Cherry Mischievous

for the love of SciFi/Fantasy

ETCHED IN BONE

 

The Others #5: ETCHED IN BONE

Etched In Bone by Anne Bishop
Book 5 of The Others series
Read by Alexandra Harris
Genre: urban fantasy
Format: hardback, ebook, & audiobookAudiobook

 

 

About Etched In Bone:

After a human uprising was brutally put down by the Elders — a primitive and lethal form of the Others — the few cities left under human control are far-flung. And the people within them now know to fear the no-man’s-land beyond their borders — and the darkness…

As some communities struggle to rebuild, Lakeside Courtyard has emerged relatively unscathed, though Simon Wolfgard, its wolf shifter leader, and blood prophet Meg Corbyn must work with the human pack to maintain the fragile peace. But all their efforts are threatened when Lieutenant Montgomery’s shady brother arrives, looking for a free ride and easy pickings.

With the humans on guard against one of their own, tensions rise, drawing the attention of the Elders, who are curious about the effect such an insignificant predator can have on a pack. But Meg knows the dangers, for she has seen in the cards how it will all end — with her standing beside a grave…

Source: Info in the About Etched In Bone was taken from http://happyeverafter.usatoday.com/2016/06/23/etched-in-bone-cover-reveal-excerpt-anne-bishop on 25/06/2016.

 

Excerpt :

Windsday, Messis 1

Eager to join his friends for an early morning run, Simon Wolfgard, leader of the Lakeside Courtyard, hurried toward the terra indigene Wolves who were using trees and shrubs for camouflage as they watched the paved road that looped the Courtyard. Actually, they were watching the man who was riding on the road at an easy pace.

[It’s Kowalski,] Blair growled. It was a soft growl, but the human suddenly scanned the area as if his little ears had caught the sound.

[On a bicycle,] Nathan added.

[We gave him permission to ride on the paved roads,] Simon said, a little concerned about their focused attention on a human they knew fairly well.

Karl Kowalski was one of the human police officers who worked directly with the terra indigene to minimize conflicts between humans and Others. Because of that, he had been labeled a Wolf lover and had had his share of conflicts with other humans. The latest incident happened last week when a car “accidentally” swerved and almost hit Kowalski while he was taking a bicycle ride before work. Because the terra indigene viewed that as a threat to a member of their human pack, Simon, Vladimir Sanguinati, and Henry Beargard—members of the Courtyard’s Business Association—decided to allow the human pack to ride on the Courtyard’s paved roads.

Simon had thought all the Wolves had been told about the Business Association’s decision—especially Nathan, who was the watch Wolf at the Liaison’s Office, and Blair, who was the Courtyard’s dominant enforcer—but this was the first time any of the humans had ventured to ride on a road that still had “Trespassers Will Be Eaten” signs posted as a warning.

[Bicycle, Simon,] Blair’s growl wasn’t as soft this time.

Must have been loud enough for human ears because Kowalski started to pedal a little faster.

Oh. Bicycle. Now Simon understood the real focus of the Wolves’ attention and excitement. Humans had ridden bicycles up to the Green Complex as well as a few other places in the Courtyard, and the Wolves had been intrigued by the two-wheeled vehicles. But those instances had been about transportation to or from a task. This could be something else.

[A game of chase?] Jane, the Wolfgard bodywalker, asked hopefully.

[Kowalski could be play-prey,] Nathan said.

[Does he know how to play chase?] Blair asked.

[He’s a police officer,] Nathan replied. [He chases other humans all the time.]

[Doesn’t mean he understands our game.] Simon thought Nathan’s opinion of police work was skewed more toward hopeful than accurate. Still, they could offer to play. If Kowalski didn’t accept, they would just enjoy a run. But…bicycle. Simon really wanted to chase one. [Let’s find out.]

The Wolves charged up the road, Simon and Blair in the lead as they swiftly closed the distance between the pack and their play-prey. But would they have a game?

Kowalski looked back. His eyes widened—and he pedaled faster.

Yes!

[We don’t catch, only chase,] Simon said.

[He’s fast!] Jane surged ahead of the males, pulling up alongside the bicycle’s back wheel in seconds.

[Don’t grab the wheels,] Nathan said. [If you catch a tooth in the spokes you could break your jaw or worse.]

[I was listening when Officer Karl told the puppies about the dangers of biting wheels,] Jane snapped, clearly offended by Nathan’s unwanted warning. She moved up a little more, now in position to play-bite Kowalski’s calf.

Kowalski glanced at Jane and pedaled faster. Instead of going over the bridge that would take them into the Hawkgard section—and commit the human to the big loop within the Courtyard’s three hundred acres—Kowalski turned onto the road that ran alongside the Elementals’ lake, heading back toward the Green Complex.

The Wolves ran, maintaining their distance even when Kowalski slowed down while going up a rise. They took turns pacing the bicycle and pushing their prey to run and run. Or pedal and pedal. As they reached the intersection with the Courtyard’s main road, Kowalski swung left toward the Green Complex instead of turning right toward the Market Square.

Most of the pack, having slowed to a trot as their prey tired, circled back toward the Wolfgard complex. Nathan headed for the Market Square and the Liaison’s Office where he would keep track of the deliverymen and guard Meg Corbyn, the Courtyard’s Human Liaison. Simon and Blair followed Kowalski until they reached the Green Complex. Then Blair continued on to the Utilities Complex while Simon dashed for the water trough in the common area that formed the open center of the Courtyard’s only multispecies complex. He lapped water, then shifted to his human form and dunked his head, flinging water as he stood up and tossed his dark hair away from his face. He splashed his arms and chest, then grinned when Kowalski parked the bicycle and approached the trough warily.

“That was a great game of chase!” Simon said happily. “You understand how to be play-prey.”

“I do?”

“Yes.” Simon cocked his head, puzzled by the human’s wariness. Hadn’t they just played, had fun? “Want some water?”

“Thanks.” Kowalski splashed water on his face and neck, then on his arms. But he didn’t drink.

Simon pondered the not drinking for a moment. Humans were clever, invasive predators who had recently shown the terra indigene once again why they could never be fully trusted—not even by each other. But physically they were so much weaker than other kinds of predators. This not drinking, for example. Nothing wrong with the water in the trough. Someone had already drained yesterday’s water, using it on the potted tree and other plants in the open area, and refilled the trough with fresh water for drinking and splashing. Humans would drink water pumped from the well if it was in a glass or a bucket or some other small container but couldn’t drink the same water from a shared outdoor container?

It made him wonder how they had survived as a species long enough to become such a problem.

“So who doesn’t understand about play-prey?” Kowalski asked, rubbing a hand over his face.

“The female pack. Every time we invited them to play, they stopped riding their bicycles and asked if they could help.” Simon spread his arms in a what’s that all about? gesture. Then he pointed at Kowalski. “But you invited us to play, and we all had a good run.”

Kowalski snorted a soft laugh. “Well, I sure had a good run.”

“Since the females can’t pedal as far or as fast as you, maybe they could play chase with the puppies.” The pups would learn how to run as a pack without the risk of being kicked by real prey.

Simon studied Kowalski, who studied him in turn.

“I’ll talk to Ruthie,” Kowalski finally said.

They both heard the clink of glassware and looked toward the screened summer room below Meg Corbyn’s apartment.

“Must be later than I realized,” Kowalski said. “I’d better go home and get cleaned up for work.”

Simon watched the man walk toward the bicycle—and the summer room. For a moment, it looked like Kowalski was going to go in and talk to Meg, and Simon felt his teeth lengthen to Wolf size as his lips pulled back in a silent snarl. But Kowalski just raised a hand in greeting, said, “Morning, Meg,” and rode away.

Simon walked around the trough, then stopped suddenly when he realized he was naked in his human form. It had never mattered until Meg came to live in the Courtyard. But humans reacted in various ways to seeing each other without clothing, even when clothing wasn’t needed for protection or warmth. Meg had adjusted pretty well to friends shifting to human form to give her a message or answer a question before shifting back to their preferred furred or feathered form, but it was different with him—maybe because their friendship was different from any other she had with humans or terra indigene.

Most nights, he slept with her in his Wolf form. They had their own apartments, but those places were connected by the summer room and a back upstairs hallway, and more and more it was becoming one den instead of two. But they weren’t mates in the same way Kowalski and Ruthie were mates. Then again, terra indigene Wolves only mated once a year when females came into season. Meg did the bleeding typical of human females but she hadn’t shown any physical interest in having a mate. Except…

She’d asked him to go skinny-dipping with her a couple of weeks ago. Both of them naked, in human form. She’d been nervous about being in the water with him, and she seemed scared after he’d kissed the scar along the right side of her jaw—a scar made by the cut that had saved the Wolfgard in Lakeside as well as many other Wolves throughout the Northeast Region and even beyond.

