3.5 star review

Review – Witch, Cat, and Cobb by J.K. Pendragon

Witch Cat and Cobb

Destined for an arranged marriage she wants nothing to do with, Princess Breanwynne decides that the only option for escape is to run away. Upon the announcement of this plan, her trusted pet cat reveals he can talk by asking that she take him along. Listening to his suggestion to venture into the lair of the Swamp Witch proves to be a very bad idea, but Breanwynne would rather face a witch any day than be forced to marry a prince.

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.

I picked this up because it sounded interesting, and it is out of my comfort zone. I think it can get a little too easy to just read the “safe” things, and you can miss so many gems.

And make no mistake, this one, despite its short length, is a gem. A sweet, magical, fairy-tale with a few unusual twists, this was an enjoyable read. At around 20,000 words, it is very short, so I hate to say too much and risk spoiling it. It was an interesting premise, with characters I liked, who had back stories I would have loved to read more of, and of course the requisite happy ending but with a bit of a twist.

And because we always question when it comes to self-pubbed or alternative presses, rest assured, this was well edited and well written. Honestly I would love to see what J.K. Pendragon could do with full length novel word counts, and I may just pick up some other works. And, well I don’t know if this was Pendragon’s intent, or if they would take it as a compliment or condemnation, but it felt, for lack of a better word, accessible. LGBTQIA is not my usual milieu, but once I started reading it, that isn’t how I thought of it. It was an enjoyable fantasy love story.

Witch, Cat, and Cobb
Edited: Thanks to AV Sanders for alerting me that Less Than Three Press titles are available at all major retailers once they are released! You apparently just can’t get them pre-ordered.

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News, Thoughts and Opinions

Feature & Follow Friday Hop


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This is from Alison Can Read. Do check out the featured blog and everyone else, and join in on the fun. And if you’d like to follow me back, while I do prefer WordPress, I have some other options.

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“Question of the Week: Name a book you hated – Suggested by Bookish Findings.

I’m trying to remember the last book I hated. Usually I just stop reading a book when I’m not enjoying it. Occasionally I’ll flip through books who’s political view I disagree with and generally dislike those. I wasn’t able to get through Legacy of Kings, which is a book many people have raved about. But I wouldn’t say I hated it – more that I haven’t loved it yet.

How about you?”

I’ve had a couple this year: They just weren’t to my taste.

The Girl Who Wouldn't Die
Falling For A Redneck
Cat's Lair (Leopard People #7)

Cat’s Lair (#7)

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2 star review

Review – Dark Ghost by Christine Feehan

Dark Ghost

He wasn’t civilized or tame. He had his own code and he lived by it.

Monk. Bounty hunter. Vampire slayer. Andre Boroi has spent centuries battling the undead, holding out against the dark with honor. But now, gravely wounded by master vampire Costin Popescu, Andre will be easy to track—his spilled blood marking the killing trail for Popescu and his hungry band of underlings. Andre’s only chance is to disappear into the gray mist of the Carpathians. To wait. To hope.

She had a healing touch and a scent that was his lifeblood.

In the mountains in search of a precious crystal, geologist Teagan Joanes suddenly finds herself hunted by those she once trusted. Then she comes across the warrior—wounded, wanting and irresistible. Andre has been craving her for an eternity: his lifemate. Her warmth envelops him. Her scent pulsates. And with every beat of her heart, Teagan surrenders to a passion she can’t possibly comprehend.

Now they are bound by destiny, but is it enough to keep them safe from a stalking, relentless darkness that threatens to swallow them alive?

This is book 28 in Feehan’s PNR series. There have been ups, and downs, and general WTFery, and I am not sure I have really loved anything since Dark Slayer. But Feehan has some sort of hold on me. She was one of my gateway drugs into paranormal romance and I find myself still being dragged along.

Mostly I was just bored. The good included much less of her “precious” language, and no WTFery from the infernal triplets. Andre and Teagan were mostly alone for this book, so there was a ton of navel gazing on both their parts. And quite a bit of their early relationship kind of squicked me out. I am not sure precisely why, because isn’t wasn’t as overt as Cat’s Lair, but still, it left me feeling queasy. And then when he converted her, he was somehow completely unaware of how painful it would be? How the heck could that possibly happen among a telepathic race? He got the message that a psychic woman could be converted through 3 blood exchanges but never information about how it occurs? Completely unacceptable at this stage in the game.

Mostly though, the story left me feeling bored. Which is a shame because if I remember correctly Andre was one of the most obnoxious when it came to the newly mated females, which could have opened the door to all sorts of interesting exchanges with other characters, but none of that happened.

Feehan did open up to another group of ancient males in the monastery, so there may be room for more interest. But somehow I doubt it. If Gary’s story goes the way I expect it to go then that may finally be the story that enables me to let go.

2 stars

Dark Ghost (Dark, #28)
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4 star review

Review – Undead and Unforgiven by Maryjanice Davidson

Undead and Unforgiven

If Betsy Taylor has learned anything about ruling Hell it’s: 1) she can’t do it alone, and 2) she doesn’t have to. She’s got the help of a devoted vampire king, a dateless zombie, an exhausted new mom, an unshowered cop, a bitchy ghost, a kindly dead priest, and her late stepmother (“Go Team Satan!”). But the latest major hurdle in her post-dead life is so big she can’t even see it until it’s on CNN.

