The first thing you need to know if and when you decide to read Revenge and the Wild is that it will be the most fun you’ll have in ages. Ent4.5 stars
The first thing you need to know if and when you decide to read Revenge and the Wild is that it will be the most fun you’ll have in ages. Entertainment is pretty much guaranteed, regardless of your usual reading preferences. For a book that refuses to be labeled or in any way categorized, Revenge and the Wild is pretty universally lovable. I challenge you to be grumpy while reading it.
The second thing you need to know if you’re a curious sort of person is that you need to throw your expectations right out the window. With a 16-year-old one-armed alcoholic for a heroine, you’ll certainly be in for a few surprises. And when I say alcoholic, I don’t just mean a drink here and there at parties – I really mean nasty, belching drunk prone to fits of rage and unseemly behavior.
For all the entertainment it provides, Revenge and the Wild offers a surprisingly deep characterization and great emotional moments. Westie was left alone as a child when her family (and her arm) were eaten by cannibals. She was saved and adopted by a famous inventor, who created a mechanical arm for her and raised her as his own. Westie has never given up on finding the cannibals who killed her parents so when they show up in her small, protected town pretending to be rich and civilized, it’s a pretty big challenge for her family and her addictive personality.
Revenge and the Wild is a fantastic blend of paranormal steampunk with elements of horror. There’s something in it for everyone, and yet it doesn’t seem crowded and it works surprisingly well. Modesto pulled out all the stops with her worldbuilding by creating a colorful setting that can be enjoyed from the very first page. The only thing missing were dragons, everything else was already there. She did the same with romance, which seemed honest from the start, despite many roadblocks. I love romances that develop from years of friendship, especially those that are a bit weird and quirky on top of that. Westie and Alistair seemed perfect for each other from the start.
Overall, Revenge and the Wild is quite a surprise and perhaps not entirely suitable for readers with delicate sensibilities. Since I most certainly am not one of those (the nastier the better, as far as I’m concerned), I’ll be keeping my eye on Michelle Modesto, hoping to get another one of her wonderfully wicked adventures very soon.
Unforgettable adventures, an excellent fashion sense and ridiculous endearments helped Carriger’s books become the huge success they are today. AlthouUnforgettable adventures, an excellent fashion sense and ridiculous endearments helped Carriger’s books become the huge success they are today. Although she never strays away from her well established world, she always finds some way to keep it fresh and endlessly entertaining. Imprudence is perhaps the richest, most enjoyable example of her work after her debut, a book strong enough to pull in new fans, as well as satisfy the old ones.
We’re already familiar with Lady Prudence Alessandra Maccon Akeldama and her shenanigans. Having first met her when she was merely a toddler and after following her on her first adult adventure, we know that she’s determined, brave, intelligent and witty. Her crew is also pleasantly familiar – Primrose and Percy, Tasherit the lioness shifter, Spoo, and of course, young mister Quesnel Lafoux.
We find Rue in a bit of trouble with Queen Victoria herself for protecting the weremonkeys. She is stripped of her status and protections, the implications of which she doesn’t understand, and sent on her way to fend for herself. With her majority, she even lost the protection of her powerful parents, which left her free, but also very vulnerable. Still, it’s not Rue who is in danger in Imprudence – it’s everyone else, it seems. Her Paw needs more help than Lady Maccon can provide, Percy has managed to unwittingly endanger the lion shifters, and Primrose keeps getting engaged to military officials with attractive legs.
Imprudence is non-stop adventure with many laugh-out-loud moments. Whether it’s a sky chase, academic dispute or a young lady’s education of a very private nature, there is never a shortage of excitement. The adorable romance just adds another layer to it without becoming overwhelming or particularly angsty. Rue is not one to wallow in misery and she faces her challenges head on, so when a certain gentleman runs off in a huff, she does what any sensible lady would do – she cries in her teacup and then moves on. Quesnel is an excellent choice for her, charming and funny, with a spine made of steel.
Traveling to Egypt on The Spotted Custard would be fun under any circumstances, but with Rue’s companions and some very dear characters from The Parasol Protectorate, it’s a true delight. I just hope that more is yet to come.
