Reading Wrap Up – Repeat Edition

wildfireYep, so it has been a bit since my last reading wrap up post, and things haven’t been too bad. I dove into Flame in the Dark from Faith Hunter, and I loved it. Totally worth staying up all night for, and I can’t wait to see where things go from here. Love Nell, love Occam, and love seeing their potential coupledom take a few big leaps forward, too. I also got back into the In Death series from J.D. Robb after a couple months long break, and that was welcome, too. The great thing is that it is like coming back to old friends, and with this series I never feel lost even after a bit of time away from them. Works out well. And I finally did my re-read of Wildfire from Ilona Andrews. I seriously can’t even tell you just how much I love the Hidden Legacy books. They are absolute favorites – like top 5 series of all time – and I do so hope for more.

I also tackled a new to me series I have been meaning to get to for forever, with…interesting results. I read a couple of Jennifer Estep‘s young adult offerings over the years, and actually quite enjoyed them. But I am having a little bit of an issue with the Elemental Assassin books. I mentioned in a post from last week that I thought I was nitpicking, but that the constant repetition of everyone’s eye color was getting on my last nerve. I liked pretty much everything else, but that one detail bugged the crap out of me. Once, twice, three times… I am fine with that. Repeating a characters eye color more than 40 times in one book – sometimes multiple times on a page – was over the top. Well, that was what I found in the first book, and my issue has expanded a bit.

Now, I have learned to basically skip the eye color thing. I might roll my hazel eyes a few times, but I was dealing. Until the rest of the repetition reared its ugly, ugly head. Descriptions and phrases are said pretty much word for word, over and over (and over) again, without end. The repetition was never ending.

I repeat: the repetition was never ending.

Gin’s 5 point weapons arrangement. Finn’s love of chicory coffee. Bria’s shaggy blonde hair. JoJo’s painted toenails. Sophia’s monosyllabic grunts. Over and over and over. But the one that really bugged me was weird. It was the way she referred to Sophia – long time friend, co-worker, helper, basically extended family member. She is either called The Dwarf or the Goth Dwarf 90% of the time, and for me it became insulting. Saying what she is a few times is fine, but she has a name. Use it. One of my friends is a bit older than me, and French, but I call her by her name, not the “old French chick”. I believe there was one page where she was referred to as the dwarf or the goth dwarf four times. ON ONE PAGE. I REPEAT – ON. ONE. PAGE. It got to the point where I was mixing up the names of the “Dwarf sisters” because Sophia’s name was so rarely used.

The problem is that I do like the storyline, and pretty much all of the characters – except Gin. Because the story is told from her first-person POV, I keep hearing her repeating everything so my annoyance has transferred to her. But I do like Finn, The “Goth Dwarf” and her sister, and Owen seems like he has potential (I am only on the third book, Venom). I really do want to keep going with the series, but I find myself skimming a bit when the verbal replays get too much. And as one of you warned me in the previous Nitpick post, apparently Gin picks up a nick-name for what I will assume is Owen that will really push me over the edge. Sigh. Something to look forward to. I repeat….eh, never mind.

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Pick of the Week

Yeah, I know. This post probably isn’t going to come as a big honkin’ mystery to most of you, but my pick of the week is Flame in the Dark from Faith Hunter. I am about 20% into this one and loving it, and I find myself going back and re-reading sections as I go along. Not looking forward to the wait for the next one, but what can you do?

flame in the darkSynopsis…

Nell Ingram has always known she was different. Since she was a child, she’s been able to feel and channel ancient powers from deep within the earth. When she met Jane Yellowrock, her entire life changed, and she was recruited into PsyLED–the Homeland Security division that polices paranormals. But now her newly formed unit is about to take on its toughest case yet.

A powerful senator barely survives an assassination attempt that leaves many others dead–and the house he was visiting burns to the ground. Invisible to security cameras, the assassin literally disappears, and Nell’s team is called in. As they track a killer they know is more–or less–than human, they unravel a web of dark intrigue and malevolent motives that tests them to their limits and beyond.

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What is your favorite spin-off series? I think that this one is mine, but I have high hopes for Heirs of Chicagoland from Chloe Neill. I even hope to like it more than the original series, honestly.

New Series Alerts

Happy Monday, everyone. It is time to take a look at the new series starting up this week (which, surprisingly, are also the only new series I have listed for the whole month of December). This first one is actually a young adult release from Jennifer Estep. Spartan Heart is the first book of the Mythos Academy spin-off called Mythos Academy: Colorado.

spartan heartSynopsis…

New school year, same old problems . . .

At Mythos Academy, everyone knows exactly who I am: Rory Forseti, Spartan girl and the daughter of Reapers.

