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review 2018-03-15 17:43
No dragons despite cover.
Tess of the Road - Rachel Hartman

I got this book off of Netgalley as an eARC.

I have mixed feelings about this book.
It has a strong female protagonist as does Seraphina, however it has the whole rape backstory, which sucks.
So the whole premise is that Tess needs to get away from her mother as she's pretty much abusive and hates Tess for being raped and getting pregnant as the religion of her mom is St. Vitt which is an analog of Christianity.
Tess then gets the opportunity to run away from home and meets up with Pathka, her childhood quigtl friend.
We then find out that quigtl can change their sex so Pathka is now male instead of the female quigtl that Tess knew. This is important as quigtl have the gender neutral pronoun 'ko' which never gets used when talking about Pathka. This really bothered me because there is a correct pronoun and it's not being used.
There's also a homeless man that Tess is horribly cruel to, just so she can have a moment of redemption getting help for him.
After she meets Pathka then the whole book is about her going after ko goal of Anathuthia. After thus it's pretty much set in arcs of what happens. She gets to a place then thing happens, gets to another place and another thing happens. That may or may not be your thing, but to me it felt like it was padding.
Overall it felt as if there was a hatred of women as it was women that seemed to be the ones hurting Tess, even inadvertently, to where she'd run to the arms of a man to seek consoling. This is kind of painful to see for a book that wants strong women. They just don't seem to support each other as much as I'd like to see.

Overall it's not a bad book, but I really wish it wouldn't have done a lot of things it did.

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review 2018-03-09 02:11
Anna & Charles
Burn Bright - Patricia Briggs,-Penguin Audio-,Holter Graham

Finished the newest Alpha & Omega listen on audible. These books are my favorite books by Patricia Briggs. This was slow in places, although still a good listen.  Holter Graham changed the character voices from past narrations, I thought “wha?..” but got over the difference quickly. Definitely worth a listen, intrigue, good characters and entertaining can’t ask for much more. 

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review 2018-03-09 02:11
#Audiobook Review: Burn Bright by Patricia Briggs
Burn Bright - Patricia Briggs,-Penguin Audio-,Holter Graham

With Bran away, Charles is charged with looking after his pack. Danger strikes close to home, endangering the Wildlings, lone wolves who are too wild to be part of the pack, but remain under Bran’s protection. Unable to reach Bran, Charles and Anna are left of save and protect the Wildlings while trying to uncover who within the pack is a traitor.


While Burn Bright is the continuation of Charles and Anna’s story, the series on whole is deeply connected to its sister series, the Mercy Thompson series, and this story takes place following and refers to the events in Silence Fallen. Bran remains away after helping Mercy escape her captors in Europe, but lied about his location to Charles. So when things go sideways and Bran is unreachable, Charles begins to suspect more is going on than a random attack on isolated wolves.


I mostly enjoyed the story as it alternates between Anna and Charles’ POVs, revealing bits and threads that begin to show something larger happening around the pack. The series is at its best when Anna and Charles are in sync, working together to solve a bizarre mystery. And although Charles and Anna work separately for a bit, the trust and love they share makes the pair much stronger than the individuals. And watching them try to figure out who is attacking the Wildlings while trying to understand what secrets Bran has hidden for them to uncover was exciting and engrossing. We meet several new characters that I hope turn up in books down the road.


Unfortunately, there is one part of the book that really bothered me, even though I tried hard to understand why Ms. Briggs would have included it. Specifically it has to do with the relationship between Bran and his foster daughter, Mercy, who doesn’t even make an appearance in the story. Anna and Charles discuss the bond between Bran and Mercy, and the impacts to Bran’s own mating bond with Leah. The implications are upsetting and disturbing, and I feel there was no reason to include it. However, I did enjoy learning more about Leah (later in the book) and her motivations. It made her character more relatable and three-dimensional.


The story is narrated by series-veteran, Holter Graham. I have always enjoyed his performances, although I felt sometimes he had a stereotype-Native American accent for Charles. However, in Burn Bright, Mr. Graham changed up his voice for Charles quiet a bit. So much so, that it sparked a big discussion among my friends on Twitter. While the change was distracting at first, it didn’t take me too long to settle into the new voice and enjoy the performance. Overall his voices remain solid and character appropriate, adding in a touch of emotion when needed.


In the end, I enjoyed finally getting back to Anna and Charles after a three-year break. It doesn’t seem like the story was as strong as previous tales, but that may have more to do with the shift away from the Fae, giving the book a transition feel. The story builds upon what I love most about this series - the dynamic between Anna and Charles, their bond and love. I liked getting more about Leah; I liked understanding her and her feelings a bit more. The Wildlings piece was interesting, and I hope well see more of them in future titles. 


My Rating: B 

Narration: B 


Review copy provided by Penguin Random House Audio

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review 2018-02-20 11:04
Review: Reign of the Fallen
Reign of the Fallen - Sarah Marsh
I received a copy from Penguin First to Read.

I finished this in December last year and I’m still struggling to put to words how to review it. I sort of liked it, I loved the diversity of the characters. This was one of my most anticipated January releases, but the actual book itself? Even after well over a month later I’m still undecided. 

I think my biggest issue with it was the whole the dead rule the world thing. In this novel you have a kingdom where Necromancers are the most powerful mages and when dead nobles die, it’s their job to go and retrieve their soul so the person can keep living and ruling as they have done. Maybe I’m getting too cynical but I’m struggling to grasp this concept. Mainly because from this reader’s point of view – it doesn’t teach anyone how to deal with the concept of death. Particularly the ruling class. Even their king is the living dead. I don’t get it. 