After two books focused on other members of Destructive Delta (Ash and Cael followed by Calvin and Hobbs), we’re finally back with Dex and Sloane. AsAfter two books focused on other members of Destructive Delta (Ash and Cael followed by Calvin and Hobbs), we’re finally back with Dex and Sloane. As much as I enjoyed seeing the other couples finally get together, I was desperate to rejoin my favorite blond, blue-eyed, gummy bear devourer. Unfortunately, Smoke & Mirrors starts out with both of our heroes in deep trouble so it takes a while for us to reach a part where we can laugh alongside them.
It’s quite obvious that Sloane and Dex’s main story arc is slowly coming to an end. At this point, we finally have more answers than questions and both Dex and Sloane understand their pasts more clearly. When they finally come, the answers are unexpected and hurtful and they put a strain on this usually solid relationship. It was so difficult to watch our boys go through so much once again, especially when they had to do it apart, but it was also useful to see that they’re still human and fallible. They seemed just a bit too perfect for a while.
As far as Dex’s and Sloane’s relationship goes, I was surprised by some of their choices in this book and maybe a tiny bit disappointed. I expect more from them, especially Sloane, and I wanted to see him keeping his word in every situation. However, the two of them keep learning about each other and accepting each other for who they truly are, which is the most important thing.
Dex undergoes some major changes in this story and while they were surprising and the novelty was awesome, I must confess I wasn’t too comfortable with the direction. With seven books behind us, I understand we need major twists to keep things alive, but it’s difficult for us readers to adjust to such profound changes. At the same time, what happened to him seemed to me like an easy way out, a cop out of sorts and a magical fix for most of their problems, which I did not like. I wish Charlie had found another way to make things work and keep Dex alive.
Aside from that, though, Smoke and Mirrors is an emotional, excellent book that will give the fans precisely what they want and need – more THIRDS awesomeness, more action, more humor and more deliciously hot romances. What’s not to like?
As impossible as it may sound, with each new installment, Anne Bishop’s Others series becomes increasingly darker, more violent, and yes, much, much
As impossible as it may sound, with each new installment, Anne Bishop’s Others series becomes increasingly darker, more violent, and yes, much, much better. I still maintain that it’s not really urban fantasy, but that’s just my OCD talking. Who cares about the genre when the books are this good?
In Thasia, a world so much like our own but filled with creatures that represent nature in its purest form, the Humans First and Last Movement is growing stronger and louder every day. The more followers they attract, the more confident they seem, even when it would be far more prudent to plan in silence. Our friends among the terra indigene have to fight battles at two fronts. On the one side, the HFL movement is making life very hard for the few humans who’ve allied themselves with the Others. On the other side, though, the Elders have sent a warning to Simon that they’re nearby and watching. It’s very easy to guess which side scares Simon more.
As usual, Anne Bishop knows how to make her Others truly other. Even the moderately adapted terra indigene in the courtyards have very little in common with humans. Their logic is unlike ours, and so are their priorities. Seeing human behavior through their eyes sheds a different light on some of our habits and ways of thinking. The underlying social commentary is cleverly and subtly offered and it’s best to read these books with eyes wide open, both literally and metaphorically.
It’s no secret that we’ve all been waiting for some progress between Simon and Meg with bated breath and let me assure you, some progress is made. It’s still on their terms, however, and still somewhat understated, but that’s actually what makes their relationship so memorable.
My favorite thing about this series is that more is yet to come. I could spend thousands of pages in this world and not get tired of it in the least. If you are still unfamiliar with this series, please give it a chance. All four books have been breathtaking five-star reads. At this point, I’m confident the next one will be, too.
A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.
As the Chicagoland Vampires series comes closer to its big finale, the excitement is reaching an almost unbearable level. Midnight Marked, the penult
As the Chicagoland Vampires series comes closer to its big finale, the excitement is reaching an almost unbearable level. Midnight Marked, the penultimate book in this excellent, beloved series, brings just a tiny bit more of everything: more romance, more action, more friendships, more enemies, and more danger than ever before.
