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review 2017-06-23 08:33
Sweep in Peace (Innkeeper Chronicles, #2)
Sweep In Peace - Ilona Andrews

I'm a huge fan of Ilona Andrews' writing (or, at least, her Kate Daniels series) so I was inclined to like this to start with; it's a testament to her writing that I did in spite of the undercurrent of science fiction running through the storyline. 

 

I'm not sure if I should admit that my favourite character is Caldenia, but she is.  She gets all the best lines and if not for the cannibalistic tendencies, she might be my literary heroine of choice.  But Dina is no slouch either and while there's never any doubt she has the abilities, her overwhelming innkeeper mandate sometimes makes her a bit trod-upon, so that final scene was awesome.  It's nice to see her abilities balance out; that she can be as bad as she can be good.

 

I never doubted for a minute who Turan Adin really was, it could never have been anyone else, but I couldn't figure out how Andrews was going to explain the timing.  Once she did, I was left wondering what the vampires and hoard thought about the "mysterious creature".  I also thought it interesting that Andrews dropped a huge clue about Dina's brother but then never followed up on it; ditto the clue about what happened to her parents.  I suppose they're saving that for book three.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page count: 301

$$: $6.00

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review 2017-06-04 02:04
Paws and Effect (Magical Cats, #8)
Paws and Effect - Sofie Kelly

It does't sound good that my favourite character in this series is Fred the Funky Chicken, but it's true.  The other characters are all likeable in the best cozy-mystery way, but my heart goes out to Fred the Funky Chicken every time.**

 

I'm not going to pretend that this book isn't everything a modern cozy is; the magical cats pretty much give the game away.  But Kelly does't over-play that magical hand and doesn't try to hide the deux ex machina-like effect this has on her ability to plot her mysteries.  She also creates likeable, believable, characters that enjoy a reasonable amount of realistic conflict; some of which is resolved and some of it isn't.  

 

The murder plot was decent-ish.  I was side-eyeing the murderer for awhile but there weren't any puzzle pieces to play with, just one big whopper of a clue that solved the whole thing for everybody at once.  Or at least, for the reader and the MC; everyone else would need more proof, of course, thus allowing our MC to stumble into mortal peril.  A reader comes to understand this is the nature of cozies though, and at least this peril was believable.  Sort of.  (How did the murder find them??)

 

So Paws and Effect is everything you'd expect a contemporary cozy to be anymore, but better than most of the rest; a bit more solid and well written.  A fun, fluffy bit of fiction for lazy afternoons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page count:  315

$$:  $3.00

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review 2017-06-02 11:55
Reluctantly Charmed
Reluctantly Charmed - Ellie O'Neill

I didn't think I'd make it through this book at first.  Well, that's not completely accurate; I thought the first 10% or so was really intriguing.  I liked the idea of an inheritance hinged upon the publication of 1 letter each week.  But then it stated to get a bit weird with the whole fairy thing and how obsessed people got about it.  

 

What kept me hooked had nothing to do with the fairies, or her magic (which was never really fleshed out in detail).  I kept reading because I found the story of instant fame and celebrity thrust upon someone who is not the least bit interested in it compelling.  In this respect the story is moving and powerful as Kate completely loses control of her own life and identity.  There's romance here too, but so slow burning it's almost back-burnered most of the time.

 

An odd story, written well enough, with an exploration of the destructive powers the public can wield.  

 

 

 

 

 

Total pages:  433

$$:  $5.00

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review 2017-05-29 11:19
Eleventh Grave in Moonlight (Charlie Davidson, #11)
Eleventh Grave in Moonlight - Darynda Jones

Darynda Jones is quickly becoming the second author alive for whom I'd go out of my way to have a conversation with.  Folded into a zany, quirky, funny urban fantasy series is some deeply well thought out theology; hidden amid the rapid-fire one-liners, Jones tackles head on the issues of God, free-will, and why He "allows' pain and suffering.  And she doesn't take it lightly, and she doesn't go for easy answers or glib reasoning.  She's successfully mixed silliness and the very opposite of silliness and I'm a little bit in love with her for pulling it off.

