Reading Wrap Up

I have already bored everyone a couple of weeks back with my sudden love for e-books. I think I went bipolar or something, because something made me flip the switch from snobby contempt to raging love affair in the matter of a day. Well, the love is still going strong, and I am having a blast. I either packed up or un-hauled all of my mass market and trade paperback books, which emptied out three full six-shelf bookcases (I did keep pretty much all of my hardcovers and UK paperbacks, though). I did manage to spend a few hundred dollars over the last couple of weeks re-buying the must-haves, but it was worth it to free up the space. And as a sign of my special nerdness, I even edited some of the books when there were different versions of the covers I liked better. Yep, nerd.

And as bonus, I have exactly one physical TBR book. ONE. That has always been the goal, but it never seemed possible. Now it is a matter of “what do I feel like reading? One Click. Mine”. It is so freeing to not have Mount TBR mocking me from across the room anymore. I went all digital on music a while back, and I have been playing around with switching my blu-rays, too, but that one is hard. I still like “the collection”. At least for now.

blood kissedEh, back on topic. I did manage to get four books read recently. Well, three and a DNF, but whatever. I ended up “One Clicking” (totally a thing) Keri Arthur‘s Blood Kissed, which was the first book in her new Lizzie Grace series. I hadn’t planned on starting a new series, but my freedom as mentioned above went to my head. It was my first book by this author, and I enjoyed it. And strangely, I haven’t ever read a book set in Australia, either, which was a treat. It was a fast read, quite interesting, and I look forward to seeing where the series goes from here. There wasn’t much on the romance side of things, but the set up is done and things should get going in the next book. I might have to check out a few more series now, too.

covetI also dove into one that had long been on the former Mount TBR. I have faithfully followed J.R. Ward‘s Black Dagger books for years, but I never made the jump to the Fallen Angels until now. I didn’t have much in the way of good or bad expectations for Covet, but it ended up being a decent read. I have to admit that I was looking for more Brother sightings, but a quick little run-in with an unnamed Phury was a treat. I liked the characters, it was an interesting premise, and it was nice to have a Ward book that wasn’t so over-the-top brand-name dropping and slangy, but still with some humor and snark. I wouldn’t pull an epic marathon and read them all in a row, but spaced out it could be a good thing. Oh, and Devina needs to die. Now-ish.

purity in deathAaand my J.D. Robb trek continues, this time with Purity in Death (#15). I can’t say much I haven’t said before, still loving them, still look forward to each new story, still haven’t even gotten slightly bored, either. Great characters, great premise, great promise for more to come. The supporting cast just keeps getting better, and while there are still times I would like to slap Eve around, it is part of the enjoyment. And Roarke may be one of my dream guys. It is a series I still pick up in physical copy, and the UK paperbacks look so pretty it should be a crime. Love.

talisman chroniclesHonestly, I can’t quite be sure what made me “One Click” the Young Adult (which I don’t read anymore) The Talisman Chronicles by T.M. Franklin (whom I have never heard of until now), but I did. It was a collection of six previously-released short stories about six kids who must fight the forces of darkness, but I only made it through the first story. It wasn’t bad, but it did make me remember why I had given up on YA. I could’ve kept reading, it would’ve been fine, but I didn’t care if I did or not so I figured it was time to hit the old delete button. If it doesn’t grab me, I figure why waste the time?

So, your turn. Come across anything exciting lately? How goes your TBR battles?

White Hot Review

As the countdown to the White Hot continues, I figured I should probably post my own review of it since that is part of the deal in getting ARCs. As always, I have to say that Ilona Andrews is a favorite author of mine, and Hidden Legacy managed to jump to the very top of my favorite series list with only one book, which has never happened before. Sometimes, something just seems like it was written just for you,  and for me this series is it.

white-hotMy review of White Hot…

I haven’t written many reviews, but I am quickly learning that while it is difficult to write a fair review of a book you didn’t like, it can be just as hard to write one for a book you loved. Here is my hopefully coherent review of the latest and greatest from Ilona Andrews, White Hot, which will be released on May 30th.

It has been a couple of months since the events of Burn For Me, and Nevada has been getting back to her normal life, staying under the radar and out of the cut-throat world of the Primes. But when she is hired to find those behind several cold-blooded murders, she is once again put squarely in the path of one Mad Rogan. He has his own personal reasons to be on the case, and when Nevada and Rogan team up chaos – and bloodshed – is sure to follow.

