October 31, 2012
Timepiece (Hourglass #2), Myra McEntire
paranormal romance, sci-fi
If I had to give you one piece of advice regarding the Hourglass series, it would be to wait until they're all out and then read all three books at once. Or, plan re-reads if you simply can't wait (like me). Because my biggest problem with Timepiece is that I was confused for a large portion of this book. The plot is very convoluted; events are referenced that happened in the past, but since this is a time travel series, they didn't necessarily happen as far in the past as one would think. People are traveling through time and back again and then when you work in who has what ability and how that affects things, plus the ghosts that keep popping up, it's a lot to retain in order to keep the timeline of the story straight.
In these books, there are no "minor" details. It seems as if everything that happens is significant. So, the four months that passed between my reading of Hourglass and Timepiece were not kind to me. Right from the get-go, events from Hourglass were not only referenced, but built upon, and when you only have a vague recollection of what happened (and, to be honest, McEntire didn't really do a beginning-of-the-book-sum-up, which would've helped immensely), you will spend much of the book a little lost. I think that if I had read these two books back-to-back, I would've appreciated Timepiece much more.
One of the really great things about Timepiece is that it's told from Kaleb Ballard's POV. I love male POVs and I really liked Kaleb in Hourglass, so these were both wins in my book. And, I really do think the story is creative and interesting. Definitely worth a shot, especially if you like sci-fi and time travel stories. Just be prepared to do some re-reads before Infinityglass (Hourglass #3) comes out.
October 29, 2012
My first Sandy book is actually already done - I finished it earlier today. I read Hourglass (Hourglass #1) several months ago, and I've been holding on to Timepiece for a few weeks now waiting for the right time to start it. Now was as good a time as any, right?
Next is Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson spin-off series, Alpha and Omega. I have the intro novella and the first two books in the series on hand now. If they're anywhere as good as the Mercy book (and many have told me they're better!), these will go fast.
And, finally, I have had several of Megan Hart's books waiting in the wings for me ever since my good friend Jen from At Random got them for me at a signing over the summer. They'll certainly spice up a wet, windy day, eh?
So, for those of you in the path of the storm, what are your plans to ride it out? Whatever your plans are, I hope they include hunkering down and staying safe.
Labels: Deep Thoughts
Reflected In You (Crossfire #2), Sylvia Day
Really? Was the ending really realistic? Ok - so, maybe I shouldn't even be asking that question of a story in which a stinking rich, devastatingly handsome man falls instantly and totally in love with a hum-drum girl the second he sees her and wants nothing more than to dote on her constantly and ravish her six ways from Sunday every second of the day. And, yet, I still feel the need to ask if that ending was necessary. Because, other than that, I thought Reflected in You was better than Bared to You, the first in the Crossfire series.
Believe it or not, I think there was less sex in this book. *shock!* And, it was a good thing. *double shock!* There were so many questions left unanswered at the end of Bared to You - this book really got into some of the "whys" surrounding Gideon's many neuroses. And, now that Eva's craziness is all out on the table, she got on my nerves considerably less this time around too. She seemed to want to overcome her insane jealousy and her desire to run when things got hard. She really wanted to work at getting better. And, she and Gideon seemed good together for awhile. For, oh, about 20 pages or so. :)
True to form, there was still plenty of arguing and misunderstanding by these two completely messed up individuals. Although, in this case, the arguments seemed to be much more founded in legitimacy. Eva had every right to be mad and jealous and hurt and betrayed this time around. And, I found myself crying along with her at times.
The thing that bothered me most about this installment in the Crossfire series was that, for some unknown reason, the violence was ramped up. That kinda came out of left field at me, and I'm not really sure it added anything to the story. Well, ok, the one incident did, I guess. But, I still felt it was all not needed to move the story forward and to get the point across.
All in all, this was a really good book with a few missteps that I'm willing to overlook. I have a feeling I know where the third and last book will go. I think it will be a thrilling end.
