When I started reading ACOFAS I wasn’t expecting much (thanks to a lackluster sneak peek in ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY 😒), but I ended up liking it. I don’tWhen I started reading ACOFAS I wasn’t expecting much (thanks to a lackluster sneak peek in ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY 😒), but I ended up liking it. I don’t know if it was the lowered expectations or that the (sort-of) story was legitimately good, but as far as bridges go, this one was alright.
Was it really necessary to write a bridge rather than diving headlong into what comes next? Probably not.
1. SJM is preggers.
2. SJM’s daddy got bad sick.
3. SJM’s also writing the last installment of ToG and CATWOMAN this year.
So if it’s a bridge or nothing, I’ll take the bridge, tyvm.
My spoilery final thoughts:
(view spoiler)[1. Someone needs to define “mate bond” to SJM, b/c lady does not get it. She went and bonded Lucien and Elain right out of the cauldron, but can I get a show of hands for who ships the hell out of Azriel and Elain? Now lemme see the hands of those who are holding out hope for Elain and Lucien?
2. WHAT IF CASSIAN’S MOMMA LIVES!? I’m sorry, but a pissed Cassian is a Cassian who gets answers, so the only reason those Illyrians wouldn’t talk was if they didn’t know. And as far as I can tell, the last time Cassian saw her he was FIVE. She could probably walk right up to him and he’d never know it. Now why she wouldn’t walk right up to him, I have no idea, but I’m confident SJM can explain it satisfactorily.
3. Tamlin is a hot mess. I almost feel sorry for him. Almost.
4. WHY HAVEN’T THEY TOLD LUCIEN THAT HELION IS HIS FATHER!?
5. I kinda ship Vassa and Mor. Maybe. We’ll see.
6. How cool would it be if post-freaky wards Bryaxis is another kick-ass female to add to Rhys’ island of misfit toys? (hide spoiler)]
And that’s all I got. Until next time. As always, I want MOAR....more
First of all, I have no idea what previously led me to give this 3.0 stars. Obviously, part of it was not rereading vol. 1 beforehand,Updated review:
First of all, I have no idea what previously led me to give this 3.0 stars. Obviously, part of it was not rereading vol. 1 beforehand, so a lot of the details flew over my head (b/c crappy memory), but it was more than that, b/c I had tangible feelings of resentment over the "lesser quality" of this second volume.
*rolls eyes at self*
I still think vol. 1 was slightly better. The ending socked me in the FEELS in a way this one didn't, and (despite vol. 2's content) I connected more to the previous leg of Maika's journey, but overall . . . Definitely not a 3.0 star read.
Would that be a seal to whatever prison is holding the old gods??
2. There's still so much about this relationship that we don't know:
Dammit, what promise?
3. And when Maika put the mask fragment to her face?
WTF was that?
4. Then there's (maybe) Maika's father:
So we know, at the very least, Maika has a half-sibling. BUT. If this is the other potential host that Monster God mentioned in vol. 1, then he or she would have to be a full-blooded sibling, which means also means they're older . . . And since Momma Wolf asked Crazy Fox about the prophecized descendant, if the answer was "the second child" in whatever union, then Big Sister has a lot of reason to harbor resentment given the glimpse we were given of her circumstances.
The second collection of MONSTRESS is centered around Maika Halfwolf retracing her mother's steps in an attempt to discover how to rid herself of the monster that lives inside of her.
Like that's going to be possible. *rolls eyes*
The journey is interesting despite its pointlessness. We learn much about Maika's family and meet her goddessfather, who is both a giant tiger and a pirate), and we see more of her glorious violence as third parties try to keep her from her goal.
There was something missing from this volume . . . Maybe several somethings. The art, while still beautiful at times, was somehow less overall. The story, while informative, lacked the heart that had previously punched me in the feels.
Then there was the was the vulgarity for the sake of . . . I don't know . . . a splash of color? I'm not a prude, and I can even appreciate the creative use of four-letter words if it serves a purpose. But it didn't. And that's so boring.
I'm not ready to give up on MONSTRESS just yet though. We've already seen the greatness this team of author and artist are capable of, and the seeds planted for the future installments are promising--who is Maika's father, and how did I never think the ask about him before? Why is that adorable fox child compelled to follow after a girl who might devour her one day? And those cats . . . What is their endgame?