 

Eleventh Grave... clears a lot of the ongoing questions up, and I'd go so far as to say it brings the major story-arc to a close.  The climatic scene was so shattering, the resolution was almost an afterthought.  This is by no means the end of the series, as far as I know - there's still a lot of questions unanswered so it had better not be.  

 

It was mostly excellent; my complaints are twofold:  The first - we don't find out what happened to Strawberry Shortcake's brother.  I hate unresolved stuff like that.  Second:  I have to preface this with the disclaimer that I'm not a prude.  Sex scenes don't bother me in the slightest, but Jones went a little too far for my comfort in one of the scenes here.  It wasn't that it was deviant in any way, but after 11 books I feel like I've come to know Charlie and Reyes; like an invisible, unacknowledged member of the gang.  And yeah, I'd rather not know as much about Charlie and Reyes as I got from that scene.  At one point it stopped being sexy and started being really awkward.   On the flip side, she wrote a hell of a homage to When Harry Met Sally in another scene.

 

Awkward sex aside, I'm with Jones and Charlie until the wheels fall off.  I'd say until hell froze over but apparently, that's a thing.

 

 

 

 

Page count:  310

$$:  3.00

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review 2017-05-05 01:30
Blade Bound (Chicagoland Vampires, #13)
Blade Bound - Chloe Neill

3.5 stars might be a tiny bit unfair.  This is probably more of a 4 star read, but I'd have enjoyed this last book in the series more if Neill had opted to end on a bang, rather than full-scale mass destruction.

 

Merit and Ethan and the rest of the scooby gang are trying to enjoy peace and quiet and a wedding, but the after-party comes with snow.  In August.  After that all hell breaks loose as an old enemy isn't as vanquished as they'd hoped.  And boy is she pissed.

 

The thing is, I don't like sequels all that much when they involve 'the return of..'; I was disappointed at the end of the last book (#12) because the big bad was hauled off to jail.  Nobody with half a brain could think that would end well.  So having her evilness come back felt a bit 'here we go again'.  However, I loved what Neill did with Chicago, and I loved, loved, loved how Ms. Evil met her end.  It was fitting and it was hilarious.

 

But I love these characters; they're the sort I'd like to call friends.  Merit and Mallory have the best dialogs.  I think, given enough popcorn and iced tea, I could just sit back and listen to these two talk to each other for hours.

 

My entire immediate family is from Chicago, save myself, so I have an inherited affection for that gorgeous city (Go Cubs!), and it was painful to watch Neill tear it up.  And she didn't mess around; she immediately went straight to the landmarks any Chicagoan knows and loves; she didn't even spare the lions!  This made reading difficult; I kept thinking no, no, not Shed's... dammit...omg, NOT WATER TOWER PLACE!

 

Of course, the good guys win in the end - that's not a spoiler; it's the last book in the series, so of course they are going to triumph.  Normally, in this situation, I enjoy an epilogue; a little something to give me some view of how it all works out in the long run.  Honestly though?  Here, I'd have been happier without it.  It verged on twee.  I can't believe Neill went twee on me.  But... glancing at the book ads at the end, it seems she's creating a new series based on the two characters in that twee little scene, so I suppose there was a method to her madness.

 

I've love this series madly, and I think the author brought it to an end at a good time and place.  I'll try the new series, although I'm not sure Chicagoland will hold the same appeal to me without her landmarks and without Merit's and Mallory's witty repartee.

 

 

 

Total pages: 361

$ Banked: $3.00

 

Note:  Chicago has the El subway system, which Merit and Mallory use to escape something chasing them, but there is also, as it turns out, travel by air; not on a plane, but spoilers would be involved in the telling, so I'll just say Merit definitely travels by air at one point.  ;-)

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