Double Review: Romancing the Inventor & Romancing the Werewolf by Gail Carriger

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These are the first (and, so far, only) two books in the Supernatural Society series of novella’s. Set in a steampunk alternative Victorian England where vampires, werewolves and ghosts are very much real, they feature LGBT+ romances. (Set in Carriger’s ‘Parasolverse’.)

Romancing the Inventor on Goodreads
Romancing the Werewolf on Goodreads

Romancing the Inventor

What one werewolf knew, the whole pack knew.
But they’d kept her secret, and now they were gone.
And vampires were perverted.
Or so she hoped.

Imogene is a little past her prime (long in the tooth, on the shelf, whatever you prefer) and her mother is starting to despair of every marrying her off. Imogene has had plenty of offers, plenty of men that want to marry her for she is uncommonly pretty. However, she is disinterested as she prefers women.

In an effort explore her preference, loose her innocence and figure out what’s wrong with her, she decides to join the vampires. (As, rumor has it, they are perverted.) What she doesn’t expect is to meet the lovely trouser wearing inventor indentured to the vampire hive, Genevieve Lefoux.

I’ll be honest, the major reason I’ve been so excited for this story is because I have adored Genevieve since her first introduction in the story. I adore her, and her romance was a little disappointing because this entire story is told from Imogene’s perspective. So, while we get plenty of moments of Genevieve appreciation, we also don’t get inside her head. (We do get to see her flustered though, and that has made me want to run away with her even more.)

Imogene is a real character. She is an innocent, but her thoughts definitely aren’t and, if she had her way, she wouldn’t be an innocent any more (because a lot of her thought’s are along the lines of ways to loose said innocence). She’s fairly practical and down to earth, but has a distressingly low opinion of herself. She also suffers from being too pretty.

Now, I know a lot of people will say that’s not a real flaw – and I agree that how it is usually done, it isn’t. But here, it is. Because, much like real life stories, bad things happen to Imogene because of her looks. She’s dismissed because someone pretty obviously cannot also be smart and, even worse, men want to take advantage of her because she is so pretty. Because of this, and her generally low station in society, some of the story is a little difficult.

4

Content Advisory: Scenes of physical abuse, mostly from a position of power, most of it sexual. Scenes that could easily be read as attempted rape. Threats of rape. (None of this between the main couple.) Consensual sex. (This is between the main couple. 😉

Romancing the Werewolf

It took a great deal of effort for a werewolf to have style. Getting naked once a month, ripping clothes constantly, and turning into a slavering beast was only the start of the afterlife’s many dandy challenges.

Twenty years ago, newly turned werewolf Alpha Biffy and Beta werewolf Professor Lyall spent a night of passion and comfort in each others arms. However, circumstances intruded and Lyall had to temporarily join another pack in reparation for a decision he made.

Now Lyall, recompense completed, has returned to London, to his pack, to his Alpha – but not everything is smooth sailing. Twenty years is a long time, even for immortals, and Biffy just took charge of the pack upon the previous Alpha’s retirement two months ago. Throw in a pack of werewolves adjusting to both a new Alpha and a new home, children being left on their doorstep and things are just complicated enough for both to wonder if friendship is all they’ll have.

Firstly, Lyall was always one of my favorite characters in this setting, so I was thrilled to see the first tentative get together between him and Biffy in Timeless and even more happy when I heard this book would finally give them some resolution. They are perfect for each other and I adore the way they work together and rely on each other.

Lyall is down-to-earth, calm, practical, a true Beta in ever sense of the word. Biffy is an atypical Alpha. He’s pretty, he likes fashion and was even planning on trying to be turned into a vampire before events transpired. They are very different, but so complementary – especially in that neither is the ‘usual’ rough-and-tumble sort of werewolf.

(Now, I honestly cannot read this book without comparing it to the previous one in the series because I read them back-to-back.)

Where this story wins out over the previous one for me, is three fold. This story has a plot beyond the couple getting together – a plot that we see resolution to and that affords ample opportunity for the typical Carriger insanity that she writes so well. (That was reasons one and two.) (And while Lyall is practical, he’s not as extremely normal as Imogene is, which was somewhat detrimental to Carriger’s writing style.)

The third reason is a case of major personal preference. I usually prefer a romance where we get to witness it through both characters. I like an alternating point of view. I like seeing what each person thinks of the other. (And, in truth, I prefer more than one perspective even if it’s not a romance.) Finally, while I’m not really a fan of the so-called ‘second chance’ romances, this one worked for me because they were never actually a couple before. (More like friends with benefits.)

5

Content Advisory: Briefly referenced past rape and physical abuse. Consensual sex.

While I find both these books (novella’s, but whatever) very nice additions to the ‘verse that Carriger has created, I’m not sure either work as an appropriate jumping on point. If you’re interested in the first published work, check out Soulless and if you’d prefer to read the series chronologically, try Etiquette & Espionage. (The former is more bodice ripper sexy while the latter is YA boarding (spy) school.)

