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review 2018-11-19 16:41
When Darkness Comes / Alexandra Ivey
When Darkness Comes - Alexandra Ivy

It’s been a hell of a day for Abby Barlow. In just a few hours, she’s survived an explosion, watched her employer die, had a startling dream, and now she finds herself in a seedy Chicago hotel with the sexy, unearthly Dante, a vampire she both desires and fears.

For 341 years, Dante has stood as guardian to The Chalice, a mortal woman chosen to hold back the darkness. A terrible twist of fate has now made Abby that woman. Three hours ago. Dante would have used all his charms to seduce her. Now she is his to protect. And he will do so until his very death.

A terrifying plan has been set in motion, one that will plunge Dante and Abby into an epic battle between good and evil – and a desperate race to save their love…

 

Put my reading experience in the 2 to 2.5 star range.

I would recommend this novel to those who enjoy the writing of Christine Feehan, J.R. Ward, or Jeaniene Frost.

Obviously, this book didn’t appeal to me, nor did the works of the writers listed above, but they are still very highly rated books. So, not my jam but very appealing to others. I’m not a big fan of the damsel in distress, so that’s part of my problem here. Abby seems desperately passive to me, staying in a job that she hates and putting up with harassment from Dante (although she’s a bit conflicted about that, seemingly wishing that she was in his league so to speak). Now, I’ve been stuck in some jobs that I loathed too, but I’ve found my way out of them and into a way of supporting myself that I find quite enjoyable, so I know it can be done. And the whole “Me Too” movement tells the story of systemic harassment, I think the vast majority of women have their Me Too moments that they could tell you about.

Abby is stubborn—Ivy goes out of her way to prove this to the reader. I’m stubborn too. If you could ask my (non-Danish) mother about the stubbornness of her Danish-Canadian husband and daughters she would tell you that we are champions at it. However, I think all of us realize that being stubborn does not equal being independent. If you want me to believe that your main character is strong and independent, you can’t just rely on her sense of stubborn.

Add to this some editing issues: for example, using beaconing rather than beckoning, flaying rather than flailing and a few other words that were close but not quite right. A quote: “While Selena pampered and preened…” You can’t just pamper. You have to pamper something. So the sentence should read “While Selena pampered herself and preened….” Finally, stop reading right now and trying to wrap your own arms around your waist. Perhaps I’m not very flexible, but I can’t seem to find a way to do that. But Abby does it repeatedly—annoying me more that I would have thought possible.

I chose this book for my Women A-Z reading project for this year. I had hoped to find another enjoyable urban fantasy series for future reading, but I will leave this to others who enjoy this style far more than I do.

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review 2018-11-18 22:39
Ever wonder about the origins or some common urban legends?
Baby on the Car Roof and 222 Other Urban Legends: Absolutely True Stories That Happened to a Friend of a Friend of a Friend - Thomas J. Craughwell
Even though this was a book I wouldn't have naturally gravitated towards, it was interesting and would like to read more by this author. One misleading statement that was supposedly an urban legend was that "When it was first manufactured, Coca-Cola contained cocaine", which it didn't contain cocaine it exactly, but it was produced with coca leaves, which cocaine is derived from (hence "Coca" in its name) and had to be eliminated once so many people became addicted, actually through an act of Congress. I wouldn't have known this but for the fact that I once had to write a paper on it for school, doing research to learn the facts.
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quote 2018-11-17 11:41
“I can't concentrate on anything, not when all I can think about is you.”
Cut & Run - Abigail Roux,Madeleine Urban

~~ Cut & Run 

by Abigail Roux & Madeleine Urban

(Cut & Run series book #1)

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review 2018-11-13 23:00
Magic Triumphs / Ilona Andrews
Magic Triumphs - Ilona Andrews

Kate has come a long way from her origins as a loner taking care of paranormal problems in post-Shift Atlanta. She's made friends and enemies. She's found love and started a family with Curran Lennart, the former Beast Lord. But her magic is too strong for the power players of the world to let her be.

