Saturday, January 23, 2016

Midnight Taxi Tango by Daniel Jose Older



Bone Street Rumba, Book 2

Look at this cover. Just look at it. Isn't it beautiful? Just ... I can't even.

Book 2 gives us a reintroduction to Kia (on the cover), the teenage girl who basically runs Baba Eddie's shop. If you fell in love with her, like I did, in book 1, this will make you an even bigger fan if possible.

First, when taking on this book, you have to take on the different points of view. At first, I was put off by it, but half way through, it was completely necessary. We get to live through Carlos, Kia, and Reza. Now ... The first book, Half-Resurrection Blues, left a lot of questions unanswered, but it was to be expected since it was book 1 in a series. Book 2 actually answers quite a few questions while asking a couple more.

First, let's talk about Reza. Let's be real, Reza is a thug. However, she's ... Exceptional. Do I have a girl crush on Reza? Possibly. Definitely. Yea. She's no nonsense but she's not apathetic. She's been through a lot having to deal with someone she loved being kidnapped and killed by the people she's now trying to get hold of.
Second, Carlos has to deal with the idea that he and Sasha created life. It's weighing him down and ruling his thoughts, and everyone around him knows something is bothering him.
Third, we get to get inside Kia's head and see what's been bothering her for basically years. Her cousin went missing after a brawl and she's finally accepted that he's gone. On top of that, she's been given a gift that she never wanted; to see ghosts.

Those 3 people fall into each others laps in the worst way. Why? Roaches. Reza's problem, turns into Kia's problem, which turns into Carlos' problem and it forges a very unlikely bond between the 3. It really was kind of amazing to see this friendship blossom when it seemed more than unlikely. Reza is a hardass. She's the type that doesn't have many friends and if she does, she's been through hell and back with these people and still may not even call them a friend. Reza finds some comfort in Carlos because he doesn't bat an eye about the woo-woo things she's seen or dealt with. Carlos, on the other hand, learns a little bit about people from Reza and how to read them. Kia, always a slightly different story, is like the glue that's holding everything and everyone together. The amount of weight she carries in this book is tremendous so she's pretty extraordinary for a teen.

I refuse to give away anything more than what the book synopsis reads so I'll leave it at that. Older has me sucked into the world he concocted and I become fully immersed. I know the smells, can feel the surroundings, and feel every emotion from each of the characters as if they were my own. I'm still upset with Sasha from book 1 so it carried over in book 2 and has grown to this resentment I have for her on behalf of Carlos. But ... There's a point where they see each other for the first time since they last did in book 1 and my chest felt so light. Carlos was smiling and my heart just sang. Only a really good writer can throw you in like that and you just ... Feel it. You know? I felt everything and loved it.

I can't stress enough how much I enjoyed this one. I was iffy with book 1 and just knew a lot would pop off in book 2 so I'm glad I was right. This makes me want to go and check out Older's other books to find out what I've been missing.

One thing I noticed ... A book written by a man has an overall different feel. All of my favorite authors are women with females leading. I think, a lot of times, female writers will guide you through the woman's emotions and her whole being while only scratching the surface of what the man feels and goes through. Older has a way of leaving no one out, no matter the gender. I appreciate that so much! And although the narrators 'voice' doesn't change, you fully understand whose eyes you're seeing through and when. Older is just that good.

I'm such a huge fan. This book cemented it.


5 Stars
IR everywhere

By the way ... When you read this, please love the 'prelove' conversation as much as I did. It's basically an epic guy conversation.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs



Mercy Thompson, Book 9

Netgalley for the WIN!

I've had my ups and downs with this series. I would feel like it would be really great and then slow down ... Kind of like TV show episodes. Perfect example would be The Walking Dead. You'd get all this amazingness, then they give you an entire hour and a half episode about Morgan. I'm not saying Morgan isn't worth it, but they could have told his story in half an hour. That's what River Marked and 1 or 2 other books did for me.

I'm off the wagon.

Book 8 was the one where I really thought that I was here for Mercy. Book 9 confirmed it.

There's a troll on the bridge. The pack are called so they can put a stop to it. In the midst of the situation, we meet a 10-ish year old boy, a Fire Touched boy, who escaped from Underhill. If you're not familiar with Underhill, it's a very ... scary ... fae place. Anyway, Underhill wants the boy back and Mercy decides to protect him. Doing this could potentially start a war with the fae and no one (well, some fae want it) wants that so a treaty is proposed. In order to fulfill this treaty and make everyone happy, the fae want an artifact of value that Mercy, the boy, and Adam have to go into Underhill to retrieve.

