Welcome

Welcome to my train of thought. Just a warning, there might be turbulence. I'm a little eccentric, but hopefully you'll find something here that'll make the crazy worth it. Stay tuned for book reviews, ramblings on random things, and all sorts of stuff that tickles my fancy. But keep your hands and arms inside the vehicle at all times. My brain is a scary place!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Review: Wild Trail

Wild Trail Wild Trail by A.M. Arthur
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

The story of two guys trying to overcome their painful pasts and find love is nothing new, but A.M. Arthur certainly put a fun spin on this tale. Cowboys are hot, you know. Yowza. This one has everything a cowboy fan would love -- ghost towns, horses, ranches, rugged manly cowboys, and fun fun fun.

Mack seriously pushed every single one of my naughty buttons. I think I'm in love. Wes is cute enough, but I'm jealous. I want Mack all for myself!

I'll definitely be on the lookout for Clean Slate Ranch #2 (Colt's story) and Clean Slate Ranch #3 (Reyes' story). :)

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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Review: City of Endless Night

City of Endless Night City of Endless Night by Douglas Preston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thanks to Netgalley and Grand Central Publishing for providing me a copy of this to read in exchange for an honest review.

So as many of you know, the Pendergast series is one of my longest followed and most beloved series. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves a good thriller with adventure and strangeness mixed right in. This wasn't the strongest entry into the series, what with a relatively predictable villain and a meandering plot with some side stories that felt unnecessary, but it was still a Pendergast book... and one thing that seriously redeemed it was that we got to see a side of Pendergast we haven't seen very deeply before -- and he was VULNERABLE. Pendergast has always been one of those "step ahead of everyone" kind of characters, and it's part of his charm. He's crazy smart, can read people, and knows how to play them to get what he wants... but the events of the last book really brought him into a new realm, and this book played on that new weakness and vulnerability to show this side of Pendergast, and to almost bring him down to a normal human. Of course, it was awesome to see him struggle and find his mastery again, but it was an absolute pleasure to get to see him accept that maybe he's not always the smartest person in the room or the best player in the game.

I think that brought a fresh new perspective to the character, who after 17 books could be at risk of getting stale, right? Who am I kidding? Pendergast is the bomb.

Read this one. It's fun. And if you haven't already, read the rest.

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Monday, November 6, 2017

Review: The Girl in the Tower

The Girl in the Tower The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'll begin by saying thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

I'm not a historical fiction fan. Occasionally, I can get into it, but not often. Books like this one though, with the hints of magic and deeper moments than many authors are capable of (so many are "oh, info dump about history, here you go!"), really make me want to try harder.

I mentioned in my review for book one, The Bear and the Nightingale, that when I first requested it based off of the description, I was disappointed to learn that it was not a standalone and was in fact the first of a trilogy. I also mentioned that by the end of book one, I was beyond happy that it had worked out that way... well, I'm still thrilled, because it means I get one more book, one more story in this world, one more adventure with one of my favorite heroines of 2017 - Vasya. Seriously, she's everything a good character should be -- strong but vulnerable, brave, smart, flawed, deep, and fiery. She's got the badass thing down pat.

I can't rave enough about Vasya or the depth and beauty of these two books. Give them a shot, even if historical fiction isn't really your thing. They have a fantasy element that kicks it up a notch, and they're beautiful, timeless, powerful stories about how one person can truly make a difference in her world, and how living life the way you're told isn't always the path you should take. Unless it means listening to me telling you to read this. That's one command you need to heed!



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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Review: Into the Drowning Deep

Into the Drowning Deep Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.

Seanan McGuire, you are a MASTER storyteller. Even when you're writing under your sci-fi/horror pseudonym, I love every single thing you write. I don't know how you do it, and so prolifically. Seriously, nonstop awesome, pouring out of you.

This book reminded me of some of my favorite authors/series, particularly the Pendergast series by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. They're a mix of horror and science and mystery, and this felt like a very similar vein to those. I love techno/adventure/sci-fi/horror thrillers, even though the past few years my obsession has turned to urban fantasy more than anything, and knowing that one of the best UF authors out there has a whole extra side to her in one of my other favorite genres is so exciting to me.

This novel was terrifying. Not the whole time, but most of it. Who knows what lies in the deeps of the ocean, waiting for us? The whole thing was just plausible enough to scare the pants off of me.

Seanan/Mira, I was already wary of the ocean, and you've pushed me over the edge straight into #nope. All done with going in the ocean!

Make sure if you pick this one up to grab the prequel novella, Rolling in the Deep, as it sets some of this up and provides you a glimpse into what is coming.

Highly recommended.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Monday, October 23, 2017

Review: Thirteen

Thirteen Thirteen by Kelley Armstrong
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read the last 82% of this book in one sitting - stayed up until after midnight! I just couldn't stop. I'm really sad that the series is over. I have a few short story anthologies to read, but the main story is over. She did say in the little note at the end of the book that more might come, one day, for a bigger story. I'd LOVE it. Maybe following the kids???

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Friday, October 20, 2017

Review: The Beautiful Ones

The Beautiful Ones The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher, St. Martin's, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I've heard great things about Silvia Moreno-Garcia, certain great things about her book Certain Dark Things (see what I did there???). I haven't had a chance yet to read it, though I did buy it earlier this year to read, but when I saw this on Netgalley, I had to give it a shot. Telekinesis talked about as if it's relatively normal in this world? Sounds fun to me.

Well, here's the deal... if you're going into this expecting more of an urban fantasy or paranormal romance, you're in for a surprise. The telekinesis aspect, while it plays an important role in the development and relationship between two of the three main characters, is really a tiny part of the story. This book is mostly historical romance, a genre that I typically don't pick up except on rare occasion. So the telekinesis almost felt like it was there to trick me into reading something I normally wouldn't.

...and I'm glad it did. I ended up loving the book! Three compelling main characters, all broken in their own ways. Two of them fight to find something more, and one of them is one of the most despicable and cold and heartless characters I've seen on the page -- but she made for a great villain. Nina, though, stole my heart. She reminded me a lot of myself, and that made for an excellent read as I saw her grow and develop.

There were a few times the pacing felt a little off, and I would have liked a little more of the powers, but those are minor complaints about a really compelling read. I'm glad I took a chance on this. I can't wait now for Certain Dark Things, because if she does for vampires what she did for historical romance with a tinge of the supernatural, then I'm in for a treat.

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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Review: Boneyard

Boneyard Boneyard by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Seanan, I doubted you, and I shouldn't have. #ashamed.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy for review (and additional thanks for adding the Kindle version so I didn't have to try to read this on a really tiny phone screen in an even tinier font that settings wouldn't seem to change in Adobe Digital Editions!).

I have never heard of Deadlands before this, not at all. But I think I'm going to attempt to get my hands on the first two books in this series of standalones set in the Deadlands world. Sure, they won't be Seanan, who is poetic and deep and knows both how to plot and how to develop characters like a pro (better than a pro, really, a savant)... but she made me like this world enough to try them.

The plot revolves around a circus, a setting that seems to be one Seanan loves. In this world, however, we aren't witnessing her beloved Price family make their way in the Incryptid world, no, we're witnessed Annie Pearl find her way in the world and live a life of love and protection for her daughter, Adeline. And in this world, there are strange creatures, but not the same kind as in Incryptid. In this world, pretty much everything is dangerous.

