Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Spectacle by Rachel Vincent

Series: Menagerie #2
432 p.
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Published: 5/30/17
Source: From NetGalley and Publisher for review.
In this riveting sequel to New York Times bestselling author Rachel Vincent's acclaimed novel Menagerie, Delilah Marlow will discover that there is no crueler cage than the confines of the human mind… 
When their coup of Metzger's Menagerie is discovered, Delilah and her fellow cryptids find their newly won freedom brutally stripped away as they are sold into The Savage Spectacle, a private collection of "exotic wildlife." Specializing in ruthless cryptid cage matches, safari-style creature hunts and living party favors, the Spectacle's owner, Willem Vandekamp, caters to the forbidden fetishes of the wealthy and powerful. At the Spectacle, any wish can be granted—for the right price.

But Vandekamp's closely guarded client list isn't the only secret being kept at the Spectacle. Beneath the beauty and brutality of life in the collection lie much darker truths, and no one is more determined than Delilah to strip the masks from the human monsters and drag all dark things into the light.
My thoughts:

I loved the first book which honestly caught me by surprise. I had high hopes for this one and I was not disappointed. Those worrying about sophomore syndrome need not worry. While our intrepid cryptids find themselves in similar but in some ways more dangerous circumstances, one which none is expected to survive, we find ourselves once again captured (in a good way) by the story and how it all plays out. There is no cliffhanger but there is a huge open ending which will make you salivate for more of the tale. I, for one, cannot wait to read the next book in this series, *grabby hands*, even though it may not be written yet. Yes, you can safely say I really loved this book.

My only niggle would be with Delilah herself. While I feel that she has placed the bulk of the responsibilities on keeping the other cryptids alive, I also feel that she should share in that responsibility. They have as much or more at stake and it is also a bit of an insult to think that they are not capable of the task of at least helping her out as an equal. That is where I felt she sort of resembled her captors, but I do think she made strides in that area a tiny bit. Still, it is a minor niggle.

I do not want to tell too much or I'll spoil the book (or even the one that came before) but I will say this: I feel you need to pay attention to the prologue in the book. I have a feeling it will play an important role in the coming books and not just this story.

In conclusion, I feel that this series needs to be read in order. It makes sense and this one builds on the first book. You get fully introduced to Delilah who is our protagonist and why she is important to the menagerie. I give this book 4 1/2 stars. I highly recommend this series to those that love a good fantasy.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Audiobook Review: Eleventh Grave in Moonlight by Darynda Jones

Series: Charley Davidson #11
Unabridged Audiobook
Narrator: Lorelei King
9 hrs. 18 min.
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Published: 1/24/17
Source: Library
Series narrator Lorelei King returns to narrate Eleventh Grave in Moonlight, the latest installment of Darynda Jones' New York Times bestselling paranormal series.
My entire life can be summed up in one sentence: 
"Well, that didn't go as planned."--T-Shirt 
A typical day in the life of Charley Davidson involves cheating husbands, errant wives, missing people, philandering business owners, and, oh yeah...demons, hell hounds, evil gods, and dead people. Lots and lots of dead people. As a part time Private Investigator and full-time Grim Reaper, Charley has to balance the good, the bad, the undead, and those who want her dead. 
Now, Charley is learning to make peace with the fact that she is a goddess with all kinds of power and that her own daughter has been born to save the world from total destruction. But the forces of hell are determined to see Charley banished forever to the darkest corners of another dimension. With the son of Satan himself as her husband and world-rocking lover, will Charley be able to defeat the ultimate evil and find a way to have her happily ever after after all?
My thoughts:

Ah, another good addition to the series. It brought me everything I was looking for... humor, adventure, more Reyes. Charley has been learning more about herself and I think this addition to the series is where she learns more about her gifts as well as exactly why she has them. We still have more information to procure, but this one seems to be on a faster track than the other editions in this area. We also get the usual ghosties that need help and an adventure with Ubie which really brought out the caring in his character. Reyes is still a bit too closed up but I think it may come with good reason. 

