Vision in Silver Review…

I am still waiting to find out if I have been approved on NetGalley for a copy an early copy of Anne Bishop‘s Vision in Silver (along with a couple of others), but Doug Meeks has already done up his review. I am looking forward to getting back into the world of The Others, but this is one that I am going to have to go back and skim over the previous books to be up to speed before I dive in. It will be available in hardcover format on March 3rd.

vision in silverWhat Doug said…

What do you say about the third book in possibly one of the most original, addictive and exceptionally written series being published?

I will try to limit my use of superlatives but my first thought was that Written in Red was one of the best books in many years, Murder of Crows while being a 5 Star reading experience was missing that elusive “I can’t put this book down” quality.  Vision in Silver has recaptured that feeling that I had while reading Written in Red.

Seldom do many books live up to their own hype; this one did and surpassed it.  You may notice I am not giving a lot of examples because almost anything I can say about this book could be a spoiler other than Meg becomes more a part of the Lakeside Courtyard and is considered by them to be more than human and almost terra indigene.  The fact is that any action against Meg would be considered an attack on The Others which is another comforting thought in this world.  We do get to know more about the world in general and it is amazing just to consider the things that are fact in this world that would be mythology in almost any other novel you ever read.

Good things happen, bad things happen and you find out more about what The Others consider important and you keep wondering how the humans on this planet get so stupid at times.  You should never forget that The Others still are the predominate predators not to mention pretty much the owners of this world, the humans keep forgetting that bit of intelligence.

Bottom Line:  This is going to be one of the Top 5 Urban Fantasy novels of 2015, it is just too good for me to describe without sounding like a slobbering fan and not a reviewer.  To use an old cliché, if you only get one book this year, this is that book!

How excited are you to get your next The Others fix?

Rock Hard Review-Type Thing…

rock hardNalini Singh‘s newsletter came out today (er, yesterday?), and in it she mentioned that Rock Hard was up for review at Netgalley. Yes, that Rock Hard, as in Charlie and T-Rex and one of my must-have-now books for this year (ok, there are a few of those, but I have a dull life). I don’t Netgalley, but for Nalini I am willing to try anything once. Surprisingly, I was approved, and it was mine. The only thing is that you are encouraged to review, of course, so here is what I wrote…

I have to preface this by making two points. First, I am not a huge contemporary romance fan. My reading of them is sparse, and the few times I break down and try one I am usually not all that impressed. The second point? I love Nalini Singh’s writing, and would read pretty much anything she wrote. Maybe the two points balance each other enough to give a fair review.

Simply put, this was a hell of a book. I, as have many others, have waited for Charlie and T-Rex’s story since they completely stole the show in Rock Addiction, and there was no disappointment at all. It was at times sweet, sad, funny, and sexy. T-Rex is Nalini’s special brand of alpha hero, but Charlotte more than held her own. As shy as she was, and as afraid as she could be, it was wonderful to watch her fight her way back to living a whole life. It wasn’t easy, but it was realistic.

We knew going into Rock Hard that Charlie had had a traumatic event in her past, and I sort of had an inkling as to what it was from bits and pieces we already knew. For that matter, Gabriel himself didn’t always have the easiest time of things, either. I think what I liked was that they don’t heal each other – they help each other heal themselves. And both are a work in progress.

So, in summary…great story, loved the characters, and can’t wait for the re-read. This was one of my most anticipated reads for the first half of the year, and it didn’t let me down.

I can’t call what I write reviews. I used to do these big, involved write ups that I spent a ton of time on, trying not to ramble too much or give too much away while still hitting the high points. They were actually stressing me out. So, instead I now just try to say whether I liked it or not, basically. I was so happy with this one. Sometimes I got frustrated when Charlotte would have a set back, but I was frustrated FOR her, not AT her or the story. And I want a T-Rex of my own. Just saying.

If you can, head over to Netgalley for your copy. If not, you only have a month to go before Rock Hard can be yours.

