4 star review

Book Review: Cress by Marissa Meyer Lunar Chronicles 3 (audio)



I just finished up Cress, third installment in the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, and it was perfect. The series is still being performed by the same voice actress, Rebecca Soler and she does such a fantastic job creating different personalities for each character in the story.  Consistency in audiobooks is something that I appreciate. Having done several other series, by various authors, it makes a huge difference in the quality of the storyline when the narrator is changed in the middle of the series.

I love trends! Keeping up with the fairy tale theme, Cress is Meyer’s version of Rapunzel. Some silimaries include a young women stowed away from childhood in a remote location, with hair longer than imaginable and who is resued by her prince charming. 

So far in this series it seems that with the introduction of a new kick-butt chick, an equally charming and troubled guy is added to the mix. Cinder has Kai, Scarlet has Wolf and now we meet Cress and Thorn. Okay, well Thorn was introduced in Scarlet, but he meets his girl and gets his story told in this book.

By now we have learned that Cinder is likely the long-lost Lunar Princess Selene, but that hasn’t made her quest any easier. If anything, her path is getting progressively more difficult with the addition of new facts and foes. In Scarlet, Cinder escaped from prison, made her way to the Benoit farm, discovered a portion of her past and got in touch with a minor character originally seen in Book 1 (Cinder).

At that time this character wasn’t named, but if we recall, a D-Comm was found by Cinder in Kai’s android assistant, Naincy. Cinder was able to make contact with the person at the other end of the Comm and found a young girl who specialized in computer hacking and programming. This mystery character was able to provide information that was vital to interrupting the nuptials between Kai and Levana, before that nonsense gets as far as we saw back in Scarlet. But as we now know, Cinder wasn’t completely successful in her attempt and had forgotten all about the D-Comm…until now. 

Reaching out with the Comm, Cinder, Scarlet, Wolf and Thorn reconnect with the master hacker and we learn that her name is Cress. Cress is a Lunar shell being held hostage on an orbiting satellite high above Earth. She had been in this confinement for 7 years, under the care of a thaumaturge in service to Queen Levana. The team puts together a plan to free Cress from her prison, and as is their luck, it backfires in more ways than one.

In short, Cress and Thorn get stranded in the African Sahara and find out that there may be more going on in the world than they could have ever imagined. Not to mention that Thorn is battling his own personal dilemma during his trek. Scarlet is feared to be lost forever and Wolf is suffering in her absence. Cinder is still trying to prove her innocence and secure her place with Kai, as a friend or maybe something more. Kai is stuck between doing what is best for his people and his conscience. Each character is progressing nicely and the lines are skillfully woven together to create a very coherent plot. There are several evils that the team is facing, but they all seem to center around Levana. Is her role so great that the entire story hinges on her defeat? I hope that the history of Luna is explored a bit in future installments so that I can start to get a feel for the bigger picture.

Why is there a plague that is affecting Earthens? Why does Luna hold the only cure? Why is Levana such a witch? SO many questions…so few answers.

Now that I am more than half way through the series I can tell where some areas are starting to wind down and wrap up. I can only hope that book four is as good as these three have been, but once a series gets this far along it can be hit or miss.

4 star review

October TBR Challenge 2016 – Undead and Done by MaryJanice Davidson

TBR Challenge 2016

Topic: Paranormal or Romantic Suspense


This month’s review is of a book that JUST came out. But, it has been on my TBR ever since I read the first book in the series, if you know what I mean. I got into MaryJanice Davidson a bit late, but by 2008-2009 I was hooked and was raring for more. Betsy, and the Wyndhams, and Fred the Mermaid had my heart and I simply couldn’t wait to see how their stories would play out. It was a long and maddening time coming. This review is going to be ridiculous, and I can’t promised there won’t be series spoilers.

Vampire Queen Betsy Taylor continues her rule in Hell in the scorchingly funny finale to the Undead series from New York Times bestselling author MaryJanice Davidson.

It had been a well-kept secret for centuries, but now the existence of vampires is all over the news, thanks to Betsy Taylor’s half sister (and frustrated former Antichrist), Laura. Life for the undead will never be the same, and it’s up to Betsy to do some damage control. But her interview on the local news doesn’t exactly put out the fire. It more or less pours kerosene on it.

