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Rituals — Kelley Armstrong

19 Oct

 

Publisher: Penguin Random House
Released: June 1st, 2017
Genre: Mystery, supernatural
Source: Finished copy from publisher

 

 

Olivia Jones must make a choice. Caught between two rival supernatural forces, Liv was granted a brief period in which to make her decision. Now that time has run out. Whichever side she chooses, someone she loves will pay. Her lover, Ricky. Gabriel Walsh, the man she knows she cannot, must not love. Her parents, already trapped in prison.And now there is a new, terrifying power rising – one that doesn’t distinguish between good and evil intentions. It feeds on chaos and destroys without mercy. Unless Liv acts fast, no one will survive. In this gripping thriller, international bestselling author Kelley Armstrong brings the Cainsville series to a powerful, richly rewarding climax.

From Goodreads

Excuse me while I take a second to weep into my cozy reading blanket. I cannot believe that this series is over. I actually considered putting off reading Rituals in a weird effort to make the series not end. I lasted all of 30 minutes before I had to dig into it.

What can I say? Kelley is one of my fave authors and also one of my go-to authors. I can always rely on her to deliver an engaging, well thought out and well written book. The Cainsville series was different from her Women of the Otherworld series, delving into different aspects of the supernatural and lore, and I loved it. Rituals was a fitting ending for the series, tying up loose ends but still leaving things somewhat open, which is the kind of ending I love for a series.

The pacing was spot on, speeding up when needing to and slowly down when the story called for it. There was just enough about the previous books to remind me of important plot elements but not so much rehashing that it felt repetitive. In fact, I realized about a quarter of the way through that I actually haven’t read book 4 (GASP!) and I didn’t feel lost at all.

This is definitely a series that I will reread, and I cannot recommend it enough.

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Owl and the City of Angels — Kristi Charish

27 Sep

owl_city

 

Publisher:Simon and Schuster Canada
Released: October 5th, 2015
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: ARC from publisher

 

The wild second adventure for unforgettable antiquities thief Owl—a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world—from the pen of rising urban fantasy star Kristi Charish. For fans of Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher, Jennifer Estep, Jenn Bennett, and the like.

Alix Hiboux, better known as Owl, international antiquities thief for hire, is settling into her new contract job for Vegas mogul Mr. Kurosawa, a red dragon with a penchant for ancient, supernatural artifacts. And now he has his sights set on some treasures of the mysterious Syrian City of the Dead that are sitting in a recluse’s private collection.

There’s just one wrinkle. To stop the resurrection of an undead army that could wreak havoc on Los Angeles, Owl must break into a heavily guarded archaeological sight in one of the most volatile regions in the world. A detour through Libya and a run-in with Somali pirates sends the clock ticking hastily toward total paranormal disaster.

Meanwhile, Alexander and the Paris vampires have stopped stalking Owl’s apartment, but they have by no means forgotten their death grudge against her. To top everything off, Owl finds out the hard way that there is nothing heavenly about the City of Angels…

From Goodreads

I prefer my urban fantasy with a bit of humour, a lot of snark and just a touch of romance. And I got all of these things in Owl and the City of Angels. This was a wild ride with lots of adventure and a heroine that doesn’t always play by the books.

This is the second book in the series and even though I didn’t read the first book, I wasn’t totally lost. There were some moments where I was a bit confused, but I actually like that. I really hate when authors completely rehash previous books in series. There was enough background about what happened in book one that I wasn’t struggling to piece things together but I also felt like if I had read book one, those short background sections wouldn’t have bored me to death.

Owl is a dynamic main character, not always 100% likeable but always relatable in some way. She can sometimes be a bit too independent and struggles with accepting help and also with trusting others. But this added to her character and the plot, because I also didn’t know whom she should trust. The other characters in the book are well-written and each brings their own dynamic to the story. And I have to take a moment to mention the cat. The cat was AWESOME. 🙂

The plot was complex but not convoluted. The pacing was awesome and I loved the mixed of action and character development.

I enjoyed Owl and the City of Angels so much that I’m planning on going back and reading the first book in the series. And I can’t wait for the next book to come out so I can see what Owl is up to.

