Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Case of Possession by KJ Charles


A Charm of Magpies - Book 2

I love this series. I loved this book. It was a most comfortable, easy and fun read. I love the author's voice - it holds just the right amount of a historical flair, yet not so much that the narrative seems quaint or dated.

And I love that we're taking the relationship between Stephen and Crane slowly and that even though we know they adore each other, their obstacles are very real and big enough to give them pause. And their sex scenes, while being few and far between, are always hot and sexy and lovely.

This is mostly Crane's tale to tell. We learn more about his past in China, although not nearly enough for me. *LOL* I have to assume the author will take us there over time. Can't spill all the good stuff at once!

The magic is kind of frightening. Rats? UGH! And not just any rats either. Big ugly magical type mofos! Of course there are good sides to it, the connection between Crane and Stephen, the work of the justicars. Good stuff. And it was nice to see more of the justicars and see them interact with Stephen and then Crane. And the character of Saint, the street urchin... I am SO intrigued by her.

This is really a terrific AU of Victorian England that KJ has created. What promised in the first novel carried through in this volume. I have no qualms at all in recommending this series. None at all. :)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Avempartha by Michael J. Sullivan


The Riyria Revelations - Book 2

An editor! My kingdom for a content editor!

Seriously, there are so many infodumps in this book that it's close on a reference book at times! And also, included in these infodumps are little instances of 'deux ex machina' that really could have been brought out in a much more natural way earlier in the book. And fat... dear Lord, there is fat. I understand that the author wrote this series as an experiment that became books in a series, so that my be the reasoning for the lack. But damn, if this was just tighter, it'd be great instead of just good.

But that being said, I really enjoyed this second installment of the adventures of Hadrian and Royce. I think the main reason I enjoyed it as much as I did was because I love the main characters - and YAY!, we find out a little more of their backrounds. Just when I think Hadrian might be my favourite, Royce will say or do something that will make him my favourite until the moment that Hadrian does something depricatingly heroic and BAM! he's my fave again. *LOL*

The secondary characters are fun and flesh-out as well. Princess Arista, Thrace the farm girl, Esrahaddon the wizard, the Pickering brothers... all nicely well-rounded and interesting. The baddies are baddies and obviously so, at least in this installment, but that works for me. As often happens in fantasy novels, the baddies belong to the big church that wants to run everything and so many of their high-ranking officials are nowhere near the holy men they should be. So yes, it's a typical fantasy, but the tale it tells and the trails it takes to get there are very worth reading.

Will I read the others? There are 4 more books in the series from what I can tell and yes, I will. Good, fun, fantasy with a terrific bromance is always welcome in my ereader. :) Hopefully, the latter books are a little better edited for content.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Beyond Jealousy by Kit Rocha


Beyond Series - Book 4

At last! A book with my favourite O'Kane, Ace, as the main character! Okay, so one of the THREE main characters, but I have to admit to a huge bias where the tattoo artist is concerned. He's my Number One.

Beyond Jealousy is as hot, sexy, steamy, messy and wonderfully flithy as expected (and I'd have been disappointed otherwise). And while that is all good fun, I found the dynamics of Ace, Cruz and Rachel's relationship the most interesting. The barriers each had erected inside themselves to stop them from fully being able to commit to this great love they had found. It's a difficult line to walk for an author, I think, writing a threesome where the dynamics and the emotional power ebb and flow and at no point does the reader sense that someone is on the short end of the stick is extremely difficult, and the writing duo that makes up Kit Rocha (Bree Bridges and Donna Herren) make it work for most of the book.

The non-romantic plot of the bootlegging of the bootlegger was interesting and I will admit I wanted more of it. I could have done without some of the length in one or two of the sex scenes for more fleshing out of this part of the novel. Yes, yes, I know it's erotica, but sometimes, when there is a lot, you become numb to it and search for the other stuff, no matter how great the sex scenes are.

I did find that the last 'chapter' of the book, labelled Trix, was out of place. I didn't think it was needed at all. I thought it was a bit of a cheap ploy to get me to have to have the next book and honestly, it's not needed. The Beyond series is so good, as is Beyond Jealousy, that the next book will be even more eagerly awaited than this one, I think. I would have preferred that Beyond Jealousy end with our MC Trio, seeing as the book was mainly about their relationship.

One regret I have is that we never got to see Rachel's fantasy play out, of being able to watch Ace and Cruz fucking. And I would really love to see more m/m play out in this series, seeing as Sector Four is all about all sex being good and amazing and pleasure rules, no holds barred.

And in closing, yes I cried. After the big street battle (not to give anything too much away) I cried like a baby. And I am indeed apprehensive about what's to come as a result of what was done. I also have a feeling that we might be seeing that doctor lady again before all is finished in this dystopian world.

Friday, March 21, 2014

A Murmured Musing

Y'know what? Even though I think the pairing could be fun and Kelly Abbott has become my favourite character in the Cut & Run Universe, I still don't see the obvious chemistry between him and Nick in Touch & Geaux. Yes, Abi writes Kelly and Nick very well, very hot, very fun and it's obvious that she's ready to move on to them as her main squeezes, I just don't see that supposedly obvious moment when it was so apparent. (I honestly think it was fan pandering, but...)

