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Review: The Undead Pool by Kim Harrison

How could something be so wrong and so right all at the same time? No, not wrong, just difficult.

The Undead Pool by Kim Harrison

Summary: Rachel Morgan is almost done her 3 month stint working security for Trent Kalamack. 3 months of “working together” did not diminish her attraction to him, just made it worse. But they cannot be together without causing havoc. Yet now, magic has started to go haywire, and the undead vampires refuse to wake up. Rachel has to save the world, again. Will she able to save the world while also finding a way to be at peace with being without love?

Review: I was done with this book 8 AM the day it came out. I even read it a second time. But I was hesitant to write this review. Only because I can’t do the book justice.

When an urban fantasy series gets to book 12, one wonders how one can advance the “magic world”. Well Harrison didn’t disappoint us, giving us a good look into elven wild magic. The entity known as the “Goddess” got worked over big time, and I felt for Rachel when she had all the mystics in her head. It was fascinating to see how wild magic tied in with not just demons, but with all the other creatures in the world Rachel lives in.

Rachel has grown quite a bit in the past 11 books, but she still had a little bit of growing left to do. In this book, Rachel learned to let go of her fears and trust with her heart. Likewise, Trent had to learn how to balance his responsibilities and his love for another. These two learned to love each other not just behind the scenes, but in front of a world who disproves of their union. My husband and I had to fight some very similar battles in our quest for happiness and love, so this book spoke volumes to me. I suppose I would be Trent in this scenario, learning that duty does not supersede personal happiness.

As usual, bang up job supporting cast! Ivy is now an incredibly strong individual, learning to love in a healthy manner. Jenks is feeling his age, but is learning to cope with all the changes around him. We even see growth in characters like David, Edden and Newt. My favorite character is one I love to hate, Ellasabeth. Before this book, I thought she was just evil. I’ve learned now that she isn’t a supernatural type evil like Ku’Sox was, but an everyday person who is too self-absorbed to do the right thing. Ellasabeth loves the children and possibly cares for Trent, but she can’t see outside of her petulant box. I felt a bit sorry for her, even though I am GLAD to see her go.

Sure, who doesn’t love a good romance? Harrison did not fail; she showed us that true love is worth fighting for. But more importantly, she showed us that love survives when you have a real family. A family not necessarily of blood, but made of love.

Violence: Typical of Urban Fantasy, a bit low key at times
Sex: One steamy sex scene, some kissing

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Series Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Next Book: The final installment, book 13, will be out in 2015!

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Posted by on March 3, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Review: Up from the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

“We prefer blender beaters for our kitchen utensil kink,” I said with a straight face.
Bones hid his smile behind his hand, but Ian looked intrigued.
“I haven’t tried that . .  . oh, you’re lying, aren’t you?”

Up from the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

Summary: Cat thinks her life is about to get peaceful, before the ghost of her dead uncle informs her her friends are in danger. With her husband, Bones, Cat sets off to rescue her friends, murder an evil man, and save the ghouls and vampires from warring. But what surprise awaits her when she reaches her destination?

Review: Frost’s books are such a hit or miss with me. On the one hand, She writes excellent urban fantasy adventures. On the other hand, her romance gets out of hand. I was dreading reading this book, but I had nothing to fear, Frost ended the series on a very high note. High enough to say this is my favorite Cat and Bones adventure.

Some people commented that they didn’t like the low romance quotient; I, however, loved it. Cat is such a strong and kick butt heroine, she showed her “red reaper” to the fullest in this novel. She has grown leaps and bounds, emotionally, but her true fighting nature has not been vanquished. It was quite a juxtaposition seeing her fighting nature warring with her emotions and rational side, especially at the end. In the previous books, the sappy nature drags down the action, but that doesn’t happen in this novel. I especially liked how the end of the book didn’t end with an “I love you” dialogue between Cat and Bones. I think my favorite scenes were the action sequences in the institution where Tate and company were being held. Frost’s talent expressed itself through the colorful dialogue and the precise description of Cat’s fighting moves.

I think we saw (at least glimpses) of all of our favorite characters. Of course, Ian was in top form with his various sexual references. But in this book my favorite was probably Tyler. He cracks me up when he meets Marie Laveau. Denise, Spade, Mencheres, Vlad, etc. all make appearances.