January Wrap Up…

As the first month of the new year comes to a close, it is time to take a look back and see what we liked…and what we didn’t. I had a decent reading month, between favorites that I re-read and long awaited new additions to favorite series. That isn’t to say that there weren’t a few bumps in the road, though…

my life next doorMy Life Next Door – I have heard pretty much all great things about this one from Huntley Fitzpatrick, and since I was feeling like something a little different I thought I would give a young adult/new adult contemporary a try. It made me realize that I am just not a fan of the genre. I like young adult paranormal, sure, but the contemporary stuff bores me for the most part. The tensions always feel forced, for some reason, and that makes me frustrated. I have tried to like them, especially since some favorite authors of mine have or are publishing series in this genre, but it is a no go. Gena Showalter, you are on your own with your new series. I will be taking a pass.

you slay meAisling Grey: Guardian – I started off the year reading the first three books in the series by Katie MacAlister. They weren’t bad, they were entertaining and a fast, fun read, but I didn’t get invested enough in the world to keep on. Katie MacAlister was on the list of new-to-me authors that I wanted to try, and maybe I will give another series a shot down the road. As for now, though, I won’t be picking up any more for a while.

hungry like the wolfHungry Like the Wolf – This new one for Paige Tyler has been quite well received, and most of the reviews I have read have been positive. I was really looking forward to it…and then it happened. My absolute least favorite trope is the intrepid female reporter character. Or, I should say, the completely human intrepid female reporter who sticks her nose into supernatural business and ends up needing rescuing over and over and over again, a la Lois Lane. Completely drives me nuts. Turns out the main character of Hungry Like the Wolf is, you guessed it, Lois Lane lite. I have been trying to get through it, but three weeks in and I haven’t hit the half way point. Slow going.

bound by flamesBound by Flames – The latest Vlad and Leila book by Jeaniene Frost was, um, not bad. Not great, but not bad. Even though a lot goes on, and there is some decent action, I couldn’t shake the feeling that this one felt like a filler book. I liked it enough while I was reading, but I could put it down for a day or more and not need to read more. I guess it just didn’t quite grab me.

I already rambled on about Viper Game and Burned, which were the highlights of my month, so how did your reading shape up? Anything you loved, loathed, or wished had just plain been better?

Pick of the Week…and a Mini Review

I have whined quite a bit about the long, long wait for a new Ghostwalkers book by Christine Feehan, but that wait is over since today is the release day for Viper Game.

viper gameSynopsis…

GhostWalker Wyatt Fontenot knows the price he paid for the secret military experiments that gave him his special catlike abilities. After all, he left his bayou home a healer and came back a killer. While Wyatt and his GhostWalker brother Gator may have known exactly the sort of game they were getting into, Wyatt never anticipated where it would lead—or to whom.

The swamps hold many mysteries, but few are as sinuously seductive as Le Poivre de Cayenne. The woman the locals call Pepper is every bit as enigmatic as the three little girls she’s desperately trying to protect. From what, Wyatt is soon to discover. Right now Pepper needs a man like Wyatt. Passionately. But her secrets are about to take them both deeper into the bayou than either imagined—where desire is the deadliest poison of all.

POTENTIAL SPOILERS!  POTENTIAL SPOILERS!  POTENTIAL SPOILERS!

I got my copy yesterday, and finished it last night. It was fun to get back into the Ghostwalker world, but it had a different feel for a couple of different reasons. Most obviously, it was our first real introduction to the mysterious team four, the Pararescue Jumpers. Even though we have briefly seen a couple of members like Joe and Mordecai, it was Wyatt who was the big mystery. Not only what he was, but how and when he became a Ghostwalker. The timeline gets dealt with, but how he actually ended up a Ghostwalker remains a little vague, honestly. It wasn’t a big deal, but hopefully we will get more details on the team origins in later books.

