3.5 star review

Review – Allegiance of Honour by Nalini Singh

Allegiance of Honour

The “unparalleled romantic adventure”* of Nalini Singh’s New York Times bestselling series continues as a new dawn begins for the Psy-Changeling world…

The Psy-Changeling world has undergone a staggering transformation and now stands at a crossroads. The Trinity Accord promises a new era of cooperation between disparate races and groups. It is a beacon of hope held together by many hands: Old enemies. New allies. Wary loners.

But a century of distrust and suspicion can’t be so easily forgotten and threatens to shatter Trinity from within at any moment. As rival members vie for dominance, chaos and evil gather in the shadows and a kidnapped woman’s cry for help washes up in San Francisco, while the Consortium turns its murderous gaze toward a child who is the embodiment of change, of love, of piercing hope: A child who is both Psy…and changeling.

To find the lost, protect the vulnerable—and save Trinity—no one can stand alone. This is a time of loyalty across divisions, of bonds woven into the heart and the soul, of heroes known and unknown standing back to back and holding the line. But is an allegiance of honor even possible with traitors lurking in their midst?

I read this the instant it came out, literally, I stayed up all night reading it, which is something that I endeavor not to do any more. And it has taken me this long to write my review, and I am not the only one to have some kind of feelings about it.

I read this series both for the romance and for the world building, so in general it doesn’t really bother me when the balance skews one way or the other, but this thing, it wasn’t either of those.

I think I get what the author was trying to do here, it was meant to be a wallow through characters that we love, an homage to the reader if you will, updating us on how thrilled and wonderful their lives are after such hardships. And it was meant to be a bridge, setting up new conflicts and adding new characters that I assume will be important in future installments.

But that wasn’t what it was, or at least that wasn’t what it felt like to me. It felt like, I don’t know, a money grab and a cop out. If all these scenes and information had been dispersed out through the year as vignettes, I would have been thrilled and I would have read them avidly. As it was I was just somewhat disappointed. If she had picked out a character pair and told their love story with the Black See changeling story line threading through it (like Zaira and Aiden’s story), I would have been thrilled too. And maybe if the mystery and furthering of the overall plot had been more cohesive and integral, I would have been more satisfied too.

As it was, I guess the best word for this is underwhelming. Yes, I knew ahead of time it was an ensemble, and I can’t really think of any ensemble books that I liked (and several I have actively despised), but I hoped for better from this author. Perhaps this is a format that just doesn’t work for me. Maybe it doesn’t actually work for anyone. I am keeping my fingers crossed on the next one though, hoping this particular author manages to take back the reins after the conclusion of what I had thought would be the end of the series.

Allegiance of Honor (Psy-Changeling #15)

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4 star review

Review – 2113: Stories Inspired by the Music of Rush by Kevin J. Anderson, John McFetridge

2113.jpg

18 exhilarating journeys into Rush-inspired worlds

The music of Rush, one of the most successful bands in history, is filled with fantastic stories, evocative images, and thought-provoking futures and pasts. In this anthology, notable, bestselling, and award-winning writers each chose a Rush song as the spark for a new story, drawing inspiration from the visionary trio that is Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart.

Enduring stark dystopian struggles or testing the limits of the human spirit, the characters populating 2113 find strength while searching for hope in a world that is repressive, dangerous, or just debilitatingly bland. Most of these tales are science fiction, but some are fantasies, thrillers, even edgy mainstream. Many of Rush’s big hits are represented, as well as deeper cuts . . . with wonderful results. This anthology also includes the seminal stories that inspired the Rush classics “Red Barchetta” and “Roll the Bones,” as well as Kevin J. Anderson’s novella sequel to the groundbreaking Rush album 2112.

2113 contains stories by New York Times bestselling authors Kevin J. Anderson, Michael Z. Williamson, David Mack, David Farland, Dayton Ward, and Mercedes Lackey; award winners Fritz Leiber, Steven Savile, Brad R. Torgersen, Ron Collins, David Niall Wilson, and Brian Hodge, as well as many other authors with imaginations on fire.

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.

Dang, just dang, this is a ton of stories. I picked this up because I am fond of Rush, and because of the Mercedes Lackey story. Anthologies are difficult to review, especially when there are this many stories, so I’ll try to leave brief comments on them individually as I go along. But overall this anthology is filled with gems and you don’t need to have any familiarity with rush at all. I’ve underlined my favorites for ease of reference. Continue reading

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4 star review

Review – Here Be Magic: 8 Magical Tales From The Realm of Paranormal and Fantasy

Here Be Magic 8 Magical Tales From The Realm of Paranormal and Fantasy

I received an ARC of this book from one of the authors, Angela Campbell, this does not affect my opinion of this book or the content of my review.

