Sunday, April 28, 2024

Shadow of Doubt

Shadow of Doubt (The Potentate of Atlanta, #1)Shadow of Doubt by Hailey Edwards
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After finishing up the Beginner’s Guide to Necromancy series, I knew I wanted to see what happened next in this world. While I don’t think you need to have read that series, I do feel more informed about the backstories here, which might be confusing to the uninitiated.

We join “Hadley” after some time has passed since we last saw her volunteering to take on the Potentate of Atlanta mantle from Linus. It was a selfless offer, which also happened to give her a way to feed the evil she forever bound herself to. I was particularly interest in learning more about the mysterious team that Linus worked with, so this certainly didn’t disappoint. Hadley is lying to everyone about who she is, but she is also hiding her scent from the shifters who previously met her. Nobody has let out this secret, but it seems only a matter of time, especially since Midas has taken a very close interest in her after “meeting” at a crime scene.

Hadley’s first solo assignment ends up being a shifter kill. Paired up with Ford (who was a wonderful character addition in this world), she has to navigate the complicated pack politics in the city, as well as the myriad of lies she’s told. Ford is very interested in Hadley, which just seems to ignite Midas’s own interest. Enter: The Love Triangle! I’m here for it, though. I found Hadley so much less annoying outside of the Boaz shadow and away from Grier. Her team is also awesome. I am hooked and even the mystery had me guessing wrong the whole way through. If this is where it starts, I can’t wait to see where this series goes!

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How to Wake an Undead City

How to Wake an Undead City (The Beginner's Guide to Necromancy, #6)How to Wake an Undead City by Hailey Edwards
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really plowed through this series on audiobook and am happy I did. Were some of the installments better/more satisfying than others? Sure. Was it worth it - absolutely!

This really wrapped everything up that I was hoping for. There was a bit of a scare at the end where I thought there were some loose ends dangling but a quick sprint to the finish took care of them (and the epilogue installments will likely expand on that universe). So - we pick up this book in the post-apocalyptic world that is now Savannah, and Grier’s new non-necromancer squad of human helpers. Grier has a FULL plate, too - she’s got to go back to Atlanta (which was never a really great time for her), ask her estranged family for more info on her “condition”, beg the alpha for some help defending the city she loves, and manage to pull off this new mantle without being called out as a total fraud. Oh and she’s also got to get the city back from her vampire grandfather when she gets home.

Lucky for us, Linus is there to keep her alive (or vice-versa?) oh and the most awesome and adorable thing happens that I won’t spoil. There’s also pack dominance fights, shifter nonsense, magic misbehaving, life-threatening possessions, and stupid Boaz. Nothing goes right during any step of their plan in this book. Nothing. It is both frustrating and reassuring in that we get to leave Grier stronger, but still never taking the straight path through things. We leave this world (or series, since there is a spinoff and follow-up books) better, I think, than we joined it. All the characters we met have grown in leaps and bounds. I even sort-of didn’t hate Boaz (that’s probably a lie). I’m happy that the series took us to such a satisfying end.

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Thursday, April 18, 2024

How to Live an Undead Lie

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

Yeesh, Grier's life is complicated. This book ends in some unresolved stuff that led me to *immediately* dive into the final book of the series. We knew this was all building but I was 100% unprepared for the reveal at the end here.

So, what happens in this stunning installment? Well, congrats, Grier's a mommy to a vampire. He ends up showing up on her doorstep in a series of political and necromancer related events. In good news, Linus has really shown that he is the perfect match for her. He balances her crazy with the stable stubbornness that only he can provide. While this is a wild ride that ends with some huge changes in Grier's life, it's very clear we have been pointed in this direction from the start of the series. Grier is now the power player that she only ever dreamt of being, and that grows with each book.

Some things don't change, though. Like Boaz - who is still an idiot. As someone who is firmly in the next book, I wish I could tell you he eventually is not an idiot, but I think he will forever be one. Does he do things with good motivation? Sometimes? It's still infuriating. Lethe and Hood are bright spots and such a wonderful addition to the wild and crazy world that we are in. Does drama get stirred up in their world? Yes. Does it somehow resolve in a way for the better? Yes. I think I prefer that to the never-ending push and pull of Boaz/Grier. As a book series that is complete, I can definitely be happy to wrap things up (hopefully) by the end of the next book, but I'll be sad to say goodbye to most of these characters.