Questions, I have them, so eagerly await vol. 3, I will. Recommended. Ish.
For whatever reason, the third installment is almost always a game changer in an urban fantasy series. Iron KissedReviewed by: Rabid Reads
For whatever reason, the third installment is almost always a game changer in an urban fantasy series. Iron Kissed is almost universally acknowledged as being when Mercy Thompson "gets good," Faefever is when Mac finally starts being more kick-ass heroine than TSTL, and Magic Strikes is my favorite UF installment ever.
“How many miles to Babylon? It’s threescore miles and ten. Can I get there by candlelight? Aye, and back again. If your feet are nimble and your steps are light, you can get there and back by the candle’s light.” She paused, voice changing cadences. “Children’s games are stronger than you remember once you’ve grown up and left them behind. They’re always fair, and never kind. Remember.”
AN ARTIFICIAL NIGHT follows the well established pattern. The seeds McGuire planted in the first two books blossom into a breathtakingly faetastical world that is as dangerous as it is beautiful:
“You’d be surprised at how deep rose thorns can cut. They’re pretty, not safe.”
It's been a few months since I reread A Local Habitation, and once again I forgot how darrrrrk this series can be. I was quickly reminded when one of October's friends calls her in a panic, b/c two of her children (who adorably call her "Aunt Birdie") have disappeared, and another can't be woken from her sleep.
On her way to Golden Gate Park to take the sleeping girl to Lily, October runs into Tybalt (king of cats) who informs her that five Cait Sidhe children were also stolen in the night, one of them his nephew . . .
Brace, people. This is one monstrously captivating version of the Great Hunt.
And at the head of the hunt is Blind Michael, a Firstborn, son of Oberon and Titania, half-brother to the Luidaeg (*chants* Lou-sha-k, Lou-sha-k, Lou-sha-k . . .).
As much as I love all things Great Hunt-related, it was all the mysteriously mysterious hints about the nature of October's mother's faeness, October's by default, that really hooked me.
“It’s been tried. Once it was even tried by my sisters and I—we belong to Maeve, but that doesn’t make us monsters. Remember that, child of Oberon: even we can tell the difference.” The Daoine Sidhe are claimed by Titania, not Oberon.
Chew on that for a minute.
Also, all of October's "changelings don't get forever, so I've always known I'll die one day," proclaimations feel a mite lady-protesting-too-loudly, and given McGuire's obvious love of the Bard, I'll not be surprised if Amandine's "fairy bride" shenanigans is really a cover meant to hide the identity of October's true father.
And knowing that Sylvester has a sister named September, who named her daughter January, my money is on a Torquill . . . Which would explain Raysel's animosity . . .
Also awesome was the extreme faeness of several of the characters, this one in particular:
She was taller than xxxxx, with marble white skin and hair that darkened from pale pink at the roots to red-black at the tips. It fell past her knees, tangling in the rope of briars that belted her grass green gown. She looked like nothing I’d ever seen . . .
The rose woman opened her eyes. They were pale yellow, like pollen.
Sign me up for the October Daye coloring book, that's all I'm saying.
No really, that's all I'm saying. Late Eclipses is calling my name, but I won't let myself read it until I've written my review. Duty done. *winks* Highly recommended.
ALSO, that other old god is after Maika b/c she's some kind of superior host, so does that mean every old god that slithers out of their cage is going to be after her as well? (hide spoiler)]
One of the things I'm discovering that I love about graphic novels is the way they hit the ground running. The creators don't toy with you the way writers of traditional books sometimes do--they don't have the time to draw out anything beyond the most important Secrets.
MONSTRESS, for example, opens with a slave auction, and the inquiries made about Lot 819 reveal the specific brand of prejudice that governs this world. You learn of a war that seems to have ended, while the thriving slave trade continues to fan the flames of hate.
There's no guesswork, and any confusion about terminology resolves itself quickly.
I friggin' LOVE it.
Our heroine, Maika Halfwolf, is the girl currently up for bid, but (once again) it quickly becomes obvious that she's only there b/c she wants to be.
YEP. You read that correctly: dollface WANTS to be auctioned off like livestock. And not only that, she's banking on the Cumaea, a witchy faction of humans, crashing the shindig and claiming the Arcanics, a race of beings with natural magic, for themselves.