Best thing I loved about this book was BISEXUAL LEAD FEMALE CHARACTER!!! 

The novel starts with the lead female Odessa and her best friend/boyfriend Evander about to receive their commendation as official members of the Necromancer’s guild. As full Necromancer mages they can live in the palace and lead comfortable lives. Odessa sort of secretly wants to see the world, and you get the impression she thinks that Evander did too. Odessa has a friend (lady pirate) with a ship who can offer a passage out into the wider world. However, it’s forbidden to leaving their secluded comfortable little kingdom, even though the royals are mostly wise and seemingly well-liked and respected and everyone seems pretty comfortable. At least on the surface. There’s always going to be problems hidden in a kingdom like this which is never obvious to the people whom it should be. Which should raise questions as to why no one is ever allowed to leave. Why do the dead have to be brought back over and over? (There may have been an answer in the book I just can’t remember it).

The risen dead have certain rules to live by and there’s consequences, things can take a drastically bad turn and the risen dead can become murderous monsters known as Shades. On a seemingly routine job the kingdom princess Valoria accompanies Odessa and Evander and the reader gets their introduction into the land of the dead and the way things work.

Only a short time after the task is done there is a shock death. A loose Shade on the rampage. Odessa starts to question things about her relationship with Evander. The mystery in the dead lands is progressing, the Shade attacks are getting more frequent. 

Early on in the novel there was a really surprising twist I would never have guessed at.

The characters were great, I loved them all. A+ for diversity, a lesbian couple, a gay couple, and a bisexual lead female. The characters were well fleshed out, their emotions and actions believable. Though I did feel that Odessa could be a tad over dramatic. 

That being said, in the aftermath of an unexpected tragedy she falls apart. She breaks down. Completely understandable, but she also develops an addiction to a pain numbing tonic rather than dealing with the harsh reality and emotions. There was something very uncomfortable about this. I do understand and logical that it’s so much easier to give into an addiction rather than deal with the feelings when faced with something horrible.

I did find the pacing of the novel very slow, something would happen and then it would emotional turmoil and meandering and seemed like ages before anything else would happen. There didn’t feel like a whole lot of action going on. The second half of the novel picked up a bit, a new character is introduced who comes across as quite antagonising for Odessa and gives her more of a challenge, a new lead into the investigation into the increasing Shade attacks sets of a new direction which breathed more life into the novel. Also hinting at the possibility of a new romance angle as well. The character is mentioned in passing a few times earlier in the novel and comes in with her own agenda but finds herself becoming part of Odessa’s investigation. 

Meredy is a Beast Master, she can control animals as well as being a Necromancer. She’s smart, sassy and not afraid to call Odessa out on her bullshit. She doesn’t follow blindly, though she has some pretty misguided ideas of her own necromancy when she makes her appearance. She provides a good counter balance to Odessa.

When the force behind the Shade attacks is finally revealed there was a bit of eye rolling why didn’t I see this coming from a mile away? Kind of amusing in a way, should have been fairly obvious but actually it was quite clever that I never managed to figure out the twist to see it coming. 

While some of the novel I found slow and boring it did have its moments. I didn’t get some of the magical concepts. There were some of it I liked. It was certainly interesting and creative and not a fantasy type I’ve seen done a hundred different times. So plus points for uniqueness. I did buy a finished hardback, I may have to read this again at some point before the next one comes out. 


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review 2018-02-20 08:34
Where Politics Today Can Be Found In Animal Farm
Animal Farm - George Orwell

When I first heard of Animal Farm, my curiosity peaks to a point if I should read it. This was in fact in the 1990s when I heard about it. Of course, I didn't read it at all and never even go further and didn't even know there was a TV live-action movie that was released in 1999 or even the 1954 animated featured as well. Straight to 2018 and finally, I read the book. After so many years and I bought it last year, I finally read it for an upcoming book discussion and as it turns out, I didn't really enjoy it nor hate it a lot. I just felt indifferent.


I am sure many have read Animal Farm before. It is this book that George Orwell, besides 1984, he became successful compare to his early writings during his journalistic days. In many ways, Animal Farm is a political book. Reading it on the other hand, it is what transpire of what is happening today. I mean, there isn't any thing I do not know about that will give such value on this book that I do not know of what is happening in today's politics. In fact, I look at all angles and it is a straight-forward adult fairy tale... one that doesn't have a good ending. To me, its more of 'this is what happens when you become ignorant' and 'you don't blame anyone when you support loyally to a greedy swine' than just a story with a good ending. Its an awareness book that was meant as life in totalitarian ruling of the old Russia, when it had its revolution and the rise of Joseph Stalin (I am not sure how many younger generation knows this) and the degeneration livelihood of Russia then. But reading it I can see its almost similar to the world's politics today even in certain countries (I don't think I need to mention which one, if people aren't ignorant on reading news). To me, its nothing exceptional but rather, a representation of what the world was then in politics, its the world that it is now in politics.


Although I had not much complains on the writing, as it is clear and simple and easy to follow, I can't say I do enjoy the book. I mean, I like the writing but not the tale itself. Still, I can understand why it took such difficulty for George Orwellto publish this book but only after
the World War II he was able to, but by that time itself, after his death it became even more popular, although not among critics, read by many and even introduced in literature classes as well. Animal Farm is a book that whether to read or not, it doesn't matter. All around us are... well, we are living in a huge animal farm of our own. As I quote the famous line 'All Animals Are Equal But Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others' is now part of life we are living. We still have, in fact, ignorant people that believe in words of Napoleon of such (we have lots of Napoleons, that swine reincarnates!) every where, this book to me... doesn't make much difference but it can be a discussion worth debating.

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