And I still loved Ball & Chain except for that one scene. And I still love Ty and Zane. And my dearest wish is a sequel to According to Hoyle.

And that reminds me... y'know what else? I often wish authors wouldn't listen to their fans and create stories about characters that were better left as supporting characters. Not every best friend, mouthy next-door neighbour or high school enemy needs their own book. Seriously.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Ball & Chain by Abigail Roux


Cut & Run - Book 8

Ty and Zane are back and this time they've brought along Nick and Kelly as they head off to a secluded Scottish island in the Hebrides for Ty's brother, Deuce's wedding.

I love the whole Cut & Run series. I love Ty & Zane and I love their families, the whole Sidewinder crew and the folks they work with. Abi has done a masterful job of bringing the secondary characters to vivid life and we revisit many of them in these pages, much to my delight.

The mystery works. It's a circuitous puzzle indeed, with more winding tracks and side trips than the tunnels that play such a big part in the story. And the series continuity is excellently done, something that isn't so easy to get right. I love how Abi is able to weave in the information we need reminding of without having to do a whole info dump. It's a gift. *g*

The sex is hot and the romance is even hotter. All these big guys with their gooshy mischievous guy hearts and flowers just make me happy. I loved the running theme of the proposals and I swear to God, Kelly Abbott was created to make me laugh. And Abi certainly knows how to bring in the surprises and make them work.

The ONE thing I had issue with was a scene that I kinda think was probably put in just for the myriads of Abi's 'minions' as her big fans call themselves. :) A scene with the four, Ty, Zane, Nick and Kelly just shooting the shit and being all glib and clever with their banter. I don't know that it served the story in any other way, nor did it contribute to any character growth, per se. It just felt out of place... extraneous to me. It was a hefty scene in length and I think it's the main reason I didn't give Ball & Chain that last half star.

But really, there is so much good and fun and heart-tugging in this book, I honestly think it's one of the better ones in the series. I haven't been able to put it down, that's for sure, so, I can highly, highly recommend it.

Now as I understand things, this is the second to last of the Cut & Run series and it does indeed feel as if we're getting there with Ty and Zane's story. There will be plenty more Team Sidewinder stories though, never fear. The one BAD thing about all this is that I don't know if we'll ever see a sequel to my very favourite Abigail Roux - According to Hoyle.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Free Falling by SE Jakes


Extreme Escapes Universe

This is the story of Mick and Blue, two employees of Extreme Escapes Ltd. and how they met, fell in love and became partners. Let me just say now that I am IN LOVE with Mick and Blue. They really are a perfect pair, I think. They are so different, big, tough Mick and slight, quick Blue. Where Prophet and Tommy seem to be cut from the same bolt of cloth, Mick and Blue are more of an opposites attract pair, complimenting each other so well and NEEDING each other so much. And funny... dammit, they made me chuckle out loud on more than one occasion.

The action is tight and tense and the sex is hot and steamy - and the characters are fully formed and just enough over-the-top to be perfect for this type of story.

This novella is a perfect addition to the Extreme Escapes universe and I really hope that we see more Mick and Blue featured tales.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig


Miriam Black - Book 1

This book is so far outside my normal comfort zone that it needs an international number! That being said, I was fascinated. I could NOT put it down, even when it was at its most horrific and I was at my most disturbed. *LOL*

Chuck Wendig has a singular voice. I have been reading his blog for a while now and have dipped into his writing how-to books and what I saw there induced me to give Blackbirds a try. It's written in the present tense, which thanks to fanfic and RPGs I have become accustomed to reading and I have to say it works really, really well. There's an interview with Chuck at the end of the book where he explains some of his process and the background for the novel and it puts into words far better than I why this works. AND why I felt like I was watching a movie in my mind's eye.

Miriam, the protagonist, just has to touch someone, skin to skin, and she's able to see how that person will meet their demise. This book is the story of how she stops just drifting along with the tide of this power. It's a bloody, frightening, disgusting, violent tale, believe me. But the insight into the characters, that's the gem of this book, I think. The beauty with which they are drawn - the craft of it, not that they're gorgeous to look at, if you know what I mean. I was really in awe of the craft of this book, but only realised it whenever I would put it aside. While reading, I was just totally immersed and enthralled by the story.

So... all that being said... WAY outside my comfort zone but a fascinating, immersive read and while I do have the other two books in the series, Mockingbird and The Cormorant, I will need some time before I get to the next one. But get to it I will!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Widdershins by Jordan L. Hawk


Whyborne & Griffin - Book 1

I was ready to be disappointed by this book because I'd heard so much great about it and indeed the whole series, but I was not disappointed one bit! I loved it!

