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text 2017-02-22 05:13
Fiasco and WTF
Venom and Vanilla (The Venom Trilogy) - Shannon Mayer

Uff da, this is some silly stuff.


Venom and Vanilla started with a bang. We're introduced to Alena on her death bed, cut down by a communicable disease that's so virulent that she's flown out to Whidbey Island off the coast of Seattle to die isolated and alone. It's a sad, slow beginning, nostalgic for her simple life and small rebellions. Alena was a member of the Firstamentalists, an almost cult-like religious group who brooked no contact with the Supernaturals: vampires, werewolves, etc. Of course, fiction being what it is, the narrative lack dictates that, in order to cure the fatal disease rapidly killing her, Alena must become a Supernatural. 


I actually loved watching a protagonist struggle with her religion. Alena holds to her principles, even though she'd long questioned them, long past my expectations. While I found her childish refusal to do anything close to cussing annoying -- for fuck's sake, donkey butt has nowhere near the frisson of asshole -- I commend the commitment to character. Alena is a good girl, a religious girl, and she's not going to shed her convictions just because she's like a giant snake or there's a hot vampire or whatever. 


But that's about where I stop my praise, because this novel is such an absolute fiasco. Alena is turned into an ancient Greek monster by Merlin, THE Merlin, of all people, to be murdered by Achilles, who is apparently a thing, and Zeus works for Wal*Mart, plus there are vampires and naga and werewolves and satyr and god knows what fuck all. Oh, and there's a standard dystopia where Supes are second class citizens dumped onto the other side of a wall (oops, sorry Canada, you're now the dumping ground for supernatural creatures). 


This is one of those stories that is so far gone that I enjoyed it, just waiting for whatever bananas ass shit was going to happen next. Lightning shootout in Wal*Mart? Fine. Naked girl fight in a Queen Anne neighborhood attic? Sure. Casual slut shaming while reveling in the lead's nascent sexuality? Whatever. A house-sized snake fighting minotaurs? I guess. So much random shit happens, SO MUCH. SO MANY characters hide footballs, and not even stealthily, but like right in front of you like you don't have eyes in your head. It's so blatant it passes over insulting into something else completely. 


Anyway, I guess what I want to say is that the reader for the audio is fucking amazing, and I think she's the only reason I finished this thing. Her name is Saskia Maarleveld, and I really like her voice. 


The End. 

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review 2017-02-21 20:27
Fire Touched / Patricia Briggs
Fire Touched - Patricia Briggs

Tensions between the fae and humans are coming to a head. And when coyote shapeshifter Mercy and her Alpha werewolf mate, Adam, are called upon to stop a rampaging troll, they find themselves with something that could be used to make the fae back down and forestall out-and-out war: a human child stolen long ago by the fae.

Defying the most powerful werewolf in the country, the humans, and the fae, Mercy, Adam, and their pack choose to protect the boy no matter what the cost. But who will protect them from a boy who is fire touched?


Plenty of Fae goodness in this installment of Mercy Thompson! They are absolutely the best frenemies—devious, slippery, powerful, and power-hungry. Mercy has to be careful even with her friendly Fae!

Mercy & her shape-shifting gang beat a powerful troll, then Mercy “claims” the Tri-Cities area à la Kate Daniels of the Ilona Andrews series. Just like Kate, Mercy finds that her spur of the moment solution causes more headaches than she anticipated.

Excellent things about this book? Mercy finally gets some female friends! She gets to have a heart-to-heart talk with The Flanagan, a fabulous Fae woman—the only reservation I have is that its “girl talk” as they discuss the men in their lives. Soooo close to Bechdel test territory, but no cigar. But there is less hostility from the female werewolves and Baba Yaga makes some friendly overtures, giving me hope that Mercy may get some normal friendships out of the deal.

Secondly, Mercy doesn’t get absolutely bashed up in this installment. For once, someone else gets crushed by troll-tossed cars, fae-flung boulders, and any other bone-crushing missiles. Just a few bruises this time for our heroine.

If there are any minuses, it’s that the vampires are virtually absent. Yes, we get Thomas Hao, as The Flanagan’s prospective love interest, but Stefan never makes an appearance at all and even Wulfe only gets one little phone call to be creepy in.

A perennial complaint of mine—cover art. This one seems particularly bad to me, depicting Mercy with far less clothing that I picture her wearing. I just don’t see that shirt being too practical for all the butt-kicking that she does.

I wonder if we might get a spin-off series featuring Thomas Hao & The Flanagan? I’d read those!

