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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-03-03 11:30
Reading Anniversaries: First in a Series & Singles–January Edition



Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on March 3, 2018.






The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross


I don't much remember what went on in this book, except there being a plot to replace the Queen with an automaton clone. Must have made an impression on me because I rated it 4 stars on GR. Oh, and the covers in the series are beautiful! I recently and reviewed the second book in this series.





Must Love Hellhounds by Various Authors




GR tells me that I loved most of the stories from this anthology. Must have been a good collection. I remember trying it out because it also included a story by Ilona Andrews -- a favorite author couple of mine.





Frostbite by David Wellington


If you don't yet know that an awesome vampire series by David Wellington's exists, then you haven't been paying attention. Like the Laura Caxton series, this one is creepy AF. My GR review tells me I recommend it to:


                         people who like werewolves without the romance and cheesiness


I loved it and I don't even like horror much! Here, let my gushing adoration convince you that you need to try Wellington's books.




Stray by Rachel Vincent


When I first read it, one of the most annoying things about this series was its heroine. She was a whiny, selfish brat who didn't care about the consequences of her action. One of the best things about it, as I continued to plod along, is how she changed! By the end of the series, the events have transformed her into the alpha her father always knew her to be. If that doesn't float your boat, maybe stay for all the violence and the gore? Oh, and did I mention that the series is complete? You can binge read it!





The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan


Maybe I have a soft spot for tortured, lonely werewolves or maybe it's something else. Either way, I just completed this series. While the first had impressed me, the second and third fell short. All I'm saying is that even with the cliffhanger at the end of the first one, it can easily be read as a standalone.






Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card


I have had much to say about the second book in this series on this blog. All good things, I promise. Therefore, it won't come as a surprise that I loved the first one, as well! The ending blew me away even when I have become so jaded about last-minute twists that change everything. Check this one out!





He was a Hero, He Shouldn't have Died by Kenneth Mugi


If you asked me to describe this book in a word, I'd probably say weird. But wait, this is what I said in my review:


I got this book for free, in exchange for an honest review from Making Connections. Get your copy here.


This book is very different from the plethora of Paranormal novels out there- it turns the idea of Dorian Gray’s picture on its head.


What I really liked about it was that the touch of fantasy/paranormal elements didn’t overwhelm Kasumi’s story.

Another thing to like was that if the new edited version had any errors, I couldn’t find them.


There is enough humor to balance the darkness in the story.


I would have liked to see more of Morgan but watching Kasumi grow into her powers would be exciting too.


Hoping that there are some fight scenes in the next book!


This book isn’t for everybody but if you’d like to read something unique, give this one a whirl.




The Gods Among Us by D.C. Belton

An old read, an old review:


The author was kind enough to give me a free review copy.

You know those books that you just don't wanna put down? Not because there's something exciting happening in the story or it is a good story...not only that but mostly because the writing flows and the story is being told so smoothly that you just read on and on. This book was such a book.


The parts I loved the most began when Pallas is aboard the ship and meets the crew. Their humor, lightheartedness and loyalty towards each other made them lovable.

I also liked that we're set up to hate Elena in the beginning of the story but we find out she has more depth and understands political intrigue much better than her younger sisters give her credit for.


Othello, I feared and hated just like I was supposed to. Even when I laughed at his antics, I wasn't less creeped out by him!




About the gods and their machinations: a) I'm not yet sure if they're actually deities and not humans who know what opposable thumbs are, b) they just don't care whose life they ruin, do they? Even Pallas who claims not to believe in gods & goddesses can't escape their schemes!


Pallas keeps mentioning how her father must miss her and I couldn't shake the feeling that there's something wrong there. Poor Pallas!


What would have made the book even better was a little more world building, maybe? Or a map, so we could understand what this world is like even better.




Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Lovely, fun at times and sad at other times, quirky as heck read. I liked it, maybe you would too?


Well, those were my faves from the past years. You can also find reviews of books from 2018 that stuck with me. 