Nevada has been coming into her own in regards to her powers, but when she uses her abilities for all the right reasons, it brings her to the attention of all the wrong people. Her old life as she knew it is changing whether she likes it or not, and she is being forced to make decisions that impact not only her, but her family as well. It turns out that Nevada isn’t the only Baylor with unique powers, and what is coming threatens them all.

There are long-awaited developments in Rogan and Nevada’s personal relationship, as well. They have a great dynamic, and while it might not always be the smoothest sailing between these two strong-willed people, it does pay off in the end. They are both incredibly powerful in their own right, and will be nearly unstoppable together.

Everything just works. The world Ilona Andrews has set up is detailed and unique, but it flows so well that you don’t get overwhelmed trying to keep things straight. The action is pretty much non-stop, but it isn’t at the expense of the story. There is humor and snark and sarcasm mixed in with all of the drama, and those lighter moments were always a blast. We learn a lot more about the Baylor family – and their magic – and we also get a look at what made Rogan what he is. Pretty much every character shines, and while in Burn For Me it was Grandma Frida and Leon who played a big supporting role, this time around it is Arabella and Catalina who get their turn. Even Augustine gets in on the action, but if I have to be perfectly honest I think Cornelius stole every scene he was in.

I went into White Hot with incredibly high expectations – almost too high, I figured. I adored the first book of the series, Burn For Me, more than I can remember loving any book for a long time – the characters, the world-building, the family dynamic, the action – I adored the whole thing. But I might just have to say that I liked White Hot even more. It is pretty rare for an author (or authors, in this case) to keep topping themselves, but Ilona Andrews does. And who else could have four separate series (Kate Daniels, Innkeeper, The Edge, Hidden Legacy) about the same topic – magic – and give each one its own unique spin? Nobody I can think of. Oh, and thankfully this world is pretty much guaranteed to go beyond the current three titles, because stopping now would be a crime.

I have my review copy, and I have also pre-ordered it for my ipad, too. Unfortunately, I did lose all of the notes I had made on it for the guide during a recent self-inflicted computer snafu, which sucks, but then it just gives me an excuse for a re-read. Or re-re-read, in this case, but whose counting?

White Hot Review

I don’t actually have a pick of the week for this week, but instead I thought I post a review Doug Meeks sent over for the upcoming Hidden Legacy book from Ilona Andrews, White Hot. Be prepared, because I might be focused a lot on this between now and its release date of May 30th. I have Doug’s review, my review, and Larissa’s review of the next book in the series, Wildfire (and mine, too).

white hotWhat Doug said…

I am not going to try to tell you about the story in this book since everything you need to know without a spoiler is in the synopsis, I am here to tell you to get this book and the one before it and pre-order the one after it as soon as you can lay your grubby little hands on them.

It was an amazing story, it never did what you were sure the next step was going to be, there was a wee bit more graphic sex than in any other Ilona Andrews book I can remember reading (and I think I have read them all) and at the end (and I hated that this book even HAD an ending, I wanted it to go on forever) you just kind of sit back and wonder what in the world you can read now because almost anything else will seem amateurish in comparison to this amazing story. It will take a few days to wear off LOL

Bottom Line: 5 Stars, I could hardly sit the book down, it kept going off in a direction I could not guess. It might be advantageous to wait until 25 jul 2017 so you can read all 3 of them in a row, trust me, you won’t be bored but you might forget to eat.

I had a recent “oh, crap” episode, and managed to delete everything on my desktop except the recycle bin (don’t ask, it involved command prompts and the phrase “I wonder what this does?” Now I know). Unfortunately, that means that I lost all of the info I had gathered from White Hot to add to the Hidden Legacy guide – and there was a lot. I had all of the magical categories broken down, that sort of thing, so losing it sucks. On the plus side, though, I so don’t mind a re-read. I might just do the next two together and post them after Wildfire to avoid spoilers, too. I might even marathon all three of them, just cause.

Reading Wrap Up

Hey everyone, time once again to do a check in and see what everyone has been reading and loving (or not so much) recently.

Personally, I had a really good run. My read of Wicked Abyss was a happy thing since I have been a bit blah on the last few books of Kresley Cole‘s Immortals After Dark series. I enjoyed this one (and Shadow’s Seduction, as well), so things are moving in the right direction. Has it crawled back up to the top of my favorites list? Nope. But I won’t be so ambivalent about the next one, either.

