5 star review, Miscellaneous, Thoughts and Opinions

Random Re-reads: A Review January-April

I may not be reading anything new, but I am still doing quite a lot of re-reading (in fact a few books I have already re-read a couple of times just this year). And I absolutely adore that Goodreads tracks re-reads now. It is giving me some interesting insight. I base my grades on how re-readable I think a book will be, but it is absolutely fascinating just how many 3 & 4 star books I am going back to right now. Granted, many of them are 5 stars, but some of the ones I read a couple of times even weren’t. It makes a case for readjusting ratings, and I think I might do that for some of them.

Reread1Reread2Reread3Reread4Reread5

The overall theme seems to be laugh out loud until I cry, and/or women whose lives are awful outside of their own personal control. That is probably pretty telling.

And here are the 3 stars:

3star23star1

And here are the 4 stars:

4star34star24star1

So yeah, over half of my rereads weren’t even 5 stars. Maybe I just burnt out on rereading the 5 stars? Maybe where I am at in my life there are things in those books that just call to me. But overall, strong indomitable women, with problems that are not internal, and constant or near constant risk of death and dismemberment seem to be what is calling to me. That being the case it is no wonder only some tried and true authors are really calling to me.

Standard
5 star review, Challenge

March TBR Challenge 2017 & OpenLibrary – Son of the Morning by Linda Howard

Son of the Morning

This month’s challenge is “Comfort Read”, but my moods are too dicy to try to call anything I haven’t re-read a comfort read. So I offer you this gem from 1997, the exception that proves the rule in my general hatred of time travel romance-the only time travel romance I actually enjoy and a near annual re-read. What makes for a comfort read? I dont know, but this one is on my list. So this was on my TBR because I was due, not because it is new.

A scholar specializing in ancient manuscripts, Grace St. John never imagined that a cache of fragile, old documents she discovered was the missing link to a lost Celtic treasure. But as soon as she deciphers the intriguing legend of the Knights of the Templar — long fabled to hold the key to unlimited power — Grace becomes the target of a ruthless killer bent on abusing the coveted force. Determined to stop him, Grace needs the help of a celebrated warrior bound by duty to uphold the Templar’s secret for all eternity. But to find him — and to save herself — she must go back in time.
Summoning the magic of an arcane ritual, Grace steps back to the barren hills of 14th-century Scotland, enduring the perils of an untamed land to confront Black Niall, a fierce man of dark fury and raw, unbridled desire. Driven by a mix of fear and passion, Grace enlists this brazen knight to join her in a modern-day search for a killer. In their quest to protect a timeless secret, they uncover a love for all time — and a deadly duel of honor that risks everything they have.

Once upon a time, shortly after I had moved away to college, I was bored at my mom’s house and this was the longest book I had not read, so I picked it up, thinking blegh, and then was so sucked in I left several hours later than I had intended and even stole one of her precious books. So yes, I own a couple of copies, but this one is also available on Open Library, with the usual disclaimers.

This is also the book’s 20th anniversary, so it seemed like a good time to bring it up for people who may not have ever encountered it before. Due to the longevity of the book and the fact that so many different book blurbs have been used, I may be a bit more spoilery than usual.

On to the actual review:

Have you ever met someone who was sweet and kind of delicate that you always kind of figured would be the type to collapse and never recover when hit by tragedy? But then when they are, while they might have completely shattered, they somehow managed to glue themselves into a sharp ball of all that brokeness and somehow managed to survive and complete their objectives? Never the same again, but completely not what you were expecting either.

That is Grace St. John. A sweet woman with a solid simple life, she loved her brother and her husband, was nice to the neighborhood teen, and loved her job as a translator. In short a round little cream puff of a woman. And then suddenly, it was all taken from her. Her husband and brother both killed, she’s the prime suspect. She has no resources, no skills, and no fallback position; and absolutely no clue why any of this is happening.

Most of the story follows her journey as she fights to stay alive and to solve the mystery of why this has happened to her. It is a story of a woman putting herself back together, inexpertly mended and complete with really sharp edges. It is a story about obsessions.

