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review 2017-05-23 18:53
Silence Fallen / Patricia Briggs
Silence Fallen - Patricia Briggs

Attacked and abducted in her home territory, Mercy finds herself in the clutches of the most powerful vampire in the world, taken as a weapon to use against alpha werewolf Adam and the ruler of the Tri-Cities vampires. In coyote form, Mercy escapes only to find herself without money, without clothing, and alone in the heart of Europe...

Unable to contact Adam and the rest of the pack, Mercy has allies to find and enemies to fight, and she needs to figure out which is which. Ancient powers stir, and Mercy must be her agile best to avoid causing a war between vampires and werewolves, and between werewolves and werewolves. And in the heart of the ancient city of Prague, old ghosts rise...

 

A very satisfying installment in the Mercy Thompson series—in fact, it may be my favourite of the entire run.

I always love the books where the vampire seethe figures prominently, and this book is all vampires all the time! My only disappointment is that Stefan doesn’t get quite as much page time as I would like, while the Master of Milan (Jacob Bonarata) gets lots, but isn’t nearly scary enough. After all of the foreshadowing in previous books, I thought he was remarkably easy to get along with!

Also refreshing was the setting—Europe. Quite a change from the Pacific Northwest and very enjoyable. Grumpy European werewolves and plentiful European ghosts aid Mercy along the way. Also interesting in that we get to know a bit more about Adam’s friendly witch, Elizeveta. Not to mention some insight into submissive wolf, Zack.

Mercy, as usual, is underestimated by the people who don’t know her and she uses that lack of expectation to her advantage. Like the old Timex watch ads, she takes a licking & keeps on ticking! And thinking and planning. She’s smart, strong, and skilled. What a nice way to see a woman portrayed in fiction.

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review 2017-05-22 19:18
"Kitty Saves The World - Kitty Norville #14 - last in the series
Kitty Saves the World - Carrie Vaughn

"Kitty Saves The World", the last Kitty Norville book, reflects my experience of the series as a whole, strong on good guys, albeit sometimes flawed and haunted good guys, but weak on really evil villains who are a terrifying threat to the world.

 

Still, if you enjoyed the first thirteen books, the lack of palpable evil will neither surprise nor disappoint you.

 

The book read like a fond farewell, bringing back some of my favourite characters, having Kitty give another great performance on "The Midnight Hour", showing Kitty and Ben as a strong and loving couple and finally resolving the conflict with Roman so that Kitty can indeed, save the world.

 

I liked Kitty in this book. She continued to be strong and brave and witty, even when deeply afraid, but she was also willing to lead and to accept her right to take the help offered by her friends.

 

The resolution with Roman was clever, original and plausible, within the context of the series. It was drama rather than melodrama. I enjoyed it partly because it felt like something that Carrie Vaughn had been carefully leading up to for some time, rather than a "how am I gonna end this so I don't have to write any more of them?" ending.

 

It seems to me that Carrie Vaughn has never quite known what to do with the pack that Kitty and Ben lead. She had one book, after Kitty took over, where the pack dynamics were important but mostly, Kitty's pack have been passive elements in the story. Sadly, this remained true for the final book, although there was a good explanation for it.

 

I ended the book and the series very glad to have spent time with Kitty and watched her grow from a frightened victim of terrible abuse into a strong and compassionate leader who inspired loyalty and created hope.

 

I think the final book honored Kitty and her readers by staying true to the spirit of the series and by bringing many story arcs to satisfying conclusions without closing everything off so neatly that it became too "happily ever after".

 

I'm sure the Kitty books are over but I have a suspicion that Carrie Vaughn isn't quite done with Cormac yet. Which is a very fine way to end a series.

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review 2017-05-21 15:42
Audio Book Review: A Spell of Trouble
A Spell Of Trouble (Silver Hollow Paranormal Cozy Mystery Series) (Volume 1) - Traci Douglass,Leighann Dobbs

*I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator.

The description of the book works well to tell you about it, so I'm going to skip the description I usually do.

