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review 2018-01-17 06:02
Dragon Love
Fury of Obsession (Dragonfury Series Book 5) - Coreene Callahan

I listened to the audiobook of this and I was underwhelmed. At first I was excited since it's interracial. The heroine is a beautiful, dark-skinned African American woman and the hero is a dragon shifter (Caucasian in human form) from Eastern Europe. I still dug that about the story even though I was overall disappointed. I think that the major issue is that it was too derivative for me. I love the Black Dagger Brotherhood, and I like that it's had an impact on paranormal romance, but I would like to see an author inspired by these books to take to some diversions in storytelling that make their story more unique. While the author chose to inhabit her story with dragons of all kind, which was very cool, I felt like the style of storytelling, the number of subplots, and the set up of the group that Venom fights with is way too similar to the Brotherhood. There are characters that you can identify as certain BDB characters. Also, I feel that there is a lot of similarity to the Midnight Breed series by Lara Adrian. Another issue I have with the story is the dropped plotlines. At the beginning of the book Evelyn is in trouble with some Russian gangsters. It's like that all goes away. I was really confused about that. And some of the point of views I could deal without. I don't mind if we see the villain's POV somewhat, but not if they're not that interesting. I would rather have a scene where Venom kicks the crap out of the Russian gangster. The plot resolution suffered and failed to impress me. It was very anticlimactic. When the book ended, I was like, that's it? Yeah, I was pretty disappointed with this. I'm interested in the one character who reminds me of John Matthew before his transition, I think his name in Osgood. I'd definitely read his book. Overall thoughts: The dragon aspect, good. Romance: pretty good. Sort of an instaluv vibe, but I can live with that. Characters: Mostly forgettable. Plotting: poor. Too many storylines. Narration: I give the narrator some points for enthusiasm and style, but his Scottish accent was ferociously bad. Some of his European accents sounded like a campy version of Vlad Tepes aka Dracula. But I liked him despite that. He was having fun and that made me have fun. Overall rating: 2.5/5.0 stars.

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quote 2018-01-17 04:35
I’d once overheard my daddy tell my momma that the six Winston boys had inherited their father’s ability to charm snakes, the IRS, and women.
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quote 2018-01-17 04:32

“The beard adds a certain something…” He tugged just gently and winked at me. Of course, my response was to stare at him mutely because the grin plus wink plus the light touch of his fingers meant I was terribly confused. Instead of outgrowing my crush, apparently I was now unwillingly compounding my adoration by adding new, very adult feelings. Some odd little corner of my brain briefly thought about the logistics of wearing this long white beard always, every day. “Hey, if you tug her beard, she gets to tug yours,” Claire teased. His smile growing, the redhead stepped forward and into my space, his eyes at half-mast as they glittered down at me. “Go ahead, Jessica…Touch it.”
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review 2018-01-17 02:03
Under a Blood-Red Moon (Duncan Andrews Thrillers #5) by Stephen Osborne
Under a Blood-red Moon (Duncan Andrews Thrillers Book 5) - Stephen P. Osborne

One of the best series I've ever read. 
By the looks of it, there is going to be a #6 and a good chance for a #7 =)

Best part, don't worry about gaps in between the books if you can't read them straight up. This one is so easy to remember. There is only a handful of characters and a simple universe where anything goes. If you manage to remember a (dead) Witch Council, 2.5 MCs (cause very prominent zombie dog for a pet) and 4 secondary characters, you are golden! Oh.... and Donald Drumpf Trump. He is a part of this book, and you just cannot forget THAT character, no matter how much you try.


yeah, now you know why I tagged this book "horror" and "humor" at the same time

5 stars.

PS I just want to mention: this series is urban fantasy at it's finest truest purest self. A major city, Indianapolis, to be precise, is housing all kind of magical creatures that human population is not aware of. A human detective along with his friends - a few humans with and without psy abilities and paranormal/magical creatures - battle the dark forces. It's not simply taking action in a city, it sticks to the tradition. An extra star just for that. And that makes it SIX 

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review 2018-01-16 23:45
"Year One - Chronicles of the One #1" by Nora Roberts
Year One: Chronicles of The One, Book 1 - -Brilliance Audio on CD Unabridged-,Nora Roberts,Julia Whelan

Year one is sort of urban fantasy twist on "The Stand". It tracks the path of groups of survivors of "The Doom", a virus which kills anyone who is not immune. As billions die, some of the immune discover latent magical powers and find themselves drawn to The Dark or The Light.

 

It's an easy to read entertainment that effortlessly manages the large number of characters and multiple initially parallel but eventually converging plot lines. The good guys are clearly drawn and instantly likeable. There are babies and a lab-cross dog. The bad guys are irredeemably evil and everyone else is either dead or consumed by fear.

 

Nora Roberts' accomplished writing kept me reading, in much the same way that high production standards make it easy to watch "Chicago Fire" or "Rookie Blue" but the good guys didn't become people I cared about and the bad guys seemed more like comic-book demons than people.

 

About halfway through, I realised that, although "Year One" was entertaining enough for me to stick with it to the end, something was preventing me from immersing myself in the story. It took me a while to isolate the cause: my lack of empathy with middle-class America. Most of the main good guy characters in this book come from privileged, sometimes very privileged, backgrounds. The Doom has destroyed their bright futures and now they have to adapt to survive.

 

It turns out that the secret to surviving the apocalypse is to band together with skilled people who embrace middle-class values, choose faith over fear, work together as a team and focus on "doing what comes next". Of course, emergent magical powers are also pretty useful.

 

There's nothing wrong with this. It might even turn out to be true. It's also not so far from the message of "The Stand". What spooked me about it in "Year One" is that Nora Roberts wraps such positive emotions around these values that they slid into my imagination already tagged as a Good Thing. Then I thought about the scale of loss, of the billions dead, of cultures across the world extinguished, of losing everyone you ever loved, of having the value of your previous life challenged or eroded and it seemed to me that the main characters react almost as if they're on medication. Their ability to focus "on what needs doing" is certainly a survival skill but the ease with which they do it, the unthinking adoption of the "I'll protect Us against Them" mindset and the strong link Nora Robers makes between this stance and The Light made it difficult for me to empathise with or care about these people.

 

Later, I struggled with Nora Roberts' obsession with the idea that some things are "meant", that they're part of a "destiny", that it isn't enough for people to be attractive, privileged, educated and have magical gifts, they also have to have some kind of pintable-tilting agents of fate on their side. This began to feel like the dystopian urban fantasy version of meeting Mr Right.

 

At about the same time, we got the sex scene between the Alpha witch couple, Max and Lorna, the two "good guys" that I liked least, and it surfaced everything I disliked about the book: the sex was glossy, the sentiment was saccharine and the allegedly spontaneous vows that followed were so cliché filled and delivered with such self-absorbed seriousness that I felt I'd dropped into the middle of a romance novel. I have less trouble accepting a world-ending-virus and the emergence of latent magical powers than I do believing that people actually talk to each other like this when there's no camera crew present.

 

I liked the end section of the book well enough, setting aside the drumbeat message about "doing what needs to be done". I disliked that fact that not one of the bad guys was given any motivation other than fear, ignorance or just being born that way. The idea of a Messianic "One" sent to save the world doesn't do it for me so I won't be bothering with book two in this series.

 

If this book appeals to you, I recommend the audiobook version. It's skillfully narrated by  Julia Whelan. You can hear her work on the SoundCloud link below.

 

[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/378462590" params="color=#ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&show_teaser=true&visual=true" width="100%" height="300" iframe="true" /]

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