I'll stop there, because I don't want to spoil the characters, but I will say that the first section of this book almost led me to give up -- but if you follow in my footsteps, please continue on as I did. Once they hit The Clearing and the creepy begins to set in, it'll grip you like the cold, hungry hands of... oops, spoilers again. Perfect October/Halloween-ish read, and it's Seanan, so you're not risking a thing by picking this one up. With Seanan, you're pretty much guaranteed a winner.

Now, you go join the circus while I go find myself copies of the other Deadlands books. And be warned, Seanan will inspire a voracious reading hunger, just like in the... oops, spoilers again.

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Monday, September 11, 2017

Review: The Visitors

The Visitors The Visitors by Catherine Burns
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Boy, did that book make me feel dirty, tainted, grimy... like Lady MacBeth trying to scrub off the imaginary blood that she just couldn't shake.

This book... I don't know what to say other than TWISTED. It's completely twisted. It's fantastically twisted. It'll wriggle its way into your brain and make you unable to put it down until the very end. And ironically enough, very little happens for most of the book -- but you don't realize that until you get to the real happenings. The characters are so fleshed out, and you'll start to get an idea of what's going on as the pages pass, and even knowing that, you won't be able to stop.

Highly recommended for those who like dark and twisted and character depth.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.


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Thursday, September 7, 2017

Review: It

It It by Stephen King
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Let's get a few things straight.
1 - Nothing I can say here is new ground. This book has been out a long time and has received countless reviews, so I'm not going to go into super detail.
2 - IT, the creature, is terrifying. Seriously terrifying. And not just because I'm extremely clown-phobic. It can read your mind. It can show up anywhere. It can show up in different forms. It can control people. It can make you see things that no one else can see. It knows your fears, deep down.
3 - Seriously? Child orgy? How is that remotely necessary to the story? And did we really need to know which of the kids REALLY filled her up more than the others? They're 11 years old. I feel dirty just TYPING that one of them has a bigger piece of meat between their legs.
4 - I guess I need to read Dark Tower to understand why there is a turtle involved in all of this?
5 - Not too pleased with the forgetfulness thing LOL.
6- I think Stephen King must have won a ritual of Chüd against his editors, and that's why so many of his books could be 400 pages shorter and tell the same story. Granted, a lot of the extra in this one helped flesh out the evil that lurks in the town, the IT... but in the chapters at the end with the final battles of both young and old, the interruptions to talk about other people in the town just ruined pacing and the climax that had been building the whole book -- the inevitable clash with the villain... and constant readus interruptus.
7 - Damn, makes me wish I had friends like these guys growing up. Other than the whole having to fight an evil entity multiple times in the same life, groups of bullies chasing them constantly, etc.
8 - I still enjoyed the book and think King is a master of storytelling and storycrafting. If you like horror, this is still highly recommended.

*walks to Joey's fridge, opens the freezer, and puts this in beside Joey's copy of The Shining*

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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Review: The Quarterback

The Quarterback The Quarterback by Mackenzie Blair
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thanks to the publisher and to Netgalley for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Matt Lancaster is a dream -- a fantasy. Trevor is so lucky to have one of my fantasies come true for him! :) Alas, it's not all rainbows and unicorns for these two -- they have an uphill battle in their path to love.

The writing was a little juvenile and the plotting was a little predictable and the characters were a little stereotypical... but I really enjoyed it. It was nice knowing that, even though it wasn't deep literature, the author made great efforts to show that life is hard for the LGBT community, especially in the deep south... that true families aren't always the ones we're born into... that the future is always a beacon for hope and a chance for change... and that sometimes, even through the hardest of circumstances, love can help get you through.

I'm not sure it's realistic that these two would end up together permanently... but the ending was sweet and provided happiness for now, and I think it was the way it needed to end.

I'd definitely read more from this author, because she did provide depth to the main characters and those main characters had to deal with some real life situations that happen to many LGBT young people -- myself included.

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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Review: The Brightest Fell

The Brightest Fell The Brightest Fell by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Brightest Fell

First and foremost, thank you to Netgalley and Berkley/DAW for approving me for an ARC in one of my absolute favorite series. I was given a copy of this book to read in exchange for nothing more than an honest review.

Seanan McGuire is one of the best writers I've had the pleasure of reading. She knows how to set up the action, to build the plot to the explosive scenes you know are coming, but somehow seem to still usually subvert expectations and provide an even better result than you had predicted. She excels at character development -- making us feel and care and relate and share hopes and fears with these characters. She's set up a beautiful, dark, lovely, dangerous, amazing world and an extremely diverse and developed cast. Most importantly, she knows just where the next piece of the story needs to take us to push the overall series narrative forward, every single time.

This novel is no exception. In fact, it's one of the brightest (see what I did there?) examples of her talents as a writer.

She finds a believable way to force October onto another hero's quest, with limited access to her true allies, plenty of complications along the way, and massive amounts of development in Toby's emotional growth AND in some of the secondary characters as well. It left the book feeling reminiscent of some of the earlier books of the series where the cast hadn't grown as large, but with the more mature and confident and loved Toby that has come from the series as time passes and her "family" grows. And this one referenced the events of so many of the other books, and revealed that so many of the little things were bread crumbs to a bigger story... I'm beyond excited for the next few books. I have a feeling that the search for Oberon is a big part of endgame, and I'm ready for Toby to show the world of Faerie just how amazing her and her family is.

I'm thoroughly impressed with Seanan McGuire every time I pick up one of her novels. Even the worst of her novels is still near to masterpiece. If you haven't started the October Daye series, it's time to jump in (with Rosemary and Rue, book 1). Seriously, you should have started years ago. Go, get on that. NOW.

(PS- Chapter one of this book is absolutely one of my favorite opening scenes from any book ever. It features one of the best characters to ever grace the pages of a book... and I can't say more, because spoilers.)

Of Things Unknown

Also included in this book is a brand new shorty, staring the creepy but cool digital Dryad, April O'Leary, and provides some resolution to some stories from way back in the beginnings of the series.

It's well known that most of McGuire's shorties can be extremely heartwrenching. This one was an interesting surprise -- not only because it's got some happy moments in it, but because we got to see October from someone else's perspective, we got to see the inner workings of a very intriguing character, and we got more of Seanan's ability to put fresh spins on myths and the fae, etc. Five stars for the shorty as well.

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Review: Wildfire

Wildfire Wildfire by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Dearest Ilona and Gordon,

As one of your devoted worshipers, I beg and pray of you to please continue this series. I love it. The world... the characters... the magic... the houses... the heat... the naughty bits...

I NEED MORE! *offers human sacrifices to the writing-gods*

What? You think I'd sacrifice animals? I like animals better than people. I also like books better than people. So, "Ilona Andrews"... GIMME!

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Monday, August 7, 2017

Review: Illegal Contact

Illegal Contact Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thanks to the publishers and Netgalley for providing me with this copy in exchange for an honest review.

Wow, Santino Hassell, I hadn't read you before, but I'll be reading your books in the future. I'm in lust/love with Gavin Brawley, and Noah was adorable as well. The characters were realistic, the development was great, and the sexy times were hot!!!

As much as I love some of my other favorite MM books/series (like Ty & Zane or Travis & Charlie), it was refreshing to read a book written by an actual gay male who, unlike the female authors who still do a great job, actually knows what it's like to be a gay male in 2017.

If you're into MM novels at all, pick this one up. You won't be disappointed. #yowza

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Friday, July 28, 2017

Review: Urban Enemies

Urban Enemies Urban Enemies by Joseph Nassise
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.