My best read, though, from the ones I have had lately, came from Kelley Armstrong. I never bothered picking up her Lost Souls book because honestly I thought it was just a graphic novel – nope. I guess the print edition did have some illustrations, but the e-book version was just a Gabriel-centric novella. A whole story with a Gabriel POV?!? Why the hell didn’t I pick this up before. This one gave me a more in-depth look at just what makes Gabriel tick, how his mind works, had how badly he wants Olivia in his life. Total winner, and I am just annoyed that I didn’t get it sooner.

Oh, and I finally got off my ass and finished Richelle Mead‘s Bloodlines series. The final book, The Ruby Circle, has been sitting on my shelf for over two years, and I just decided it was time. I am horrible about not wanting to read the last book in a series because I don’t like things that end, but on the other hand I don’t like things left undone, either. Try and balance that one if you can. Anyways, it was a decent send-off for the series, and while it has been a few years since I was involved in the storyline it didn’t take me long to pick things up again. I still say there could easily be a Jill and Eddie series, but it doesn’t seem like that is in the cards.

Your turn. What have you been up to for great reads lately? Have you gone back and dusted off any old TBRs, or are you still on the new-release reads?

Reading Wrap Up

Happy Easter, everyone. This has been a busy week, but I still managed to get a few books under my belt, and to say that I covered a rather wide variety of books is a bit of an understatement.

a twist in timeI got started with A Twist in Time from Julie McElwain. It is the second book in her time-travel murder mystery series featuring former FBI Profiler Kendra Donovan, who is accidentally pulled back through time to Regency England. I enjoyed the first book, but it took a while for me to get into the swing of things for the second. I don’t read much in the way of historical, and it makes a nice change of pace. What threw me off for the first half of this one, though, was Kendra herself. I get that she is stuck in a time not her own – a time where women are incredibly limited as to what they are supposed to be or do, but she was on the edge of being whiny for a while. It didn’t last long and then things got rolling, but it still made the first part of the story drag a bit for me.

shadows-seductionTo continue my trend of reading something different, I finally got to Shadow’s Seduction from Kresley Cole. I am not a big fan of m/m stories, and I even though of giving this one a pass what with my dwindling interest in the IAD series. But since I needed it to keep the character guide current, I decided to take the plunge. I ended up liking the overall storyline, and Cas and Mirceo were great. But it was way, way more explicit than I was expecting. My only other m/m story was Lover at Last from J.R. Ward, and while Qhuinn and Blay had some scenes of their own, they were a very small part of the overall story. Not so much here. So not bad at all, I liked the story better than the last few full books of the series, but I was surprised by the hot factor.

the struggleAnd finally, I flew through The Struggle, the third book of Jennifer L. Armentrout‘s New Adult Titan series. What makes this one different for me is that, by and large, I am not a huge new adult fan. And by that I mean I usually just plain don’t like it. But honestly, this one reads as more adult, and I am pretty much a fan of all things Armentrout which is a double win. This was a nice change of pace – it was a fast, easy read, and even though it has been quite a while since I picked up the previous book I had no trouble getting back into the swing of things.

So, that wraps up my unusual reading week. Have you been trying anything different lately? Found anything interesting?

Reading Wrap Up

Hey everyone…time to check in and see what we all have been reading this past week (or so). Time is flying, ain’t it? Might be mild spoilers below, so proceed with caution.

blade boundI did get to Blade Bound from Chloe Neill, which I reviewed below. Not bad, but not as epic as I was hoping for. I did manage a solid liking for it, but then that was pretty much my feelings on the whole series right from the start. Good, but not one of my top picks. I am interested in checking out the upcoming spin-off, though, since I thought it looked like there were hints of who it would be about in the epilogue. Maybe. Does anyone else see a time jump with Connor and Elisa, or is it just me? I could be reaching, but finding out about the next series was what had me so interested to pick this one up. And I really like the idea of more about the shifters.

ward_comp.inddI also finished The Chosen from J.R. Ward. I went into it with a major case of the gags about Layla – she annoyed me to no end every single time she showed up in previous books. I went into her story prepared to loath every scene she was in…but I didn’t. I ended up liking her, honestly, which I never would’ve thought possible. But Qhuinn? Yeah, he was a tool who was in need of a really good beat-down, and Tohr rubbed me wrong with all of his woe-is-me crap for most of the book. And reading about V was like watching a train wreck. As much as I felt for him, he is straying into territory that you just don’t come back from. Ever. I am assuming his book is up next, and that could get ugly fast. I ended up really liking this one, even though the ending was a little heavy on the happy in happily ever after, but that was nice for a change. At least no one got a horrible wasting disease and died (cough*Selena*cough).