Ethan and Merit are still right in the middle of a supernatural war, and as they fight prejudice, misunderstandings, and outright malice coming from all sides, they somehow always come out on top and learn alongside each other. At this point, they are a well established couple, comfortable around each other though not always harmonious, and it’s good to see them growing stronger and finally working together.
I always mention the timeline of this series because it makes me somewhat uncomfortable. I would have preferred a much longer period between the events of the first book and now. Only a year has passed since Merit has become a vampire, and considering everything that’s happened to her, I have a hard time believing everything from her character development to her romance with Ethan. It’s just too much for such a short time – the intensity of their emotions would have been far more credible had they been given enough time to develop. As it is, they jump from one supernatural battle to the next, twelve total at this point, and they still have time for friendships, prophecies, resurrections and forgiveness.
Merit is finally learning to accept her family, flaws and all, and perhaps even making peace with the fact that they are who they are and that they’re highly unlikely to change. I love that this aspect of her life isn’t at all black and white, that her father has horrible flaws as well as redeeming qualities. It adds an extra layer to her character and brings complexity to her actions that otherwise wouldn’t exist.
Ethan, for his part, remains the stubborn, high handed, secretive idiot, but I find that oddly comforting. Having him change his ways in asingle year after 400 years of existence would have been almost ridiculous. As it is, he infuriates me, but I understand, and the tiny improvements I notice make me absurdly happy.
I’m already dreading the goodbye that’s ahead of me. I’ve spent so much time with these guys, learned to love them and even despise them at times (Ethan, ahem), and I already know I’ll miss them like crazy. But let’s not borrow trouble or grief. There’s the big finale ahead of us and I just know it’s going to be spectacular.
A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review....more
It’s not Christmas just yet, I know, but doesn’t it feel like it every time Ilona and Gordon publish something new? Yes, yes it does. Magic Stars cam
It’s not Christmas just yet, I know, but doesn’t it feel like it every time Ilona and Gordon publish something new? Yes, yes it does. Magic Stars came somewhat unexpectedly, having been kept secret until about a month ago, and the second we learned the protagonist, we were collectively consumed by an overwhelming feeling of pure joy. After all, Derek Gaunt deserves no less, and neither does our Julie.
Finally, we get a glimpse of Boy Wonder from up close. We’ve been waiting a long time for it, and it’s easy to understand why. Derek’s head is a dark place and his voice must have been very difficult to achieve. Even now, we only get 3rd person narrative, albeit a very insightful, intimate one. Looking back on his life and how he came to be a member of the Pack, it’s a wonder than he stayed not only relatively sane, but loyal and kind-hearted above all.
Magic Stars is relatively short, but it packs a strong punch. What starts as a vicious murder and a hunt for revenge ends up being a much more dangerous plot against Atlanta. Derek and Julie are the only ones standing between the city and total destruction and as usual, they do so fiercely and with heaps of sarcastic remarks.
Aside from being filled with action, Magic Stars brings new on the romance front, just a tiny hint of something I’ve been hoping for for a very long time. With these two, a mere hint is enough, a subtle promise of more to follow somewhere down the line. I’m sure it won’t be simple or easy, but that’s half the fun. Whichever way the tide turns, Ilona and Gordon will make it endlessly entertaining.
There are just two words one can say after a novella like Magic Stars. You all know them, you all say them often enough. MORE, PLEASE.
A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.
Magic Binds, the ninth (and apparently second-to-last) installment of Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series is quite possibly this author’s best work toMagic Binds, the ninth (and apparently second-to-last) installment of Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series is quite possibly this author’s best work to date. At this point, it’s very difficult to separate, compare or evaluate each individual book, but Magic Binds challenges our beloved characters in all new ways and adds a lot to the already spectacular characterization. The sheer quality of these books sets them apart from anything even remotely similar.