How the White Trash Zombie Got Her Groove Back (White Trash Zombie #4) — Diana Rowland

24 Feb

groovebackPublisher: Audible Studios
Released: July 1st, 2014
Genre: Urban fantasy
Source: Audio book purchased
Narrator: Allison McLemore

 

 

It’s zombie versus zombie as the Saberton Corporation declares war against the Zombie Mafia, kidnapping several of their party. It falls to Angel to lead the remnants of her gang halfway across the country to claw their way through corporate intrigue, zombie drugs, and undead trafficking to rescue her friends – and expose the traitor responsible for their abduction.

From Goodreads

*Spoiler alert* IF YOU HAVEN’T READ/LISTENED TO THE FIRST THREE BOOKS, YOU MAY WANT TO SKIP THIS REVIEW

OMG how great is The White Trash Zombie series? So freaking great! This was my introduction to audiobooks and still remains my favourite series to listen to.

Before I get into the book I have to give props to Allison McLemore, the narrator. She is perfection in this series. Not only does she nail the main character’s drawl, but she all the other character voices are distinct without coming off as a parent reading a kid a storybook. (I have a particular love for Angel’s dad’s voice.)

Okay, the book. Holy crap but things have gone to shit in more ways than one. But it wasn’t too much or over the top. With the ongoing story arc of Saberton as the big bad, this was a natural progression. And there are some big, juicy WTF moments that are big, BIG game changers.  A couple of tidbits were thrown at us at the end that left me wondering if one of the secondary characters was going to become a major player in up coming books.

I need to take a second to devote to how much I ship Angel and Phillip. There, I said it. Yeah, Marcus is great, but I really, REALLY want to see something happen between Angel and Phillip.

Angel Crawford is an amazingly fun character. She’s snarky and funny and fearless (usually) and generally doesn’t give a shit what people think of her. She’s had a lot of growth from the first book, but she got a bit annoying in this book at times. She was super insecure through a good part of the book and it turned into whininess sometimes. I understand she was truly out of her element, but the sever insecurity just didn’t feel like it was in tune with what I know of the character. But I still love Angel and will definitely continue with the series.

Bargains and Betrayals – Shannon Delany

12 Oct

So, you know when you’re reading a series and you’re thinking “Okay, not blowing me away, but not horrible either. Think I’ll keep going.”? I have to admit, that’s where I was with Shannon Delany’s 13 to Life Series, published by St Martin’s Press. If you read my review of the first two books then you know I had some issues with both of them.  But man, I frigging LOVED Bargains and Betrayals. I mean it. The issues I had with the first two books vanished. This was a kick ass, well written YA paranormal book.

The main issue I had with the first two books (don’t read any further if you haven’t read them) was the whole Pietr dating Sarah but smooching Jessie all the time story-line. I felt that it just didn’t groove with either Jessie or Pietr’s personality. I’m so beyond happy that that was taken care of at the end of the second book.

I also felt that the pacing was a heck of a lot more even in this book. Never once did I feel that things were happening way to face. Yes, things happened quickly, but it felt like it was the right speed.

I loved that the book switched from Jessie’s point of view to Alexi’s point of view. It really, for me, showed off Shannon’s mad writing skillz. Alexi’s sections were written so differently from Jessie’s, something that’s hard to do. But Shannon does it flawlessly. Never once did I get confused about whose section I was reading.

A lot of the mystery that’s introduced in the first two books is explained, but in no way are things wrapped up nicely. I mean, Holy cliffhanger. It left me yelling “Nooooo, I need to know moooooore!”

So, yeah, sometimes when you aren’t in love with a series, it pays to stick with it. Because I so can’t wait for the next book to come out.

Secrets and Shadows – Shannon Delany

10 Oct

I wanted to love this book. But I didn’t. I liked it, though. For the most part. But, there were things in Secrets and Shadows that just made me kinda unhappy. If you haven’t read the first book but plan to, then read no further. I’m about to get a bit spoilerish on ya.

I really, REALLY had issues with the whole Sarah-Pietr-Jessie story line. To the point that I almost didn’t finish the book. I guess I just didn’t get it. Jessie said Pietr had to stay with Sarah as a favour to Jessie. But they still snuck around for a bit. Not a lot, but a bit. I thought it was mean. And childish. So, yeah, I really, really didn’t like this aspect of the book.

I also felt that the middle of the book was a bit of an info dump. There was A LOT of stuff thrown at readers and for me it just put the pacing of the book way, way off. Sure, it was information that we needed to know, but the quantity that was unleashed in a few chapters left me feeling unbalanced.

But the ending! Wow did it ever draw me in. A bit of a cliffhanger, as soon as I finished I immediately wanted to start the next book, Bargains and Betrayals. Which I did. So in the end, I’d have to recommend this book, especially after finishing the next one. (review to come tomorrow)

Thanks so much to St. Martins Press for the review copies.

Forever – Maggie Stiefvater

13 Sep

It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with the first two books in this series. I LOVE THEM and recommend them to everyone ( have you read Shiver and Linger yet? No? Why the heck not? READ THEM!!!!!!) so of course it makes sense that I’ve love Forever, the third and final book in Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls series. And while I loved it, yes, I didn’t love it as much as I loved Shiver and Linger.

Now before you all yell “WHAT? HOW COULD YOU NOT LOVE IT AS MUCH AS THE FIRST TWO????” Let me explain. It was totally, 100% a case of  “It’s me, not you.”

I think because I was so enamored of the first two books that I held back a bit when reading Forever. I know, weird, eh? But that’s me. I knew I was going to be upset and devastated that the series was over. I loved these characters and I knew that regardless of how the series ended, I’d want more. So, to stop a major depression where all I did was sit around, mumble “Cole, Sam” and eat chocolate by the pound, I didn’t allow myself to open up  100% to the story.

Okay, now that’ I’ve explained myself, let’s chat about the book, kk? Despite my above ramble, I did love it. Maggie just has a way with words that makes my heart melt and my breath catch in my throat. I’m usually not one for flowery descriptions (totally not meant as a bad thing guys) but Maggie’s prose, totally and completely beautiful, sucked me right in.

While I enjoyed the Grace/Sam storyline, it was the Isabel/Cole parts of the book and their relationship that did me in. There are both so imperfect and so damaged and so perfect for each other that I found myself really wanting more of them and more FOR them. I honestly think my version of Heaven is Isabel and Cole getting there own series.

When Forever ended (kinda abruptly, my only complaint) I found that it was Isabel and Cole that I was curious about. And it was them that I knew I was really going to miss the most. They truly came into their own in this book.

Forever was a great ending to an amazing trilogy. I think fans are going to be very happy with it. I know I was.

I may have yelled out I LOVE YOU SCHOLASTIC CANADA!!! when the review ARC landed in my mailbox. 🙂

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride

2 May

Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Released: Oct 12th, 2010
Genre: YA paranormal
Bought for Coco by Kobo.

Sam leads a pretty normal life. He may not have the most exciting job in the world, but he’s doing all right—until a fast food prank brings him to the attention of Douglas, a creepy guy with an intense violent streak.

Turns out Douglas is a necromancer who raises the dead for cash and sees potential in Sam. Then Sam discovers he’s a necromancer too, but with strangely latent powers. And his worst nightmare wants to join forces . . . or else.

With only a week to figure things out, Sam needs all the help he can get. Luckily he lives in Seattle, which has nearly as many paranormal types as it does coffee places. But even with newfound friends, will Sam be able to save his skin?

From Henry Holt & Co. website.

I have a confession to make: I bought this book based solely on the title. I had no idea what it was about. I knew it was YA and I figured it was a paranormal, but besides that I knew nada. Except that it had the coolest, funniest, geekiest title I’d seen in a while.

This was a fun read. Each chapter was titled with a song title, which was super cool. I loved the necromancer angle and there’s some funny shit that happens.

While I enjoyed Sam, there are a couple of other characters that stole the show for me. Sam’s friend Brooke is hilarious and for reasons I can’t really say, but trust me. She has some of the best lines in the book. And Ashley the ghost? OMG I loved her.

I think any one who enjoys their YA paranormal fare with a bit of tongue in cheek and lightness will enjoy Hold Me Closer, Necromancer. I believe there’s a second book coming out. There better be a second book coming out. Cuz this was too good to be a stand-alone book.