Weekly Wrap Up…

booksGood Lord, this seemed like one long, long sucker of a week (my weekends begin on Sunday nights). I didn’t get a ton read, but I have been pretty good about my August goal of wrapping up a few one-book-left series.

It took quite a while, but I managed to get back into the swing of Rick Riordan‘s Heroes of Olympus series and finish off Blood of Olympus. I had totally lost track of the storyline heading into this one, and I have to admit that there were quite a few things mentioned from previous books that I didn’t remember at all. Even so, it was a fun read, and hopefully now I am ready for the start of the new Norse mythology series featuring Magnus Chase when it begins in October.

I also tackled a couple of books from favorite authors, with varying results. First up was Deceptions from Kelley Armstrong, which is the third book of her Cainsville series. This was one of my most anticipated books for the year, and I wasn’t disappointed. A lot questions are answered, which I wasn’t expecting this early on (there are two more books to come, after all). There are also some developments on the romantic front, and as much as I have come to dread the whole love triangle thing, for some reason I don’t mind it here. The only problem I have with it is that I just can’t tell which way it will go…Ricky or Gabriel? I preferred Gabriel going into this one, but Ricky has really grown on me. I guess I will just have to wait until next August to find out, since that is when Betrayals is scheduled for release.

My second book didn’t work out quite as well for me. In trying to branch out, I decided to pick up the young adult contemporary thriller, Don’t Look Back, from Jennifer L. Armentrout. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t get into it. It seemed like an interesting story, but it just didn’t grab me at all. It has actually become one of my very rare Did Not Finish books, and I will be adding it to the donation pile. To be perfectly fair, though, I usually have trouble when I stray away from the PNR/UF genre, especially in terms of young adult or new adult. I know better, but I still try something different every now and then with disappointing results. I guess I should learn that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

What did you read this week? Did you start up any new series worth sharing, or did you manage to whittle down the TBR pile at all?

Weekly Wrap Up…

booksIt is time once again to check out what we all have been reading this week. I was a week behind, but I got my hands on Magic Shifts from Ilona Andrews, and it was well worth the wait. I am pretty sure I have said in many, many other posts that I was really happy with this one. I liked the whole Guild direction, the changing dynamics of some of the main players, and the hints of what is to come. If I had one small complaint, it would be that I missed seeing more of the supporting characters – Derek, Ascanio, Andrea, Raphael – they were there, but not to the degree that they usually are, and I did miss them. It was a very Kate-and-Curran centric story, and that is ok, too.

My other biggie for this past week was the third and final book in the Sisters of the Craft series from Lori Handeland. Smoke on the Water saw the three sisters reunited, come into their powers, and take on the big bad. It was a really nice wrap-up for a series that I found to be a very pleasant surprise. And the very best part? The whole trilogy was released over the course of something like 8 weeks, so details stayed fresh and enthusiasm stayed high. It was great. This was my introduction to Lori Handeland’s work, and I am looking forward to trying more.

Aaaand, I have continued my “end it, already” quest to finish up some one-book-left series that I just couldn’t seem to bring myself to let go of. I am about half-way through Blood of Olympus, which is the final book in Rick Riordan‘s Heroes of Olympus series. I know, I know. I didn’t read Harry Potter, but I am a total Percy Jackson fan (and way, way too old for them, but moving on). The problem is that I am totally, completely lost. I couldn’t justify a re-read of the previous four monster-length books, so I thought that I should be able to handle a kiddie book without a week-long recap, right? Nope. I had totally forgotten the whole storyline up to this point, I keep having to google things mentioned in the book, and I barely remembered who half of the characters are. Being beaten by a kids book knocks you down a peg or two, to be sure.

Ok, your turn. What did you try out this week? Anything surprisingly good (or bad), or anything you would recommend?

Weekly Wrap Up…

booksAnother week has flown by, which means it is time to see what we all read this week. I kept to my goal of trying to finally be a big girl and finish off some of the series I have only had one book left on, but of course because I put things off so long I had to do a re-read of the first books, first. I started off with Sarah Rees Brennan‘s The Lynburn Legacy series, which was a surprise young adult favorite of mine. I will be finishing off the third and final book tonight, and I have to admit I will be sad to see this one wrap up. Between the very original premise, the non-standard characters, and the humor, it was definitely no hardship for the re-reads. Much enjoyment was had.