Bones annoyed me in most of the books, and he didn’t fail in this one either. I don’t know what it is. Maybe because I admire Cat so much, but Bones just seems like an antithesis to her. When Ian pointed out to Bones that this is who she is, I thought, “yes, maybe he will finally get it.” But no, true to form he doesn’t get it, they fight, and instead of anything being resolved, they have sex and they make up. AS USUAL. I don’t think they ever resolve their issues.

The series ended in predictable and cliche ways. I saw it coming ever since we met “her” in the facility. The rest of the book was plotted out in my head. It’s the only reason why the book got 4 instead of 5 stars. I can’t say anymore without giving out spoilers, but if you have guesses, then it’s probably true.

If you are a night-huntress fan, I hope you love this book as much as I did. If we are fans for different reasons, then maybe not, but I think you will still enjoy it. Thank you Frost for an adventurous end to the series.

Sex: Of course
Violence: Again, of course.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Series Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
World Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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A Collection ARC Reviews

As you know, I am behind in my reading. Which means I am REALLY behind in my reviews. Here are 4 reviews that have been waiting to be written.  These 4 books have something in common: They are all making a stance on some social or political issue relating to Americans. Fair warning: the reviews are short:

The Circle of Thirteen by William Petrocelli

ARC provided by Edelweiss

Review: Set in the future, this book is give us a thrilling look into what the future could be for women’s rights. Overall, I enjoyed the plot. I liked that even while women’s rights had evolved, there were still people who were trying to hold women back. Those very same people were strong enough to create havoc on our world. There were many heartwarming moments, especially Julia’s relationship with her “grandmother”. The book did move slower than I had hoped, but I blame all the jumping around in time for that. It is very distracting. I also got the feeling that most of the women didn’t have very good relationship with men, only with other women. I wish that was more balanced. But overall, it was a delightful book, and gives us a perspective of how damaging misogynistic thinking can be.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

They Kingdom Fall by Austin Dragon

ARC provided by NetGalley

Review: There are very few books I cannot finish, and this was one of them. I tried to finish–but unfortunately the book felt like Tea Party Propaganda. On top of all the time jumping and editorial mistakes, I just couldn’t get through more than 40% of the book. I do think people who enjoy right wing philosophy would love this book, and the author has a lot of Promise in regards to his writing skills. Unfortunately, this book was just not for me.

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

Little White Lies by Cole Riley

ARC provided by NetGalley

Review: There parts of this book that deserved 5 stars, and others that deserved 2. The premise of the book was equally interesting and portraying a reality felt by many young black men. His dad was a perfect antithesis to his mother. Unfortunately, the book’s pacing was sub par. At points it moved fast, and others moved slow. I especially thought the ending was rushed. I think the author has potential, but his potential was not fully realized in this book. Overall, a good book, but forgettable.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Journey into the Flame by T.R. Williams

ARC provided by NetGalley

Review: Williams brought us a fun adventure. From the beginning the action in this novel was non-stop. There was always something happening. If there were no movement, then we were brought into some spiritual understanding. Overall, really enjoyed this book. At times the book moved into the realm of politics (BAD GMOs!! Down with corporations!) and that got annoying. I am also not so much a fan of time jumps anymore. Past, Present, Future, Present, Future, back to Past, and it all got confusing. Still an enjoyable read nonetheless. I am looking forward to the sequel.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Black Arts & Fury of the Demon

I’m going to publish my next few reviews in chunks. First will be 2 books that came out earlier this month: Black Arts and Fury of the Demon. Both were excellent and I was happy to review them. Just took awhile cause of some bad luck with the computer. ::Sigh::

Black Arts by Faith Hunter

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Series Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Amazon Review: http://www.amazon.com/review/R3T2Q0X9TA9WUH/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B00DGZI9FO&linkCode=&nodeID=&tag=
Goodreads Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/775214357
Quote:
“Are you insane?” he shouted back.
“Probably, but insanity’s not the point.”
Next book: Broken Soul, I believe it will be out November 2014.

