Monday, February 29, 2016

Blameless by Gail Carriger

4 STARS

The Parasol Protectorate - Book 3

I love this series to bits. :) It's truly delightful and I always find myself grinning at various points through the books, just enjoying the pure fun of the narrative.

Not only are the main characters wonderful and flawed and special and adorable, but the secondary and even the tertiary ones are too. Except the baddies. They're just deliciously bad. Unless sometimes they turn out to be good.

I bought the boxed ebook set, but I'm parcelling out the individual volumes so that I don't finish them in one fell swoop. :)

So there you go. Loved it!!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Radio Silence by Alyssa Cole

4 STARS

Off the Grid - Book 1

Do you enjoy post-apocalyptic romances with a goodly amount of steamy chemistry between the main characters? I do and if you feel the same, then Radio Silence is for you.

The plot is simple. Something has happened and the power has gone out. Set in northern New York state, our heroine, Arden and her best friend/roommate John, set out from Rochester to further upstate and John's family's home, in a somewhat remote area near the Canadian border. There we meet John's brother, Gabriel and sister, Maggie. Sparks smolder and fly between Arden and Gabriel as the four try to come to terms with their new reality.

The plot is fast-paced and the dialogue is quick and bantery, both which kept me turning the pages (so to speak - I was reading on the Kobo) to see what was going to happen next.

Oh, BTW, if you`re into this whole MUST READ DIVERSE BOOKS AT ALL COSTS! This will easily fill that need. I had no idea when I started the book which probably allowed me to enjoy it as much as I did because I didn't feel browbeaten into being a good person by reading it.

It was a really good and enjoyable and I totally recommend it! I'll be hunting down book 2 very soon. :)

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Stranded by HelenKay Dimon

3.5 STARS

So, I had just finished a terrific swashbuckling fantasy novel and was suffering from a bit of book hangover and I find that in that situation, the best thing I can do for my reading self is to completely switch genres - one of the reasons I read many genres. So I went for a sexy m/m romance starring a couple of hot tough guys.

It worked!

One thing that did sort of annoy me was the author's constant use of the word 'guy' in the narrative for first half of the book. That might just be me though, feeling that it's more of a slang word and should not be interchangeable with the word 'man'. Sometimes I'm old. *LOL*

But at any rate...

Stranded is a very enjoyable, hot and sexy m/m romance novella.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Knight's Shadow by Sebastien de Castell

4.5 STARS

The Greatcoats - Book 2

Knight's Shadow continues the epic wonderfulness of volume 1 of the Greatcoats series. A little darker, a little more thoughtful, it's still a terrific swash-buckling adventure filled with all kinds of emotions, including the good ones. While there might be a less humour and and light-heartedness, it still contains all the delicious stuff that made me fall in love with Falcio, Kest and Brasti.

In this volume, the women really come into their own. Valiana and Dari and Elithea show some great development alongside the Trio of Greatcoats. I was pleased at the twists and turns of their stories and even shed a tear or two for them in some places. :)

One scene actually made me put down the book - well, the ereader - and grab my kleenex for a bit of a sob. I call it the Spartacus scene and MAN, did it get me.

I don't know what's left for the author to put these characters through, let me tell you, but I'm sure he's got something dastardly wicked up his sleeve. I can't wait! Seriously, if you're a fan of Alexandre Dumas' Musketeers or Stephen Brust's Phoenix Guards, you'll love this series. It definitely holds its own in this august company.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Unicorn by Delphine Dryden

4 STARS

This was a Riptide Advance Read.

I loved it. It was hot and steamy and funny. The motivations all worked for me and the characters were very, very likable. I'd read more of their adventures any time. :)

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Trailer Park Fae by Lilith Saintcrow

3.5 STARS

Gallow and Ragged - Book 1

The first book in the Gallow and Ragged series was pretty much a scene setter for the whole series, I think. At least it felt that way to me.

I really liked the character of Jeremy Gallow, half-sidhe construction worker who has withdrawn from the world of the sidhe. He's cranky, even mean at times. He has a dry, depricating wit that I much appreciated. And you know, he's a good representation of the halfbreed anti-hero type, one of my kinks. :)

Robin, the heroine? I'm not sure yet. Just when I think I like her, she leaves me scratching my head and wanting to shake her.

Anyway, this was an okay read. There was a lot of scene-setting and fancy prose surrounding all things fae-ish that I felt was a bit over-done for my liking, but YMMV. I have come to the conclusion that urban fantasy - while I do enjoy some of it - is really not my go-to genre. I will most likely read others in the series when they come out, but it won't be a rush to buy.

Oh, and the cover of this one might not be stunningly beautiful but it sure is eye-catching in a positive way.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

A Three-Day Event by Barbara Kay

3 STARS

I picked this book up because I saw the author interviewed on our noontime local news here in Montreal and the interviewer, Mutsumi Takahashi, said she quite enjoyed it and didn't know who the killer was until the end. And the book takes place in what we call the Eastern Townships, just south of where I life outside of Montreal. I've become a fan of mysteries set in my environs and, I must add, and the price was right. :)

The first chapter of the book was almost enough to put me off. It's set over in England and uses every last clich├ęd stereotype of the 'horsey set' going. Not only that, the author is very, very, VERY wordy. God, I wanted a red pen.

But I perservered, not convinced that it would get better, but willing to donate another half hour to the cause.
With the second chapter, we moved to Quebec and began to meet more characters who, while being stereotypical also rang more or less true because I knew people a lot like them. I was drawn into their stories and their secrets. See, it wasn't much because of the actual crimes committed, but the secrets that everyone involved seemed to be hiding. THAT'S what caught me. Yes, Kay continued to use a dozen words and 3 paragraphs when one simple sentence would have done, but I have to say, I got used to it fairly quickly.