Set in what feels to me like Victorian-era New England in the town of Widdershins, we first meet one Percival Endicott Whyborne, an introverted scholar of dead languages. He's a long, tall, gangly sort with few friends. Then we meet Griffin Flaherty, handsome, charming ex-Pinkerton agent who needs Whyborne's help on a case. And so it begins...

What takes place is a well-plotted, intriguing mystery dealing with things occult and dark, resurrections and creatures from the abyss. And while Whyborne and Griffin go about trying to solve the mystery, they find time to fall in love with each other and while the initial attraction is pretty instantaneous, they do take their time at it. :)

We also meet Whyborne's only real friend, Christine, another out of the ordinary scholar - and while there are those who might offer up that she's the usual BFF trope, I couldn't help but really like her, so trope or not, she was well done. Whyborne's family, we meet briefly and more towards the end of the book but there was also much to find interesting there too.

I really, really enjoyed this book . The characters are nicely-rounded and engaging and I sense that there is still a lot to learn about them. The plot was well-thought out and logical and held my attention throughout. The romance made sense, was fun, and hot, and paid attention to the mores of the era.

There are more books in the series and they are already in my TBR pile. If you liked K.J. Charles' Charm of Magpies series, you will definitely like this. I totally recommend it!

Monday, March 3, 2014

I Can't Resist A Sale

So the end result of the 90% off code at Kobo was that I ended up with 27 new books, regular price totalling $167.30, and I got them for $16.73. It made me wonder if this was maybe an error on Kobo's part and they meant the code to be a one use only instead of multiple uses. And if so, do they have to pay the original publisher/author royalties or whatever on the original price or what the books actually sold for. And if it was a mistake - apparently the code was valid since February 24th until just after noon my time today - can you IMAGINE all the money they lost? YIKES!!

So I completed the whole set of Men of Honour by SE Jakes, books 2 & 3 of the Whyborne and Griffin books from Jordan L. Hawk, the first 3 Adrien English books by Josh Lanyon, books 2 & 3 of Moira Rogers' Southern Arcana as well as Book 2 of the Green Pine series, a couple of Josephine Myles books, a Kate McMurray, an Amy Lane, 3 Marie Sextons, the second Scorpion book by Aleksandr Voinov, the first Brothers Sinister by Courtney Milan, a volume of Garrett stories by Elizabeth Bear, a Rowan Speedwell and the second book in Rhys Ford's Sinners series and last but not least, Mockingbird and The Cormorant by Chuck Wendig.

It was one helluva sale.

(Crossposted to Blogger)

Sunday, March 2, 2014


I was a bit naughty... see... I said in my last review that I'd be waiting to buy more books in the Men of Honor series, but see... there was this sale. Deep, deep discounts. So I filled in series. Men of Honor, Whyborne & Griffin, Southern Arcana, Adrien English. 13 new books all told. That TBR pile? Becoming a mountain...

Ain't it grand?

Edit: So, I went back... 20 new books for less than $12.

Bound by Honor by SE Jakes


Men of Honor - Book 1

This is the first of the Men of Honor series from an author I have come to really enjoy, and I think it's also one of her first published books. It shows. I can see flashes of what I've come to really love about SE's stories, but in my opinion, this book could have done with an in-depth edit for content. 

The characters are good - albeit all big, muscled, over 6 feet behemoths - but their personalities worked perfectly well for me. The plot worked too. It was the execution that needed help. First off... I thought I was reading the tale of Tanner and Damon, but all of a sudden, LC pops up and becomes far more than a supporting character. It was confusing because the story was really about the relationship between Tanner and Damon and I think should have stayed focused on that, while the whole plot having to do with Damon's (and LC's) backstory should have supported the progression of the relationship instead of seeming like a second story happening.

And I don't know that seeing LC's POV so often works in a book like this. This isn't Game of Thrones, after all. And quite often, it wasn't clear who was doing the talking... walking... fucking.... I had to reread paragraphs to make sure who was who on more than one occasion. And with all this hopping around, I don't know that any of the three stories was done justice. Tanner learning about his submissive side, Damon coming to terms with his past, LC and the mystery of the attacks and the detective and HIS past. There was just too much going on in a novel of this size. Things often felt rushed.

The story of Damon and Tanner and their D/s relationship was fascinating but I felt I needed more understanding of the basic needs that drove them to this type of relationship - since the D/s is a big part of the whole book. The payoff of Damon allowing Tanner, needing Tanner to top him didn't seem so climatic because I felt I was missing some vital piece of information. And then... well, it felt to me like a case of the magic dick. Tanner fucks Damon with his well-hung (and why are they always well hung? Can't a hero have an average dick?) dick and all the hurts and traumas of Damon's past fizzle into nothing? They disappear? Doesn't work for me.

I don't know that I've been able to articulate my concerns about the book properly, but I've tried. *LOL* This is why I don't review for a living. ;)

But all that being said.... I enjoyed the read - didn't love it - and it was certainly interesting to see how much SE has improved her craft over the past couple of years. Will I read the other books in this series? Probably, at some point, but I won't go and load them into the Kobo right away. :)