Pick of the Week

Well, my pick of the week is a bit on the weird side, since it is one I will not be picking up – yet. Hopefully by the end of the year, if all goes according to my ever-changing plans. It is hard to believe J.D. Robb‘s In Death series is still such a powerhouse. You would think that there would be a decline in quality, or a lack of story ideas, or, hell, just plain burn out after 46 books, but that just isn’t the case. I am not even half way through the series yet, but I look forward to each new story, and it has become my “go to” when I want something I know I am going to enjoy. So, my pick of the week is In Death #46, Dark In Death.

dark in deathSynopsis…

It was a stab in the dark.

On a chilly February night, during a screening of Psycho in midtown, someone sunk an ice pick into the back of Chanel Rylan’s neck, then disappeared quietly into the crowds of drunks and tourists in Times Square. To Chanel’s best friend, who had just slipped out of the theater for a moment to take a call, it felt as unreal as the ancient black-and-white movie up on the screen. But Chanel’s blood ran red, and her death was anything but fictional.

Then, as Eve Dallas puzzles over a homicide that seems carefully planned and yet oddly personal, she receives a tip from an unexpected source: an author of police thrillers who recognizes the crime—from the pages of her own book. Dallas doesn’t think it’s coincidence, since a recent strangulation of a sex worker resembles a scene from her writing as well. Cops look for patterns of behavior: similar weapons, similar MOs. But this killer seems to find inspiration in someone else’s imagination, and if the theory holds, this may be only the second of a long-running series.

The good news is that Eve and her billionaire husband Roarke have an excuse to curl up in front of the fireplace with their cat, Galahad, reading mystery stories for research. The bad news is that time is running out before the next victim plays an unwitting role in a murderer’s deranged private drama—and only Eve can put a stop to a creative impulse gone horribly, destructively wrong.

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I just finished Memory in Death (#22) last night, and I already have the next one lined up for after I finish this week’s new releases. It is so weird – I don’t get tired of them, or bored, and I have never had the urge to start skimming through sections at all. Like, ever. As much as I love many, many other series, I keep coming back to this one and I jump right back into the world no matter how long it has been since I read the last book. It is like seeing old friends, somehow. I like it enough that I buy both the Kindle AND the pretty, pretty UK editions for the shelf. My precious.

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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 – 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.

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?

 

The TBR-OD Bucket List

After years of nearly drowning under a TBR pile that got as high as almost 400 books at one point, I am very careful about not letting myself go down the rabbit hole again. I am not a fan of being disorganized, so after my switch to e-books I made a vow to not let things get out of control again. That said, though, I do have some series that are on my “To Be Read – One Day” bucket list.

I have checked a couple of them off already – Sherrilyn Kenyon‘s Dark-Hunter series (which didn’t work out so well), and J.R. Ward‘s Fallen Angels books (which did). I am still plugging away on J.D. Robb‘s In Death monster, which is an absolute favorite, and just getting into Faith Hunter‘s Jane Yellowrock world…again. But my bucket list doesn’t end there.

As it stands now, my immediate list would look something like this:

  • Diana Gabaldon‘s Outlander – I haven’t seen the show, but I am circling that, too. I would love another really good book/show adaptation to get into.
  • George R.R. Martin‘s A Song of Ice and Fire – Love the show, and I think it would be great to pick up the books, too. Plus at this point I actually know who is who, which is a bonus.
  • Stacia Kane‘s Downside Ghosts – This has been a target for a long time now, but what is holding me back is the complete lack of info about the state of the series. The last book came out over five years ago, and finding any info about the next one is like trying to track down bigfoot. Apparently the new predicted release date for Unholy Luck is December 1st, 2018. Eh, we’ll see.
  • Jennifer Estep‘s Elemental Assassin – Another one that has been on the radar for a long time now. Mostly, I am attracted to the pretty covers, but it seems like a good, solid series that shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. And I did like all of the young adult series of hers that I read.
  • Kim Harrison‘s The Hollows – Honestly, I have been meaning to get into this one for years. YEARS. And somehow I just keep skipping over it. Not sure why, but it will be nice to pick up a new series that has already ended its run – no painful cliffhangers that way.