He’d kissed her before—on the forehead once or twice. But when he’d kissed that scar, he’d felt a flutter of change inside him, and in the days that followed he began to understand on some instinctive level that he wasn’t quite the same as the rest of the Lakeside Wolfgard. Not anymore.

Maybe it wasn’t just for Meg’s sake that, after the kiss, he’d invited her to play a Wolf game despite their both looking human. Then she wasn’t afraid anymore. And since then… Well, it wasn’t lost on him that, in summer weather like this, human males wore next to nothing in and around their own dens and no one thought anything of it.

“It’s hot upstairs,” Meg said, not raising her voice because she didn’t need to. His ears might look human, but he was still a Wolf and could hear her just fine. “I brought some food down here for breakfast.”

“I’ll take a quick shower and join you.”

He hurried inside and up the stairs to the bathroom in his apartment. Washing his hair and body didn’t take long, but he stood under the shower, enjoying the cool water falling over him as he thought about the complication that was Meg Corbyn.

He had brought her into the Courtyard, offering her the job of Human Liaison before discovering that she was a blood prophet, a cassandra sangue—a breed of human females who saw visions of the future when their skin was cut. She had escaped from the man who had owned her and used her, and Simon and the rest of the terra indigene in Lakeside had taken her in.

That sounded simple but it wasn’t. Nothing about Meg was simple. She was the pebble dropped in a pond that was the Lakeside Courtyard, and the ripples of her presence had changed so many things, including the terra indigene who had befriended her. Because of Meg, the Courtyard’s residents interacted with humans in ways that were unprecedented—or, at least, hadn’t been considered in centuries. Because of Meg, the terra indigene throughout Thaisia had tried to save the rest of the blood prophets who had been tossed out like unwanted puppies by the humans who had owned them. Because of Meg, the Lakeside Courtyard had a human pack that provided an additional learning experience for terra indigene who had a human-centric education and needed to practice those skills with humans who wouldn’t take advantage of mistakes.

Because of Meg, he had the uncomfortable feeling that a little bit of being human had become attached and inseparable from his Wolf form.

 

The Others #5: ETCHED IN BONE audio

My Thoughts:

In the world of The Others series, the names of the continents of their world sounds much like our own world, i.e., Afrikah, Brittania, Australis… but, what the heck is Felidae?! Sounds to me like a land full of cats…??

I am not quite sure why this book is titled Etched In Bone, though. A theme which is starting to plague this series lately. Titles that don’t really relate to the book! Whats that all about??! What in the world??…

I used to whinge about the narration of these books, and I still do, however this being book 5 in the series, I have already gotten used to it…. eventually. So that is probably why it is no longer as annoying as it used to be… probably…

 

Empirical Evaluation:
Story telling quality = 5
Character development = 5
Story itself = 5
Writing Style = 5
Ending = 5
World building = 5
Cover art = 5
Pace = 5
Plot = 5
Narration = 3.5

 

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 cherries

 

Books In The Others Series:
 

         

 

The Author
Anne Bishop

Anne Bishop lives in upstate New York where she enjoys gardening, music, and writing dark, romantic stories. She is the author of fourteen novels, including the award-winning Black Jewels Trilogy. Her most recent novel, Twilight’s Dawn, made the New York Times bestseller list. She is currently working on a new series, which is an urban dark fantasy with a bit of a twist.

Crawford Award (2000)

 


 

FTC Disclosure:
This book, in all its formats, were purchased with private funds.
No money received for this review.

 

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14/03/2017 Posted by | 5 cherries, audiobook, book review, Cherry's reviews, ebook, kindle ebook, review, urban fantasy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SILENCE FALLEN

 

Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs
Book 10 of the Mercy Thompson series
Read by Lorelei King and George Newbern
Genre: urban fantasy
Format: ebook & audiobookAudiobook

 

 

About Silence Fallen:

In the #1 New York Times bestselling Mercy Thompson novels, the coyote shapeshifter has found her voice in the werewolf pack. But when Mercy’s bond with the pack and her mate is broken, she’ll learn what it truly means to be alone…

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..

Source: Info in the About Silence Fallen was taken from GoodReads at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30687916-silence-fallen on 12/03/2016.

 

My Thoughts:

This is the first time that I have heard a book in this series where there are two narrators and it suited this book well. I guess that is why they chose to do it so. It made listening to the book very pleasant indeed! It added a little bit of a different flavour to the story than I would have had if I just read the book. I also like the fact that the author added a little twist in the end! That made the plot of this book the best yet in this series. And then there is the fact that I am an old die hard fan of these books already so I might just end up fan raving in this review… great world building…. great characters…. compelling story telling quality….

Can’t wait for next year and get my hands on the next book!

 

Empirical Evaluation:
Story telling quality = 5
Character development = 5
Story itself = 4.5
Writing Style = 5
Ending = 4.5
World building = 5
Cover art = 5
Pace = 5
Plot = 5
Narration = 5

 

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 cherries

 

Books In The Mercy Thompson Series:
Click on the cover image to go to my review or to the GoodReads page of the book for more info.
                   

 

About Patricia Briggs
Patricia Briggs

Patricia Briggs was born in Butte, Montana to a children’s librarian who passed on to her kids a love of reading and books. Patricia grew up reading fairy tales and books about horses, and later developed an interest in folklore and history. When she decided to write a book of her own, a fantasy book seemed a natural choice. Patricia graduated from Montana State University with degrees in history and German and she worked for a while as a substitute teacher. Currently, she lives in Montana with her husband, children and six horses and writes full-time, much to the delight of her fans.

www.patriciabriggs.com | facebook | twitter | goodreads | Amazon | Tumblr

 


 

FTC Disclosure:
This book was purchased with private funds.
No money received for this review.

 

13/03/2017 Posted by | 5 cherries, audiobook, book review, Cherry's reviews, ebook, kindle ebook, review | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: PRICELESS

 

 

Priceless by Shannon Mayer
Book 1 of the Rylee Adamson series
Narrated by Emma Galvin
Genre: urban fantasy
Format: ebook & audiobookAudiobook

 

 

About Priceless:

“My name is Rylee and I am a Tracker.”

When children go missing, and the Humans have no leads, I’m the one they call. I am their last hope in bringing home the lost ones. I salvage what they cannot.

I’m on the FBI’s wanted list.

I have a werewolf for a pet, a Witch of a best friend, and have no need for anyone else in my life.

But when a salvage starts to spin out of control, help comes from a most unexpected direction. One that is dangerously dark, brooding, and doesn’t know a thing about the supernatural.

One whose kisses set me on fire.

Source: Info in the “About Priceless was taken from GoodReads at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18048164-priceless on 13/04/2016.

 

Buy Link(s):
  Audible Books

 

My Thoughts:

Emma Galvin reads in a sing-song voice which is not to my liking. This considerably reduced my enjoyment of the audiobook version.

The story is told in first person from the protagonist’s point of view, and sometimes from another character’s perspective. The author told the story in such a way that the first person perspective played well in the story. What I didn’t like was the constant self-berating of the protagonist. As if the author could not hammer it enough into the readers how stupid the protagonist is. That gets old real fast!

On the bright side, I like the story telling quality, the world building and the character development. Such that I bought books 2 through 6 already. It also helps that they are cheap right now on sale price.

 

Empirical Evaluation:
Story telling quality = 4
Character development = 4
Story itself = 4
Writing Style = 4
Ending = 4
World building = 4
Cover art = 5
Pace = (19 hrs and 29 mins listening time [omnibus])
Plot = 3
Narration = 2

 

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 cherries

 

Books In The Rylee Adamson Series:

Book 0.25: TRACKING MAGIC   Book 0.5: ELEMENTALLY PRICELESS   Book 1: PRICELESS   Book 2: IMMUNE   Book 3: RAISING INNOCENCE   Book 4: SHADOWED THREADS   Book 5: BLIND SALVAGE   Book 5.5: ALEX   Book 6: TRACKER   Book 6.5: GUARDIAN   Book 7: VEILED THREAT   Book 8: WOUNDED   Book 8.5: STITCHED   Book 9: RISING DARKNESS   Book 10: BLOOD OF THE LOST

 

About Shannon Mayer
Shannon Mayer

A long time ago, in a galaxy far away, I was born into a family of Star Wars nuts. I have a lot of siblings (somewhere I lost count but I think there was more than could be numbered on one hand) and being one of the young padawans I was subjected to Star Wars marathons, on a regular basis. If you’ve read any of my books you’ll see there is often a reference to said movies as a small homage to my upbringing. May the force be with you and all that jazz.

