Tag Archives: Book Reviews

May 2020 in Books

Books and coffee, the two things keeping the world go round.

I had the fabulous idea that I would post all the books that I’ve read since I took my little hiatus and…..it was quite a few more than I thought. I’m a lazy book reader now guys. This is the new program. So, I’ll just post what I’ve read throughout May. 😀

5 out of 5 stars. The Witcher series is proving to be a slow burner. The plot line creeps along but there is so much character development and political intrigue that you hardly notice until you’re finished.

3 out of 5 stars. This was enjoyable and the main character was the polar opposite of Jorg in the Broken Empire series this is an off shoot of. Call me crazy, but I preferred the dark anti-hero Jorg. I’m sure I’ll continue the series at some point, but I’m not rushing to the next book.

5 out of 5 stars. I am an Ilona Andrews addict and this new series just hits all the buttons for me. It’s an incredible world that has been built with commanding characters and adrenaline fueled adventures.

One of my bookish goals for 2020 was to purchase as few books as possible and work on my current collection. Well, Covid made that hard as hell. I can’t borrow physical books from the library OR my best friend. All things considered, I’ve only spent actual money on one book since this all happened. Otherwise my husband bought it for me or I used my Amazon giftcard.

Books purchased May 2020:

Gideon the Ninth by Tamara Muir $2.99

Sapphire Flames by Ilona Andrews $2.99

The Innkeeper Chronicles Volume One by Ilona Andrews $0.99

Total Spent: $6.97

Not too shabby if I say so myself. 😀

How have you guys been keeping from going Covid crazy???

Sandman Slim (Sandman Slim #1) – Book Review

Published Date: July 21, 2009

Publishing Co.: Harper Voyager

Pages: 388

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Dragged to Hell by demons at the behest of his supposed friends, Stark has spent 11 years battling in the arenas in Hell. Instead of facing lions and bears, he faced demons and other hell beasts. He was traded from one of Lucifer’s generals to another and was just generally treated as Hell’s bitch. Now, he has snuck his way out of the pit and is more than ready to seek vengeance for both his false imprisonment and the murder of his beloved girlfriend.

The world has changed a lot in eleven years. Not only must he adapt quickly, he has to launch a game plan to get his vengeance before everyone knows he’s back. Some groups have already been tipped off to his presence and are hindering his quest. He’s a one track man though and he’ll have his vengeance, opponents be damned.

This was a fun, although not very profound, read. Stark is stubborn, yet not unfeeling despite all the torture he’s been through. He’s amiable in the face of a world against him. Literally both Heaven and Hell do their best to get in his way, but he’s picked up so many tricks in his short, violent life, that even they cannot quite catch up with him.

So if you’re looking for a good, fun vengeance story that features a hit man that escaped Hell, look no further.

High Voltage (Fever #10) – Book Review

Published Date: March 6, 2018

Publishing Co.: Delacorte Press

Pages: 476

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

This might as well have been titled: Dani: The Most Unique, Misunderstood, Better Than Everyone Else, Heroine.

Man, does this girl love talking about herself and how different she is from everyone else on the planet. I don’t care if it’s true, I don’t need to read about it relentlessly. I fully admit that the Dani books are always the hardest for me to slog through. I thought it might be a bit better because she’s an adult now but unfortunately, her mind is still very much a teenager.

I’m not even going to explain the plot, it barely moved. There was a bad guy, they take care of it all too quickly because Dani is oh so mighty and then they move on to more character “development” for Dani.

I could care less about Kat’s point of view, though I know it’s required for the minimum amount of plot movement that happens.

After all of this complaining, why I am still reading this series?

1. I have a lot of time invested in it.

2. I love a lot of the side characters.

3. The world building is great.

4. The plot line is still interesting even though it stalls in this volume.

5. It looks like Mac is back as main POV in the next book.

I’m actually giving this more stars than it deserved because I still did enjoy myself whenever Dani stopped talking about how awesome she is.

Summer Knight (The Dresden Files #4) – Book Review

Published Date: September 3, 2002

Publishing Co.: ROC

Pages: 446

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

A vast improvement from Grave Peril.

It probably helped that this had zero Buzzkillington the Third in it. (Michael.)

In Summer Knight, we see a complete unraveling of Harry in regards to the ending of the last book and what happened to his girlfriend, Susan. He doesn’t care much about anything other than trying to find something to help her resist her new semi-vampire status. In the mean time, vampires have declared war on Harry and the White Council and have put hits out on both. Harry is under intense scrutiny by the Council and may even get fed to the vampires to help put things back to right. At least that’s the opinion of Harry’s enemies among the Council. As if all that wasn’t enough, war is brewing between the two faerie courts and Harry’s been dragged in against his will to help absolve Queen Mab of murder. So needless to say, Harry can’t sit in his basement studying any more.

