TV series vs book series from BITTEN. One of the major characters was killed off in the TV series by week 3 and he is still very much alive 25 books and stories later in the Otherworld series. What the TV producers did was kept alive a minor character and added new ones and completely changed up the storyline premise . Kelley commented about the changes and stated she sold the Television rights to her Otherworld series-the characters etc -and the producers have the right to change up whatever they want…she is no longer in control of the premise or storylines once she sold the television rights for the individual books. Next season (February 2015) ventures into STOLEN territory and the commercials have changed up the premise to the series as well…..

        • kaleigha says:

          There are a few teaser trailers going around now for season 2 of Bitten. I was glad to see Paige and Savannah highlighted, too. This one should be really interesting.

      • Judy says:

        The Kenyon yes. Yes. But the Sookie Stackhouse, if you like the true blood show then the books are not gonna be for you. If you forget the true blood storyline and read the books without comparing it would be worth it til the end. The last two books were very disappointing. The Author stated she knew who sookie would end up with, I kinda think she got lost somewhere. Faith so far is very good to start with also. Judy

  2. pugratt says:

    I’m with you on the Faith Hunter series and am determined to start it next month. Not the case with Sookie, though. I started listening to the first one and the reader didn’t work for me and then, what you said about the ending. Just not going there… I have yet to wade through all the Psi/Changling books and really want to read more of those. Nalini Singh is such a good writer that it’s a treat to read her stuff even if I don’t always love, love, love the storyline. And for heaven’s sake if you’ve not read Elizabeth Hunter’s Elemental Mysteries you need to put those on the top of your TBR pile. Today. Right now. They are amazing!

    • kaleigha says:

      You are not the first one to recommend Elizabeth Hunter – and of course I have the first book but just “haven’t gotten there” yet (totally the story of my life). Good to know I am not alone in not having tried Faith Hunter yet, too.

      • pugratt says:

        You will not be disappointed in this series! It has all the elements you refer to and her writing is top notch! I have read the entire series three times already, lol! It’s my macaroni and cheese!

  3. dougmeeks says:

    A couple of quick comments :

    A: Anyone who thinks Jane Yellowrock is a clone of Mercy Thompson is an idiot (sorry if anyone feels insulted but facts are facts)

    B: Yes, add me to that list of people telling you to start reading Elizabeth Hunter

    C: Anyone that has not read The Kraken King has missed possibly the most romantic adventure in years much less than just 2014. I have been reading through Meljean Brook’s novels/novellas since reading it and they are all very good but The Kraken King was a homerun out of the park. (hey, I am a guy and we do sports analogies)

    d: Somebody sent me the first book in the Cainsville series, I am assuming you are telling me I need to read it

    • kaleigha says:

      I sort of wondered about the Jane/Mercy thing. I read the first couple of blurbs from Jane Yellowrock (but didn’t want to read too far because of spoilers), and other than Native American, they didn’t sound the same.

      You might like Cainsville. A little different than I usually read, less supernatural, but maybe that was why I liked it.

    • PhoenixFyre says:

      Hi Doug. I want tor read the “Iron Seas/Kraken King” but I don’t understand the order. Was it she put out short novella’s first like Donna Grant does for “The Kings series?” Where there are four novella’s that turn into a full novel? Please help me out here: Thanks

      • dougmeeks says:

        First you really don’t need to read them in any order, a lot of series say that but this one it is true although there is a timeline somewhere. With that said Meljean Brook told me to read Here There Be Monsters first to acquaint myself with the basic world, it is only 125 pages and was wonderful plus introduced you to a few things that made The Kraken King a bit better. After that you can pretty much read them in any order (which I have been doing) but I have still not read The Iron Duke which she sent to me as a gift.

        • PhoenixFyre says:

          Thanks. What about the other books? What I don’t understand is the parts such as Part 1, Part 2, etc… Do these eventually become a full novel or are they just broken up with “Parts” throughout the series? It is very confusing to me.

          • dougmeeks says:

            She released the book in “Episodes/Parts” so those who wished to buy it as she wrote it for $1.99 each could do so or wait 6 months for the final book to be released, many of us bought the episodes which are put together in the final book, same story just under one cover (at a cheaper price).

          • Dawn says:

            The Kraken King was originally released as a serial, I think it was something like 12 parts. Then it was released as a regular novel. If you see a price for about 1.99, it’s part of the serial set. If it’s at least $8 (depending if you’re looking for an e-book or the physical one), then it should be the entire novel.