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February TBR

Finally getting this posted because, so far, I’ve had a very busy month. Anyway, last month I worked hard and managed to at least try to read every book that was on my TBR. A couple of them turned out to be DNF’s – but at least I got them off my shelf! I’ve also been doing really good getting my seasonal TBR completed. Right now, I only have three books left on it and I plan on trying to read two of them this month which only leaves one for the first part of next month. (Though I’m pretty sure, after seeing what the writing style is like, it’ll be a DNF, but I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt.) Without further ado, my February TBR. (Of which I might *I hope I* have already read something off of.)

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A Vanishing Glow by Alexis Radcliff

When the High Sovereign of the five kingdoms of Ghavarim is murdered by a mysterious assassin, the realm is plunged into chaos. Jason Tern, a noble captain with a tragic past, must battle shadowy assailants and untangle an ever-widening web of lies to discover the true identity of the killer before mounting tensions spark a bloody civil war.

Meanwhile, Nilya Valsu, a talented army engineer with a broken heart, finds herself used as an unwitting pawn in a plot that has deadly consequences. Wracked by guilt, her sole chance for redemption lies with a man who would loathe her – but only if he knew her secret.

As the conflict intensifies between the magic-fueled technology of the West and the disaffected rebels of the East, all must fight for what they hold dear. Who will reign victorious and who will lie bloodied on the ground in the light of a vanishing glow?

Sword of the Guardian by Merry Shannon

A shocking assassination creates an unconventional bond between a princess and her guardian in a kingdom filled with political intrigue, danger and unexpected romance.

Princess Shasta Soltranis enjoys a pampered life of court dances, elaborate finery, and the occasional secret fencing match with her twin brother, Daric. But in the midst of a birthday celebration, her world shatters when a mysterious assassin takes her brother’s life. Shasta, the only remaining heir to the throne, narrowly escapes the assassin’s blade thanks to the intervention of a traveling acrobat named Talon.

With the threat of another attempt on Shasta’s life imminent, her father declares that the young hero will be come the Princess’s bodyguard. But what Shasta doesn’t know is that her new guardian has a very well-kept secret: he is actually a she.

Talon and Shasta soon grow closer than anyone, especially her father, could have predicted. Will the truth of her guardian’s secret change their relationship forever?

A Tyranny of Queens by Foz Meadows

Saffron Coulter has returned from the fantasy kingdom of Kena. Threatened with a stay in psychiatric care, Saffron has to make a choice: to forget about Kena and fit back into the life she’s outgrown, or pit herself against everything she’s ever known and everyone she loves.

Meanwhile in Kena, Gwen is increasingly troubled by the absence of Leoden, cruel ruler of the kingdom, and his plans for the captive worldwalkers, while Yena, still in Veksh, must confront the deposed Kadeja. What is their endgame? Who can they trust? And what will happen when Leoden returns?

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Rory, the Sleeper A.W. Exley

Who will awaken the sleeper…?

Ella wants the sleeper to stay undisturbed. Especially since it’s Millicent deMage, the first Duchess of Leithfield and a supposed witch who died over three hundred years ago. As Ella learns about the history of Serenity House, she begins to realize the long dead duchess could be the key to understanding the pandemic of vermin.

For the final battle Ella needs a new ally, one forged from an old adversary—Charlotte, her step-sister. Ever since Ella shattered her world and destroyed her family, the young woman has been trying to figure out how to survive. Now, Charlotte is the one woman who can anchor Ella in this world as she does battle in another.

Sometimes the fiercest battles are the ones we fight in our minds. But this might be one fight Ella can’t win, and she will be the one put to sleep forever…

Whistling in the Dark by Tamara Allen

New York City, 1919.
His career as a concert pianist ended by a war injury, Sutton Albright returns to college, only to be expelled after a scandalous affair with a teacher. Unable to face his family, Sutton heads to Manhattan with no plans and little money in his pocket but with a desire to call his life his own.

Jack Bailey lost his parents to influenza and now hopes to save the family novelty shop by advertising on the radio, a medium barely more than a novelty, itself. His nights are spent in a careless and debauched romp through the gayer sections of Manhattan. When these two men cross paths, despite a world of differences separating them, their attraction cannot be denied. Sutton finds himself drawn to the piano, playing for Jack. But can his music heal them both, or will sudden prosperity jeopardize their chance at love?

All Systems Red by Martha Wells

In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.

But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.

But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.

I’d love to hear from you if you’ve read any of these books and what you thought of them. I also would like to get to a couple manga’s and a comic book read this month, but those will be fairly quick reads so I don’t feel the need to list them here. Also, I’ve recently gotten involved in an urban fantasy type series of gay romance novellas that I really like and I’m halfway planning on binging on them.