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review 2018-01-31 06:52
Games Creatures Play ed. by Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner
Games Creatures Play - Charlaine Harris,Toni L.P. Kelner

Welcome to the wide world of paranormal pastimes, where striking out might strike you dead. Editors Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner are your announcers for this all-new story collection of the most peculiar plays ever made… Sports fans live and die by their teams’ successes and failures—though not literally. But these fourteen authors have written spirited—in more ways than one—new tales of killer competitions that would make even the most die-hard players ask to be benched. These supernatural sporting stories are guaranteed to have you rooting for the home team…or else…





Edited by Charlaine Harris of Sookie Stackhouse series fame, along with co-editor Toni L.P. Kelner (they've previously collaborated on similar anthologies), these short stories are crafted by some of the biggest names in the supernatural / fantasy / sci-fi genres. Oh, and speaking of Sookie Stackhouse by the way, Harris includes a story featuring her into this mix.


Here, the stories are given a sports-themed twist just to keep things interesting. That's the concept anyway. After my reading experience, I came away feeling more like these were kind of like campfire stories... fun and mildly spooky in the moment but quickly forgettable once you're distanced from them. I also found the sports connection in many of the stories pretty loosely done. 


Each author gets a (usually comedic) bio blurb at the start of their story. I suspect each author wrote their own, but who knows. I'd say my favorite is the one for Mercedes Lackey, which opens with: "Mercedes Lackey was born in Chicago, Illinois on June 24, 1950. The very next day, the Korean War was declared. It is hoped that there is no connection between the two events."


Then there was the bio blurb of Adam-Troy Castro, the author of the Gustav Gloom series: "Adam-Troy Castro has historically brought the suck to any sport he has ever been coaxed into playing, but he has had a little bit more luck as a writer."


No surprise, my very favorite story in this collection was "Jammed" by Seanan McGuire, as she is one of my favorite authors and seeing her name on the cover was a primary reason for me purchasing the book in the first place. I can always count on her to come out with highly unique and wildly entertaining plots! I haven't yet gotten into the InCrytpid series, but I hear this story is supposed to fit into that world. 


In "Jammed", Antimony Price comes from a long line of monster hunters, but the Price family was supposed to be wiped out centuries ago. In this modern age she needs to keep a low profile, so she takes up the persona Annie Thompson, social worker / roller derby competitor (playing under the name Final Girl). At one of the roller derby meets, a girl from another team is murdered, her severed leg all that's left to identify. Looking at the leg, Antimony determines this was likely a non-human attacker. So, you can imagine that low-profile life is quickly eliminated as an option!


"I shove my phone into my pocket, shouting, 'Mom! I'm going to go fight a monster I can't identify yet!"


"Don't get decapitated, dear," she called back. 


I shook my head. "Parental oversight," I muttered, stepping outside. Sometimes it's hard to forget that I'm the youngest child in the family -- I came after the heir AND the spare, and my parents are happy if I make it through the day without setting anything on fire or dropping anyone who doesn't deserve it down a pit trap. Great for doing whatever I want without worrying about rules getting in my way, lousy if what I want is for my mother to realize that I'm running off to get myself killed and at least offer me an extra knife or something."


~ from "Jammed" by Seanan McGuire


The collection opens and closes with offerings from editors Harris & Kelner. It's a fun enough gathering of names in that you get to see them doing a little something different, creatively, with their craft, but most of these didn't leave me mindblown. I'd recommend solely off the Seanan McGuire story. 

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review 2018-01-22 15:01
Not sure about this series – quite good but ...
Rockstars Volume 1: Nativity in Blacklig... Rockstars Volume 1: Nativity in Blacklight - Charlaine Harris



This comic collection by Joe Harris, like Snowfall, is wordy as he obviously likes experimenting with language which is no bad thing but it makes reading the comics a bit more hard work. As I get older, I'm not always up to the task.


The series revolves around a rock fan looking into strange goings-on associated with rock bands, partnered up with an investigative journalist. Murder and satanic rituals become part of the plot as the supernatural plays a major part in the plot.