With all the added attention on supernatural beings, the werewolves are more than a little agitated (never a good thing) and demand that Betsy gets her interview skills, and her family, in order. And while things go from bad to worse in the world, Hell continues to be hell—especially when Betsy’s new parole program gets about as complicated as you’d expect.

With a PR team launching a vampire-friendly campaign, the Devil at large and out to make trouble, and mermaids on hand to see who falls—and how hard—the end isn’t just near. It’s here. And if anyone knows how to go out with a bang, it’s the Queen of Hell.

Book 15, oh parting is such sweet sorrow! MJ and Betsy, we’ve been through it, huh? A) I didn’t know a series this ridiculous could actually jump the shark. And B) I didn’t know how we were ever going to come back from the events of Unfinished and Undermined. The time traveling and the loved ones made into a creepy skin book with an Evil Betsy Taylor was just too much for me and many other readers. I am not ashamed to admit, I kind of quit this series. It has been 15 books and 8 years or so, and while it hasn’t always been great, it has been, something…

When I heard that she was wrapping up though, I caught back up and gave her another chance. And I am glad I did. I rarely quit series, and don’t do it lightly, and this is the only one I have ever come back to. I had missed the lightheartedness, the ridiculous humor, and the antics of friends I would never, ever want to hang out with. Seriously, it was like a train wreck.

What we have is my favorite designer shoe loving, airhead almost heroine vampire. She…kind of…grows up. Resolves some stuff, messes some more stuff up, and in general just takes us on a ride. Par for the course and almost like old times. A number of mysteries were solved/resolved, the vampire nation AND Hell are humming along on a fairly even keel, and the gang all comes out on top. There was one death, which was something of a deus ex machina, but honestly I can’t say I could see another way out either, so it is getting a pass from me.

I don’t know. How do you explain the end of a ridiculous series that made you laugh, and cry, and actually hand-to-heart set a book on fire and vow to never read another thing from this author again…but then you do anyway? I guess the best way to explain it is that I enjoyed it but am glad it is over. AND FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS UNHOLY AND DESIGNER SHOE RELATED, MARYJANICE DAVIDSON, you had better not come back here ever againAll that can happen by adding to it is making it worse. The only thing permissible would be short stories to fill in the gaps of things that have already happened (see below). Don’t screw this up like the nameless horrors.

I am not unequivocally satisfied with the series. There is a major series plot hole regarding Boo, Rachel, and Edward from Wolf at the Door that I find maddening. And little inconsistencies and discontinuity that may or may not be explained by the time line shift. And Liam and Sophie were never resolved. And I don’t know if I would necessarily recommend someone who hadn’t read the series to start (too much baggage in the middle). But if you used to love this series and stopped, it might be good to peak out and maybe ease any lingering irritation and finish it on a high note, I know I am glad I did.

Undead and Done (Undead #15)


Review – Shadow Falling by Rebecca Zanetti

Shadow Falling.jpg

I received an ARC of this book from the Publisher, via Netgalley, this does not affect my opinion of this book or the content of my review.

Before the Scorpius Syndrome tore through North America and nearly wiped out the population, Vivienne Kennedy was the FBI’s best profiler. The bacteria got her anyway. But she survived. She recovered. And when she woke up from a drug-nightmare of captivity, her skills as a hunter of men had gone from merely brilliant to full-on uncanny. Her mysterious rescuer wants her to put them to the test. But no matter how tempting he is, with his angel’s eyes and devil’s tongue, Vinnie knows she shouldn’t trust him.

If the FBI were still around they would rate Raze Shadow as one of the bad guys. His military training can’t wipe out his association with the Mercenaries, the most feared gang in a thousand miles. His loyalties are compromised. He won’t even tell Vinnie his real name. But there’s no FBI in the new America of fear and firepower, only instinct and risk. And the way his arms wrap around her tells its own story. Whatever else Raze is concealing, he can’t hide his desire . .

I’ll admit, I’m am one contrary reader. I snapped this up when the opportunity presented itself because of my response to the first book in the series, and then once I had it…I put off reading because I knew betrayal was a major theme and that is hard for me.

Shadow Falling (The Scorpius Syndrome, #2)

4 star review

Review – The Trouble with Misteltoe by Jill Shalvis

The Trouble with Misteltoe

If she has her way . . .