Betsy’s father and half-sister Laura (a former Anti-Christ with a grudge) have outed Betsy to the world. It doesn’t take long for the story to become 24-7 headline news. What’s more, people are not only prepared to believe in vampires, they want to kill them. For Betsy, social media has never felt so…unsocial.

Before long the mansion on Summit Avenue is swarming with reporters, would-be vampire/zombie killers, and desperate emos begging to be turned. Betsy has been forced into the unenviable role as the reluctant face of the vampire nation. All she knows is, she has to look good—this is hi-def!—and stay true to who she is. H8ers be damned.

Book 14, the next to the last book in the Undead series. Where has all the time gone? I did a COMPLETE reread, novels and all novellas, in preparation for this one. And I have to say, I can’t think of a series that needed it more. Because Betsy and the gang’s lives have been crazy. It has been a wild ride, but I have to say that I appreciate when an author at least makes the attempt to leave in good time and with a plan. We may even find all that flailing had a purpose, and come to think of it, when it concerns Betsy, that should be the least surprising,

While the author, and Betsy, might have floundered a bit the past few books, I think we’ve all finally settled in and it is coming together. It look like it is going to be a really strong finish. Betsy has finally taken up her mantles with some purpose, and while there is the requisite snarking, bitching, and whining, it is all working out. Hell is being run by committee and frankly, I can’t think of anything more hellish than that.

There are trials, and tribulations, weird babies, a depressed zombie (who maybe doesn’t have to be so depressed…squee?!?!), a mean priest, contretemps between our devoted heroine and hero, and family feuds. Seriously, this book gave me all the warm fuzzies that I have been missing the past few books. It almost makes me wish that it didn’t have to end, but then I remember – part of what makes it so great is that there is obviously a clear and concise ending coming up.

Seriously, I can’t even express how much I enjoyed this book.Yes, Betsy is still the vain, vapid, snarky, and reluctant ruler we have come to love, but she is also the grown up version I have been expecting for so many books. The one I never could quite figure out why we weren’t getting.

One more book to go and now I can’t wait to see how Davidson wraps it up. If you’ve gone off this series, now might be the time to jump back in…or maybe wait til the finale comes out next year. I can’t quite decide, but Betsy and the gang are back on track and it looks we might have an epic showdown/wrap up complete with out favorite loveable undead characters, dare I pray Boo the Vampire slayer?, werewolves, mermaids, and of course, the devil and her daughter.

Good times and 4 stars from me.

Undead and Unforgiven (Undead #14)
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Thoughts and Opinions

On series – holding on, pushing through, and letting go.

Series

I have something of a love-hate relationship when it comes to series. I can be obsessive and compulsive But it is an odd relationship that is difficult to explain. I don’t like picking up books in mid series, I almost always start at the beginning. I prefer whenever possible to wait until a series is complete before even starting them. And here is the thing, I will continue to read books I don’t necessarily even like just to see what is next. It is almost pathological.

Sometimes that is great and I love the books first to last, like Ann Aguirre’s Sirantha Jax and Dread Chronicles, JD Robb’s In Death series, or Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series. Just to name a few.

Other times it is almost miserable. For example, I am still reading Christine Feehan’s Dark, Leopard, and Ghost Walker series even though I am almost sure to be enraged and disappointed. Same with Lynsay Sands’ Argeneau series (still holding out hope for Bricker’s story). I am not sure why, or what I am expecting, But there are just some series that I can’t seem to let go, no matter how much I sometimes think I want to.

Other series sometimes I just had to push through to really get into it, and I think this is where my stubbornness pays off. Some of my absolute favorite series had first or second books that I really didn’t care for. Like Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunters, Shelly Laurenston’s Pride Series, Ilona Andrews Kate Daniels series, Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate, and most recently Lisa Kessler’s Moon series. And If I hadn’t pushed through I would have missed so much. So maybe that is what pushes me to keep dipping back into a series I might feel meh toward or even just flat not like at the start.

What I think I have more trouble with than the pushing through aspect, is really the letting go of series. Not every series can be like Robb’s 40+ monstrosity that is still keeping me entertained. Every now and again a series just fades away for me, like Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunters, or Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files. But that is pretty rare for me. Mostly I just keep slogging along forever and ever until the series is completed or the author stops writing them.

What got me thinking about it is the fact that Maryjanice Davidson’s Undead series has a new one coming out. I was just this side of maybe letting go (OK that is probably a lie) until I found out that there is only one more book after this one, and then the series will be completed. This is one of those series that I absolutely adored at the start and the first few I read and re-read compulsively. But the last few have been a bit disappointing and consequently I wasn’t thrilled or excited. Until, as I said, I found out the end is near. It gave me my second wind and I have actually started a complete series re-read. So posting may be a bit sluggish until I get that done. A couple of things strike me though. Marketing wise, finishing the series was probably the best move she could make. Reading reviews I am not the only one to be in this position of lagging, or worse, quitting altogether, so announcing the end may have prompted a few more people to pick the series back up and/or gave them the energy to finish. And two, re-reading this particular series is giving me a whole different perspective. Some of the things that seemed poorly planned or mentioned now make sense in hindsight, and also there are some continuity issues that are starting to bug me, not the time travel stuff, but things like how many years the Book of the Dead said she would rule, stuff like that.

I guess that last isn’t so important in the general theme of series, unless you are a big re-reader. More importantly, how do you handle series? And what are your favorite series? Bonus points for completed/ended series.

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