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Sapient Curse

Sapient Curse (Spellcrest Academy #7)Sapient Curse by Michael Pierce
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I took a pretty long break between books here so it took me extra long to remember even who anyone was at the start. First, let me acknowledge that this ends in a big cliffhanger, so if that is going to piss you off, wait until we have book 8 out and read for you to devour.

We join Maeve, now heading into her Sapient year at the academy with her friends. One friend has just been turned into a vampire. Her boyfriend is up to shady business with an ex. Oh, and now they all have to go through super traumatic virtual reality devices as part of their routine classes, so everybody is more than a little on edge. The "big bad" of this book revolves around a mysterious man who ran into Devon and Maeve on a training exercise, then attacked the crew when they ventured outside the safety of the school's walls.

It really doesn't sound like a lot when I spell it out like that, and I guess it wasn't. A majority of the time was spent on adapting to changes (i.e. of the vampire variety) and the interpersonal drama that is being a school aged person dating someone older. With all the build-up to the ending here, it was mostly clues, hints, and the usual dangerous threat to Maeve, but it did feel relatively low stakes this time for some reason.

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Vampire Academy (re-read)

Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1)Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Re-reading this for book club and I still love this book. I plowed through it at a rapid pace and can 100% recommend re-reading this series if you haven't already done that. I didn't quite remember all the steps we take to get to our series end, so it was fun to reconnect with the characters and go along for the ride. Not everything was a surprise, but it felt good to see everyone back where it all started.

Original review: I both love and hate Tara for gifting this book to me. I couldn't put the damn thing down! If I didn't have to wake up for work this morning, I would've finished it last night! Now I guess I need to read the rest of these things... Great story and really the blurb doesn't do it justice. I guess I'm a YA addict...

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Friday, April 12, 2024


Beginnings (The Pinewood Pack Series Book 1)Beginnings by Bridget Nicole
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a fated mate book that takes us through all the eyes of someone who has no idea werewolves exist at the starts.

Olivia is engaged at the start of the book. She's with a reliable guy who she could see herself spending a very dull rest of her life with. At a wedding of all places, she ends up meeting Ethan. There is instant chemistry and they even share a secret kiss. This one chance meeting ends up blowing Olvia's world apart. She's forced to take a leap of faith from her "normal" life into the world of werewolves and politics.

Since Ethan is the alpha, he's also very used to getting what he wants. Olivia, being a normal human woman, throws a bit of a wrench in his plans by questioning just about everything. What should, by normal werewolf rules, be a relatively simple fated coupling, ends up hitting many bumps along the way, including some troublesome family members, betrayal, and doubtful soon-to-be-mother-in-laws. As your standard fated mate book, we end up getting through all that to a nice resolution at the end. Does everything get truly resolved? No. In fact, a big part of the start of the book never ends up re-surfacing in this book. Who knows if it shows up in book 2? Either way, it felt a little unfinished by the end here.

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Making It So: A Memoir

Making It So: A MemoirMaking It So: A Memoir by Patrick Stewart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I listened to this as an audiobook, so got to hear Patrick Stewart tell all his stories directly. It definitely added something to the retelling, particularly with the Shakespearean text.

But what made me want to read this? The Star Trek bits. It was really interesting to hear the stories from his side, ones that we may have heard in different ways through cast interviews or rumors, too. Patrick Stewart really has had a long and interesting life, and I was really interested in how he managed to end up an actor. I won't summarize his story, because that's what the book is for, but will say that some of the anecdotes he shared will definitely make me look at episodes a bit differently. There are definitely sadder and happier moments but overall the book left me feeling more enriched having read it. If you are a fan of his work, I'd definitely recommend this read.

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Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Bloodlust Blues

Bloodlust BluesBloodlust Blues by Luanne Bennett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the first of a series that had me interested from the start. It combines paranormal and action with just a sprinkling of slow burn romance (maybe).

Charley runs a bar in a town called Crimson, in a world where supernaturals are out in the open. Just because they are out, though, doesn't mean everybody forgot how to discriminate. Charley is just doing her best for her patrons, taking a stab at providing vampire blood (a drug in this universe) to folks who need pain relief. It spirals pretty quickly, though, after a new business moves into an abandoned shop across the street.

This story give a little bit of needful things vibes in that the aforementioned neighbor seems to be doing the impossible and luring in all the townsfolk with a French restaurant of all things. There's attacks, disappearances, and murders in what used to be a very quiet town. Charley, who strongly believes she did not inherit her mother's powers, is the only one willing to stand up to their supernatural bully to try to set things right. She risks her life and her bar in ways nobody would expect and ends up coming out stronger for it all. I'm excited to learn more and see Charley grow into her powers in future books.

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