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review 2018-11-13 21:24
The Waste Lands / Stephen King
The Waste Lands - Stephen King,Ned Dameron

Roland, The Last Gunslinger, moves ever closer to The Dark Tower of his dreams and nightmares—as he crosses a desert of damnation in a macabre world that is a twisted image of our own. With him are those he has drawn to this world: street-smart Eddie Dean and courageous wheelchair-bound Susannah.

Ahead of him are mind-rending revelations about who and what is driving him. Against him is arrayed a swelling legion of foes—both more and less than human....

 

The best book in this series so far for me.

I couldn’t help but notice, as I read this book, just how well-read Stephen King is. It would be tedious to list all the literary allusions (plus all the mentions of his own works) because there are just so many of them. But of course, you can’t miss one of the biggest references in the title—T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, not to mention Robert Browning’s Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came. I also couldn’t help but notice all of the LOTR similarities—as King wrote in his introduction, Tolkien’s work looms large in the imagination of all of those of us who read fantasy. And Jake, being run by Gasher through the ruined city of River Crossing, made me think of Merry & Pippin being driven by orcs.

Jake’s entry into the Gunslinger’s world, through The Mansion in New York, reminded me strongly of King’s The Shining, namely the pursuit of Danny Torrence on the grounds of the Overlook Hotel by the hedge animals. The malevolent Mansion and the haunted hotel were both very effective—King writes that kind of scenario really well.

Three books in, I’m finally feeling like the story is beginning to interest me. Hopefully the remaining books in the series won’t be quite such a tough row to hoe.

Book number 297 of my Science Fiction & Fantasy Reading Project.

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review 2018-11-09 20:54
Sometimes it's not about who did it, it's about why...
Criminal Intentions: Changing Faces - Cole McCade

Ok, I'm going to try and share something new and fresh here but I have to be honest this is book #4 Criminal Intentions Changing Faces, for this series and 'other than "ohmyfreakin'godthisis hella,hellaGOOD" I'm starting to feel like a stuck record but I'll give it a go anyways ok.

 

'Criminal Investigations' is a series with a slightly different form to it. The author's plan is to write this  with a format that more strongly resembles a television show than a book series. As most of us know book series can vary in terms of when and how often they're released.  I've read series where the books have been released almost all at once as was the case with Brent Weeks 'Night Angel' trilogy these books were originally released within weeks of each other (and no that wasn't an intentional play on words) other series may have months between each book or sometimes even years (let's think G.R.R. Martin here and still others have totally erratic release dates). Whereas with a television show we know that basically we're getting 13 episodes per viewing season (it use to be 22 but these days 13 seems to be the average). So the plan for this series as I understand is a possible 5 seasons with 13 episodes per season. So if you're planning on seeing this through to the end, as I and some other souls are want to do it's going to be like making a commitment to G.R.R. Martin himself the endgame is not for those in need of immediate gratification. 

 

In order not to spoil this for anyone with a potential interest in following this series let me just say that...I'm not going to write spoilerish things in my reviews anything that I use that directly pertains to the events in an episode will also be found in the blurb.

 

Ok, so what am I going to talk about well the obvious of course why I'm reading this series. I love a good crime drama story, especially if it has a personal connection to it. With each episode of CI (yep, we're going to save me some typing and refer to this as CI for Criminal Intentions) anyways, with each episode there's a different crime being resolved and by different I don't mean same crime different faces I mean different crime with different faces and here in CI #4 what we were given was a case of domestic violence and while the who and why of who done it was apparent fairly early in the story. I was ok with that because while this was a part of the story it wasn't the focus this time around the focus was more about the impact that the case has on Seong-Jae one of the MCs in this series as he works to resolve the circumstances surrounding the victims murder... because we don't always live in a world of clear absolutes and sometimes upholding the law doesn't always mean adhering to the letter of the law and as an officer of the law Seong-Jae not only has to resolve this murder but he finds he needs to come to terms with that resolution...it's good stuff folks seriously thought provoking stuff because if you've read this and heard any news stories over the past few years I'm sure you'll agree with me that much of this story could have easily come from the pages of any newspaper.

 

And this leads to the next thing that I really like about this series and that's the strong undertone of realism that runs through these stories. This is not a light and fluffy series with sunshine, rainbows and lollipops. These stories deal with the dark side of human nature sometimes the lines between right and wrong become pretty fuzzy...just like in the real world.