...and then just as I was enjoying myself wondering where the next shoe would drop... it dropped. It dropped hard and then just ended. I knew there was going to be a cliff hanger, but honestly this one worries me more than the other cliffies. With the others, I just wanted to know how it would happen but this one may be a bigger problem than the others. I cannot say, but I will say it was a shoe the old woman could move into and live comfortably with all her kids. Wait... why am I talking shoes? Oh yea, it's a Charley thing. 😏

Seriously though... one note to the author about that cliffie... Darynda, I need you to go to your room and think about what you have done. Also, gimme the next book. :D Oh and Lorelei don't think you are getting off easy either. You have brought such life to these characters with your narration I need you to go to your room as well and think about how much this has affected all of us readers/listeners. 

Yea, you can say I'm addicted to this series and love it so much I'm willing to send people to their room for making me worry. If you have not started this series you so need to get on that. I also have a suggestion. Try the audiobook. Even if you don't usually like audiobooks, this one really brings it to life and it may change your mind.

And since it is Wishlist Wednesday... I nominate

The Trouble with Twelfth Grave by Darynda Jones
Published: 10/31/17
Audiobook shortly after...

I don't want to publish the blurb right now since it may contain a spoiler I didn't want to share in the review. 😊  Still... grabby hands! 😁

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

On My Wishlist: Black Bird of the Gallows and The Girl in the Tower

Oh have a couple that have caught my eye lately...

Black Bird of the Gallows
by Meg Kassel
300 p.
Published: 9/5/17
Publisher: Entangled
A simple but forgotten truth: Where harbingers of death appear, the morgues will soon be full. 
Angie Dovage can tell there’s more to Reece Fernandez than just the tall, brooding athlete who has her classmates swooning, but she can’t imagine his presence signals a tragedy that will devastate her small town. When something supernatural tries to attack her, Angie is thrown into a battle between good and evil she never saw coming. Right in the center of it is Reece—and he’s not human. 
What's more, she knows something most don't. That the secrets her town holds could kill them all. But that’s only half as dangerous as falling in love with a harbinger of death.
I love that cover! 

The Girl in the Tower
by Katherine Arden
Series: The Bear and the Nightingale #2
352 p.
Published: 1/9/18
Publisher: Del Rey

The magical adventure begun in The Bear and the Nightingale continues as brave Vasya, now a young woman, is forced to choose between marriage or life in a convent and instead flees her home—but soon finds herself called upon to help defend the city of Moscow when it comes under siege.
Orphaned and cast out as a witch by her village, Vasya’s options are few: resign herself to life in a convent, or allow her older sister to make her a match with a Moscovite prince. Both doom her to life in a tower, cut off from the vast world she longs to explore. So instead she chooses adventure, disguising herself as a boy and riding her horse into the woods. When a battle with some bandits who have been terrorizing the countryside earns her the admiration of the Grand Prince of Moscow, she must carefully guard the secret of her gender to remain in his good graces—even as she realizes his kingdom is under threat from mysterious forces only she will be able to stop.
I enjoyed the first book so I'm curious about this one! 


Also, don't forget Audiobook Sync's freebie this week. Last day (5/10) for Feed by M.T. Anderson and The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglass Adams. Tomorrow you can get Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes and Teenage Diaries: Then and Now by Radio Diaries.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Netflix, Puppies, and Free Audiobooks... What a Combination!

I only have a couple to share.


Into the Badlands

This one is an AMC production. I did catch one ep on AMC but didn't get caught up in it. I found the first season on Netflix (second season is going on now at AMC) and quickly got into this one. This is one I highly suggest to start from the beginning. The nuances make more sense. It has those Chinese film sword fight like flair that defy gravity paired with a dystopian background. This is one I say to try it (from the beginning) you might like it. πŸ˜‰


Leap Year

Thought this one would be cute with Amy Adams in it and it was a enemies to falling in love kind of film. It follows the formula and I did enjoy their journey where everything goes wrong. They do fall for each other but it really didn't quite flow with me. I think I needed a bit more of Matthew Goode's background or character growth. Still, it was enjoyable and I did love the epilogue at the end.

