Monday, August 29, 2016

The Spare by Carolyn Jewel


This book was recced to me by a fellow romance reader on Twitter and while I can't say it was the best recommendation I've ever received, it was certainly a decent rec.

I enjoyed the book even though I didn't much like most of the characters. That's odd for me because I'm pretty much a character driven reader. I'll forgive a ton of stuff if I love the characters. But these two MCs, Sebastian and Olivia... damn... I struggled with them. But I kept reading, and enjoying my read. *LOL* I dunno.. go figure.

I found the writing a little disjointed at times, had a feeling I'd missed some vital scene or explanation or something along those lines. And the climax of the book... well... it felt as if it was missing something, that it wasn't as monumental as it felt like it should have been. There were tantalising little details that were dropped - like the red-headed guy in the picture of the long-ago earl - that I didn't feel were picked up on. But I have to say that the connection between Sebastian and Olivia felt right, even when I wanted to know more about the whys and hows etc...

So while I had a lot of hmmms or raised eyebrows about the book... I honestly ended up enjoying my read. And am pleased that I have 2 more of Carolyn Jewel's books to read. Oh... and I don't think this is a series! YAY!!!! (It's a rare thing in romance these days)

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Palace Job by Patrick Weekes


Rogues of the Republic - Book 1

It's billed as a fun-filled romp and it's actually pretty much a fun-filled romp. :)

I don't know that it breaks new ground in the fantasy genre, but The Palace Job is very entertaining. It's a heist book and I love heist books. Call it a very early exposure to Ocean's Eleven - the Frank Sinatra original. :)

I liked the fact that the leader of the band of rogues is a woman and she is oh so very capable, but she has flaws too. They all have flaws. Even the shape-changing unicorn. *LOL*

I bought the 3 books (so far) of the Rogues of the Republic series when they were on sale - a guts call - and I'm glad I did. The Palace Job was a really fun read and I'm looking forward to getting around to the other two. (Remember, I don't binge read series.)

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Absinthe of Malice by Rhys Ford


Sinners Series - Book 5

And we return to the world of Sinners with this 5th book in the series. :)

The band is out on the road, getting to know each other, learning how to work together as a band and hopefully to bond. There is music, many adventures, deep thoughts, a few threats and of course, amidst all this band stuff, we get the Morgan men being there for their partners, still learning about them and doing a lot of loving.

I enjoyed it! The book was mostly a furthering growth of the characters, I thought. I would have liked to see more of Rafe and Quinn, but I guess when you have 4 band members relationships, 4 couples relationships and then the whole Morgan family relationships to deal with, something's got to give.

And then... then there's what seems to be the obligatory Rhys Ford cliffhanger. *SIGH* I love Rhys' books to bits, but I hate... HATE this need of hers for these damned cliffhangers. Her books don't NEED them, they're good enough that they don't need this so very obvious hook to go on to the next one.

That being said... I thought the Sinner's series was finished with this volume, but... I guess not! *LOL*

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny


Chief Inspector Gamache - Book 6

Have you ever finished a book and just wandered about aimlessly, unable to settle at doing anything, unable to concentrate because you're just busy feeling? That's how I've felt for the past hour or thereabouts. Since I finished Bury Your Dead.

Moonlight Murder was right. It was indeed a devastating emotional onslaught. SO many times my throat got real tight and I'm pretty sure I cried my way through the final 3 chapters.

So The Brutal Telling (Gamache #5) came out in 2009 and Bury Your Dead (Gamache #6) came out in 2010, a year later. HOW did Penny fans last??? *LOL* I'm so glad I didn't have to wait a year between the two. I was able to go directly from one to the other, something I rarely do these days.

Okay, so... the mystery of the murder of the historian was interesting and at times even fascinating - especially for this anglophone Quebecker. I liked the characters we met in Quebec City, especially Gamache's mentor and I loved all the insight we got on Gamache himself. More insight on the man at work than in his personal life this time.