We do have to pretty much forget what little we knew about Wyatt going into this one. When we first met Wyatt back in Night Game, he was the charming, hard-partying little brother who had a secret crush on sweet, innocent Joy. In Viper Game, he has somehow become not only a Doctor, but a surgeon. Yep, in the storyline time between the two books, which reads like maybe a year or two at most, Wyatt spent a whole lot of time in school. That made me snicker a bit, but it wasn’t that big of a deal in the scheme of things. The Joy thing is addressed, too, and changes a bit from the first book. It isn’t a huge part of this story, but there is some creative license taken. Wyatt has also become surprisingly Alpha. As in, the most alpha of all of the Ghostwalkers to date. Seriously, didn’t see that coming.

I like the return to the Bayou, and fans of Nonny will be happy to know that she plays a major role. Other than her, though, it is an all-new cast of characters. I really like the new team, like the dynamic and the interaction between them. I even quite liked Pepper as a character, which is a bonus for me. Usually storylines with children aren’t favorites of mine, but the kids don’t overwhelm things so I didn’t mind. Again, though, you have to suspend your disbelief with the kids.

 As I have said a few times, though, you have to sort of just…go with it. It seems every new book has the enhancements getting more and more extreme and, dare I say it, unbelievable. As we get further into the series the characters are changing more and more from enhanced humans to superhumans. The machinations to put the two main characters together are also getting more involved and outlandish, but such is the nature of the series.

I always, always laugh out loud when a new team member is introduced. There is a totally random and absurd info-dump that never fails to crack me up, even though that is not the intention, I am sure. Remember when Jonas Harper was introduced back in Shadow Game? He was the master of disguise/knife thrower/hire wire specialist who grew up in the circus. We have two such introductions in Viper Game. There is Draden, the male model with a masters degree/insomniac, and Trap, the boy-billionaire/inventor/scientist/with a possible personality disorder. They end up being great characters, especially Trap, but their introductions are a hoot.

So, not sure I got my point across, but I was really glad to get back into the Ghostwalker world. I liked the new team, I liked the direction they are going, and I really look forward to Spider Game, which will probably be Trap’s story. He was a total scene stealer, by the way. There were issues that niggled, like the changes in Wyatt’s character’s backstory, but they were not a huge deal. There were a few consistency errors in the book, as well. Wyatt starts off saying he knows himself and how jealous he is, then later says he has never been jealous before. Then he warns Pepper that he has always had a jealous streak, but later reminds his team-mates that he has never been affected by jealousy before. Also, just a warning, this one is a five on the alpha/controlling scale. Heat factor is really, really high, more so than any other Ghostwalker book to this point. Wyatt is a total dominant, and he can sometimes skim the border of being too controlling. At least for me. Let me know what you think of Viper Game. Worth the wait, or too different for you?

Burned. It is Mine. And it was worth the wait.

Cue evil, evil laughter. The book gods have for some reason seen fit to ship Karen Marie Moning‘s Burned a whole week early. Behold the beauty that arrived in my mail this morning…

image2And yes, I read it. The entire thing. Here is my entirely non-spoiler thoughts about the long awaited Burned.

So, originally Burned was supposed to be the second book of the Dani O’Malley trilogy, but somewhere along the way (and through several long pushbacks), Burned became a multi-POV book focusing mostly on MacKayla Lane. I was skeptical, and more than a little bummed, since a) I don’t like change, and b) I actually liked Dani. Oh, and c) Roydan. Anyways, I wasn’t thrilled with Dani (and Ryodan) getting pushed into the background again. But that isn’t quite what happened.

It isn’t really Mac’s story this time around. It is a bit tricky to describe, but Mac is less…active?… and more the vessel through which we learn the rest of the story. Not sure that even makes sense, but while Mac does have a lot of page time, it isn’t actually her story being told. If anything, she is in a bit of a holding pattern while the world moves on around her. Ryodan, Lor, Kat, Jo, Christian, the Highlanders all have their turn in the spotlight, and the story flows along quite well with the multiple POV’s. But Mac is just sort of…there.

I really liked the direction Lor’s story went, and Kat’s, too. Neither had a huge role, but I liked where they were going. Ditto for Jo. Never thought I would say that since I loathed Jo from the start, but she grew on me here. The Highlanders are more than capable of holding their own against Barrons and the boys, and there are a few developments on that front that I didn’t see coming. At all.