Dun dun dunnnnnn . . . For research purposes . . . o.O
Just b/c graphic novels tend to be more straightforward than their picture-free counterparts, doesn't mean they aren't twisty.
Maika, you see, is looking for information.
Before the war ended, something happened (was done?) to her . . . Something that has recently begun to affect her in ways she can't control. It's made her dangerous, and she's desperate for answers.
Along the way, she picks up a two-tailed sasshole of a cat, a girl child with a fox tail, and an angry dialogue with the thing that plagues her.
Every aspect of MONSTRESS drew me in--the characters, the world-building, the plot, ALL of it. Everything else became a distraction to be ignored. I didn't give any thought to the why of it, as I tore through the beautifully illustrated pages, but at the end of the first volume, Liu wrote a letter about her intent when she began this series:
. . . The root of my desire . . . was to tell a story about what it means to be a survivor. A survivor, not just of a cataclysmic war, but of racial conflict and its antecedent: hatred. And to confront the question: how does one whom history has made a monster, escape her monstrosity? How does one overcome the monstrousness of others without succumbing to a rising monstrousness within?
All I can say is, well done, lady. Well. Done.
MONSTRESS by Marjorie M. Liu is the first collection (volumes 1 - 6) of her new graphic novel series that is part steampunk, part fantasy, and ALL awesome. Maika's struggle to control the monster inside her is inspiring to watch, b/c that's what it was: a struggle. But surrender is a concept she threatens to rip out of herself every time it whispers about the easier path, and as she slowly gains the upper hand, you can't help but sing "All I do is Win" under your breath, b/c she'd rather die than quit. Highly recommended.
It’s been a fun ride, Kate. I know we’ll see other again, but it won’t be the same. You’ve fought your battles, and now you’re letting someone else piIt’s been a fun ride, Kate. I know we’ll see other again, but it won’t be the same. You’ve fought your battles, and now you’re letting someone else pick up the torch. Enjoy the peace and quiet. You’ve earned it.
BUT. Know this—it’s everything you could possibly wish for it to be.
B/c why? B/c CURRENTLY READING. *flails* *moonwalks* *booty shakes*
I always enjoy going back and reading the full installment of the latest edition*chants* Ilona Andrews . . . Ilona Andrews . . . Ilona Andrews . . .
I always enjoy going back and reading the full installment of the latest edition of INNKEEPER CHRONICLES when it's made available. When you read a serialized novel, you can sometimes forget the key details you pick up along the way. And you can't really appreciate the way things come together when you're reading them piecemeal.
That's one of the remarkable things about this series: it's all made up on the fly. Sure, the Andrews might have a general idea of where they want to go, but actually getting there? That's determined on a weekly basis.
Brave, isn't it?
This is the third volume from this world. Dina's goal is still discovering what happened to her mysteriously vanished parents, but while we've been given a smattering of details about her brother, we meet another member of her immediate family, her sister Maud.
You: Who is this Maud? I don't remember any Maud . . . *grumbles*
Me: I just told you. She's Dina's sister. #quityerbitchin
And Maud is a package deal. She comes with a daughter.
An adorable half-vampire daughter:
Helen bit a piece of bacon. Her eyes got big again and she scarfed it down and reached for the platter. Arland had reached for the bacon at the same time. They stared at each other across the table. A vampire standoff. Helen wrinkled her face, showing him her tiny fangs. Arland bared his scary fangs, his eyes laughing. A low, tiny sound came from my niece. “Awrawrrawrawr.” “Helen!” Maud turned to her. “Don’t growl at the table.” Arland leaned back, pretending to be scared. “So fierce.” Helen laughed, her giggles bubbling up. “Awrawrawr.” Arland shuddered. Helen giggled again, grabbed her mug, and hurled it at the wall. The mug shattered. I looked back. Helen’s seat was empty. The platter of bacon had vanished.
Speaking of Arland . . .
I have a friend who hates it when a character that was previously fighting for the heroine's affections is suddenly confronted with someone new, someone who makes him forget all about his tired efforts on behalf of heroine-who's-just-not-that-into-him. She thinks it feels cheap and perhaps disingenuous.
I don't understand this perspective. Never have. Maybe I dated too much when I younger, but I've always had the idea that EVERYONE you meet is the wrong one until you meet the right one, percolating in my brain.