Of course, nothing is as easy as I make it sound and there are plenty of things that I've left out intentionally as to not give away any spoilers.

My one big mistake when reading this book was that I did not go back and read (or listen to) the previous 8. I only read 1 over again and it was book 8 with the Tibicena because I loooooove how things turned out with Mercy vs. Christy. Why didn't I? I find that I can get more 'reading' done if I listen to an audiobook. Thankfully, my library has almost every big series that I read. This one, I couldn't stand the narrator's voice. But, I digress.

I love action over romance, it's the main reason I like this series. Patricia Briggs can make you feel the love, warmth, and desire without devoting an entire 10 chapters to building up a long drawn out sex scene. In this world, there's too much to be done.I feel so exhausted sometimes for the pack because it seems like Mercy is always getting them into some shit. But isn't that part of her charm?

I find it a little ironic too. In dealing with Christy, it was often stated that she could make someone want to take care of her. She would feel bad about something and then everyone was 'awww Christy, its okay, we'll protect you.' Isn't that kind of what's happening with Mercy? She's doing all this junk and the pack seem to fall in line even if they don't want to because they often have no choice. Now Mercy isn't totally to blame for everything, certainly not the Tibicena, but Mercy is kind of special. I think Patricia Briggs has worked really hard to make us, the readers, see how special Mercy is by showing us how special she isn't. In a pack of wolves, in a world of fae and vamps, she's incredibly average, but some of the strongest of the other supernats seem to have some kind of like/respect for her. I wonder if she'll blossom into something else later in the series. I kind of hope she doesn't because ... Mercy is that person we would be if we lived that world. Sure, my kid would ask what super power I would want or if I would want to be a vamp or a werewolf, but if this world were real, far more of us would be a Mercy than an Adam.

That ... Is the charm of this series. That is the charm of book 9. Mercy is kind of accepting that bad things happen because of or around her and she kind of feels like she might have to start apologizing, but not really. Not only that, but she isn't equipped to handle all the shit she throws at the fan. Lucky for her, she has people around her who will try their best to shield her from the backlash of it. Zee, Tad, Adam,even Beauclaire (whom I adore).

I'm totally rambling. If you've read the previous 8 books, a lot of WHY somethings happened will be explained in this one. Especially the RiverMarked bit. It's short but explains quite a lot.

Anyway ... I say definitely get this one. I enjoyed Thomas and Margaret. I tend to really enjoy Jesse and would like more time devoted to her in the future. Please pay attention when reading this one because small things will make a difference by the end and you're going to wonder how you missed that bit of info.

God this review sucked. Lol. But hey, loved the book!



4 1/2 Stars

Monday, November 16, 2015

Whispers of Shadow & Flame by L. Penelope


Earthsinger Chronicles, Book 2

L Penelope ... How I love thee. See? I'm a writer too. Lol. On to business. YASSSSSSSSSSS!

I must say first that this book, book 2, is running parallel to book 1.

Book 2 is the story of the Shadowfox and the Poison Flame. The Shadowfox is an uber powerful Earthsinger that the True Father wants so he can drain him of his Song. The Poison Flame works for the True Father because she has a very interesting Song of her own. The Poison Flame is a Nethersinger. Where Earthsong is for healing and life and all that goodness, Nethersong is death in your face. The Cantor, a 'Singer' (I use that term loosely for her, you will find out why), works under the True Father and the Poison Flame (aka Kyara) is the Cantor's hitwoman.

Now ... As far as the story goes, a Caldera needs to be found so that the Mantle can come down and the True Father can wreak some havoc. This is going to be difficult to explain so I wont. It's best you read both books yourself. You don't NEED to read book 1 but it's highly recommended because of the way this book references the goings-on from book 1 since everything is happening at the same time. I think later. I'll go back and read both books back to back so I can truly get a better understanding.

Anyway, along with this war thats being waged, there is a side story dealing with Kyara and Darvyn. They basically ... Fall in love. It's pretty conventional, but at the same time, somebody has to forsake their task in life to deal with the other. That's where the true test (in my opinion) comes in and something we'll get to deal with (I hope) in book 3. Also, Shadow Fox and the Keepers are still trying to smuggle children to safety so they don't have to be given over to the True Father.

There are so many tiny intricacies that make a world of difference and lots of things I didn't mention. Those things are best left for you to interpret WHEN you read it. Cause you better be reading it. I'm excited about this series. I loved book 1, I love book 2. Thank you L Penelope for sending this over. Can't wait for book 3!