Okay. I'm sold on the little extras in a story. Amy adds tinkling music as the title is read, and I just loved it. Amy does well with giving small personality differences when Issy and her cousins are together talking. There are little tone and attitude feel to them as she speaks. Amy has made it easy for me to forget she's narrating. This is a good thing! That means the story comes through strong, she's letting the story evolve through her and itself. Well done.


The story moves rather fast in talking to suspects and leads. I liked the quick moving of details and not getting caught up in details. I didn't feel as we missed anything, just that the story moved along a a good pace to keep me interested.

There are photos that Issy is looking for that could incriminate her cousin Gray. Though, I'm not sure what the hard push for these photos is. I'm wondering what else would be in the photo other than Gray in his birthday suit in the woods. There has to be more, right? And the strange feel we get from Gray and another character... we learn a bit about what his ritual was for in the end. But, as I went through the book I started to pick up that magic and witches is kept at a secret and that's what the photo's would have damaged for Gray, make him look like a witch with the town and get in trouble with the council.

I enjoyed the relaxing, cozy mystery here. Sometimes it's nice to take a slower pace then the high octane fights and rush. This was just that for me. You don't have the high suspense thriller heart-thumping worries. Or high action. It's exactly what the book is classified as, a cozy mystery. With a dab of paranormal. There was danger, but nothing that felt like our Quinn family was next on the list to die, though in the end there is a chance.

Issy works with different cousins and other paranormals in town to get to the bottom of the magical case. I found the characters to all be kind. I enjoyed them and their familiars. Even the one character that wasn't really a friend, she starts to grow into more. Nice creation here. Issy and her cousins are great together. I almost got the feel as if they were siblings more than cousins. It's a very tight family network here. And seeing them interact with their different familiars and each others was cute. But I think I really enjoy Brimstone, he's like a mysterious character. Brimstone is a stray cat that isn't anyone's familiar, yet he talks. We don't know when he'll show up.

The best way to solve a mystery is dig in, ask questions, and keep thinking when a suspect doesn't pan out at first try. It may lead you to the true culprit. And Issy does just this.

I enjoyed the relaxing mystery here and enjoyed the characters with their familiars. I would like to continue with the series as it's a story that's easy to relax and just enjoy.

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review 2017-05-21 15:10
Audio Book Review: Redemption Song
Redemption Song (Daniel Faust) (Volume 2... Redemption Song (Daniel Faust) (Volume 2) - Craig Schaefer

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

Another of Daniel's friends is brutally murdered by Meadow Brand, the woman who's connected to Lauren Carmichael and likely after Daniel for thwarting her occult a few weeks ago. Then Daniel learns Prince Sitri forbids his lover from seeing him. It's a spiraling fall when Daniel agrees to take a job for Prince Sitri to gain his trust to be with Caitlin. The job... to kill a good priest. When Daniel visits the man, he ends up saving him just to fall into the mouth of the beast. Daniel has to work his magic to save himself, the priest, and keep his love if she wants him.


I enjoyed the first audio book in this series, and the same holds true for this one which is done by the same voice, Adam Verner. I am always thrilled when we get the small extras with voices, like giving a vibrating sound to voices and such. Adam adds these extras in for us to give us the feel and sound of what's described by Craig. I love the personality Adam puts into the words as he narrates. He is in the moment as the character and it comes through. He also voices each with different tones to match the feel of the character, male and female, along with slight accents when noted. I love how easily Adam converts to the different tones, personalities, and accents keeping the story in a smooth flow. Amazing work.


Craig has crafted this story with many items needling Daniel. Daniel has a rough start in this book as things start to spiral downward for him in life. He's determined to keep trying through, and that doesn't always work out. All these things working at Daniel are important and come together at the end, or Daniel uses them that way.

What are these items?
~ A dear friend is murdered by someone who's killed a friend before.

~ Daniel finds himself under the microscope of Special Agent Harmony Black from the FBI as she's investigating Nicky Agnelli and all connected to him in any type of operations. Nicky's not a friend, but turning any information on one of the biggest crime bosses over to the FBI wouldn't be healthy for Daniel. And there are ties Daniel has with Nicky that could not go well for Daniel if Nicky's caught.

