I'm an animal lover, unapologetic genre reader and quiet goodreads exile still trying to figure this whole blog thing out. :)  I read across a lot of genres but mostly romance, mystery & fantasy (urban & epic). 

Primal Bonds (Shifters Unbound, Book 2) - Jennifer Ashley

I liked Sean & Andrea's story better than the first one in the series.  I found Liam to be a little too over the top controlling for me (although he could also be very charming) and while Sean tries some of that I think that Andrea holds her own.  Although Sean is more serious than Liam in many ways I found his and Andrea's courtship more playful.   This is one of the more unique take on shifters in that they are very much not at the top of the power structure.  There's a lot going on in this one with a rebellion and the exploration of Andrea's half fae heritage.  There's also a nice resolution to a secondary romance that's been brewing since the first book. 

The Queen Is Dead - Kate Locke

This is such a fun series and imaginative world.  I'm sad that the next book is the last, although I'd rather miss a series ended too early than have one drag on when the magic is gone. 

Desperate Duchesses - Eloisa James

I think I'm finding Eloisa James's books to be very witty but not very warm.  And I mean that in an emotional way.  There seems to be several plot lines going, and there's some sort of scheme and while the writing is enjoyable, it flows well and there's plenty of wit I find I don't really care that much if the characters end up together.  In this one, I did like the, he's a likable, charming sort.  The heroine, however, I started out liking her but ended up feeling pretty cool towards her.  I'm not sure of her age but she started seeming pretty level headed and ended up seeming like a melodramatic teenager who's the one who understands lurve.  And it's a guy she's seen once, doesn't really know and is kind of an arse.  But she goes on and on about how much she loves him, and how other people don't understand love.  Sheesh if I wanted that I'd talk to a teenager.  Anyway, there's a bunch of other people, some of whom I'm interested in seeing what happens to, and there's some plot that I think will be wrapped up in later books.  I'll probably continue to see what happens but I'm not racing off to get the next one.

Moonshifted (Edie Spence) - Cassie Alexander

I'm liking the Edie Spence series.  I like that she's just a regular, somewhat lonely person, with no superpowers trying to navigate this world.  She has her nursing training and she always tries to do the right thing but but super strength or magic or anything.  I like that she's making connections at work and isn't quite as isolated in this one as in the first.  There were big stakes in this one and not everyone came out of it OK.  Looking forward to the next one.

The Trouble With Valentine's Day (Chinooks Hockey Team) - Rachel Gibson

This was pretty "meh" for me, with a side of annoyance.  I've liked the other Chinooks books but those were set in Seattle.  But this one didn't do it for me.  It's the kind of guns/hunting/real men do whatever tone that always annoys me.  Rob & Kate themselves were fine but I didn't really buy their ending either.  Rob seemed to go back and forth a little too easily between planning to reconcile with his ex and wanting to be with Kate, especially for someone who cheated in the past.  I guess I didn't believe that he changed enough to not cheat again in the circumstances were right. 

The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie (Mackenzies Series) - Jennifer Ashley

I really enjoyed Daniel and Violet's story.  I think that Ashley did a good job making Daniel older, while maintaining his charming exuberance.  I also really like Violet, she's pragmatic and while she's a fraud she's really just doing what she needs to in order to keep herself and her family safe and fed.  I loved how they bonded over engines and building things.  There's a lot of interaction with the rest of the Mackenzies, which is fun to see since 10 years have gone by.  This is one of my favorite historical series and I'm looking forward to the next book, which looks to be one of the McBrides.

An Artificial Night - Seanan McGuire

I have a rule, any book that can make me laugh and make me cry gets 5 stars.  This one fits that rule.  Tybalt always makes me laugh and I got sniffly a another part.  There was a bit of repetition ("I'm not a hero") but I may have noticed it more because I was listening to audio.  I was disappointed when I caught up on all my fave UF series (Mercy, Kate & Harry) but so far (and the books are getting better) Toby is filling in nicely.

