Friday, July 14, 2017

Review - Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs

Blood Bound (Mercy Thompson, #2)
Series: Mercy Thompson #2
Genre: Paranormal
Age Group: Adult
Kindle Edition  - 335 pgs
Ace Books - 2007

Rating: 4.5/5

Mechanic Mercy Thompson has friends in low places - and in dark ones. And now she owes one of them a favor. Since she can shapeshift at will, she agrees to act as some extra muscle when her vampire friend Stefan goes to deliver a message to another of his kind. 
But this new vampire is hardly ordinary - and neither is the demon inside of him.

After the first book, I thought I had a good handle on how these books were going to go. As we all know, paranormal series tend to be a touch predictable and formulaic. And I like that! Blood Bound still had some of those elements, but its dark turn at the beginning took me by surprise. Mercy is a stronger character in this book and the cast of characters is more developed. I liked how we mainly focused on Mercy in this book with some asides about some romantic interests.

Briggs has a tendency to info dump on her readers, but I hope this will fade as the series goes along. Overall I like the world and how it has a twist on the traditional humans knowing/not knowing about magic. It makes the story interesting in other ways and forces Briggs to be creative about how things get done.

Mercy is relatable and believable. I like how she doesn't want to be treated like a weakling but knows her limits. I hope we continue to learn about her powers (I'm sure we will) and find some answers to that mystery. Really hoping Briggs doesn't stretch that bit out for ages. Will continue very soon! 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Review - Magic Stars by Ilona Andrews

 Magic Stars (Kate Daniels, #8.5, Grey Wolf, #1)
Series: Kate Daniels #8.5/Grey Wolf #1
Genre: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
Age Group: Adult
NYLA - December 2015
Ebook -64 pgs

Rating- 5/5

Scarred, solitary Derek Gaunt has separated from his Pack, and is truly a lone wolf. With no family he answers to no one; but is fiercely loyal to a chosen few. So, when several of those close to him are murdered, he’ll stop at nothing to hunt their killer through the magic-drenched streets of Atlanta.

Never one to be left on the sidelines, equally determined—some might say stubborn—Julie Lennart-Olsen soon joins in his pursuit; and what began as revenge turns into a race to save the city. Their search pits them against powers they never imagined and magic so old, it predates history. It may cost Derek his life, but there are things for which even he would risk everything.

Honestly, I could read a million of these Derek and Julie adventures. Julie, like Kate, is smart, witty and knowledgeable. She can kick butt and outsmart her opponents. Derek complements her well and has a lot of experience and brute strength to balance their teamwork out. I like how this story follows the same basic format we see in the Kate Daniels Series and I am holding out hope we will see the two of them again after the Daniels Series finishes. There have been vague mentions of it on the authors' social media. Please please please give me the Julie and Derek adult romance right now!

The pacing and story structure are familiar like I mentioned, but it is on a condensed scale.  I enjoyed the plot line a lot and sincerely hope there are more to come. The novellas in this series are just as much fun as the full-length novels!

My Last Review---> Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

Sunday, July 9, 2017

June Book Haul (2017)

Happy Sunday Book Haul! This month has been a book buying craze for me! Check out all the awesome books I picked up in June.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Review - Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

Moon Called (Mercy Thompson, #1)

Series: Mercy Thompson Series #1
Genre: Urban Paranormal Fantasy
Age Group: Adult
Mass Market - 288 pgs 
Ace - January 2006

Rating: 3.5/5

Mercedes "Mercy" Thompson is a talented Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. She also happens to be a walker, a magical being with the power to shift into a coyote at will. Mercy's next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she's fixing a bus for a vampire. This is the world of Mercy Thompson, one that looks a lot like ours but is populated by those things that go bump in the night. And Mercy's connection to those things is about to get her into some serious hot water...

Since I caught up on the Kate Daniels Series by Ilona Andrews, I have been anxious to read Moon Called. I've been looking to replace the paranormal/urban fantasy kick ass heroine sized hole in my heart. This did a good job of filling that hole.

This first book was a good set up for the series and the world. The plot was a little slow to start, there was a lot of set up, but I enjoyed the results. Mercy and her friends went on a fast paced adventure that had me glued to the page!