And I loved Beauvoir going back to Three Pines on Gamache's orders. It gave me a different intimate perspective on the Three Pine inhabitants. AND the further insight we get on Beauvoir, although there's one sublot I can see coming a mile away, I just don't know how Penny's going to handle it. :)

The underlying thread through all this is the incident that took place that 'sends' Gamache to Quebec City and thereby Beauvoir to Three Pines. That is what ripped my heart into teeny-tiny pieces. All these characters that I've come to care so much about! All these beautifully flawed human beings. They all, each and every one of them (okay, maybe not Marie-Reine) have a part of them that's unlikable or even unlovable. But I think I love each and every one of them. :)

Maybe I'm babbling, I don't know. This book (and the previous one as well) have left me rather gutted. *LOL* But dammit, this is one excellent, excellent read! So much more than a murder mystery, really.

I'm spent!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny


Chief Inspector Gamache - Book 5

Best one yet!

With this book, I think Louise Penny is now my favourite mystery author, just bypassing Barbara Hambly (Benjamin January Mysteries).

We're back in Three Pines and this book, #5, will rip your heart out. At least it did mine. Louise Penny is not afraid to let her characters experience life in all its myriads of facets. They are so beautifully flawed, each and every one of them.

They mystery had me going and I still don't believe we've solved it. So much so that I went and bought the next in the series (the only one I was missing. I have 7 - 12 but unread.) the minute after I turned the last page. And I'm reading it right away... something I very, very, very seldom do these days.

I really wish I could write a proper review of this book because it was SO SO SO good, but alas, that does not lie within my talents. Just read the books and read them in order because the character arcs of the regulars are just AMAZING!

HIGHLY recommended!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Murder at the Britghtwell by Ashley Weaver


Amory Ames Mysteries - Book 1

The reason I bought this was because of the cover. :) Is it not gorgeous? It caught my eye immediately and since the blurb sounded rather interesting, I had to have it.

It's touted as a Christie-esque mystery and I guess it's so, because it concerns a group of people brought together in a confined situation where any of them could be the murderer. Set at a classy seaside resort in 1930s England, it's got plenty of atmosphere and numerous red herrings to the point where I was honestly never certain who the murderer could have been until near the end.

Amory Ames is a woman of her time and circumstance, I think. Looked upon with today's eyes, I can see how some might find her a bit.. unassuming... but honestly, we are reading about the 1930s high society in Britain, okay? She works. I liked her.

And I liked her husband Milo, despite his being an absolute jerk more than once. I think there's much more to him beneath that smooth and suave exterior and hopefully we find out more about him over the other books.

Anyway, I much enjoyed it and once the price comes down on the others (there are 2 of them and they're $12.99 each for the ebook - too steep for me!) I shall pick them up. :)

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Star Trek Seekers: Second Nature by David Mack


Star Trek Seekers - Book 1

Welp... I think I'm over reading Star Trek books.

I've not read one in a very, very long time, but since I was in a Star Trek frame of mind, what with talk of the new series, going to see the movie etc..., when this book came up on sale at Kobo, I thought, what do I have to lose other than a couple of bucks and a few hours.

Well... I lost a couple of bucks and a few hours. *LOL*

I found the whole book to be flat and one dimensional and the plot... well... okay. I wasn't terribly invested. And the main characters, the crew of the Sagittarius, well, I wanted to put them all on report! Couldn't find a single likable one in the bunch, sadly.

So... I think I'm over them.


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Signal Boost by Alyssa Cole


Off the Grid - Book 2

I have been sorely slacking at updating My Thoughts on the books I've read recently. No good reason. *LOL*

Anyway... Signal Boost. This is the second of the Off The Grid trilogy and it stars the younger brother of the first book's hero. He comes across another young man in the family garden who he's immediately attracted to and in a couple of days they're heading off to the university to offer their help to whoever, they assume, is doing something about the flare that knocked everything... well... off the grid. *g*

So, this one is definitely more like a New Adult novel and as a result I was not as enamoured of it as I was hoping. I have a very hard time relating to the characters, most of them, because they are young and, well, need a bit of a shake. *LOL*

While not my speed, I'm pretty sure that many will enjoy this book as much as if not more than the previous one. :)

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Mr. and Mr. Smith by HelenKay Dimon


Tough Love - Book 1

This was a fun read. Hit all the right buttons for me. If you're a fan of Abi Roux's Cut & Run series or S.E. Jakes Hell or High Water series, you'll love this series.