Fury of the Demon by Diana Rowland

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Series Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Amazon Review: http://www.amazon.com/review/RLLIRCNXR9Q9L/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B00DGZKJB6&linkCode=&nodeID=&tag=
Goodreads Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/775213154
Quote:
For the next ten minutes I waged a grim war to convince her that Fuzzykins could not come with us. I made a little headway with the fact that Fuzzykins would be miserable cooped up for hours in the carrier on the back of the motorcycle. I lost ground on the alternative of the back of the SUV, then reclaimed some advantage with the assurance that Zack would take good care of Fuzzykins here, and of course Eilahn could call her as often as she wanted. Yet it wasn’t until Fuzzykins stalked off the porch, wound around Eilahn’s ankles and apparently told her, “No, I do not choose to go this day as I am certain the motion will upset my digestion,” that Eilahn finally put away the duct tape and bungees.
Ludicrous as it was, in that one shining moment, I loved that stupid cat.
Next book:  Vengeance of the Demon, probably out January 2015.

** My next set of reviews will be books that came out awhile ago (4 books) and then next weekend will write reviews for 3 books that will be coming out this week. **

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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ARC Review: Taste of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder

“Thank the Flea!”

Taste of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder

**ARC Provided by NetGalley**

Summary: Avery can’t find Kerrick and everyone is telling her he is dead. She refuses to believe it, but the world needs her anyways and she has to pick herself up anyways. She is fed up of betrayals and is done with following the rules. Will she be able to save the world and find Kerrick, hopefully alive?

Review: I planned on reviewing this sooner because I had an ARC, but I have been busy with things. Sorry for the delay.

I didn’t quite enjoy this book as much as the last one, mostly because it was repetitive and predictable. Still, with the book’s funny moments and lively adventure, Taste of Darkness didn’t disappoint.

I was mostly disappointed with the back and forth “is he dead” and the “is she alive”. It takes a lot of guts for an author to kill beloved characters, and the ending of this series would have been perfect if either Avery and/or Kerrick had passed away. They would have left behind a bittersweet legacy. The predictable happy ending left me bored. And how many times can a character supposedly “die” before we actually believe it?

I also found the villain’s downfall a bit boring. Again, it was predictable. I was expecting it to be a lot more dramatic, for him to pull something ridiculous and Avery having to outsmart him yet again. Didn’t happen. It was regular old action.

What I did love was a lot of the other action sequences. Rescuing the girls from Chinksa Mare was excellent. The drama and despair created in their situation and the women rising up was uplifting. We saw Avery at her best. Snyder did a wonderful job creating the torture scene between Avery and the Skeleton King. She was able to create a despairing situation without making it about rape and obvious forms of torture. It was original and creative.

All in all, the world built in the Healer series is intriguing. I thought bringing it all together through the lilies showed real inspiration on Snyder’s part. I am glad they were able to create more healers because their world needed them, even if they are only children now.

Overall, the end of the trilogy satisfied the reader in me. It’s not a series I would read over and over again, but I am glad I read it. I recommend this book for all fantasy and romance readers out there.

Sex: References to sex and kissing
Violence: torture scenes, fighting, death

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Series Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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ARC Review: The Sharpest Blade by Sandy Williams

He closes his eyes in a wince as a wave of pain passes over him. “Should have gone straight to Lena.”
I’m surprised you didn’t,” I say.
If the false-blood killed you, I wouldn’t get revenge.”
“He sounds like he’s worth saving,” Nick mutters, grabbing Lorn’s wrist to lift his hand away from his stomach wound.

The Sharpest Blade by Sandy Williams

**ARC PROVIDED BY NETGALLEY**

Summary: Stuck between the fae she is tied to and the one she loves, McKenzie has enough on her plate. But with Lena’s reign deeply threatened, McKenzie will have to throw all of that aside and do the right thing, even if it means she has to sacrifice her heart.

Review: The Sharpest Blade is the end to Shadow Reader trilogy, tying off the most valuable threads. Yet as final as the story was, it wasn’t as satisfying of a conclusion as I hoped.

Williams has created a fantastic world between humans and fae. It isn’t overly complicated as it only spans 3 books. However, that is a strength. Many author’s over complicate their world with minute details that only confuse the reader. Williams kept her details consistent and neat. Finishing the trilogy, I understood where her characters stood.