Willa Davis is wrangling puppies when Keane Winters stalks into her pet shop with frustration in his chocolate-brown eyes and a pink bedazzled cat carrier in his hand. He needs a kitty sitter, stat. But the last thing Willa needs is to rescue a guy who doesn’t even remember her . . .

He’ll get nothing but coal in his stocking.

Saddled with his great-aunt’s Feline from Hell, Keane is desperate to leave her in someone else’s capable hands. But in spite of the fact that he’s sure he’s never seen the drop-dead-gorgeous pet shop owner before, she seems to be mad at him . . .

Unless he tempers “naughty” with a special kind of nice . . .

Willa can’t deny that Keane’s changed since high school: he’s less arrogant, for one thing—but can she trust him not to break her heart again? It’s time to throw a coin in the fountain, make a Christmas wish—and let the mistletoe do its work . . .

I received an ARC of this book from the Publisher, via Edelweiss, this does not affect my opinion of this book or the content of my review.

I was hooked with the debut in this series and have not been waiting patiently at all to get my hands on this book after reading the teaser. So I loudly squeed and did the butt wiggle dance in my chair when I got this handed to me. (Don’t judge, the butt wiggle chair dance is a real and valid thing.)

I’ll admit that it is a little odd to read a Christmas book in the summer, but I am giving that a pass because of the whole wanting it immediately thing.

This series so far is pretty fantastic. I am not always down for contemporary, but these characters really work for me. Just a messed up group of mostly adults hanging out, making family of friendships, and often having a ridiculously good time. You really can’t go wrong with hot drunk guys doing karaoke.

Willa is such a mixed up sweetie pie, taking care of pets and people and her friends, but not really taking such great care of herself. And mostly she’s just out there and open and upfront, maybe not so much with herself, but she’s a clear read for almost everyone else including the reader. Keane on the other hand is pretty opaque and who he is, his past, and his motivations dribble out through the story. It takes a little more to get him. And then there’s the cat, I am a fan of the plot pet, and this one is just a delightfully supercilious and vicious cat.

Delight with the secondary characters aside, the focus is clearly on the main characters. The secondary characters make up part of the tapestry of who they are, but the story focuses on their individual character growth and how they develop their relationship…which is hella bumpy at times. But it worked, because their struggles in coming together as a couple made sense in the context of their personal histories. And they were sweet together, and when they hurt, I hurt. And when they finally resolved things all I could do is grin.

As for the relations (as opposed to the relationship) they have mad heat, and are by turns awkward, and hot, and make-up, and hilarious. Cat care indeed😀. Plus, we have condom love, and I love that kind of love.

So I am really digging hanging out with these people, and it is probably only psychosis if I actually ADMIT that I refuse to admit they are imaginary. So I am going to be all stoked waiting for the next book to find out what hapens next, and to hang out with the gang as the mute friend in the corner. Because that is what it feels like, being there and hanging with the gang. It is really good stuff.

(I have one quibble, one little point of being irked, and this one won’t make a lick of sense unless you have read the previous book, but I simpy must get it off my chest. I wanted to see Jake getting enfolded into the group and hanging around so I could feel secure he would be getting his own hapily ever after. There, whooo, I got it off my chest.)

The Trouble with Mistletoe (Heartbreaker Bay, #2)

3.5 star review

Review – Highland Chieftan by Hannah Howell

Highland Chieftan.jpg

I received an ARC of this book from the Publisher, via Netgalley, this does not affect my opinion of this book or the content of my review.

Responsible for protecting her younger siblings from their abusive father, Bethoc Matheson is in no position to rescue another soul in Scotland. Yet when she sees a bleeding man on the verge of drowning, that’s exactly what she does, securing him safely in a cave where she can return day after day to tend to his wounds.

Sir Callum MacMillan can scarcely believe such a slight lass as Bethoc could save him from the grasp of death. But he knows the telltale marks of an angry fist on her skin, and he knows she has the soul of a fighter within her feminine frame. Raised to be a protector of the weak by his Murray clansmen, Callum would prefer to be the one saving her—and save her, he will. If he can first survive the treacherous attack that led him into her irresistible arms . . .