A few others would be Eileen WilksWorld of the Lupi, the Sookie Stackhouse series from Charlaine Harris, and the October Daye and InCryptid series from Seanan McGuire have been tempting me, too. Oh, and any of the Elizabeth Hunter series are up there, as well. Sigh.

What are your bucket list series? If you have read any of mine, what did you think of them? Any favorites?

 

Pick of the Week

A couple of years ago, my pick of the week would’ve been Dark Legacy. No question. Christine Feehan‘s Carpathians books were the top of the top for me, but over time they have become more of a “habit” read. I don’t anticipate getting my hands on the latest release, I don’t count down the days – hell, I am getting to the point that I don’t even remember who the characters are anymore. But I still can’t walk away. It is an addiction, I swear.

It might be a while until I actually get to my real pick of the week, but I will get there. Someday. The book I am talking about is J.D. Robb‘s 45th In Death book, Secrets in Death. I say it every time, but it amazes me that a series can be nearly 50 books in, and still going strong. Not only still selling well, but it seems like it is more popular then ever.

secrets in deathSynopsis…

The chic Manhattan nightspot Du Vin is not the kind of place Eve Dallas would usually patronize, and it’s not the kind of bar where a lot of blood gets spilled. But that’s exactly what happens one cold February evening.

The mortally wounded woman is Larinda Mars, a self-described “social information reporter,” or as most people would call it, a professional gossip. As it turns out, she was keeping the most shocking stories quiet, for profitable use in her side business as a blackmailer. Setting her sights on rich, prominent marks, she’d find out what they most wanted to keep hidden and then bleed them dry. Now someone’s done the same to her, literally—with a knife to the brachial artery.

Eve didn’t like Larinda Mars. But she likes murder even less. To find justice for this victim, she’ll have to plunge into the dirty little secrets of all the people Larinda Mars victimized herself. But along the way, she may be exposed to some information she really didn’t want to know…

Who all is up-to-date with the In Death series? I am on…18? Maybe 19? But I spread them out (even though I could probably pull a decent sized marathon and not get tired of them at all). They are a treat for me, honestly – it is like re-visiting old friends at this point.

September’s Book of the Month

I know this was pretty much a formality, but Nalini Singh‘s Archangel’s Viper is September’s book of the month. I read this one a couple of months back, but I am ready for a re-read, too. I think the bigger story is that J.D. Robb‘s Secrets in Death came in at #2 – it is the 45th freakin’ book in the series. Forty. Fifth. And more popular than ever. Blows my mind.

archangel's viperSynopsis…

Once a broken girl known as Sorrow, Holly Chang now prowls the shadowy gray underground of the city for the angels. But it’s not her winged allies who make her a wanted woman—it’s the unknown power coursing through her veins. Brutalized by an insane archangel, she was left with the bloodlust of a vampire, the ability to mesmerize her prey, and a poisonous bite.

Now, someone has put a bounty on her head…

Venom is one of the Seven, Archangel Raphael’s private guard, and he’s as infuriating as he is seductive. A centuries-old vampire, his fangs dispense a poison deadlier than Holly’s. But even if Venom can protect Holly from those hunting her, he might not be able to save himself—because the strange, violent power inside Holly is awakening…

No one is safe.

I was surprised by how much I liked Holly. I mean, of course I expected to love the book, but I am really bitchy when it comes to female leads. It isn’t rare for me to like a story in spite of the heroine rather than because of her, but Holly made this book for me. I am still getting a Bluebell/Sparkle vibe, maybe not as strong as before, but it is still there – and I am still hoping I am wrong. I haven’t read many M/m stories – maybe two? One for Blay and Qhuinn (BDB), one for Caspion and Mirceo (IAD). I ended up enjoying them both, but I wasn’t as invested in their characters as I am Illium and Aodhan, either. We shall see, I guess.