And I found it remarkably fascinating and was literally not able to put it down, despite the fact that the romance was light (I mean the love interest is in another freaking century for most of the book), and despite the paranormal element (when I already didn’t care for time travel and paranormal was barely a blip on my radar at the time) it was GOOD. I mean I honestly didn’t know which direction the author was going to go; was she taking the topic seriously, was Grace cracking up, was it some coma dream? I just simply didn’t know!

Grace was just so interesting, and eventually so confident and competent that I couldn’t help but root for her, even when I thought she might be out of her damned mind. The love interest, well, I am meh over him to be honest, but Grace really dug on him, so I was even rooting for her to get him too. He was the trapped prince waiting for the queen to rescue him, and basically she did. It totally rocked and was kind of an eye opener for me at the time. The WOMAN could be the rescuer, could be the one to do the leg work. The man could be the object of desire and the one who waited. It kind of blew my mind.

As for how well it holds up. Well except for the payphones, it really held up quite well I think, but take my opinion with a grain of salt, because I am surely reading with my rosy colored sentiment glasses. But if you never picked this one up, thinking it didn’t sound like your cup of tea, well give it another look, because this one is I think a little something special and out of the ordinary, even today.

Son of the Morning

Standard
5 star review

Review – Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs

Silence Fallen

In the #1 New York Times bestselling Mercy Thompson novels, the coyote shapeshifter has found her voice in the werewolf pack. But when Mercy’s bond with the pack—and her mate—is broken, she’ll learn what it truly means to be alone…

Attacked and abducted in her home territory, Mercy finds herself in the clutches of the most powerful vampire in the world, taken as a weapon to use against alpha werewolf Adam and the ruler of the Tri-Cities vampires. In coyote form, Mercy escapes—only to find herself without money, without clothing, and alone in the heart of Europe…

Unable to contact Adam and the rest of the pack, Mercy has allies to find and enemies to fight, and she needs to figure out which is which. Ancient powers stir, and Mercy must be her agile best to avoid causing a war between vampires and werewolves, and between werewolves and werewolves. And in the heart of the ancient city of Prague, old ghosts rise…

Glorious! I devoured this book in record time. How a series that I initially gave no chance to, could so quickly become one of my absolute favorite series is a bafflement to me. But it is true. Patricia Briggs has a gift for writing strong, ferocious heroines that still engender empathy in her readers.

This is book 10 in the series, and these are NOT, I repeat NOT standalones. So, unfortunately, spoilers for the previous books may occur. But let me tell you, if you have any interest at all in urban fantasy/paranormal romance, this is a series that will suck you in. We have a Volkswagon mechanic named Mercedes, a daughter of chaos who plays merry hell on the stoic werewolves around her. A coyote shifter is so very different than the other big bads in this fantasy setting. It is completely worth the read, and I highly recommend the series as whole.

This book in specific though plays a nice symmetry with the beginning of the series, Mercedes alone and ostensibly friendless. Of course Mercy has always had a knack for managing the chaos in her life. But it was interesting to see how different of a person she is by this point in time, even when she is on her own.

Following the events of the previous books, the consequences of the Columbia Basin’s power plays in making their territory neutral for both humans and the supernatural alike have shown up in an interesting way. And while our main protagonists, and us readers, have had a view from the inside, it was very interesting to see how those on the OUTSIDE have interpreted the events that unfolded. Needless to say they got it all wrong. Which opened up all sorts of doors to conflict.

Enter stage left- The Master of Milan, Iacapo Bonaparte. He is the biggest, baddest vampire in Europe. And ever if there was a canny, crafty, bastard of a villain, this jerk is it. I never thought I could sympathize with some of the vampires who have been making Mercy’s life hell in the previous books, but Briggs managed it. Surprising revelations changed the entire COMPLEXION of events that I thought I understood before, and in such a way that it seemed completely natural to me. The landscape back home is going to end up very different once our stalwart heroes make it back.

Of course, despite Bonaparte’s machinations, things are very much not what they seemed, and forces were at work that even he couldn’t comprehend. Turns out there is even more to Mercy than we had already realized….I think she finally discovered her “42”.