This anthology included some really excellent stories... and added quite a few series to my TBR pile. Can't wait to pick some of them up!
---
Even Hand by Jim Butcher
Villain & Series: Gentleman John Marcone, The Dresden Files
My Series Status: Devoted Follower/Obsessee
Stars: Five

Even Hand was a great little story, but way too short. I've always been intrigued by Gentleman John Marcone, and seeing inside his head for this one, getting a deeper glimpse into his psyche, just wasn't enough for me. He's in quite a few of the books in the main series, but I really wish he'd play a bigger role over all. With the "apocalyptic trilogy" ender coming up (in five books, so ok, not the near future), maybe he'll jump on the antihero train, and perhaps Dresden and Marcone won't have to have an epic final showdown where only one walks away.

Also, I really like Hendricks, and love Justine and Ms. Gard.
---

Hounded by Kelley Armstrong
Villain & Series: The Rogue Huntsman, Cainsville series
My Series Status: New to Me (on my TBR prior)
Stars: Five

So, I've been working on reading Women of the Otherworld by this author, and really am enjoying the series, but Cainsville has been on my radar for a while. I'm trying to finish up Otherworld first, as I'm in the middle of so many series already, and Otherworld is completed, so might as well knock it out... but this twisted little story with a very dark villain and an even darker ending really makes me excited to check out Cainsville!!!
---

Nigsu Ga Tesgu by Jeff Somers
Villain & Series: Mika Renar, Utsari Cycle
My Series Status: New to Me
Stars: Four

I've never heard of this series or author before, but I'm definitely putting book one on my TBR. This is one seriously creepy villain and an interesting take on magic.
---

Sixty-Six Seconds by Craig Schaefer
Villain & Series: Fontaine (Harmony Black) and The Redemption Choir (Daniel Faust)
My Series Status: I've read book one of Daniel Faust with intentions to attempt to read the rest of the two series
Stars: Three

This wasn't bad, per se, but it just wasn't as polished as the first three stories felt -- and it wasn't really dark and villainous. Fontaine was actually VERY understandable and relatable, and the "twist" at the end wasn't shocking. I don't know what it is about him, but so far, I feel like Schaefer just tries too hard. (Sorry, Sarah)
---

Kiss by Lilith Saintcrow
Villain & Series: Perry/Pericles, Jill Kismet series
My Series Status: New to Me (on my TBR prior)
Stars: Three and a half

I haven't read anything by Lilith Saintcrow before, and this one was a little confusing -- I probably would have understood more had I read some of the series before, and if work hadn't kept interrupting my reading of this one. Enjoyable, but missing something.
---

The Naughtiest Cherub by Kevin Hearne
Villain & Series: Loki, The Iron Druid Chronicles
My Series Status: Read through book 7 (currently one book behind)
Stars: One

I liked the first few books in this series, but the last few haven't been as fun or as exciting. Maybe it's just me, but I grew kinda bored of the whole series, which is a shame, because I love Oberon and Granuaile. Loki's little jaunt through the Christian Hell to have a chat with Lucifer was blasé and meh and contrived.
---

The Resurrectionist by Caitlin Kittredge
Villain & Series: Lee Grey, The Hellhound Chronicles
My Series Status: New to Me (on my TBR prior)
Stars: Three

I enjoyed this shorty, and will definitely pick up the Hellhound Chronicles... but it didn't really feel like this one was in keeping with the theme of the anthology being stories from the villain's perspective. Lee felt like one of the good guys. *shrugs*
---

Down Where the Darkness Dwells by Joseph Nassise
Villain & Series: Simon Logan and Ashereal, The Templar Chronicles
My Series Status: New to Me
Stars: Five

This little gem was tremendous fun. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (one of my favorite movies of all time) meets The Mummy (Brendan Fraser version, another of my favorite movies) and magic. I added this one to my TBR for sure. Is it bad I was rooting for this villain?
---

Bellum Romanum by Carrie Vaughn
Villain & Series: Roman/Gaius Albinus, Kitty Norville series
My Series Status:New to Me (on my TBR prior)
Stars: Four

I will definitely be picking up this series soon -- Roman seems like a really cool villain! I loved the vampire mythology in this one, and the origins of Roman as not only a vampire, but also some form of a magic user.
---

Altar Boy by Jonathan Mayberry
Villain & Series: Toys, Joe Ledger series
My Series Status:New to Me (on my TBR prior)
Stars: Four

I'm intrigued by the character of Toys... I am not a huge "zombie" fan, but I think I'll check this series out, if not just to meet and get to know Toys better, but to see what led to the events of this shorty.
---

Make it Snappy by Faith Hunter
Villain & Series: Leo, Jane Yellowrock series
My Series Status: Devoted Follower/Obsessee
Stars: Five

Absolutely LOVED this one. I adore the Jane Yellowrock world, and it was really cool to see some pre-Jane-coming-to-New-Orleans Leo, Bruiser, Katie, and Bethany... and the precursor first warning signs that the Eurovamps were going to be making their way to come after the US/Leo's territory. Good thing Jane showed up when she did. Her and Beast might just be the "tipping point" needed to tilt things in Leo's favor.
---

Chase the Fire by Jon F. Merz
Villain & Series: Shiraz Aziz, Lawson Vampires
My Series Status: New to Me
Stars: Four

Interesting... It looks like this series is a mishmash and hodgepodge of spy novels and vampires. This story was entertaining enough to check out the first book in the series and see if it's for me. I'm a little worried that Goodreads and the author's site don't really have an accurate reading order for these, but if book one is good, I'll just try to figure it out.
---

Unexpected Choices by Diana Pharaoh Francis
Villain & Series: Shoftiel, Horngate Witches
My Series Status: New to Me (on my TBR prior)
Stars: Four

Really liked Shoftiel's character -- he was showing clear potential for character growth while also exhibiting some of his defining characteristics that I would guess led him to be granted "villain" status within the series -- this one is definitely moving up my list to read sooner rather than later.
---

Reel Life by Steven Savile
Villain & Series: Seth Lockwood, Glass Town (if this is a series, only one book has been published)
My Series Status: New to Me
Stars: Two and a half

This was inexplicably both intriguing and boring to me. I needed to read the Glass Town before I picked this one up, I guess.
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The Difference between Deceit and Delusion by Domino Finn
Villain & Series: Tunji Malu, Black Magic Outlaw series
My Series Status: New to Me
Stars: Four and a half

Cool villains! Definitely starting this series in the near future!!
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Balance by Seanan McGuire
Villain & Series: a Cuckoo, Incryptid series
My Series Status: Devoted Follower/Obsessee
Stars: Five

Just FYI, anything Seanan McGuire writes is golden... and this is no different. Cuckoos are insanely disturbing and make for awesome villains (and, if you've read Incryptid, great characters in general).
---

Everywhere by Sam Witt
Villain & Series: The Long Man, Pitchfork County series
My Series Status: New to Me
Stars: Three

This one didn't do much for me, but the Long Man was sufficiently creepy, so I didn't dislike it either.

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Review: A Killer Harvest

A Killer Harvest A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Paul Cleave is severely underrated here in the US. He's a big deal, I think, in the thriller market. I've read four of his books now, and every time, I read that final page and shut the back cover thinking, "Damn, this guy is GOOD at writing." Seriously, he writes page-turners with good characterizations, twisted plots, and creative scenarios.

This creative scenario is based around the concept of cellular memory -- that donated organs can pass on memories and feelings. Interesting spark for a story, and this tale definitely weaves that scientific potentiality into the story well.