And for something a little lighter, I am just starting the newest Dragons of Eternity story from Alexandra Ivy, Charred by Darkness. I like these Guardians of Eternity spin-offs – they are fast reads, you don’t have to do a crash-course on past books to try and keep things straight, and you always get to see characters from previous books again. Of course, being a self-pubbed e-book, I had no clue it had even come out on March 28th. But no, I am not going to rant about trying to keep track of books for the new release pages that all of a sudden just appear. Nope. Not one word. Just read and enjoy.

What have you been up to this week? Anything new catch your eye, or are you working your way through any old favorites?

Blade Bound Review

I am still trying to get a handle on the whole reviewing thing, and this time around it is for the final Chicagoland Vampires book from Chloe Neill, Blade Bound. I was kindly provided a review copy from NetGalley.

blade boundMy spoiler free review of Blade Bound…

After 13 books, the Chicagoland Vampires series is wrapping up – or more precisely, Merit and Ethan’s story is. In book time, it has only been a year since Merit was turned vampire against her will, and she and Ethan have packed a lot of living into those 12 short months. Not only have they waged pretty much non-stop battle against several supernatural baddies, and saved Chicago on more than one occasion, they have also had to fight the prejudices of the very people they try so hard to protect.

There is a lot going on in Blade Bound, both supernaturally and personally, for Merit and Ethan. But the weird thing is, for 90% of the story, it didn’t feel like a finale to me. There is tons of action, lots of drama, some humor and snark, and a long-awaited celebration, but most of it felt to me more like a step towards the end of the series more than the end itself, if that makes any sense. I only got a sense of “The End” in the prologue, which sort of left things feeling rushed. Granted, I really liked the prologue – it was my favorite part of the whole book – but it just didn’t give me the epic finale I was hoping for.

To be fair, I have a weird relationship with Chicagoland Vampires. I want to love it. I have tried to make myself love it. It has everything I like in an urban fantasy, it checks all of the boxes, but I could never get above a solid liking for it. I liked Merit and Ethan, but I enjoyed the supporting cast more. I can’t even blame a hotly debated even in one of the earlier books that turned a lot of people off – I was like that from the start. And it was no different for Blade Bound. I wanted to love it, I wanted to get really involved in Ethan and Merit’s last story, but I couldn’t get above a solid liking. I read most of the book hoping for a clue about who the spin-off will be about, and it might’ve been teased in the final few pages, but I can’t be sure yet. Kind of a let down, but if I am right it could be all kinds of fun.

So, to sum up, Blade Bound had lots going on, but it lacked a bit of the “big book” feel I was expecting. There are some epic events, but squeezing that much in made things feel a little rushed. I got what I was hoping for in the finale, but it was only in the last few pages. If I was doing the star review thingy, I would say a solid 3.

Where do you stand on the Chicagoland Vampires? Where does it rank on your “must read” series scale?

Reading Wrap Up

Hey everyone, been a while since the last post. I figure we might as well take a look back at the last week, and see what we were all reading. I did manage to finish two books – Bound Together, which I have a mini-review on below, and Lora Leigh‘s Wake a Sleeping Tiger. Hmmm.

wake a sleeping tigerWake a Sleeping Tiger was a bit weird for me. I can’t quite decide how I felt about it, and not sure if I can explain why. Maybe because it didn’t completely feel like a Breeds book? It was a bit more tame than they usually are. On the plus side, I don’t remember finding any glaring errors like I usually do, and I don’t think I rolled my eyes even one time during this one. But it just sort of felt like not much happened. As much as I was interested in Cullen and his story heading into it, for me he came off as a bit dull for most of the book. And Chelsea often bugged me with her random demands for independence that didn’t really give me the sense of tension I think was intended. At least, though, she seemed quite able to handle herself in sticky situations and didn’t need the white knight to come save her, so that was a bonus. Usually in a Breeds book, I can feel the attraction between the main characters, but here not so much.

I was happy that there was less of the Navajo agencies and bureaus and covert ops thingies to keep track of, because they make my brain bleed. Graeme was a scene-stealer, as always, and it would’ve been great if some of his charisma had rubbed off on some of the other characters. But other than that, while not horrible, it just felt like filler to set up Cassie’s story (and quite the set up it is). I think if someone just read the last, oh, two or three chapters, they wouldn’t have missed much.