            Doug’s response approached your question as if you haven’t read any of the stories in the Iron Seas world before. If that’s the case I would definitely start with novella Here Be Monsters; the Blushing Bounder novella is also set before the first full novel, The Iron Duke. The Kraken King is actually the 4th novel of the series, with 5 novellas coming in between the first 3 novels as well (at least events wise).

            Hope that helps.

            • kaleigha says:

              I have on the series reading list page, too…
              Iron Seas

              #.5 – The Blushing Bounder (e-book)
              #.5 – Wild & Steamy “The Blushing Bounder”(e-book)
              #.6 – Here There Be Monsters (e-book)
              #.6 – Burning Up “Here There Be Monsters”
              #1 – The Iron Duke
              #1.5 – Mina Wentworth and The Invisible City (e-book)
              #2 – Heart of Steel
              #2.5 – Tethered (e-book)
              #3 – Riveted
              #3.4 – Wrecked (e-book)
              #3.4 – Fire and Frost “Wrecked” (e-book)
              #3.5 – Enthralled “Salvage”
              #4.1 – The Kraken King and the Scribbling Spinster (e-book)
              #4.2 – The Kraken King and the Abominable Worm (e-book)
              #4.3 – The Kraken King and the Fox’s Den (e-book)
              #4.4 – The Kraken King and the Inevitable Abduction (e-book)
              #4.5 – The Kraken King and the Iron Heart (e-book)
              #4.6 – The Kraken King and the Crumbling Walls (e-book)
              #4.7 – The Kraken King and the Empress’s Eyes (e-book)
              #4.8 – The Kraken King and the Greatest Adventure (e-book)
              #4 – The Kraken King

      • alexandra says:

        I read the Kraken King (the serial version) without having read any of the Iron Seas series or even steampunk at all. Meljean Brook is a Master worldbuilder (seriously – she deserves way more than a capital ‘m’ for how well she weaves worlds). I don’t think you’ll be confused if you jump into this story universe without having read the prior books. Every book and novella in the series works very well as a standalone title. I would suggest reading the first full length book, The Iron Duke before the second full length, Heart of Steel but otherwise just jump in!

        You can purchase the Kraken King as one print/ebook or you can purchase the ebook in serial format. Each part of the serial is labeled Part One, Part Two, etc. so you won’t get lost.

        This story universe is so detailed Meljean Brook actually has a map and a guide to its alternative history on her website:

        http://meljeanbrook.com/books/the-iron-seas/the-iron-seas-guide/

        This is spoiler-free. No matter where you decide to begin I think you will find it helpful. If you want to start out small Here There Be Monsters is great. Or you can be like me and just jump into The Kraken King. I lived in that world for a few weeks afterward, too, as I frantically gobbled up every Iron Seas novel/novella.

    • kaleigha says:

      Hey April – I try that, and then I get all “plan-y” and have to have everything organized. Too many book, too little time.

  4. PhoenixFyre says:

    I personally read all the Sookie books and they got worse after book 8 and never recovered. So I would say try something else. It seems that you like UF better than PRN. There are soooo many great book series out there which can confuse us on what to read next. I am more PRN than UF except for Jeaniene Frost whom I love. I agree with Doug Meeks choice. I heard amazing things about the Kraken King series. It has more 4 1/2 stars than most other series and only heard positive things about it. Good luck with your choice.

      • kaleigha says:

        That really sucks. Once you get invested, it is darn hard to give up a series. It would be better if it was awful from the start, then nothing lost.

    • kaleigha says:

      Actually, I am mostly PNR, but I hesitantly decided to give UF a try. Took me a long time to take the plunge, but starting off with some great ones like Kate Daniels was a big help. I find now that they are mostly one and the same, pretty much. Especially when the authors mix things up and add in stories from side characters (like the Guild Hunters).

  5. Dawn says:

    I agree with Doug, Jane is nothing like Mercy. I gave up on Mercy after book 3 or 4. I haven’t gotten past book 3, I think, of the JY series, but I stick with them, buying them, and it seems every time I’m ready to get to them, it’s almost tine for the next one to come out, so I decide to wait a bit (or Nalini’s got one coming out, or a Breeds, or another of the “BIG” series I have to read immediately, I know you understand that!), and it just becomes a vicious cycle.

    I think I gave in after #10 on Sookie. True Blood was a bit of a disappointment for me, the way they deviated from the books — really, she knew in season 2 or 3 that she had faery blood, but in the books it was more like book 7! And please, Billith? But again, I kept getting the books, and the last couple sit on MY Mount TBR (as Seasons 4 & 5 of TB sit & wait for a kid’s free week to be watched!).