I started writing when I realized I didn’t want to grow up not believing in magic, or not believing in creatures everyone else said didn’t exist. That being said, I have never seen a fairy, unicorn or dragon. I had a neighbour who swore they fed the leprechauns in their garden, but I never caught the little buggers no matter how long I lay in wait. (And consequently had to help the neighbours plant new flowers to replace those I killed waiting for the leprechauns to show their faces.)

Along the way, I found my husband who is the rock that keeps me from floating away into my dreams, and we have a little boy who is the centre of our world. Living on a farm keeps us busy (as if the writing wasn’t enough) and I have more than my share of stories about wrestling with cows, helping birth calves and ending up in the creek during the process, falling in the mud (we’ll call it mud but we all know that on a farm, mud is rarely mud) and chasing escaped livestock in the hopes the four legged convicts don’t make it to the highway.

I’ve taken up archery, and the goal is to move into horseback archery in time (you know, when I can hit the target on a consistent basis) and when no one is looking, I love to bake (this doesn’t happen often as it’s hard to keep the sweet treats in stock with two boys in the house.)

As to what’s coming next for me? More stories (since those never stop inside my head, I might as well share them with all of you!) and more adventures. Pretty much, when the fancy strikes, I’ll jump on it. Leap before you look I’m sure that motto was created for me.

Or was that . . . think big and dream bigger, ready, set, pull the trigger . . . yeah. That one is a good one too. But only if you have a gun. And are hunting elephants. Which is not cool because of so many reasons. Let’s stick with the first one with an addendum.

Leap before you look and let your dreams carry you on their wings. And that, my friends, is me in a nutshell.

 

Book Trailer:

 


 

FTC Disclosure:
This book was purchased with private funds.
No money received for this review.

 

08/06/2016 Posted by | 4 cherries, audiobook, book, book review, Cherry's reviews, ebook, kindle, review | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: MARKED IN FLESH

The Others #4: MARKED IN FLESH

Marked In Flesh by Anne Bishop
Read by Alexandra Harris
Book 4 of The Others series
Genre: urban fantasy
Format: ebook & audiobook

 

 

About Marked In Flesh:

For centuries, the Others and humans have lived side by side in uneasy peace. But when humankind oversteps its bounds, the Others will have to decide how much humanity they’re willing to tolerate—both within themselves and within their community…

Since the Others allied themselves with the cassandra sangue, the fragile yet powerful human blood prophets who were being exploited by their own kind, the delicate dynamic between humans and Others changed. Some, like Simon Wolfgard, wolf shifter and leader of the Lakeside Courtyard, and blood prophet Meg Corbyn, see the new, closer companionship as beneficial—both personally and practically.

But not everyone is convinced. A group of radical humans is seeking to usurp land through a series of violent attacks on the Others. What they don’t realize is that there are older and more dangerous forces than shifters and vampires protecting the land that belongs to the Others—and those forces are willing to do whatever is necessary to protect what is theirs…

Source: Info in the About Marked In Flesh was taken from GoodReads at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22062202-marked-in-flesh on 12/03/2016.

 

MARKED IN FLESH by Anne Bishop audiobook

Review:

The narration still has a wonderful voice quality but also have the same non-stop-like reading style which does not take into account changes in scenes. Which makes it difficult to tell when scenes change and the conversation changed. Makes listening to it time-consuming and confusing. Therefore I abandoned the audiobook, again, in lieu of “reading” the ebook. Listening to the audiobook once I’ve read the book is easier because I already know where the scenes changes seeing I already know the story. Because I actually “read” the book instead of “listened” to it, I won’t count the narration this time around. Again.

The wonderful world building and character development has been established a long time ago with Book 1 and still carried on with this book. Also has the same compelling story telling quality which is a trademark I associated with this series. Sure, this book might also have little holes in it, but I am wilfully blind to all of it for the wonderful reading experience this book offers!

 

Empirical Evaluation:
Story telling quality = 5
Character development = 5
Story itself = 5
Ending = 4.5
World building = 5
Cover art = 5
Pace = 4.5 (15 hours & 21 minutes listening time)
Plot = 4.5
(Narration = 3)

 

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 cherries

 

Books In The Others Series:

       
 


 

FTC Disclosure:
The ebook and audiobbok formats of this book were purchased with private funds.
No money received for this review.

 

04/05/2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: FIRE TOUCHED

 

Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs
Book 9 of the Mercy Thompson series
Read by Lorelei King
Genre: urban fantasy
Format: ebook & audiobookAudiobook

 

 


About Fire Touched:

Mercy Thompson has been hailed as “a heroine who continues to grow and yet always remains true to herself.”* Now she’s back, and she’ll soon discover that when the fae stalk the human world, it’s the children who suffer…

Tensions between the fae and humans are coming to a head. And when coyote shapeshifter Mercy and her Alpha werewolf mate, Adam, are called upon to stop a rampaging troll, they find themselves with something that could be used to make the fae back down and forestall out-and-out war: a human child stolen long ago by the fae.

Defying the most powerful werewolf in the country, the humans, and the fae, Mercy, Adam, and their pack choose to protect the boy no matter what the cost. But who will protect them from a boy who is fire touched?

Source: Info in the About Fire Touched was taken from GoodReads at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25776210-fire-touched on 08/03/2016.

 

My Thoughts:

I’ve been eagerly awaiting for this book for a year!! Then I had to read it slowly to savour it and make it last. Still too quick a read… The reason I was so looking forward to reading this book was because I wanted to know what happens to Joel as a member of the pack and how the pack is doing with Joel in it… And I was happy to say I got what I wanted… but… I wanted more!!! And I have to wait another year for the next book! How cruel is that?!! Good thing I have Marked In Flesh to read after this book to stave off the withdrawal symptoms I usually have after reading a good book and nothing else to read next. Or at least nothing as good to read next.

So the world building and character development were already established in book one and continues on to be fantastic in this book. Same goes with the story telling quality. Ok, so I am a die-hard fan of this series (so consider me raving already). Surprisingly, I cannot get into the offshoot seires which is the Alpha And Omega. Tried and failed to get into it… maybe I’ll try again later… Anyway, this book was a fantastic read, as usual with a Mercy Thompson book!

 

Empirical Evaluation:
Story telling quality = 5
Character development = 5
Story itself = 4.5
Writing Style = 5
Ending = 4.5
World building = 5
Cover art = 5
Pace = 5
Plot = 4.5
Narration = 4

 

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 cherries

 

Books In The Mercy Thompson Series:
Click on the cover image to go to my review or to the GoodReads page of the book for more info.
                   
 

About Patricia Briggs
Patricia Briggs

Patricia Briggs was born in Butte, Montana to a children’s librarian who passed on to her kids a love of reading and books. Patricia grew up reading fairy tales and books about horses, and later developed an interest in folklore and history. When she decided to write a book of her own, a fantasy book seemed a natural choice. Patricia graduated from Montana State University with degrees in history and German and she worked for a while as a substitute teacher. Currently, she lives in Montana with her husband, children and six horses and writes full-time, much to the delight of her fans.

 


 

FTC Disclosure:
This book was purchased with private funds.
No money received for this review.

 

27/04/2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SWEEP IN PEACE Review

 

The Book

 


Sweep In Peace by Ilona Andrews
Book 2 of the Innkeeper Chronicles series
Read by Renee Raudman
Genre: urban fantasy
Format: ebook, & audiobookAudiobook

 

 

About Sweep In Peace:

Dina DeMille doesn’t run your typical Bed and Breakfast. Her inn is a living entity that defies laws of physics, her fluffy dog is secretly a monster, and the only paying guest is a former Galactic tyrant with a price on her head. But the inn needs guests to thrive, and guests have been scarce, so when an Arbitrator shows up at Dina’s door and asks her to host a peace summit between three warring species, she jumps on the chance.

Unfortunately, for Dina, keeping the peace between Space Vampires, the Hope-Crushing Horde, and the devious Merchants of Baha-char is much easier said than done. On top of keeping her guests from murdering each other, she must find a chef, remodel the inn… and risk everything, even her life, to save the man she might fall in love with. But then it’s all in the day’s work for an Innkeeper…

Source: Info in the About Sweep In Peace was taken from the author’s website at http://www.ilona-andrews.com/blog/book/sweep-in-peace on 23/10/2015.