Blood Bound (Unbound Novel) - Rachel Vincent

I liked a lot about this book but there were a few things that bugged me enough to lessen my enjoyment.  First, the good stuff - I thought the world was pretty interesting.  Not as dark as say Downside Ghosts, but still we're in a city run by a couple of rival crime lords.  I liked that there weren't any paranormal creatures here but instead certain people had Skills.  There were trackers, binders, seers, readers and more that were hinted at.  Because the Skills were recognized by the government it's created the black market run by these crime lords.  I found it all pretty cool.


For the most part I also liked Cam and Liv.  Cam was pretty great and there were a lot of things I liked about Liv but she could also be terribly hypocritical about some choices that Cam made, choices that weren't that much different from what she made.  But she made excuses for herself and didn't really cut him a break.  Once they hashed it out, I felt much better about them.  Although the romance was a big part of the book it didn't feel completely front and center, there was a lot more about the investigation and the revelations of the past.


The alternating first person POV also took some getting used to.  Although the author gave plenty of clues when the POV shifted, sometimes if I put the book down for a while I would forget whose POV we were in and had to backtrack a bit to figure it out.  I also had a issue with the characterization of the crime lord Casalvo.  I just don't buy that a guy who abuses the women in his life would draw the line and be a good father.  Maybe it happens, but I don't believe it.


Those things aside, I was wrapped up in the world and the story overall.  The world was interesting and there's a story left for these characters that were introduced in this one.  I'll be checking out the next one for sure.


Speaking From Among the Bones: A Flavia de Luce Novel - Alan Bradley

Love Flavia! I love that she's matured some since the first book (in the book timeline it's been almost a year)  but she's still a kid in many ways.  The mystery didn't grab me as much and it took me a while to get into it but that could be more due to bad days at work than any fault of the actual book.  Ends on quite the bombshell so I'm glad I waited a bit to get to this one as the next one is out soon, if not already.

Omens - Kelley Armstrong

I'm not really sure what I thought of this one.  It's really a mystery with some paranormal elements than a straight up UF like the Otherworld series.  That's OK with me and I found myself really intrigued by the setting of Cainesville (I have my theories about what's going on there) but I'm not sure I liked any of the characters.


Both Olivia and Gabriel struck me as extremely manipulative and seemed to treat other people mostly as tools.  There's a lot of talk about sociopaths in this book, which seems natural given that Olivia is finding out about her birth parents who are convicted serial killers.  I don't know if that kept in my mind more than usual but I just kept thinking that Olivia and Gabriel also show a lot of behavior that's slightly "off".  I can't tell if they're just kind of closed off or if they really do have some anti-social tendencies, nothing truly violent, just the lack of thinking of others at all.  It kind of plays into my theory of Cainesville (spoiler tag even though it's truly just my speculation) 

I think the town was settled by and is populated with faerie/fey types and their offspring.  That fits in with a lot of fey lore of them being not quite human.

(show spoiler)


So, there's that.  I also didn't love all the references to Olivia's economic situation and her desire to "make it on her own".  Easy to live as a waitress when you have a trust fund coming due.  And you meet successful people who seem to want to give you things.  But that was more of a pet peeve. 


The "Omens" in the title are really interesting and I did like the way the book built the supernatural stuff up as it went along.  Olivia doesn't really know what's going on and is going on instinct and some vague memories when she realizes she sees omens that others may not.  And I liked that we're learning it along with her.  In some ways this definitely felt like a Book 1 (which is it) and there's a lot of set up and a lot of breadcrumbs to keep you intrigued in the town revealing its secrets. 