Kate is pushed to her limits in Magic Binds, not just by her father, but by her magic as well. More than any other book in the series, this one centers on characterization and shades of gray within Kate’s family. With her father so close, a constant threat on the borders of Atlanta, Kate’s power is developing rapidly. Each day she discovers some new ability and it’s affecting her in ways none of us could have predicted. As Curran at one point says, Kate is the least power-hungry person he knows, but power corrupts even if you never wanted it in the first place.
For those of you who were wondering about Christopher and his origins, answers are finally here! We get to learn his history, how his mind came to be broken and why he attached himself to Kate and her people. Aside from discovering his past, we finally scratch the surface of his relationship with Barabas, which seems to be very complex. This was something I’ve been wondering about for quite a while and although there’s still some room for speculation, we now have a much clearer picture.
As the end approaches, the pressure on Kate is growing, the need to fight her own blood inside and out is becoming ever stronger. Everything she does reveals more truths about her father and the more she knows, the more she’s determined to stop him. Kate’s family is always behind her though, even though there are friends who aren’t. It’s gorgeous to see how much understanding there is between her and Curran and how they support each other even through bold and risky moves.
With just one more book left, every word in Magic Binds is extremely important. Each event leads to something bigger and more dangerous. Due to their trademark sense of humor, fantastic plotting and unparalleled action scenes, Ilona and Gordon will leave behind a horde of disappointed fans when they bring this series to a close.
4.5 stars Here are the three things that can lift my mood any day of the week: 1. bacon; 2. Nutella; 3. anti-heroes written by Tim Marquitz… and not n
4.5 stars Here are the three things that can lift my mood any day of the week: 1. bacon; 2. Nutella; 3. anti-heroes written by Tim Marquitz… and not necessarily in that order of importance. The very simple truth is that no one writes foul-mouthed underdogs better than Tim. First came Frank, the charming bastard, and now there’s Theo, a doppelganger and a hot mess with a moral compass that points every which way but north and a dry, self-deprecating, wicked sense of humor.
But as interesting as he sounds, the thing you need to know about Theodor Crane is that he’s been dead for months, and he really wasn’t that great before his unfortunate demise. In his place is actually Z, a doppelganger from Aellisar and a spy for the Aellisarian Intelligence. Z has only one mission – to prevent the war between his people and the few humans aware of their existence. For that purpose, he will deceive, steal and kill. Thanks to Marquitz’s excellent writing and even better imagination, this character, like those before him, comes alive on the very first pages and makes you cheer for him even while you berate yourself for feeling that way.
We aren’t new to Z’s charms – we’ve met him before in Eyes Deep, the prequel novella released last year. I knew to expect a very dark, extremely conflicted character, but the depth of his development still took me by surprise. Z is a special creature, feared even by his own people. He can shapeshift into anyone at all (by killing them first and eating small pieces of their eyeballs), which makes him a formidable enemy and an excellent infiltrator. But most unfortunately, Z has a conscience, no matter how weak it may be, and it keeps him awake at night. The longer he lives the life of Theodor Crane, the more difficult it is for him to bury his emotions. Getting attached is the stupidest thing he can do, and yet it’s almost impossible to avoid it.
The short interludes between chapters offer us glimpses into Z’s past that gradually turn him into a somewhat more sympathetic character. He may be a killer and the worst kind of thief, but his redeeming qualities definitely count for something. While the plot can seem a bit episodic at times, the moral dilemmas and self-justifications more than make up for it. What’s more, the action scenes are graphic and very detailed, each one done with a movie-like quality. For someone who gets confused during action scenes more often than not, these were a true delight.
At this point, after several years of being his very enthusiastic fan, I can only say that Marquitz is consistently excellent. He has one of the strongest, clearest voices in genre fiction and his excellent sense of pacing serves to strengthen his narrative. Fans of urban fantasy, this is one you absolutely do not want to miss. I’d highly recommend starting with Eyes Deep, but even if you jump right into this one, you’ll soon find yourself completely immersed into Z’s story. ...more
Dear world, please stop spinning for a while. You see, the new THIRDS book is out and people have far more interesting things to do than par
Dear world, please stop spinning for a while. You see, the new THIRDS book is out and people have far more interesting things to do than participate in normal, everyday activities. We’ll rejoin you shortly. Thank you. Sincerely, THIRDS Nerds.
