Monday, June 27, 2016

Point of Dreams by Melissa Scott & Lisa A. Barnett


Astreiant Book 3

The third installment of the Astreiant followed in the footsteps of the first two (Point of Knives and Point of Hopes) and was very, very good. We continue to follow our heroes, Nico Rathe, the pointsman and Philip Eslingen, the one-time solder on the latest of their mysteries. This one concerns flowers, the theatre, and the nobility.
Philip is now working as a member of the Masters of the Guild of Defense, who provide all military and/or fighting performances in Astreiant's theatres. There are murders in the theatre and environs where he's working and since the theatre district is in the point (district) served by the Point of Dreams, Nico takes it on. Thereby hangs the tale.

In this book, we get to meet Nico's mother, which I really liked. Nico and Philip's relationship grows and I guess you could say expands to the point where they're openly acknowledging each other as their leman.

My only problem - and the reason I didn't give it 4 stars - was that there was so much stuff about the play being rehearsed and the previous play that I got a tad befuddled at times. And, there were a few big-time secondary characters whose names were similar, all starting with the letter A for some reason.

The Astreiant series has become one of my favourites and I really love both Nico and Philip. :)

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab


Shades of Magic Book 1

I got so involved with my new SIMS 4 game that I forgot to post about this read! YIKES!!!


I really, really enjoyed it. It was recommended on a lot of Best Books of lists and I think deservedly so. Even if it is sort of YA/NA. The writing was very good, the author's voice fresh, the plot really interesting and the world building was stellar. The characters were good too. A little stereotypical, but that might have been down to their youth - around 20ish years old.

It will be interesting to see where the author takes the next book. And how the characters will grow. I'm looking forward to it. :)

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Such a Dance by Kate McMurray


Well, it wasn't the greatest, but it was by far not the worst I've read, that's for sure.

Eddie is a dancer and Lane is a mobster in the late 1920's in NYC. They meet, there's attraction and they begin to see more and more of each other until they fall in love and then decide what they're going to do with the rest of their lives. That's pretty much it.

I never really connected with either of the two main characters. I didn't find anything much special about Lane other than that he seemed to be a nice guy. Eddie was a lot less sympathetic - I think he was supposed to be a cranky sort but he just came across as an unlikable, negative type fellow. I have no idea what Lane really saw in him past the physical attraction. I was honestly far more invested in the secondary characters of Julian and Frankie.

I wished that the mob parts of the part could have been more explored - it seemed to me that Lane got lucky far too many times in his dealings with them. I also wished that we could have seen the baddie - Hardy - get his comeuppance. That would have been satisfying.

The parts of the plot dealing with Eddie and his dancing partner, Marian, seemed rather meaningless to me. Not meaningless, no... pointless. I never felt that I saw Eddie rising above the whole debacle of the breaking up of the team. I also wanted Jimmy, the show promoter, to get his comeuppance too. Just telling me that his show will probably go in the toilet wasn't enough.

So, all in all, it was rather a bland read for me. McMurray's writing is good, so it wasn't as awful as it could have been (I saw one knob on Goodreads give it 5 stars because the book was grammatically correct and punctuated correctly. WHAT??), I just didn't really care much about Lane and Eddie. And it just proves to me that I must have good characters in my reads. Most important thing.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Saint's Blood by Sebastien de Castell


The Greatcoats - Book 3

It felt like I waited forever for this third book about my wonderful Greatcoats! Okay, they're not mine, but they're still wonderful and I love them, so... :)

This third book in the Greatcoats series is not really as much of a romp as the previous two and I think that's because we are reading about Big Events - Really Big Events - concerning Saints and Gods and Thrones and the 'terribleness' of them all.

Once again, Falcio seems to be tilting at windmills, never quite sure why he's doing what he's doing and why he's leading his friends and loved ones into all these dangers, he just knows he must. He has a new horse, bless him, a horse he's named Arsehole. Of course it is. *LOL* And poor Falcio, he's destined for even more tragedy and heartbreak and wounding and loss. Was there ever a more tragic figure yet one who can make me laugh out loud at his wry outlook on just about everything? Sometimes I just want to shake him until his teeth rattle and I am by far not the only one.
Kest and Brasti are back too. I love them. Both of them. There is a part in the book where Kest talks to Falcio about when they were boys and I was in tears! And Brasti, bless his humongous ego, he always seems to know when that ego is most needed. :) Brasti Goodbow, another archer I have fallen in love with.

And the ladies are all there. Aline, Ethalia, Valiana. All of them proving to the men who would protect them from all that is evil that they are more than able to do that protecting themselves. I mean, there is no one more heroic that Valiana in my opinion!

