Saturday, February 24, 2024

The Redemption of Boaz Pritchard

The Redemption of Boaz PritchardThe Redemption of Boaz Pritchard by Hailey Edwards
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These books and this whole series is hard for me to rate. Are they well written? Yes. Do I enjoy the characters - no. Boaz is just… yuck.

This story, I guess, is supposed to be read when I read it, after book 2, but feels like it is filled with spoilers for book 3. Here’s hoping I didn’t just make a mistake. Speaking of mistakes, when I started this story I thought I accidentally clicked on the wrong audio book. Who are these people? Why do I care about some random girls named Addie and Cass? Why do I care about bounty hunters not even in the same state as Grier? Well, I guess off “camera” Boaz tried to save his family by proposing to a girl who has an even worse off family (but good name). Addie and Boaz are essentially an arranged marriage, that Boaz stresses is him turning himself honest, while all the while I lying to Grier? Weird weird weird.

There are definitely some choices made in this story that made me incredibly uncomfortable. Cass is taking advantage of people, assuming she can “convert” straight people, kissing people who don’t want a kiss, etc. etc. etc. It got real tired real fast. I was able to root for her to survive at the end, but it was a struggle. I guess the point of this story is to make Boaz’s betrayal less painful, but I found it extra painful to go through this knowing Grier doesn’t even know what he did. He is terrible.

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How to Claim an Undead Soul

How to Claim an Undead Soul (The Beginner's Guide to Necromancy, #2)How to Claim an Undead Soul by Hailey Edwards
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had a little more trouble with this book than the previous one. While I’m all for Grier growing into her new life and making decisions for herself, I wish those decisions didn’t involve the annoying Boaz.

We join our main character, Grier, right after the conclusion of the previous book. She’s been reinstated, has money, but is being forced to train with Linus. I had some trouble with the weird dynamic between Linus and Grier, mistakenly assuming that because they were raised as family that they were related by blood. Either way, the sexual tension reads as incredibly icky. Lucky (?) for us, though, Grier is enamored with Boaz and he seems willing to put aside his ways to attempt to date only Grier. It’s weird, awkward, and pretty painful. I hope this does not continue for much longer because Grier could do so much better.

The larger story in this one is the disappearing spirits, seemingly clearing out their neighborhood. Oddly, the vampire storyline from the previous book seems almost forgotten here, except for a few mentions. I thought we’d dive right into the mystery of who is after Grier, but maybe next book? This read as a definite transition book, and the title of the book between this and #3 scares the crap out of me. If I wasn’t committed to this series, I might pause here to forget the ick.

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Instinct: An Animal Rescuers Anthology

Instinct: An Animal Rescuers AnthologyInstinct: An Animal Rescuers Anthology by L.J. Hachmeister
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m not usually a big anthology reader, but for to fill in some short story gaps for Butcher and Briggs’s worlds, I added this one to my list.

This is definitely a mixed bag. Some stories are very short, some very sad, some based in weird future worlds I’d never check out, and some that introduced me to a world I want to know more about. As long as I exit an anthology with at least one new author in my to-read list, I’m happy. This anthology did just that for me with Hailey Edwards. The short stories from my usual authors were satisfying and worth the price of purchase, but I guess it depends how you feel about all the others. I sometimes found it very difficult to get through an installment, particularly when they involve animals in various states of injury or hurt. Fair warning to all those who are not OK with that - this might not be the book for you. That being said, I’m sure you could also hop around, but my own sense of completion will allow me to do no such thing.

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Friday, February 9, 2024

How to Save and Undead Life

How to Save an Undead Life (Beginner's Guide to Necromancy, #1)How to Save an Undead Life by Hailey Edwards
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I stumbled upon this book series by way of a short story I enjoyed set in this same universe. Curious how it all began, I went way back to the beginning with this book!

This book introduces us to Grier Woolworth, the wrongly accused (for murdering her mentor & guardian) who has recently been released from magic jail. She is still settling in to life living in a haunted house alone, reconnecting with her neighbors and childhood friends (one of which she had a very active crush on), and scraping together enough money to keep the lights on by being a haunted city tour guide. Seems about right for a poorly magic-endowed necromancer, right? Well, she's also got to (maybe?) feed an undead parakeet and juggle the weird family dynamic she's been born into. It's this element that ends up turning her all topsy turvy - her estranged relative ends up becoming the leader of their organization for necromancers and reinstates her as a full member of the community.