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review 2017-02-21 17:37
Review: Skinwalker (Jane Yellowrock #1) by Faith Hunter
Skinwalker - Faith Hunter

Review featured at Angel's Guilty Pleasures 




 Jane Yellowrock #1  
 Faith Hunter  
 Urban Fantasy  
 Penguin Group USA  
 July 7th 2009  


First in a brand new series from the author of the Rogue Mage novels


Jane Yellowrock is a supernatural skinwalker--one sharing her body with the soul of a mountain lion. When the rogue-vampire hunter is hired to hunt down a particularly nasty vamp, Jane is drawn into the steamy New Orleans vampire society where she learns the ins-and-outs of the "sane" vampire culture, more about her own Cherokee heritage, and we are drawn into a rousing, fast-paced thriller.




Barnes & Noble


Book Depository



The Jane Yellowrock series is one that has been recommended to me by many a book lover. I’ve had it on my TBR for years now and finally I’m starting this series and seeing what everyone is talking about.


Skinwalker is book one in the Jane Yellowrock series by Faith Hunter. It was a delightful start to the series. We get action, adventure, mystery, and a diverse bunch of supernatural creatures.


I enjoyed Jane and the Beast. They both are kick-ass and distinctive. I found the alternating POV’s between Jane and the Beast to be remarkable and gripping. I like that Jane’s heritage is Cherokee, she reminded me a little of Mercy Thompson from the Mercy Thompson series. I also enjoyed that her past is murky and that we only get little tidbits on her background. It wasn’t a lot, but enough to wet the appetite. I also liked that she enjoys tea’s. I find that refusing; especially in this day and age where authors have their characters drinking coffee all the time.


Skinwalker focused on the characters and a mystery. I enjoyed the mystery. The pace was steady and the mystery was not apparent until it was revealed. Always good to be keepet in the dark until the characters figure it out. Their was a lot of information on all the other paranormals in the world. With Jane very little, but we get a diverse bunch of supernaturals and information explaining them.


We also have a little attraction going on, no romance, but you can see that Jane or should I say Beast wants Jane to find a mate. Jane understands and notices an attractive guy, who wouldn’t notice a hot guy, but she doesn’t just give in to attraction. The chase is half the fun.


Skinwalker was a good read and I look forward to the next.


Rated: 3.5 Stars


Was this review helpful? If so, please consider liking it on Goodreads (Angela)!





Challenge(s): New To Me (Author/Series) | Pick Your Genre (UF) | Backlist Reader | Library Love (2017)








Owner/Review and mind behind Angel’s Guilty Pleasures. However what I am not is a writer. I apologize now for the grammatical and punctuation errors I make, because I know I’m going to make them. I’m a mother, wife, dog owner, animal, and book lover. My favorite animals are horses. As for reading I love all things paranormal & urban fantasy. My favorite shifters are dragons!

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Source: angelsguiltypleasures.com/2017/02/review-skinwalker-jane-yellowrock-1-by-faith-hunter
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review 2017-02-19 19:45
Rosie the Raven by Helga Bansch
Rosie the Raven - Helga Bansch

Genre:  Animals / Family / Peer Pressure / Self Esteem

Year Published: 2016

Year Read:  2016

Publisher: Annick Press





I would like to thank NetGalley and Annick Press for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Now, I have heard many stories that involve a human character being adopted by an animal family or being born with an animal family. So, when I found this interesting children’s book called “Rosie the Raven” which is written and illustrated by Helga Bansch on NetGalley, I just had to check this book out and it was a pretty sweet and short little read!

The story starts off with a pair of raven parents seeing their five eggs hatching and while the four other eggs had baby ravens hatching out, the fifth egg had a little human girl hatching out! The little girl was named Rosie and at first, Rosie did not notice that she was different from the other ravens. But when the other birds started making insulting comments about Rosie’s strange appearance, Rosie then wanted to be like her brothers and sisters by trying to fly and make caw noises. But Rosie soon finds out that she could not do the things that her brothers and sisters could do and it was then that she discovered that her unique appearance might actually have some benefits…

As I mentioned before, I have seen many stories that has a human character being adopted by an animal family, but I had never read an animal/human family story where the main human character was actually born to a family of animals. Helga Bansch has done an excellent job at conveying the message of the importance of family through a supernatural yet heartwarming way as Rosie is presented as being a human who was somehow born the natural way a baby raven would be born…by hatching through an egg. There was no clear explanation about how this phenomena even happened and Rosie’s raven family did not seem to mind how bizarre this event is, which really made the story truly heartwarming to read as it shows that Rosie’s raven family does not care about how different Rosie looks from the other Raven children, they just care that Rosie is part of the family. Helga Bansch’s artwork is quite unique as the characters are drawn in a scratchy manner and the colorings are a bit of an earthly hue as we mainly see black, white and pink colors in the artwork. I also thought it was quite unique that Rosie’s skin tone is completely white, which makes her look extremely pale and it gives her a sort of unnatural appearance that really makes her stand out in the story.