 

So now onto my favorite thing about this series or I guess I should say things...Seong-Jae and Malcolm...these two men...sweet baby jebus!!! Let me just say this will test the patience of even the staunchest slow burn fan but it's going to be worth it...of this I feel certain.

 

These two men...I don't even know how to explain the dynamics between them other than to use a very cliche phrase and say 'It's complicated'. Seriously we're 4 books in and we'v basically gotten a couple of kisses that's it but..DAMN!!! I've read full on sex scenes that didn't radiate the heat that these two just begin in the same room...or even on a telephone together.

 

With every story we're given a crime drama that's resolved from start to finish but with each story we're also given a little more about Seong-Jae and Malcolm's past as they continue to dance around each other and there's an overlying storyline that's building and it's the one that keeps me coming back because in spite of the crime that's resolved the author leaves us with just enough answers to pique our interest while also adding just enough questions to tease the readers curiosity.

 

While this was probably the weakest of the stories in terms of the crime that was committed and resolved for me it was in fact one of the better stories from the perspective of personal relationships. It also seems to be a pivotal point as things seem to be changing both for and between Soeng-Jae and Malcolm.

 

I'm not sure what comes next for this series but I do know I'm on board to find out...episode 5 everyone 'It's Witchcraft' and it's happening tomorrow (November 10) and I'm so there! This series...very highly recommended! and definitely best read in order.

 

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A copy of 'Criminal Intentions: Changing Faces' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2018-11-08 05:01
Let's talk about magic...
Alpha Heat - Leta Blake,Michael Ferraiuolo

I'm just going to explain myself a little bit here because otherwise I probably won't be making a whole lot of sense to a whole lot of people and I want to talk about magic for a couple of reasons...

 

One because we're living in troubled times right now and I think we need to find the good and the magic that's in this world where and when we can and because I found some magic right here in a book called 'Alpha Heat' so here's where I get to tell my story of how I came to find some magic...

 

A few years ago my husband and I took our son and his partner out to dinner because it was our son's birthday and it's a thing that we do in our family where the birthday person gets to pick the restaurant that they want to have dinner at thankfully the birthday dinners at McDonald's are long gone. This restaurant is quite well known locally and even on a bit of a national level as well...ok, so you get my point here right...it's a really nice restaurant. Anyways, we all enjoyed an incredible meal and at the end of it I said to our son, "how was your dinner?" and he looked at us and said  "James must be magic because he took everything that I never thought I liked and turned it into the most amazing meal." so having shared this little slice of my life I now feel compelled to say...

 

"Leta Blake must be magic because she took everything that I thought I never wanted to read and turned it into the most amazing story that I loved...and maybe Michael Ferraiuolo helped a bit as well but I'll talk about that a bit more later.

 

So here I am back in a world that includes MPREG, knotting, fisting and more, but I read 'Slow Heat' and I didn't even bat an eye once I got into it,I was all in and I enjoyed the hell out of that story. I also admit that i got it because I was asked if I wanted to review the second book, 'Alpha Heat' on audio and I saw that the narrator was once again Michael Ferraiuolo so I said 'hell yeah' and once again I was all in I mean it's not like this was going to be my first MPREG story right? What I didn't expect was the fact that while it wasn't the first one for me...it was by far the better of the two. Not that 'Slow Heat' wasn't good...I gave it 4 stars so I think we can put that idea to rest but in my mind 'Alpha Heat' totally kicked it up a notch because...

 

While we've still got MPREG, knotting, fisting (off page thank you very much Ms. Blake) we've also got two MCs that honestly when I met them in the first story I wasn't feeling any warm fuzzies.  You know the old saying take them or leave them...well if you'd asked me before I listened to 'Alpha Heat' I would have said ok, leave them. But having made the commitment to give this a fair and honest review I'd essentially taken that option off of the table for myself. 

 

So now  that I've had that lovely little ramble let's talk about the story and why I wasn't suppose to want to read this, much less enjoy it...first off there's Urho and Xan. We met both of these characters in 'Slow Heat' if you read that then you can probably jump ahead a little bit here but if not than just know that Urho is a doctor and trust me when I say for the purposes of this story that's a very good thing and while he's friends with both Jason and Vale (read 'Slow Heat) he originated as Vale's friend, while Xan was Jason's best friend and roommate at college and continues in this story as Jason's best friend.