Here, we begin to see some of Harry’s more annoying traits begin to die down. He recognizes that keeping people in the dark, in order to protect them, is actually only doing harm. He still wants to save all the damsels but he acknowledges that sometimes, the damsels can handle themselves.

He also begins to accept help from his friends instead of trying to be the lone hero so that no one else but him gets hurt. He lets them know the level of danger and leaves the decision to attend the melee up to his possible allies.

The growth of Harry Dresden looks good on him.

spoilers below

I’m very upset about the death of Meryl. I think she would have been an absolutely great character addition to this series beyond one book. I could read a million more books about troll girl.

My favorite battle moment was when Harry looked at an enemy, yelled, “Meep! Meep!” and ran away.

I’m relieved this is picking up again. Maybe I won’t wait so long to continue onto the next book.

Missing in Michigan (Alex Bentley #1) – Book Review

Published Date: November 2019

Publishing Co.: Midnight Grasshopper Books

Pages: 176

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Alex Bentley is a ghost therapist. She helps spirits move onto whatever afterlife exists. People hire her to rid themselves of troublesome ghosts that are effecting business or driving the living person insane. Her latest case pulls her to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. What at first appears to be your average restless spirit turns into a missing persons case. The police have put in virtually zero effort in finding missing teenage boys, instead just labeling them drug addicts and runaways. The rumors in the small town even point to Native American folklore as the possible culprit.

This book is absolutely fine if you take it for what it is. A paranormal mystery with minimum world building and fairly two dimensional characters. There is a possible love triangle and some insta-love happening and isn’t that the formula for a million urban fantasies out there?

As someone who helped start a small business, I find her complete lack of business sense annoying. She’ll jet off to help someone with no guarantee of getting paid or getting paid much more than it’s costing her. She’s flying to other states, spending days at a time, coming home and having barely any money to show for it. She’s on the brink of losing everything, yet she does it again. You can point out that you can’t put a price on doing what you love, but when you’re the only known ghost therapist, you can literally put a price tag on it.

All the action parts were sparse, easily handled and over almost immediately. Even drawing out more detail of an eventual trial would have provided some well needed depth.

What this book needs is more fleshing out. More world building, more character building and progression, and more descriptions of virtually everything. At times you went from being inside the character’s mind frame to the character addressing you as if you were an audience or they were writing a letter. Anytime that Alex thought anything remotely deep that might resound with the reader, it was pointed out how serious and dark things were getting in her head and she tried to lighten the mood with some quip.

There is a lot of potential here for a great urban fantasy if the author worked out a few of these kinks. Otherwise, it’s fine but not something I’ll run around recommending to my friends.

The Grey Bastards (The Lots Lands #1) – Book Review

Published Date: March 19, 2019

Publishing Co.: Broadway Books

Pages: 432

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Best book of 2020.

Okay, sure. I haven’t read any other books yet, but I have a strong feeling this is going to be a top contender for the whole year.

I’m not going to recap anything about this book because you just need to experience it for yourself but I will summarize it as Sons of Anarchy with hog riding half-orcs.

At first I felt bad about the comparison because I loved it so much, but there were a couple things that were almost straight from SOA. Turns out however, that’s exactly what the author meant to do. Sons of Anarchy meets Tolkien.

If you’re one of those people who are easily offended, I recommend avoiding this one like an orc plague. If you’re like me, one of those people that cusses like a sailor and is hard pressed to get offended, you’ll do just fine here.

I think one of the things I was most impressed with was the myriad of character and plot twists. I rarely guessed correctly what was going to happen next and that kept every turn of the page exciting. Every day I just wanted to come home from work and sit down with a little savagery.

In case you were not aware, this was originally a self-published book that was picked up by a publisher after it won a self-publishing contest by author Mark Lawrence. Which is just pretty cool in itself.

I want to read it again and then run out and get my filthy little quim hands on the next one.

Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles #1) – Book Review

Published Date: December 2, 2013

Publishing Co.: NYLA

Pages: 225

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Let’s flip the script and get a little weird.

Werewolves and vampires come from other planets.

Travel between planets is relatively easy. Therefore, aliens, werewolves, vampires, and all manner of creatures and humanoids can show up at anytime, anywhere, on any planet.

