Review

Reading Wrap Up / The Beast Discussion

booksI was going to do a reading wrap up post, but then I thought I should probably do a post where we could all discuss The Beast by J.R. Ward. Then in a bold move, I figured I would just combine the two. Problem solved.

So, I finished up a re-read of Anne Bishop‘s Marked in Flesh. I really liked it, but I can honestly say that there were a few parts where I started to get mixed up a bit (mostly with locational things, like who was in which town). Other than that, it was a great story with a lot going on. It did seem like the end of a story-arc, but it would be so, so easy to see the series continue on indefinitely. And I am still the first in line for a Vlad-centric book.

And then it was on to Private Eye from Alyssa Day, which is the second book in her Tiger’s Eye Mystery series. I loved me some Jack in the Warriors of Poseidon series, and I was more than a little disappointed when his book (Shifter in Atlantis) was scrapped. I figured he got a bit of a raw deal, actually. But even though I liked Jack and wanted him to have his own story, I almost didn’t bother with this little e-format series. So glad I did, though. Both of the books so far have been a lot of fun – love the quirky small town setting, the mystery, and while I knew I liked Jack I also enjoy the other star of the show, Tess. Great series so far, with the third book supposedly heading our way this summer. I would definitely recommend giving this quick, fun series a try.

Now, on to The Beast. I am going to go spoiler free here, but feel free to post spoilers in the comments section, should you so choose. Anyhow. I have enjoyed all of the Black Dagger Brotherhood books, I have to admit upfront, but at some point the way I read them changed. I had to almost steel myself to read one, and sometimes it would take me months to finally pick one up off of my TBR pile since I had to be in the right mood. It wasn’t that I didn’t like them, it was just that they became so…dense, maybe? There were so many plotlines and storyarcs and side characters that it just got overwhelming. I like some depth to a book, don’t get me wrong, but when you have to start writing down what is going on so you don’t lose track, then things are complicated. And most of the time, the central couple in the book played such a small role you didn’t really know whose story was being told. Not ideal, either.

Even with the complicated and involved stories, though, I stayed a big fan of the world. That never changed, no matter how much work I had to put in to get through the book. But I wasn’t a huge fan when it was announced that most of the Brothers would get a second book – not at all. I figure they got their turn, and it was time for others to get their stories told. And a second book usually means drama, and I am a firm believer in a happily ever after for my couples, not an angsty problem that threatens to tear a them apart. But so far, the sequels have been a great idea. The King was good…but The Beast was really, really good.

For me, anyways, The Beast felt more old-school BDB. There is still a lot going on, but this time around I never lost focus that it was a Rhage and Mary book. Rhage has always been a favorite of mine, and in The Beast I was reminded of why. He comes off as almost dorky, which is great, and his babbling made me laugh more than once. He is a total scene-stealer. Assail plays a good sized role, and I liked all of his page time, too. I can see a redo for V in the near future, since he is having a bit of a hard time on a few different fronts. That will be interesting, to say the least.

My only gripe is Layla. I. Don’t. Like. Her. AT ALL. I can’t even quite tell you why she irritates me, but every time she is on the page I find myself gritting my teeth. Xcor? I’m in. Xcor and Layla? Crap, not at all. Unfortunately for me, she is pretty much irredeemable at this point since my loathing runs deep, so it will be interesting to see how I handle reading her story, which is up next. So, all in all, I really liked The Beast – I just wish the Beast would’ve taken Layla out. Permanently. That isn’t too much to ask, right?

What was your take on The Beast? Are you liking the “second book” idea, or do you wish that J.R. was moving on to new characters (like Assail. And Murdher)? What else did you check out this week?

Review

Reading Wrap Up

booksI figured it was time for a reading wrap up post…but then I realized that I didn’t really remember much I had read since the last time. I got caught up on the Jennifer Ashley Shifters Unbound novellas I had been behind, and I also read a couple of Alexandra Ivy e-books from her Dragons of Eternity series. I am part way through The Beast by J.R. Ward (which is great so far, but not finished yet), but I dropped that one to read the Allegiance of Honor ARC from Nalini Singh (of course).

So, I thought maybe I could give a few small, completely spoiler free thoughts Allegiance of Honor. When I first heard that there was to be an ensemble book, I was excited but a bit hesitant. The cast of characters in the Psy/Changeling world is huge, and to see all or even most of the previous couples in one story could easily have become chaotic and overcrowded, or sheer volume of people could’ve come at the cost of a cohesive plot. Of course, since it is a Nalini Singh book, none of that happens. Everything is flowing along, no one feels like they are just “thrown in” to make an appearance, and there are a couple of very strong storylines. If I had to pick a main couple, I would say it is Lucas and Sascha, but all of the couples from previous books and novellas have their time, too. I was especially happy to see Max Shannon and Devraj Santos again, because they haven’t really been seen much since their stories.