Mr. and Mr. Smith is the first in the Tough Love series, stories about rough, tough undercover type agents and soldiers going after the bad guys and having hot sex and falling for each other along the way. Lots of what I call 'fun guy banter' too. This is the story of Fisher and Zach and the beginning of what I assume is going to be the series arc.

It doesn't break any new ground really, but it is an action-filled, fun, hot romp filled with a whole bunch of lovely men and it really hit the spot. One of the scenes early on reminded me a lot of a scene from one of my favourite TV shows, Strike Back, and that was quite alright by me!

I'm looking forward to the next book in the series, The Talented Mr. Rivers.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Murder Stone by Louise Penny


Chief Inspector Gamache - Book 4

My favourite Inspector Gamache yet!

#4 in the series, this mystery feels a little more intimate because we don't see a lot of the workings of the Sureté this time around. Things focus far more on Inspector Gamache's personal life and history. Jean Guy Beauvoir and Agent Lacoste are back to help Armand solve the murder of one of the guests at the Gamache's vacation spot. It's not in Three Pines, this time around, but we do get a quick trip to our favourite village and Peter and Clara Morrow play a highly significant and important role in the doings.

One of the best things about the book was the expanding of Armand and Marie-Reine's marriage and on-going love story and we learn one heckuva lot about Armand's background and childhood. From the grand scale of the Sureté scandal of the first three books, this more personal look at our hero's life is just wonderful!

The way all the little mysteries and questions of the book get wrapped up with the big mystery in the last 3 chapters was terrific and made the utmost of sense and again I find myself saying "Why didn't I see that?!".

And because this was a more intimate look into Armand Gamache's life, I found myself tearing up more than a couple of times in those chapters.

I love these books. I love how Louise Penny weaves a story and I love, love, LOVE her characters.

(Published as A Rule Against Murder in the US.)

The Unsung Hero by Suzanne Brockmann


Troubleshooters - Book 1

So this is Troubleshooters Book 1 and the blurb seemed to hit all my happy buttons, but man oh man, talk about the execution not living up to the premise.

Both of the main characters are really dumb about their interactions. I mean... REALLY EFFING DUMB. Had they paused to actually talk about a few things, few misconceptions, like most people in their mid-thirties might, I might have bought their conflict more, but as it was, I spent a good part of the book wanting to throttle them.

The parts of the book that were about them, that is. A good part of the novel is taken up by flashbacks to WW 2 and the story of the hero's uncle and the heroine's father and the woman they both loved. Honestly? If she'd wanted to write about them, she could have actually written a prequel - and maybe it's me, but I didn't really see what that whole story had to do with the love story between Tom and Kelly.

I don't know, I felt like the author was trying to tell too many stories at one time, hopefully finding a way to link them all together via theme? If so, I was too stupid to get the theme, I guess. I just found it tiresome.

It's too bad because I thought the basic international terrorist and the gang of misfits trying to stop him was a great story that somehow got really short shrift with all the other crap going on.

I was disappointed.

Sing the Four Quarters by Tanya Huff


Quarters - Book 1

How had I missed this? It was published back in 1994 and is really right up my fantasy alley. And I do enjoy Tanya Huff. I have no excuse. *LOL* Miss it, I did. But I have rectified that mistake!

What an enjoyable read! From start to finish, Sing the Four Quarters was a delight. The world-building is original and well-done and the magic is ... what would be the word... internally consistent? IT worked very nicely for me, at any rate.

The real joy of this book, however, is the characters. Oh, they are lovely, filled with amazing qualities and believable flaws. They make mistakes, they get angry, they learn, they grow, they have real emotions... I just loved all of them. And I wanted to learn more about so many of them!

And while this book is not a romance, it does have a very interesting take on sexuality and the making of families. It's not the focus of the book but lies in the skeletons of the world-building and actually creates the story/adventure, I think.

I'm going to read more of this series, that's for sure! I just have to figure out where to go next. :)