    I haven’t read Elizabeth Hunter, so I can’t weight in on that. I tend to lean towards anything with a mythological theory behind it (or even created for it myself. If that’s something you like, I would recommend Elisabeth Naughton’s Eternal Guardians, Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark/Dream/Were Hunters (of course), Alyssa Day’s Atlantis series, Saranna Dewylde’s “Desperate Housewives” books, Caris Roane’s Ascension series & spinoffs, Tina Folsom’s Out of Olympus & Angela Knight’s Mageverse series (who can resist King Arthur’s world?). Not tom mention Rick Riordan’s books, of course.

    Lately I’ve also gotten into series that take fairy tales and “twist” them: Marie Hall’s Kingdom series, J.C. Nelson’s Grimm Agency (on Mount TBR, waiting for book 2 before I read it) and of course Jennifer Blackstream’s Blood Prince series.

    Basically, I’ve found you just go with what sounds good to you — and if it’s cheap, give it a shot! By the way, have you (or anyone else reading this) read any of the Weird Girls books by Cecy Robson? Opinion on them?

    • dougmeeks says:

      @Dawn – If you want a really great fantasy romance try Warriors of the Mist, probably the best trilogy I have read in many years. If you have not yet read Radiance by Grace Draven it is exceptional and while it has a complete story it is book 1 of a series. All of the above are 5 Star reading IMHO.

      My Lady Mage: A Warriors of the Mist Novel
      Her Knight’s Quest: A Warriors of the Mist Novel
      Honor’s Price: A Warriors of the Mist Novel

    • kaleigha says:

      Holy crap, do I ever understand the few books in but haven’t read the rest yet. Once I get even just one behind, all bets are off and catching up is a trial.

      I read the paperback Weird Girls books – but since they switched to e-pub, I stopped. They weren’t bad – a little bit like a mash-up of a few other series. Sort of a quick, mindless break for me that I liked at the time but didn’t remember much about later. The only thing that got old was the main sister constantly referring to her “golden tigress” side. I did like the vamps, though. They were fun.

      • Dawn says:

        Thanks, maybe I’ll finally give them a try — along with the other 300 books I have to read! do you recommend starting at the beginning, then? Or can I just pick up whatever’s the cheapest to try?

        • kaleigha says:

          Sorry, Dawn…lost track of the comments! Yep, you would probably have to go back to the first book, since the romantic angle is set up right at the beginning. There is a prequel novella that can be skipped, but book one is where the action starts.

  6. Lisa says:

    I hear you, my kindle library and home library has been out of control for awhile now, it’s crazy. I have a few books you might enjoy if you haven’t already got to them, all very different, but first, I finally caught up on Kenyon s Dark Hunter series last year, they are phenomenal and you will lose yourself in this world, that is a rare series in which, even though some are better than others, they all are excellent, I can’t to hear what you think. Some others to consider: Kylie Scott, Stagedive series, I just finished the most recent, Lead, book 3, last night, just freakin WOW!!! Amelia Hutchins, Callie Hart, Renee Carlinos Sweet Thing, Tessa Dawn and Rebecca Zanettis Dark Protectors series and anything by Jennifer Armentrout, just finished Stone Cold Touch, crazy good. I hope you find what makes you most happy!!!!

    • kaleigha says:

      I love Jennifer L. Armentrout, too. I didn’t get into her hew Wicked series yet because it was only available in e-format for Canada, but I might even dive into that. Kenyon is a biggie to get started on, but once I get there it should be smooth sailing.

    • Dawn says:

      I agree, Stage Dive series was great! Can’t wait for the 4th one to come out in, what, March? I also liked Arabella Quinn’s Rock Me series — I got hooked with Crazy (3rd, but as it was a freebie on Amazon for awhile, I go with what I can), and then just had to buy the rest. I recently bought Olivia Cunning’s Sinners on Tour series, looks like it’ll be as good, but I’m really waiting for the next Rock Kiss book! Dark Protectors was great too, sort of reminds me of Dianne Duvall’s series. But if you really like humor mixed in, I gotta say, the Shelly Laurenston Magnus Pack/Pride books & Celia Kyle’s Ridgeville leave me in stiches every time I read them. (I mean, a turned lioness who scares the king of the pride, names her twins EASTon & WESTon, and says “awesomesauce?” How can you NOT laugh? And I teach middle school!)