And I have a new fave. Quentis. Thank you, Sebastien, for not doing the predictable with him.

I mentioned that there was a lot about Gods in this book. I am not really fond of the stories where Gods walk the Earth and I wasn't really fond of the trope in my Greatcoats book. But that being said, there was a lot of interesting discussion, both internal and external about the nature of Gods, religion, faith and the like - but while quite fascinating at times, it took away from the swashbuckling of the book. So I had to take off a half a star.

And just like the Marvel movies that we so love, if you make it through the credits, you get a little bit extra - in this case ... well, I'll leave that surprise to you. :)

And joy of joys! There will be a Greatcoats 4!! Tyrant's Throne. I can't wait!!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Tequila Mockingbird by Rhys Ford


Sinners Series - Book 3

I have yet to be disappointed by a Rhys Ford book and Tequila Mockingbird is no exception.

This is the 3rd volume in the Sinners Series and in it we meet another Morgan brother, Connor, the eldest and the man that steals his heart, Forest Ackerman. (And no, he's not named after famed science fiction writer Forrest J. Ackerman.) Forest is a drummer and he's had one helluva life, especially compared to the boisterous, loving family life that the Morgan family brings.

The tale of Connor and Forest discovering their love for each other is swift and sweet, of course, the swiftness might just be me devouring this very devourable book. I will admit that Forest brought me to tears on more than one occasion. His past was so horrible and he just wanted to be loved and cared for and Connor was so lovely with him. And Connor's mom, Brigid, was just as lovely. And then the scene with Connor and his dad. OMG, here, take my heart!

I love these characters. I think that's Rhys' strength, the characters that she creates never fail to tug at my heart.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

The Tempering of Men by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear


Iskryne Saga - Book 2

The first thing that pops to mind is that this book is perfectly titled and that's not something you'll really get unless you read it. :)

Once again, Monette and Bear throw you in the deep end of their intricate and perfectly wonderful worlds. The names are strange to the tongue and eye, there are words that on first, quick look appear to be the most alien of languages, but soon you're immersed because the storytelling is just that good.

I have to say, that this volume of the Iskryne Saga, the second one, seemed fairly calm and almost uneventful, compared to the first one, A Companion of Wolves. But a ton of stuff really happened, things that 'tempered' the young men we met in the first book.

See, 'tempering' means the following:

1. To modify by the addition of a moderating element; moderate: "temperits doctrinaire logic with a little practical wisdom" (Robert H. Jackson).
2. To bring to a desired consistency, texture, hardness, or other physical condition by blending, admixing, or kneading: temper clay; paints that had been tempered with oil.
3. To harden or strengthen (metal or glass) by application of heat or by heating and cooling.
4. To strengthen through experience or hardship; toughen: soldiers who had been tempered by combat.

So you see why the title is perfect. :)

I love how the authors present the wolves. They're wolves. Not people in fur. They are wolves and they act appropriately for wolves. Yes, being as they're trellwolves, they are smarter than your average lupine, yet still wild and unpredictable and, well, wolfish. :)

The characters we follow are all superbly drawn and real. They all have flaws and as they grow, as they are tempered, they don't lose the flaws that are so much a part of them - rather, they come to acknowledge and come to terms - for the most part - with them.

One of my favourite TV shows is Vikings and I found in reading this book, the world felt far more familiar to me than the first volume did when I read it before Vikings. Things were a little easier to picture in my mind's eye. :)

I have the 3rd book of the Saga in my TBR.and I'm very much looking forward to reading it. :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Tank by M. Malone


Blue-Collar Billionaires - Book 1

was one of the books I got in a freebie download about a month ago and I really didn't have it high on my I HAVE TO READ NOW list, but then a couple of days ago, one of the wonderful librarians I follow on Twitter, Robin Bradford, recommended the whole series of Blue Collar Billionaires when she finished the last of the 5 saying she'd thoroughly enjoyed them all. So... Tank moved to the top of the list. :)

And it was great fun! Alternating first person POVs between the hero and the heroine was a bit off-putting for me at first, but I soon got used to it. The voices were distinct, which doesn't always happen BTW, and I really did get a kick out of the inner workings of Tank's (Tanner) mind.

I liked all the characters I was supposed to like and disliked the one or two that I was supposed to dislike. I like Tank and his brothers and was quite honestly pleased that there wasn't a ton of angst between them to be dealt with.

The love story between Tank and Emma was cute and hot and steamy and fun and amusing and I was glad they were together.

I have seen this book catagorised as New Adult but it wasn't annoying to me as most New Adult books are. Maybe I aged the characters up a little in my mind. *LOL*

Anyway, fun read and I'll probably be reading the rest of the series at some point. :)