Kate and her father, Roland, currently have an uneasy truce, but when he starts testing her defenses again, she knows that sooner or later, a confrontation is inevitable. The Witch Oracle has begun seeing visions of blood, fire, and human bones. And when a mysterious box is delivered to Kate's doorstep, a threat of war from the ancient enemy who nearly destroyed her family, she knows their time is up.

Kate Daniels sees no other choice but to combine forces with the unlikeliest of allies. She knows betrayal is inevitable. She knows she may not survive the coming battle. But she has to try.  For her child.  For Atlanta.  For the world.

 

A very fine wrap-up to a series that I have spent many enjoyable years consuming. Kate and Curran are parents and their wee Conlan is more than a handful, a cause of some amusement among Kate’s friends. But nothing is ever easy when you’re Kate Daniels (now Lennert), so of course there’s going to be all kinds of threats to the peace of Atlanta.

As I was approaching the end of the book, fingering the last few pages, I kept thinking, “How can the Andrews tie this up in so few words?” I needn’t have worried—they obviously had a master plan and their plot snapped together crisply, like new Legos. All of the old favourite characters are here, playing their roles perfectly. Plus, we have the advent of a married Hugh d’Ambrey, which messes with both Kate and Curran. Who is this man and can they work with him? (By the way, if you haven’t yet read Hugh’s story, Iron and Magic, do yourself a favour and read it BEFORE tackling this volume).

I was worried—surely adding a baby to the mix would change the dynamic of the final book? Nope, if anything the pace picked up as Kate pursues her little shapeshifter godling whenever he goes AWOL. Can Kate’s issues with her father Roland ever be resolved? (Yes and no—read it!) And my biggest concern? What will I do when this series is over? But you know, there were just enough hints and loose ends on the final pages that I have some hope that we will see more adventures in Magical Atlanta, just following different characters—Julie perhaps? Along with Derek? I would definitely read those!

I hope that the Andrews keep writing in their various fantasy worlds for many years to come. I look forward to each and every installment that tells me more about my favourite fictional people.

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review 2018-11-13 21:48
Night and Silence / Seanan McGuire
Night and Silence - Seanan McGuire

In the aftermath of Amandine's latest betrayal, October "Toby" Daye's fragile self-made family is on the verge of coming apart at the seams. Jazz can't sleep, Sylvester doesn't want to see her, and worst of all, Tybalt has withdrawn from her entirely, retreating into the Court of Cats as he tries to recover from his abduction. Toby is floundering, unable to help the people she loves most heal. She needs a distraction. She needs a quest.

What she doesn't need is the abduction of her estranged human daughter, Gillian. What she doesn't need is to be accused of kidnapping her own child by her ex-boyfriend and his new wife, who seems to be harboring secrets of her own. There's no question of whether she'll take the case. The only question is whether she's emotionally prepared to survive it.

Signs of Faerie's involvement are everywhere, and it's going to take all Toby's nerve and all her allies to get her through this web of old secrets, older hatreds, and new deceits. If she can't find Gillian before time runs out, her own child will pay the price. One question remains:

Who in Faerie remembered Gillian existed? And what do they stand to gain? No matter how this ends, Toby's life will never be the same.

 

I guess the fact that I’ve read to book 12 in this series would be an indication that it’s a hit for me. I don’t know how much longer McGuire can continue to spin the faerie tales, but I am a willing victim.

This installment takes us back right to the beginning, as it once again involves Toby’s human daughter, Gillian. In an earlier book, Gillian had made the choice to become fully human (the changeling’s choice) and Toby honoured that wish, despite her own heartache. But thinking that the Fae would leave Gillian alone seems to have been wishful thinking and once again some difficult decisions need to be dealt with.

At least Toby has her beloved Tybalt back at her side, although I didn’t find his sudden switch back to be the most believable plot point that McGuire has written! She’s going to need his support as her life becomes even more intertwined with The Luidaeg and she tries to re-establish family bonds with her genetic family, not just her chosen family.

There are certainly plenty of loose threads, where McGuire can pick up the narrative and spin us more of the adventures of Toby. I, for one, will be waiting impatiently for the next volume.

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