This big announcement ends up attracting the attention of vampires, as she apparently did some big magic in jail that shouldn't have been possible. It's these vampires that end up taking the timid, displaced Grier and making her into a force to be reckoned with. While the book doesn't really wrap up at the end, you can see that Book 2 Grier will be working her hardest to make sure she owns all her decision going forward (ya know, except for all that stuff at the end of the book).

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A Court of Silver Flames

A ​Court of Silver Flames (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #4)A ​Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I admit to not being super excited about getting into Nesta's head. After all the interactions between her, Feyre, and Cassian, I was not a big fan of hers. Lucky for me, I've got a bunch of folks who read ahead in book club and they assured me that once you get through the first part and get "used to" Nesta, it's a good read.

Cassian and Nesta have obviously been fated since the first introduction. We saw breadcrumbs of attraction and fun sparring but it took a horrible turn after Nesta seemingly admitted her feelings on the battlefield and lost her father. Nest is also very obviously broken right now, to the point where Feyre and the rest of the gang need to perform an intervention. Given little to no choice in the matter, Nesta takes a job at the secluded library and agrees to train with Cassian every morning. It goes just about how you'd expect, including the hissy fit she throws at the start. We do, however, get to meet and learn a lot more about the folks we have met in previously books only in passing. The priestesses, the shop owner with the clipped wings - they both end up playing key roles in Nesta's transformation.

Cassian knows this will be a huge challenge, "wrangling" Nesta, trying to reign in his feelings, and also perform the duties Rhysand newly assigned him. The bigger story here is that the sorcerer at the lake and our least favorite (maybe?) fae lord in autumn are teaming up with the ex-human queen/crone to find three magical objects that do terrible things. Having been made by the cauldron, Nesta (of course) has the ability to find these things, too. Thus begins the big quest/adventure/almost war!

The more important storyline is about Cassian and Nesta's relationship and the recreation of Valkyries in this world. The sexy times were good here, but even more satisfying is the parallel story arcs of the women that usher in a new generation of female warriors. It felt very hunger games meets harry potter at times, but I'm not mad about it. I do, however, want a book to end without magical lifesaving because of love or whatever.

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Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Nightshade’s Bite

Nightshade's BiteNightshade's Bite by Zoe Forward
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After taking a long time between book 1 and 2 of this series, I can confirm that they can certainly be read as standalone books. I didn't remember anything of the world or the characters, but the author did a great job catching me up throughout.

Keira is a loner, having been burned (or almost chopped in half) by controlling people in her life before. She's a very old vampire and she has dedicated her life and resources to trying to subvert the war vampires have on werewolves. She hides her identity well, but has been forced to mostly hide who she is or play particular roles. On a night when she is flipping between roles, she ends up rescuing a very grumpy wolf from a hit squad. Said wolf turns out to be a celebrity of sorts in the werewolf world - Michael Durand.

Michael has also become a bit of a loner, forced to play the role of werewolf savior while not holding the title of king. He's lost all drive, other than a murderous feeling towards all vampires. That somehow doesn't seem to include Keira, who he is inexplicably drawn to. These two sizzle and it seems obvious to their friends/family/associates but they are determined to fight and martyr themselves instead. We get some solid resolution at the end of this book, but I'm still a little sad that the series appears to end here. There is a lot of potential for the side characters to get a more satisfying ending to their tale.

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Friday, January 19, 2024

Magic by the Book

Magic by the Book (House of Magic #4)Magic by the Book by Susanna Shore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm loving this world and the wonderful group of characters in the "gang." Poor Phoebe can't seem to catch a break, though!

We join Phoebe right after the end of the previous book. She and Kane kissed and I'm here for it! Unfortunately for me, nobody acknowledges it for far too long. On a day of antique gathering, they end up stranded and it doesn't even end with them making out. Sigh. It does, however, start the ball rolling down a path we should come to expect now. Phoebe, still learning about her magic, makes a deal with their unexpected host to purchase a pile of magic texts. One book, however, comes with more than they bargained for. Who knew that one book could bring with it family drama, demons, alchemists, and a smattering of con men/thieves?

While warding off thieves and con men, the magical crew gets dragged into vampire politics as well, giving us more yummy time with Morgan Hunt. Don't worry though, because we get some good romantic progress, though we do get the dreaded cliffhanger at the end of this one. I'm obviously going to dive right back in with the next book as soon as possible!

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