  7. Redbutterfly says:

    I have read the first 3 books in the series and they are great but I stopped reading the series because Jane just couldn’t decide who she wanted to end up with, and every book appears more and more romantic interests (WTH? It was getting ridiculous), and to be truthful all of Jane’s romantic interest sucks (even though I was always fond of Rick – and I HATED Bruiser). So… if like you said you’re not a huge fan of a-new-dude-a-book I’m not so sure you will like Jane’s series.

    And I’ll admit that yes I read Urban Fantasy for the action but most of all I read them for the romance. Like K. I’m not really a fan of the heroine changing romantic interests like she changes clothes (sleeping left and right with anyone who gives her the eye) and that’s why Kate Daniels is one of my favorite series (Kate and Curran make a great pair and with every book you see their relationship grow).

    • dougmeeks says:

      “all of Jane’s romantic interest sucks ” – who are you talking about? To the best of my knowledge from reading all the books there have only been three at most (doesn’t mean she has not looked at a few) but Leo (Beast choice more than Jane), Ricky-Bo and Bruiser (who I also hate). None of her “team” has ever held more than a really good friendship and possibly a stray thought here and there. Hardly anything that could be construed as “a-new-dude-a-book”. Have I forgotten something (which is not impossible)

      • Redbutterfly says:

        SPOILERS AHEAD:

        Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t in the 4th book showed up this Grégoire dude? I haven’t read the 4th just had a look so maybe I’m wrong but didn’t she almost sleep with him or he tried to sleep with her, or something like that? *Sigh* Let’s just say that this pissed me off and made me feel like another dude was joined the trupe lol

        And isn’t 3 love interests a lot? (to me it is) If you put all 3 together you don’t come out with a proper one who is worth of Jane

        Leo – hated and blamed her for the death of his son and is always trying to kill her (let’s talk about a volatile relationship). So good, right? And she ended up bound to him (I know Beast’s choice – what was she thinking?)

        Rick – after they started going out and sleeping together he goes and cheat on her (and even after that I still liked him because to me he got what he deserved after cheating on Jane)

        Bruiser – pfft… let’s no even star with this one. He never put Jane in the 1st place, no that place always belonged to Leo. And to me he never put her in the 2nd or 3rd place either. And even though she knew that she was always almost sleeping with him even after she started to go out with Rick. And I think she choosed him in Broken Soul *big sigh*

        So yeah… to me all 3 of them sucks lol

        Hey Doug I heard that in Broken Soul she finally decides to “settle down” with one of them, is it true? (reason why I made the comment above)

        PS: Sorry if I sound rude it was not my intention

  8. Monika says:

    It used to be that I couldn’t stop reading a series (even less a book) even if I didn’t enjoy it, but nowadays I just read what I really enjoy. I think I’d rather re-read a series I love than read one I don’t particulary like. Also, I used to be more a PNR reader, but the last couple of years I have come to enjoy UF even more, I like the continuity of the characters.
    With Sookie Stackhouse I didn’t get past the first 3 installments, I have all but abandoned Kenyon, Laurell K. Hamilton, Feehan (only the Carpathians so far, still haven’t managed to finish Dark Blood). I love Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series (except the stupid German language mistakes are bugging me) and also the Alpha and Omega spin-off. Although Faith Hunter’s Jane Yellowrock shares some features (as do many UF heroines) I find her voice distinct enough, therefore to say it’s a clone is grossly unfair.Kaleigha, you might be put off as she is sort of juggling 3 love interests in the first few installments though I am perfectly alright with “no actual sex” I got a bit upset with her for not getting laid but always thinking about it (she finally did in Broken Soul). I also like Allyson James’ (Jennifer Ashley’s) Stormwalker series and I’ll reiterate my insider tip: J. T. Geissinger’s Night Prowler mini series (only six books).
    Sometimes I even buy not the first book in a series (possible with PNR) but the one that most catches my fancy and if I like it I go back to the start (or not). For instance i only read “Kinked” by Thea Harrison, I liked the premise and the first part of the book (until they got to the “kink” part), but unfortunately they never made good on it and the second half left me deflated.

    • dougmeeks says:

      Since I read Jane Yellowrock as an Urban Fantasy rather than PNR I was not at all bothered by the fact she did not have sex every other chapter as some PNR novels do, it is a great story and her love interest which seems to have culminated at least temporarily was not my choice (I would never forgive such a betrayal) I am still not sure that Ricky-Bo is out of the picture but the bottom line is that her love life is such a small part of these books to make it almost meaningless, it is all about the plot (and usually who she has to kill next). I still consider it one of the best UF series going, the biggest difference between Jane and any other UF heroine is that she truly does not need a man other than as a bit of stress relief. My 2 cents.