Even with everything going on, Nalini also seemingly has begun to plant some seeds for future books, as well. Two characters who seem to be poised for their own stories are Silver Mercant and Pax Marshall. Both of them have small roles in Allegiance of Honor, but both of them stood out for me and made me very interested in the role they will play in a post-Silence world.

Ok, that wraps things up for me. What have you been reading the last couple of weeks? Any surprisingly good stories, or are you in a dry spell?

Review

Reading Wrap Up

booksWell, talk about a dull few days. Nothing to mention, not enough covers to do a post, and not even any new series to look highlight. Oh, and because of my strange work schedule for the last couple of weeks, I haven’t gotten any reading done. Well, I did manage to finish up Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare, but that was about it. It was a decent book, but it didn’t grab me like I’d hoped it would. I did enjoy the whole Julian angle, and there were a couple of twists I didn’t see coming, but all in all it just left me a bit underwhelmed. And man, that sucker was looong. Anyways, that is my boring week wrapped up, how was yours? What did you read and enjoy this week? What are you looking forward to?

Review

Reading Wrap Up

booksThings have been pretty quiet around here for the last few days, mostly because there just wasn’t a lot to mention. I figure this is as good a time as any to share what we all have been reading, since it has been almost a month since my last wrap up post.

To be honest, I haven’t seemed to be able to get much done these last couple of weeks. I did manage to read Midnight Marked from Chloe Neill, which is the second-to-last full book in the Chicagoland Vampires series. It took me longer to finish than I thought it would, though. I do enjoy the books, but they don’t quite grab me like I wish they would. I have no problem putting them down and leaving them for a couple of days, which I did quite a few times on this one. I guess what I am trying to spit out is that like the rest of the books in the series, it was a good read, but it didn’t wow me, either.

I have two new releases on the go as I type, and those are Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs, and Lady Midnight from Cassandra Clare. For some reason, I am not totally feeling Lady Midnight, though. Maybe it is because I am reading it for the character guide, so it is more a fact-finding mission than a leisurely read, but I am not involved with parts of it. It isn’t bad, at all, but I am not really connecting with Emma or her story, which sucks since she is the main character. But surprisingly, Julian is a stand-out, which I didn’t expect. I figured he would be second fiddle to Emma, but that isn’t the case at all. And his story-arc is quite compelling. I am still slogging along on this one, but it is slow going.

Fire Touched is another story. I am at the half-way point, and it is flying by. These stories are once a year treats, so I do try and savor them, but it is hard to not just devour them in one sitting. I find myself forgetting a few of the background characters, though, which is a little annoying. Definitely time for a re-read of the series.

And on the subjects of re-reads, I got a few more novellas done for the Dragon Kin series by G.A. Aiken, along with another crack at the second In Death book from J.D. Robb, all of which I liked just as much the second time around. To my eternal shame, I still haven’t read Marked in Flesh – I know, I know. Like I said, ashamed. But it will be up after I finish Fire Touched. Too many books, too little time.

What have you been reading? What was your take on some of the big releases of March?

Review

Reading Wrap Up

booksWith another week about to fire up, let’s take a peek at what we all have been reading. I finished up the Deborah Blake Baba Yaga series with the third book, Wickedly Powerful. I liked this one as much as the first two, and I am glad I picked this series up. There is a spin-off coming featuring the Riders, So that could be interesting. The only downside for me is that I am not a huge fan of the, uh, situation that the heroine finds herself in. I don’t want to say what it is because of spoilers, but it is one of the book tropes that don’t really get me excited.

The only other stuff I got to was re-reads of the Dragon Kin series from G.A. Aiken. I am working on the guide for it now, and I decided to do a chronological reading order rather than publication order, and it seems to be working out well. The problem for me always was that I couldn’t remember who was who. Just no way could I keep everyone straight. But for some reason I turned a corner a couple of books back and things seem to be sticking a bit. It makes going back and checking out the early novellas a blast, since I now know who is connected to who. I missed so much the first time around not knowing anyone’s names, and that made me not enjoy the series as much as I should’ve. I have already managed to read the first three novellas and the first full book, Dragon Actually, and it is like a whole new world. They are a lot of fun.