Top Ten Books That Have Been on My TBR the Longest – and I STILL Haven’t Read Them

Hosted by Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl. I usually do really good at NOT leaving books on my physical or virtual TBR for a long time. I have even been known (not this year, but the two previous ones) to go through my virtual TBR with a read-it-or-loose-it mentality. So, I don’t actually have any books on my TBR (either of them) that have been there since before 2016. That being said, that was two years ago, so I should probably hit the read-it-or-loose-it again.

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Unearthed by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

When Earth intercepts a message from a long-extinct alien race, it seems like the solution the planet has been waiting for. The Undying’s advanced technology has the potential to undo environmental damage and turn lives around, and Gaia, their former home planet, is a treasure trove waiting to be uncovered.

For Jules Addison and his fellow scholars, the discovery of an alien culture offers unprecedented opportunity for study… as long as scavengers like Amelia Radcliffe don’t loot everything first. Mia and Jules’ different reasons for smuggling themselves onto Gaia put them immediately at odds, but after escaping a dangerous confrontation with other scavvers, they form a fragile alliance.

In order to penetrate the Undying temple and reach the tech and information hidden within, the two must decode the ancient race’s secrets and survive their traps. But the more they learn about the Undying, the more their presence in the temple seems to be part of a grand design that could spell the end of the human race…

(My excuse is that it was on my TBR for ten months before it was released, but it totally still counts. Right?)

A Vanishing Glow by Alexis Radcliff

When the High Sovereign of the five kingdoms of Ghavarim is murdered by a mysterious assassin, the realm is plunged into chaos. Jason Tern, a noble captain with a tragic past, must battle shadowy assailants and untangle an ever-widening web of lies to discover the true identity of the killer before mounting tensions spark a bloody civil war.

Meanwhile, Nilya Valsu, a talented army engineer with a broken heart, finds herself used as an unwitting pawn in a plot that has deadly consequences. Wracked by guilt, her sole chance for redemption lies with a man who would loathe her – but only if he knew her secret.

As the conflict intensifies between the magic-fueled technology of the West and the disaffected rebels of the East, all must fight for what they hold dear. Who will reign victorious and who will lie bloodied on the ground in the light of a vanishing glow?

Steeplejack by A.J. Harley

Seventeen-year-old Anglet Sutonga, makes a living repairing the chimneys, towers, and spires of Bar-Selehm. Dramatically different communities live and work alongside one another. The white Feldish command the nation’s higher echelons of society; the native Mahweni are divided between city life and the savannah. And then there’s Ang, part of the Lani community who immigrated there generations ago and now mostly live in poverty on Bar-Selehm’s edges.

When Ang is supposed to meet her new apprentice, Berrit, she finds him dead. That same night the Beacon, an invaluable historical icon, is stolen. The Beacon’s theft commands the headlines, yet no one seems to care about Berrit’s murder—except for Josiah Willinghouse, an enigmatic young politician. When he offers Ang a job investigating the death, she plunges headlong into new and unexpected dangers.

Meanwhile, crowds gather in protests over the city’s mounting troubles. Rumors surrounding the Beacon’s theft grow. More suspicious deaths occur. With no one to help Ang except Josiah’s haughty younger sister, a savvy newspaper girl, and a kindhearted herder, Ang must rely on her intellect and strength to resolve the mysterious link between Berrit and the missing Beacon before the city descends into chaos.

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The Long Way Home by Sabrina Chase

Webspace pilot Moire Cameron is one of the best–but even she can’t fly her way out of a catastrophic drive failure that triggers a time-dilation bubble. Left suddenly eighty years out of date, she is on the run in a world she no longer knows, caught in the middle of a human-alien war while agents of Toren hunt her for the information only she has–the location of the pristine world of Sequoyah.

The Long Way Home is the first book in the Sequoyah trilogy.

Crystal Storm by Morgan Rhodes

The ruthless Empress Amara of Kraeshia has taken the Mytican throne, and now uncertainty looms over the three kingdoms. Since Lucia unleashed the fire Kindred, wreaking havoc throughout the land, Myticans have been looking for someone—anyone—they can trust. They believe in Amara, not knowing her grand promises are built on lies.

In Paelsia, Magnus and Cleo reluctantly follow King Gaius to the home of his exiled mother, Selia. Selia is a powerful witch and claims she can help unlock the magic of the Kindred—if the visitors agree to her terms. When Jonas arrives from Kraeshia, he is shocked to find that his rebel army now includes his sworn enemies. Along with Nic, Felix, and the mysteriously resurrected Ashur, the contentious group agrees to cast aside old grudges—for now—and united against their common enemy: Amara.

Meanwhile, bearing the child of a Watcher and feared by all, Princess Lucia travels across Mytica to find her family. But time is running out. The impending storm signals the dark prophecy Timotheus warned her about. Her fate is written, and it includes none other than the rebel Jonas. When their paths collied, Jonas and Lucia must decide between blindly following their destiny or fighting for their own free will.