 

Buy Link(s):
   

 

Excerpt:

Chapter One

When visitors came to the fine state of Texas, they expected a dry, rolling plain studded with longhorn cattle, oil derricks, and an occasional cowboy in a huge hat. According to them, that plain had only one type of weather: scorching. That wasn’t true at all. In fact, we had two types, drought and flood. This December, the town of Red Deer was experiencing the latter kind of weather. The rain poured and poured, turning the world gray, damp, and dreary.

I looked outside the living room window and hugged myself. The view offered a section of flooded street and, past it, the Avalon subdivision hunkering down under the cascade of cold water determined to wait it out. The inside of Gertrude Hunt’s Bed-and-Breakfast was warm and dry, but the rain was getting to me all the same. After a week of this downpour, I wanted a clear sky. Maybe it would let up tomorrow. A girl could hope.

It was a perfect evening to snuggle up with a book, play a video game, or watch TV. Except I wanted to do none of those things. I’d been snuggling up with a book, playing video games, or watching TV every night for the past six months with only my dog, my inn, and its lone guest for company, and I was a bit tired of it.

Caldenia exited the kitchen, carrying her cup of tea. She looked to be in her sixties, beautiful, elegant, and cloaked in the air of experience. If you saw her on the street in New York or London, you’d think she was a lady of high society whose days were filled with brunches with friends and charity auctions. Her Grace, Caldenia ka ret Magren, was indeed high society, except she preferred world domination to friendly brunches and mass murder to charity. Thankfully those days were behind her. Now she was just a guest at my inn, her past barely an issue aside from an occasional bounty hunter stupid enough to try to collect on the enormous price on her head.

On this evening she wore a sweeping kimono the color of rose wine, with gold accents. It flared as she walked, giving her thin figure a suitably regal air. Her silver hair, usually artfully arranged into a flattering hairdo, drooped slightly. Her makeup looked smudged and short of her typical impeccable perfection. The rain was getting to her as well.

She cleared her throat.

What now? “Your Grace?”

“Dina, I’m bored,” Caldenia announced.

Too bad. I guaranteed her safety, not entertainment. “What about your game?”

Her Grace gave me a shrug. “I’ve beaten it five times on the Deity setting. I’ve reduced Paris to ashes because Napoleon annoyed me. I’ve eradicated Gandhi. I’ve crushed George Washington. Empress Wu had potential, so I eliminated her before we even cleared Bronze Age. The Egyptians are my pawns. I dominate the planet. Oddly, I find myself mildly fascinated by Genghis Khan. A shrewd and savage warrior, possessing a certain magnetism. I left him with a single city, and I periodically make ridiculous demands that I know he can’t meet so I can watch him squirm.”

She liked him, so she was torturing him. Her Grace in a nutshell. “What civilization did you choose?”

“Rome, of course. Any title other than Empress would be unacceptable. That’s not the point. The point, my dear, is that our lives are beginning to feel dreadfully dull. The last guest we had was two months ago.”

She was preaching to the converted. Gertrude Hunt required guests, for financial and other reasons. They were the lifeblood of the inn. Caldenia helped some, but for the inn to thrive, we needed guests—if not a steady stream, then a large party. Unfortunately, I had no idea how to get those guests. Once upon a time, Gertrude Hunt had sat on a crossroads of a busy road, but decades passed, the world changed, the roads shifted, and now Red Deer, Texas, was a small town in the middle of nowhere. We didn’t get much traffic.

“Would you like me to pass out flyers on the corner, Your Grace?”

“Do you think it would help you drum up business?”

“Probably not.”

“Well then, that answers your question. Don’t get snippy, Dina. It really doesn’t become you.” She glided up the stairs, her kimono flowing behind her like a mantle.

I needed tea. Tea would make everything better.

I went to the kitchen and reached for a kettle. My left foot landed in something cold and wet. I looked down. A small yellow puddle greeted me. Well, doesn’t that just take the cake?

“Beast!”

My tiny Shih Tzu dashed into the kitchen, her black and white fur waving like a battle flag. She saw my foot in the puddle. Her brain decided it was time to beat a hasty retreat, but her body kept going. She tripped over her own paws and smacked headfirst into the island.

“What is this?” I pointed to the puddle.

Beast flipped onto her feet, slunk behind the island, and poked her head out, looking guilty.

“You have a perfectly good doggie door. I don’t care if it’s raining, you go outside.”

Beast slunk about some more and whined.

Magic chimed, a soft not-quite sound only I could hear—the inn letting me know we had guests.

Visitors!

Beast exploded into barks, zooming around the island in tight circles. I hopped on one foot to the kitchen sink, stuck my foot under the faucet, and washed my hands and my foot with soap. The floor under the puddle split, forming a narrow gap. Tile flowed, suddenly fluid, and the offending liquid disappeared. The floor resealed itself. I wiped my hands on the kitchen towel, ran to the front door, Beast bounding at my heels, and swung it open.

A white Ford Explorer was parked in the driveway. Through the screen door I saw a man in the driver seat. A woman sat next to him. Behind them, two smaller heads moved back and forth—kids in the backseat, probably stir-crazy after a long trip. A nice family. I reached forward with my magic.

Oh.

I’d thought the chime didn’t sound quite right.

The man got out and ran to the front door, shielding his glasses from the rain with his hand, and stopped under the porch roof. About thirty-five, he looked like a typical suburban dad: jeans, T-shirt, and the slightly desperate expression of someone who had been in a car with small children for several hours.

“Hi!” he said. “I’d like to rent a room.”

This was exactly why Gertrude Hunt had a private phone number and no online listing. We weren’t on any tourist brochures. How had they even found us? “I’m sorry, we have no vacancy.”

He blinked. “What do you mean, you have no vacancy? It looks like a big house, and there are no cars in the driveway.”

“I’m sorry, we have no vacancy.”

The woman got out of the car and ran over. “What’s the holdup?”

The man turned to her. “They have no vacancy.”

The woman looked at me. “We drove six hours in this rain from Little Rock. We won’t be any trouble. We just need a couple of rooms.”

“There is a very nice Holiday Inn only two miles from here,” I said.

The woman pointed at Avalon subdivision. “My sister lives in that subdivision. She said the only person who ever stays here is some old lady.”

Ah. Mystery solved. The neighbors knew I ran a bed-and-breakfast because that was the only way I could explain the occasional guests.

“Is it because we have kids?” the woman asked.

“Not at all,” I said. “Would you like the directions to the Holiday Inn?”

The man grimaced. “No, thanks. Come on, Louise.”

They turned and went to their car. The woman was mumbling something. “…outrageous.”

I watched them get into the car, reverse down the driveway, and leave. The inn chimed softly, punctuating their departure.

“I thought we had guests!” Caldenia called from the stairs.

“Not the right kind,” I said.

The inn creaked. I petted the doorframe. “Don’t worry. It will get better.”

Caldenia sighed. “Perhaps you should go on a date, dear. Men are so attentive when they think there is a chance you will let them into your bed. It does wonderful things to lift your spirits.”

A date. Right.

“What about Sean Evans?”

“He isn’t home,” I said quietly.

“Too bad. It was so much fun when he and the other fellow were around.” Caldenia shrugged and went up the stairs.

About five months ago, I watched Sean Evans open a door and step through it to the greater universe beyond. I hadn’t heard from him since. Not that he owed me anything. Sharing a single kiss could hardly be called a relationship, no matter how memorable it was. I knew from experience that the universe was very large. It was difficult for a single woman to compete with all its wonders. Besides, I was an innkeeper. Guests left to have exciting adventures and our kind stayed behind. Such was the nature of our profession.

And telling myself all those things over and over didn’t make me feel better. When I thought about Sean Evans, I felt the way business travelers from Canada might feel about an overnight trip to Miami in the middle of February. They would ride in a taxi, see the beach outside their window, knowing they wouldn’t get a chance to visit it, and wonder what it would be like to walk on the sand and feel the waves on their feet. Sean and I might have been great if only we had more time, but now we would never know if that beach would’ve turned out to be paradise, or if we would find jellyfish in the water and sand in our food.

It was for probably for the best. Werewolves were nothing but trouble anyway.

I was about to close the door when magic brushed against me like ripples from a stone cast into a calm pond. This had a completely different flavor. Someone had entered the inn’s grounds. Someone powerful and dangerous.

I reached for my broom, which was resting in the corner by the door, and stepped out onto the front porch. A figure in a gray rain poncho stood by the hedges, just on the edge of the inn’s grounds, politely waiting to be invited inside.

We had a visitor. Maybe even a guest, the right kind this time. I inclined my head, more of a very shallow bow than a nod.

