Reading Wrap Up

On a side note, I have done an update of the new release pages, and there were a couple of little changes here and there. But one of them made me happy – Keri Arthur‘s second Lizzie Grace book, Hell’s Bell, has actually been pushed UP by a month. Instead of a late February release, it will now be out on January 23rd. The first book of the series was my first Keri Arthur read, and I have been looking forward to getting my hands on the second one ever since.

spider's revengeBut as for the reading wrap up portion of things, there hasn’t been a ton to mention. I did plow through another Elemental Assassin book from Jennifer Estep, Spider’s Revenge. There was a lot going on in this one – it was a pretty pivotal book, and it was nice to see everyone get what they deserved. I figured Mab the big bad would be a series-long nemesis, so I was honestly surprised that that angle was wrapped up only 5 books in. Either the repetition has been toned way down, or I have just gotten used to it, because it hasn’t been something I have been focused on for the last couple of books (thankfully). Well, the constant referring to Sophia as “The Goth Dwarf” still grates on my nerves, but that is about the only thing now that I can point to that bugs me, so that is a bonus.

guardian's bondOh, and I also got my hands on a review copy of a book I mentioned a couple of days ago in my “Things that have caught my eye” post. I was lucky enough to get a copy of Guardian’s Bond from Rhenna Morgan, and so far I am very much enjoying it. It is the insta-mate thing which turns some readers off, but for me I thought it was well done and not as melodramatic as some I have read. There are only two little nitpicks that I had – one, I had a bit of trouble with the world-building at the start. I felt like maybe I had missed a novella or something that introduced the world, the power-structure and abilities, that sort of thing, but it doesn’t appear to be the case. I kind of like to get all of that stuff out of the way at the start so I know who’s who and what is what, but I figured it out as I went and it didn’t impact my enjoyment.

The second gripe is the one where I sound like a spoiled brat, but I can’t help it. I was very lucky to get an ARC, and I am grateful, but…but, it was the formatting. I haven’t had many ARCs, so maybe it is standard, but way the book was physically laid out aggravated me to no end. Spacing issues and formatting almost made parts of it feel run-on and unedited (even though it wasn’t), and messed with my reading flow. Not the fault of the author or story at all, but it did get distracting. Sigh, I am such a princess, but what can you do?

bound-togetherAnd finally, I am re-reading Bound Together from Christine Feehan for the Sea Haven guide update. This is another one where I sound like a weirdo, but as much as I like the book (and I do), and as much as I enjoy all of the books in all of the Sea Haven series (and I do), the story was heavier the second time around. I loved seeing the Drakes with the Sisters of the Heart and all of the Prakenskiis, and I find myself very intrigued by the Torpedo Ink gang, but what threw me off a bit was all of the rape survivors. Human trafficking is an issue that Christine Feehan has been focusing on recently, in several books and in different series, but man did you see it here. I didn’t really notice it until I was almost finished, but if you start adding up who had been a rape survivor/torture victim/human trafficking rescue, they outnumber the ones who weren’t. Elle. Jackson. Lexi. Most of the Prakenskiis. All of the Torpedo Ink club members. The four kids Airiana and Max are adopting. The young girls and teenaged boy Viktor and his team rescued. Kidnapped and raped. Raped and tortured by their “teachers”. Rape survivors. Kids being gang raped in real time. Ugh. I know it is a real-world issue, but it was getting a bit gruesome at times – and I was getting numb to the impact, which is worse. So, still a favorite series set in a favorite world, but I do hope that the whole human trafficking focus is wrapped up soon.

Ok, I rambled enough. What are you reading and enjoying this week? Are there any plotlines that you are getting worn out on? Anything you think needs to be addressed that isn’t?

 

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Entertainment Winners and Losers

I have been on vacation for a couple of weeks, and to go from all work to no work is weird. Lovely, but weird. When I am working, I don’t really get to watch tv or movies, and my reading gets behind, too. Now I am in catch up mode, and having varying degrees of success.