Here be eight wonderful stories of magic and the paranormal, brought to you by eight outstanding authors, headed by New York Times and USA Today best seller Rebecca York. You’ll thrill to high adventure, deep emotion, and that all-important happy ever after. Travel from the eastern shore of Maryland through magic realms that will stir your imagination and your senses. From sweet and sexy to high drama and heart-warming, the stories will leave you wanting more from these masters of the fantasy genre.

TERROR MANSION by Rebecca York
His psychic dream can save her life—if she’ll only trust him.

NIGHTGAZER by Joely Sue Burkhart:
A princess on the run. A grumpy wizard stripped of his power. Can she heal him in time to save her throne?

GORGOUS NIGHTMARE by Angela Campbell:
Can a reluctant psychic stop a deadly killer before the woman he loves is murdered?

SAVED BY THE TRICKSTER by Shona Husk:
Zander has one month to prove he deserves to be let back into heaven. Lysanna is a Trickster, a demi-god charged with making people believe in Light and hope. Now, Zander will have to choose between his duty to heaven and Lysanna.

TALL, TALL TREES by Linda Mooney:
If fighting the animosity between their two tribes isn’t enough, Oron and Pellera must battle monstrous creatures and the deadly growler to save their love.

DEVIL OF BOURBON STREET by Cindy Spencer Pape:
For a widowed cop and a street musician, magic, murder, and New Orleans might add up to love—if they survive.

RAVEN’S SONG by Shawna Reppert:
Set between the first and second books of Reppert’s award-winning Ravensblood series, can a reformed dark mage save an opera star from a deadly stalker?

HEALER OF THE NILE By Veronica Scott:
Can a village healer persuade the god of Fate to help her save a soldier trapped between Life and Death?

I haven’t reviewed one of these massive anthologies in a while, but it was time and I really like some of the authors. So I went for it. Bear with me through what will probably be a fairly massive review.

Continue reading

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3 star review

ARC Review – Hot Alphas by Lora Leigh, Laurelin McGee, Shiloh Walker, Kate Douglas

Hot Alphas
by Lora Leigh, Laurelin McGee, Shiloh Walker, Kate Douglas


In Erin’s Kiss by Lora Leigh, ex-Marine Turk has become Erin’s sworn protector. The consistent target of her CIA-operative brother’s deadly foes, Turk is the only port Erin has to cling to in a storm. He promised her brother long ago never to touch her—but how can he resist a woman who aches to be with him as much as he burns for her?
In misTaken by Laurelin McGee, Jaylene Kim is a strong independent woman whose feminist values run deep. Even though attractive men are her weakness the last thing she wants is one telling her what to do. Until she meets her mysterious new neighbor. He makes her realize that you can still be strong and relinquish control . . . in the bedroom. But as their passion consumes them both Jaylene isn’t so sure he is who he says he is.
In Burn for Me by Shiloh Walker, Tate longs to spend his nights with Ali, a woman he’s loved for years. But while Ali’s heart pines to be with Tate, her head has reservations. Ali knows that Tate has never forgiven his father for the fight he had with his mother right before she left the house—and was never heard from again. Tate’s unresolved anger is a force to be reckoned with . . . but the heat that blazes between them is undeniable. Now both Tate and Ali are left to wonder: Can love really conquer all?
In Tangled by Kate Douglas, Nate shows up to work at Tangled Vineyards ready to do all the things he loves best—work with his hands, grow the grapes, and craft award-winning, full-bodied wines. But when something better comes along in the form of Cassie, the winemaker and former owner of the vineyard, Nate becomes completely love-drunk. Getting involved with Tangled’s number-one mixologist is a bad way to start off a new job, but with Cassie as a constant temptation, Nate doesn’t stand a chance…

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.


Erin’s Kiss-Once upon a time I had a love affair with Lora Leigh, I devoured everything she ever wrote, then devoured it all over again. I even remember the other Wounded Warriors stories, and I remember really enjoying them. Especially Cooper’s Fall. So after reading Erin’s Kiss, I went back and reread that one. And I still really enjoyed it, it’s sexy and over the top, and it kind of owns it. Even Sheila’s Passion was pretty good. Erin’s Kiss just fell flat for me, it was kind of bland. Even the overriding story arc in this series was bland. You could probably read this as a standalone because the connection to the series seems fairly superficial, but you’re definitely going to know it is part, of a series.

misTaken, is an awkward blend of feminist diatribe and feminist apologetic. Noah was cute and socially awkward and not at all an alpha. I rather enjoyed this character, but he didn’t seem to fit the Hot Alpha theme. Perhaps Jaylene was meant to be the hot alpha? Then we get the diatribe by her about how worthless romance novels are, fairy tales for “Basic B—-es” and the total dismissal and disgust of anyone of anything that doesn’t fit her notion of feminism, yeah, that’s going to endear me. I get that it is likely meant to be tongue in cheek and aggressively to one side of the position to show a dramatic change, but it is highly irritating, and foreshadowing much? Yeah, I saw that plot twist coming from a mile away. The whole thing was like a social parody or essay even, and it took me completely out of the story and the characters. Presumably Jay’s two friends will also be getting their own stories, but nothing about this one made me want to keep an eye out for them.