4 Stars
AA everywhere

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Promo: Whispers of Shadow & Flame by L. Penelope

Whispers of Shadow & Flame (Earthsinger Chronicles #2)
by L. Penelope
Genre: Fantasy Romance, Dieselpunk
Age Range: Adult

Blurb:
Born with a deadly magic she cannot control, Kyara is forced to become an assassin. Known as the Poison Flame, she is notorious and lethal, but secretly seeks freedom from both her untamed power and the blood spell that commands her. She is tasked with capturing the notorious rebel called the Shadowfox, but everything changes when she learns her target’s true identity.
Darvyn ol-Tahlyro may be the most powerful Earthsinger in generations, but guilt over those he couldn’t save tortures him daily. He isn’t sure he can trust the mysterious young woman who claims to need his help, but when he discovers Kyara can unlock the secrets of his past, he can’t stay away.
As forbidden desire ignites their hearts, Kyara and Darvyn grapple with betrayal, old promises, and older prophecies—all while trying to stop a war. And when a new threat emerges, the cost of
their love might just be too high.


About the Author

Leslye Penelope believes love is magic and likes her romance with a healthy dose of imagination. She’s been writing since she could hold a pen and is the author of new adult, fantasy, and paranormal romance with multicultural characters.
At one time or another she’s been a filmmaker, tape dubber, tech support specialist, model, poll worker, professor, and DJ. She has a quote from The Matrix tattooed on her arm and sometimes dreams in HTML. After living on both coasts, she settled in Maryland with her husband and their furry dependents: an eighty-pound lap dog and an aspiring feral cat.
Sign up for new release information and monthly giveaways on her website:http://www.lpenelope.com.


Giveaway: https://gleam.io/wXemA/whispers-of-shadow-flame-giveaway
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Visual Inspiration & Worldbuilding

Last Christmas my family decided to escape the frigid east coast weather and spend the holiday in Palm Springs, CA. I’d never been there before, but once I arrived I realized that this place where the was desert surrounded by mountains was exactly how I’d envisioned one of the countries in my fantasy world: I had arrived in Lagrimar.



The mountains are a huge part of the worldbuilding in the Earthsinger Chronicles series. The country of Lagrimar is completely surrounded, cut off from the rest of the world by this natural barrier as well as a magical one. Driving down the highway through the Palm Desert with the imposing peaks towering over me was deeply inspiring and helped me sink into the world I was creating.

But it’s not always possible to travel to the exact place your story is set. Some of the other locations were shaped and polished by virtue of me stumbling across images accidentally. Like this one of Horseshoe Bend, AZ, which becomes Serpent’s Gorge in the book.


And this article about toxic lakes and the petrified animals in them haunted me until it found its way into the novel. https://roadtrippers.com/stories/these-toxic-lakes-are-beautiful-but-you-definitely-dont-want-to-swim-in-them?lat=40.80972&lng=-96.67528&z=5


The sights, sounds and smells of reality all go into making a fantasy world work. Once a location is real to me and I can live inside it in my head, then I know it’s ready to put to the page.