And then there is Dani. Wow. I think we all know by this point that she was to be aged to late teens in Burned, and aged she is. There really isn’t anything I can say about it without spoilers galore, but it worked out way, way better than I had hoped. Ryodan is one of the main ones impacted, and he steals every scene he is in. There was a lot more going on behind the scenes for him with Dani than we ever knew, and in Burned he not only shows some emotion, but becomes almost noble. Still a badass, but with his own code of honor.

I did find that things dragged a bit during some of the Mac sections, or rather the sections that focused on Mac rather than the sections where Mac is narrating what is going on with others. Those were great, and very informative. All in all, I can honestly say that Burned was worth the very long wait. I wanted a Dani/Ryodan book, but what we got was so much more. Less Mac would’ve been better, but it was a small price to pay for the rest.

Now, I will lose what is left of my mind if the next book, Feverborn, does not come out on its scheduled October 20th release date. I mean it. Rage will follow.

Guest Review – Blood Prince Series

review iconSo, thanks once again to Doug Meeks, who sent over a review for the Blood Prince series from author Jennifer Blackstream. From what Doug has said, the final book was recently released, and it did a great job of wrapping everything up. He also recommended starting from the beginning and reading in order to get the full enjoyment of the story.

unnamedWhat Doug said…

The Blood prince series is a series that is a collection of 5 stories (1 for each of 5 princes) and an overarching story that you really don’t know where it is going or even what it really is until the last book and it was wonderful.

The stories use a familiar fairy tale is a basis for the plot but even though they are titled as a “retelling” they are very unlike the fairy tale except as the most basic framework.

They all were exceptional I thought but the collection of the 5 books taken as a whole and the resolution of the overarching storyline made this one of my All Time Top 10 completed series as far as being entertained but 5 original stories that never quite went where I thought they would go and surprised me at every turn.

I wrote this little review just to let people know that for about $16 (book 1 is free on Amazon) you can get what I consider one of the best reading experiences of the last 12-14 months for me. (NOTE:  That statement applies only if you read the whole series in order, each novel builds a bit on the last one).  Let me just say I HIGHLY recommend this series, quick reading and I should note that a couple of the books started slow and I thought they were going to be duds and then it would take off and become “can’t put it down” so don’t give up on any of these books if you buy them and start reading.  Book 1 is free so you can get a taste of it.

The Blood Prince series (prices shown are from Amazon):

Before Midnight: A Romantic Retelling of Cinderella (Blood Prince Series Book 1) FREE
One Bite: A Romantic Retelling of Snow White (Blood Prince Series Book 2) $3.99
Golden Stair: A Romantic Retelling of Rapunzel (Blood Prince Series Book 3) $3.99
Divine Scales: A Romantic Retelling of The Little Mermaid (Blood Prince Series Book 4) $3.99
Beautiful Salvation: A Romantic Retelling of Sleeping Beauty (Blood Prince Series Book 5) $3.99

Any other fans of this one? I haven’t heard of it myself, but it does sound interesting.

November Wrap Up…

This might be a couple of days early, but since things have been so quiet around lately I thought maybe we could take a look back at the month that was.

Personally, November was a truly meh month. There were a couple of highlights, but I spent a good portion of it trying to drag myself through one book. I was too stubborn to give up on it, and too uninterested to keep going. Tricky.

Haunted – This fifth book in the Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong wasn’t bad. Not really. I just found myself unable to get into it. I don’t think I am  big on the whole ghost thing, I guess, since I found it rather dull. Maybe part of it was because there was so little interaction with the other characters that it read like a stand alone, too. It didn’t have the same feel as the other books for me, and while that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just didn’t work for me here. Now it is time to dive back in and get caught up on the novellas.

Night Shift – To be fair, I am judging this one based on only reading half of the stories (yet), but I thought the Ilona Andrews and Nalini Singh novellas in the Night Shift anthology were awesome. I don’t think I could pick a favorite between the two, but secretly I will admit that I was thrilled to finally see a softer side of Jim. This collection ended up being the highlight of my month.