I’m so absolutely thrilled to be back with the Murray Family, despite the fact I mostly enjoyed my sojourn with the Wherlocke-Vaughn family. It is slightly insane that I haven’t actually reviewed one of these here since they were such a staple of my romance diet and I still have an enormous stack of dog-eared (yes I was one of those-you dead tree lovers can be grateful for the advent of digital so hooligans like me no longer deface books) and well-loved books chronicling the lives and loves of the Murrays and MacEnroys.

For the most part I think these can be read as stand alones. Yes there are characters from previous books, but with no centralized arc, jumping in just anywhere is entirely possible, even here with the 21 book, though I do tend to recommend the rest of the series. I suggest no hard long gloms though as it can all be a bit predictable.

This is another of Howell’s damsel and knight in distress books, where they each save each other, with a passel of plot moppets to round it out. I adore it.

We have two mysteries circling around to entertain us, and of course a delightful push-pull of romance between our two main characters.  Callum is one of the rescued boys from Highland Angel, and it is good to see those poor boys grown up and getting the happiness they deserve. And he has grown up to be such a sweet man, and Bethoc is a fitting mate for him. There are some heartbreaking events but overall it is a sweet and happy book.

We also got to check in on the lives of beloved characters, though as I said this can be read as a stand alone, so I don’t think they are overly intrusive if you haven’t read them. You can depend on what you’ll get from this series though, good kind people doing good kind things even in the face of heartbreak, and even though they are a bit muddle headed about love. I am really pleased to be back with the Murray’s and hope to keep visiting with them for years to come.

Highland Chieftain (Murray Family #21)

5 star review

Review – Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews

Magic Binds.jpg

Mercenary Kate Daniels knows all too well that magic in post-Shift Atlanta is a dangerous business. But nothing she’s faced could have prepared her for this…

Kate and the former Beast Lord Curran Lennart are finally making their relationship official. But there are some steep obstacles standing in the way of their walk to the altar…

Kate’s father, Roland, has kidnapped the demigod Saiman and is slowly bleeding him dry in his never-ending bid for power. A Witch Oracle has predicted that if Kate marries the man she loves, Atlanta will burn and she will lose him forever. And the only person Kate can ask for help is long dead.

The odds are impossible. The future is grim. But Kate Daniels has never been one to play by the rules…

Heckfire!!! What did I just read? I never saw any of this coming, not even a little bit. And yet? It made complete sense too. This is book 9 in the Kate Daniels series, and be ready for it, because I am going to gush and spoilers for earlier in the series may occur and if you haven’t read the series it is going to be pure gibberish (it’s book 9, what do you expect?). Kate Daniels rocks out with her socks out…or on as the case may be…in a tutu.

We’ve seen Kate grow from a low-lying no-name merc, to a POWER. She’s made friends and enemies. Just, aargh, I don’t even know how to express all the things that make me love this series. But I love it so. The night I was reading it someone asked me what I was reading and I TRIED to explain it. But trying to express into words what makes me so enthralled with this series proved pretty much impossible and devolved into something that probably resembled the kind of embarrassing spectacle that was once associated with Bieber fans. My love for this series is vast, I walk in this world in my head and it is a mythology that makes sense to me.

So this book in particular? Leading up to it we have seen how the structure of the people in Kate’s life have shifted, it was moving toward something. But that structure is pretty effing clear now. War is coming and alliances are and will be tested.

Christopher, the broken man, the apparent deus ex machina that I thought was there to show who Kate really was, to set her apart from her father, yeah, he turned out to be pretty ever-loving important. He hurts my heart, but I think he’s going to get better now. And I can’t wait to see how his story shakes out.

Roman the Dark Vohlv is freaking adorable. Just the cutest little Dark Vohlv ever, and as the representative that your job doesn’t have to define you, he’s pretty perfect and I want a HEA there quite badly.

Jim, the new Beast Lord, yeah he done screwed up. Fortunately Dali is a magnificent Beast Lady who is perfectly willing to call him on whatever he needs calling on. She is just as good of a Beast Lady as I knew she would be. I expect Jim will have some consequences, as he well deserves. But I expect we’ll see that shake out in the next book.

And of course Ghastek , Master of the Dead, came through, I’ve always liked him. I’d like to see his story play out too. We don’t necessarily need a whole book, but a little more wouldn’t go amiss.

We also got quite a bit of back story on everyone. Roland, Era, Hugh. Lots of emotions to be wrong there.