Parents should know that some of the images in this book might be a tad bit scary for some children, especially since most characters look quite unnatural in this book. Probably the images that might scare some children the most would be the close up images of Rosie’s face as her eyes tend to look blank and her eyes seem a bit too misshapen. There were also the images of the other birds as they have newspaper collages as their feathers and that makes them look quite uncanny. Parents might want to read this book first to see if their child would enjoy seeing strange imagery in a book.

Overall, “Rosie the Raven” is a truly beautiful story about the importance of being in a loving family that cares about you no matter how different you are from them. I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since the some of the strange imagery might scare some children.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog


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review 2017-02-19 14:30
Audio Book Review: Hunting Down Dragons
Hunting Down Dragons: an Urban Fantasy (... Hunting Down Dragons: an Urban Fantasy (Moonlight Dragon) (Volume 2) - Tricia Owens

*This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review at my request.

Someone is looking to set Anne up, get her in serious trouble with the Oddsmakers who rule the city. Or so Anne thinks. No one's to do magic around normal people, and someone adds a dragon to the firework display, hoping it will point to Anne with her dragon familiar. After facing the Oddsmakers, Anne learns from Vale what her mom was looking for when she died. A necromancy artifact. Anne is determined to find this artifact, and learn who killed her parents on that mountainous road years ago and maybe find her Uncle who's missing.

Anne Moody's mom and uncle have each had their own task to perform for the Oddsmakers, and failed. Per the Oddsmakers, Vegasso was the first to arrive to capitalize on their failure, others will follow. But before Anne can know what the task was her family was to perform, she must prove she and her ancestors are not traitors. Or her life and those of her friends will be forfeit.

Jenna is a new narrator to me. I like when she gives a sound to one voice as though spoken into a room that has a large feel to it the distant echo-y voice. This extra really is awesome to get in an audio book. I enjoyed Jenna as she voiced the character's personalities. The audio felt seamless along with the cadence and emotions feeling to flow smoothly as she brought the story to life for us.

I've not read or listened to the first book. I know, that's out of character for me. But I liked the sound of the book and had to give it a go. It's all okay though. It's easy to pick up with the characters, world, and story in this second book without reading the first. The beginning of the book lists out who the characters are to each other and what they are. We learn about the Oddsmakers and even get mention of what happened in the first book as we head into what happens on the Fourth of July in Nevada as Anne and her friends sit watching fireworks in the desert.

I enjoyed the blend of friends that Anne has, and her love interest. The world here is full of supernaturals - monkey shifter, gargoyle, fortune teller, wolf shifter water fae, and Anne herself who's dragon blood, and these are just Anne's close friends. Anne is a great person that's also of a diverse nationality. I love the writing of her as she's a normal, regular person as she should be, in a supernatural world. Anne and her dragon familiar are connected. But the connection could draw Anne to be a dragon if she gives to much when using Lucky, which is not a good thing. It's so tempting yet so dangerous that she could lose herself. And she will be watched by he Oddsmakers who rule the supernatural in the city because of her heritage.

There is more to Vale than meets the eye. We start to see this here, but I think there is more to come out and want to learn about him. I want to see Anne with her other friends too. But there is more to the past with her parents and uncle. We learn about what happened to her parents, but there was something else with her mom and what she was searching for at the Oddsmakers demand. Also, Anne's uncle is still missing. I am curious about them all.

I know it sounds like we don't get answers, but we do. I just have a feeling there is more than meets the eye with it all. I look forward to the series as it all unfolds for us and the characters.

Something in the story telling reminds me of Linsey Hall's Urban Fantasy series. If you enjoy one author, you may enjoy the other.

I like the creation of a world with many supernaturals in Las Vegas. There is so much that can happen there and lots of space to happen in. Anne having a potential danger with her dragon heritage. And we get a feel there is more to Vale.

Overall, after writing my thoughts, I've found I really enjoyed the story and want to read/listen to more books with Anne and her friends.

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