Adam and Mercy though, at this point are just rock solid, but it was nice to see how even apart they are still each the others touchstone. But it was also nice to see a few secondary characters shine, and get to understand them better. I think going back and rereading with some of this new information is going to give me a deeper appreciation of some of the other characters. And I know that events from this book are going to perceptively color future events.

And of course the reunion between Mercy and Adam was sweet, and sexy, and full of the turmoil only these two characters can bring to one another. Briggs had a description in the spinoff series that everything here made me think of, about how opening up was like opening an umbrella that had been shut a very long time and how parts creak and groan and threaten to break…only in this case it was like someone then oiled all the moving parts so that everything will now function like it should. That is what this book felt like. It may hurt to open things up that have been closed a very long time, but sometimes you have to so you can use it the way it need to be used.

Another note though, this book is somewhat nonlinear, so I think I will need to read it at least one more time to truly get it all together in my head. But it was excellent enough that I would have wanted to regardless. This was one of those books that was absolutely worth the wait and more than exceeded my expectations even though it was nothing like I was expecting, if you see what I mean.

Silence Fallen (Mercy Thompson, #10)

Standard
5 star review

Review – Ashwin by Kit Rocha

Ashwin

The first book in the follow-up to Kit Rocha’s bestselling BEYOND series…

Gideon’s Riders, Book One

Lieutenant Ashwin Malhotra is a Makhai soldier–genetically engineered to be cold, ruthless. Unfeeling. His commanding officers consider him the perfect operative, and they’re right. Now, he has a simple mission: to infiltrate Gideon’s Riders, the infamous sect of holy warriors that protects the people of Sector One.

He’s never failed to execute an objective, but there’s one thing he didn’t anticipate–running into Dr. Kora Bellamy, the only woman to ever break through his icy exterior.

When Kora fled her life as a military doctor for the Makhai Project, all she wanted was peace–a quiet life where she could heal the sick and injured. The royal Rios family welcomed her like a sister, but she could never forget Ashwin. His sudden reappearance is a second chance–if she can manage to touch his heart.

When the simmering tension between them finally ignites, Kora doesn’t realize she’s playing with fire. Because she’s not just falling in love with a man who may not be able to love her back. Ashwin has too many secrets–and one of them could destroy her.

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

Do you know what I have been missing in my reading life? Legitimate joy. Joy which I finally found again. I have been waiting for this man’s book since his very first appearance. He is all kinds of chilly and just my kind of damaged hero catnip. Seriously, I referred to him in my last review as “my cuddly wuddly little Maiko shark“. I am not saying there is nothing wrong with me, I am just saying that Ashwin is one stone cold heart-breaker in the best of ways. If you are a fan of Nalini Singh’s Judd, Kaleb, or Vasic, this will be right up your alley too. He’s colder and more pragmatic like Kaleb, but dropped into the emotional and caring culture like Judd was, with a little more depth like Vasic.

Now, this IS the start of the spinoff series, and I think you CAN read this one apart from the other series (though I think everyone who likes erotica should read the other series), but it does add a little something to it if you have read the other series. However, if the more in depth erotica-ness of the previous series wasn’t your cup of tea, then jump on in over here, because the water is nice and warn…but not too warm. No menages, no voyeurism, none of the overt BDSM elements, just good old fashioned super smexy times romance (but not boring smexy times either if you know what I mean).

So what is going on is this. The previous series chronicled the start through the end of the war in a post-apocalyptic dystopian. It was kind of like the Hunger Games in that there was a greedy capital that sucked the life out of the other sectors and pitted them against each other. Now we are seeing the rebuilding phase of this world. Basically that is all you HAVE to get from the previous series, though Kora and Ashwin were minor albeit integral characters in the other series.