Reading Wrap Up – Fallen Angels

immortalI have a bit of an ongoing quest to get caught up on some of the series that fall into my “should read” category. In Death by J.D. Robb is still a work in progress – but I am up to something like book 20, so go me. Another one was J.R. Ward‘s Fallen Angels series. Although much smaller in scale at “only” 6 books, it seemed like such a huge undertaking to tackle it. But tackle it I did, and it worked out pretty ok.

Honestly, I think I picked it up only to see how it tied into the Black Dagger world, and the few cameos from some of the Brothers were a real highlight at first. But for some reason as much as I ended up enjoying the stories, I never felt a big rush to grab the next book. Sometimes I would even put off picking up the next story, and I don’t know why. But when I did, I liked what I read – ok, I wasn’t that interested in the last story line with Saintly Cait and the wonder twins, but by that point I was skimming their page time to get back to Jim and the gang anyways, so it didn’t bother me.

I know most people are really divided on Jim’s character, but I for the most part enjoyed him. Devina was a completely oblivious and a total hoot, and I loved Adrian and Eddie. Sissy was underwhelming for me, and I didn’t get Jim’s fascination with her, but it wasn’t enough to stop my enjoyment. Even most of the “souls in play” and their significant others were good. The absolute best for me was the little mentions of Lassiter – and where he falls into things. I am so ready to see Devina, Adrian and Eddie show up in the BDB world, hopefully sooner than later.

So, after my usual blah-blah, I have checked another series off of my list, and it worked out pretty well. I only have like 420 more to go, but who’s counting? What did you think of the Fallen Angels series? Any favorites couples or characters? Just what do you think will happen when Lassiter and Devina have some quality time together?

Reading Wrap Up

Welp, my story hasn’t changed much since my last reading wrap up post – still short on time. But, things haven’t been going to badly besides that. I am still working my way through Divided in Death by J.D. Robb, and for the first third I found myself thinking that it was the first In Death book that didn’t quite grab me. Well, that changed. Once Roarke finds out that there were those in the know about what happened to Eve as a child, things took off big-time. I haven’t managed to finish it yet, but I am glad to say that I am finding it as good as all of the previous stories.

Oh, and I might casually add that I received an ARC of Archangel’s Viper from Nalini Singh. I am almost finished it, actually, and I am surprised by how much I liked Holly. Venom, too, but Holly was the standout for me. I still can’t quite put my finger on the whole Illium/Aodhan vibe that is going on, but it will be interesting to see where that goes in coming books.

So, that wraps things up for me, sadly. What have you been reading lately? Anything exciting (or disappointing) to share?

Reading Wrap Up

Sorry for the hit-and-run posting lately, but I am in the middle of a monster stretch of long, long work days. But, since it has been almost three weeks since my last reading wrap up post, I thought we could take a look at what we all have been indulging in lately.

big jackHonestly, there just hasn’t been time to read much at all. I did devour Big Jack from J.D. Robb, which is a novella from the In Death series. It was a fun read, and it really made me toy with the idea of picking up the Nora Roberts story that it is connected to. I did jump right into the next full book, Divided in Death, but this is the first one of the series that just hasn’t grabbed me that much. I’m not saying it is bad or anything, but I did put it down over a week ago and haven’t had any burning drive to pick it up again. Bur really, I’m not complaining. At this many stories in, it was more than time.

fury of surrenderOther than that, I am about half-way through Fury of Surrender by Coreene Callahan. I am only getting a few minutes here and there to read, so I am having a hard time getting into the flow of things. And once again, my selective amnesia seems to have kicked in and I don’t remember some details from the previous books. Like there is this dude, Nian, who is now part of the Nightfuries, and I have absolutely no recollection of him. None. It’s weird and a little frustrating, and happening more and more when series have long gaps between books. I am so going to have to start doing refresher reads.

That wraps me up, sadly. What have you been reading recently? Anything exciting?