Ironically enough, I didn't see the ending coming (bad pun intended -- SEE, blind kid getting his sight from donated eyes, come on, that's funny!) even though, after reading through the final twists, I feel like I *should* have seen it coming. That's yet another reason Cleave is one of my favorite thriller writers, and I'm savoring working my way through his works without rushing to burn through them all -- I don't want to run out before more are on their way.

Pick up a Paul Cleave book. I doubt you'll be disappointed. 4.5 stars, highly recommended.


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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

July Update, Day 18

Day 18, and five books down.  That's two more books in the five days since the last update, so we're getting closer to my normal pace.  I've picked up Ilona Andrews, because if there's anything that will cure a reading slump, it's Ilona Andrews.  That writing duo is pretty much the cure for any type of slump. LOL

Remaining on list:
Urban Enemies (anthology) by various authors (ARC - August 1)
Red Dirt Heart #4 by N. R. Walker
The Magician King by Lev Grossman
The Magician's Land by Lev Grossman
White Hot by Ilona Andrews
Wildfire by Ilona Andrews

Maybe:
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Sticks & Stones by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux
Redemption Song by Craig Schaefer
The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan
Indexing: Reflections by Seanan McGuire
The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson
Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson
The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson
Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

Started/In Progress:
Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews
A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave (ARC - August 1)

Finished so far:
Two Nights by Kathy Reichs
Scorpion Trap by Pippa DaCosta
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
The Magicians by Lev Grossman
The Fifth Doll by Charlie Holmberg (ARC - July 25)


Didn't read/DNFed:

Monday, July 17, 2017

Review: The Fifth Doll

The Fifth Doll The Fifth Doll by Charlie N. Holmberg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Charlie Holmberg is a relatively new author. I've read her Paper Magician trilogy, and it was highly original and was quite entertaining. The magic systems that she comes up with are Sanderson-esque.

The Fifth Doll is no exception. It's got a really creative and almost scary twist on magic and Russian nesting dolls.

You can read the blurb for what it's about, but basically, the main character stumbles upon a secret that a fellow townsperson is keeping, and is forced to start messing with the magic of some Russian nesting dolls. Over time, more and more is revealed, and Holmberg has done a great job of peeling back the layers of humanity, one doll at a time, to reveal that fifth doll inside.

Overall, a unique and hard to put down take on Russian folklore, magic, and seeing past the outside shells of the people around us. I'd definitely recommend this to people who like interesting magic and folklore and slow-reveal stories.

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Review: The Magicians

The Magicians The Magicians by Lev Grossman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm giving this a generous 2.5 stars rounded up. The main character, and let's be honest, most of the secondary characters, weren't remotely likable. The story had great potential that felt squandered and lost in the sea of depressing and melancholy emotions that the author drenched this world in. The twisted Narnia (which I read online the author's intention was to actually use Narnia but was told he wasn't allowed) is disturbing, but still intriguing... but the nihilistic under-/over-/every-which-way-tones kinda sapped all the fun out of this story, which is sad because, as stated before, SO MUCH POTENTIAL.

I've heard book two and three eventually end up going in a better direction and overall the series is a good one... but it's hard to believe that the publishers kept this one alive long enough for a book two or three... or a tv series... but I guess that's what happens when you're a big TIME book critic. No one wants to piss you off.

2.5 stars for Alice and Josh and sometimes Penny, amazing potential, some cool magic, and an interesting, if dark, twist on Lewis' masterworks. The other stars were lost by Quentin's inability to do anything of value or show any kind of growth for longer than it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.

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July Update, Day 13

Well, we're almost halfway through July and serious burnout (mostly from two months of hardcore reading AND a core conversion at work merging our two data processing software systems into one and the headaches that come along with that) has made this a bad reading month so far.  [Let's not also mention the newly rediscovered WoW problem... yeah, go me.]

I've only read a measly three books. Time to try to get back at least to my original pace of around ten books a month.  I can do this.  Work will not conquer me.  This reading slump will not conquer me.

Remaining on list:
A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave (ARC - August 1)
Urban Enemies (anthology) by various authors (ARC - August 1)
The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson
The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan
Indexing: Reflections by Seanan McGuire
Red Dirt Heart #4 by N. R. Walker
The Magician King by Lev Grossman
The Magician's Land by Lev Grossman
Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews
White Hot by Ilona Andrews
Wildfire by Ilona Andrews

Maybe:
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Sticks & Stones by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux
Redemption Song by Craig Schaefer
Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson
The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson
Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

Started/In Progress:
The Magicians by Lev Grossman
The Fifth Doll by Charlie Holmberg (ARC - July 25)

Finished so far:
Two Nights by Kathy Reichs
Scorpion Trap by Pippa DaCosta
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

Didn't read/DNFed:

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Review: Scorpion Trap

Scorpion Trap Scorpion Trap by Pippa DaCosta
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was the best book in the series yet. While it didn't have some of the characters I had grown to love in it, it did have lots of Shukra (who is kickass) and some crazy twists.

Oh, also, a frickin' massive cliffhanger. So there's that. Thank goodness Pippa writes like a beast and book five will be out in August.

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Review: The Woman in Cabin 10

The Woman in Cabin 10 The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ruth Ware has crafted a Christie-esque mystery, minus some of the charm of the "olden-days" of Dame Agatha's writing.

Ware has a way with words -- she crafted some great characters and truly excelled at building the setting of the book and making it feel alive and foreboding and scary and cut off from the world.

My biggest gripe was that the first 60-70% of the book was slow, and that there was all of this buildup. We never quite got to the "Poirot rules out suspects" parts because the answer is smacked across your face in a reveal that turns this from mystery to thriller.

I did figure out what was going on -- it was fairly obvious after reading so many Christie novels and mystery/thriller, but that didn't detract from my enjoyment - it just made me more interested in seeing how it would all play out. Decent little twist at the end. :)

Overall, enjoyed it. Fun read for a beach weekend or a rainy summer day.

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Monday, July 3, 2017

July Reading Plan

July is here already!  Crazy, right?  I'm adding a new category to my plan called "maybe."  :)

Remaining on list:
The Fifth Doll by Charlie Holmberg (ARC - July 25)
A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave (ARC - August 1)
Urban Enemies (anthology) by various authors (ARC - August 1)
The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson
The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan
Indexing: Reflections by Seanan McGuire
Red Dirt Heart #4 by N. R. Walker
The Magician King by Lev Grossman
The Magician's Land by Lev Grossman
Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews
White Hot by Ilona Andrews
Wildfire by Ilona Andrews

Maybe:

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Sticks & Stones by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux
Redemption Song by Craig Schaefer
Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson
The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson

Started/In Progress:
Scorpion Trap by Pippa DaCosta
Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Finished so far:
Two Nights by Kathy Reichs

Didn't read/DNFed:

Review: Two Nights

Two Nights Two Nights by Kathy Reichs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Author and forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs has created an explosive mystery (pun intended) with an interesting and very current-times-relevant case. You may know of her from her Temperance Brennan series (you know, the one that Fox's longest-running hit series Bones was loosely based on), but if you haven't read any by her, this one is a great place to dip your toes in the water.

You've got an interesting protagonist: Sunday Night... in a weird way, she's a heroine you want to root for -- even if she's more of an anti-hero loner with a very dark and complicated history, not to mention the great name!