So, that is it for me. Nothing much to brag about, I have to say. I did manage to not add to the tbr pile, so that is always a win, but I didn’t manage to get too many off the mountain, either. And with the juggernaut that March is shaping up to be, I won’t be too successful there, either. What have you been checking out lately? Anything worth passing on?

Review

Marked in Flesh Review…

We are just a shade under two weeks away from getting our hands on Anne Bishop‘s next The Others book, Marked in Flesh. To say that this is a hugely anticipated book for a lot of people is a tiny bit of an understatement, I figure. Doug Meeks sent over his review, and it sounds like we won’t be disappointed.

marked in fleshWhat Doug said…

I try to never steal lines from other reviewers but this line was too good and too on-the-spot to not repeat “So good I needed a cigarette when I finished”. Yeah, it WAS that good.

I hate trying to review books like this when all you want to do is write a page of “AWESOME’ “EXCEPTIONAL” well you get the idea. This book, in fact this whole series, is so out there in a league of its own you don’t know what to write but here goes.

The Others have put up with the Humans First and Last (HFL) for a good while now and these idiots have no clue what they are going to find at the end of this road but that does NOT mean they are not dangerous.

The Lakeside Courtyard is trying to help the humans that have been friends with them but their resources are limited. We also get a glimpse into some of the other settlements and maybe that is where some of the new stories are going to come from because this really read like a end of series book (which I am pretty certain is NOT the case) and so at the end in addition to weeping that the book has ended you have to wonder “Where does Anne Bishop go from here” but I have been fooled before so I will moan and complain for another year until the next one.

You might notice I am not saying a lot about the story because a lot of things turn into spoilers and so just know that Armageddon is coming.

Bottom Line: When you read books like this, you hate for them to end, you just kind of sit back and for a day or two you don’t really want to read anything else, you just want to roll around in the memory of this great story. Anything more I could say about this novel would just be redundant so 5 Stars only because that is all they allow, there ought to be an “elite” category for books like this.

Review

Reading Wrap Up…

February is a bit of a meh month for new books for me, so that means I have been dutifully reading off of my TBR and doing the re-reads I need for character guides. That is a good thing, because March is going to be a beast what with the second to last Chicagoland Vampires book, a new Carpathians book (even though I am not exactly excited for a book about Grandma Trixie and what seems to be a whiny Gabrielle. Maybe the fellas can save it for me?), a new Shelly Laurenston story, plus the hat trick of Lady Midnight, Fire Touched, and Marked in Flesh. All on the same day. Yeah.

So, back to the reading portion of things. I continue to tackle the In Death books, and I just finished up the third one, Immortal in Death. I have to say, I am surprised by how much I am really enjoying these J.D. Robb books so far, especially since my experiences with her Nora Roberts books didn’t stand out for me. I am liking Eve a lot, and Roarke continues to be a stand-out. Let’s just say I liked it enough to pay almost $34 dollars for the fifth book – a paperback. Yep. I am getting the UK paperbacks, and the only place I could get this version of Ceremony in Death

ceremony in death

…was from Amazon.uk. I have looked ahead, and I think it is the only one that wasn’t carried by The Book Depository, so hopefully it will be the last one I have to hunt down. It is pretty though, right?

I also started the Baba Yaga series by Deborah Blake. Wickedly Dangerous was a good book, but I am liking the second book, Wickedly Wonderful, quite a bit more. This series is another one that I picked up because buzz for it was so good, and I am happy that I did.

Oh, and I picked up something totally different for me. City of the Lost is a straight up mystery/thriller with a bit of romance about a small town in the middle of nowhere where people go when they need to disappear. The only reason I picked it up is because Kelly Armstrong is a favorite, but I ended up reading the book in one sitting. Definitely looking forward to the next one.

And I finally dove into Rock Redemption. I picked this up when it first came out, but for some reason I didn’t really have any big desire to read it. I liked the rest of the Rock Kiss series, loved Charlie and T-Rex’s book, but Noah and Kit’s story didn’t tempt me. I decided to read the first chapter last night, because I needed to start it for the character guide – and I ended up finishing the book at 6 o’clock this morning. Another awesome book. I can’t believe I doubted that a Nalini Singh book wouldn’t be “my thing”  – but it won’t happen again.