That doesn't change the sincerity of your interest--in the beginning, you don't know they're the wrong one.
When this happens, as it often does in paranormal and/or contemporary romance, or in ONE FELL SWEEP which is neither, I prefer to see it in a positive light: Arland only thought he was interested in Dina b/c he'd yet to meet Maud.
The shifting of his affections is the neatest solution to the problem (and by "neatest" I mean "least bloody"). Dina and Shaun no longer have to deal with the hassle of Arland's advances, and BONUS, the third wheel gets his own HEA (presumably . . . eventually. . .) rather than his funeral, b/c come on, people . . . The most common method of dealing with a spurned suiter?
KILL HIM. Bwahahahaha.
Not really the Andrews style, is it?
Personally, I appreciate that.
Plot-wise, this may be the strongest installment yet, but I'm not saying anything b/c more fun to let you discover everything for yourself. #sorrynotsorry
As for what comes next? Stay tuned . . . *winks*
NOTICE: this book is a serial and as such is made available in WEEKLY installments. I will post this review EVERY, SINGLE time a new installment goes live. If that makes your head explode, do us both a favor and unfriend me. #bumpthat
The Devil's Left Boot, Jane Yellowrock 6.1 by Faith Hunter - 4.0 stars
This one was told from the POVs of two of the Everhart sisters, Elizabeth and BThe Devil's Left Boot, Jane Yellowrock 6.1 by Faith Hunter - 4.0 stars
This one was told from the POVs of two of the Everhart sisters, Elizabeth and Boadacia. It takes place after the big Evangelina showdown, and tensions are still running high.
When their high school nemesis shows up of the family restaurant, as much as Liz and Cia would like to send her packing, they end up agreeing to help her find her mother who's disappeared.
For a fee.
They find themselves over their heads and call in Jane who just happens to be in town, but in the process of working their magic, absorb another witch's blood magic . . . The same kind of magic that made Evangelina go CRAY . . . The effing end. *shakes fist*...more
1. Beast and kits always plays havoc with my emotions. It's so fierce and so pure and so . . . single-minded.5.0 stars
KITS hits me in ALL the FEELS.
1. Beast and kits always plays havoc with my emotions. It's so fierce and so pure and so . . . single-minded. Nothing is more important than kits. *rubs fist over heart*
2. The birth of Molly and Jane's friendship:
I pulled on my socks and carried my boots into what was left of Molly’s house. We had tea. We shared secrets. Weirdly, Molly held my hand while we talked, as if protecting something fragile or sealing something precious. Even more weirdly, I let her. I think that, for the first time in my life, I had a real friend.
Before anything else, it's important to know: the main storyarc is not resolved in this book. We still don't (definitively) knReviewed by: Rabid Reads
Before anything else, it's important to know: the main storyarc is not resolved in this book. We still don't (definitively) know who Caesar is, and Rogan's conniving snake of a cousin has yet to receive her comeuppance.
And while that may not be ideal, guess what is?
MOAR HIDDEN LEGACY. *dares you to be a pessimist*
I mention this b/c while I knew a fourth installment was planned, before reading WILDFIRE for the first time, I had assumed that promise was a boon rather than a necessity. I find it's best to know in advance that a series you thought was ending isn't in fact ending.
SO. Now you know.
Secondly, this chapter of Rogan and Nevada's life carries a lot of DREAD.
Dread over a megalomaniac grandmother's intentions, dread over the repercussions of Nevada and her mother's continued silence on Leon's ability, dread over a certain worthless former flame of Rogan's . . .
Speaking of which, did you know that I hate, loathe, despise, and abominate the appearance of old-flames-with-an-agenda? B/c I hate, loathe, despise, and abominate the appearance of old-flames-with-an-agenda.
And while, it's handled well (I can't help but feel that this was a result of the outcry over KATE #6), meaning there are few moments of serious (legitimate) doubt, that doesn't negate the fact that I hate, loathe, despise, and abominate the appearance of old-flames-with-an-agenda. *fumes*
So that might color my overall experience a bit.
To make things worse:
She was the kind of person who would see a pot overflowing on the stove and come and tell you about it, instead of picking it up and moving it off the burner. And then she would be proud of herself for acting quickly in a crisis.