The battle for power culminates at the Paelsian palace, where Amara resides. Rain pours. Blood spills. And soon all will discover that the darkest magic comes at an even darker price.

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Damocles by S.G. Redling

When Earth is rocked by evidence that extraterrestrials may have seeded human DNA throughout the universe, a one-way expedition into deep space is mounted to uncover the truth. What linguist Meg Dupris and her crewmates aboard the Earth ship Damocles discover on Didet—a planet bathed in the near-eternal daylight of seven suns—is a humanoid race with a different language, a different look, and a surprisingly similar society.

But here, it’s the “Earthers” who are the extraterrestrial invaders, and it’s up to Meg—a woman haunted by tragedy and obsessed with the power of communication—to find the key to establishing trust between the natives and the newcomers. In Loul Pell, a young Dideto male thrust into the forefront of the historic event, Meg finds an unexpected kindred spirit, and undertakes an extraordinary journey of discovery, friendship, and life-altering knowledge.

Told from both sides of a monumental encounter, Damocles is a compelling novel about man’s first contact with an extraterrestrial race.

Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear

Temur, grandson of the Great Khan, is walking away from a battlefield where he was left for dead. All around lie the fallen armies of his cousin and his brother, who made war to rule the Khaganate. Temur is now the legitimate heir by blood to his grandfather’s throne, but he is not the strongest. Going into exile is the only way to survive his ruthless cousin.

Once-Princess Samarkar is climbing the thousand steps of the Citadel of the Wizards of Tsarepheth. She was heir to the Rasan Empire until her father got a son on a new wife. Then she was sent to be the wife of a Prince in Song, but that marriage ended in battle and blood. Now she has renounced her worldly power to seek the magical power of the wizards.

These two will come together to stand against the hidden cult that has so carefully brought all the empires of the Celadon Highway to strife and civil war through guile and deceit and sorcerous power

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Poison or Protect by Gail Carriger

London’s most scandalous lady assassin versus one very hot Highlander.

Lady Preshea Villentia, the Mourning Star, has four dead husbands and a nasty reputation. Fortunately, she looks fabulous in black.

What society doesn’t know is that all her husbands were marked for death by Preshea’s employer. And Preshea has one final assignment.

It was supposed to be easy, a house party with minimal bloodshed. Preshea hadn’t anticipated Captain Gavin Ruthven – massive, Scottish, quietly irresistible, and… working for the enemy.

In a battle of wits, Preshea may risk her own heart – a terrifying prospect, as she never knew she had one.

New York Times bestselling author Gail Carriger presents a charming love story set in her popular steampunk Parasolverse. May contain plaid, appearances from favorite characters, and the strategic application of leather gloves.

The Delightfully Deadly novellas stand alone and may be read in any order.

Delicate Sensibilities?

Contains men pleasing women, and ladies who know what they want and ask for it, sometimes in detail.

Iced by M. Terry Green

Though she doesn’t know her real name, Thirteen is sure of two things: survival and finding her sister. Nothing stands in her way—not the great Pacifica Ice Sheet nor the slavers she escaped—until her deadly hunt takes a maddening turn.

The first and only clue in her search is held by the survivor of a wrecked ice ship. But he’s not sharing. He has a daughter to rescue, and he needs Thirteen’s help.

In the unforgiving subzero, a wary alliance is formed. Although she’d do anything to find her sister and finally know her own name, Thirteen never forgets the first rule of the ice. You only get one mistake—your last.

Wings of Equity by Sean Kennedy

The truth is that those who make a difference usually get martyred. What good are you dead?

Ezra Kneebone is most at home in the skies, piloting his airship with his best friend Jazz, even if it doesn’t quite pay the bills or warm Ezra’s empty bed. Those same skies are also the territory of a man known as Icarus, who uses his metal wings to steal from the rich and feed the poor. Icarus and Ezra could be soul mates but for one thing: Icarus has a bounty on his head, and Ezra is desperate for money.

Against the wishes of Jazz and her partner, the formidable Lady Bart, Ezra is determined to get his man… in more ways than one. But when Icarus saves Ezra’s life, Ezra realizes he would be betraying a hero—and his heart—if he turned Icarus in. Unfortunately, the bounty is tempting more than one hunter, and Ezra will find that loving a fugitive may mean becoming one too.

Advice? Suggestions? Help me because I look at some/most of these books and think there must be a reason that they’ve remained unread this long. In other words, tell me your thoughts on them if you’ve read any of them and help me decide if I should read them or ignore them for another year and probably never read it.

Do I Blog Eclectically?

Hosted at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. I don’t have anything witty to say here, so let’s just get to the question today, shall we.

Do you prefer to blog about (a) specific book genre(s), or do you have an eclectic blog?