You've got an interesting hook: in a bombing outside a school, a visiting family loses two of the three members in the explosion, and the other goes missing... and leaves a grieving grandmother with money to spare looking for answers.

You've got some highly entertaining side characters: specifically Gus, but also Bob! :)

Overall, I enjoyed this romp across the country in search of a group of bombers and a missing young girl. I actually enjoyed it so much that I'd be thrilled if Reichs decided to write another Sunday Night novel. :)



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Friday, June 30, 2017

June Update, Day 30

So, last day of June (wow, already? this year is flying by!) and I've read 23 books this month!  To be fair, that looks higher than last month's 20, but page-wise I've only read 7,017 pages (not counting my in progress book), so that's a bit less than last month but still well over my normal pace. :)

Let's hope July, the last month of Tower Teams challenge over on GoodRead's NBRC group, I can keep up the pace and finish strong!

Remaining on list:

Started/In Progress:
Two Nights by Kathy Reichs (ARC - July 11)

Finished so far:
Cast in Faefire by S.M. Reine (started in May)
Imago by N.R. Walker
Lies, Damned Lies, and History by Jodi Taylor
You by Caroline Kepnes
The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths
Imagines by N.R. Walker
And the Rest is History by Jodi Taylor
Personal Demon by Kelley Armstrong
Super Quick Mysteries, Vol. 1 by Andrew Stanek
Smoke & Mirrors by Charlie Cochet
Thick & Thin by Charlie Cochet
Cast in Balefire by S.M. Reine
Alpha & Omega by Isabelle Arden
The Long and Short of It by Jodi Taylor
The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich
Red Dirt Heart #2 by N. R. Walker
Cast in Godfire by S.M. Reine
Hidden Blade by Pippa DaCosta
Red Dirt Heart #3 by N.R. Walker
Dog Tagged by James Brock
Witches' Bane by Pippa DaCosta 
Living with the Dead by Kelley Armstrong 
See No Evil by Pippa DaCosta

Didn't read/DNFed/Pushed back: 
Redemption Song by Craig Schaefer
A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave (ARC - August)
Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson
The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson
Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell (ARC - August)
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Sticks & Stones by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux
The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson
The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan
Indexing: Reflections by Seanan McGuire
The Enchanted Castle by E. Nesbit
Scorpion Trap by Pippa DaCosta

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Review: Living with the Dead

Living with the Dead Living with the Dead by Kelley Armstrong
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Wow, Adele, you're a seriously disturbed individual. Sociopath, murderer, schemer, stalker, sexual molester, manipulator, disgusting all around person. Gross.

Interesting "mystery" but it felt more like a lot of run-around and not a lot of development or plot. Still love the series, but wasn't thrilled with this one. I do like Finn, and I like Robyn as well. I'd be okay if they popped up in a later book. Guess since I'm reading the rest of the series, I'll see if they do or not, eh? :)

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Review: Red Dirt Heart 3

Red Dirt Heart 3 Red Dirt Heart 3 by N.R. Walker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Charlie and Travis and the Sutton Station family are just so lovable. :)

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June Update, Day 22

18 books down!  Looks like I'll be passing my record that I set in May and having an even better month!  I'm around 5,750 pages currently, so we'll see if I pass the page record along with the total number of books! :)  I had to move some things to a later month because of both mood and group reads being chosen, and I'm sure things will move around more before the end of the month. :)

Remaining on list:
The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson
The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan
Indexing: Reflections by Seanan McGuire
The Enchanted Castle by E. Nesbit
See No Evil by Pippa DaCosta
Scorpion Trap by Pippa DaCosta

Started/In Progress:
Red Dirt Heart #3 by N.R. Walker
Living with the Dead by Kelley Armstrong
Witches' Bane by Pippa DaCosta

Finished so far:
Cast in Faefire by S.M. Reine (started in May)
Imago by N.R. Walker
Lies, Damned Lies, and History by Jodi Taylor
You by Caroline Kepnes
The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths
Imagines by N.R. Walker
And the Rest is History by Jodi Taylor
Personal Demon by Kelley Armstrong
Super Quick Mysteries, Vol. 1 by Andrew Stanek
Smoke & Mirrors by Charlie Cochet
Thick & Thin by Charlie Cochet
Cast in Balefire by S.M. Reine
Alpha & Omega by Isabelle Arden
The Long and Short of It by Jodi Taylor
The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich
Red Dirt Heart #2 by N. R. Walker
Cast in Godfire by S.M. Reine
Hidden Blade by Pippa DaCosta 

Didn't read/DNFed/Pushed back: 
Redemption Song by Craig Schaefer
Two Nights by Kathy Reichs (ARC - July 11)
A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave (ARC - August)
Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson
The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson
Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell (ARC - August)
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Sticks & Stones by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Review: Hidden Blade

Hidden Blade Hidden Blade by Pippa DaCosta
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars rounded up. It would have been a full four but I felt that the end didn't really tie up the plot very well and make it feel complete. I loved the Egyptian mythology and have high expectations that book two will feel more complete and take the story to a higher level of awesome.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Review: Red Dirt Heart 2

Red Dirt Heart 2 Red Dirt Heart 2 by N.R. Walker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Stupid of me to try to read this at work. I'm too sensitive/emotional/empathetic and had a hard time not crying at multiple beautiful or difficult times in the book. But these two are awesome together.

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Monday, June 19, 2017

Review: The Dead House

The Dead House The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This would have been a four star read for me, but I felt like the story had a lot of buildup towards a big fiery ending, and then didn't deliver. I still enjoyed the book, and liked the interesting style.

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Review: Cast in Balefire

Cast in Balefire Cast in Balefire by S.M. Reine
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Interesting plot twists? Check.
Really neat world and lore? Check.
Entertaining secondary characters? Check.
Really obnoxious, too stupid to live, makes terrible decisions, can't make up her mind about whether she wants to be a stupid bitch or a good, kind, and powerful person main character? Check.
Very abusive, awful, immoral, ridiculously rage-inducing love interest who deserves to have a million fire-biting fleas infest his genital regions until he fills up the billion gallon tank that he's captured in with his tears enough to drown himself? Check.

Seriously, Reine. If you'd stop pumping out books so fast and start giving them the extra attention you used to, we wouldn't end up with disgusting, awful Marion and Konig issues, now would we?

2.5 stars rounded up, because, well, Goodreads still won't do half stars.

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

June Update, Day 13

We're a little under halfway through the month of June, and I've already read 10 books! :)  That's awesome!  I'm hoping to finish at least one more today, maybe another.  I probably won't get through all the books on the list, especially since I've been adding random strays to the list when the mood strikes, but I'm still doing great!

Remaining on list:
Cast in Godfire by S.M. Reine
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Sticks & Stones by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux
Redemption Song by Craig Schaefer
A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave (ARC)
Two Nights by Kathy Reichs (ARC)
The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson
Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson
The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson
The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan
Indexing: Reflections by Seanan McGuire
Living with the Dead by Kelley Armstrong
Red Dirt Heart #2 by N. R. Walker

Started/In Progress:
Cast in Balefire by S.M. Reine
Thick & Thin by Charlie Cochet
The Long and Short of It by Jodi Taylor

Finished so far:
Cast in Faefire by S.M. Reine (started in May)
Imago by N.R. Walker
Lies, Damned Lies, and History by Jodi Taylor
You by Caroline Kepnes
The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths
Imagines by N.R. Walker
And the Rest is History by Jodi Taylor
Personal Demon by Kelley Armstrong
Super Quick Mysteries, Vol. 1 by Andrew Stanek
Smoke & Mirrors by Charlie Cochet

Didn't read/DNFed:

Monday, June 12, 2017

Review: Smoke & Mirrors

Smoke & Mirrors Smoke & Mirrors by Charlie Cochet
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This series is starting to feel... blah. I dunno if this one just didn't have as much action, or had too much "feelings" and crying and emotional stuff, but it felt like, I dunno... less like men fighting side by side against bad guys and being naughty in the bedroom, and more like a girly romance novel/chick lit that just happened to have male protagonists. This is an issue I find that I have with so many of the female MM authors. It starts to feel like it's more aimed at female readers and less at the actual gay male readers. No offense intended to female MM readers or female MM authors... just hard to know how to accurately write something you'll never really get firsthand experience in ALL the time.

