This is my second reading of Red [joining Jaye & her fans for GRRR Gonna Re-Read Red) Month:], and I think I actually enjoyed it more this time ar...moreThis is my second reading of Red [joining Jaye & her fans for GRRR Gonna Re-Read Red) Month:], and I think I actually enjoyed it more this time around.
The characters are well developed and engaging, and the story is filled with action, humor, and a smattering of romance. I especially like that there's an even balance of quiet character interaction moments and fight sequences along the way as the story ramps up to the final confrontation.
I am really looking forward to reading the next installment in the Sabina Kane saga: The Mage in Black.(less)
Book 3 of The Phoenix Chronicles (Any Given Doomsday and Doomsday Can Wait are Books 1 & 2) -- Despite Psychic/Shape-shifter/Vampire Elizabeth (Li...moreBook 3 of The Phoenix Chronicles (Any Given Doomsday and Doomsday Can Wait are Books 1 & 2) -- Despite Psychic/Shape-shifter/Vampire Elizabeth (Liz) Phoenix's efforts, somehow the Gates of Hell have been opened and the Apocalypse is at hand. Demons are flooding the earth and if Liz can't prevent Satan from taking control, humanity will end. Her newly acquired vampire abilities are her secret weapon against the demon hoards, but she still needs to acquire the Key of Solomon and the Book of Samyaza (Satan) to stave off the Apocalypse -- without losing herself to her inner demon. With the aid of her ex-lover Jimmy Sanducci and mysterious Navajo shaman Sawyer, Liz discovers that someone she thought was dead isn't and will destroy everyone Liz loves to bring about the Apocalypse.
I've really enjoyed this series and am looking forward to Handeland's 4th novel Chaos Bites. (less)
Continuing Miller's tales about the O'Ballivan clan of Stone Creek, AZ, this novella focuses on Olivia. The veterinarian who can communicate with anim...moreContinuing Miller's tales about the O'Ballivan clan of Stone Creek, AZ, this novella focuses on Olivia. The veterinarian who can communicate with animals. As the title suggests, this one occurs around the holidays and centers on Olivia's relationship with her family -- older brother Brad, his wife Meg, and her younger, twin sisters Ashley and Melissa -- and the handsome new neighbor and newcomer to town Tanner Quinn and his smart & stubborn daughter Sophie. Brad has hired Tanner to build an animal shelter that Olivia will eventually run. Events are immediately sent into play by a wayward reindeer named Rodney, Olivia's friendly canine companion Ginger, Sophie's hope for a real family, and a stranger named Kris Kringle that put Olivia and Tanner on a romantic collision course.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novella, although I would have enjoyed it more if it was a standard novel-sized story. I would have preferred to learn more about Olivia, Tanner, Sophie, and the animal characters before events over the holidays brought these folks together.(less)
Now this is what an anthology should be! MY BIG FAT SUPERNATURAL WEDDING succeeds as much as BLOOD LITE failed. To be fair, since we're dealing with 9...moreNow this is what an anthology should be! MY BIG FAT SUPERNATURAL WEDDING succeeds as much as BLOOD LITE failed. To be fair, since we're dealing with 9 vs 21 short stories, I shouldn't be surprised. Here the stories are more like novellas so they have sufficient time to develop character and plot. MY BIG FAT SUPERNATURAL WEDDING also showcases IMO the cream of the urban fantasy crop. As is indicated by the anthology's title, all of the stories deal with supernatural weddings.
Again, my draw to the book was knowing a Jim Butcher Dresden File was within. The fact that Charlaine Harris and Lori Handeland contributed stories too was just icing on the Wedding Cake! Even better, I like 6/7 stories this time!
L.A. Banks' "Spellbound" -- Take the infamous Hatfield/McCoy feud, throw in a little Romeo & Juliet romance, then add the supernatural. Not the strongest tale, but sweet little romp.
Jim Butcher's "Something Borrowed" -- Werewolves Billy & Georgia are getting married and Harry's the best man. As is always the case, something is keeping things from running smoothly. Georgia's not acting like herself, and Harry has to call in Murphy to help him save the day. Another high action winner from Butcher. One of my favorites of his short stories.
