Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Meridian by Kirby Crow


Mirror - Book 1

After the disappointment of the previous book I was reading and DNF, Meridian was a total joy to read! I knew it would be good because I really enjoy Kirby's work, but seeing as it's her first contemporary, there was always that slight possibility that things could go horribly wrong.


First off, let me tell you, one of the MCs, Grant, is THIRTY-EIGHT years old!!! Stated clearly! He's not a kid! I can't tell you how much this thrilled me. So many of my fave authors seem to be gravitating towards the angst-filled 'new adult' characters and stories, that it was so wonderful to have a mature character and one who could bring the angst, trust me! And his younger love interest, Matty, isn't THAT young, he's twenty-seven, not really 'new'. *LOL*
The plot revolving around the assassin and the reason for Grant and Matty to come together works pretty decently - even if it did give me visions of Hotch and Reid at the BAU for a moment or two. *LOL* The villain of the piece, Jaeger, is menacing and evil and wicked and almost gave me the shivers. Had he more screen time, he'd have for sure given me the shivers.

The secondary characters, Grant's family and friends and Matty's friend/boss were terrific. Not cardboardy-cutout, but interesting, real people all on their own. (We don't see much of him but I have to tell you, I cheered out loud for Henry!) And if this is a series, I can say that I did not immediately spot the next couple, if indeed I spotted a couple at all! Which is rare in m/m, folks, and something that drives me insane.
But you know... I wonder if Grant and Matty's story is finished. Yeah, I'm very pleased with the HEA as it played out in the end, but man... there are threads dangling! And I'm reminded that Ty & Zane of Abi Roux's Cut & Run series got their happy and continued to have adventures, so.... we shall have to see what Kirby has planned. :)

OH! The sexy, BDSM, intimate love story. Well... it was very, very hot. No toys or role-play or costumes or any of that stuff, just Dom/sub power exchanges that are beautifully fascinating! And it's so wonderful to see a Dom that has a goofy at times sense of humour and the capacity for being so corny that he actually made me chuckle out loud.

And BEAKIE!!! I cannot forget Beakie!!! That's one special bird!

Anyway... I loved it and am looking forward to Mirror #2. :)

Monday, May 30, 2016

The Whirlwind in the Thorn Tree by S. A. Hunt


The Outlaw King - Book 1

The fact that I DNFed this book should tell you what I think. And I had such high hopes for it. I mean it's rated at 4 stars on Goodreads and Amazon, for chrissakes, it shouldn't be that bad. HAH!

The premise was interesting. The father (a famous writer of fantasy books) of the MC is murdered and the MC along with a couple of new friends who were fans of his dad's end up in the father's fantasy world in search of answers. So much promise...

But the writing... THE WRITING!! It was so awful. I have a feeling that since this was a self-pubbed novel, that the author forwent a few rounds of editing. The prose is heavy, heavy, heavy with unneeded descriptions and comparisons and just general stuff we don't particularly need or want to know. If I had a dollar for every 'x is like y' comparative that the author used, I'd have a very generous book budget for the year. And then there's just plain old lack of logic. For instance: My listlessness grew by the hour until I had whipped myself in a lather and exhausted all available mental topics. How does that even work?? How can you be listless and worked up into a lather??

Another thing that made me nuts was that the story opens with the MC coming home from the war and discovering that his wife has basically cleaned out their home of everything and left him for some other guy. Then his father dies. But it's never really clear to me if that's something that follows within a few days or weeks or months or even years! And I made it halfway through the book and never heard about the wife again.

I made it halfway through and decided that life was really too short and my TBR pile too full of books I really want to read for me to waste any more time on this novel that was only annoying me with it's awfulness. I really, really have no idea how so many people could have thought this book was great... hell, even good. I honestly think that it's this type of book that makes 'industry people' look down on self-publishing. Had the author spent a little money and hired a decent all-round editor, he could have had the really good book I was hoping this was. As it is... BLECH.