Those three books pretty much took up my week, but I did manage to grab the new Carpathian novella from Christine Feehan that just came out in Edge of Darkness (of course, I didn’t read the other two stories. Um, yet? Maybe? Probably not). This one was actually quite a surprise for a couple of reasons. First off, there was a total change of setting. Instead of the Carpathian mountains (not bad) or the jungle (ugh), this one was very much city based, and a really nice change of pace. It was a short story, yes, but I can say that it manages to open up a whole new direction for the Dark books, and that I liked where it was going.

As a bonus, the focus was turned towards some Carpathians we haven’t seen much from. The triplets play a decent supporting role, and Tariq Asenguard is pretty much front and center. I am not sure if Christine is sticking to the Lost Dark Book storyline for Tariq, but Dark Crime makes me sort of hope that there is a new direction planned for him. And as a total bonus? A side storyline that seemed to be completely dropped way-back-when actually becomes relevant here. I don’t want to say what because of potential spoilers, but it always bugged me that it was hinted at and never followed up on. Oh, there is also another “legendary ancient hunter” introduced by the name of Val Zhestokly. This is totally a Dancing With the Stars name, and every time I read it I snickered like a kid. So sad.

The only downside I can see is the timing for this one. If Tariq or one of the triplets’ stories was up next, it would be great. Instead, we have not one but two books before we get back to this new offshoot of the Dark World. Tariq’s story will be called Dark Carousel, but we will probably have to wait until late 2016/ early 2017 to get it. To me, it would’ve made more sense to hold off a bit before coming out with this one.

Ok, that was my week. How did yours shape up? I assume most of you probably dove into Magic Shifts, but I have to wait until this Tuesday for my turn. You can be sure next week will be an equally long-winded rave about it, though.

Weekly Wrap Up…

booksThis is the post where I try and keep track of what I read, and what I thought about it, since I seem to be blurring a lot of books together in my mind. Getting old blows. Anyways, this was less of a reading week, and more of a re-reading week, but whatever works.

I actually went back and re-read MacRieve by Kresley Cole for some unknown reason. I was walking by my shelves and I just ended up grabbing it. I don’t usually do that, but I was glad I did. I liked it more with this second read. Not enough to have me super-excited for the next Immortals After Dark book, which is a big honkin’ shame, but it was still a bonus. I never, ever thought that the wheels would fall off of my IAD love, but it seems they have. It went from my absolute favorite to being a second-tier series (second tier isn’t bad in my world, but I just never thought it would fall. Ever).

I also plugged along on Mercy Blade by Faith Hunter. I have to admit, I am struggling a bit with this series. I like it, but I have no problem putting a book down and walking away for a week or two. As interesting as they are, they don’t grab and hold my attention for some reason. I suspect it is because the whole Rick/Leo/Bruiser romantic situation distracts me from the story. I like a story with a well-defined pairing, and anything else throws me off (I am looking at you, dreaded young adult love triangle. Die). I will definitely be keeping on with these books, but they are going to take a while.

Also on the re-read list is the first three Drake Sisters books. It has been a while, and I decided to go back and expand the Sisters of the Heart character guide to include all of the books set in Sea Haven, since it looks like that world will not be wrapping up anytime soon. It amazes me how much I had forgotten from these books, but it also made me miss the old Christine Feehan stories. Re-reading the older ones makes the changes in tone and style of the new ones really stand out. They were great stories, not everyone was emotionally scarred, tortured and battered beyond comprehension, and there was a bit more than just sex. Meh, I miss the old days.

So, what did you read this week? Did anything great come your way, or did you find yourself in the dreaded reading slump? Oh, and it is only a few more hours until Kate and Curran. Time should always be measured in terms of release dates, I figure.

Magic Shifts Review

Well, no one can deny that Magic Shifts is going to be a biggie, but Doug Meeks did up a review that confirms it. The last book was a total game-changer in more ways than one, but Ilona Andrews always somehow manages to top themselves.

magic shiftsWhat Doug said…

Where to start, I have written a review on most if not all of the books in this series and I find myself running out of superlatives. The plots are multilayered, interesting and unpredictable. The characters (all of them not just the main couple) are fully developed, no cardboard cutouts and you actually grow to care about all of them. The thing though that makes this such a huge success is that Kate and Curran are deeply in love at all times, add in the best “graveyard” humor ever and you have a mix that can’t lose.

This time you have to wonder, after last book (shame on you if you have not read that epic) what could even give them any problems? It seems there are a ton of things in this world that Ilona Andrews has crafted that can do that and one of them has come to town (no I won’t tell you, it is part of the plot to find out).