~ Caitlin, Daniel's lover, is working to create a safe home for cambion refugees trying to get to Prince Sitri's borders. But, there are cambion's mixed in with different beliefs. Beliefs that they can be cured of their curse and harm others they see as 'spawn of evil'.

~ Daniel and Caitlin love each other. Then, stand before Prince Sitri to learn that he sees Daniel as an enemy. Caitlin is forbidden to consort with Daniel, unless he performs a service for Prince Sitri. Kill an innocent soul. If he refuses he could lose his love forever.

Craig goes for the big punches. He has no worries about blood and gore. When the 'bad guy' hits, they hit hard and ugly. We start off with a bloody death in chapter one and the tension rises from there. Even though Craig writes dark, the story doesn't come across heavy. Daniel's personality helps lift the story, along with Adam's voicing of his dry humor.

We pretty much get the lowdown on what's happening in this complicated world of demons and magic in the beginning. So much happening at one time and Daniel's connections are all seeing something different. But it creates a wonderful feeding bed for so many possibilities.

The connections between all the problems is so well done. They are connected yet happening on their own, thriving off the others to help their selves. But, anything involving demons can't be easy and they would play off others to get what they want. I'm always mesmerized at the well thought out actions and interactions in Craig's stories. Wow.

Craig draws me in, paying close attention to details as there is always something happening. Just when you think things can't get worse. It does. And keeps you wondering how Daniel's going to fix it all. With all that's happening to Daniel, Craig timed it perfect - right when I was starting to not like the down and out Daniel, it hit Daniel why he was on this path and there is new revived life to the story and Daniel. The Daniel that's always thinking and scheming to come out the other end is the Daniel I enjoy. We get him at the start and when he returns, the story feels to jump in excitement once again. So two amazing skips of heart as we take off!

Oh, I've enjoyed Craig's writing and creation here. I'm totally on to the series!

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review 2017-05-20 20:37
The Breedling and the City in the Garden
The Breedling and the City in the Garden (The Element Odysseys) - Kimberlee Ann Bastian

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.]

I thought I’d like this novel more. It has an interesting and probably complex mythos, juxtaposing our world and another, Elemental-like creator powers, a Fates triad, soulcatchers, the Devil, and quite a few more—something I wouldn’t have minded dive in more. However, the way information was revealed was strange: both an info-dump and confusing, which is an unfortunate mix. I don’t doubt that, had it been presented differently, I would’ve warmed up to it.

I don’t mind a book starting in medias res, but here I felt I was thrown into a story without having enough background elements to fully grasp who the characters were, what their roles were, and why they were important. Stingy Jack, the Tales Teller, the Apothecary... After a while, it started to make sense, yet too late into the story for me to have been allowed to care about them, and too little (for instance, the relationship between Buck/Bartholomew and the Shepherdess is only made clearer right at the end; had it been manifest sooner, I may have cared about the Breedling a bit more, I suppose).

Also, some of the decisions the characters made were odd, or at least presented in a way that that made them look like they came out of nowhere, or without subtlety. I was particularly unsure about Charlie’s ‘plan’ involving the speakeasy—it made sense in one way, but not considering the kind of people would go there, as if he couldn’t have thought about that (hint: precisely the kind of people Charlie didn’t want to see near Buck).

The style was the other element that really bothered me. Omniscient point of view isn’t my favourite, so when it comes with a prose I don’t enjoy, I don’t do well with it. Dialogues were often stilted, with characters telling about their past as if they were reading from a book (I never expected Charlie to speak the way he did), and a lot of telling instead of showing. Since there were a lot of heated feelings in the story (grief, tension between gangs, wariness, simmering violence, threats...), this ‘telling’ was all the more obvious.

Nevertheless, there were good parts in the novel. Charlie especially was a relatable character: not perfect for sure, torn between his desire to follow his mother’s wishes (by helping those younger than him) and his wish to be free to live a life of his own—and yet, his natural tendencies always carry him towards taking care of others. He had to go through a lot, dealing with his grief while trying to follow his sense of duty, and no matter what, I definitely cannot fault a person for accepting their responsibilities.

I don’t think I’ll pick the second book though. It’s more a 1.5/2-star read for me.

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