Rachel Caine's "Dead Man's Chest" -- I really enjoyed this tale too. A twist-filled tale that I thought would be a (yo) ho-hum story at first, but bloomed into a fun, romantic adventure. It even made me look forward to her continuation story in MY BIG FAT SUPERNATURAL HONEYMOON.
P.N. Elrod's "All Shook Up" -- Definitely the weak link of the book. A pre-cog caterer meets an Elvis impersonator at a wedding; a great premise that fails to deliver. Perhaps she should stick to editing because she did a great job assembling this anthology.
Esther M. Friesner's "The Wedding of Wylda Serene" -- This story was also less enjoyable to me, but at least the ending ramped up the action and consequences of Greek Gods meddling in human affairs.
Lori Handeland's "Charmed by the Moon" -- Creepy and romantic. I'm new to Lori's novels and haven't read her Nightcreature series yet, so I can't say how it falls into the existing series, but I like the story enough to put them on my "To Read" list.
Charlaine Harris' "Tacky" -- I've yet to read her Southern Vampire novels (waiting on availability through my library), but I love HBO's "True Blood" and her short stories are fun and amusing. This tale deals with the delicate wedding details when a vampire bride stoops to marrying a werewolf.
Sherrilyn Kenyon's "A Hard Day's Night-Searcher" -- Again, I'm unfamiliar with the author's Dark-Hunter series, so I can't comment on whether or not this short story fits the mold. My only complaint is that it didn't really define the world enough for those who don't follow the series. However, I found it to be an enjoyable story about Dark-Hunter whose naive squire publishes a magazine story that too-closely resembles his Dark-Hunter's life. When another more Type-A female squire comes to arrest his bumbling squire, the Dark-Hunter makes a deal hoping to win her affection and save his squire.
Susan Krinard's "... Or Forever Hold Your Peace" -- I liked this tale set in a Victorian alternate universe where magic is inherited along with one's title. An imaginative concept to comment upon societal class struggles when a bride is kidnapped at her wedding.
The "sequel" to MY BIG FAT SUPERNATURAL WEDDING, this anthology was pretty successful, although I enjoyed fewer stories than in its predecessor. That'...moreThe "sequel" to MY BIG FAT SUPERNATURAL WEDDING, this anthology was pretty successful, although I enjoyed fewer stories than in its predecessor. That's not unusual for anthologies, but giving that I liked all but one previously, I had higher hopes for success.
As one suspects from the title, this time around all of the short stories are centered around honeymoons.
Also, it should be no surprise that yet another of Jim Butcher's Dresden File stories brought MY BIG FAT SUPERNATURAL HONEYMOON to my attention.
Kelley Armstrong's "Stalked" -- A stalker livens up a werewolf couple's less than exciting honeymoon. Soon the stalker becomes the stalked and the couple revel in the chase. I'm not familiar with her Women of the Otherworld series, but these characters and the story was so engaging that I'm looking forward to adding them to my "To Read" list.
Jim Butcher's "Heorot" -- Marcone's Ms. Gard helps Harry rescue a bride kidnapped before her honeymoon. Great melding of Beowulf lore into the Dresden world, and we discover who/what "Amazon" Gard really is in the process. Plus, courageous and lovable Mouse is featured! My new favorite Jim Butcher short story.
Rachel Caine's "In Roman Holiday, or SPQ-arrrrrr" -- Taking off where her story from MY BIG FAT SUPERNATURAL WEDDING left us. More pirate adventures with newlyweds Cecelia & Captain Lockhart. This time other cursed sea captains are out to capture Cecelia believing that she can break their curses as well.
PN Elrod's "Her Mother's Daughter" -- Once again this author's story does little to move me. Although I will admit this one was better than the one in MY BIG FAT SUPERNATURAL WEDDING. I can safely say that I won't be reading any of her novels anytime soon.
Caitlin Kittredge's "Newlydeads" -- An uninspiring mess of a story about people going missing at a resort due to being sacrificed to sea monsters. It was a chore to slog through this story.
Marjorie M. Liu's "Where the Heart Lives" -- This is a lovely story despite never having read this author's Dirk & Steele series. Two sad and beautiful love stories surround what appears to be a haunted woods. The reader easily gets drawn into the mystery and the characters. A definite highlight to this anthology.