October 28, 2012
The Crimson Crown (Seven Realms #4), Cinda Williams Chima
Amazing. Beautiful. Exciting. I just don't have the right words to describe how incredible The Crimson Crown was. It was the perfect ending to an epic series.
Raisa is queen and Han is trying to find out who is killing wizards in Ragmarket, who is trying to kill Raisa, how he can manage to marry the girl that he loves. He has a full plate. And, as war bears down on the Fells, neither Han nor Raisa can tell exactly who is a friend and who is not. Like I said - full plate.
After four books, I can tell you that I feel so much for all of the characters in this series, be they major or minor, evil or good. I wanted, with every fiber of my being, for the good guys to carpe diem and be happy for once. And, I despised the bad guys so much that I couldn't wait for them to bite it in the end. Raisa spends much of the book feeling helpless and frustrated, and I found myself so wound up in the book that I was sharing her emotions. Seriously - isn't that the hallmark of a great book?
I think one of my most favorite things about this book is that Chima didn't try to do too much. It seems that, much of the time, authors try to tie up every single loose end at the end of a series, and as a result, all the major plot points are hurried and less than they could've been. Chima's too smart for that, and thank goodness for that. Oh don't worry - all the main questions that had been dogging us for awhile now were answered. But, despite a very perfect ending, you're left feeling that there's still more story to tell. There's still problems and looming tensions. Not everything was tied up in a neat little bow. At the start of the book, there was so much going on - I'm so glad that Chima picked her battles (excuse the pun).
If you have not read The Seven Realms yet, seriously - WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? I hate having to reduce myself to yelling at you, but honestly, you won't find a better high fantasy series out there anywhere.
October 26, 2012
The Gray Wolf Throne (Seven Realms #3), Cinda Williams Chima
You might notice that books 1 (The Demon King) and 2 (The Exiled Queen) from the Seven Realms series are missing from my list this year. That's because The Gray Wolf Throne was a re-read for me. I read the first three in the series last November, and in anticipation of the release of the 4th and final book in the series, The Crimson Crown, on October 23 this year, I wanted to refresh my memory a bit. And, I have to tell you, The Gray Wolf Throne was every bit as exciting and wonderful the second time around as it was the first.
Raisa, Princess of the Fells is trying to get home, but is being dogged by assassins and thoughts of her almost-boyfriend Han Alister, a wizard. After Han saves her life and they make it to safety, she finds out that tragedy has struck her homeland and she is needed back there immediately. Despite Han's wariness of her and her position, he sets himself up as Raisa's personal bodyguard, and becomes determined to protect her and maybe she may grow to love him. Raisa sets to work trying to help bring her countrymen together, all the while fighting off all the wannabe consorts that are lining up outside her door, including the nasty Micah Bayar. But, she only has eyes for Han, even though they are never allowed to be together.
I just can't say enough about how amazing this series is. The Gray Wolf Throne is the turning point in this story. It is action-packed from the get-go and it never lets up. We see some main characters die and some alliances that we had thought were rock solid start to weather away. Han's and Raisa's relationship is wonderfully tragic in the best sort of way. They obviously love each other, but neither one wants to say it because it seems like a futile effort for them to try and be together. And, then there's the wars raging around them and the constant threats from the evil Bayar family - it seriously is the epitome of an epic story.
Since I've already mentioned that this was a re-read for me in preparation for the last book's release, you can imagine what the next review I'm posting will be about. The Crimson Crown was, I think, the best book I've read this year. I can't wait to share my thoughts about it with you all.
October 24, 2012
Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1), Robin LaFevers
549 pages (audiobook)
Ismae had a tough childhood. That will happen when you're born in medieval France and your mother thinks you're death incarnate. But then, when she's 14, she's taken in by the sisters at the convent of St. Mortain, the saint of death, and Ismae is trained as a handmaiden to death. A beautiful assassin. When she's 17, she's sent to help protect the Duchess of Brittany, along with handsome Gavriel Duval. She and Duval form first a partnership, then a friendship, then a romance as they race to try and find out who is trying to unseat the Duchess and kill Duval.