SO very disappointed.

Friday, May 27, 2016

So I Think...

... that I'm going to start cross-posting my book thoughts here as well as over at BookLikes.  There seems to be some chatter that BookLikes has been sold and no one seems to know what's going to happen, so the prudent thing would be to set up a parallel shop.  I may, at some point, migrate all my BL reviews over here and backdate them, but that'll be a big job, so we'll see.

For now, this will run parallel to my BL blog and we'll see how it goes!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Duke of Olympia Meets His Match by Juliana Gray


A 74-year old hero and a 50-year old heroine? I was sold from the get-go! And I wasn't disappointed.

This is a charming, delightful, breezy read that made me smile all the way through. Not only is it a romance, it's a bit of a spy mystery too. Above all, it was a bunch of fun. :)

The only thing that bugged me a little was the hero's name. Olympia. Maybe it's a result of years of reading historical romances, but for me, Olympia is a girl's name. Not a woman, a young lady of late teens or early 20s. *LOL* So yeah, my reading mind did a bit of a startle from time to time.

But that's a small thing. I had fun reading this book. :)

Monday, May 23, 2016

What Remains of Heroes by David Benem


A Requiem for Heroes - Book 1

Well, I'm glad that's over with. Interesting premise, interesting characters, interesting world but, sadly, not well executed in my opinion. I know this was self-published and knowing that makes me wonder if the author could have benefited from some better/more editing.

I read an interview with the author where he said that people will either love or hate his characters and there would be no middle ground. His characters are not nice and glowy and heroic at first glance at all. Actually, they could be fascinating, but I found the author's hand to be so heavy in trying to get across the fact that these were unlikable people that it made the reading of them quite unpleasant. I really didn't need to hear about Bale's snotty, drippy nose the number of times I read about it. Really.

The world the author has created is very intricate and quite interesting, but he throws in so much unneeded detail, sideroads of description of unimportant things, a hundred thousand adjectives that it all just becomes heavy, pedantic reading. Lots of telling, not a lot of showing in many, many cases.

All in all, the book shows a lot of promise yet failed to deliver for me. It's the first of a series (of course) and I really doubt I'll be picking up the second one. There's so much other stuff out there that I enjoy. :)

Friday, May 13, 2016

Hexbreaker by Jordan L. Hawk


Hexworld - Book 1

Oooh, this was YUMMY! Hexbreaker more than fulfills the promise made by The 13th Hex. I loved it. :)

We had met one of the two main characters in the short story, Cicero (who kept manifesting in my mind's eye as Prince) the unbonded feline familiar, and now we meet his destined-to- be-bonded-to witch, Tom. This is definitely the case of opposites attracting. And it works very very well. I enjoyed the way both men learned to look past their first (unfavourable) impressions of the other and even when there was backsliding done, it never lasted for long.

I like this new world of Jordan Hawk's. I'm very intrigued by the idea of the Witch Police and it's very interesting how it works with its hexes, familiars, witch powers and bonded vs unbonded pairs. And it works both in tandem, but mostly in competition with the regular police force. There's an long game being played here. Yes, the book is complete on its own and the 'mystery' has been taken care of... locally and for the moment, but there is far more to come it seems. And that makes me a happy reader!

To sum up, Hexbreaker is the beginning of a brand new series that I look forward to getting totally addicted to. :)

Oh, and you know what? Usually one can tell who the next book is going to be about, but in this case, I wasn't sure. And that makes me really happy! :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The 13th Hex by Jordan L. Hawk


A Hexworld Story

New world. New magic system. New family of characters.


This is the story that starts it all.

Dead Cold by Louise Penny


Chief Inspector Gamache - Book 2

I finally picked up the second book in the Inspector Gamache series and I hate that I made myself wait so long (it's all about that damned book budget! *LOL*). Dead Cold was SO good!