This is a very interesting question for me because I seldom plan out which books I’m going to review before I read them. Sure, sometimes I have a book that I know I’ll want to talk about, but for me usually it just hits me as I’m reviewing the book that, hey, I’ve got enough to say about this book that I could totally write a review. Because that’s kind of a thing for me, if I have to fill out a review for a book, I need to be able to talk about it easily, I need the review to flow, otherwise it sounds fake and I’ll get impatient and stop.

That being said, I definitely focus on certain types of books because that’s what I read. On my blog you’ll see a lot of fantasy, sci-fi, steampunk and historical LGBT+ romances talked about and reviewed – though not because of any plans of my own but because that’s mostly what I read. (I have been known to binge read contemporary LGBT+ romances, too, on occasion, but I seldom have enough to say about them to warrant a full review.)

I guess, for me, the answer is kind of both. I mean, I do blog about specific genres, usually, but if I have something to say about a book, I will, regardless of the genre it fits in.

What’s your blog like? Do you have a preference?

February Releases I’m Interested In

I think I’m going ho have to start paying more attention to upcoming releases again because it’s starting to get kind of few for the ones I’m looking forward to. I’ve only got three this month and both are ones I’ll have to wait until more reviews pour in before deciding.

Releases February 6th

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The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross

When her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron.

Growing up in the southern Kingdom of Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her for such a life. While some are born with an innate talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she belatedly chose to study knowledge. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true—the solstice does not go according to plan and she is left without a patron.

Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, and with no other choices, she accepts. But there is much more to his story, and Brienna soon discovers that he has sought her out for his own vengeful gain. For there is a dangerous plot being planned to overthrow the king of Maevana—the archrival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. And others are involved—some closer to Brienna than she realizes.

With war brewing between the two lands, Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. The ultimate decision Brienna must determine is: Who will be that queen?

Releases February 27th

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Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston

Seventeen-year-old Ana is a scoundrel by nurture and an outlaw by nature. Found as a child drifting through space with a sentient android called D09, Ana was saved by a fearsome space captain and the grizzled crew she now calls family. But D09—one of the last remaining illegal Metals—has been glitching, and Ana will stop at nothing to find a way to fix him.

Ana’s desperate effort to save D09 leads her on a quest to steal the coordinates to a lost ship that could offer all the answers. But at the last moment, a spoiled Ironblood boy beats Ana to her prize. He has his own reasons for taking the coordinates, and he doesn’t care what he’ll sacrifice to keep them.

When everything goes wrong, she and the Ironblood end up as fugitives on the run. Now their entire kingdom is after them—and the coordinates—and not everyone wants them captured alive.

What they find in a lost corner of the universe will change all their lives—and unearth dangerous secrets. But when a darkness from Ana’s past returns, she must face an impossible choice: does she protect a kingdom that wants her dead or save the Metal boy she loves?

All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens Throughout the Ages

Take a journey through time and genres and discover a past where queer figures live, love and shape the world around them. Seventeen of the best young adult authors across the queer spectrum have come together to create a collection of beautifully written diverse historical fiction for teens.

From a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood set in war-torn 1870s Mexico featuring a transgender soldier, to two girls falling in love while mourning the death of Kurt Cobain, forbidden love in a sixteenth-century Spanish convent or an asexual girl discovering her identity amid the 1970s roller-disco scene, All Out tells a diverse range of stories across cultures, time periods and identities, shedding light on an area of history often ignored or forgotten.

(Just ignore my knee-jerk reaction to the title. I mean, I’m glad the LGBT+ community is reclaiming the word, but I still cringe whenever I hear it.)

Are there any books releasing this month that you’re excited for? If there is, please let me know which ones because at this rate I might run out of books. o.O (Okay, that’ll never happen, but still..)

January Wrap Up

Well, we’ve made it through the first month of 2018. Honestly, I couldn’t be happier about how much I’ve gotten read this month. Besides these books, there have been a few DNF’s already – mostly books I had no business even trying to read in the first place because, if I’d done my proper research, I’d have realized they most definitely weren’t for me. The other DNF was a disappointment, because it was a book that’s loved and I thought that there was surely no way I wouldn’t like it. But, we’re not here to talk about the disappointments, but the books I finished and how over all good my reading was this month.

Favorite Books I’ve Read This Month

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Hexslayer review here!

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Romancing the Werewolf review to come next month!

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Other Books I’ve Read This Month

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Siege of Shadows review here!

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Romancing the Inventor review to come next month!

Scoundrel review to come next month!

All in all, I did pretty well picking books for the month. And, yes, I am currently in the process of binge reading the Offbeat Crimes series by Angel Martinez because it is awesome! I’ve read four of the six so far and, as I’m typing this, am in the middle of the fifth. (Kind of thinking about doing a series review for the whole thing. Anyone interested?)