Even though I fought alongside my cousin Gwen Frost to save the mythological world from Loki and his evil Reapers of Chaos, I’m still the most hated girl at the academy because of all the horrible things my parents did. I had hoped that this school year would be different, but the other kids just won’t let me forget about my parents.

But something strange is going on at the Colorado Academy. First, I run into a Viking guy who dislikes me more than most. Then I notice some odd artifacts in the Library of Antiquities. And worst of all, I start hearing rumors about a new group of Reapers who can summon mythological monsters.

I might be the most hated girl at Mythos Academy, but I’m also the only one who can save it.

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And the second newbie is from Nora Roberts. Year One is the first book of her Chronicles of the One series, which from what I understand isn’t so much a romance as a post-apocalyptic dystopia.

year oneSynopsis…

It began on New Year’s Eve.

The sickness came on suddenly, and spread quickly. The fear spread even faster. Within weeks, everything people counted on began to fail them. The electrical grid sputtered; law and government collapsed—and more than half of the world’s population was decimated.

Where there had been order, there was now chaos. And as the power of science and technology receded, magic rose up in its place. Some of it is good, like the witchcraft worked by Lana Bingham, practicing in the loft apartment she shares with her lover, Max. Some of it is unimaginably evil, and it can lurk anywhere, around a corner, in fetid tunnels beneath the river—or in the ones you know and love the most.

As word spreads that neither the immune nor the gifted are safe from the authorities who patrol the ravaged streets, and with nothing left to count on but each other, Lana and Max make their way out of a wrecked New York City. At the same time, other travelers are heading west too, into a new frontier. Chuck, a tech genius trying to hack his way through a world gone offline. Arlys, a journalist who has lost her audience but uses pen and paper to record the truth. Fred, her young colleague, possessed of burgeoning abilities and an optimism that seems out of place in this bleak landscape. And Rachel and Jonah, a resourceful doctor and a paramedic who fend off despair with their determination to keep a young mother and three infants in their care alive.

In a world of survivors where every stranger encountered could be either a savage or a savior, none of them knows exactly where they are heading, or why. But a purpose awaits them that will shape their lives and the lives of all those who remain.

The end has come. The beginning comes next.

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I did enjoy the original Mythos Academy books, but I gave them up in an early book purge. Year One keeps calling to me, but if it isn’t much on the romance side then it might not be my thing. I guess I will have to keep an eye on the reviews to see what others think of it. Which of these will you be picking up? Any takers?

 

The One Where I Nit Pick

spider's biteYou know when you start a new book or series, and you think that “yeah, this really has potential”? One where you like the world building, characters, tone, everything. Well, maybe not everything. I have finally gotten to Jennifer Estep‘s Elemental Assassin series, and so far, so good…except for this one little nit pick that is driving me crazy. It is the constant repetition of colors, like when someone is pulling up to a house, for example. It is described as something like “a gray house with a black roof and white flower boxes with yellow flowers by the green grass…” Color color color. Hair color is also a big one to be mentioned over and over, with Gin’s bleached blonde hair, Finn’s mahogany hair, etc.

But the biggest and most glaring, by far, is the beating to death of eye color. I did a search on my Kindle for ipad, and Gin’s gray eyes are mentioned 21 times, Donovan’s hazel eyes I think are mentioned an even 20, things like that, Finn’s green eyes are up there, too. And they were sometimes weirdly inserted. Like “I moved until he was looking straight into my gray eyes.” I know it is a small thing, but I noticed it right from the start and now I just can’t un-see it. I know it is a nit pick in a book I am otherwise completely enjoying, but it is taking me out of the story every time it comes up.

Your turn. Do you have any nitpicks that drive you up the wall? Any authors or series that have a quirk that you find it hard to get by? Do those little things pull you out of the story, too, or do you get used to it and move on?

Flame in the Dark Review

Flame in the Dark is my last really big release of 2017, and since I have finally gotten caught up on all of Faith Hunter‘s Jane Yellowrock world releases recently my anticipation has only gotten stronger. Nell is a favorite, and everything about the Soulwood series just works for me. Doug Meeks kindly sent over his early review for this one, and I so glad to see that it is as good as I thought it would be.

flame in the darkWhat Doug said…

WOW! First off let me point out that while I LOVE Jane Yellowrock and this whole world, she is pretty unique BUT there has never been another heroine like Nell, she is the most original character in urban fantasy in many years.

This time she seems to be up against something they can’t even identify and add that to the normal trials and tribulations of a woman who had spent her whole life as a “churchwoman” in a near cult-like existence, she is proving to be one heck of a strong heroine.

Nell is in touch with the world around us like no other heroine ever and that has some serious pros and cons, add more into the mix that her sister is exhibiting signs of being like Nell.