In addition to occasionally saving the world (or at least Atlanta), they seem to now need some kind of a job to go with their new lifestyle in suburbia and so they are getting involved with the Merc Guild which is something that makes me happy since I can see all kinds of fun things coming from that arrangement, providing everybody survives long enough to make something happen. The fact that they have some minor problems with the self-appointed neighborhood HOA in the midst of everything else is just another level of humor here, in spite of end-of-the-world plots I laughed more at this book than many romantic comedies I have read over the last year.

As usual there are a multitude of plots, they all seem to be able to tie themselves back together by the end of the book and we are left with a tidbit or two towards a future book (not always the next one) and in addition to everything else Kate and Curran are trying to look like a family unit, kinda hard but, hey, they are giving it a really great effort (nobody in the HOA was harmed in the reading of this book).

The ongoing [fill in the blank for what you call her relationship with her Dad] is still confusing to me, Kate leaves us no doubt as to where her feelings lie but they keep throwing just enough information into the mix that you have to remember some of the things from previous books to not start to like him a bit. He is still put forth as the big bad thing in some epic battle to be fought in the (I hope) distant future. There may be just the smallest bit of light at the end of that tunnel after this book but it was a teaser at the end of the book.

This book as many of the others revolves around complex relationships and loyalties between friends and loved ones, which is part of why this is such a great series, it is never as simple as “beat up the bad guys”, people’s emotions are involved and used to deepen plots, things that people would never risk are done for the sake of loved ones, and the list of such things is near endless but it takes this series from the swamp of interesting but average urban fantasy and raises it to the level of exceptionalism that you only get from one of the best series being written in this genre or any other.

I was going to do a trek to the nearest big city, pick up a copy, and get a hotel room for the night and just read. I even had a room booked in the best hotel in the city, but I had to change it to the week after because of work. Boo. I guess an extra week won’t kill me. Right?

Weely Wrap Up…

booksWell, I have a big two books to my credit for this week.  I stared things off with the second book of Lori Handeland‘s new Sisters of the Craft series, Heat of the Moment. I enjoyed this one just as much as the first, and I will be happy to get my hands on the third and final one in a couple of weeks. The best thing about this series? All three books are being released over something like 6 weeks, meaning no big wait where you forget what happened in the last book.

My second read was Christine Feehan‘s latest Sisters of the Heart book, Earth Bound, which featured Lexi and Gavriil. I have to say, this one was more “vintage Feehan” feeling than the last few books of hers I have read (I am looking at you, Viper Game). I enjoyed this one, I liked the fact that 5 of the brothers have reunited and I really liked the direction that Lissa’s story is taking. It looks like we might be heading to Russia for the next story, which could be fun.

There were a couple of things that did make me pause, though. I had already said in a previous post how I have noticed in the last book, Air Bound, that there were a few consistency errors. Like Airiana Rydell became Ridell, things like that. It also said in Air Bound that Hannah and Jonas had had a baby boy. Two weeks later (storyline wise), and Hannah and Jonas now have a daughter. I thought maybe I had read it wrong, but I went back and checked and nope – gender switch.

Do little errors like that bug you? They do me, sometimes. It isn’t a major thing, but it seems careless. Or maybe it is just me. What books have you caught consistency errors in?

Weekly Wrap-Up

booksI was a total, utter failure this week, reading a grand total of zero new books. Nada. I did manage to re-read the very, very short first book of Christine Feehan‘s Drake Sisters series, Magic in the Wind. Keep in mind, that one clocks in at only a little over a hundred pages, so I can barely even count it as a book. But what the re-read did do was really highlight the differences between the “old” Christine Feehan style and the new. I have been joking that Christine is morphing into Lora Leigh, but the tone and the vibe, for want of a better word, between her latter books and the earlier stuff really is different. I can’t say that I disliked the last Ghostwalker or Leopard books, not really, but they just read differently.

So, that was my pretty epic failure of a week. How did yours shape up? What is your take on the “new” Feehan style versus the tried and true stories of old?

Weekly Wrap Up…

booksAnother week, another weekly wrap up. This one was a bit on the slow side, with only a few reads under my belt. I finished up a re-read of Air Bound by Christine Feehan for the character guide. I had forgotten much of the storyline, so I am glad I did a refresher before the next book comes out next week, but there were a few technical issues. There were a few changes, or omissions, of details from the previous books, and that makes me nuts. Especially something like when the main character’s name changes between one book and the next. Airiana Rydell suddenly became Airiana Ridell, for example. They are only little details, but it takes me out of the flow of things and makes me start hunting for more issues.

I finished up the young adult Darkest Powers series from Kelley Armstrong. I really enjoyed the whole series, but I was wishing that Derek would connect somehow with Clay and Elena and the pack, but that wasn’t to be. If anything, though, it didn’t read like a last book. It ends with not much resolved, and between that and no pack interaction, it felt like there was a lot of story left to be told.