What I’ve Been Listening To

Okay, like, seriously, I’ve been listening to this song like crazy since I first heard it because it’s the new release of my favorite band. (And I’ve heard that their new album is supposed to release sometime in the first half of the the year.) (Definitely not my favorite song of theirs, but I usually like the non-singles more than the singles anyway. With, of course, the exception of Diary of Jane. Because we all love that song.)

This is not their new song – but in my quest to buy all their CD’s, I finally got around to this one and I’m pretty sure I’ve found my favorite song of theirs. (Either this one, or Feel Again at least.)

What I’ve Been Watching

So, I might have a small problem. Tiny really, but you see, I mentioned last month that I finally started watching Glee – and that the show isn’t perfect but it’s very addictive. Well, I watched all 22 season two episodes in five days. … No, I’m serious. I don’t do that. I mean, with my favorite shows, I don’t let myself watch four/five episodes a day. (Limiting it to two, maybe three.) This show is still terribly flawed, but is usually fun. And the music has a decent shot of being awesome. (Sometimes it just bores me to death, though.)

I also watched season three of The Librarians and I still love the show. I am so thrilled that finally, after two seasons plus of hints, we get an on screen same sex kiss. (Sure, the romance was probably a one-off – and that’s okay – and we might never see her again, but, finally! At least they quit with the hinting and the teasing. (Other shows, take note!))

Season two of the Legends of Tomorrow has also been watched. Honestly, I love that show. Every time I think The Flash or Supergirl will become my favorite superhero show, I watch this one and the other one is promptly overthrown. While there are a few disappointments – and I really prefer the cast from season one to the new additions in season two – it’s consistently fun. And this season gave me one of my favorite episodes of TV I’ve seen in quite a while.

Beyond that, I’ve been watching a little of this and a little of that and trying to get through a couple of anime’s that I borrowed from my brother.

How was your January?

Top Five Favorite Fantasy Hidden Gems

Hosted at the Goodreads group: Top 5 Wednesday. I always love finding books that not a lot of people know about – sure that makes getting to really talk about them more unlikely, but that also means that I get to share them with people that’ve never heard of them before. (And, yeah, I mean, sometimes if no one’s talking about the book, it’s for good reason (ex. it sucks) but it’s still nice to find something totally unexpected.) Now, each of these books are ones that I rated at least four stars, have less than 2,000 Goodreads ratings and are ones that I don’t ever hear anyone talking about. (And, with one exception, are books that I don’t usually talk about.)

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The Wizard Hunters by Martha Wells

Ile-Rien is in peril. A mysterious army known only as the Gardier has surrounded the country, attacking in ominous black airships. Hope is not lost though, for a magical sphere created by Ile-Rien’s greatest sorcerer may hold the key to defeating the faceless enemy. But the sphere is unpredictable and has already claimed several lives. When a magical spell goes disastrously awry, young Tremaine Valiarde and a brave band are transported to another world. A world of rough magics, evil mages, honorable warriors — and a secret Gardier base.

Strange Fortune by Josh Lanyon

Valentine Strange, late of his Majesty’s 21st Benhali Lancers, needs money. Happily, the wealthy Holy Orders of Harappu are desperate to retrieve the diadem of the Goddess Purya from an ancient temple deep in the mountainous jungle—an area Strange knows well from his days quelling rebellions. The pay is too good and the job seems too easy for Strange to refuse. But when Master Aleister Grimshaw, a dangerous witch from a traitorous lineage, joins the expedition, Strange begins to suspect that more is at stake than the retrieval of a mere relic.

Grimshaw knows an ancient evil surrounds the diadem— the same evil once hunted him and still haunts his mind. However, experience has taught him to keep his suspicions to himself or risk being denounced as a madman. Again.

Harried by curses, bandits and unnatural creatures, Strange and Grimshaw plunge onward. But when a demonic power wakes and the civilized world descends into revolution, their tenuous friendship is threatened as each man must face the destruction of the life he has known.

Villains by Necessity by Eve Forward

Can good triumph over Evil once too often?

The ultimate triumph of Good and Light has transformed the world into a place of sweetness and peace. This is bad news for the ‘bad guys,’ who include a depressed assassin who dresses in black, his short, feisty sidekick, a black knight, a Druid, a man-eating sorceress and an innocent centaur who is a spy for Good.

Finding utopia boring, they set out on a quest to restore balance to the world.

 

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The Child Prince by Honor Raconteur

Sevana Warran, reigning prodigy Artifactor of the age, has absolutely no desire to selflessly serve her fellow man. She wants, in fact, to be left alone so that she can putter about in her workroom.

But her efforts in avoiding other people prove to be in vain. The reigning family of Windamere is no longer sitting upon the throne and the Council has instead taken power. The sole hope of avoiding the evil machinations of the Council is Bellomi Dragonmanovich, Prince of Windamere. As a twenty-one year old cursed into the body of a perpetual eight year old, he lacks the power and ability to stop the Council.