Your turn. What did you enjoy this week? Did you read Wake a Sleeping Tiger, and if you did, what did you think? I have thought Cassie would be paired up with Rhyzan since he was first introduced, and I am sticking with it. Did you see the swerve ending coming, or was it out of the blue for you, too?

Pick of the Week and Mini Review

There are a couple my guilty-pleasure books that were released today, but thanks to the delivery gods I actually got my hands on both Bound Together from Christine Feehan and Wake a Sleeping Tiger from Lora Leigh a day early. Then I had the endless debate about which one to read first, but Bound Together won out. And since I actually finished it, it is my pick of the week.

bound-togetherSynopsis…

For five years, Viktor Prakenskii has put his life on hold in order to take down the world’s most feared motorcycle club from the inside. But carrying out the insane violence and seeing the club’s exploitation of the innocent has brought his traumatic past roaring back. And there’s only one cure: to see the wife he left behind…

Blythe Daniels thought she’d never see Viktor again after he murdered her stepfather and left without a word. She rebuilt her life without him, becoming a personal trainer and physical therapist…becoming strong enough for others to lean on. But when Viktor comes back to Sea Haven, he’ll make Blythe question everything she thought she knew about good and evil—and the dark desires of the heart…

So, I liked it. Quite a lot, actually. The Sea Haven books are the only Feehan series that didn’t have a style/tone change during “the questionable period”, and it has stayed a consistent favorite of mine. It managed to wrap up the Sisters of the Heart arc, link with the Drake Sisters books, all while setting up the upcoming Torpedo Ink series.

There is only two things I can say didn’t quite work for me – one is style, one is subject. On the style side, Christine once again introduces a ton of new characters in a relatively short period of time, and trying to keep a ton of Russian names – and nicknames – was tricky. Thankfully, there are only a few of the Torpedo Ink gang who play a major role in this book, so while they were all introduced in a big jumble, it was necessary to only remember a couple of the new gang.

My second quibble might sound cold, but I am hoping that Christine moves on from the whole human trafficking/child rape angle really soon. I know it is a real world issue, but it has come up in pretty much every book of each of her five series for the last couple of years, and honestly? I am getting a bit numb to the brutalized children thing – especially since it seems like it is getting more intense. In early books, there were characters who had suffered in the past (like Skyler in the Dark series), to those who had been recently abused (like Nicoletta in Shadow Riders) to walking in on the abuse as it is happening. Maybe if it was only featured in one series, but when it is a theme across the board, it gets a bit overwhelming.

Now, I’m off to dive into Wake a Sleeping Tiger. And of course, when I was flipping to the back to see if there were any excerpts for the next Breeds book, I saw a major plot point that can’t be unseen. I always do that crap. Always. Arrgh.

Reading Wrap Up

I swear, I have been trying to make the reading wrap up a regular Sunday feature, but it just seems that I keep missing the mark. On the bright side, though, I did get both Silence Fallen from Patricia Briggs and Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop done. With varying degrees of success.

silence_fallen_layout.inddSilence Fallen was up first, and I really liked it. I enjoyed seeing Mercy on her own, fighting her own battles (and winning), but I liked seeing Adam without Mercy even more. I don’t remember any other books in the series where Adam played such a large role – or was seen more as pack Alpha than Mercy’s mate. I liked seeing that side of him, and I liked how much faith he had in Mercy to get herself out of whatever situations were thrown at her. And Bran? So didn’t see that coming. It was definitely a winner for me.

I know that there is a Tom and Moira book in the works, and next March is the fifth Alpha and Omega release, but I would be so happy to see stories for Bran, Ben, Honey. I know it might be too much of a good thing, but I always find myself wanting more of them.

etched in boneAnd I am just finishing up Etched in Bone. Unfortunately, though, I can’t quite tell how I feel about it. Is it good? Yep. Is it end of the story arc, resolve everything good? I don’t think so. There was a pretty good sized chunk of story in the middle of the book where I was just waiting for…it. Something. The set up for the big finale. The progression of Simon and Meg. Hell, someone to get killed. And it didn’t happen. It was still a good book, and the ending kicked the drama up, but I guess I expected more of a finale for this arc. More of a “last book” feeling.

Ok, that wraps things up for me. What have you been up to? I am sure most of you already picked up both of these – what did you think?