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?

Magic Shifts Review…

Thanks once again to Doug Meeks, who got his hands on an early copy of Magic Shifts from Ilona Andrews. Yes, that Magic Shifts. Holy crap, that really is a treat. Anyways, Doug was kind enough to share his spoiler-free review, but the rest of us will have to wait until August 4th to get our hands on it.

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 multi-layered, 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).

Their future involvement with the Merc Guild is something that made me happy since I can see all kinds of fun things coming from that arrangement if everybody survives enough to make something happen.

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. 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.

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 and that 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.

You just know this one will be epic. After the game-changer that was Magic Breaks, it is anyone’s guess what will happen next. I am on the favorite-character-death-watch, though, which is always tense. Derek must live!

Weekly Wrap Up…

booksAnother week has gone by, and I didn’t manage to keep up my previous reading pace (which is a bit of a bummer). I wrapped up Alexandra Ivy‘s When Darkness Ends, and I thought that the series ended on a high note. It had an interesting story (and secondary couple, too), lots of action, and a great lead couple. Going to miss this one, but I hope we will get some cameo appearances in the upcoming Dragons of Eternity series.

I also got caught up on the Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong by finishing up the anthology collection Otherworld Nights. I did struggle a bit through this one, not because it wasn’t good, but because I think the finishing line was in sight and I wanted to move on to a different series. I am ready and waiting for my season 2 of Bitten, though.

And finally, I started a re-read of Nalini Singh‘s Shards of Hope for the character guide. I loved it the first time around, and that hasn’t changed with the re-read. Great new characters, new packs, and a strong romance made me a happy reader. Now we just have to wait how long for the next one? I am going to go out on a limb and say maybe Remy’s story is next?

So, how was your reading week? Do you come across any unexpected treasures, or re-read any great books?

Weekly Wrap Up…

booksAnother week, another few books to mention. I actually am quite happy with the reading I got done, and everything was quite positive. I did a Kelley Armstrong Women of the Otherworld marathon and managed to almost finish off the entire series. The last three books were Savannah’s arc, and I blew through Waking the Witch, Spellbound, and the finale, Thirteen. I wasn’t sure how I was going to dig Savannah as a main character, but I found that it worked great. I liked her storyline, I liked her and Adam as separate characters and as a couple, and I was especially happy to have pretty much all of the old gang back for the final book. Clay and Elena, Paige and Lucas, Eve and Kristoff, Jamie and Jeremy, Hope and Karl all join Savannah in wrapping things up (only Robyn from Living With the Dead is missing, and it was no big loss. I had forgotten about her anyways). I even finished up most of the stories in the three anthologies, which was a bonus. Sad to see this one end, but at least I still have season two of the show to watch.

I also read Eighth Grave After Dark by Darynda Jones, and that sucker had a lot going on. If  you are a fan of the series, this is not one you could miss and just jump ahead to The Dirt on Ninth Grave. Nuh-uh. I breezed through it – and even did the updated character guide, I got so involved. Can’t wait to see what happens next.

The last couple of weeks, I was trying to get into A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, and it was touch and go. But most of you said that things pick up if you give it a shot, so I kept at it – and things really did pick up. For me, it started to get good when Tamlin and Feyre stopped being enemies and gradually started to find common ground. Thanks to those who said to keep reading, it is turning out to be well worth it, and I will be picking up the print copy ASAP.

And finally, I have started the final Guardians of Eternity book by Alexandra Ivy, When Darkness Ends. I am not far in yet, but so far things are going really well. I am liking storyline and characters, and hating the final big bad (which is the point). Another one that is going out on top.

What was your reading week like? Did you tackle the TBR pile, or were you busy with new releases? What was your take on Charley Davidson’s latest adventure?

Release Day Review – Eighth Grave After Dark

Thanks once again to Doug Meeks, who sent over his review for the newest Darynda Jones‘ Charley Davidson book, Eighth Grave After Dark. This one was actually my pick of the week, as well, so we are getting two posts in one.

Personally, the previous Seventh Grave was the weakest entry in the series. Not bad at all, but I found myself getting annoyed with some of the bone-headed moves Charley pulled. I did love Osh and his whole storyline, which saved it for me, but I am glad to hear things are back on track with this one.

eighth grave after darkWhat Doug said…

It was a close call at first as to whether or not to rate this 4 or 5 Stars. In the end I went with 5 because I could not get some of this stuff out of my head, I will probably be thinking about it for days and that is pretty much always the sign of a really good book (well, occasionally a really BAD book but obviously this was not the case)

Charley is still stuck on the ground of an old convent since she needs hallowed ground to keep her safe we learned in the last book.

Her step-mother who always kinda treated her like dirt shows up and starts trying to be the mother she never was, which makes you suspect all kinds of things (almost all of them will be wrong).

She has an actual detective case to work on but since she can’t go anywhere for various reasons (like being 9 months pregnant and can’t leave hallowed ground) it is kind of a tough thing but she has to save a kidnapped girl if possible.