This story has a lot going on and you can’t scan any pages or you might miss something important and a lot of it is just Nell learning how to be normal as she can.

I won’t drone on and repeat the synopsis but, this was just an absolutely exceptional story and while it seemed to be written like it could be the last one in the series, I am assured that there will be at least 2 more in this exceptional story.

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Welp, we have less than a week to wait since it will be released on December 5th. Let the countdown begin.

 

Pick of the Week

November wasn’t a huge month for me for anticipated releases (but I still managed to buy a crap-ton of books, somehow), but one story I was looking forward to was Dangerously Divine from Deborah Blake. It is the second book of the Broken Riders series, the Baba Yaga spin-off.

dangerously-divineSynopsis…

Though his physical wounds have healed, Gregori Sun, the eldest of the Riders, remains in spiritual turmoil. His search for his mother, the one person able to heal his soul and save his life, is failing—until he crosses paths with a beautiful and fascinating librarian who might be the key to his salvation…

Ciera Evans’s bookish ways are just a guise. The product of a difficult past, she has dedicated her life to saving lost teens—by any means necessary. She works alone, but when a dark, brooding stranger proposes they team up to solve both their problems, she is tempted—in more ways than one…

After Ciera and Sun’s plans are derailed by dangerous enemies, they find themselves entangled in an ungodly affair—one that will force them to either find new strength together or be forever haunted by their pasts alone.

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Featuring the Riders in their own series made sense once the Baba Yaga trilogy was done, but it does make me wonder what will be next? There is one more book in this series, and then…? Maybe a time jump for the young Babas in training?

 

December’s Book of the Month

heartInstead of running the poll like I have been doing lately (which is a giant pain to add since WordPress started playing around with things behind the scenes), I thought maybe we could all just list our top couple of picks for the month. My big, huge, honkin’ number one pick is Flame in the Dark from Faith Hunter. It is the third book of the Soulwood series featuring Nell Ingram, and since I have just recently finished my complete Jane Yellowrock world marathon I am more than ready. Love me some Nell and company.

Coming in at number two would be Fury of Denial from Coreene Callahan. It is the third book of the Dragonfury; Scotland series, which I think I enjoy more than the US based one, honestly.

So, your turn. Which book or books are your most anticipated for the last month of 2017? Any genre goes.

Reading Wrap Up – New Author Edition

alpha betHey all. Everyone getting ready for the Christmas/Holiday season? I can’t believe we are looking at wrapping up the year in a few weeks, honestly. It seems like it was September, then December, with nothing in between. Anyways, ever since I finished up my Jane Yellowrock world marathon, I managed to get caught up on all of the new releases I was behind on. And even better, I got back into J.D. Robb‘s In Death series after a couple of months break (and did I ever miss them).

I decided to try out a couple of new-to-me authors, too, with varying degrees of success. The first one was Milly Taiden. I have seen her around for a while, and so I decided to pick up her newest release, Alpha Bet. It was a fast, fun story about a brilliant half-human, half-shifter who has been mistreated by her full-shifter packmates all of her life. Just when she finally gets the chance to strike out on her own in her dream job far away from pack life, the new Alpha starts to make his interest in her known. I really quite enjoyed this one, and while I didn’t immediately “One click” all of Milly Taiden’s other works, I will definitely keep an eye out and see what she comes out with next.

Unfortunately, though, I didn’t have much luck with my other new-to-me author. I was sure – and I mean SURE – I would love Devon Monk‘s Death and Relaxation. Not sure why, but I just was. I figured it was the safest bet in all of the authors I am looking to try, but it didn’t quite work out that way. I ended up DNF’ing the book at about the 25% point. I just couldn’t get into it, and I found myself starting to skim through looking for something to grab my attention. When I realized that I just couldn’t get interested, I decided to pull the plug. I did a bit of review-reading on Goodreads to see if maybe things would pick up and I should keep going, but not much on there made me want to change my mind, either, so I did the dreaded delete (so much easier than making myself toss a print book, though). I still might check out the Allie Beckstrom series, but it will be a while before I get there.

So, any new-to-you authors you have discovered lately? How far do you read before you decide to give up the ghost on a new author or series? Do you make yourself finish the whole thing, or do you cut your losses and move on?

 

Reading Wrap Up and…Stuff

booksHey all. Let’s start with the stuff, shall we?

Dawn and I both got slapped with the notice that the next Breeds book from Lora Leigh, Cross Breed, has been pushed back. Gasp! I know, right, the shock is real! Eh, seriously – part of me expected it since it has happened to pretty much all of the Breeds books for the last few years, but part of me had hope that this one would come in on time. Nope. So no more March 27th for Cassie’s story, it will now be out on September 25th.