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Excerpt

“I-I’m sure we can come to some kind of understanding.”
The man before Kyara scrambled backward, slamming his back against the wall. The scent of his fear was rancid, filling the interior of the dwelling. The stench overpowered the smell of fresh vegetables roasting in the clay oven. His whimpers drowned out the murmurings of the infant in a basket near the fire. A woman cowered next to the baby. Kyara judged the distance and determined that the mother and child were far enough away to remain safe but only if she stood very close to her target. Close enough to feel his sour breath on her skin.
Her stomach clenched at the thought, but she forced herself forward, erasing the few paces between them. Now the odor emanating from the man was mixed with piss. The dark stain spreading across the front of his trousers was proof enough that the fellow knew who she was and why she was here.
“W-we can negotiate. I’m sure there must be something you want.” Beads of sweat punctured his forehead, and the thick vein at his neck jumped with his rapid pulse.
Kyara’s warped Song prowled inside her, impatient. It wanted to launch itself into the maelstrom of source energy, to ride the brutal currents of the force like a kite in a violent wind. She shuddered and reined in her Song. Instead of giving in to the despised urge, she opened her mind’s eye. The world fell away, leaving only a field of black. She spread her senses and focused on this village, this home, this room. Moving arcs of white light burst across her vision, like the undulating waves of brightness produced by a fire dancer swinging a torch.
This was Nethersong.
As Ydaris had explained to her many years ago, while Earthsong was the energy of life, Nethersong was death energy. And Kyara’s broken Song had never been able to connect with anything else. She could not heal. She could not grow crops from seeds with a single intention or feel the pulse of life moving in the plants and animals around her.
She was cursed. She had killed her mother at birth, and this was her punishment.
The light of the man before her pulsed brightly. His death energy was a cyclone spinning out of control. Judging by the strength of Nethersong within him, he had not been kind to his body—a feat much easier when you were on the True Father’s payroll and could afford an abundance of rich food and drink. If the immortal king were a patient man, Kyara wouldn’t be needed at all. This pay-roller only had a few months to live as it was.
In the corner of the room, the wife’s light was dimmer. She was younger and healthier than her husband. The infant’s light was so weak it barely registered. Just a dull glow indicated the faintest traces of Nethersong. Kyara nearly smiled. Children had so much life, so much strength. She wished she could always see an endless field of dark in her inner vision.
She shuttered her extra sight, bringing the man’s face back into focus. “I am not here to negotiate with you.” Her voice was no louder than a whisper.
His eyes widened. He spread his arms out on both sides of him, attempting to press himself into the wall. Kyara didn’t move from her position a hairbreadth away. She didn’t need to touch him, but he didn’t know that.
“Whatever His Majesty believes I’ve stolen, I will return, threefold. I am but a simple man. A husband and father.” He waved a pudgy hand at the woman in the corner. “I give tribute for all I collect, I pay on time and—” His pleas became a drone in her ears, mingling with those of a hundred other men who had begged for their lives over the years. Other men in other homes like this, the ramshackle dwelling a palace in comparison to the others in the village. Thick rugs covered the dirt floor, and real glass hung in the windows. The enticing aroma of okra and butter tickled her nose. Some unidentifiable spice hung in the air, as well. Fresh vegetables, seasonings, real butter—these luxuries were virtually unknown to most people in the Midcountry.
Though her mouth watered, she never ate the food of the dead.

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Book 1, Song of Blood & Stone, is currently on sale for .99cents until Nov. 5. Big thanks to the author for sending me all the info and the book. I'm currently reading book 2 and it will not disappoint. If you haven't read book 1, please get to it!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Banshee's Honor by Shaylynn Rose



Tales of Y'Myran, Book 1

I haven't had the opportunity to do much actual reading. I've been into audiobooks because that serves my purpose better. And when I did have time for actual reading, I ran into so many duds that I'd gotten discouraged. Then this happened.

Banshee's Honor is about Azhani, the dishonored Warleader of a kingdom that's turned its back on her. She comes upon a Stardancer. Stardances are kind of like magic healers. Azhani helps this Stardancer, Kyrian, and Kyrian saves Azhani's broken leg. This sparks a beautiful friendship that we actually get to watch blossom. Kyrian, however, has her reservations about Azhani, as does everyone. She'd been disgraced beyond mention at the tongue of the new king, Arris, who wanted Azhani dead or married to him.

Now that Azhani's leg is healed, she spent her time in her cottage with Kyrian, trying to decide what to do. We will also meet Padreg. He is the king of a barbarian land, who comes to visit Arris and falls in love with a woman that Arris wants to bed. Needless to say, all hell breaks loose.

Thankfully, Padreg and his lady, Elisira, know Azhani and know, based on her character, that she didn't commit the crimes mentioned. And like clockwork, they all meet up and start to layout a plan to deal with horrid creatures killing people (Rimmerbeasts), and figure a plan to get Azhani to queen Lyseera, the sister of the woman Azhani was said to have killed.

Every character in the book is well written. I love them all. Even Arris, the piece of shizz. This is a lesbian fantasy novel and one of the best novels I've read all year. The world is painted vividly and the despair and loss Azhani feels is incredible palpable. She's a wonderful lead character, I can't wait to continue this adventure with her.

The only gripe I have is that things could get slow when everyone was sitting around bantering. However, it should be in the book. It sets the tone and you get to see how much the characters change in regards to how they see eachother.

So well written, I can't wait for book 2. I'm going to start stalking Shaylynn Rose.



4 Stars
IR: Azhani (pictured on the cover)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews



Hidden Legacy, Book 1

Coming off of a Kate Daniels high, I wasn't quite sure how much I would enjoy another series of hers. I'm like that with Faith Hunter as well. I'm so engrossed in the one character that I don't think the author can write anyone else I'd enjoy. Ilona Andrews has opened my eyes and I will now be reading everything she's written, along with everything else Faith Hunter has written. Anyway ...