My thoughts are a bit muddled with this one. At times, when I thought about this review, I thought I'd write a really positive one, and other times, I thought it might err on the side of negativity. So, let's break it down.
* The characters - Ismae was forged from a troubled youth, and while it would've been not only easy but understandable for her to just fall in line with her convent and Reverend Mother, she shows serious pluck and strength of character when she starts to question everything she's come to know. Bravo, girlfriend. And Duval was equal parts dashing and infuriating. He didn't seem to fall instantly for Ismae, which is a good thing. And, he was complex and cared fiercely about his friends and family, all of which are great book boyfriend characteristics.
* The setting - Historical romance isn't my favorite genre, but it's a nice change of pace from time to time. I love history, especially when the author has done her research, as, it seems, LaFevers has.
* The ending - Is it just me, or did the ending kinda ruin the whole thing? I didn't feel a sense of closure. There were loose ends. And, loose ends really bother me.
* The bad guy - SO obvious.
* The lack of killing - I wouldn't normally put this in the "dislike" category, except that when you write a story about an assassin, I expect there to be more, oh I don't know, ASSASSINATIONS. But, boy, Ismae sure can talk a good game.
I mostly feel unsettled at this point, and slightly disappointed. I don't like feeling that way at the end of a book. :(
October 23, 2012
What more perfect time of year is there for fans of paranormal romance and urban fantasy books than Halloween? I think that's why the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop, hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and The Diary Of A Bookworm is the largest giveaway hop I've ever seen, let alone participated in.
In honor of Halloween, I'm paying homage to one of the greatest, scariest characters ever written about or immortalized in the movies. The one that causes little kids to don black capes, fake plastic teeth and chase their younger siblings around while saying, "I vant to suck your blud!"
I'm giving away one book of your choice from The Book Depository (up to $12 US), but your choice must feature a vampire or vampires. There are many series in which vampires are one of a cast of many supernatural characters. I want to call attention to the series that put vamps in the starring role. Here are just a few examples:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Labels: giveaway hop
October 22, 2012
River Marked (Mercy Thompson #6), Patricia Briggs
With River Marked, I come to the end of the Mercy Thompson series - at least for a little while. Frost Burned, the seventh and final book in the series, releases on March 5, 2013, and with it comes the end of a really fun journey for me. One that has proven that I can love urban fantasy as much as paranormal romance, which was something I didn't think was possible.
Back to River Marked. Mercy and Adam went to the chapel and got themselves married. In true werewolf/shapeshifter fashion, they decide to go camping for their honeymoon. And, in true Mercy fashion, trouble follows in their wake.
To be honest with you, River Marked was my least favorite of all the Mercy books. Many of my favorite characters - Samuel, Warren and Kyle - were largely absent. But, beyond that, the pack dynamic as a whole was missing. Just as it seemed as if Mercy was finally starting to get a handle on her end of that - after the dynamic ending of Silver Borne - that aspect of this series was removed. It happened at an inopportune time, in my opinion.
In a series as long as this one, you need momentum to continue carrying the story forward. Up until this point, this series has had momentum in spades. Although each book has been encapsulated with its own mystery, the relationship dynamics between Mercy and Adam, Mercy and Samuel, Mercy and the pack at large and Mercy and her strange menagerie of friends has spurred the story forward and kept me interested. Once you remove everyone but Adam, even the introduction of some new characters can't stop the sound of screeching brakes.
But, no matter, because I have full confidence that Briggs will bring all our favorites back for the very last Mercy book and send her off with several exclamation points.
October 20, 2012
Silver Borne (Mercy Thompson #5), Patricia Briggs
This was such a fun book! More weirdo fae. More Mercy and Adam. More SAMUEL. Need I say more?