Mercy was a middle-of-the-road badass character. She had good instincts and her knowledge of the paranormal world provided a great foundation. At times I was frustrated she let other people take charge of the situation and she was written to be weaker than a lot of the other characters. However, I'm hopeful she will hold her own in the rest of the series.

My only big issue so far was I could not gauge the relationships between characters very well. The explanation of Mercy and Adam's antagonistic relationship at the beginning of of the novel  didn't seem to justify the lengths she went to to help Adam and his daughter. Personally, I needed more background on them to believe that part of the story.

I already have my hands on book two and I'm going to keep rolling through this series I think!

My Last Review ---> The Winner's Crime 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Top Books I Want to Read Before the End of 2017

There are a lot of books on my TBR and all the book buying I've done in June has wiped out my progress to reduce it! So here are a bunch of books I want to read before the end of the year. Look out world I'm a girl on a mission!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Review - The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy, #2)
Series: The Winner's Trilogy
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Hardcover - 402 pgs
Published- Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2015)
Add it // Buy it 

Rating: 4/5

A royal wedding means one celebration after another: balls, fireworks, and revelry until dawn. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement: that she agreed to marry the crown prince in exchange for Arin's freedom. But can Kestrel trust Arin? Can she even trust herself?

Kestrel is becoming very good at deception. she's working as a spy in the court. If caught, she'll be exposed as a traitor to her country. Yet she can't help searching for a way to change her ruthless world...and she is close to uncovering a shocking secret.

It took me so long to get through this book. After the first one hundred pages, I hit a wall. The story was slow to start so I put it off for months. After a couple of months of ignoring it, I read the rest of it in about two days. So I have mixed feelings about this second installment.

I mean this in the best way possible. This entire book was SO frustrating and STRESSFUL! Even though it hurts me, I enjoy how much tension is in this story and how even now after two books, there isn't much resolution. Unlike many young adult novels where I think the resolution for the problems and the characters to be quick and easy, the relationship between Kestral and Arin is so complicated. My expectations for the finale book are very high now so I hope Rutkowski follows through.

Throughout the novel I knew Kestrel's indecision and her scrambling would cost her in the end. While she tried desperately to play both sides of the game, it never seemed like she had enough information to do it effectively especially knowing what Arin was doing on the other side. I thought it was realistic how different the two characters were and how each of them had to deal with their all of the decisions they made in book one. The friendships, relationships and political alliances in this story were built so well and I loved the political elements of the story.

I'm dying for book three. (Good thing I have it)

Friday, June 30, 2017

Review - The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

The Red Pyramid (Kane Chronicles, #1)
Series: The Kane Chronicles
Genre: Urban Fantasy 
Age Group: Middle Grade
Hardcover - 516 pgs
Published - 2010 (Disney Hyperion) 
Add it // Buy it 

Rating: 4/5

Since their mother's death, Carter and Sadie have become near strangers. While Sadie has lived with her grandparents in London, her brother has traveled the world with their father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane. 

One night, Dr. Kane brings the siblings together for a "research experiment" at the British Museum, where he hopes to set things right for his family. Instead, he unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes him to oblivion and forces the children to flee for their lives. 

Soon, Sadie and Carter discover that the gods of Egypt are waking, and the worst of them —Set— has his sights on the Kanes. To stop him, the siblings embark on a dangerous journey across the globe - a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family and their links to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs. 

It has been a hot minute since I read a Rick Riordan book and I had a lot of fun reading this book. I listened to the audiobook and the narrators were absolutely fabulous. Overall this was exactly what I was looking for. It was filled with fun, adventure, and interesting mythology. Riordan writes young people and creates mythical gods like no other. He has a knack for writing compelling characters and plot lines that drag me into a story.

While the characters and the adventure style was much like Riordan's other books, there was a level of maturity I don't remember in Riordan's other series. Throughout the book there was more explanation of the Egyptian mythology which I appreciated since I am less familiar with it. The story is a straight up adventure that includes sibling rivalry that was hilarious.