Sevana, after a judicious review of the situation, decides that she cannot let things continue. If she did, she’d never be left alone and would instead be buried in paperwork if the Council has anything to say about it. So she kidnaps the prince from where he was locked away in the palace and sets about breaking his curse.

Prince and Artifactor quickly realize that simply breaking the curse won’t be enough to free Windamere from the Council. It will take training, cunning, allies, information and more than just a little magic if they are to reclaim the throne.

An Accident of Stars by Foz Meadows

When Saffron Coulter stumbles through a hole in reality, she finds herself trapped in Kena, a magical realm on the brink of civil war.

There, her fate becomes intertwined with that of three very different women: Zech, the fast-thinking acolyte of a cunning, powerful exile; Viya, the spoiled, runaway consort of the empire-building ruler, Vex Leoden; and Gwen, an Earth-born worldwalker whose greatest regret is putting Leoden on the throne. But Leoden has allies, too, chief among them the Vex’Mara Kadeja, a dangerous ex-priestess who shares his dreams of conquest.

Pursued by Leoden and aided by the Shavaktiin, a secretive order of storytellers and mystics, the rebels flee to Veksh, a neighboring matriarchy ruled by the fearsome Council of Queens. Saffron is out of her world and out of her depth, but the further she travels, the more she finds herself bound to her friends with ties of blood and magic.

Can one girl – an accidental worldwalker – really be the key to saving Kena? Or will she just die trying?

(And considering that this was one of my favorite books of last year, I talk about it all the time and can’t believe it has less than 500 ratings on Goodreads.)

I don’t like portal fantasies, she says, but still has two on this list. :p So, what hidden gems have you found?

Top Ten Books I Can’t Believe I Read

Hosted by Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl. I’m never actually ashamed of the books I’ve read, for me that’s just something that doesn’t happen. But I’ll also decide I’m not reading a book, that I just won’t because of the genre, popularity, or simply the cover. And then I read it. (Sometimes I like it, sometimes I don’t – but that’s just the nature of things.)

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Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

The Bane Chronicles by Clare, Brennan & Johnson

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

lol Sorry, I just couldn’t resist. Anyway, with each of these books, I’d said I wasn’t going to read them. And then I did. In this order. (And was suitably confused while reading a couple of the Bane short stories because ‘who are these people!?’) And, even though after finishing CoB, and saying I was done with the series, the sequel still wound up on my TBR list. (And even though I have actually scowled at Lady Midnight, I’ll probably be giving that series a read sooner or later.)

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The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

So I was interested in the book, found out it was first person POV, lost interest, saw the movie, heard the book was soo much better and read the book. Sorry. I like the movie more, even if I totally get why the fans don’t because they changed a lot. But it was just more fun for me.

Eldest by Christopher Paolini

I didn’t like the first book and I liked the second book even less. I’d say I don’t know why I even read it, but the reason is still apparent. You see, there was a time in my life that I am significantly not proud of where I wanted to like the popular things and I kept trying and trying even when it was obvious it wasn’t for me. (And I had a bit of a crush on Murtagh. Probably still do.)

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

When I first heard about this book I was Not Interested ™ and was all like ‘yeah, I’m never reading that because it’s typical YA with more romance than anything else.’ Well, I did read it, I did like it and the less said about my inability to read the sequel the better.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

I wasn’t interested in this book. At all. (Pretty sure I said I’d never read it – which is why I try not to make a generality like that anymore.) Until I was. Then I kind of adored it. Of course, it was another of those books whose sequel was a major letdown and I’ve yet to finish the series. (And, really, have no plan to ever.)

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The Backup Boyfriend by River Jaymes

This is really not my type of book – wasn’t even on my TBR – until it was. As a whole, I don’t like contemporary romance – especially without a ‘hook’. I’d much rather read a romance fantasy (or fantasy romance) or a historical romance. But this book was fun and nice when I read it. (Of course, nothing about it makes me interested in the sequels.)

Earth Girl by Janet Edwards

Okay, this book sounded killer, I loved the idea for it and everything – except the name. I’m sorry, but that was a turn-off for me for quite a long time. I mean: Earth Girl. Who else immediately thinks of:

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No? Just me? Anyhow, I loved the book and the title does have meaning to the story (a lot) but it still is just a bit … unsettling.

Valor’s Choice by Tanya Huff

For the final book on my list, I’ve went a very different direction than the rest. While most of them were of the ‘I can’t believe I read this because I wasn’t interested or because it’s kind of juvenile sounding’ this one is of the ‘I can’t believe I read this because it’s so mature.’ The fact is, if I’d read this book two years before I did, I’d have hated it. I would have tried to like it, but so much death and injury and war wouldn’t have worked for me. As it was, I loved the book – but even to this day I’m a little amazed that I took a chance on it.

Have you read any of these books? (And totally can’t believe it either?) Do you want to? What books give you that little mental hiccup of ‘I read that!?’