And, other than a couple of random e-books that I don’t even remember the titles of, that was pretty much my pathetic reading for November. I am still waiting for my copy of Gena Showalter‘s The Darkest Touch and G.A. Aiken‘s new one, Light My Fire, but hopefully they will could towards a great December.

How did your November reading fare? Any standouts, either good or bad, surprises or excitements?

 

October Wrap Up…

Well October was a big, big month for some great books, both existing and new series. I thought since we probably all managed to tear through them, we could maybe give our impressions.

Archangel’s Shadows: Nalini Singh‘s latest Guild Hunter novel featured Ashwini and Janvier, with a big helping of Elena and Raphael. I actually was lucky enough to have Nalini send me an ARC, which was awesome, but I still loved the book. Ash and Janvier were long-time favorites, so to finally get their story was a real treat. But not only did I like their arc, but the developments for several other characters, as well. Just when I think I have a favorite of the seven a new one pops up and steals the show, and this time around it was the mysterious Naasir. I can honestly say that at this point, I just can’t choose who I like more. Another great installment of a favorite series.

Seventh Grave and No Body: Darynda Jones‘ latest was a bit different for me. I liked it, but can’t say I loved it. There was a lot going on, a lot of development for the characters, and a ton of action, but there were times Charley just didn’t do it for me. I think it is like Doug said in his review – she skimmed the border of TSTL in a few cases. As always, her heart was in the right place, but she still needed to calm down a bit in a few cases. I do have to say that it is a pivotal book, and definitely not one to miss if you are a fan of the series, but it isn’t one I will grab for a re-read.

Burn For Me: What can I say? This new series from Ilona Andrews‘ was one I have been anticipating for months and months, and I was starting to worry that maybe I had built it up too much in my head and it couldn’t live up to my expectations. Totally wrong – I really, truly loved it. Great characters, lots of action, very cool world-building that wasn’t bogged down like I found the first Kate Daniels book. It hit the ground running, and didn’t need a ton of set up to make you understand what was going on. I am notoriously hard on female characters, but Nevada became an instant favorite. Ditto Mad Rogan. I know I sound gushy, but it was one of my top reads of the year, and I am stoked for the next one (whenever it may be). I have already read it twice, actually, and it was just as good the second time around.

What did you think of your big reads this month? Anything stand out for you, good or bad? Did October’s releases live up to the hype, or leave you wanting more?

Review: Seventh Grave and No Body

Thanks once again to Doug Meeks, who sent over his review of another much anticipated October release – Seventh Grave and No Body by Darynda Jones. Now, anyone who has read Sixth Grave On The Edge knows that it ended with quite the unexpected development. To those who have not read it yet…PROCEED NO FURTHER! Warning!

spoiler bannerseventh graveWhat Doug said…

WARNING!!!!! If you have NOT read Sixth Grave on the Edge then STOP reading, this will be a spoiler that you don’t want to read.

Now that I have your attention I should mention that you do not want to read the synopsis of book 8 either until you finish this book

OK, on the last page of Sixth Grave on the Edge we find out that our favorite Grim Reaper Charley is pregnant (which kinda came as a surprise to everyone), in this book keep herself and the baby alive have become a primary mission for Reyes(and Charley to a somewhat lesser extent it seems at times). 12 hellhounds have been released from Hell and they want Charley, Reyes does not know how to kill them (and neither does anyone else), add to this plot, Charley’s Dad is missing, add to that people who are writing suicide notes but leaving no body (hence the title). It is a real party for Charley and crew.

While Reyes would like nothing better than to lock her in her apartment with him as 24 hour guard, Charley is having none of it because she will go crazy if she even tries. Unfortunately, it does lead to some moments of TSTL for Charley which does not really help her cause.

A newswoman is getting a bit too close to Reyes for her comfort and jealously looks bad on almost anyone, Charley is no exception. Reyes wants her to stay away from the newswoman because he feels something is “not right” about her but when it comes to scummy reporters how do you tell.