Mercy has a fae book that apparently someone wants back. But, Mercy's learned a thing or two from her recent misadventures with the supernatural community, and she's not about to just hand it over. But now someone is after her to try and get it back. Complicating matters, Samuel is a wolf - and I mean A WOLF. And, that's not a good thing.
I'm making my way through the Mercy series, and like most series that include a lot of installments, some books in it are better than others. This was one of the better ones. There is more progression in Mercy's and Adam's relationship, which has born into something so wonderful and strong. The way Adam loves her is the stuff of only the absolute best romance stories. And Mercy's insecurities and hang-ups after what happened are made better every day because of him. This is good stuff, my friends.
And then there's Samuel. He's been Mercy's best friend for a long time, but he's struggling. It was good to see him trying to work through his stuff too. And, the out that he finds is very satisfying.
One book to go until the few months long wait for the seventh and final book. As much as I've loved this series, I think it's about time for Mercy and Adam and their friends to settle down and enjoy their lives. Don't you?
October 17, 2012
Some Girls Bite (Chicagoland Vampires #1), Chloe Neill
Have you ever started reading books in a certain genre, and you end up sticking with that genre for awhile? It's like you're on a paranormal romance kick or a high fantasy bender. Know what I mean? Well, it seems as if lately I've been on a bad ass chick high. Now, I know that "Bass Ass Chick" is not an official book genre. But, honestly, maybe it should be.
Merit is a rich graduate student who loves everything about her life (with the exception of her horrid parents) until she's nearly killed, and subsequently turned into a vampire by Ethan Sullivan, head vamp of Cadogan House. As she slowly comes to grips with the loss of her old life and embraces her new one, she also has to deal with an apparent threat to not only her master and her new House, but also her life.
Ok, yes. Officially, Some Girls Bite is classified as Urban Fantasy. I like Bad Ass Chick better. Because that is a better descriptor for this book. Merit ROCKS. She's super smart - she was a graduate student in literature, for goodness sake. She's resilient - she survived a horrible childhood with loveless parents and then survived a life-changing event that she didn't ask for with relative ease. She's brave - she handles her "master" like no one else and doesn't let him give her any crap.
Some Girls Bite was such a great book. All the characters had so much personality and life! And, better than that, it was so funny in so many places. I laughed out loud dozens of times. Merit's constant snark and hers and Ethan's dry banter absolutely cracked me up. Luke is a fantastic character, as is Catcher - I'd love to have them as my BFFs.
Overall, even though this book is about vampires, it was a breath of fresh air. I sincerely hope that all the books in this series are as good as this first one. I'm about to find out.
October 15, 2012
Whispers at Moonrise (Shadow Falls #4), C.C. Hunter
ARRRGGGHHHH!!! Are you freaking kidding me?! No, you idiot - don't say/do that! Shut. Your. Pie hole. OMG, I cannot believe this right now.
So, that pretty much sums up my experience with Whispers At Moonrise.
Don't get me wrong - it was a good book. Just intensely frustrating. You serious book fans know what I'm talking about. By the fourth book in a series, you've developed a sort of relationship with the main characters. You have a specific idea for where you want them to go. Who they should be with. And, when it appears the story isn't going in that direction, it makes you nuts!
Backing up, Kylie finally knows what she is, but doesn't understand it or how to control it. Another thing that she is unsure of is what to do about her Derek/Lucas problem (and, what a good problem to have, right?). Should she go with the boy she thinks she loves, but always seems to put other things first? Or with the boy who is completely devoted to her, but for whom perhaps her feelings have changed? Oh, and in the middle of all that, she's got a new ghost problem that hits very close to her heart.
You know, I've always thought the boy "teams" were silly. What it boils down to is, based on what you know about the main character and what you feel about her, which guy in this fictional world is what she needs/wants? I have a very clear opinion on this after four books, and if my opening paragraph is any indication, it should tell you in which direction things are going at this juncture. There's almost nothing more frustrating than that.