Changing Older Posts (yay or nay?)

Hosted at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer.

Do you ever go back to older posts and change things?

Succinct question this week. If my answer need be as succinct:

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I know I don’t edit my posts (and proofread them) as comprehensively as a lot of other bloggers do. I’ll hear them talking about needing to finish up a post, and I’ll be like ‘give me fifteen minutes and it’s done, start to finish.’ While this does mean that on a good day, I can get a full week’s worth of posts scheduled, it also means that my posts will never look as polished an other blogger’s. (Yes, this is related to the question, just wait.)

Now, for me, I’m kind of a stream of consciousness writer (even while writing fiction) and if I edit too much, if I constantly go over the post, it will soon quit sounding like me. I always heard talk about bloggers not finding their voice, but I never had that problem. When I write, you get the best of me and the worst of me and, pretty much, what I’m like if you’d talk to me in person. (BTW: I detest small talk, and I think that’s apparent in my blogging life.)

I’m also the sort that, once a post is scheduled, I never think about it again. Sure, I might have to refresh my memory of what, exactly, I said, when replying to comments, but I don’t think about writing it because, for me, once I press that publish button, my post is out in the world alone. (Or with all the other blog posts that I pushed out of the nest.)

Now, there are a few exceptions that I will admit to. The first one is if I really messed up in grammar or spelling. I’ve done this a few times because my mistake was just embarrassing, but it’s something I try not to do because I tend to not mind the warts. The other exception that I might be willing to make – because I don’t think I’ve made it as yet – is if I disagree with something I posted. Say I loved a book and now I hate it, or I took a stand on one side of an issue and now fall on the other. However, in that case, I think I’d be more willing to make a whole new post with my thoughts now and probably linking it to my old post so you guys could see how/why my opinion had changed.

Do you ever go back and edit old posts?

Review: Siege of Shadows by Sarah Raughley

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In this sequel to Fate of Flames, we’re still following kick-butt girls with special powers as they fight monsters. (The author herself compared it to Sailor Moon meets The Avengers meets Pacific Rim and that’s the best description of it I’ve heard.)

Siege of Shadows on Goodreads

Fate of Flames on Goodreads

Sometimes, if I let myself, I could feel it: that unspeakable force linking one to the other. A connection. A bond. Or maybe it was just me. We’d already fought together and bled together. That may not have made us friends, but it made us something.

A team.

This story takes place a few short months after the end of Fate of Flames and we finally see Maia settling into her role as the fire effigy. With the other three girls, they’re finally starting to become a team. But betrayal comes from within their very organization and Phantoms aren’t the only monsters they have to face.

Maia’s right in the middle of it with Natalya (the previous fire effigy) still trying to break though Maia’s mind to control her body, Saul convinced that Marian (one of the other minds trapped in Maia’s – the first fire effigy) is the key to his plots and Maia herself is keeping a secret that could rip the effigies apart: who (maybe) killed Natalya. (Because if she can’t trust her own mind, what can Maia trust?)

For me, the thing this book does very well is the characters. I usually shy away from first person stories because so many times you don’t learn anything about the rest of the cast (and you learn way too much about the main character). It’s like they’re little satellites that revolve around the MC and have nothing else going for them. That’s not this book.

While I like Maia, she isn’t even close to my favorite character. (Maybe fourth, depending on how much problems I’m having with Belle at the moment.) But she’s a likable main character. She’s taken to her role as well as I hoped she would after the struggle for her in the first book, and while she’s not as ‘tough’ as the other effigies, she doesn’t have to be to be strong.

The other effigies are all important character, with their own struggles and histories, and we only get to see part of that here, but it’s so lovely. I adore that the most important relationship that Maia is building isn’t a romance, but the friendship between her teammates. Each of them are unique individuals and, because you have three headstrong girls, their teamwork isn’t always the best.

And, there is a bit of romance here, but Maia is pretty good about focusing on her job to save humanity instead of how cute the boy is. Which is as nice as it is unusual. (And the romance itself isn’t without complications, though I have to admit very strong affection for her love interest. And there’s no triangle to be seen!)

However, the one thing stopping me giving it a higher rating (and I can’t tell you how much I wanted to) is the plot development. While I loved that the first book focused a lot on monster fighting, and I love that this book starts revealing more about the effigies, I have one problem.

At times, the plot starts slipping into a generic dystopian world where it’s up to our teenagers to overthrow the corrupt government. I really did not see the hints of this in the first book, and this is a plot point I don’t think I like. (There has to be some reason I don’t like dystopians and I think this is it.)

That being said, this is a solidly enjoyable book and a series I’m very happy with as a whole.

4

Content Advisory: Uhh… yeah, maybe a few curse words – I’ve heard much worse in PG13 movies – but it’s a surprisingly clean book. There are some description of corpses and decomposition and the … insect effect that has on the human body. Also non-explicit/off-screen torture.