This is a new series. Book 1 came out in 2014 but book 2 is not yet out. It has apparently been delayed.

First, some background on this series. In the 1800s, someone created a serum that would give people magical powers. Centuries later, people with powers have begun marrying and having children with other people who have powers in order to elevate their social status. If things go well, you will end up giving birth to a Prime. Primes are exactly what you think. They are the elite of the elite when it comes to using their specific magics.

Now ... We meet Nevada Baylor. She's a PI with very little magic. She's a human lie detector (but can later do more than she was ever aware of). So she's basically in the right line of work. Anyway, her investigative firm is owned by a large company owned by a Prime. This Prime tasks her with bringing in another Prime. So how in the world can a woman with very little magic bring in a Prime Pyrokenetic? Mad Rogan, that's how. Mad Rogan, you will find out, ends up being the kind of Prime you run from when you see him, which is exactly what Nevada did. He's a celebrity in Houston (not for a good reason, after all, they call him 'Mad' Rogan), and a Prime Telekenetic. To make a long story short, he ends up helping Nevada bring down Pierce, but not before realizing he has a thing for her, and she continues to turn him down.

The romance that develops is quick and steamy. There's never anything vulgar about Ilona Andrews' style of writing. As a matter of fact, in the Kate Daniel series, out of the 6 I've read (or heard), I only remember 1 sex scene. The rest alluded to sex or they woke up naked and feeling awesome. Anyway, the action in this is fun. I just felt such a rush when I was listening to the audio version of this book. When Mad Rogan was tearing buildings apart, I could see it happening. It was just beautiful.

I'm in love. I hope the delay isn't too much longer. In the meantime, I need to get to book 7 of the Kate Daniels series and wait patiently for more from this new favorite author of mine.

I can't rate this one as high as I have other works by Ilona Andrews, simply because I'm more of a FIGHT FIGHT KILL kind of girl and that's definitely not Nevada Baylor. Still, I really like the character, Mad Rogan, and Nevada's family a lot.



4 Stars
Random diversity throughout

There are a lot of visual on the Ilona Andrews website. I love when authors have visuals.
http://hiddenlegacy.ilona-andrews.com/cast-of-characters/

Kate Daniels Series



So I got hooked up with my local library and found that they had the Kate Daniels audio books 1-6. I burned through them and am now completely in love with Ilona Andrews and the Kate Daniels series.

I won't completely review it since I burned through all of them, and plus this isn't a new series. Many people have suggested this series to me for years but I never got around to it until recently.

I am SO in love.

This series, much like Jane Yellowrock, is incredibly diverse. It's set in future Atlanta where magic and technology battle for dominance and you have to work with what you got when you got it. Everyone is amazing, Kate is a boss. Curran is yummmmmmmmmmm. I tend to really love Dolittle, Derrick, Escanio, Dali, and Jim. I'd probably have dirty dreams bout Jim. You get attached to Kate very quickly.

See, I went out of order when listening. I started at book 6, then went to book 4, then to book 2 and went forward. It was awkward and didn't care. It was all amazing.

Anyway, if you haven't given this series a shot, please please please do it. No, the two leads are not minorities but nearly everyone else is. The series is so worth it. Please please please!

I will most likely properly start reviewing when her new one is released. Maybe it's out. I think I'll wait for audiobook, lol. I kinda like Renee Raudman's voice.



5 Stars (all books)

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The First: Evo Uprising by Kipjo Ewers



The First, Book 2

Book 2 begins years after the end of book 1. The blast that Sophia warded off has turned into something much much more. Now, a crop of 'superheroes' and 'villains' have sprang up all over the world. The Evo Uprising. The United States needs heroes so they decided to recruit. Unfortunately only 4 made the cut. 3 really, the other was in by default.

In short, I enjoyed the book. I enjoyed the fights of epic proportion, especially the end. It was grand and huge the way a superhero/villain fight should be.

I am begging the author to get an editor. Book 2 even had  a name spelled wrong in it. A name. I was so annoyed by the errors that I nearly forgot what was going on at the time.

Anyway, the book is good. Sophia is wonderful, Kimberly is wonderful, even Abe turns into a real person by the end of it all. The monologues are horrifically long. Especially those by 'Peace.' Book 3 is most likely in the works because there is a big one left at the end for us to sink our teeth into. I'll definitely continue the series, but please ... Get an editor.


3 Stars
Diverse