The Twelve Clues of Christmas  - Rhys Bowen

Another fun entry for Her Royal Spyness.  This time it's a traditional English Christmas in ye olde traditional English village.  I was happy to see Georgie get away from Fig and get into a good situation for the holidays.  I'm also glad that Georgie her mother are developing a nice relationship.  I did miss Belinda in this one but that was happily made up for with lots & lots of Darcy.  I normally don't mind being spoiled but this is one time I wish I hadn't known the "twist" in the plot.  I won't say what it was but it made me think too much trying to fit in all the clues, when if I hadn't known I probably would have just gone along for the ride.  This is my go to series when I want a lighter historical mystery.  It has a likeable heroine, a charming hero, good secondary characters, humor and a soupcon of romance. 

Binding the Shadows - Jenn Bennett

I'm really loving this series.  The magic system started out pretty simple int he first book but it's grown more complex and Cady's "moonchild" powers may turn out to be more of a curse than a blessing.  But where this series really shines for me is in the relationships.  I love Cady & Lon.  I love that there's no false drama and angst.  They talk to each other.  They don't always agree but they work it out.  Unlike so many other relationships in books it's one I could see working in real life.  Jupe continues to be all sorts of awesome.  He's one of the best teenage characters around.Family is front & center in this one as Lon's former in-laws come for a holiday visit.  It would be easy for them to have been the bad guys but they aren't.  Even Lon's ex wife isn't portrayed as one dimensionally evil, but as an addict who makes bad choices.  Her behavior isn't excused but she's more sympathetic than she could have been.  This one ends on a bit of a cliffhanger and with Cady & Lon facing more trouble than ever before.  I can't wait for the next one!

Codex Born - Jim C. Hines

I'm really enjoying this series; it's just so much fun.  The magic and rules of libriomancy are the stuff of a book geek's dream.  The ability to pull things out of books and use them, there are plenty of swords, ray guns and other weapons but some of it is a lot more subtle.  Jeneta's ability with poetry is subtle and beautiful but I'm not quite sure I understand it (much like poetry itself so I think the problem is me).  Smudge continues to be an awesome sidekick and he certainly gets his moment in the sun as well. 

There's also a deeper side, Hines his well known on the web for calling out the ridiculous poses that women are put in on UF/F covers and here he takes it a step deeper.  I wasn't sure about Lena in the first book, the dryad who becomes what her lover wants seems a bit of wish fulfillment but here Lena's own words are given to the reader, to go beyond the fantasy and see her own wishes and desires.  The object of desire ceases to be an object and becomes a human being, while losing none of her desirability. 


The ending is bittersweet with enough plot leftover to make me look forward to the next one. 

Slay It with Flowers - Kate Collins

Ever have a conversation with someone that you don't know that well and it's going OK and then they just drop some weird racist comment into the conversation?  That's the reaction I had to this book.


Some things were fine, pleasant even. I like the flower shop setting, Marco is fun and I like Abby relationship with her roommate (and the cat is fun too) Abby's relationship with her cousin is also good and I liked the book when the plot was centered on those things or the wedding/bridal party.  


But then there were the things that took me out of the story.  Referring to people as "Oriental", the assumption that a group of Asian women were prostitutes by the end when characters are actually saying "prease" and "wong numbah" I actually checked the publication date.  I'm used to that type of thing and can look past it in a book from an earlier time but this was written (or at least published) in 2005!  I don't know, I guess other people aren't bothered by it but it really bugged me.


So I'm unsure about reading any others in the series.  Like I said, the central part of it I did like and I don't remember any similar weirdness in the first book.  I may get the next one from the library and see where it goes from there but for right now this left me with a bit of a bad taste in my mouth.

The Darkest Hour - Maya Banks

For some reason this sat on my shelf for ages.  I've enjoy Maya Banks highlander series but I think I thought this one would be too dark.  Glad I finally read it for a challenge because, although it was angsty, it wasn't as dark as I thought it would be.


I really liked the Kelly family and will not wait so long for the rest of the series.

One Summer: America, 1927 - Bill Bryson

Another entertaining book from Bryson.  This one wasn't quite as humorous as some of this others it's still a fascinating read about a fascinating time.

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