Sorry about the rant. This one wasn't BAD per se, just kinda boring.

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Review: Super Quick Mysteries

Super Quick Mysteries Super Quick Mysteries by Andrew Stanek
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a book of fun little mysteries and brain teasers. Definitely enjoyed it. Didn't love it, but it was fun. :)

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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Review: And the Rest is History

And the Rest is History And the Rest is History by Jodi Taylor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Life isn't fair. Jodi Taylor knows that, and certainly makes a point of showing it in her books. But the main reason I'm saying life isn't fair? Because I have caught up to the current book and am not waiting a year for the next. I call bullshit. I need it now. NOW I SAY.

*wails uncontrollably, loudly, and unhappily*

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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Review: The Chalk Pit

The Chalk Pit The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I very much enjoy the misadventures of Ruth Galloway and the cast of characters of her small town in the UK. Another solid entry with lots of character development. :)

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Friday, June 2, 2017

Review: Imago

Imago Imago by N.R. Walker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lost a star because of the overuse of the word "hummed"(LOL!) but otherwise, cute story. I want me a Jack Brighton... yowza.

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Thursday, June 1, 2017

June Reading Plan

Welcome to June!  Let's set a high goal for the month and do our damnedest to meet that goal!!!

Remaining on list:
Cast in Balefire by S.M. Reine
Cast in Godfire by S.M. Reine
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Sticks & Stones by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux
Redemption Song by Craig Schaefer
A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave (ARC)
The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson
Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson
The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson
The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan
And the Rest is History by Jodi Taylor
The Long and the Short of It by Jodi Taylor
Indexing: Reflections by Seanan McGuire
Smoke & Mirrors by Charlie Cochet
Thick & Thin by Charlie Cochet
Personal Demon by Kelley Armstrong
Living with the Dead by Kelley Armstrong
Red Dirt Heart #2 by N. R. Walker


Started/In Progress:
Cast in Faefire by S.M. Reine (started in May)
Lies, Damned Lies, and History by Jodi Taylor


Finished so far:


Didn't read/DNFed: 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

May Check-in, Day 31

EDIT: I lied... I finished another one before the day ended, so my final totals were 20 books, ~7,800 pages!!!

So it's the final day of May, and here's my final update.  It was a crazy month!  I finished 19 books, a personal record!!! The month isn't over until the end of the day, but as of this moment, I've read over 7,500 pages!  Also a personal record!

All in all, a very productive and enjoyable month of reading.  Now, onto June and making more headway into this giant pile of unread books just waiting for me to read them!

Remaining on list:

Started/In Progress:
Cast in Faefire by S.M. Reine

Finished so far:
Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher
The Circle by Dave Eggers
Cold Reign by Faith Hunter
Full Wolf Moon by Lincoln Child (ARC)
Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
Catch a Tiger by the Tail by Charlie Cochet
Broken by Kelley Armstrong
No Time Like the Past by Jodi Taylor
The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
What Could Possibly Go Wrong? by Jodi Taylor
Bitter Thirst by S.M. Reine
Cast in Angelfire by S.M. Reine
Indexing by Seanan McGuire
Sixty Five Hours by N.R. Walker
The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
Cast in Hellfire by S.M. Reine
The Encore Effect by Mark Sanborn
No Humans Involved by Kelley Armstrong
Red Dirt Heart by N.R. Walker
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor 

Didn't read/DNFed: 
MOVING TO JUNE:
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Sticks & Stones by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux
Redemption Song by Craig Schaefer
Lies, Damned Lies, and History by Jodi Taylor
A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave (ARC)

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Review: The Encore Effect: How to Achieve Remarkable Performance in Anything You Do

The Encore Effect: How to Achieve Remarkable Performance in Anything You Do The Encore Effect: How to Achieve Remarkable Performance in Anything You Do by Mark Sanborn
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Anecdotes, platitudes, and inspirational quotes are nice and all, but this was far too long for what it provides. Mostly common sense. Meh.

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Review: Cast in Hellfire

Cast in Hellfire Cast in Hellfire by S.M. Reine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Decent story. Marion is still hard to put up with, though I don't entirely hate her... I do want to smack her a few times and see if that helps. Konig on the other hand... #skeeze. Entertaining enough that I'll continue... 3.5 stars

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Review: The Hero of Ages

The Hero of Ages The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm at a loss for words. Even knowing some of the details in advance thanks to some spoilery people, I thought I was prepared. I wasn't. I sobbed like a baby for half an hour at least. Now I have a headache and am struggling at work... I shouldn't have finished this in the morning before heading into the office.

Thank you Sanderson, for yet again toying with my emotions.

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Monday, May 22, 2017

May Check-in, Day 22

I've moved a few things around and bumped some to June... some of which I might actually get to this month, but we will have to see. :)  My plan isn't set in stone... but I am doing REALLY awesome thing month!  13 books finished already!!!

Remaining on list:
Cast in Hellfire by S.M. Reine
Cast in Faefire by S.M. Reine
A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave (ARC)
something in physical form at the beach at the end of the month

Started/In Progress:
The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
No Humans Involved by Kelley Armstrong
The Encore Effect by Mark Sanborn

Finished so far:
Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher
The Circle by Dave Eggers
Cold Reign by Faith Hunter
Full Wolf Moon by Lincoln Child (ARC)
Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
Catch a Tiger by the Tail by Charlie Cochet
Broken by Kelley Armstrong
No Time Like the Past by Jodi Taylor
The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
What Could Possibly Go Wrong? by Jodi Taylor
Bitter Thirst by S.M. Reine
Cast in Angelfire by S.M. Reine
Indexing by Seanan McGuire 

Didn't read/DNFed: 
MOVING TO JUNE:
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Sticks & Stones by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux
Redemption Song by Craig Schaefer
Lies, Damned Lies, and History by Jodi Taylor

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Review: Cast in Angelfire

Cast in Angelfire Cast in Angelfire by S.M. Reine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While that twist was pretty damned obvious the whole time, I like the story that Reine is setting up with so many players from her larger world making appearances.

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Monday, May 15, 2017

Review: The Well of Ascension

The Well of Ascension The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think I'll settle on 3.5 stars for this one.

I love most of Sanderson's work, and I really enjoyed the first Mistborn novel. I'm not surprised by the fact that the last 20% was the most entertaining -- that's a typical Sanderson thing. But so much of this one felt like "lather rinse repeat" before anything got done. Vin goes out into the mist, meets Watcher, talks to kandra, returns to Keep Venture. Elend and team discuss the future of the city, and deal with two armies/siege. Vin goes out into the mist... you get the idea.