I don't know what it is, but it seems like all of these books are very similar. There's never much movement in the problems and challenges that are supposed to be overarching. Kylie's angst over what she is and her confusion over the boys have been going on since the first book in the series. I understand there's only one book left in the Shadow Falls series, and it's due out in December. For the love of all that's crazy, I hope that it REALLY wraps up then. (And, I hope she picks Derek!)
October 12, 2012
Bone Crossed (Mercy Thompson #4), Patricia Briggs
After the major events at the end of the third Mercy Thompson book, I moved immediately on to the next one in the series. I am really loving this series and wanted to see what would happen next in Mercy's life.
Mercy has decided to let Adam in and accept him as her mate. But, she is still reeling from the trauma she experienced, so that's easier said than done. To complicate matters further, the vampire queen is on to Mercy's misgivings and is gunning for her now. Sounds like a good time for a vacay. So, Mercy heads to visit an acquaintance from college. And, in true Mercy fashion, ends up in worse trouble than if she had just stayed at home.
I think the third book was just too damn good. I don't think it can be topped, honestly. So, in my opinion. it paled in comparison. My favorite part was seeing Mercy actually struggle with something. Her character always seemed so strong and competent. Of course, after something like what happened to her happens to someone, it affects you in some serious ways. I'm so glad that Briggs didn't gloss over that.
It was equally refreshing to see her man stand by her. They cross another major bridge in their relationship, and Adam proves he's definitely worth waiting and fighting for. Love that.
The mystery itself wasn't as compelling as the others in the past. It felt a little contrived. And, the bad guy didn't scare me like the other baddies had. It could've been done better. In any case, I'm looking forward to finishing out the last two books that are out now and then hunkering down and waiting for the seventh Mercy book to come out next year.
October 9, 2012
I wanted to say a few words about novellas. In my experience, novellas are like the cherry on top of the sundae - an addition to what would otherwise be a final product that makes the whole just a little sweeter. But, ultimately, it's wholly unnecessary. Because the real stars of the show are the vanilla ice cream, the hot fudge and the peanuts. And the caramel. And the whipped cream.
I didn't mean to get distracted by thoughts of frosty goodness (note to self - a trip to DQ is on tap for tomorrow). The point is, novellas are short add-ons to enhance the main story. Do you "count" novellas? What I mean is, when you think about the books you've read, do you count the novellas in the pile as full-fledged books?
I don't. And, it's mostly because, in my mind, they really are just extra-specials. If I didn't read them, I'd probably not miss anything. I don't count them in my book count here on my blog. And, although Goodreads counts them in my count for the year, I also keep them in a separate folder after I've finished them.
Above are a few of the novellas I've read this year. I've also read a lot of extra content on author's blogs and websites that they offer for free (don't you just love it when they do that?!). I love what they bring to the story overall, and I fully intend to keep seeking them out as I get involved with new series. What about you?
October 8, 2012
Books Read - 14
Books Read To Date - 111
Total Pages Read - 42,301
Favorite Book of the Month - Deity (Covenant #3)
I read a lot of great books this month. In fact, I may have read more 5-star books this month than any other month this year. But, one stands out among the rest for me, and that is Deity, the third in the amazing Covenant series by Jennifer Armentrout. I could not put this book down, and was so disappointed when I finished it. I definitely see a re-read in the not-so-distant future. I seriously LOVED this book.
October 7, 2012
Iron Kissed (Mercy Thompson #3), Patricia Briggs
Iron Kissed is the perfect demonstration of why you should never judge a book by its cover. Someone please tell me that I'm not the only one who thinks the cover art for this book is icky. Not only does Mercy not look anything like I pictured, she actually spends very little time fixing cars and lots of time doing other kick ass stuff. Despite the lacking cover, this book was So. Good. The best Mercy book yet.