I can tell you that I laugh more at this book than the last one which I thought was hilarious, the beauty is that Darynda Jones manages to do this without taking the edge off of the serious parts of this book, takes a clever touch to accomplish that piece of writing.

There are several surprises in this book, a couple are held to the last chapter, you will have a few questions that obviously are not going to get answered until next book.

The overarching story is for all practical purposes being serialized and while i have no problem with that it DOES mean that you cannot even read the synopsis for future books or you WILL get some spoilers that should be discovered while reading the book.

Bottom Line: This is a 5 Star novel, I will subtract a half a star just because I already knew a big spoiler just from reading the synopsis for the next book Eighth Grave After Dark. Still you gotta get this but again, books 6-7-8 look like they HAVE to be read in order or you will not be able to appreciate them as much as previous novels (which still should be read in order but was not a 100% requirement). There are a couple of quick plots that Charley takes care of that add to the entertainment level of this book. So 4.5 Stars and highly recommended.

I just ordered my copy, so I have a bit of a wait…and I just remembered that I still need to update the character guide for the previous book, too. Crap.

Burn For Me Review

I don’t think anyone who stumbles across this blog has missed the fact that I am super looking forward to Ilona AndrewsBurn For Me. Ever since I heard that there was a new series in the works from them, I have been excited, and the brief teasers and snippets that have been released have justified that excitement. Well, while we have just under two weeks to wait, Doug Meeks got his hands on an early copy and was kind enough to share his review.

burn for meWhat Doug said…

Ok, let me start by just saying it was freaking awesome, if you are surprised by this this must be your first novel by Ilona Andrews (or you are terribly slow)

This is a world similar to our own but different due to magical powers being discovered during the 1700/1800 period which has changed the course of the world drastically in places and less so in others. The magical world is broken up into “Houses” which kind of divide up almost any chunk of real estate (in this case it is Houston).

Nevada Baylor runs her own private investigations company and prides herself on having some honor and client loyalty, a trait not as in demand as you might think which is part of the reason her company is mortgaged to the hilt to one of the “houses” which plays into the plot in them being able to assign her a case she is most likely to fail if not die in the process. The person they want her to bring in is a magical person with pyromaniac tendencies and he is powerful.

Enter Mad Rogan, scourge of Mexico (they will tell you why) and arrogant and self centered as they come because he is one of the most powerful magical beings on the planet, I won’t bore you with how they get together (read the book) but they are NOT a match made in heaven or any place else but their evolving relationship is entertaining beyond belief. I wondered several times if I should go back and read book 1 of Kate Daniels and see if Curran was this bad when they first met.

The crux of the plot (outside of any romance or lack thereof between Nevada and Mad Rogan) is that her assigned target for capture can set almost anything on fire and has plans to do exactly that a LOT more and they have to stop him somehow. Throw in some near death experiences (USUALLY a good ice breaker for a romance) and some magical discoveries, this is an exciting story that never really allows you to get bored other than possibly the reader being more forgiving of Mad Rogan than Nevada is, although it should be mentioned she has valid reasons. (Suspecting him of government sanctioned mass murder ranks high on the list)

This is a story you are never quite sure where it is going and trying to guess will only make your head hurt. Excellent job of hiding some things until the epilogue, imagine my surprise, very nice touch. Never saw it coming at all.

Bottom Line: Exceptional story, multi-layered plot, intriguing characters that you really want to see more of, add all that to some nice little perks for veterans and you have a story that is hard to beat with enough similarity to our own world to make you feel at home just a bit (well a small bit minus the magic). 5 Stars, highly recommended which is actually more than I think I gave the first Kate Daniels book (but to be fair she had a horrible job of building a totally new world we had never seen). So go buy this book as soon as you can, no cliffhangers either I should mention.

Who else is on board for this one? It is my most anticipated read for the rest of the year, and most of the reviews I am allowing myself to peek at are overwhelmingly positive. Did I mention less than two weeks now?