The book is set in the early 1990's and the depiction of the language tensions and realities of Township Quebec in that era is fairly bang on.. There were a few things I took issue with and rolled my eyes ... for instance, I'm not convinced that the Quebecois used the slurish "pepsi" to describe themselves. I have to admit, the book felt like it was written by an anglo from Ontario - and that's maybe something only one brought up in Quebec would understand/feel. Anti-semitism is a big part of the plot and I can honestly say that this part is, sadly, for the most part authentic, even if I think the author had a bit of an ax to grind. If you don't research the author, then you likely wouldn't feel that way.

But, all in all, it was an entertaining read once I got into it. I had my suspicions about the guilty part a little past halfway through, but I was never certain. But, like I said, for me it became about all the other secrets. I just find myself wishing she'd used less words!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Malachite by Kirby Crow

4.5 STARS

The Paladin Cycle - Book 1

This is Book One of the Paladin Cycle and I cannot WAIT to read the others - Kirby had better get to writing!

I loved it. From it's gorgeous cover to a most satisfying ending, I just loved it. I loved the characters. All of them. The main characters, the supporting characters, the characters we just get a glimpse of. Loved 'em all. Well, maybe not Franny.... no, not Franny. *LOL*

The author has created a rich, full world with enough questions left unanswered to make me eager with anticipation for the next book. A land/country of just men. Exiles and misfits from other lands. It's quite interesting!

As I said, I loved all the characters. I think my favourite has to be Jean Rivard. He's so... not easy to get along with. :) What you get on the outside is not what lies on the inside and oh, he has secrets. We learn about some of them, but I have a feeling there are more under that layer of I Don't Give a Fuck. In fact, I'm pretty sure that there are a lot more secrets to be ferreted out of all the main characters. *rubs hands together gleefully* I can't WAIT!

The plot fairly clips along and there's a lot of action as well as many twists and turns that left me fairly clapping my hands together with glee (figuratively speaking). And yes, there's what might be termed romance, but I'm leery of using that word. There's love and there's sex and there's desire and want and just plain debauchery - but those aren't the main thrust (so to speak) of the story at all. But I have to admit - there are a couple of scenes - one near the end and one right at the end that were highly satisfying.

Read this book! I loved it!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Clockwork Heart by Heidi Cullinan

4.5 STARS

Clockwork Love - Book 1

Another winner from one of my most favourite authors!

It was over far too soon. I wanted more adventures with Conny and Johann and the crew of the Farthing. Clockwork Heart is full of love, fun, adventure, danger, hot sex and a cast of wonderful characters. I couldn't put it down. Luckily, it seems to be the first of a series - The Clockwork Love series. And I can see where it could be going and that makes me happy.

So, if you like a rollicking, wonderful, sexy, love story - dive into Heidi's first foray into steampunk. I highly and happily recommend it. :)

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin

4.5 STARS

The Inheritance Trilogy - Book 1

I have to admit that I've resisted this book for a good two years. It was highly recommended by many people in many places, but the problem I had - being a stubborn sort - was that I was always being told that I MUST read this if I wanted to support diverse reading and diverse authors. *SIGH* I wasn't told that I had to read it because it was a fantastic story with fascinating characters - that was said as sort of an incidental bonus. Sadly, the rabid "read this or be considered a societal failure/bad person" serves only to turn me off and make me dig in my heels. And if you think that makes me a bad person, well, that's your opinion.

But one day, it came up in a Kobo Daily Deal for $1.99 and I figured that for that price, I could pick it up and keep it until the day I wasn't so annoyed. And if that day never came, well, I wasn't losing anything more than a couple of bucks.

Anyhoooo.... *stepping down from my cranky soapbox*

This was a terrific book! I really, really enjoyed it and I don't normally enjoy books that deal with gods walking the 'earth'. (Neil Gaiman aside). The writing style was different - Jemisin has an interesting voice and it worked wonderfully in this tale of the barbarian young woman, Yeine, who is summoned to the capital of the worlds by her ruling grandfather and designated as an heir to the throne. Basically.

In fact, I was so entranced by the first few chapters that I hopped online and bought the omnibus of the trilogy (it cost less than buying the other two volumes separately).

I liked the way the story unfolded and how and when Jemisin revealed the twists and turns of the plot. This is something that could end up as being deus ex machina but the writing is skillful enough to avoid all that.

Another thing I liked was that while this is the first book in a trilogy, it could be read alone. The story actually ends (or seems to end) on the final page. And end in a very satisfactory fashion. No damned cliffhangers here!

So yes, I finally read it and loved it. N.K. Jemisin has that special way, I think, that Guy Gavriel Kay has of writing a different sort of fantasy and I highly recommend it.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Nyphron Rising by Michael J. Sullivan

4 STARS

Riyria Revelations - Book 3

I'm loving this series. :)

I started this volume, #3 in the Riyria Revelations, back in December but had to put it aside so I could read my Christmas books. After finishing Traitor's Blade, my want for adventure fantasy was rekindled so I picked Nyphron Rising back up and zipped through the last 2/3rds of it.

Hadrian and Royce are so very Hadrian and Royce and I adore them. Many revelations came in this volume of their story and I've had my suspicions about The Big Mystery furthered. I'll have to read the next book, I think, to confirm them.

Arista has come into her own and I have fallen in love with the spirited princess. She's grown and matured due to her travails and gained a depth of empathy that to me, she was missing before.

A couple of secondary characters that were introduced bit the dust and I was very sad because I had grown to really like them and want to see more of them. Still, I read Game of Thrones and George RR Martin has cured me of any firm expectations of characters staying alive.

So, I'm looking forward to reading the next book in this series (I have the omnibus of volumes #3 and #4) which will probably be sooner rather than later. More adventures! YAY!!