And the rest of the gang; Andrea, Raphael, Desandra, Derek, Ascanio, Samhain, everyone made an appearance and played their parts.

And I guess that pretty much shows if not explains why I love this series. These characters are as real to me as anyone else. The world is built and layered so I believe it too, so the characters they’ve created can walk there and I can believe in them and feel like I know them too.

As for the events, this is very much a learning book, more so than an action book. But is still felt really exciting. So yeah, we tromp through Kate’s past and her future, and Kate learns a heck of a lot, but it still felt like there was a lot going on and that there were some real stakes. And there was a wedding. I don’t know, it came down fairly easy and then hooked for the next (last?) book. Good stuff, all the stars, 10/10 would read again, recommend this series to everyone and all that jazz.

Magic Binds (Kate Daniels, #9)

4 star review, Miscellaneous

Book Review: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer Lunar Chronicles 2 (audio)




Here is another multi-faceted installment in Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles and it is just as entertaining as the first. Similar in structure to Cinder, Scarlet covers the ongoing story-lines of Lihn Cinder, Emperor Kaito, Lunar Queen Levana, and seamlessly introduces Scarlet Benoit, Wolf (Ze’ev) and Thorne to the mix. Each chapter in the novel flips between the primary story-lines showing how they are beginning to intertwine and overlap as the overall plot takes shape.

Scarlet is Meyer’s take on Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf, with just enough similarity to make the connection, but not so much as to alter the overall path of the series. Some commonalities include the Wolf (of course), a missing grandmother and the red hooded girl. This tale picks up around the same time Cinder ends, with the newsreels of Cinder’s fall down the stairs at the coronation.  

Scarlet Benoit lives in the rural town of Rieux, France with her grandmother Michelle Benoit, retired military pilot turned farmer. We learn early on that Michelle has been missing for approximately 2 weeks and that local law enforcement has closed the case due to lack of evidence. Scarlet is certain that her grandmother was taken unwillingly, primarily because of their close relationship and the fact that Michelle’s ID chip was left behind. Those chips are only removed when you want to fall off the grid or if you want to ensure that someone isn’t found. Scar won’t rest until her grandmother is found, and she will do everything in her power to succeed.  

Wolf is a little rough around the edges and gives off a predatory vibe that causes most people to take wide leave of him. Wolf starts off as a pretty shady creeper out to harm Scarlet, but he turns into something so much more. Originally, Scarlet met Wolf in passing during her produce deliveries, but she ran into him again at her home. After recovering from the shock of finding a stranger on her farm, Scar and Wolf create a tentative agreement to find Grandmere Michelle Benoit and take down a Lunar organization called LSO. Can she trust a man like Wolf? She knows nothing about him or his past, but she is putting her life in his paws..I mean hands…or do I?

Catching up with the Cinder-Crew worked in well considering that Scarlet isn’t truly a sequel to the first installment, but rather a parallel timeline that slightly overlaps where we left off in book 1. Scarlet isn’t the only who meets a new man, Cinder stumbles across a guy too….while she was breaking out of prison. The discovery of her Lunar heritage and the events surrounding the coronation landed her in jail until Levana could deal with her, as dictated by an older Earthen/Lunar agreement which prevents the harboring of Lunars on earth. With the help of fellow inmate, Carswell Thorne and Dr. Erland, Cinder begins a journey to find answers about her past.

So many things happened book 2 that I couldn’t summarize every aspect without rewriting an entire novel, but one major event was an act of world-war treacherously ordered by Queen Levana in the middle of the night. To take her stand against Cinder, Kai and the perceived injustices of the Commonwealth, the Lunar Queen uses an army of super-soldiers to slaughter thousands of Earthens on each continent. Kai offers to make the ultimate sacrifice to end the world-wide siege, and nearly breaks Cinder’s heart in the process.  

This series is so addicting that I had to ensure that book 3 was downloaded before Scarlet was even over! It’s interesting to see how the original characters interact and grow alongside the newbies. While some things are expected, like people falling in love or disagreeing, other topics are nice surprises. The depth of each character isn’t sacrificed to ensure that each has their story told individually. I think it helps that they are all around the same general age, have experienced hardships and disappointments, and have a desire to see a better Earth free from the Lunar Queen.