The two doors behind me opened on their own. The figure approached slowly. The visitor was tall, almost a foot taller than me, which put him around six two, maybe six three. He walked into the inn. I followed him, and the door closed tight behind me.

The figure pulled the cord securing his hood and shrugged off his rain poncho. A man in his early thirties stood in front of me, muscular but lean, his shoulder-length blond hair pulled back into a haphazard ponytail at the nape of his neck. He wore a white shirt with flaring sleeves, dark gray trousers, and supple black boots that came midway up his calf. An embroidered vest hugged his frame, black accented with blue, emphasizing the contrast between his broad shoulders and flat stomach. A leather sword belt graced his narrow hips, supporting a long, slender scabbard with an elaborate basket hilt protruding from it. He probably owned a wide-brimmed hat with some fluffy white feathers and possibly a cloak or two.

His face was shocking. Masculine, well-cut but not at all brutish, with strong elegant lines people usually called aristocratic: high, broad forehead, straight nose, good cheekbones, square jaw, and a full mouth. He wasn’t at all feminine, yet most people would describe him as beautiful rather than handsome.

The man smiled at me. Quiet humor tinted his pale blue eyes, as if he found the world a perpetually amusing place. They were the kind of eyes that shone with intelligence, confidence, and calculation. He didn’t look—he watched, noticed, and evaluated—and I had a feeling that even when his mouth and his eyes smiled, his mind remained alert and razor-sharp.

I had seen him before. I remembered that face. But where?

“I’m looking for Dina Demille.” His voice suited him well: warm and confident. He had a light accent, not really British, not really Southern US, but an odd, melodious meld of both.

“You found her,” I said. “Welcome to Gertrude Hunt Inn. Your poncho?”

“Thank you.” He handed me the poncho, and I hung it on the hook by the door.

“Will you be staying with us?”

“I’m afraid not.” He offered me an apologetic smile.

Figured. “What can I do for you?”

He raised his hand and traced a pattern between us. The air in the wake of his finger glowed with pale blue. A stylized symbol of scales, two weights in the balance, flared between us, held for a second, and vanished. He was an Arbitrator. Oh crap. My heart sped up. Who could possibly be suing us? Gertrude Hunt didn’t have the finances to fight an arbitration.

I leaned on my broom. “I’ve received no notice of arbitration.”

He smiled. His face lit up. Wow.

“My apologies. I’m afraid I’ve given you the wrong impression. You’re not a party to an arbitration. I came to you to discuss a business proposition.”

Business was so much better than arbitration. I pointed at the couches in the front room. “Please sit down. May I get you something to drink, Arbitrator?”

“Hot tea would be fantastic,” he said. “And please, call me George.”

#

We sat in my comfortable chairs and sipped our tea. George frowned, obviously collecting his thoughts. He seemed so… pleasant. Cultured and genteel. But in my line of work, you quickly learned that appearances were often deceiving. I clicked my tongue, and Beast jumped on my lap and positioned herself so she could lunge off my knees in an instant. Being cautious never hurt.

“Have you heard of Nexus?” George asked.

“Yes.” I had visited Nexus. It was one of those bizarre places in the galaxy where reality bent into a pretzel. “But please continue. I would rather have all the information I need than assume I know something I don’t.”

“Very well. Nexus is a colloquial name for Onetrikvasth IV, a star system with a single habitable planet.”

He didn’t stumble over the name. That must’ve taken some practice.

“Nexus is a temporal anomaly. Time flows faster there. A month on Earth is roughly equivalent to over three months on Nexus. However, biological aging proceeds at the same pace as on the planet of origin.”

My brother, Klaus, had once explained the Nexus paradox to me, complete with formulas. We were trying to find our parents at the time, and the complex explanation had flown right over my head. I chalked it up to magic. The universe was full of wonders. Some of them would drive you insane if you thought about them too long.

“Nexus also contains large subterranean reserves of kuyo, a naturally occurring viscous liquid that, when refined, is used in production of what my background file calls ‘pharmaceutical assets of significant strategic value.’”

“It’s used to manufacture military stimulants,” I said. “They affect a wide variety of species in slightly different ways, but typically they boost strength and speed while suppressing fatigue and fear. They turn humans into berserkers, for example.”

George smiled. “I should probably speak plainly.”

I smiled back. “It would save us some time.”

“Very well.” George sipped his tea. “Kuyo occurs throughout the galaxy but only in small quantities, which makes Nexus extremely valuable. Currently there are three factions fighting for control of the planet. Each claims the rights to the entirety of Nexus’s mineral wealth, and none are willing to compromise. They’re engaged in a bloody war. It’s been going on for a little over seven Earth years and almost twenty years in Nexus’s time. The war is brutal and has cost everyone involved a great deal. Cooler minds on all sides agree it can’t continue. The matter has been referred for arbitration by one of the interested factions, the other two agreed, and here we are.”

“I’m guessing one of the factions is the Merchants?” When we landed on Nexus, we’d ended up in a Merchant spaceport. Merchants facilitated interstellar trade through the known galaxy and its many dimensions. When you needed rare goods or a large quantity of goods, you went to see a Merchant. They were motivated by profit and prestige.

George nodded. “Yes. The war is cutting into their profits.”

“Which family? The Ama?”

“The Nuan. The Ama family cut their losses and sold its holdings on Nexus to Nuan two years ago.”

Suddenly his presence here made a lot of sense. “Is Nuan Cee involved?”

“Yes. In fact, he was the one who recommended your establishment.”

Before my parents disappeared, they did a lot of business with Nuan Cee. Running an inn sometimes required exotic goods, and he procured the rarest items. Even I had done a deal with Nuan Cee. I’d bartered the world’s rarest honey for the eggs of a deadly giant spider.

“Your tea is delicious,” George said.

“Thank you. Which are the other two factions?”

“House Krahr of the Holy Cosmic Anocracy.”

Six months ago I had sheltered a vampire of House Krahr after he was injured trying to apprehend an alien assassin. His nephew had come to rescue him. The nephew’s name was Arland, he was the Marshal of his House, and he had flirted with me. At least flirted in vampire terms. He’d assured me that he would be ecstatic to be my shield, and I shouldn’t hesitate to rely upon his warrior prowess. He’d also gotten drunk on coffee and run through my orchard naked.

Good God, who could hold the vampires of Krahr off for twenty years? They were one of the most ferocious sentient species in the galaxy. They were predators who lived to war. Their entire civilization was dedicated to it.

“And the final faction?”

George set his cup down. “The Otrokars.”

I blinked.

Silence stretched.

“The Hope-Crushing Horde?”

George looked slightly uncomfortable. “That’s the official name, yes.”

The Otrokars were the scourge of the galaxy. They were huge and violent, and they lived to conquer. They’d started with one planet and grown their holdings to nine. Their name literally meant Hope-Crushing, because once you saw them, all your hopes died. The Holy Anocracy and the Horde had collided several times over the past three centuries, always with disastrous results. The two species hated each other so much their feud had become legendary. Half the jokes in the galaxy started with “a vampire and an otrokar walk into a bar….”

Having vampires and Otrokars together in close proximity was like mixing glycerin with nitric acid and then hitting it with a sledgehammer. They would explode. It would be a slaughter.

I leaned forward. “So you need a neutral venue to hold the arbitration?”

“Yes. An inn on Earth is ideal. It is defined as neutral ground, and we can rely on an innkeeper’s power to keep the participants in check.”

“Let me guess: you’ve tried other inns and everyone turned you down. Am I your last stop?”

George took a deep breath. “Yes.”

“There was an attempt to broker peace between Otrokars and the Holy Cosmic Anocracy during their Ten-Year Conflict,” I said. “About fifty years ago.”

He braided his long, elegant fingers into a single fist. “Yes, I’m familiar with it.”

“Then you also know how it ended.”

“I believe the patriarch of House Jero lunged at the Otrokar Korum, and Korum beheaded him.”

“He ripped the patriarch’s head off with his bare hands and then proceeded to beat the Marshal of House Jero to death with it.”

“Well, the venture does sound risky when you put it that way…”

“It’s not risky, it’s suicidal.”

“Should I take it as a no?” George asked.

This was a really bad idea.

“How many people do you expect?”

“At least twelve from each party.”

Thirty-six guests. My heart sped up. Thirty-six guests, each with robust magic. This would sustain the inn for years to come. Not to mention that if I managed to pull this impossible thing off, it would raise the inn’s standing.

No. What was I thinking? It would be crazy. I would have to keep the peace between thirty-six individuals, each dying to kill the other. It would be terrible. The risk… The gamble was too great.

What did I have to lose?