      • Monika says:

        Doug, I am perfectly alright if there is no sex in a UF novel, as which I would definitively characterize Jane Yellowrock, My problem was more with her being so preoccupied with having (or as it were not having sex). She agonizes over Ricky-Bo long after they have gone their seperate ways. Her relationship with Leo is complicated and when he is not trying to kill her he is trying to get in her pants. And though Bruiser was actually more Beast’s choice, I like him best and she has some “almost” scenes with him. And as Jane not coming first with him, he has severed his “professional” relationship with Leo in order to be with Jane…

    • kaleigha says:

      I think it is the physical copy that gets me. If I have the first one, why not keep going. It is like surrender to give up. But, I have a plan. I am getting the e-book version of the first book of a potential new series, so if I don’t like it, no pressure to keep on with it.

      Hm, three love interests? Could be tricky. The dreaded triangle is painful enough. Maybe if she ends up with one at the end I might be able to deal.

      Kinked was a tricky one. I wasn’t a huge fan of Aryal, but loved Quentin from before, so I was torn, too. It wasn’t my favorite, either.

      • dougmeeks says:

        Leo is not really much of a love interest except in his mind and hints from Beast, Jane has never given him any indications of interest that I can remember.

        Ricky-Bo is supposed to be out of the picture but something tells me that is not the case.

        Bruiser is the “last man standing” kind of but he had a major betrayal in my mind, there are valid excuses but for me that is exactly what they are, excuses.

        Still one of the best being written but make no mistake, this is UF and the romance is a side issue.

      • Dawn says:

        I just wish the publishers discounted the e-books more! I mean, so many of the newer releases are still the same price as the physical book, but lack the cost of the materials & production! I know some of the companies have gotten better, and some lawsuits were filed and settled, but I would like to see at least a 25-30% automatic discount for buying the e-book. I mean, what happened to encouraging “Going Green?”

        And why do hardcover releases have e-book prices that are over $10? Is that why so many authors are trying to go the self-publishing route now (in addition to percent of royalties)?

        • dougmeeks says:

          “And why do hardcover releases have e-book prices that are over $10? ” – I had to get this explained to me awhile back by a publisher. Basically, if a book is popular enough, they will invest the money to release it in hardback, the problem is that they cannot allow the normal ebook price of $7.99 or less because it would cause them to lose money on the hardback release. Pretty much the same day as the Mass Market Paperback is released, the ebook price will drop to a few dollars less than the price of THAT edition. So if you think a book is too expensive and the paperback has not been released, you just have to wait until the paperback date and the ebook price will drop also. NOTE: There are still a very few overpriced ebooks out there that have ludicrous pricing for no reason at all. The above explanation pretty much applies to almost all major publishers.

          • Dawn says:

            Well, that bites! So it’s either suck it up and pay, or wait it out — for maybe 6-12 months, on average — until it drops and have to wait to read the next book in a series you couldn’t wait to get the next book for! Ugh!

  9. snapdragon says:

    I really like the Jane series. In my opinion it’s a much better storyline than the Sookie books. So take this with a bit of salt – Jane, Jane, Jane!

    If you want to diverge a bit than you should seriously try the Jean Johnson Military/SF series Their’s Not to Reason Why which just finished this year. (5 books)
    I was so hooked on this series and it is a great read. Highly recommend.

  10. Jean says:

    I don’t think the Jane Yellowrock and Mercy Thompson books are similar at all. The Jane Yellowrock series is more urban fantasy with lots of action. I actually picked this series up midway through and I haven’t wanted to go back and read the previous books in the series, kinda odd for me. Usually when I find an author I like I read everything they’ve put out.

  11. jude says:

    Well, like most people said the Sookie series is bad…I don’t even recommend you to give it a try, you’ll feel so cheated in the end you’ll wish you hadn’t read it.
    Personally I like UF much better than PRN since it tends to read too much like erotica and often lacks a good storyline/plot.
    One of the best UF currently published in my opinion is the October Day series by Seanan Mcguire: one because it is different than the rest (I would name it Epic UF) and two because the author is great. I would definitely place it with the Others series by Anne Bishop (and few make the cut!) in regards of the originality, the quality of writing and the well thought plot. And each book gets better… I love it when a series really does that. I think you would like it.

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