It’s been just over a year since the first THIRD book was released, but I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t crazy about Sloane, Dex, Cael, Ash and the rest of Destructive Delta. The world Cochet created for us is one of the rare few that envelops completely in just a few pages, making us feel like we’ve just returned home from a very long trip.
Things are a tiny bit different in Against the Grain, but the overall feeling of comfort and happiness remains the same. For the very first time, Dex and Sloane are not in the center of the story – it’s time for Ash and Cael to get their happily ever after. The transition was a lot smoother than I thought it woud be. It must have been hard for Cochet to step away from Dex and Sloane after four books, but she was extremely successful. The fact that we’re seeing these events through Cael’s and Ash’s eyes doesn’t mean that we aren’t just as close to the rest of the THIRDS. Dex and Sloane are very much present, and so is the rest of Destructive Delta. In fact, we get to see Rosa and Letty more clearly, which I certainly appreciated.
We’ve seen some definite progress for Ash and Cael in Rise & Fall, and yet we find them very much apart. It has been clear for ages that the two love each other, and they both admit it freely, but Ash still has so many things to work through and their relationship simply has to wait. Going into this book, we’re already very familiar with both characters, but painful new things are still revealed on almost every page and their distance becomes far more understanable with each new revelation. I never expected Cael to have so much pain in his past, not with his father and brother, but Cochet subtly reminds that we’re all vulnerable and that even the best of us can end up in vicious cycles until we hit rock bottom.
The book doesn’t just focus on the relationship. There is a huge development for the overall story arc in the last part, a lot of danger and more action than we’ve seen in a while. I was genuinely scared for our team, which was a new and not entirely welcome feeling, but after a few jaw-dropping moments, I can see the direction the series is taking and I applaud Charlie for it.
Those of you who are new to the series, or even completely unfamiliar with it, please don’t judge it based on the genre, covers, relationships or anything else. I did that for months when it was first released, thinking I wouldn’t like the paranormal elements, but I missed out on so much because of my assumption. This series is at the very top of my favorites list, right up there with Kate Daniels and Mercy Thompson, and I hope you’ll all at least give it a chance.
I vote that every one of Charlie Cochet’s release days be considered a worldwide holiday. Sorry, employers, we can’t come to work today. We have much better things to do.
A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review. ...more
4.5 stars A quick note: This was supposed to be an LGBT Monday review, but the first thing you need to know about THIRDS agent Dexter J. Daley is that
4.5 stars A quick note: This was supposed to be an LGBT Monday review, but the first thing you need to know about THIRDS agent Dexter J. Daley is that he lives to bend the rules. He never does what he’s told, so I knew better than to schedule this post on a day that would actually make sense. That’s Dex for you: loving, unruly, and hilarious.
In Dex’s world, being gay is perfectly normal and accepted, but the two co-existing species, humans and therians, are constantly at war. Humans fear the shapeshifting Therians, and Therians resent being forced to register and get tattoos on their necks. The conflict is always brewing and acts of terrorism from both sides are far too common. Enter Therian-Human Intelligence, Recon, Defense Squadron, also known as the THIRDS, whose only mission is to keep the peace between the two races.
Agents Dexter Daley and Sloane ‘Broody Bear’ Brodie are THIRDS agents. One is human and the other is therian. They are both excellent agents, but personally they’re as different as they can be. They are also partners, on and off work. Dex is a half-glass-full type of person, loveable, extroverted and funny. He is very close to his father and brother and he makes friends with seeming ease. Sloane Brodie is none of the above. Having lost his previous partner and lover, he is very careful with his feelings. It’s always one step forward, two steps back between him and Dex. But he is strong, honest and fair, even when someone doesn’t deserve it.
Rise & Fall is the fourth book in Charlie Cochet’s THIRDS series, and like the three before, it left me completely in awe. This is how everyone should write paranormal fiction, M/M fiction, action, romance… everything. This is how everyone should write. Enough said.