  • I have been getting caught up on the character guides, and right now I am re-reading Bound Together from Christine Feehan‘s Sisters of the Heart series. I am strangely excited for the next spin-off, Torpedo Ink, but the introduction of the 17 (SEVENTEEN!) new characters was…interesting. I got 6 full pages of notes from the first two chapters alone. So, so many biography info dumps for so many characters at once is a bit of a challenge to keep straight, but things smooth out a bit as it goes on. But really? Seventeen?
  • It has been forever since I have been to the movies, but I did decide that on my vacation time I would watch the Star Wars movies. I have seen a few minutes of them here and there, and I have read about them over the years, but I haven’t really sat down and ever watched one. I started out with Rogue One and The Force Awakens, both of which I liked. Then I went back to Episodes I-III and…yeah. Wow. I rolled my eyes a bit through the first one, but the second one was on a whole new level of cheesy acting. Every time Anakin and Padme are onscreen, I find myself literally cringing. Is it just me being picky, or are they a painful pairing?
  • On the TV side of things, I have been enjoying The Gifted, and I finally got caught up on The 100 and Stranger Things. Next up is the Marvel stuff – Punisher, Defenders, maybe Iron Fist. But I have been secretly binging Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Yep, I admitted it. I have sneered and mocked them and their show for a while now, but it might be my guilty pleasure. I don’t always like them, but they are definitely not boring.

What do you do with your time off? Have you been watching anything interesting, or have any guilty pleasure shows?

Reading Wrap Up

origin in deathI have been steadily chugging though some pretty great books the last few days – some of which I liked more than I expected to, honestly. After a bit of a break, I got back into J.D. Robb‘s In Death series, picking up book #21, Origin in Death. It has been well over a month since I read the last one, and I missed it (which sounds weird, but there it is). This was another great installment, but at this point I expect nothing less.

blood furyNext up was Blood Fury from J.R. Ward. I was on the meh side of things heading into this one, but it was a very pleasant surprise. I ended up really liking both story lines (and all four main characters, which is rare). Wrath stole every scene he was in, there was enough Rhage to make me happy, no Layla (yes!) and only had to suffer through a glimpse of Qhuinn (I have not forgiven that turd yet, and may never. Bastard). This one was a winner for me all the way around.

ritualsAnd on the re-read front, I am about half-way through Rituals, the final full Cainsville book from Kelley Armstrong. I loved this series with an undying, unexplainable passion, so having it wrap up is bittersweet. On one hand, it was great to get to the Olivia and Gabriel coupledom, but on the other hand, who likes to say goodbye to a favorite? It is a great end to a great series, though, and I am loving the re-read even more than the original.

There you have it. What have you been reading lately? Any big winners (or losers) to share? How do the Black Dagger Legacy books stack up to the Brotherhood stories for you?

Reading Wrap Up

tangled threadsHey all. It’s time to take a look at what we all have been reading lately. I am continuing on my Jennifer Estep Elemental Assassin mini-marathon, and I seem to be settling in. The repetition thing that bugged me so much in the first two books seems to be working itself out. I finished up both Venom and Tangled Threads, and it is chugging along pretty well. It isn’t jumping on my favorite series list yet, but it isn’t bad, either. I like the world-building and pretty much all of the supporting cast, but I’m not so sure how I feel about Gin. It isn’t that I dislike her character, I just can’t seem to warm up to her for some reason. Sometimes she comes off as a bit smug and superior, and it throws me off. Not enough to make me stop reading, but enough to get on my nerves once in a while.

something to howl aboutI also dove back into Christine Warren (in a small way). She used to be a must-read for me, and some of the books from her The Others series are among my all-time favorites. But during the course of the series, it seemed like I went from loving them, to being a bit bored, to actively disliking some of the characters, so I stopped reading her a few years back. Fast forward to this week, and I decided to pick up the novella from her new Alphaville series, Something to Howl About. It is sort of a spin-off of The Others, and it seemed to go back to what I enjoyed about the original series. I didn’t expect much, but I was pleasantly surprised.

And I did a re-read of all three Innkeeper Chronicles books from Ilona Andrews. It was a treat to get back into the world, and it was fun to pull a mini-marathon. It had been a while since I read them, and it made me realize all over again that I don’t think Ilona could ever write anything that I wouldn’t love. It sounds gushy to say that everything they write becomes an instant favorite, but it is true.

wicked abyssIt was also time to do a re-read of Wicked Abyss from Kresley Cole to update the Immortals After Dark character guide. I think I enjoyed this one more on my second read, honestly. I have found my IAD love really taking a down-turn the last couple of years, and for a while that made me sad. I don’t actively count down the days until the next release, I don’t get disappointed if the release date is pushed back, and I don’t actively hunt down any and all tidbits I can find about upcoming stories. It has settled into a solid, mid-range series for me, I guess – I enjoy it for what it is.

So, that’s me. What about you? What have you been reading and enjoying so far in 2018? Anything great (or not so great) to share?