*throws head back and shrieks with rage*
It is a truth universally acknowledged that the kind of female not bothered by the relationship status of her target male is also some version of useless and or (seemingly) helpless. Smart, capable women aren't interested in beginning relationships with disloyalty at the foundation, but this woman . . . GAH. *plots murder*
Basically, the fact that she was such a well-crafted target for my ire isn't necessarily a good thing in this situation. It's impossible for me to separate the negative feelings the Andrews' evoked with their masterfully imagined relationship obstacle from my overall experience.
The hate is too strong.
That's the only reason I'm giving WILDFIRE 4.0 stars. It doesn't seem fair, even to me, to punish the authors for their mastery of characterization, BUT. I hate, loathe, despise, and abominate the appearance of old-flames-with-an-agenda. *shrugs awkwardly* It causes me real anxiety.
Otherwise, it was everything I've come to expect from my favorite writing duo.
There's the increasingly kick-ass heroine (whom I called "soft" in an interview when BURN FOR ME was released *shakes head at self*):
“You’re wasting my time,” I said. “Just say everyone I know and love is dead. It’s more efficient.” He laughed quietly. “You’re mouthy.” “And you’re a psychopath.” “You say it like it’s a bad thing. It’s practically a requirement for people in our position.” “Yes, well, David Howling did it better.” “Rogan won’t always be there to do your dirty work.” “Rogan didn’t kill David. I did. He fought me for his life and lost. The next time we meet I’ll pull every dirty secret out of your mind and lay them out in the open. When I’m done, you’ll curl into a ball and weep, just like all the others. That’s how you threaten, Vincent.”
The secondary characters that are as wonderfully crafted as the MCs:
“Could you get me some coffee?” “No,” Bug said. She blinked. “I’m a surveillance specialist, not a waiter,” Bug said, his diction perfect, his voice flat. “The coffee is on the kitchen counter over there. Help yourself.” She opened her mouth and closed it. “Nevada?” Bug said. Don’t do it, don’t do it . . . “Would you like some coffee?” “No, thanks.” Ass. “Because I’ll totally get it for you.”
The plot is still compelling and action-driven, the enemies, nefarious, the world is fantastic . . . So I repeat, WHY have you yet to read it for yourself? Hmm?? HIDDEN LEGACY has everything a fan of paranormal romance and/or urban fantasy could possibly want. It's truly one of the few idiot-proof decisions a lover of either or both genres can make.
Bottom line: In this modern world of too-many choices, pick a guaranteed win for once. #yourewelcome
Not a fairytale I was very familiar with, but I knew the basics: wealthy, lord(-like) guy marries a pretty, young tReviewed by: Rabid Reads
Not a fairytale I was very familiar with, but I knew the basics: wealthy, lord(-like) guy marries a pretty, young thing and takes her home. He immediately has to leave (b/c reasons). She has freedom to explore the many rooms of her new residence, but she is expressly forbidden to enter ONE of them. Curiosity overwhelms her, and she finds a way into the room, where she discovers . . . the bodies of all his previous wives.
THE SEVENTH BRIDE is an interesting twist of the original, and it is as fantastical as it is clever.
I struggled a little bit in the beginning. I had just finished THE BLACK COMPANY (which is darrrrrrk), and this had the bubblegum sweetness of a middle grade story. The contrast by itself would have made it difficult to adjust, but I was also expecting a more mature story--it specifically says on the author's Goodreads page that T. Kingfisher is the persona she uses while writing for adults.
It's hard enough to stomach a fifteen-year-old girl marrying a man her father's age--I don't care that once upon a time it was perfectly acceptable, now it's illegal and disgusting--but when said fifteen-year-old girl acts even younger than her numerical age . . . Ugh.
Rhea had a showdown with a bullying, lunch-stealing swan that ended in excrement.
But I stuck with it, and our girl showed surprising backbone and intelligence.
Beyond that, the retelling was delightful. The world was vibrant with color, which only served to make the goings-on more creeptastic. I'm not going to say more than that, b/c the more you're free to discover for yourself, the better.
THE SEVENTH BRIDE by T. Kingfisher is new spin on an old tale that makes it feel shiny and nearly brand new. Sandwich-stealing swans and hedgehog familiars keep things fun, even as the evil sorcerer makes you cringe, and, as always, hubris is a fatal flaw. I highly recommend this standalone to anyone who enjoys fairytales and their retellings.