Dina Demille is an innkeeper on Earth. Inns are neutral territories. Innkeepers do their best to remain neutral so long as it doesn’t threaten their clientele. People come to them for sanctuary and protection.

Dina’s inn was once abandoned and almost decayed beyond repair. She’s been nurturing it back to health for awhile now but with only one resident, the process is slow going. With limited money coming in, she can’t provide it with all the materials it needs to rebuild itself. (The inns themselves are considered sentient by some. They have a symbiotic relationship with their keepers.) So, when trouble comes in the form of creatures killing neighborhood dogs, the local werewolf giving her attitude and warrior vampires showing up, demanding to be let in, Dina must decide whether to get involved. If she doesn’t, her inn may never earn a higher rating from the Council, which means more business, or she does and ruins the reputation herself. A bit of a catch 22. Piss off a faction of beings who can report her or have the secrecy of her inn exposed before she can make something substantial of the inn?

I enjoyed the hell out of this. It’s short, yet full of world building and action packed. I liked Dina and her little dog creature, Beast. I loved the concepts of the inns and the healthy helping of science fiction thrown in with magic. There is a possible love triangle beginning but even that cannot deter my enjoyment.

I’m super pumped to see where this series goes.

Winter of the Wolf Moon (Alex McKnight #1) – Book Review

Published Date: First published in 2000

Publishing Co.: Minotaur Books

Pages: 321

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Alex McKnight is an ex-Detroit cop, retired to the woods of the Upper Peninsula. Last year, he was a private investigator on the side, and renting cabins full time. His first case was so out of control that he put private investigating behind him.

Trouble comes looking for him once again in the form of a Native American woman, looking to get away from her abusive boyfriend. What Alex doesn’t realize is that the problem is much deeper than domestic violence. She’s stolen drugs from a Russian drug lord from out of state. So, when she disappears under Alex’s watch, from one of his own cabins, he feels so guilty that he can’t let it go, even though he doesn’t know about the drugs at the beginning. He won’t rest until he finds her or gets himself killed.

Not only does he have to survive attacks from various bad guys, he also has to survive mother nature after those attacks. Winter in the Upper Peninsula is not to be trifled with.

This is a mediocre detective novel with a grumpy, old guy main character. The grumpiness is endearing but the nostalgia is what keeps me coming back. I’ve lived and adventured in the Northern parts of Michigan my whole life. My grandfather (now deceased) is the one who introduced me to this series and gave me several books in it, so I’m sure I’ll continue it.

The Pirate (Bloodlands Collection) – Book Review

Published Date: June 28, 2018

Publishing Co.: Amazon Original Stories

Pages: 67

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

“In 1860, a sloop drifted into New York Harbor. Not a soul on board—just blood from cabin to deck. Looted coins led to Bowery thug Albert Hicks, the ax slayer who turned his shipmates into chum.

His crimes were absolutely fiendish. His execution was pure ballyhoo. It drew nearly ten thousand bloodthirsty sightseers to the city—including the enterprising showman P. T. Barnum. Refreshments were served as the most notorious and unrepentant mass murderer of the era made history as one of America’s first celebrity killers.”

I hope you’re not tired of hearing me talk about Last Podcast on the Left because here I go again….

I read this purely based on the fact that Marcus Parks of LPOTL, always highly recommends this author and frequently uses Schechter’s works in his research.

The Bloodlands Collection is also on Kindle Unlimited so I had nothing to lose by checking out this short story.

Historical true crime fans, dig in. It’s great.

Red Mars (Mars Trilogy #1) – Book Review

Published Date: October 1, 1993

Publishing Co.: Spectra Books

Pages: 572

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

There have been many times that I have said, “The more actual science in science fiction, the better the book,” but, I have met my match it seems. This is the first book that I encountered where I can say that there was too much science and it really dragged me down.

Red Mars explores the possibilities of what will happen when the human race has finally destroyed Earth beyond repair and how they might attempt to terraform and colonize Mars. We follow this idea as they send the first 100 scientists to the planet and they begin the dangerous adventure of building a world that humans can come to. The story is told from the perspective of several different scientists who’s expertise varies and opinions on how things should be done, varies even more. There is conflict but also love and friendship, but preparing a planet for the arrival of a whole other planet, weighs heavy on shoulders on a planet with less gravity.

This book tread the line of being horribly boring and then quickly turning around and being terribly fascinating.

After almost a month and 572 pages of reading, that’s all I really have to say about the book. It was an okay read but not a series that I will be continuing.