On the reading wrap up side of things, I have been playing catch-up since I finished my Jane Yellowrock marathon. I picked up Deborah Blake‘s Wickedly Spirited. It is a novella set in her Baba Yaga world, and it was a quick, fun read. It also got me back into things before the release of the next Broken Riders book next month. 3 out of 5.

And I also blew through The White Lily from Juliette Cross. This was my first “e-only” series I ever picked up way back when, and I really do like the fairy-tale retelling aspect and the new take on vampires and werewolves. From what I understand, there is only one more book planned for this series, which is a shame. I do see so much potential for several possible couples. 4 out of 5.

I was also behind on a couple of Christine Feehan releases. First up, I tackled Leopard’s Blood from the Leopard people series. I did quite enjoy it, but it is weird when you get to a character’s story and you don’t really recognize his personality from previous books. This time around it was Joshua Tregre’s turn, and I didn’t see much of the kind of goofy, playful Joshua I had seen before. He wasn’t a monster or anything, but his character had a different tone to me. I guess he was just “alpha’d up”, so to speak, as pretty much always happens. And now it looks like we have even more Russian Leopard shifters running around, too. I guess it makes sense since we are running out of team-members of Drake’s to focus on. 3.5 out of 5.

Then I picked up the latest Carpathian book, Dark…Something. Dark…Legacy (had to look it up). Yeah. It was fine. But what I realized while reading it is that for the last four or five books, I remember nothing about them. NOTHING. Not the names, not the characters or storylines or set up for future books. NOTHING. It is perfectly fine while I am reading them (nothing earth-shattering, but the usual Feehan Dark story which I pretty much always enjoy), but as soon as I put those suckers down, I forget everything that happened. As I was reading Dark Legacy (had to check for the name again), I had no clue who most of the characters were except for Tariq – and I remember nothing about his book, what I remember comes from when he was first introduced. And the introduction of even more baddest-of-the-bad from the monastery didn’t help, either, since they all got lost in the blur. I do remember the early books really quite well, but the last few have just become all jumbled and leave my brain the moment I am finished reading. Aaaand since I have no clue what happened and I just finished it a couple of days ago —-> 3 out of 5.

And wrapping things up was The Trouble With Twelfth Grave by Darynda Jones (character guide has been updated and is being edited, too). As much as I do really enjoy this series, the God angle in the last couple didn’t work for me. It didn’t bug me as much this time around, which was great. And I liked having the whole band back together, too. It was action packed, but pretty much everyone got their page-time. Charley was her “old self” for me, too, which I had missed the last couple of books. But there was one thing that kept niggling at the back of my mind, and that was wasn’t Charley a bit TOO “her old self” for everything that was going on with Reyes? Jokes and quips and Mocha lattes were a lot of fun, but it didn’t quite suit the potential end-of-her-world that was going on. It might be a nitpick since I did really enjoy this one, more so than the last couple, but it just felt a little off to me. Great ending, though – and quite the set up for the final book. 4 out of 5.

There you go. What have you been up to? Any great reads lately, or any letdowns? Do you have any series that you find yourself going blank on? What do you see happening for Charley 13?

Be My Eyes And Ears?

question-markSo, I was wondering if any of you has heard anything about Lara Adrian? A month or so ago, she was scheduled to release Claimed in Shadows, but the release date for that came…and went…with no word or sign of the book. The only thing I found for it was over on Goodreads, which now just lists the release date as 2018. Lara’s official site just lists it as a summer release – last summer, that is. And I am getting the vibe the same thing is shaping up to happen with the first Hunter Legacy spin-off book, Born of Darkness. It is listed on Goodreads as being scheduled for release this December 1st, but it hasn’t shown up on any Amazon sites, and the official blurb is still missing.

I know Kresley Cole suffered a set-back when she broke her leg earlier this year, but did any of you get any dirt on why the big pushback on Shadow’s Kiss? It took a rather big jump, and now has a release date set for next December…which will mean the best part of two years between IAD releases. Ditto the fifth book of The Arcana Chronicles, The Dark Calling, which now is just showing as TBA. It makes me wonder if maybe she has something else in the works that I didn’t hear about, because it seems like a long time for no releases from a normally quite steady author.

And, have any of you heard anything about what Darynda Jones has in store? I just finished The Trouble with Twelfth Grave, and I am glad she will be wrapping things up with the next book. I would love to see an Osh-and-Beep centric series, or even an Amber-and-Quentin one – after a time jump for both, that is. I have been digging around to see what I can find out, but I haven’t had any luck yet. Have you? Any word of what’s going on?

Any gossip to share? I am not a fan of social media, so I think I might miss some info that you might have access to. Have you heard anything about what is going on with any of these authors? Or any excitement from any other authors?