 

Throughout the course of 'Slow Heat' I just never warmed up to either of these men and that was fine with me they were secondary characters but all that has changed here, because in this story they're the main characters...well them and Caleb...Xan's asexual and aromantic Omega and here's where I'm going to reinforce what the author has already said 'there is no cheating in this story.' 

 

So what else wasn't I suppose to enjoy in this one well...one of the characters has a bit of a kink for rough sex and humiliation and all I can say is holy crap this is SO NOT MY THING! more so than anything else but I was determined to see this one through and in spite of this I was really getting into this story plus I was starting to really, really like Urho and Xan and then we met Caleb and damn, Caleb fascinates me. I'll be the first to admit for a lot of the story I ran hot and cold on whether or not I liked him but I was always fascinated by him so continuing became a non-issue I was in it for the long haul.

 

Now what else didn't I like...well, there was Xan's father and let me just say if you've read or listened to the audio book, I can't imagine that I'm alone on that one. Next we have Xan's cousin, Janice and while I can't exactly say that I didn't like Janice, I can very truthfully say that I didn't like his behavior and I think this is as good a time as any the segue into what I did like about this story...

 

So let's carry on with Janice because like Caleb I think there's so much more to Janice than meets the eye.  Honestly I'm hoping that Janice will find himself some redemption in another story and Caleb I honestly can't imagine that there isn't just so much more to Caleb than what we've seen here.

 

In general there are so few stories with characters who are asexual/aromantic that I'm fairly comfortable saying that this is maybe the second or possibly third book that I've read with an asexual/aromantic character who has a fairly important role in the story and for myself I liked the way that the author handled this. I never felt that Caleb was being ignored or that his importance to Xan was ever diminished but at the same time the author didn't take things too far the other way making it feel like Xan was being patronizing or condescending when it came to Caleb. To say that I found Caleb to be a unique and fascinating character is probably understating things a little but we'll go with that.

 

It's also been a while since I've read a book that left me wanting more about as many secondary characters as this one has...there's Janice, Caleb, Wren (or Ren, I'm not sure how that was spelt) and Xan's brother Ray. While I wasn't exactly a smitten kitten when it came to Xan's father his brother Ray was an entirely different story. I feel like I'm leaving someone out in all of this but I think you get my point which is that the author has created a number of characters that have depth and dimension creating characters that compelled me to want to know more about them. 

 

There were a couple of births that happened during this story and once again Ms. Blake's balancing act of giving just the right amount of detail was spot on for me and I wasn't even a little bit squicked out about them.

 

Ok at this point I'm going to talk about the narrator because damn, this reviews getting long...I mean seriously I'm cutting into your reading time here and that's just sad and wrong so I'm going to just say a couple more things and then I'll shut up, I promise...

 

First about the narrator...Michael Ferraiuolo...I mean really do I need to say more? The man is a consummate professional when it comes to audio books he not only gets the job done but he does it with flare bringing life and depth to the characters and the story.

 

and last but not least in a time when we need all the magic moments we can get thank you, Leta Blake and Michael Ferraiuolo for giving me over 15 hours of magic. 

 

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An audio book of 'Alpha Heat' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2018-11-07 14:35
Review: Summoned to Thirteenth Grave(Charley Davidson #13) by Darynda Jones
Summoned To Thirteenth Grave - Darynda Jones

 

Grim Reaper Charley Davidson is back in the final installment of Darynda Jones’ New York Times bestselling paranormal series!

 

Charley Davidson, Grim Reaper extraordinaire, is pissed. She’s been kicked off the earthly plain for eternity – which is the appropriate amount of time to make a person starkraving mad. But someone’s looking out for her, and she’s allowed to return after a mere hundred years in exile. Is it too much to hope for that not much has changed? Apparently it is. Bummer.

She’s missed her daughter, she’s missed Reyes, and Beep, but now that she’s back on earth, it’s time to put to rest burning questions that need answers. What happened to her mother? How did she really die? Who killed her? And are cupcakes or coffee the best medicine? It all comes to a head in an epic showdown between good and evil in this final smart and hilarious novel.

 

 

 

 

*I received a free copy from the publisher via Netgalley and chose to leave a voluntary review. Thank you!*

 

 

 

Well this is it … the last book. A bitter sweet good bye to a great series that I loved so much.