My only issue with this story was it was a little predictable and had heavy foreshadowing that gave away a few plot points. Even so, since this is aimed at middle graders, I couldn't hold it against the book. The story is an emotional roller coaster and I'm anxious to get to the second audiobook.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

T5W - Hate to Love Ships

Happy Wednesday! Today's topic for Top Five Wednesday is relationships in books where the characters hated each other when they met and eventually end up together. At least I think that is what the topic meant. There wasn't a lot of description for this one! Let me know what you think are the best ships for this topic especially if they are different from mine. This is a favorite trope and I'd love to check more out!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Review - A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #3 (Finale) 
Genre: Fantasy
Age Group: New Adult
Bloomsbury USA - May 2016
Hardcover -  706 pgs

Rating - 3/5

A nightmare, I’d told Tamlin. I was the nightmare.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit—and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well. As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords—and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

I devoured the first 2/3 of this book. I like the interactions between the characters and thought the planning was complex and interesting. Even in this third book we learned a little bit more about the world. I enjoyed learning even more about Prythian and absorbing these details while the action continued. It wasn't always front and center but I liked that it was added.

However, the end felt like Maas tried to wrap up every loose end, redeem every character, and make it end perfectly. This kind of ending never feels realistic or satistfying to me so I was disappointed with where we left off. I wanted more answers about certain characters and clarification of some of the events. Everything was rushed from the half-way point and in the end most plot points were only addressed in overview.

Book two was very character focused, which I loved, and this book shifted the focus back to plot and action. While the overall arc of the story is important, I didn't care very much about this war. I was much more interested in the histories of the characters and their interactions with each other. (and if everyone survived what would happen next)The action parts of the book just didn't hold my attention as well. To put it simply: I wanted more banter, more friendship moments, and just more about everyone especially Rhy's Court of Dreams. They were the ones I wanted this book to be about. I was so devoted and attached to them after ACOMAF.

Overall Maas's writing doesn't impress me anymore. I've read much better writing since I started reading her books with more diversity, better character arcs and more interesting worlds. I do think this is the better series of the two she has going right now. ACOMAF remains my favorite book in the series and I will be interested to see what the "next" books in this series will be about.

Friday, June 23, 2017

A Death at Rosings: A Pride & Prejudice Variation by Renata McMann & Summer Hanford

A Death at Rosings: A Pride & Prejudice Variation

Series: Standalone
Genre: Historical Fiction
Age Group: Adult
Published: November 2015
Ebook - 183 pgs

The world of Rosings is turned on its head with the sudden death of Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Not yet up to the challenge of managing the estate on her own, Anne de Bourgh enlists the aid of Elizabeth Bennet, who is staying with her cousin Mr. Collins at the time. Elizabeth is capable, intelligent and quick thinking enough to help Anne manage Rosings, but is she ready for the challenge of Mr. Darcy’s return to Kent? With his rebuked proposal, his letter and her knowledge that she misjudged him between them, can Elizabeth set her own feelings aside to help save Anne de Bourgh’s estate? 

This would be the definition of inhale reading. Coming in just under 200 pages I sat down to read this story and didn't get up until I was done a couple of hours later. The story is fast paced and an easy engaging read. I really enjoyed it.

The concept may seem odd, but many of the characters balk at Anne's request just like I did. Through the story Anne's character blooms a little more, but many of the other characters remain the same. Darcy is still awkward and Elizabeth still witty. I really enjoyed seeing them in this different situation. The romance was cute and fun to read from both sides.

At times I did think Anne was actually enlisting Elizabeth's help to play matchmaker for her and Darcy. She seemed to enjoy that role for other characters and her character seemed very strong even without Elizabeth's guidance. Maybe I was reading between the lines too much, but I felt like that was an undercurrent to the story?? 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Top Ten Series I've Been Meaning To Start But Haven't

This topic is perfect for me right now! I have so many series I've been thinking about starting (and finishing for that matter) but I just haven't done it! So thank you to the Broke and the Bookish. I need to think about this more often! And if you are so inclined, please let me know which one of these is ESSENTIAL for me to start next.

A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird, #1) The Girl at Midnight (The Girl at Midnight, #1) The Girl from Everywhere (The Girl from Everywhere, #1)

The Crown's Game (The Crown's Game, #1) The Lost Sun (The United States of Asgard, #1) Legacy of Kings (Blood of Gods and Royals, #1)

Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #1) A Natural History of Dragons (The Memoirs of Lady Trent #1) Half-Blood (Covenant, #1)
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)