The end did make me excited to read the next one, which is good, because when I started this one the first time, I barely made a dent before I put it down and then couldn't bring myself to come back to it. I think book three will be easier to pick up and finish the first time.

Those middle-of-a-trilogy books tend to be this way. :)

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

May Check-in, Day 11

Making some excellent progress this month so far!  Tower Teams challenge has started, so I'm in banshee reading mode and trying to tear through as many as I can.  I'm also doing a much better job of reading what I'm in the mood for at the moment, even if it doesn't stick to my plan or with what I "have" to read, which is making the books fly by even faster!

Remaining on list:
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave (ARC)
Bitter Thirst by S.M. Reine
Indexing by Seanan McGuire
Sticks & Stones by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux
Cast in Angelfire by S.M. Reine

Started/In Progress:
No Time Like the Past by Jodi Taylor
The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson

Finished so far:
Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher
The Circle by Dave Eggers
Cold Reign by Faith Hunter
Full Wolf Moon by Lincoln Child (ARC)
Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
Catch a Tiger by the Tail by Charlie Cochet
Broken by Kelley Armstrong

Didn't read/DNFed:

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Review: Broken

Broken Broken by Kelley Armstrong
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I totally would have given this 4.5 stars instead of 3.5 if the protagonists had spotted the VERY obvious villain right away, like I did. ;)

Fun entry into the series, and a welcome revisit to Elena's POV.

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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Review: Every Heart a Doorway

Every Heart a Doorway Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My complaint would be that it was too short, and that, while the ending was satisfying, it left me way too desperate for more. So, in short, it was typical Seanan McGuire.

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Review: Catch a Tiger by the Tail

Catch a Tiger by the Tail Catch a Tiger by the Tail by Charlie Cochet
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Meh. It was entertaining, and nice to see Ethan and Calvin's story... but this series has started to feel forced.

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Monday, May 8, 2017

Review: Full Wolf Moon

Full Wolf Moon Full Wolf Moon by Lincoln Child
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

For those who didn't know, I'm a huge Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child fan. Their Pendergast series is one of my top favorites, an instant preorder, and one of the series I've reread most entries multiple times. Each of those authors also writes their own books on a solo basis, and while I've read many of those, my favorites of their solo works definitely goes to Lincoln Child's Jeremy Logan series. I've got some catching up to do - I haven't read the first two in the series, not realizing they were part of a series until The Third Gate, book three, was released and I had read it already. They work very well as standalones, and it wasn't clear that it was the third in a series.

Anywho, long story short, I've been keeping up with the new releases in the series about this intelligent, compassionate, enigmologist empath, and enjoying the hell out of them. I read this one in under 24 hours -- sneak reading at work because I couldn't put it down!

I subtracted a star just because by the end, it was obvious to me the path the book was going to take, and I had predicted it much earlier in the novel... but it didn't sap any of my enjoyment out of reading this excellent entry, as evidenced by my complete inability to put it down!

Take a chance on this series. I'm sure you'll be entertained. :)

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May Check-in, Day 8

I've also read quite a few shorties while waiting for Tower Teams to start on May 4th at 11AM EST, but I won't list all those here. :)

Remaining on list:
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
No Time Like the Past by Jodi Taylor
A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave (ARC)
Bitter Thirst by S.M. Reine
Broken by Kelley Armstrong
Indexing by Seanan McGuire
War Hawk by James Rollins
The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
Sticks & Stones by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux
Catch a Tiger by the Tail by Charlie Cochet
Cast in Angelfire by S.M. Reine

Started/In Progress:
Full Wolf Moon by Lincoln Child (ARC)

Finished so far:
Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher
The Circle by Dave Eggers
Cold Reign by Faith Hunter

Didn't read/DNFed:

Thursday, April 27, 2017

On Deck for May

A quick rundown of the things I'm planning on reading in May.  This will totally change, I'm sure, based off of my moods. :)  It also doesn't include whatever series the Wednesday UF group over at Buddies Books and Baubles decides on for our next read, after Jane Yellowrock.

Remaining on list:
Cold Reign by Faith Hunter
Brenna Morgan and the Iron Key by Katie Masters (ARC) [maybe May read]
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood [maybe May read]
Full Wolf Moon by Lincoln Child (ARC)
Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher
No Time Like the Past by Jodi Taylor
A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave (ARC)
Bitter Thirst by S.M. Reine
Broken by Kelley Armstrong
Indexing by Seanan McGuire
War Hawk by James Rollins
The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
Sticks & Stones by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux

Started/In Progress:

Finished so far:

Didn't read/DNFed: 

April's List, Day 27

So I moved the two books I wasn't sure about into May. I really need to give that ARC a shot before the May release date... but I just am not interested in it anymore.  I will definitely finish Key to the Indian before the month ends, and round out a VERY productive month of reading. :)

Remaining on list:

Started/In Progress:
The Key to the Indian by Lynne Reid Banks

Finished so far:
Broken Soul by Faith Hunter
The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
The Recitation of the Most Holy and Harrowing Pilgrimage of Mindy and Also Mork by Seanan McGuire
The Return of the Indian by Lynne Reid Banks
Dark Heir by Faith Hunter
Blood in Her Veins: A Jane Yellowrock Anthology by Faith Hunter (started in February)
Dead Beat by Jim Butcher
The Secret of the Indian by Lynne Reid Banks
The Mystery of the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
Snared by Jennifer Estep (ARC)
Shadow Rites by Faith Hunter
A Trail Through Time by Jodi Taylor
The Lost Order by Steve Berry
Blood of the Earth by Faith Hunter
Curse on the Land by Faith Hunter

Didn't read/DNFed: 
Brenna Morgan and the Iron Key by Katie Masters (ARC) [maybe May read]
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood [maybe May read]

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Review: A Trail Through Time

A Trail Through Time A Trail Through Time by Jodi Taylor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I can't praise this book series enough. Even when the author turns everything we know on its side and upside down and backwards and shakes it all up, these books are still well-written, fun, sexy, exciting, action-packed, and adventurous.

Quickly worming its way up into my favorites list. :)

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April's List, Day 19


Remaining on list:
Curse on the Land by Faith Hunter
Brenna Morgan and the Iron Key by Katie Masters (ARC) [maybe May read]
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood [maybe May read]

Started/In Progress:
The Lost Order by Steve Berry
The Key to the Indian by Lynne Reid Banks
Blood of the Earth by Faith Hunter
A Trail Through Time by Jodi Taylor

Finished so far:
Broken Soul by Faith Hunter
The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
The Recitation of the Most Holy and Harrowing Pilgrimage of Mindy and Also Mork by Seanan McGuire
The Return of the Indian by Lynne Reid Banks
Dark Heir by Faith Hunter
Blood in Her Veins: A Jane Yellowrock Anthology by Faith Hunter (started in February)
Dead Beat by Jim Butcher
The Secret of the Indian by Lynne Reid Banks
The Mystery of the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
Snared by Jennifer Estep (ARC)
Shadow Rites by Faith Hunter

Didn't read/DNFed: 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Review: Snared

Snared Snared by Jennifer Estep
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jennifer Estep knows how to have FUN in her stories. This one covered some really dark material (I mean honestly, the series is about an assassin... let's not act shocked this one has dark stuff in it, guys), but I still loved it.