George reached into his pocket, produced a small tablet about the size of a playing card and just as thin, and showed it to me. Two numbers: $500,000 and $1,000,000.

“The first is your payment in the event the arbitration fails. The second is payment if we succeed.”

Five hundred thousand. We needed the money. I could finally upgrade my books. I could buy the additional building materials for the inn.

No. I might as well set Gertrude Hunt on fire.

My gaze fell on the portrait of my parents. They were looking at me. Demilles never backed down from a challenge. But then, we didn’t take unnecessary risks either.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I could simply sit here and continue to wait for a chance traveler to happen my way…

“If I do this, I would need you to meet my conditions,” I said.

“Absolutely.”

“I want agreements of reimbursement to be drawn up and signed by all parties. I want a sum of money to be set aside in escrow from each faction and placed under your control. If they damage the inn, I want them to pay for the damages.”

“I find that reasonable.”

“I need each party to review and sign Earth’s nondisclosure policy. Ordinary citizens of this planet can’t know of their existence. For example, we may experience visits from local law enforcement, and I want it expressly understood that nobody will be crushing necks or ripping off heads.”

“Also reasonable.”

“I may think of some additional restrictions. Do you have any concerns?”

“A couple.” George leaned forward. “The nature of the relationship between the inn and its guests isn’t quite clear to me. Why does the inn require guests?”

“It’s a symbiotic relationship,” I explained. “The inn provides the guests with shelter and food. It sees to their every need. In return, it feeds on the natural energy all living beings emit. The more varied and powerful that energy, the more magic the inn is able to generate and the stronger it becomes.”

George narrowed his eyes. “So is the inn empathic?”

“No, not exactly.”

“Can it influence the mood of its guests?”

“Only in as much as we are all influenced by our surroundings.”

George frowned. “I’ve read of some cases that suggested a link can be forged between an inn and its guests.”

Oh. That’s what he was getting at. “That’s not exactly accurate. It is possible for the inn to forge a mental link between an innkeeper and a guest, but the inn can’t influence the guest’s mental state. The linking ritual has been done only a handful of times in rare cases when the inn or guests were in danger. For example, when the identity of a murderer had to be confirmed. The guest has to be a willing participant in the process and try to forge the link. So if you’re asking me whether the inn can magically make the guests more agreeable and likely to sign the peace treaty, then no. I can make sure the peace delegates have the softest linens and the most tranquil of rooms, but I have no power to influence them. Even if I could, I wouldn’t. The privacy of my guests is sacred, and I am meant to remain as a neutral party. It would be a breach of ethics.”

“Oh well,” he said. “It was a thought.”

Considering the enormity of the task at hand, I could understand why he would reach for any possibility that could influence the outcome. “Anything else?”

“Yes.” George turned and glanced at the modest room. “I mean no disrespect, but your establishment is considerably smaller than I was led to believe. I don’t believe we have enough room.”

I rose. “Have you stayed at many inns?”

“No. I’ve visited several in connection with this summit, but I haven’t had the pleasure of being a guest. Yours is my first.”

I pulled the magic to me. What I was about to do would likely drain most of the inn’s resources and mine. If he walked away from our deal after I was done, it would take us a very long time to recover. But if we could get guests, it would all be worth it.

I picked up my broom. The magic vibrated within me, building and building, held so tight, like a giant spring compressed to its limit. George rose and stood next to me.

I raised the broom, bristles up, pictured the interior of the inn in my mind, and brought the broom down. Wood connected with floorboards with a dry knock.

Magic rolled through the inn like an avalanche, the wood and stone suddenly elastic and flowing. The interior of the inn opened like a blossoming flower. The walls moved apart. The ceiling soared. The magic kept streaming out of me, so fast I felt light-headed. Polished pink marble rolled over the floor, sheathed the walls, and surged up, forming stately columns.

Next to me George stood very still.

Two-story-tall windows opened in the marble. I leaned on the broom for support. Vaulted ceilings turned pure white. Crystal chandeliers sprouted like bunches of exquisite blooms. Golden flourishes spiraled and curved on the floor. Lights flared among the crystal.

I cut off the magic. The power snapped inside me like a rubber band. I reeled from the impact.

The grand ballroom spread before us, grandiose, elegant, and glowing.

The Arbitrator closed his mouth with a click. “I stand corrected.”

Source: Excerpt was taken from the author’s website at http://www.ilona-andrews.com/blog/book/sweep-in-peace on 23/10/2015.

 

Books In The Innkeeper Chronicles:

 

Review

 


My Thoughts:

I Beta Read for the first book in this series and I was in love with it! So for this second book I decided not to Beta Read when the author called for Beta Readers because I wanted to experience the full book in its finality and in it’s full glory… and I was reminded again why I love this series and this author all over again! So much so that I bought the audiobook after I read the ebook and currently re-listening to it! So I am an old die-hard fan, so this review might be nothing but fan-girling rave. Still, no one can dispute my claims to it’s masterful and compelling story telling quality! Superb world building! And well-developed characters who fells like old friends… five out of five!

 

Empirical Evaluation:
Story telling quality = 5
Character development = 5
Story itself = 5
Writing Style = 5
Ending = 5
World building = 5
Cover art = 5
Pace = 5
Plot = 5
Narration = 5

 

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 cherries

 


FTC Disclosure:
Copies of the book were purchased with private funds.
No money received for this review.

 

22/12/2015 Posted by | audiobook, book review, review | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: DAYS GONE BAD

 

Days Gone Bad by Eric R. Asher
Book 1 of the Vesik series
Read by William Dufris
Genre: urban fantasy
Format: kindle ebook & audiobook

 

 

About Days Gone Bad:

My name is Damian Valdis Vesik. I am a necromancer, an ability feared and hated as much as the powers my master and I set ourselves against. We’ve vanquished many evils, but now something is releasing an old darkness, forcing us to hunt an enemy beyond anything I’ve faced before. I was already busy enough with vampires, fairies, witches, Watchers, weddings, and…damn, I need a vacation.

©2013 Eric R. Asher (P)2014 Eric R. Asher

Source: Info in the About Days Gone Bad was taken from Audible at http://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Days-Gone-Bad-Audiobook/B00KX959A4#publisher-summary on 15/06/2015.

 

Buy Link(s):
  Audible Books

 

My Thoughts:

I came across this book as a recommendation in a comment in Ilona Andrews’ giveaway for an ARC of Magic Shifts. And mighty glad I did! It was an awesome read!!

Chapter 1, I wasn’t very convinced. But by Chapter 3, I knew it was gonna be good! And by the end of the book, Eric Asher has gained a new die-hard fan! You got your vampires, fairies, old gods, power-wielding humans and more. Hopefully the author will expand more about the werewolves and witches in subsequent books in the series. Needing a good urban fantasy fix? Pick this book up! I just wished they hired a more ruggedly appealing model for the cover though. Don’t have to be handsome, just more appealing. Anyway the suggestion of magical elements in the cover art makes up for it. So not a total loss. I also like William Dufris‘ narration and his interpretation of the story. He obviously brought his own flavor to the book which made it ultimately more enjoyable! And of course, I already bought the second book and currently reading it 🙂

 

Empirical Evaluation:
Story telling quality = 4
Character development = 4.5
Story itself = 4.5
Writing Style = 4.5
Ending = 4.5
World building = 4.5
Cover art = 4
Pace = ( 8 hrs & 50 mins listening time)
Plot = 4
Narration = 5

 

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5 cherries

 

Books In The Vesik Series:
Book 1: DAYS GONE BAD   Book 2: WOLVES AND THE RIVER OF STONE   Book 3: WINTER'S DEMON

 

About Eric R. Asher
Eric Asher

Eric is a former bookseller, guitarist, and comic seller currently living in Saint Louis, Missouri. A lifelong enthusiast of books, music, toys, and games, he discovered a love for the written word after being dragged to the library by his parents at a young age. When he is not writing, you can usually find him reading, gaming, or buried beneath a small avalanche of Transformers.

www.daysgonebad.com | facebook | facebook author page | twitter | goodreads | pinterest | google+

 


 

08/08/2015 Posted by | audiobook, book review, review | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: THE CARE AND FEEDING OF STRAY VAMPIRES

Book 1: THE CARE AND FEEDING OF STRAY VAMPIRES audiobook

The Care And Feeding Of Stray Vampires by Molly Harper
Book 1 of the Half Moon Hollow series
Read by Amanda Ronconi
Genre: urban fantasy
Format: paperback & audiobookSamsung Galaxy Note audiobook
 

PARENTAL ADVISORY: This book contains adult material.
About The Care And Feeding Of Stray Vampires:

Iris Scanlon, Half-Moon Hollow’s only daytime vampire concierge, knows more about the undead than she’d like. Running all their daylight errands – from letting in the plumber to picking up some chilled O neg – gives her a look at the not-so-glamorous side of vampire life. Her rules are strict; relationships with vamps are strictly business, not friendship – and certainly not anything else. But then she finds her newest client, Cal, poisoned on his kitchen floor, and only Iris can help.