Finally, I did a re-read of Feverborn from Karen Marie Moning, which I did a rant on a couple of weeks ago. I had hoped that some time and a re-read would make me see things in a different way, but no such luck. I can’t say it was a bad book – it was just a nothing book. Nothing happened. Nothing progressed. Nothing was resolved. I really noticed it when I looked at the notes I had taken. Usually, when I take my notes for a character guide, I have between 12 and 15 pages of notes, and when I edit down everything I am down to 10 or 11 pages and a couple of nights to add the info. For Feverborn? I had 4 pages of notes, which edited down to 2, and it took me an hour to add the info. Because nothing happened of note, there wasn’t anything to add to the guide. And that hurt.

So, what have you been reading and loving (or been totally let down by) for the last couple of weeks? What is the most you have paid for a must-have book?

Review

Reading Wrap Up…and a Rant

booksTime again to check in and see what everyone is reading this week. I managed to check another series off my list, and wrapped up the Young Adult Syrena Legacy by Anna Banks. It was another “one book left” series I had on the go, but reading Of Neptune was a bit of a chore – mostly because I found the main character really annoying this time around. It is hard to put into words just how much Emma grated on my nerves, actually. Not only was she annoying, she was stupid and shallow on top of it. Glad to see that one done.

Oh, and I read not one, but two of the In Death books from J.D. Robb. I am still toying with the idea of doing a character guide for this series, which I think would be fun (but pretty damn long). I do have to decide soon, though – a re-read of 40 books probably isn’t in my future. Anyways, I am really liking this series so far, and I am getting the hype. I am even doing up an author page so I can try and keep the series straight, too.

Now for the rant portion of the post – Spider Game. As always, I like to point out when a book/series/author is a favorite of mine to you can take what I say accordingly, and I admit that I am a long-time Ghostwalker fan. Huge fan. I found the previous book, Viper Game, wasn’t bad, but it felt more like a Breeds story than a Ghostwalker book to me. But Spider Game? I am not quite sure what that was.

I actually liked the story – what there was of it. The set up was good and things were starting to get interesting. I found Trap and Cayenne were the best part of Viper Game, and they had real potential as a couple. There wasn’t the usual “destined to be together but fighting to stay apart” thing going on for 90% of the book, which I liked. But more importantly, I felt like I was reading a Ghostwalker book again. But then, IT happened. All of a sudden, it was like someone had dropped some 50 Shades of Whatever wannabe in the middle of the book. It became page after page after damn page of sex scenes, or at least that is what it felt like. And not Feehan’s usual sex scenes, either. Oh, no. She took things up a notch, but it just didn’t work for me. And once the endless sex scenes started, everything else went down hill, and fast. Even the two big-bad’s that had haunted Trap since childhood were dealt with in like a page and a half, tops. And yes, Trap and Cayenne had to get out of bed to deal with them, too.

We had mentioned before the whole Alphahole and the Doormat thing some of Christine’s books had going on lately, and that really, really happens here. When it was just Trap and Cayenne, mostly I didn’t mind them. Yes, he was all he-man, and yes, I did have to roll my eyes at Cayenne more than once (ugh, she started carrying a toothbrush with her everywhere in case he needed to, you know, USE her mouth = brain damaging eye roll. With gagging sound effects), but it was fine. Weird, but fine. Trap coming off as a nympho with a box of new mail-order toys? Uh, ok. Kinda boring by now, but whatever. My problem came the moment anyone else was around. Basically, Trap turned into an asshole. I tried to find a nicer way to say it, but there isn’t one. A total asshole. And a douchebag. With a huge helping of psycho on top. He became jealous, controlling, angry, irrational, borderline violent and downright mean the moment anyone else was on the page. And who got to deal with it? Cayenne. And her response? Basically, it was “Honey, that wasn’t nice. You hurt my feelings. Take my clothes off? Of course.” Wait, what? He needed to be shot, preferably in the balls. Several times. And the moment they are alone again, he flips his mental switch back to regular sex-fiend Trap. His personality switches gave me whiplash. And not in a good way.

So, basically, it is like someone took 50 pages of a good Ghostwalker story and awkwardly mashed in a weird erotica story involving a split personality hero and a bunch of spider webs into the mix. And the fit was not pretty. I enjoyed the Ghostwalker part, and could’ve done without the rest. Oh, and it looks like the next book will be another team four adventure (since the first two have been so awesome). Swamp Game be out next year, and I am betting on Joe…and Violet. I wonder if Joe will follow Wyatt and Trap into asshole territory, too?

Am I way out there? What was your take on Spider Game? Did Trap just go too far for you, too? What did you think of the “new” style of sexy scenes Christine Feehan had going on?