Katie MacAlister's "Cat Got Your Tongue?" -- A fun, jaunty tale about one living and two ghostly couples in a haunted castle. Again, the characters are engaging, and the story is filled with humor and a few twists. Another bright spot.
Lilith Saintcrow's "Half of Being Married" -- A charming story of newlywed vampire hunter Kat and werewolf Mitchell. Both haven't told the other about their supernatural secrets -- secrets that they worry will destroy their marriage when their quiet honeymoon in a small town is interrupted by a nest of vampires. Lots of action and characters that you like from the start.
Ronda Thompson's "Wulf in Groom's Clothing" -- An okay story about a mismatched couple honeymooning in the forest. Laura pretends to like roughing it to please her new hubby Sam, an avid nature lover. Sam, as his surname Wulf suggests, is a werewolf and his cabin in the wild is his way of coping with the 3 days each month that he changes. He's hoping that consummating his marriage will finally break the curse, but things don't go as planned. I didn't feel that this was much more than a standard romance formula with werewolf thrown in to make it seem different. Unfortunately, that idea is pretty prevalent (and has been done better) in urban fantasy.
I liked 6 of the 9 stories contained within. Definitely worth borrowing from a friend or library, but I wouldn't bother buying this one -- despite LOVING Butcher's story. I will simply hope that someday all of his short stories will be compiled.(less)
A well-written YA novel focusing on KJ, a 16-year-old girl living in the tiny town of West End, Montana on the border of Yellowstone National Park. Th...moreA well-written YA novel focusing on KJ, a 16-year-old girl living in the tiny town of West End, Montana on the border of Yellowstone National Park. The town relies heavily on the campers, hikers, hunters, and tourists who come to experience Yellowstone and the local wilderness. This is particularly true of KJ's dad's business, a sports shop/tour guide service.
Having only her father to raise her since the auto accident that killed her mother when she was three, this school year is especially tough for KJ because over the summer she's filled out and feels even more awkward than usual. Add to that the new, mysterious, hot boy and rejection by the girls she used to hang with, and KJ feels just like a lone wolf.
KJ's "Wolf Notes" column in the school paper polarizes her classmates between those who support the 1995 Wolf Reintroduction Program and the local ranchers kids who think the only good wolf is a dead one. Tension in town ratchets up when it appears that wolves are killing local livestock.
Author Kristin Chandler does a great job of making KJ sound like an authentic teenager growing up and learning valuable life lessons through the course of this novel. I also like the way she's interspersed bits of the wolf-related information that KJ comes across in her research, as well as her actual articles. All of the characters are interesting, and I think YA readers will easily relate to KJ and her classmates. As a first time novelist, Chandler successfully brought forth the dialogue and thoughts of a 16-year-old girl. The plot is engaging -- although I knew who the mystery shooter almost from the beginning -- and you do care about what the final outcome will be.(less)
This wasn't one of those books that was a quick & easy read for me. I'm sure that my state of mind at the time was the reason, but it could have a...moreThis wasn't one of those books that was a quick & easy read for me. I'm sure that my state of mind at the time was the reason, but it could have also been the tiny text. I would loose my place and re-read paragraphs, which I find frustrating. On the plus side, having read one of Brook's short stories related to this series, the characters and plot were compelling enough to look into reading the series.
Well, once I overcame the typeset issues, I did enjoy the characters despite the plot starting off a bit slow for my taste. By Part 2, I was fully invested and looking forward to whatever adventures would be coming my way. I liked the way the characters moved back and forth between the worlds of demons, angels, and earth, and how they related to one another was affected by that fact. It really was a great feat to keep the characters consistent and engaging.
I am looking forward to reading the remaining books in the series and seeing what new adventures await.(less)
Summer's the best time to read romance novels, and Johanna Lindsey's my favorite romance author. Despite this one being labeled as "A Malorey Novel",...moreSummer's the best time to read romance novels, and Johanna Lindsey's my favorite romance author. Despite this one being labeled as "A Malorey Novel", neither or the main characters are Maloreys, but they are utterly surrounded by them!
Nothing earth shattering in terms of plot or style, but a fun romp with two characters--Richard and Julia--that I immediately connected with and felt for considering their circumstances. As I mentioned, nearly every Malorey that Lindsey has included in her previous novels makes an appearance, which is fun.
If you like Johanna Lindsey novels, you won't be disappointed.(less)