Mercy's good friend, Zee, has been framed for murder, so of course, Mercy can't leave it alone. She's determined to find out who is setting him up, even though he doesn't want her to. Meanwhile, she still has two werewolves vying for her affections, and the time has come for her to make a choice.
This is urban fantasy for cripes sake. It really shouldn't make me emotional. But, Mercy's snark makes me laugh, Sam's overbearing demeanor makes me wish so much that he was MY roommate, and the events in the last 15% of this book made me bawl like a baby. Now that is good writing.
What I think it the coolest part of these books is that the plot doesn't suffer for lack of anything else. The mystery, especially in this one, is intriguing and complex. I love that I can't figure out who did it right away. And, I love how Mercy goes about her sleuthing.
This is such a great series, and this is the best one of the bunch yet. If you haven't read any of these books yet, what are you waiting for?
October 3, 2012
Blood Bound (Mercy Thompson #2), Patricia Briggs
After falling in love with Mercy Thompson and her merry band of misfits in Moon Called, I didn't waste any time devouring book #2 in the series. I started it the very next day and 24 hours later, I had two Mercy books under my belt. I'm finding this series to be so much fun!
Stefan, Mercy's vampire friend, calls in a favor and asks her to accompany him on what is supposed to be a peace meeting with a big, bad nasty. The peace meeting doesn't go so... peaceably. I mean, this IS Mercy after all. She learns that there's a demon-possessed sorcerer vampire running amok in Tri-Cities. And, now he's gunning for her. Good thing she has two very hot werewolves to protect her.
My favorite part about this book was more Stefan. In book #1, we got a good look at Mercy, Sam and Adam. This book is our chance to learn about Stefan, and he is one cool vamp. And, it appears that he, like the aforementioned weres, cares a lot about Mercy.
And, once again, Mercy is called upon to save them all. I love the irony in that. Oh sure - Sam and Adam have saved Mercy's bacon a few times themselves. But, in the end, it's all up to the little coyote. That's one of the things about this series that's so endearing. Mercy is so strong and capable that she ends up in situations where she can dispose of the bad guy and save her main men. I love that about her.
October 1, 2012
Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1), Patricia Briggs
Oh, Mercy, Mercy, Mercy. Where have you been my whole life? I approached Moon Called with a measure of trepidation. Urban fantasy is not my favorite genre. Previous attempts at connecting with books in that vein have fallen a little short. I'm not sure why - I suspect is has something to do with the significant lack of romance, which is my favorite part of most books. And, although that was no different in this case, obviously something was, because I was grabbed from the first page.
Mercedes Thompson is a VW mechanic by trade and a shapeshifter by nature. She is brave and tough with a soft heart. And, as it turns out, a magnet for trouble. When she stumbles on a plot by someone to capture young werewolves, she is determined to get to the bottom of it, come hell or high water. Luckily, she has friends in high places, like Dr. Samuel Cornick, the son of the most powerful werewolf in the country (and her ex-boyfriend), and Adam Hauptman, the Alpha werewolf of the local pack.
Briggs has an amazing imagination. The pack dynamics that she describes seemed so well thought out - they made perfect sense to me and helped deepen the understanding and connection to the world the characters live in. I love the fact that Mercy is as normal as possible... without being normal. I always forget that she's something supernatural as well, until she shifts into a coyote.
Even all that wouldn't have been enough for me to love this book as much as I did. I think what really did it for me were the characters. I fell in love with Mercy immediately. She's the perfect blend of hard and soft, snark and sweet. And, she's a cat lover. Who is a coyote. I love that bit of irony.
And then there's the boys. Samuel. Bran. Adam. Stefan. All handsome, strong and brave. And all love Mercy in different ways. They're fleshed out so well - I feel like I know them all.
Lucky me, I own all six Mercy Thompson books that are currently out. Be prepared for a Mercy marathon, people.