Burn for Me-While I don’t exactly understand a woman that lets a relationship she isn’t happy with just coast for three years, I really got into this story, I dig couples who communicate. The couple was sweet, the mystery was interesting, and the cozy feel of the town and characters all made me want to read more. With this short format, maybe I don’t entirely buy the sea change in the hero’s emotional outlook, but I enjoyed it all anyway. I’ll be checking out the other books in the series.

Tangled-This story has sort of a sad start, then Cassie and Nate sit talking like old friends and hop right into bed. I wasn’t expecting to like this, with that sort of start and the co-workers angle, but Kate Douglas has a way about her. So instead of a strict workplace romance conundrum, we ended up with quite a mystery for such a short story. The relationship was obviously almost ridiculously rushed, but I enjoyed it anyway.

This is not the strongest anthology I’ve read in a while, but on the relative strengths of Burn for Me and Tangled, I’m giving it 3 stars.

                                                                                                                                              



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Uncategorized

Review – Dead But Not Forgotten Stories from the World of Sookie Stackhouse

Dead But Not Forgotten
edited by Charlaine Harris

OK, so I am a sucker and I borrowed it. I mean really, how many ways are there to hose a fan base? Now we have fan-fic of her series? But I really wanted to see MaryJanice Davidson’s take on Eric. While I never felt the antipathy so many people felt toward Dead Ever After, I remained somewhat dissatisfied with Eric’s ending, and After Dead really only made it worse. Hind sight is 20/20, and re-reading only makes it truer, so going back and re-reading the ENTIRE series made me see even more clearly that it was always only and ever Sam for Sookie. But still, I adored Eric and I didn’t like how his ending was left. And I really enjoy MaryJanice Davidson, so I figured this was a shot, much like when I tracked down the book Scarlett when Gone With the Wind left me too depressed. And much like Scarlett, while the tone was a little off, it was good to see my favorite characters overcome. MaryJanice Davidson gave me back the 4 steps ahead of everyone, devious and conniving Northman. So I am going to take my Davidson provided Eric ending and enjoy it.

The rest of the stories were hit and miss, some of the authors were obviously not as familiar as they should have been with the source material, and tone and characterization were problematic throughout. I don’t know that I would actually recommend this to anyone, and I certainly wouldn’t advise buying it, but if your library or a friend has a copy you could borrow, if you are anything like me about needing closure, you might open it up to Widower’s Walk.

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4 star review

Review – Night Shift

Night Shift
by Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews, Lisa Shearin, and Milla Vane
Night Shift

I was ecstatic when I saw this book coming out. It has 3 of my absolute must read authors in it.

Secrets at Midnight (Psi-Changeling 13.5?)

This novella stars Bastion and a new character as his heroine. I flip flopped a lot on this one. It just seemed somewhat uneven in terms of the plotting and the pacing. I went from aww that so sweet I love this, to what the heck that is just crazy, several times. And there is quite a twist in terms of Changeling physiology. It wasn’t necessarily bad; I just think it suffered a bit from the shorter format and time frame. While this could probably be read as a stand alone, I wouldn’t advise it. 3 stars

Magic Steals (Kate Daniels 7.5)

This is a Jim and Dali story, and I adore them. I will however admit that I threw a bit of a temper tantrum when I realized this story was set during magic Rises rather than after magic breaks. Tantrum done, I dug into the story and I adored it every bit as much as I expected to. We got into both of their heads so much and Dali got to know Jim so much better too. And there is a really touching scene with Dali’s mother. I am really enjoying seeing their story unfold, and these short stories work for them because we know so much about them and their lives from their relationships to the rest of the characters in the Kate Daniels world. I remain, as ever, conflicted on whether I want a full novel for them post haste (so I can gobble it down the unseemly greed), or if this unfolding through short stories is the better plan to prolong the enjoyment. This is absolutely not a stand alone. You have to at least read magic Dreams which was originally printed in Hexed, if not the entire Kate Daniels series. 5 Stars

Lucky Charms (SPI 0.5)

I could not get into the voice of this story and the plot just didn’t interest me. Presumably this is a stand alone as it appears to be a prequel. DNF

The Beast of Blackmoor

This was way, way darker and way more explicit than I was expecting from Meljean Brook AKA Milla Vane, but I suppose that is why it is under a different name, it isn’t the same as the rest of her books. That is by no means a bad thing, as it is really well written and the characters are well rendered even in this short format. It was just a surprise. It features an interesting peak into a new almost medieval fantasy world with deities who act dramatically and concretely in the world. fascinating stuff and I hope we see more like it. This is absolutely a stand alone. 4 Stars

Altogether I am rating this 4 stars

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