Of course being the last book in the series it is hard to review without spoiling it but I will try and make it short and to the point.

We start off with Charley still being banished but shortly in, she gets freed and we get a steamy welcome home with Reyes. He informs her shortly after what is happening and they have limited to save the world, but like all the previous book that is not enough so Charley gets a few more things to deal with, including a possible serial murder on the loose.   In order to solve one mystery she must find out what really happened the night she was born and we soon discover that there is a lot we didn’t know.

To be honest it did not feel like the last book until we get three quarters into the book. It just feels like most of the previous books and we get her and her gang together working on saving the world once again…

Likewise with humor, we get plenty of humor throughout the book even being one of the darker or scarier books in the series and let’s not forget the romance that plays a part of it.

About at the 75% into the book we start to get the, this is it, this is the final book vibe. It is do or die time, literally.   Also this is full of surprises, some of the BIGGEST twists are happening in this book. There were moments I was crying and then like …”wait … what?!?!” a minute later. Even after finishing the book I still was not over some of the surprises or shocks I should say we learned.

Everything gets tied up in its very own fitting way, depending on who or what….

I shed plenty of tears reading this book, some happy tears others not so much but overall I was happy and satisfied with how it ended …… even though the last line of the book about drove me …. Crazy.

I will miss Charley and crew so much and still am sad this is the final book, but I hope we will see them again sometime in maybe novella or maybe even a spin off.  

Overall, I really loved this book and thought it was a great ending to an even better series. Farewell my friends, I will miss you….

I rate it full 5 ★

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buy Links 

 

 

Will be available January 15, 2019

 

Amazon *** B&N *** Kobo

 

Source: snoopydoosbookreviews.com/index.php/2018/11/07/review-summoned-to-thirteenth-gravecharley-davidson-13-by-darynda-jones
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review 2018-11-07 03:06
This demon hunter doesn't hate vampires...
Quenched In Blood - Ari McKay

or at least not all of them.

 

'Quenched In Blood is the third and concluding part of Ari McKay's Asheville Arcana series. In each of these stories we've met a different couple first it was Arden and Eli. In the second story we say Whimsy as he found his mate in the werewolf Harlan and throughout we've seen glimpses of Arden and Whimsy's friend and erstwhile lover the vampire Julian...

 

As the battle between Arden, Whimsy, Julian and the Werewolf Packs against the demons continues Arden and Julian find themselves at Micah's farm. As afar as they knew Micah was the last of the Demon Hunters but what they believe turns out to be wrong when they discover that Micah's wasn't the last Demon Hunter...no that honor falls to Thomas, Micah's grandson.

 

When Thomas learns that his grandfather has kept his legacy from him, he puts his anger aside to learn what's needed so that he can help save his new found friends and their world as they band together to find the cauldron of rebirth...the key to finally defeating the demons.

 

Julian agrees to take in Thomas giving him protection and training him to be a Demon Hunter and as his training progresses Thomas and Julian realize that they share an attraction to each other but Julian's filled with the guilt of the past and it's going to take all of Thomas's sweetness and determination to get past his barriers and convince Julian that they can be together and have a future.

 

While Julian's been a present in all of these books. He's always kept himself at a cool, aloof distance and for me the Julian that we met in this story didn't quite mesh with the Julian that we've had until now. I'm ok with the fact that his attraction brought him out a bit more making him a more approachable...a bit warmer in his personality but there were moments that Julian just felt a bit too aloof. So maybe this parts on me that Julian just wasn't what I thought he should be. 

 

Thomas actually got off easy with me because while we knew of him until this story he's really only been an abstract idea and one that I didn't have any preconceived ideas about so he just got to be who he was and I was good with him. Thomas was young and had an extremely sheltered life with his grandfather keeping him on the farm and never allowing him to experience the world.

 

Overall I liked this story in theory it was good and a lot of it worked but Julian and Thomas as a couple just didn't quite happen for me. I think if things had developed at a little slower pace between these two I would have felt myself more invested in their story...in them as a couple. The rest of this story worked fairly well for me especially the ending so while this book wasn't quite as successful for me as the first two. It was still a fitting ending for this story giving a magical but all things considered rather realistic solution to things.

 

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An ARC of 'Quenched in Blood' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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