All these things while interesting are more day-in-the-life for this series, the fireworks start towards the last few chapters (as she seems to have done in the last 2 books) and they will leave your head spinning BUT (and I don’t think this is much of a spoiler) after 7 books and most of the eighth one we FINALLY get to find out who Mr. Wong is, WOW talk about super power ‘ability to keep a secret”.

Bottom Line: I loved it, the last book was ok but forgettable (which made me have to stop and remember stuff I had forgotten) in this book the humor was great (you gotta love sarcasm and she is a smart a$$) the story kept you interested until it became a total “WTF just happened!!!” story. this is not a cliffhanger but she has gotten in the habit of leaving us with a huge hook for her next book and this is no exception. Surprises galore and I could hardly put it down, 5 Stars because I am still thinking about things that happened over 24 hours later so I think that means a really good book and I want the next one NOW!! (Ok, that may be a bit selfish since this one is not even released at this writing but it was great and I really look forward to the next one). Did I mention we have to get a baby delivered while all hell breaks loose? Fun times ahead folks.

My copy just came a half-hour ago, so I know what I will be doing this evening. I have to admit, reading the very spoilery blurb for Ninth Grave has made me even more excited for this one. Happy reading!

Weekly Wrap Up…

booksI planned on making the Weekly Wrap up post a regular feature for posting either Saturday or Sunday, since usually the weekends are really busy for me and very little seems to happen to post. Well, I made it one week and totally spazzed out and forgot. I think that is a new record for me.

Anyways, this past week was pretty decent for me. I got back into Kelley Armstrong‘s Women of the Otherworld series after quite a long break, and finished up Clay and Elena’s arc with Frostbitten. I know there are many more stories left in the world, but it was the last full book featuring the two who started it all, and I was quite happy with how it ended up. Since I was still in an Armstrong mood, I started up Savannah’s first book, Waking the Witch, which is story 11 in the series, and begins the final arc of the series. I like it so far, and I am looking forward to seeing how Savannah and Adam’s story plays out.

Another very pleasant surprise was Thea Harrison‘s latest Elder Races book, Midnight’s Kiss. I was really underwhelmed by the last book, probably because I wasn’t a fan of the main character, Tess. Added to that was that it read more like a stand-alone than most of the other books, and I wasn’t a huge fan. That sort of colored my views heading into Midnight’s Kiss, but it ended up being a great read. The best part for me was that I ended up loving Melly, which was a real surprise. Heroines and I don’t always have the best relationship, but Melly was smart, funny, and completely relatable, and she made the book for me. It totally got me back in the swing of the series again, too.

The only downside for me was A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. The reviews for this one have been glowing, but I just can’t seem to get into it. I put it down about a week ago, and haven’t picked it back up since. I am determined to give it another shot, so hopefully I will get involved and love it like everyone else seems to. Maybe I was just in a mood.

So, that is my week. How was yours? Did you start any new series, or finish up any old ones?

The Unleashing Review…

I actually got an ARC of Shelly Laurenston‘s new offering, The Unleashing, almost a month back. But for some reason I have tried a few times and just can’t seem to get into it, and I have no clue why. Doug Meeks sent over his review, though, and hopefully it will prompt me to actually dive in.

the unleashingWhat Doug said…

Let me get this out of the way, I really liked this book, it sets up the background for the series while still getting a bit of action and the typical insanity we expect from Shelly Laurenston.

Now that is out of the way, lets talk. Compared to her other paranormal series book 1 this one probably comes in third behind DragonKin and The Pride while not being as totally insane as Magnus Pack BUT you are going to see a lot of things in this book that will remind you of those series.

Now let me say that the long term story for this series looks to be superior to those other series and I can’t wait to get to the next book. this one ends nicely with a decent conclusion while letting you kinda know where the next book will be going and leaving you gasping for more but this story has so many threads that she could have written 1000 pages and it would still leave you that way. There is just a LOT to be told and a host of barely sane characters to match up :)

Interestingly, the author made a point in her forward to let anyone know that this is NOT a rewrite or revision of The Gathering (which I gleamed will likely never see another sequel), that this is an original series that The Gathering just gave her the basis to write. I gather this is a touchy subject but if you think this is some kind of sequel to that book, forget it.

Less I forget to mention it, the romance between Kera and Vig was more like watching professional wrestling to see how they would ever get from point A to point B and it was entertaining in the same vein that the romances in DragonKin and Pride books are, kinda a ultra-violent love affair. You got to love Shelly Laurenston or none of these books will appeal to you. What I am not sure about is how large a part Kera /Vig will play in the next book, there are things that have to include them yet to be solved and yet she seems to be pushing a few of the characters in the direction of becoming couples.

Bottom Line: I liked it but I did not love it. It shows a ton of promise for future exceptional books but she had to do the requisite world building and introduce a cast of about a dozen people or more so I think a 4 Star rating for this novel is ultimately fair. Still highly recommended but while she gives good closure to most of the actions in this book you will be left wanting more.

Who else has or will be picking up this new series from Shelly? I did enjoy Hunting Season, the original book set in this world, so I have hopes that I can finally get off my butt and get through this one.