It has been 6 months since the end of the war. Kora had left her cushy but emotionally unfulfilling life in the capital to work as a doctor in the Sectors. Her and Ashwin were parted at the end of the last series and Kora has grieved for Ashwin while she has been working in Sector One. When he pops back up it was, needless to say, quite the shock. And it hasn’t exactly been the most fun 6 months of Ashwin’s life either. Ashwin is there to join up with the Riders, the protectors in the religion that Sector One had come up with and what has turned into the stabilizing new force in the post war culture. Sector Four’s irreverant devli may care attitude was enough to push for and win the war, but what is needed now is more a culture of home and family and peace. This naturally causes some consternation in what is left of the capital, and decisions have been made to monitor and perhaps influence the growing power. So there are intrigues and conspiracies, and the left over power structures in the capital aren’t as neatly severed as one might like. And we can definitely start to see where the future conflicts are going to come from in the world at large.

As far as relationship conflicts go though, this one was kind of a doozy, and Ashwin screwed up royally. Can I blame him? Not exactly, because there is a ton of subtext and personal past history going on, but then, I am not the one he screwed over either.

Dude, I am screwing this review up though, because all I want to do is squee and gush over the entire plotline…which would completely spoil things. So I will just say that I LOVED it. I loved how Kora has plans and hopes and dreams for herself separate from any man-and that she has plans to continue her path even with Ashwin in her life. I love how she gets MAD. I loved Ashwin, from cold and hard to emotional as he changes and grows; and I want to see more of that arc in future books. And I loved how they were together. They were sexy and sweet and they fought and made up, and they knew that it would be building a family, that their relationship would take work. And they are all in on making it work.

I have actually re-read this one already, and foresee rereading this many happy times in the future. So seriously, buy the book, here are the links; I am not an affiliate I just really want people to buy and read it.

 

Ashwin (Gideon's Riders, #1)

Standard
5 star review, Challenge

#TBRChallenge 2017 -Theirs Not to Reason Why & First Salik War by Jean Johnson

 

Cantankerous and contrary, those are the watch words for this year. The first TBR Challenge of 2017 is short story. Yeah, that ain’t happening. The only thing I have really read, and consequently re-read since the end of December has been Jean Johnson’s space opera series. What we have here EIGHT books, the first five written are one series, and then the second 3 are a second series set in the past explaining the circumstances that lead up to the first series. These books come in at least 3,200 pages depending on which way you count them.

There are two ways to read them. One is to read them in the order they were published, as recommended by the author. The other, the way I did it, is to read them chronologically. There are things you get I am sure from reading them the way the publisher intended, but I am going with chronological.

I suspect though I am going to struggle to articulate precisely what captured my attention and imagination in these books, despite just how deeply I was captivated. I mean seriously, I read them in one great gulp, turned around and immediately started back over, finsished, read one other book, and then started all over again. That puts them in the same camp as Dred Chronicles, Linesman, and Class 5. But oddly, I can not so unreservedly recommend these as I do them. Don’t get me wrong, I DO recommend them, but there are some caveats on this one.

First Salik War describes our world several hundred years into our future. A time when the planet Earth has joined together as one government and essentially one people. We’ve united as one with no differentiation in race, color, creed or religion into one people, a bit pompous and honor bound but essentially well meaning. Psychic abilities have been proven as just another form of energy and can be documented and used in an efficient manner. Which is helpful since it turns out that all those claims of alien abduction were quite true and we have a great an highly technologically advanced enemy in space, the only way which we can counter is through the use of psychics. Meanwhile we are taking our first steps into space outside our own solar system. And the precognitive Psy are ready with a doozy-we are about to meet a whole bunch of aliens, some friendly and some not so much.

Meanwhile in a galaxy far, far away, we meet a people very like our own who have not only their own precognitives, but also a religious icons; The Prophet of a Thousand Years- who foretold this meeting and many other events with directions to save all people as much as possible, and The Immortal-the first Empress of the V’Dan who saved them from a disaster on Earth and brought them to a new planet ruling the under her directions and with directives from the aforementioned Prophet.

So we have Jacaranda MacKenzie, an earth military veteran, politician, and Psy at the head of things for our side. And on the V’Dan side we have Li’Eth, a soldier and Psy for his own people. And when these two meet, sparks fly, worlds collide, and events few could have foreseen (more on that in a bit) unfold.