I remember starting this series with a very healthy dose of skepticism. I didn’t need another Cut & Run series, with two amazing, all-powerful agents perfect in everything they do. I wanted strong, but fallible men with a great sense of humor and a romance I could actually enjoy. But Charlie Cochet must have known exactly what her readers crave because she gave us a series that is both amazing and insanely popular.
I can’t say too much about the plot in Rise & Fall for fear of spoiling some important detail from the previous two books, but I can say that this book is the biggest emotional rollercoaster so far. By now, the Destructive Delta agents are all very familiar to us: Ash, Cael, Letty, Hobbs and others have become our close friends. There’s so much going on in this series, plenty of action and danger from all sides, but the characters are what makes it truly stand out, and their weird dynamic a constant source of amusement.
Mark Westfield narrates the story beautifully. He is the perfect person to bring us Dex’s light-hearted perspective. Every emotion comes through loud and clear in his voice, and although I read this one the second it came out, I couldn’t resist getting the audio when it finally showed up.
I highly recommend this series to anyone looking for excitement, excellent characters and a whole lot of action. Oh, and laughter. Lots and lots of it. ...more
Night Shift is an anthology comprised of four stories by two urban fantasy and two paranormal romance authors. I’ve only read the urban fantasy partsNight Shift is an anthology comprised of four stories by two urban fantasy and two paranormal romance authors. I’ve only read the urban fantasy parts since paranormal romance still gives me severe allergies, but the two stories I have read, Magic Steals by Ilona Andrews and Lucky Charms by Lisa Shearin are completely worth the price of this book.
Magic Steals by Ilona Andrews: I expect nothing short of perfection from Ilona and Gordon, and rightfully so. Magic Steals focuses on Jim and Dali, during the time Kate and Curran had spent chasing the panacea in Europe. This is not the first Jim and Dali novella so the two are already a couple, but they are weighed down by Dali’s insecurities and Jim’s position with the pack.
There were times when I intensely disliked Jim and some of the choices he’s made along the way, but Magic Steals shows us a whole new side of him. I didn’t think the man had a romantic bone in his body, but he is a completely different person with Dali, someone who actually knows how to relax and have fun. He is also a very smart guy, which is no news to us, and he has to be to attract someone like Dali. For her part, Dali is portrayed like a real badass in this novella, not so much physically, but certainly magically. Her exact role was previously unclear, but as we learn more, our respect for her grows significantly.
In short, this novella is not to be missed by Kate Daniels fans. Kate and Curran are completely absent, but Jim and Dali are worthy replacement. The action and mythological background are extraordinary, as one would expect from this writing pair. The anthology is worth buying for this story alone.
Lucky Charms by Lisa Shearin is a prequel of sorts to her SPI Files series. I read The Grendel Affair earlier this year and loved it, which made this story even more entertaining to read. We see Makenna Frazier on her first day working for the SPI as a seer. She and her reluctant partner/bodyguard Ian, along with a team of SPI agents, have to locate a leprechaun prince who doesn’t want to be found and prevent a conflict with the goblins while doing it. Mac is given no time to adjust to her new job. The mission is extremely important and since she’s the only one who can recognize the leprechauns even under glamour, her participation is essential.
Shearin’s worldbuilding relies on very familiar creatures and myths. These days, I like to be exposed to something new and unexplored. In this, all urban fantasy authors should take lessons from Ilona Andrews. But even with dragons and leprechauns, goblins and werewolves, Shearin built a full picture that is wildly entertaining. This series is extremely promising and this story makes it even more so, but I’ll reserve my final judgment for January 2015, when the second book comes out.
Overall, Kate Daniels fans, Nalini Singh fans, you know you won’t be able to resist. I’ll probably read Nalini Singh’s story at some point, even with my allergies to paranormal romance.
I'm enjoying the series itself: the plots are great, writing is even better, and the audio narrator does an excellent job. My issue is that I dislikeI'm enjoying the series itself: the plots are great, writing is even better, and the audio narrator does an excellent job. My issue is that I dislike Rachel so much. Hopefully that will change. ...more