Gin finds out that some of her enemies aren't just violent evil thugs. She also finds out that some of them *ARE* just violent evil thugs. She makes some progress on her Circle hunting. And we get to see quite a few of our favorite cast members. (Also, can I get an AMEN to Owen being less cardboard-cutout-y in this one? :D )

My biggest complaint is that it was predictable. I pretty much guessed almost everything that was going to happen. But, in typical Estep fashion, I had fun anyways.

All in all, a very solid entry into the series. She says she's planned now through book 19 (really? You're killing me, Estep -- why 19 instead of 20? Stephen King fetish?), and I will definitely be along for the final few novels on this ride through the world of the Elemental Assassin.

Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

April's List, Day 12


Making good progress so far, but I can't let up if I plan to finish this lofty goal.  I did mark some reads as "maybes" now, just in case.  But I'm proud that I've finished as much as I have in the first 12 days of April!

Remaining on list:
A Trail Through Time by Jodi Taylor
The Key to the Indian by Lynne Reid Banks (never before read! How did I miss this one as a kid???)
Blood of the Earth by Faith Hunter
Curse on the Land by Faith Hunter
Brenna Morgan and the Iron Key by Katie Masters (ARC) [maybe May read]
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood [maybe May read]

Started/In Progress:
Snared by Jennifer Estep (ARC)
Shadow Rites by Faith Hunter
The Lost Order by Steve Berry

Finished so far:
Broken Soul by Faith Hunter
The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
The Recitation of the Most Holy and Harrowing Pilgrimage of Mindy and Also Mork by Seanan McGuire
The Return of the Indian by Lynne Reid Banks
Dark Heir by Faith Hunter
Blood in Her Veins: A Jane Yellowrock Anthology by Faith Hunter (started in February)
Dead Beat by Jim Butcher
The Secret of the Indian by Lynne Reid Banks
The Mystery of the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks

Didn't read/DNFed: 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

April's List, Day 5

I added a novella by Seanan McGuire because, well, I just had to read it immediately.  I needed the followup to Incryptid book #6 SO BADLY.

I also forgot to include the new Cotton Malone/Steve Berry book, which came out April 4th, so I added it to the plan and we'll see if this list is completed or not!

Additionally, I was approved for an ARC I forgot I requested (oops), so I will probably end up not finishing all of this, or bumping something to May!

Remaining on list:
A Trail Through Time by Jodi Taylor
Snared by Jennifer Estep (ARC)
The Secret of the Indian by Lynne Reid Banks
The Mystery of the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
The Key to the Indian by Lynne Reid Banks (never before read! How did I miss this one as a kid???)
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Shadow Rites by Faith Hunter
Blood of the Earth by Faith Hunter
Curse on the Land by Faith Hunter
The Lost Order by Steve Berry
Brenna Morgan and the Iron Key by Katie Masters (ARC)

Started/In Progress:
Dead Beat by Jim Butcher
Dark Heir by Faith Hunter

Finished so far:
Broken Soul by Faith Hunter
The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
The Recitation of the Most Holy and Harrowing Pilgrimage of Mindy and Also Mork by Seanan McGuire
The Return of the Indian by Lynne Reid Banks

Didn't read/DNFed: 

Saturday, April 1, 2017

April's List, Day One

Here's my game plan for April.  Hopefully I can exceed expectations and tear through more than just these!

Remaining on list:
Broken Soul by Faith Hunter (started in March, finish if didn't in March)
Dead Beat by Jim Butcher
A Trail Through Time by Jodi Taylor
Snared by Jennifer Estep (ARC)
The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
The Return of the Indian by Lynne Reid Banks
The Secret of the Indian by Lynne Reid Banks
The Mystery of the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
The Key to the Indian by Lynne Reid Banks (never before read! How did I miss this one as a kid???)
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Dark Heir by Faith Hunter
Shadow Rites by Faith Hunter
Blood of the Earth by Faith Hunter
Curse on the Land by Faith Hunter

Started/In Progress:

Finished so far:

Didn't read/DNFed: 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

March Reading Game Plan, Final Update

Since I leave tonight for a quick weekend trip and won't be able to update, here is the final update for March's reading.

I met every goal, and might even exceed the goal by finishing Broken Soul before the month ends! Go, me! :)

Remaining on list:


Started/In Progress:
Broken Soul by Faith Hunter

Finished so far:
A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab (started in February, need to finish)
Death's Rival by Faith Hunter 
Thunderbird by Chuck Wendi
Final Girls by Mira Grant (ARC) 
Magic for Nothing by Seanan McGuire
 Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs
The Long Way Down by Craig Schaefer
Blood Trade by Faith Hunter
Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop
Black Arts by Faith Hunter
A Second Chance by Jodi Taylor

Didn't read/DNFed: 
The Lovecraft Squad: All Hallow's Horror by John Llewellyn Probert (ARC)

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Review: A Second Chance

A Second Chance A Second Chance by Jodi Taylor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Holy effing craziness, Jodi Taylor. What did you do? You completely demolished every expectation I had. I didn't see anything coming, other than one tiny little bit of inconsequentialness....

Jeez, if you haven't read this series and you like time travel and snarky, strong female leads, then you need to pick up The Chronicles of St. Mary's.



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Monday, March 27, 2017

March Reading Game Plan Update #4

A quick update as we head into the last week of March... I'm about 10% into A Second Chance. We will see if I can finish it and get a big chunk of Broken Soul read or not. I might actually meet this game plan.

Remaining on list:
Broken Soul by Faith Hunter (will start, won't finish)

Started/In Progress:
A Second Chance by Jodi Taylor

Finished so far:
A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab (started in February, need to finish)
Death's Rival by Faith Hunter 
Thunderbird by Chuck Wendi
Final Girls by Mira Grant (ARC) 
Magic for Nothing by Seanan McGuire
 Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs
The Long Way Down by Craig Schaefer
Blood Trade by Faith Hunter
Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop
Black Arts by Faith Hunter

Didn't read/DNFed: 
The Lovecraft Squad: All Hallow's Horror by John Llewellyn Probert (ARC)

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Review: Etched in Bone

Etched in Bone Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm so sad that Meg and Simon and Lakeside's story is over. I'm so happy that Bishop is going to be writing more about this world that she has created and that I've fallen in love with, but I'm still so sad to be leaving these characters behind. I'm sure we'll get some cameos or mentions, but it just won't be the same. I've come to care about these characters, and to feel like I'm part of their pack.

If Bishop's series to this point hasn't convinced you of anything else, I hope it's convinced you that all it takes to change the world is ONE PERSON. Don't ever forget that you are important, that you affect those around you, and that you can make that difference be a positive one.

Bittersweet feelings, to see this ending. *sad and happy*

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

March Reading Game Plan Update #3



Update number three is already here? Wow, can't believe we're almost done with March! A fourth of the year is already gone!!!  Disney trip is NEXT WEEK! Because the last week I've barely had the energy to read (work stuff, friend stuff, family stuff, relationship stuff, sick all add up to EXHAUSTED), I might not finish the plan *sigh*

Remaining on list:

Broken Soul by Faith Hunter (will start, won't finish)

A Second Chance by Jodi Taylor

Started/In Progress:
Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop
Black Arts by Faith Hunter

Finished so far:
A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab (started in February, need to finish)
Death's Rival by Faith Hunter 
Thunderbird by Chuck Wendi
Final Girls by Mira Grant (ARC) 
Magic for Nothing by Seanan McGuire
 Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs
The Long Way Down by Craig Schaefer
Blood Trade by Faith Hunter

Didn't read/DNFed: 
The Lovecraft Squad: All Hallow's Horror by John Llewellyn Probert (ARC)