Heart of Fire Review

Heart of Fire by Amanda Bouchet was my pick of the week for this week. I enjoyed most of the first book, and I remember liking the second one well enough, too. Maybe not as much as the first, but sometimes there is a bit of a lull in the middle book in a trilogy. Unfortunately, according to Doug Meeks (who was kind enough to send over his review), things don’t end on a high note.

heart on fireWhat Doug said…

Plot in 4 Words “I am a failure”

Well I must be one of the few people in the world that did not think this was some great literacy achievement, coming in at 418 pages for a story that could have been told in 250 and probably better unless you are addicted to pages and pages and pages of self-introspection and did not succumb to terminal boredom.

While the above may be a bit over the top it does represent where I spent a LOT of my time reading this book and was finally forced to scan a few pages to stay awake.  After you have read so many pages of “I am a failure” … ad nauseam you want some action.  Seems the action usually follows some TSTL moment and more “I am a failure” laments.

I can say at least this one did not have the feel of any domestic abuse I found in the other 2 books but this was IMHO an overwritten novel with pages and pages of near nothing happening.  Throw in a few VERY frustrating action scenes and battles with her mother, followed by   ….. you guessed it “I am a failure” I am beginning to think I did not read the same book as everyone and after dragging us through pages and pages of nothing we wrap the whole thing up in a few pages (now she wants to conserve pages WTF?)

Taken as a whole this trilogy gets 3 Stars from me, it has made me mad, bored me and frustrated me with a whiny heroine, an overbearing alpha male (who along with his heroine seemed to have done a Jekyll and Hyde do-over for this last book) I guess I am missing whatever made this such an addicting reading experience for so many people.

3 Stars and really I am confused why anyone thinks it deserves more ….

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Welp, that is unfortunate. I was hoping that maybe the author would branch out and tell more stories set in this world, but I guess we will have to see. Did you check out Heart of Fire? What did you think?

Reading Wrap Up – Repeat Edition

wildfireYep, so it has been a bit since my last reading wrap up post, and things haven’t been too bad. I dove into Flame in the Dark from Faith Hunter, and I loved it. Totally worth staying up all night for, and I can’t wait to see where things go from here. Love Nell, love Occam, and love seeing their potential coupledom take a few big leaps forward, too. I also got back into the In Death series from J.D. Robb after a couple months long break, and that was welcome, too. The great thing is that it is like coming back to old friends, and with this series I never feel lost even after a bit of time away from them. Works out well. And I finally did my re-read of Wildfire from Ilona Andrews. I seriously can’t even tell you just how much I love the Hidden Legacy books. They are absolute favorites – like top 5 series of all time – and I do so hope for more.

I also tackled a new to me series I have been meaning to get to for forever, with…interesting results. I read a couple of Jennifer Estep‘s young adult offerings over the years, and actually quite enjoyed them. But I am having a little bit of an issue with the Elemental Assassin books. I mentioned in a post from last week that I thought I was nitpicking, but that the constant repetition of everyone’s eye color was getting on my last nerve. I liked pretty much everything else, but that one detail bugged the crap out of me. Once, twice, three times… I am fine with that. Repeating a characters eye color more than 40 times in one book – sometimes multiple times on a page – was over the top. Well, that was what I found in the first book, and my issue has expanded a bit.

Now, I have learned to basically skip the eye color thing. I might roll my hazel eyes a few times, but I was dealing. Until the rest of the repetition reared its ugly, ugly head. Descriptions and phrases are said pretty much word for word, over and over (and over) again, without end. The repetition was never ending.

I repeat: the repetition was never ending.

Gin’s 5 point weapons arrangement. Finn’s love of chicory coffee. Bria’s shaggy blonde hair. JoJo’s painted toenails. Sophia’s monosyllabic grunts. Over and over and over. But the one that really bugged me was weird. It was the way she referred to Sophia – long time friend, co-worker, helper, basically extended family member. She is either called The Dwarf or the Goth Dwarf 90% of the time, and for me it became insulting. Saying what she is a few times is fine, but she has a name. Use it. One of my friends is a bit older than me, and French, but I call her by her name, not the “old French chick”. I believe there was one page where she was referred to as the dwarf or the goth dwarf four times. ON ONE PAGE. I REPEAT – ON. ONE. PAGE. It got to the point where I was mixing up the names of the “Dwarf sisters” because Sophia’s name was so rarely used.

The problem is that I do like the storyline, and pretty much all of the characters – except Gin. Because the story is told from her first-person POV, I keep hearing her repeating everything so my annoyance has transferred to her. But I do like Finn, The “Goth Dwarf” and her sister, and Owen seems like he has potential (I am only on the third book, Venom). I really do want to keep going with the series, but I find myself skimming a bit when the verbal replays get too much. And as one of you warned me in the previous Nitpick post, apparently Gin picks up a nick-name for what I will assume is Owen that will really push me over the edge. Sigh. Something to look forward to. I repeat….eh, never mind.