The artwork is reasonably clear and I look forward to the next volume to see how it develops but it's all a bit “clever-clever”


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review 2018-01-03 00:00
Dead Reckoning
Dead Reckoning - Charlaine Harris I have feelings, and I'm starting to think I should have taken notes about stuff while re-reading these books, so I could remember everything. This one was...a lot. Vamp drama was at an all-time high, emotions were high, stakes (hehe) were high, and a lot of ground was covered in this one. Sookie and Eric's relationship is possibly permanently altered thanks to Appius, the jerk, who basically gave Eric to the OK Queen, which outranks his vampire marriage to Sookie. Pam...poor Pam. This was the one when we see more of the softer side of Pam, and my heart broke for her and the situation with Miriam. I'm really, really glad Victor died for good, after blocking her from being able to turn Miriam before the woman died. Bill and Sookie had at least one interesting moment, and I probably liked him more in these last couple of books than I ever did in the beginning. (I'm just not a Bill fan. I always liked Sookie & Eric.) That whole bit with her ending up in his hiding place, naked, kinda on top of him, while hiding from the people trying to abduct her was just hilarious. Who knows what's going to happen to the LA vamps now that Victor and all his vamps are dead, at the hands of Eric and his vamps, plus a few humans, and I hate that I can't remember what happens next. Actually, that bit in Fangtasia, with Bubba, was just about all I remembered from this book at all before my re-read. And then there's Sookie's fae relatives, and the other fae stuck on this side of the portal. But, she finally learned probably as much truth as she'll ever learn about her family's history like how often Fintan was actually around, impersonating the human man she'd always though was her grandfather, creepy freaking fairies. Sandra Pelt showed up again and hurrah for Sookie, Sam, and...uh...Jannalynn? Whatever Sam's Were girlfriend's name is, for taking Sandra out of the picture for good. I can't remember what happens with Sookie and Amelia's friendship. I like Amelia a lot, but she really crossed a line blabbing about Sookie in the Were bar, then her and Claude letting Alcide into Sookie's house while she wasn't there, and inviting him into her bed? Seriously? I know Amelia doesn't think too much before acting, but that, on top of her kinda pushing Sookie to break her bond with Eric was just way too much. I think this was the first book I had real issues with Eric, which is sad. I mean, he wasn't exactly a great guy, but I adore him anyway. When he took blood from Sookie, after the big fight, I was really not happy about the way he did it. And before that, him keeping everything about the situation with Appius and the arrangement with the OK Queen? Not cool. Kudos to Pam for trying her damnedest to get Eric to tell Sookie what was going on, because he should have, much sooner.
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review 2018-01-01 00:00
Dead and Gone: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel: Sookie Stackhouse Series, Book 9 (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood)
Dead and Gone: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel: Sookie Stackhouse Series, Book 9 (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood) - Charlaine Harris I think I liked this one more the second time around, but I'm not sure why. This one, in my opinion, made up for the less action-y previous two books, and I feel like my re-read was a nice way to ring in the new year. (I started and finished it before 10AM.) Sookie and Eric's relationship is getting interesting (yay!), the fae war was brewing, Sookie and Jason learned more about their parents' death, Bubba made another appearance, Sookie was abducted and tortured (not a pleasant thing, but it was a tense bit that kept my eyes glued to the book), Arlene was really and truly exposed for how awful she can be (so I'm hoping Sookie and Sam are done with her, because I can't remember), Bill threatened to make Quin into a rug (which I thought was hilarious and had to put the book down for a second to stop laughing), Crystal was murdered (also not good, but I guess it was a convenient way to get her out of the picture for future plot things), and more. There were parts I wasn't crazy about Crystal being kinda taken out by Mel because Mel was gay and loved Jason (I mean really?), Crystal's actual murderers/crucifiers being the two fae who'd abducted Sookie, Tray being killed (sad), Sookie having that weird flash of love/"maybe he wasn't so bad *heart eyes*" moment about Bill when Bill was possibly/probably dying after saving her (blech), Claudine dying (I know, it isn't reasonable to expect everyone to live, but I loved Claudine), probably more..., but overall, I really enjoyed it and I'm diving directly into the next one.
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