The V’Dan are not the only aliens out there though. Most of them are friendly and allies, so I am going to give them short shrift in this review because I have a lot to cover, and though they are well done and interesting, I could send a ton of time describing it and not really give most readers anything that tells them whether or not to read these books or not. The one notable exception are the Salik, a creepy frog like carnivore race with a taste for eating sentient species. And that is where most of the conflict comes  from.

There is really only one notable thing that needs to be stated up front about the V’Dan, due to the ecology of their world, The Immortal-to save her chosen people used gene therapy in order to keep them well which resulted in them developing colorful spots. In their culture these spots which come with adulthood are what denotes maturity. This obviously creates a great deal of cultural conflict when they meet the people from their motherworld who have no such marks, and furthermore a people who fought long and hard to NOT judge people based on appearance.

So overall it was very interesting the way Johnson handled first contact. The difficulties in communicating, the cultural SNAFUs, the risks inherent micro-biologically when meeting people from different worlds, all fantastically done. This is where I have my hesitation in recommending. While Johnson includes a variety of POC in her books as a matter of course and the people on Earth and her United Planets tend to treat each other as equals, when it comes to how the respond to the other peoples they meet, even counting in the extreme amount of disrespect they are obviously getting, well there was a slight grating colonialist superiority attitude that on occasion made me uncomfortable with the story in the way that I sometimes get reading historical fiction with a Brit in some foreign clime. It was a very similar pompous attitude of bringing enlightenment to the backwards natives vibe. And it is odd, because I even agreed in this case that the V’Dan were in the wrong, but something really rubbed me wrong in how it was written.

But besides that one thing, the stories themselves were fascinating.The way ALL these different aspects were interwoven, the love story, the intriguing hints to the future (or nods to previous events depending on which way the series have been read), the building conflict and eventual (albeit unstable) resolution made for a very satisfying read. And I genuinely like Jacaranda despite finding her a bit pompous.

In fact this has come the closest to reading as “real” to me when it comes to a first contact, building of relationships, and climax of interspecies alliance of probably any space opera/science fiction I have ever read. Frankly, it was that thing I didn’t even know I was looking for and now don’t know if I could live without.

Which brings me to the first five books, 200 years after the First Salik War:

…What if you could see the future? What if you foresaw that, three hundred years from your time, your entire galaxy would be destroyed in an overwhelming invasion? What would you do to stop it, when it would all happen long after you were dead and gone?

These are the questions that Ia must face, and the obstacles she must overcome. Spurred by her teenaged visions of an apocalyptic future, the young heavyworlder woman seeks to set up a series of events, a domino-chain of actions and repercussions that will hopefully stop the coming invaders long after her time has passed. But in order to do so, she must enter the military and engage in a four-front war: an old, barely contained enemy whose twin goals of galactic conquest and lunch terrify all sane sentients; an ancient foe whose technology vastly outstrips anything the Alliance can fling at it; a fanatic, xenophobic religious movement on her homeworld which Ia dares not stop; and her ongoing battle against Time itself.

If Ia fails, the stars and planets of the Milky Way will cease to exist, and so will the countless lives that depend on them. But the odds of her winning the ultimate battle are very, very small, when even the slightest, most innocent-seeming misstep could domino down through time in the wrong way, and doom untold septillions of sentients to a dark and terrifying fall. Bound by the ice of her duty, burned by the fires of her conscience, driven by what she foresees, Ia must become the herald of death herself:

The soldier known as Bloody Mary.

It is so dramatic and teenagery and sumptuously angsty. A fifteen year old girl comes into a blazingly powerful precognitive gift that shows her the end of the universe, with one slim hope of forestalling disaster. And she throws herself into this with all the strength she can muster and develop. A fifteen year old girl forced to grow up overnight in horror…and then really never able to grow up or develop any further, held in personal stasis to this grand and impossible hope as she races against literally Time itself to set up a future that will progress long after she has died.