If you like that formula, I think you would enjoy the 90s film, French Kiss. It is a bit more successful in the transition of enemies to falling in love but I sill love Leap Year's epilogue better.  I mention this because it hit me as I was comforting my pups and this came on tv in the background. πŸ’‹


...and speaking of comforting pups. Again, I haven't had as much time as I like with either netflix or reading because the pups think they need more attention. One isn't still doing well with more pain and has worried me but we had snow and it really made her happy (she is a snow dog).

The other one decided to get more attention. Since his paw had healed from the last time, he decided to rip off a nail on another foot. It came off clean so I just put a cotton sock on his foot so it could still get air, keep clean and keep him from licking (in his case he is good about it as long as there is a sock on it). If this happens to you, as long as it isn't bleeding a lot you can usually soak it in warm water to clean it then put neosporin on it before putting a sock on it. You hold the sock on with a loose wrapping of vet tape or the kind of tape that sticks to itself (I found a vid since I'm not sure I was clear HERE which also gives good hints of what to look for and what to do). I thought I'd go into detail since when looking for the video I saw an article that said to put peroxide on it. Oh no! Talk about pain! Don't do it. And go to the vet if you feel the need or have questions. Best place to get your answers. The pics below is when it first happened and all I had was thin paper tape. It ended up rolling up on itself and creating pressure on his foot. I caught it quickly since I was monitoring it before I could get the proper tape.

You can see he isn't too happy with the sock on and he acts like I have abused him to no end. LOL Hopefully he will not have lost the nail permanently. I also hope he stops vying for attention in this way. So forgive me if the blog gets a bit slow.
Trying to guilt me into taking off the sock

One thing to note is the start of Audiobook Sync's free month. It has already started and by the end of today (May 3rd) the freebies are The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde and The Dead House by Dawn Kuragich. Tomorrow starts the new week of audiobooks. Those will be Feed by MT Anderson and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. The list for this year is HERE so you don't miss any.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Follow Me down by Sherri Smith

Standalone Thriller
352 p.
Publisher: Forge Books
Published: 3/28/17
Source: From publisher for review
Mia Haas has built a life for herself far from the North Dakota town where she grew up, but when she receives word that her twin brother is missing, she’s forced to return home. Once hailed as the golden boy of their small town, Lucas Haas disappeared the same day the body of one of his high school students is pulled from the river. Trying to wrap her head around the rumors of Lucas’s affair with the teen, and unable to reconcile the media’s portrayal of Lucas as a murderer with her own memories of him, Mia is desperate to find another suspect. 
All the while, she wonders, if he’s innocent, why did he run? 
As Mia reevaluates their difficult, shared history and launches her own investigation into the grisly murder, she uncovers secrets that could exonerate Lucas—or seal his fate. In a small town where everyone’s history is intertwined, Mia will be forced to confront her own demons, placing her right in the killer’s crosshairs.
My thoughts:

I have to admit I didn't like Mia for half of the book. I didn't connect to her and she kept making stupid mistakes. Then she had to complicate those mistakes with prescription drug abuse. I just kept wondering why she was making it harder for her brother to exonerate himself if he was innocent. If he was guilty, she seemed to be throwing away the key to any sort of fair trial. It was frustrating.

Then the middle of the book happened and I just became swept up into the thriller aspect of the book. I really became interested and invested in the outcome. I wanted to know who killed this girl and why so many things happened. Parts were still disconnected for me, but it no longer mattered... I had to know who done it.

There were several twists and turns in the book and things became clearer despite Mia's bungling. It also became more harrowing and while I did fall for the red herrings, I did suspect that the true culprit had something to do with the murder. It was an interesting ride.

I give this book 3 stars. If you stick with this one (and not everyone who reviewed it felt the same as I did about the beginning), there is a good payoff in the end. I am curious about this author now and I would read another thriller by her.