The team is back, even the ones we might not be so fond of. And the residents of Three Pines are back in all their glory too. That's one of the things I like about Penny's characters. Some of them are not pleasant and that's okay, because in life, everyone has faults, right? I think so, anyway.

As I read through the book, my ideas on the guilty party seemed to change with every couple of chapters. There were clues all over the place and I love the way that Penny brings them all together in one lovely whole at the end. And the thing is, you have to pay attention because small things at the beginning of the story that are seemingly just atmospheric, end up being rather important!

And not only do we have the big mystery, the raison d'etre if you will, of the book, but we have a continuing thread of the case that lead to Inspector Gamache's ... well, not downfall, but ... well, maybe that's coming. *LOL* I'm going to need to read book 3 to find out more. :)

Earlier this year, I bought books 7, 8, 9 and 10 when they were on sale (Penny's books tend be in the $9.99 to $15.99 range), but because of the overarching character development I want to read them in order - as Penny herself suggests. Not really necessary, but probably more enjoyable. :)

So yes, I loved this mystery, I love these characters and I love this series. And yeah, being set in the Eastern Townships, an area fairly close to me, the setting is quite recognisable and comfortable. It's reading a book like this that makes me happy I've begun to read mysteries again. :)

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Timeless by Gail Carriger


The Parasol Protectorate - Book 5

It's over??? The series is over?!? *weeps*

But oh, it went out with a huge bang! The Parasol Protectorate series just kept getting better and better with each book and in this final installment, everyone was back, which made me so happy. :)

Alexia and Conall are delightful, whether they are arguing or loving or parenting or just doing whatever they're doing. I will admit, this book, they actually made me tear up a time or two. How they deal with their little daughter is so much fun. The scene near the beginning of the book where Prudence 'escapes' the house, her father in pursuit was absolutely perfect in my opinion. The word delightful comes to mind once again. :)

The main secondary characters (if that makes some kind of sense) of Lyall, Biffy, Lord Akeldama, Genevieve, the Tunstalls and Foote have all returned, doing what they do best and I'll tell you, without giving anything away, the way their stories played out worked A-OK as far as I'm concerned. Especially my two faves, Lyall and Biffy. I suspected some of what was to happen after the previous book, but still, there were a couple of surprises to be had.

We moved out of London and its environs for much of the book, the main part of the action taking place in Egypt, and I kind of missed that, but only because I'd come to be so comfortable in that location, I think. It was by no means a drawback, and in fact, many might find it a plus. :)

The 'mystery' of Alexia's father is wrapped up... I think. *LOL* One can never be sure, you know.

I have really enjoyed this series. I'm glad the adventures will continue with Alexia and Conall's... and Akeldama's daughter, Prudence, because I'm not quite ready to let them all go. :)

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Providence of Fire by Brian Staveley


Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne - Book 2

Even better than the first book in the series!

The adventures/quest of the 3 siblings continue and I grew to like Valyn even more than I did after the first book. We delved deeper into Kaden's personality and I grew to really like him almost as much as Valyn. Even the sister, Adare, grew on me.

This series is a fantastic blend of magic, action and politics and while sometimes the politics get a bit confusing and murky, I found myself okay with this because they were just as confusing and murky for our 3 main characters. Enemies become allies, we meet new people who could be one, the other or both and we lose some characters along the way. Some of which pissed me the hell off, but as a veteran reader of George RR Martin, I have learned to deal with this in my epic fantasy. Brian Staveley is, however, on my side-eye list. *LOL*

There's a depth and heft to this story-telling that I quite enjoy. It feel meaningful to me,and if I have to compare Staveley to anyone, it'd be GRRM.

Staveley's world-building is intricate and logical and totally believable. Nothing is black and white, good or evil, right or wrong. These are real people living in times of upheaval and reacting in so many different and sometimes quite unexpected ways.

I loved it, really. The 3rd and final novel in this trilogy came out in March and believe me, it's on my TBA (To Be Acquired) list.