I was annoyed frequently with the characters in this trilogy. First there is McKenzie. She is an every girl. I hate every girl’s. They have no personality and no depth. What are her likes? Dislikes? Is she athletic? Is she fearful? She reminds me so much of Bella from Twilight, it’s nauseating. Williams’s strong characters, Aren and Lena also fell flat in the final book. Aren had so much potential in this book, especially considering the plot. Yet he seemed like a brat in the first half who just managed to win the girl’s heart by a “oops, I screwed up.”

I will say Williams did a fantastic job with Kyol’s character. In the first book he was boring, second book got more interesting. But he was downright complex in this book. His feelings, his thoughts and his love for McKenzie shined through. This love triangle was resolved from the beginning and I never thought of them two as happily ever after, but Kyol is definitely the winning character in this story. If Williams is writing a spin off, I would be fascinated to see stories about him.

The plot was tied perfectly well at the end. I was pleased that there were losses that were sad and not everyone ended up in a happy couple. Those always annoy me. But the main plot and love stories were resolved, and the realm became a peaceful place to live. It wasn’t an explosive ending, very predictable, but at least it wasn’t gag worthy. The love triangle could have been annoying, but she was resolved from the end of book one, so I was not to bothered by it.

Overall, I’m glad I read this book and the whole trilogy, but I doubt it’ll ever reach the reread stage. For Urban Fantasy fans, this is a good read in between favorites. If fae and romance aren’t your thing, this book probably isn’t for you either.

Sex: Kissing and low key sex scene
Violence: Death and blood, some of our favorites

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Series Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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ARC Review: The Spider by Jennifer Estep

“Get comfortable,” I said. Because it’s a long story. Funny enough, it all begins with a girl–a stupid, arrogant girl who thought that she could do no wrong . . .”

The Spider by Jennifer Estep

**ARC PROVIDED BY EDELWEISS**

Summary: Gin Blanco has received some black roses with a note that simply said, “Happy Anniversary.” Owen is curious about her story, so Gin starts to tell a story about a girl who thought she could do no wrong…

Review: A prequel to the whole series, this book felt like much of the same. It had all the good from the previous novels, yet now it just seems to be the same story over and over again. I wanted to rate this book 4 stars, but I couldn’t. It was that boring.

Overall, when a series gets to the point of book 10, prequel or not, we are hoping for something fresh to keep the old story going. Unfortunately, this story doesn’t provide much of that. We have the same Gin and Finn relationship, her admiration and respect for Fletcher who is alive, bad guys and people to save.

The books are a fun read as usual, but I am tired of the same formula. Stalk bad guy, find out if he’s really bad, attempt to kill him, fail, try again. At some point, Gin gets grievously injured and someone she cares about is hurt. Blah blah blah.

Sure Finn’s fun lines are there, but where is his character lately? He does nothing, and even from a funny sidekick, I want more depth from Finn. Fletcher was alive in this book, but even he didn’t add much depth to his character. Yay, he is alive, but what more is there? We should have learned more about Fletcher.

A prequel is supposed to add depth to a character’s background. This didn’t, and instead just felt like a huge step back for Gin. Yes, the story is set before all the character development of books 1 through 9. But, why did we need this story? How does it add to the overall arc?

I thought the book’s saving grace was Sebastian. He was suave, debonair, and oh so “perfect”. SPOILER AHEAD, HIGHLIGHT TO READ: That he turned out to be the bad guy, after a hot and steamy sex scene, was a cherry to his character. It’s rare in urban fantasy to give us a hot steamy sex scene with a character who turns out to be the bad guy.

Honestly, if Estep can’t find a way to make this series original and fresh, the series already done. The series felt finished when Mab died. Now what? How can Gin grow? I can’t seem to quit this series, because I love Gin and her strength of character. But I wonder how long I can keep going.

Sex: Steamy sex scene
Violence: Murder and mayhem typical of Ashland

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Series Rating: 4.5 out 5 stars

Release date: December 24th, 2013

Next Book: Poison Promise out July 29th, 2014

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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