And that is where I can see this being difficult for some people to get into, because really Ia doesn’t grow or develop as a character, it is definitely a function of who and what she is at the outset…who and what she HAS to be, but it can be a little disconcerting to spend that much time with a character that really doesn’t change.

Nevertheless, I could have hated her, I honestly didn’t expect to like her because on the surface she is the epitome of the special snowflake YA heroine. But it didn’t take too long until I was firmly on her side and completely rooting for her to win. Johnson did a wonderful job of making the special all powerful snowflake a character that for all her powers had flaws that she recognized and owned up to, making her human and thus a character to care about.

The story itself is this pageantry of warp and weft, a breathtakingly complex tapestry woven into the past and present and a future I literally beg Johnson to write, because Ia is the Prophet of a Thousand Years, the one who set The Immortal into play and everything.

On the face of it, the stories are simple, we follow one character’s life as she tries to save the universe, a story that has been told probably a hundred times. But it is just so fascinatingly complex and mind bogglingly complex that it is far away from simple. And the character, I rooted for her, and I hurt for her, and I WANTED her to get more, but knew as well as she did the consequences. Just…damn. It got to me. With a heartbreaking ending. One I keep going back to even knowing what I will be getting.

The author has made some noises that she will write the Fire Girl Prophecies, which would take us further into the future to see how Ia’s carefully laid plans play out, and honestly I need this the way I needed Alexandra Ripley’s abomination of a Gone With the Wind sequel, because I pine. I don’t expect to get a different ending for Ia though, I just really want to read and see the results of her sacrifices, that they were worth it and they mattered. But even if I never get that, I am glad to have read the ones that are here, they moved me.

Standard
5 star review

Review – Beyond Surrender by Kit Rocha

Beyond Surrender.jpg

The final book in the bestselling, award-winning series…

She’s the heart of O’Kane liquor.

He’s the brains of the revolution.

They’re facing a war that could end their world. Again.

On December 13th, the Beyond series comes to its climactic conclusion with Nessa and Ryder’s story–and the final battle between the sectors and Eden.

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

This is book 9, and the final book in this remarkable, dirty filthy beautiful series. The first 8 books in the series are only 0.99 as a bundle for an extremely limited time. SO pick it up NOW.

Like many I was late to the party on this series, two years late to be precise. And I only picked it up on accident because I was picking up lots of anthologies early in my blogging hobby trying to broaden my reading horizons and book 4.5 was in it. I liked it so I went back and picked up the first book and proceeded to devour 1-4 in the course of a couple of days and after that I was a devoted Sector 4 junkie jonesing for the next hit. Fortunately for me, while my reviewing skills needed work (so very much work), the books were fantastic and only got better with a new one coming every few months. Beyond Addiction, Beyond Possession, Beyond Innocence, Beyond Ruin, and Beyond Ecstasy.

It was (if you’ll excuse my truly awful play on words) beyond anything I had ever read before. All the sex and kink I could possibly want, without the woman being powerless or overpowered. And all the freaking consent, consent is so sexy and this series proves the hell out of it. Plus menage that felt equal and balanced.

And the world building is truly excellent. I felt immersed in this world that took all the things I had been enjoying with YA/NA post apocalyptic dystopian, without the insipid things I couldn’t stand.

As each book has followed a particular relationship to further the overall plot arc, so too this one did. We FINALLY get the Sector Four princess, sweetie pie Nessa’s story. And her and Ryder are smoking hot together, even with the fact that objectively their relationship is the most vanilla of any in the series. I guess you could call it spare, or basic, but it fit them. They didn’t need the trappings of power and submission, they each hold their own shares of power albeit in different spheres.

More important than the relationship though is the conclusion of what has been a massive undertaking: war. The war that was ramping up in the last book culminated in this book, and the results are dire and heartbreaking. Not everyone got out alive and it effing HURT. We also got some background or a behind the scenes peek at some of the subterfuge that shaped the events in Dallas’ life, and a distilling of all the relationships in the Sector. When everything is destroyed, what you have left are the people, and that is the real strength in Sector Four. And in that, even with the individuals who died, the core of Sector Four endures. It is a bittersweet ending, but the sweet makes it worthwhile.