Cal – who would be devastatingly sexy, if Iris allowed herself to think that way – offers Iris a hefty fee for hiding him at her place until he figures out who wants him permanently dead. Even though he’s imperious, unfriendly, and doesn’t seem to understand the difference between “employee” and “servant”, Iris agrees, and finds herself breaking more and more of her own rules to help him – particularly those concerning nudity. Turns out what her quiet little life needed was some intrigue and romance – in the form of her very own stray vampire.

©2012 Molly Harper White (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

Source: Info in the About The Care And Feeding Of Stray Vampires was taken from http://www.audible.co.uk/pd?asin=B008PEACE2 on 24/06/2013.

 

Book 1: THE CARE AND FEEDING OF STRAY VAMPIRES paperback

Review:

I am, by now, an old audiobook listener and I have heard many kinds of narrators in my time thus far. Some I swore I would never ever listen to ever again. Some I tolerated but would, maybe, rather read the paperback than listen to. (And that is not complimentary in the audiobook industry.) Some I became a die hard fan of and is an auto-buy for me, just like the authors I read. However, this is the first audiobook I’ve listened by Amanda Ronconi and I have to say that I am fast becoming a fan. Her words are clear and distinct. The diction perfect. And the quality of her voice is not aggravating to the ears. In fact it was sampling her reading in audible which lead me into buying this book! So I bought this book because I liked the what I heard in the audible sample. And plus the fact that this is in the urban fantasy genre. However if this book was presented to me on it’s own as a paperback and not as an audiobook sample I don’t think it would really ping my book-buying radar because the premise is very ordinary. True BloodAs in, it has been used a few times too many around the block already. Namely, True Blood series. So the audiobook sampling was, really, a good marketing strategy! The bad news is, like True Blood‘s Sookie Stackhouse, our heroine is also too stupid to live (TSTL). However I blame the plot rather than the character development here because it is pretty obvious that the character(s) deliberately acted stupid to create a dilemma in the story so that our heroes could show off and save the world. Pretty weak plot. Not to mention that it also has the annoying “character inconsistency” issues! But me being an urban fantasy geek, likes the vampires and the world building in the story! But even that wouldn’t make me spend money on a book in this series again. If ever, I would borrow it from the library.

 

Empirical Evaluation:
Story telling quality = 3
Character development = 2
Story itself = 2
Ending = 3.5
World building = 3.5
Cover art = 3
Pace = (8hrs and 55mins listening time)
Plot = 1
Narration = 4

 

Overall Rating: 2.5 out of 5 cherries

 

Books In The Half Moon Hollow Series:

04/07/2014 Posted by | 3 cherries, Amanda Ronconi, audiobook, book review, Cherry's reviews, Half Moon Hollow series, Molly Harper, review, urban fantasy, vampires | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: THE DAY WATCH

The Day Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko
Book 2 of The Night Watch series
Read by Paul Michael
Genre: urban fantasy
Format: paperback & audiobook

About The Day Watch:

The second book in the internationally bestselling fantasy series, Day Watch begins where Night Watch left off, set in a modern-day Moscow where the 1,000-year-old treaty between Light and Dark maintains its uneasy balance through careful vigilance from the Others. The forces of darkness keep an eye during the day, the Day Watch, while the agents of Light monitor the nighttime. Very senior Others called the Inquisitors are the impartial judges insisting on the essential compact. When a very potent artifact is stolen from them, the consequences are dire and drastic for all sides. Day Watch introduces the perspective of the Dark Ones, as it is told in part by a young witch who bolsters her evil power by leeching fear from children’s nightmares as a counselor at a girls summer camp. When she falls in love with a handsome young Light One, the balance is threatened and a death must be avenged.Day Watch is replete with the thrilling action and intricate plotting of the first tale, fuelled by cunning, cruelty, violence, and magic. It is a fast paced, darkly humorous, haunting world that will take root in the shadows of your mind and live there forever.

Source: Info in the About The Day Watch was taken from GoodReads at http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/104160.Day_Watch on 28/05/2013.

Review:

Like Book 1, this book is a slow start too. Unfortunately, so is a few characters’ tendencies to be too stupid to live (TSTL)! That, I did not appreciate! However the world building remains beautiful as ever! Similarly to Book 1, this book did not pick up until the very end. I don’t know whether the goodness of Sergei Lukyanenko‘s story telling quality did not translate well into English thus it got lost in translation. Or I simply do not appreciate his story telling abilities in this particular book. Either way, I find the book dragging at times. But the beautiful world of Anton Gorodetsky and my incurable curiosity as to what happens next made me continue reading until the end.

If I break down this book into it’s constituent parts, it garners a score of less than three. However if I look at it as a whole, it feels like a 4. So I will give it a four in contradiction to my Empirical Evaluation. It seems like that the adage:

“the whole is more than the sum of its parts”

fits this book well.

Empirical Evaluation:
Story telling quality = 2
Character development = 3
Story itself = 1.5
Ending = 3
World building = 5
Cover art = 2
Pace = paperback: 1 (audiobook: 14 hrs and 25 mins listening time)
Plot = 1.5
Narrator = 4

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 cherries

Books In The The Night Watch series:

ArrowThank you!Thank you to Arrow for the review copy received.

FTC Disclosure:
The paperback book was received for free from Arrow. The audiobook copy was purchased with private funds. No money received for this review.

29/04/2014 Posted by | 2 cherries, audiobook, book review, Cherry's reviews, Paul Michael, review, Sergei Lukyanenko, The Night Watch series, urban fantasy, vampires | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: MURDER OF CROWS

The Others #2: MURDER OF CROWS

Murder Of Crows by Anne Bishop
Read by Alexandra Harris
Book 2 of the The Others series
Genre: urban fantasy
Format: hardback & audiobook

 

About Murder Of Crows:

After winning the trust of the terra indigene residing in the Lakeside Courtyard, Meg Corbyn has had trouble figuring out what it means to live among them. As a human, Meg should be barely tolerated prey, but her abilities as a cassandra sangue make her something more.

The appearance of two addictive drugs has sparked violence between the humans and the Others, resulting in the murders of both species in nearby cities. So when Meg has a dream about blood and black feathers in the snow, Simon Wolfgard—Lakeside’s shape-shifting leader—wonders whether their blood prophet dreamed of a past attack or of a future threat.

As the urge to speak prophecies strikes Meg more frequently, trouble finds its way inside the Courtyard. Now the Others and the handful of humans residing there must work together to stop the man bent on reclaiming their blood prophet—and stop the danger that threatens to destroy them all.

Source: Info in the About Murder Of Crows was taken from GoodReads at http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17563080-murder-of-crows on 17/08/2013.

 

Excerpt:

Copyright © 2014 Anne Bishop.
(Suggested reading age: 15 years and older.)

Chapter One

Nudged awake by his bedmate’s restless movements, Simon Wolfgard yawned, rolled over on his belly, and studied Meg Corbyn. She’d kicked off most of the covers, which wasn’t good for her since she didn’t have fur and could end up catching a chill. To a terra indigene Wolf, catching something meant you wanted it, and he couldn’t think of a single reason a human would want a chill, but apparently humans did and could catch one in cold weather. And even in the last days of Febros, the Northeast Region of Thaisia was plenty cold. Then again, if she started feeling chilly, she’d cuddle up closer to him, which was sensible since he had a good winter coat and, being a Wolf, liked the closeness.

If someone had told him a few weeks ago that he would befriend a human and care enough to watch over her at night, he would have laughed his tail off. But here he was, in Meg’s apartment in the Green Complex, while his nephew Sam stayed with his sire Elliot at the Wolfgard Complex. Before the attack on the Lakeside Courtyard earlier in the month, he and Sam had cuddled up with Meg to nap or even sleep through the night. But things had happened that night when men had come to abduct Meg and Sam. For one thing, Meg had almost died while saving Sam from those men. For another, something had happened to him on the way to the hospital, causing him to feel out-of-control anger. He had suspicions about what had happened, which was why Sam, who was still a puppy and lacked self-control, no longer slept with him when he curled up with Meg.

Meg told people her height was sixty-three inches because, she said, that sounded taller than being five feet something. She was twenty-four years old, had weird orange hair that was growing out to its natural black, clear gray eyes like some of the Wolves, and fair skin. Strange and fragile skin that scarred so easily.