Flame in the Dark Review

Flame in the Dark is my last really big release of 2017, and since I have finally gotten caught up on all of Faith Hunter‘s Jane Yellowrock world releases recently my anticipation has only gotten stronger. Nell is a favorite, and everything about the Soulwood series just works for me. Doug Meeks kindly sent over his early review for this one, and I so glad to see that it is as good as I thought it would be.

flame in the darkWhat Doug said…

WOW! First off let me point out that while I LOVE Jane Yellowrock and this whole world, she is pretty unique BUT there has never been another heroine like Nell, she is the most original character in urban fantasy in many years.

This time she seems to be up against something they can’t even identify and add that to the normal trials and tribulations of a woman who had spent her whole life as a “churchwoman” in a near cult-like existence, she is proving to be one heck of a strong heroine.

Nell is in touch with the world around us like no other heroine ever and that has some serious pros and cons, add more into the mix that her sister is exhibiting signs of being like Nell.

This story has a lot going on and you can’t scan any pages or you might miss something important and a lot of it is just Nell learning how to be normal as she can.

I won’t drone on and repeat the synopsis but, this was just an absolutely exceptional story and while it seemed to be written like it could be the last one in the series, I am assured that there will be at least 2 more in this exceptional story.

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Welp, we have less than a week to wait since it will be released on December 5th. Let the countdown begin.

 

Reading Wrap Up – New Author Edition

alpha betHey all. Everyone getting ready for the Christmas/Holiday season? I can’t believe we are looking at wrapping up the year in a few weeks, honestly. It seems like it was September, then December, with nothing in between. Anyways, ever since I finished up my Jane Yellowrock world marathon, I managed to get caught up on all of the new releases I was behind on. And even better, I got back into J.D. Robb‘s In Death series after a couple of months break (and did I ever miss them).

I decided to try out a couple of new-to-me authors, too, with varying degrees of success. The first one was Milly Taiden. I have seen her around for a while, and so I decided to pick up her newest release, Alpha Bet. It was a fast, fun story about a brilliant half-human, half-shifter who has been mistreated by her full-shifter packmates all of her life. Just when she finally gets the chance to strike out on her own in her dream job far away from pack life, the new Alpha starts to make his interest in her known. I really quite enjoyed this one, and while I didn’t immediately “One click” all of Milly Taiden’s other works, I will definitely keep an eye out and see what she comes out with next.

Unfortunately, though, I didn’t have much luck with my other new-to-me author. I was sure – and I mean SURE – I would love Devon Monk‘s Death and Relaxation. Not sure why, but I just was. I figured it was the safest bet in all of the authors I am looking to try, but it didn’t quite work out that way. I ended up DNF’ing the book at about the 25% point. I just couldn’t get into it, and I found myself starting to skim through looking for something to grab my attention. When I realized that I just couldn’t get interested, I decided to pull the plug. I did a bit of review-reading on Goodreads to see if maybe things would pick up and I should keep going, but not much on there made me want to change my mind, either, so I did the dreaded delete (so much easier than making myself toss a print book, though). I still might check out the Allie Beckstrom series, but it will be a while before I get there.

So, any new-to-you authors you have discovered lately? How far do you read before you decide to give up the ghost on a new author or series? Do you make yourself finish the whole thing, or do you cut your losses and move on?

 

Reading Wrap Up and…Stuff

booksHey all. Let’s start with the stuff, shall we?

Dawn and I both got slapped with the notice that the next Breeds book from Lora Leigh, Cross Breed, has been pushed back. Gasp! I know, right, the shock is real! Eh, seriously – part of me expected it since it has happened to pretty much all of the Breeds books for the last few years, but part of me had hope that this one would come in on time. Nope. So no more March 27th for Cassie’s story, it will now be out on September 25th.

On the reading wrap up side of things, I have been playing catch-up since I finished my Jane Yellowrock marathon. I picked up Deborah Blake‘s Wickedly Spirited. It is a novella set in her Baba Yaga world, and it was a quick, fun read. It also got me back into things before the release of the next Broken Riders book next month. 3 out of 5.

And I also blew through The White Lily from Juliette Cross. This was my first “e-only” series I ever picked up way back when, and I really do like the fairy-tale retelling aspect and the new take on vampires and werewolves. From what I understand, there is only one more book planned for this series, which is a shame. I do see so much potential for several possible couples. 4 out of 5.

I was also behind on a couple of Christine Feehan releases. First up, I tackled Leopard’s Blood from the Leopard people series. I did quite enjoy it, but it is weird when you get to a character’s story and you don’t really recognize his personality from previous books. This time around it was Joshua Tregre’s turn, and I didn’t see much of the kind of goofy, playful Joshua I had seen before. He wasn’t a monster or anything, but his character had a different tone to me. I guess he was just “alpha’d up”, so to speak, as pretty much always happens. And now it looks like we have even more Russian Leopard shifters running around, too. I guess it makes sense since we are running out of team-members of Drake’s to focus on. 3.5 out of 5.

Then I picked up the latest Carpathian book, Dark…Something. Dark…Legacy (had to look it up). Yeah. It was fine. But what I realized while reading it is that for the last four or five books, I remember nothing about them. NOTHING. Not the names, not the characters or storylines or set up for future books. NOTHING. It is perfectly fine while I am reading them (nothing earth-shattering, but the usual Feehan Dark story which I pretty much always enjoy), but as soon as I put those suckers down, I forget everything that happened. As I was reading Dark Legacy (had to check for the name again), I had no clue who most of the characters were except for Tariq – and I remember nothing about his book, what I remember comes from when he was first introduced. And the introduction of even more baddest-of-the-bad from the monastery didn’t help, either, since they all got lost in the blur. I do remember the early books really quite well, but the last few have just become all jumbled and leave my brain the moment I am finished reading. Aaaand since I have no clue what happened and I just finished it a couple of days ago —-> 3 out of 5.

And wrapping things up was The Trouble With Twelfth Grave by Darynda Jones (character guide has been updated and is being edited, too). As much as I do really enjoy this series, the God angle in the last couple didn’t work for me. It didn’t bug me as much this time around, which was great. And I liked having the whole band back together, too. It was action packed, but pretty much everyone got their page-time. Charley was her “old self” for me, too, which I had missed the last couple of books. But there was one thing that kept niggling at the back of my mind, and that was wasn’t Charley a bit TOO “her old self” for everything that was going on with Reyes? Jokes and quips and Mocha lattes were a lot of fun, but it didn’t quite suit the potential end-of-her-world that was going on. It might be a nitpick since I did really enjoy this one, more so than the last couple, but it just felt a little off to me. Great ending, though – and quite the set up for the final book. 4 out of 5.

There you go. What have you been up to? Any great reads lately, or any letdowns? Do you have any series that you find yourself going blank on? What do you see happening for Charley 13?

Reading Wrap Up

blood tradeMy reading wrap up is pretty easy to keep track of, since I have been exclusively reading the Jane Yellowrock series from Faith Hunter. I have worked my way up to number 6, Blood Trade, including all of the sundry novellas involved. This is my second-go-round with this series – I tapped out the first time around the third book since I just couldn’t get into it. But after reading the Soulwood books I got a renewed interest in Jane and Co, and this second read has been going much, much better. Actually, I am finding them hard to put down.

The novellas do help quite a bit, too. I didn’t bother with the first four – the historical ones – but everything after those I have very much enjoyed. I was toying with the idea of skipping Easy Pickings, the crossover story with C.E. Murphy, but I was so glad I didn’t. It was fun, and there are little references in the following books that I would’ve missed. I might even try out The Walker Papers somewhere down the line, too.

I really like Jane, tough and no-nonsense but not invincible. Bruiser is developing into a really decent character, too. Eli and Alex are relative newbies, but they are already favorites. Molly and her family are great, but Evan can get run over by a bus – pronto. Judgmental tool. I do have a couple of sticking points, though. One would be Leo. I can’t quite decide how I am supposed to feel about him. Good guy? Bad guy? Just when I start to like him, he gets all skeevy and weird and throws me off. The other is Rick. I get that he has a lot of hate for his character – I haven’t gotten there myself, as yet – but I don’t get Jane’s continuing attraction to him, either. I do hope she turns the corner soon and gives him the boot out of her life for good. I think at this point, pretty much anyone else is a better choice for her. Eli. Bruiser. Hell, even Leo.

So, my second go round on Jane Yellowrock is a complete success so far. I am pulling a marathon and I have no signs of burn out as yet. My goal was to be caught up with everything by the time Flame in the Dark is released in December, and it looks like that won’t be a problem at all.

What are your favorite Jane Yellowrock characters? Where do you stand on Rick? And Leo? Where does the series stand among your favorites?