Potential spoilers…

And my other read of this week was Bengal’s Quest by Lora Leigh. On the upside, there were fewer typos and errors in this one, which is always a bonus. On the downside, though, there were some out-of-the-blue developments that make me wonder if I missed something. Like, Cat? Seriously? Where the hell did Cat come from? There was Fawn Corrigan, who became Claire Martinez. There was Gideon, who became Graeme. Here, there was no mention of Fawn, no reference to a Fawn at all. There was Cat, there was Claire, there was Cat AND Claire, and there was Catarina (?) I have learned to read each book as a stand-alone, which helps my OCD issues, but when I have to update the guide things get wonky and hard to manage. One character, one name, dammit! Other than that, I am glad to finally get Gideon/Graeme’s story, and I am hopeful that whole arc will wrap up shortly.

So, that wraps up my week. How was yours? What did you think of Bengal’s Quest, if you checked it out? Did the whole sudden appearance of “Cat” make you wonder what you had missed, too? And the whole Claire and Liza developments? Ooookay…

Weekly Wrap Up…

booksThat time again. After what was admittedly a totally hellish work week, and the demands of my other time consuming hobby, I still managed to get a couple of books read. Yay me.

Anyways, I am still working my way through Kelley Armstrong‘s young adult Darkest Powers series, and I finished the second book, The Awakening. I am liking them just as much as the adult Women of the Otherworld books, which surprised me greatly. They are a fast read, too, which means I can blow through them pretty fast. Looking forward to getting into the last one. Of course, I must re-buy all of them in the British paperback version so they will be the same height as the Women of the Otherworld books. Of course.

I am going to try and get the Jane Yellowrock series by Faith Hunter caught up before the spin-off series starts up in October (?), so I thought I would read Blood Cross. I found that the first book of the series wasn’t bad, but it didn’t grab me and make me immediately reach for the next one. I ended up enjoying Blood Cross quite a bit more, probably because the world has been established and there is some movement on the romantic front for Jane. I also enjoyed the spotlight on best friend Molly and her family, so that was a bonus. Do I think it will get to a, say, Mercy Thompson level for me? No. But I still think it will be a solid, interesting read.

And finally, I am almost done a re-read of Christine Feehan‘s Air Bound, needed so I can get the damn character guide up to date before the next book comes out in July. I was surprised by the details of the series I had forgotten, but the inconsistencies in either my memory or the books themselves means that the correct birth order of the brothers is making me nuts. I have it listed one way from the previous books, but this one says something else. Meh.

Anyways, that was my adventures in reading. How did yours shape up? What did you love, or not love so much? Where does Jane Yellowrock fall on your reading scale?

Weekly Wrap Up…

booksFirst, I am totally going to pat myself on the back. I have only added one new book to my TBR pile in the last month. ONE. Along with not adding to it, I have continued to weed some out that I just know I am never going to get to and donated them. AND, I have been actively reading from said TBR pile for the last few weeks. What does all that mean? I have finally, FINALLY, gotten down to less than 200 books on the TBR pile (190 to be exact). That is down from the almost 300 mark, which was a bit embarrassing. The goal is to have it below 150 by the end of the year.

Anyways, this week’s reading. I started things off with the new one from Lori Handeland (a new-to-me author). In the Air Tonight is the first book of her Sisters of the Craft series, and all in all I liked it. It was fast paced, there was a good flow to the story, and I am a sucker for the whole separated at birth thing. I will definitely be picking up the next one when it comes out later this month.

I also read my first Kelley Armstrong young adult novel, The Summoning. It is set in the same world as her Women of the Otherworld series, but this time around it focuses on a young necromancer who has no idea what she is, or that vampires, werewolves and sorcerers actually exist until she is sent to a home for troubled teens. I flew through this one, and found myself liking it just as much as the adult books.

And finally I thought that since I am having so much fun keeping an eye on the goings-on for the upcoming Shadowhunters show based on Cassandra Clare‘s Mortal Instruments series, I might as well get caught up and read The Bane Chronicles. Eh, I can take it or leave it, to be honest. Some stories are pretty good, others seemed a bit pointless. Magnus himself isn’t quite enough to hold my interest, so I tend to like the stories that more heavily involve other characters I already know, like Tessa or Raphael. I am still glad I got it, but you don’t miss much if you skip it, either.

Ok, that was me. What did you read this week? Winners or losers? Unexpected surprises? How it your TBR battle raging on?