She was a cassandra sangue,a blood prophet — a female who saw visions and spoke prophecy whenever her skin was cut. Whether it was a formal cut with her special razor or a gash caused by a sharp rock, she saw visions of what could happen in the future.

The Sanguinati referred to females like Meg as sweet blood because, even when they were adults, these women retained the sweetness of a child’s heart. And that sweetness, combined with blood swimming with visions, made them not prey. Made them Namid’s creation, both wondrous and terrible. Maybe made them something more terrible than the terra indigene had imagined.

He would deal with the terrible if and when he had to. For now, Meg was Meg, the Courtyard’s Human Liaison and his friend.

She began making noises and pumping her legs as if she were running.

She couldn’t hear terra indigene speech, but he tried anyway since he didn’t think this was a good chase-a-deer dream. Especially when he was suddenly getting a whiff of fear off of her.

Intending to nudge her awake, he pressed his nose under her ear.

In the dream, Meg heard the monster coming closer and closer. A familiar sound, made terrible by the destruction she knew would follow in its wake. She tried to shout a warning, tried to yell for help, tried to run away from the images that filled her mind.

When something poked her under the ear, she flailed and screamed and kicked as hard as she could. Her foot connected with something. Terrified, she kicked again.

Those kicks were followed by a loud yelp and a thump that had her scrambling to turn on the lamp.

Breathing hard, feeling her pulse pounding in her ears, she first noticed that the bedside table matched the image she had of it just before she went to sleep, except the small clock beside the lamp said three o’clock. Comforted by the familiar, she looked around.

She was not in a sterile cell in a compound controlled by a man who cut her skin for profit. She was in her own bedroom, in her own apartment at the Lakeside Courtyard. And she was alone.

But she hadn’t been alone when she turned off the light a few hours ago. When she’d gone to sleep, there had been a big furry Wolf stretched out beside her.

Grabbing as much of the covers as she could, she laid down and pulled them up to her chin before whispering, “Simon?”

A grunt that sounded like it came from the floor on the other side of the bed. Then a human head came in sight, and Simon Wolfgard stared at her with amber eyes that held flickers of red — a sure sign he was pissed off.

“You awake now?” he growled.

“Yes,” she replied meekly.

“Good.”

She had a glimpse of lean muscle and naked skin before he scrambled under the covers. She turned away from him, her heart pounding with a different kind of fear.

He never slept with her in his human form. What did it mean that he was human now? Did he want . . . sex? She wasn’t . . . She didn’t . . . She wasn’t even sure she could with . . . But what if he expected . . . ?

“S-Simon?” A tremble in her voice.

“Meg?” Still plenty of growl in his voice.

“You’re not a Wolf.”

“I’m always a Wolf.”

“But you’re not a furry Wolf.”

“No, I’m not. And you’re hogging the covers.” That said, he grabbed the covers she was clinging to and yanked.

She tumbled into him. Before she could decide what to do, the covers were around both of them, and he had her pinned between his body and the bed.

“Stop squirming,” he snapped. “If you bruise more than the hip you kicked, I will bite you.”

She stopped squirming, but not because he had threatened to bite her. Prophecies and visions swam in her blood, released when her skin was cut. Simon knew that, so he wouldn’t tear her flesh. But in the past couple of weeks, he’d figured out how to nip her through her clothes hard enough to hurt without damaging skin — Wolf discipline adjusted to dealing with her kind of human.

She’d stumbled into the Lakeside Courtyard seven weeks ago, half-frozen and looking for a job. Simon had threatened to eat her on a regular basis those first few days, which wasn’t his typical way of dealing with employees since most of them would have responded by writing their resignation as they ran for the door. But when the Others discovered she was a blood prophet on the run from the man who had owned her, they had chosen to treat her as one of their own. And protect her as one of their own, especially after she fell through the ice and almost drowned while leading an enemy away from Simon’s nephew Sam. Which was why, since her return from the hospital, she went to sleep every night with Simon curled up beside her, on guard.

She’d be less happy about the lack of nighttime privacy if that furry body didn’t make such a difference in keeping her warm.

Was that why her apartment was always chilly, so she wouldn’t make a fuss about Simon sleeping with her? It hadn’t occurred to her to make a fuss about it because he was a Wolf. Except now he wasn’t a wolfy-looking Wolf, and Simon as a human in bed with her felt . . . different. Confusing. Threatening in a way she didn’t want to explain.

But furry or not, he was still warm and he wasn’t doing anything, and it was still too early to think about getting up, so this was something . . . to ponder . . . tomorrow.

She started to drift back to sleep when Simon gave her a little shake and said, “What scared you?”

She should have known he wouldn’t let it go. And maybe he was right not to let it go. Her abilities as a prophet had changed since she’d escaped from the compound and ended up living with the Others. She was more sensitive now, to the point where she didn’t always need to cut her skin to see visions — especially if they concerned her in some way.

The images were fading. She knew there were already things she’d seen in the dream that she couldn’t recall. Would she remember anything by morning? And yet, even the thought of recalling the dream made her shudder.

“It was nothing,” she said, wanting to believe it. “Just a dream.” Even blood prophets had ordinary dreams. Didn’t they?

“It scared you enough that you kicked me off the bed. That’s not nothing, Meg.” Simon’s arm tightened around her. “And just so you know? You may be small, but you kick like a moose. Which is something I’m telling the rest of the Wolves.”

Great. Just what she needed. Yep, that’s our Liaison. Meg Moosekicker.

But the dominant Wolf and leader of the Courtyard was waiting for an answer.

“I heard a sound,” she said quietly. “I should know what it is, but I can’t identify it.”

“A sound from your lessons?” he asked just as quietly, referring to the training she’d received in the compound in order to recognize what she saw or heard in prophecies.

“From the lessons,” she agreed, “but from here too. And it’s not a single sound, but many things that, combined, have a single meaning.”

A moment of thoughtful silence. “All right. What else?”

She shivered. He curled around her in response, and she felt warmer. Safe.

“Blood,” she whispered. “It’s winter. There’s snow on the ground, and that snow is splashed with blood. And I saw feathers.” She turned her head to look at him. “That’s why I was trying to scream, trying to get someone to listen. I saw broken black feathers stuck in the bloody snow.”

Simon studied her. “You could see them? It’s not dark out?”

She thought for a moment, then shook her head. “Daylight. Not bright sun, but daylight.”

“Did you recognize the place?”

“No. I don’t remember anything in the dream that indicated where, except there was snow.”

Simon reached across her and turned off the light. “In that case, go back to sleep, Meg. We’ll chase this prey in the morning.”

He stretched out beside her and fell asleep almost immediately, just like he did when he was in Wolf form. Except he wasn’t in Wolf form, and she didn’t know how to tell him that having him sleeping beside her, looking and feeling like a human male, had changed something between them.

Source: Info in the Excerpt was taken from the author’s website at http://www.annebishop.com/b.murder.crows.exc.html on 14/12/2013.

 

Tess The Harvester

Review:

The image here is how I imagine Tess would look when she gets angry and her hair starts to turn red. For those of you who have read this book, does this picture match the image of Tess you have in your mind?

World building. I’ve read a blog criticizing the world building of The Others series. Fine, they are entitled to their own opinions. And maybe they are even right. I guess that if you go through the world building with a fine-toothed comb then you’ll probably find a lot of holes. But I want my fantasy. And don’t wanna see the holes. So I turn a blind eye to it. Besides, the compellingness of the story telling quality makes it very easy to suspend disbelief. Plus, the enjoyable reading time I get out of the book makes it very easy to be willfully blind.

By the title alone of this book, I got worried about Jenny and Jake Crowgard. It is a testament to the mastery of the character development that they have now become like close friends and of course I don’t want them murdered in book 2! But, I am not giving out spoilers. so if you want to know if Jen and Jake died, you just have to read the book.

At the end of it, I was very happy with the book and looking forward to Vision In Silver next year.

 

Empirical Evaluation:
Story telling quality = 5
Character development = 5
Story itself = 5
Ending = 4.5
World building = 5
Cover art = 5
Pace = 4.5(18hours & 33minutes listening time)
Plot = 4.5
(Narration = 3)

 

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 cherries

 

Books In The Others Series:

30/03/2014 Posted by | 5 cherries, Alexandra Harris, Anne Bishop, audiobook, book review, Cherry's reviews, Meg Corbyn, review, Samsung Galaxy Note Audiobook, shape shifter, The Others series, urban fantasy, vampires, wolf | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment