Book List 2018

Review: In the Belly of Jonah by Sandra Brannan

in the belly of jonah.jpgTitle: In the Belly of Jonah

Author: Sandra Brannan

Genre: Thriller

Summary: In the Belly of Jonah is a fast-paced mystery with a likable protagonist and an intricately woven narrative brimming with bizarre yet believable twists. The first in a series, the book expertly lays the groundwork for Liv Bergen, amateur sleuth, and her love interest, FBI Agent Streeter Pierce. Liv becomes involved in the investigation of the murder of Jill Brannigan, a summer intern at the limestone mine Liv manages near Fort Collins, Colorado (a breathtaking setting that unwittingly becomes an accessory to crime). In doing so, she inadvertently puts her friends, her family, and herself at risk of being swallowed in the belly of a madman bloated with perverse appetites for women, surrealistic art, and renown.

As the gripping plot of In the Belly of Jonah unfolds, Liv Bergen takes her place alongside the best female crime-solvers as a woman with smarts, self-confidence, and intuitive savvy.

Review: 

This book was…very…extremely brutal. It was so well written, that my crazy imagination could sadly imagine every single gross detail. Sometimes I wish I couldn’t, but man Brannan is a master of getting you to be a little squicked.

The characters in this novel are full fledged, and interesting. Liv especially, with her fiery nature did capture my attention as did her relationship with Streeter.

This book is driven with strong female characters. And the plot is driven by a total psycho, one that you will not soon forget even after finishing reading the book. The crimes within it are so gruesome they feel real.

This book would be good for anyone who likes a good thriller, and a mystery that’s more on the side of hate, than a crime of passion.

Received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Advertisements
Book List 2018

Review: True to You by Tony Correia

TRUE TO YOUTitle: True to You

Author: Tony Correia

Genre: Romance, LGBTQIA+

Summary: 

Jorge Gomez is a gay teen from a working-class family who is expelled from school after fighting with bullies on behalf of another kid. He starts training to become a pro wrestler, and finds that he has the talent that could make it a promising career. At the first wrestling show Jorge attends, he meets Thom, who is from a politically active upper middle-class family. It’s a case of opposites attracting, but Jorge feels threatened when he learns that Thom’s ex-boyfriend is determined to win Thom back.

Jorge tries to reconcile his sexual orientation with the image and loyalty demanded of a career as a wrestler. Looking to jumpstart his career, he switches to a wrestling club that promises to make him a star. When he adopts a flamboyantly gay “bad guy” wrestling persona, Thom calls him out for promoting homophobia. Jorge reacts badly with the result that he is kicked out of the club and is dumped by Thom. The crisis leads Jorge to find a way to be true to himself and who he is, and to reconcile with Thom.

Review:

Jorge Gomez is a character with a lot of heart. This is something you definitely see from the beginning of this novella. He can’t stand bullies, and he wants to be the best person that he can. But he also wants to be the best wrestler that he can which leads him down a path of almost self-hating homophobia.

Thom tries hard as well, and does his best to support Jorge but knows when not to. Therefore he knows when to step back for himself and Jorge, which is one of the most realistic things I’ve read in one of these stores.

That being said this would be all the better if it were just a little bit longer. The characters could have been fleshed out more, the story as well and it would have felt less rushed.

Received a free copy of this in exchange for an honest review. 

Book List 2018

Review: Good Boys by Keelan Ellis

good boysTitle: Good Boys

Author: Keelan Ellis

Series: The Soloman Mysteries

Genre: Crime/Mystery

Summary: 

Having risen through the ranks of the Baltimore City Police Department to the elite Homicide unit as an out gay man, Paul Solomon has always prided himself on his integrity and self-reliance. As the last vestiges of his failed eight-year-long relationship fall away, Paul finds himself adrift, forced to rely on others to help him find his footing again.

When Paul and his partner, Tim Cullen, are called to the scene of a double murder of two high school students on the city’s west side, Paul finds the lives and deaths of the two boys hitting closer to home than he’d expected. With his personal life in upheaval, he struggles with the perspective needed to untangle the web of secrets and lies that led to their demise.

While working his way through the complicated case, Paul starts getting his life back together. After a date with an enigmatic young man takes a dark turn, he reaches out to an old flame who brings some much-needed lightness to his life. But Paul finds that relationships, like murder investigations, are never as simple as he’d like.

Review:

This book swept me up and didn’t put me down until long after I’d turned the last page. It was pretty damn awesome, if I’m going to be honest, without leaving too many spoilers laying about.

Paul is not perfect, he’s imperfect. He’s not the best partner, not even the best detective but he does what he can and he is determined to do as well as he can in his life and his job, even when he’s in a bit of a slump. He also doesn’t take any bullshit from anyone which I do like.

The other characters are not as fully fleshed out as I would like but I have a feeling they will be later on in the series.

The mystery is pretty solid, and the plot is not slow moving. I look forward to the next work in this series.

Received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Book List 2018

Review: A Touch of Magic by Isabelle Adler

a touch of magicTitle: A Touch of Magic

Author: Isabelle Adler

Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQ Romance

Summary: After returning to the straight and narrow, Cary Westfield hopes to rebuild his life as a stage magician. Only thing is, the success of his new show is entirely dependent on a strange medallion inherited from his late grandfather—an amulet that holds a rare and inexplicable power to captivate the wearer’s audience.

Ty prides himself on his ability to obtain any item of magical significance—for the right price. When a mysterious client hires him to steal a magical amulet from a neophyte illusionist, he’s sure it will be a quick and easy job, earning him a nice chunk of cash.

As it turns out, nothing is sure when greed and powerful magic are at play. When a mob boss with far-reaching aspirations beats Ty to the snatch, Cary and Ty form an unlikely partnership to get the amulet back. The unexpected spark of attraction between them is a welcome perk, but each man has his own plan for the prize.

All bets are off, however, when it is revealed the magical amulet holds a darker secret than either of them had bargained for.

Review:

This is a book I wish there was more of. It was good as is, but it left me a little bit hungry for more, in particular for learning more about the characters within.

Ty is an enigma, wrapped in a….no I’m just kidding. He’s a bad boy with a heart of gold and I do truly love him. He’s lovely, and he might possibly have an inkling of it.

Cary is a sweetheart, but definitely not as sweet as he seems. He’s a total secret badass.

My favourite character though was definitely Bas, who is flamboyant and interesting in equal measures.

This book is a fun heist-like romp. I thoroughly enjoyed those parts of it, but this book is not the greatest if you are looking for slow-burn romance. But if you’re looking for instant attraction, and gratification then this is definitely the book for you.

I’m excited to see this universe expand, and the magic within it to do so as well.

Received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

 

Book List 2018, Reviews

Review: Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West

listen to your heart.jpgTitle: Listen to Your Heart

Author: Kasie West

Summary: 

Talking to other people isn’t Kate Bailey’s favorite activity. She’d much rather be out on the lake, soaking up the solitude and sunshine. So when her best friend, Alana, convinces Kate to join their high school’s podcast, Kate is not expecting to be chosen as the host. Now she’ll have to answer calls and give advice on the air? Impossible.

But to Kate’s surprise, she turns out to be pretty good at the hosting gig. Then the podcast gets in a call from an anonymous guy, asking for advice about his unnamed crush. Kate is pretty sure that the caller is gorgeous Diego Martinez, and even surer that the girl in question is Alana. Kate is excited for her friend … until Kate herself starts to develop feelings for Diego. Suddenly, Kate finds that while doling out wisdom to others may be easy, asking for help is tougher than it looks, and following your own advice is even harder.

Kasie West’s adorable story of secrets, love, and friendship is sure to win over hearts everywhere. 

My Thoughts:

Do you like happiness? Do you like sunshine? Do you like lakes? Do you like romance? What about podcasts?

If you answered yes to most of those, no to romance then maybe this is not the book for you. But if you answered yes to any of those, and yes to romance then maybe you should pick up this lovely summer read and give it a go.

This book is not perfect. No book ever is. But I’ll be damned if I didn’t find this one perfectly enjoyable for a summer day that’s cool where it’s supposed to be warm.

The protagonist, Kate, or Kat if you hate her is unsure, yet confident in herself in a way I appreciate.

Her best friend is loyal in a way a lot of teenage girls are not portrayed.

Diego is lovely. He’s awkward and charming and my kind of lead. He’s sweet and yet sucks at being straight forward and should probably learn to be so but it makes for some great reading in this case so I won’t complain too much.

The podcast as a plot device was very entertaining and I found myself wanting more of those snippets as they were really enjoyable.

 

Book List 2018, Reviews

Re-Read Review: Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs

bone crossed.jpgTitle: Bone Crossed

Author: Patricia Briggs

Series: Mercy Thompson/Mercyverse

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Summary: 

By day, Mercy is a car mechanic in the sprawling Tri-Cities of Eastern Washington. By night, she explores her preternatural side. As a shapeshifter with some unique talents, Mercy has often found herself having to maintain a tenuous harmony between the human and the not so human. This time she may get more than she bargained for.

Marsilia, the local Vampire Queen, has learned that Mercy crossed her by slaying a member of her clan—and she’s out for blood. But since Mercy is protected from direct reprisal by the werewolf pack (and her close relationship with its sexy Alpha), it won’t be Mercy’s blood Marsilia is after.

It’ll be her friends’.

Review: 

Oh and you thought the vampires were creepy as hell before? Well they just went and got creepier! They saw your thoughts as a challenge, my friends, and they came back badder than ever.

That being said, so did Mercy.

She is a total badass. The baddest around in fact,so far.

Her relationship with Adam is growing in this book, in a very natural and organic sort of way. Often you pick up the next book and the characters are all in but Patricia Briggs is allowing a slow progression that feels more real.

Her friendships are changing and evolving, and it feels more like family this time around with many of the secondary characters.

The villain in this is creepy as hell, and I found myself squirming in discomfort when he was on the page because damn, some people are just flat out maniacal and I don’t think I realized what that meant until now. Now I know. I partly wish I didn’t.

This is a solid installment in the Mercy-verse and I have no complaints to speak of.

Oh just one actually, more Warren please. It’s really more of a  request than a complaint. I love that good ol’ country boy.

Book List 2018

Re-Read Review: Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs

iron kissed.jpgTitle: Iron Kissed

Author: Patricia Briggs

Series: Mercy Thompson

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Summary: 

I could smell her fear, and it satisfied something deep inside me that had been writhing under her cool, superior gaze. I curled my upper lip so she could get a good look at my sharp teeth. I might only weigh thirty or so pounds in my coyote shape, but I was a predator…

Mechanic Mercy Thompson can shift her shape – but not her loyalty. When her former boss and mentor is arrested for murder and left to rot behind bars by his own kind, it’s up to Mercy to clear his name, whether he wants her to or not.

Mercy’s loyalty is under pressure from other directions, too. Werewolves are not known for their patience, and if Mercy can’t decide between the two she cares for, Sam and Adam may make the choice for her… 

My Thoughts:

Mercy, even in re-reads, remains one of my favourite urban fantasy main characters. She is fire, she is toughness and vulnerability all enrolled into one. And as she experiences true danger within this book she does not give up.

Adam is as loyal to her and his pack as ever, and there is some surprising character growth against his usual “type” in this genre. You’ll have to read it to find out what it is.

Warren, Kyle and Mercy’s friendship continues to be one of my favourite components of these novels. I can only hope we get to see more of them in the future.

This book allows the reader to learn more about the world of the fae. And just like the world of the vampires it is fucking terrifying.

This series continues to impress, as the world expands, and the characters remain fresh and new.

The plot is not stagnant, instead it is forever changing, and evolving to accommodate new characters, new dangers and a whole lot of fun.

 

Book List 2018

Re-Read Review: Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs

BLOOD BOUNDTitle: Blood Bound

Author: Patricia Briggs

Series: Mercy Thompson aka The Mercy-Verse

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Summary: 

Under the rule of science, there are no witch burnings allowed, no water trials or public lynchings. In return, the average law-abiding, solid citizen has little to worry about from the things that go bump in the night. Sometimes I wish I was an average citizen…

Mechanic Mercy Thompson has friends in low places-and in dark ones. And now she owes one of them a favor. Since she can shapeshift at will, she agrees to act as some extra muscle when her vampire friend Stefan goes to deliver a message to another of his kind.

But this new vampire is hardly ordinary-and neither is the demon inside of him. 

My Thoughts: 

The fourth book in the Mercy-verse (full length) and the second in the Mercy Thompson series this book certainly amps things up quite a bit.

The vampires have come out to play in full force within this novel, and I was definitely happy to learn more about them. They are definitely creatures of the night, and their magic is distinct and even unique for the genre. But they are also not all what they seem.

Mercy is as courageous as ever, much to Samuel, Adam and even Bran’s chagrin. She’s definitely not one to sit back and take orders, which is one of the things I love about her. Her character really does progress within this book.

Stefan as a character, and a creature of the night gets fleshed out a bit more here, showing a surprising soft side that made me like him even more.

This book is a solid continuation to the series and definitely deserves some major kudos for continuing to progress the series in a strong way that made me want to pick up the next book immediately to keep reading.

 

Book List 2018

Review: Covet by J.R Ward

Title: Covet

Author: J.R Ward

Series: Fallen Angels

Genre: Urban Fantasy, there be angels

Summary:

Seven deadly sins. Seven souls to save. This is the first battle between a savior who doesn’t believe and a demon with nothing to lose!

Redemption isn’t a word Jim Heron knows much about—his specialty is revenge, and to him, sin is all relative. But everything changes when he becomes a fallen angel and is charged with saving the souls of seven people from the seven deadly sins. And failure is not an option.

Vin DiPietro long ago sold his soul to his business, and he’s good with that-until fate intervenes in the form of a tough-talking, Harley-riding, self-professed savior. And then he meets a woman who will make him question his destiny, his sanity, and his heart—and he has to work with a fallen angel to win her over and redeem his own soul.

My Review:

So here is one of the things that I am terribly ashamed to admit about myself. I tend to have the bad habit of judging a book by its cover. Therefore I wasn’t too interested in J.R Ward, much in the same way that I was not interested in a lot of my favourite authors due to the cover art.

Now granted, this one isn’t too bad in terms of urban fantasy or sci-if. Usually it’s half-dressed women on the cover, so at least there’s that.

However a good friend of mine suggested this book, and because I trust my friends I had no choice but to give it a go. (Plus who turns down a free book when it’s lent to you? I sure don’t)

So I embarked on my J.R Ward journey, opting for the shorter of two (three?) series that she had offered to lend to me, a little overwhelmed by the length of Black Dagger at this stage in the game.

I did not regret my choice to listen to my friend. She was right, these books are my kind of thing.

Jim is a character with a more than mysterious past, who goes through some fairly large character evolution within this novel. He is tough, and human, with his own set of morals and ideas on how he has to operate.

Vin was a character I immediately fell in love with and I’m not even sure why. Maybe because in the beginning he was so sad and thinking he had everything when really he had nothing? I don’t know, either way I grew really attached to him as a character and everything about the way he was written.

This book is well written, with a lot of comedic moments within the first few pages that had me jotting down quotes left right and centre. The only thing I didn’t really like were the sex scenes I must admit. They were…cheesy. Not my thing. But the emotional connection between characters more than made up for it.

This would be a good series for people who like urban fantasy with a bit more romance thrown in or who might be wanting something other than vampires, demons and werewolves. Here there be angels.

Book List 2018

Re-Read Review: The Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs

Title: The Hunting Ground

Author: Patricia Briggs

Series: Alpha and Omega aka The Mercy-verse

Summary:

Anna Latham didn’t know how complicated life could be until she became a werewolf. And until she was mated to Charles Cornick, the son — and enforcer — of Bran, the leader of the North American werewolves, she didn’t know how dangerous it could be either…

Anna and Charles have just been enlisted to attend a summit to present Bran’s controversial proposition: that the wolves should finally reveal themselves to humans. But the most feared Alpha in Europe is dead set against the plan — and it seems like someone else might be too. When Anna is attacked by vampires using pack magic, the kind of power only werewolves should be able to draw on, Charles and Anna must combine their talents to hunt down whoever is behind it all — or risk losing everything…

Review:

This book, the second in the Alpha and Omega series, and third chronologically in the Mercy-verse and man do I freaking love it.

Anna is definitely coming into her strengths and her power, and her relationship with Charles within this novel.

Charles is learning how to be around Anna, and others without having adverse reactions or over-possessive reactions to either. But he still hates vehicles.

Bran trusts them more together and it shows, as he sends them to one of the most important werewolf conventions (TM) to date.

The question of revealing themselves to humans hangs in the balance, and vampires and fae are there to fuck it up even more. But in true Patricia Briggs style none of these characters are just going to sit back and let chaos happen.

The plot to this book is fast paced and super enjoyable for any urban fantasy fan. There are no cookie cutter characters, but definitely characters who are not what they seem. So prepare to be deceived my friends, because I most certainly was.

So go, buy it, buy all of them. I promise you a good time will be had by all.