And while I don’t want to leave them, it is good that Kit Rocha is leaving them to live out their lives in what happiness they have found. I really do hate when authors keep jerking around beloved characters just to keep drama high enough to continue a series.

Fortunately, we don’t have to leave the Sectors. Kit Rocha will be returning next year, only this time to Sector One, and the writing duo heard my (and probably everyone else’s) pleas to give us more Ashwin Malhotra. The icy cold Makhai soldier is up next. Every time I saw Makhai I read it Maiko, and that is what Ashwin is, my cuddly wuddly little Maiko shark (sue me, I looove the damaged ones), and I so want to see him got his happily ever after. Ashwin can’t come soon enough for me.

Beyond Surrender (Beyond, #9)

Standard
5 star review

Review + Giveaway – One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews

one-fell-sweep

Dina DeMille may run the nicest Bed and Breakfast in Red Deer, Texas, but she caters to a very particular kind of guest… the kind that no one on Earth is supposed to know about. Guests like a former intergalactic tyrant with an impressive bounty on her head, the Lord Marshal of a powerful vampire clan, and a displaced-and-superhot werewolf; so don’t stand too close, or you may be collateral damage.

But what passes for Dina’s normal life is about to be thrown into chaos. First, she must rescue her long-distant older sister, Maud, who’s been exiled with her family to a planet that functions as the most lawless penal colony since Botany Bay. Then she agrees to help a guest whose last chance at saving his civilization could bring death and disaster to all Dina holds dear. Now Gertrude Hunt is under siege by a clan of assassins. To keep her guests safe and to find her missing parents, Dina will risk everything, even if she has to pay the ultimate price. Though Sean may have something to say about that!

I received an ARC of this book from the author, this does not affect my opinion of this book or the contents of my review…obviously, since I bought it anyway. And I’ll buy a copy for one lucky winner of my Giveaway too, as has become my tradition (and despite the fact that it is getting released on a Tuesday)! a Rafflecopter giveaway

So on to the story. This is the first one of this series of serials where I actually read the serial instead of waiting for the project to be finalized, though I did wait for all parts to be written…because I am not that much of a masochist. So I found it really interesting to try to see where and how it changed. Of course, the difficulty with trying that is that I once again got sucked into the story, hard. It is difficult to play the difference game when you feel like you are in something instead of outside it.

This is the third book in their urban fantasy series, where the earth in question is one out of a multiverse, one that connects to the wider multiverse through key points in the form of Inns. Inns are magical places that are hidden from the earthlings at large, and that function as neutral points on earth for the protection of both earth and the special visitors that come here. They also are symbiotic, Inns need guests. And Dina is the Innkeepeer of the Gertrude Hunt, the setting of our story.

The overall series arc revolves around the search for Dina’s parents who disappeared with their Inn some years ago. While her brother actively searches, Dina’s plan was to draw guests to her Inn in the hopes of encountering someone who could help. Considering the caliber of guests she has attracted, and the courageous way she has addressed problems along the way, it is no surprise that this plan is bearing fruit. Dina rocks.

Other notable points in this story are getting to meet more of Dina’s family and the resolution of the love triangle that was noted in the first book. I was never in doubt about which way that was going to go, personally. But if you were hesitant to pick up this series because of that triangle, you can rest assured it is safe to pick it up now.

But the most important things are the way our kick-ass homemaker grows into her role and owns up to making life and death situations. She  also learns to be part of a team. This book wasn’t as “fun” as the first one, nor was it quite the sucker punch to the guts that then second one was (in my opinion), but it was just as good only in a broader way. I guess what I am trying to say is that there was a lot more going on in this one. Heartwarming moments, humor, joy, despair, and hope. This one has it all, and so did Dina.

As for changes from the original serial format? The only thing I actually noticed was the little bit of a twist at the end. It really cleared up one confusing (to me) plot point from the last book, and left us with a hell of a question to ponder while waiting for the next one.

But you’ll have to read it to see what shook out. And I highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys a little paranormal/urban fantasy.

One Fell Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles #3)

Standard