Reading for me slowed WAY down in 2021 thanks to going back to school. Therefore, I shouldn’t be all that surprised that it wasn’t the greatest year in reading. It wasn’t the greatest year in general. You know what? Up yours 2021!
Anywho, here are the reads that made it to the top of the list in the year that was almost just like 2020:
Did you read any of these? If so, what did you think?
Nothing makes me happier than a Mercy Thompson-Hauptman binge read.
Miniature zombie goats. Black magic witches. Mysterious origin story of a newer character. These are the things that lead to great entertainment.
A new group of witches has come to town and they have some big plans for the place. Take out the resident witch and stop the human/fae negotiations at all costs. They don’t have just one idea of how to accomplish these things so they’re hitting hard on multiple fronts. Raising the dead, spreading curses and killing anyone they want.
Mercy claimed the Tri-Cities as pack territory years ago, vowing to keep everyone safe. With Adam trapped (sometimes literally) in peace talks, their resident witch’s entire family massacred, Mercy has to pull help from other fronts. Some favors she would rather not call in but these witches are powerful and she’s just one stubborn little coyote. But, she’s made allies with some very scary creatures.
This was a fun romp but not my favorite Mercy novel. There was just some pizzaz missing somewhere along the way and I am having a hard time determining where or why. Nevertheless, I couldn’t put it down.
Eight years after the end of the Kate Daniels saga, we return to a much different Atlanta under the disguise of a stranger. Or least, that’s how it appears. Really the person with a different face, different voice, different scent, different name, is Julie, Kate’s adopted daughter. She gallops into town on her carnivorous horse, Tulip. A prophecy has been foretold of Kate’s death at the hands of a newly resurrected god and if Kate knows that Julie is in Atlanta, the future becomes more certain, Kate will die.
Julie has spent the last eight years becoming as powerful as she possibly can to protect those she loves and those who need it most. She has spent the last four of those eight years doing everything she can to change the results of the prophecy. This is her last chance. If she fails, the woman who saved her from the streets will perish from this world forever.
Trying to stop a god, in your hometown, without being noticed, has it’s problems. Not everyone can be fooled by her disguise no matter the precautions she takes, and those people threaten to blow her cover. The last person she needs to find out about her return home is the man she loved, but it’s harder than hell to hide things from a werewolf.
I am not disappointed. Kate Daniels left big shoes to fill and her predecessor jumped into both boots, ax swinging and power words on her lips. Where’s book two?
The triumphant (see what I did there) conclusion to one of my favorite urban fantasy series of all time.
As if it’s not bad enough that you’re about to go to war with your own father, another heavy hitter with a personal vendetta against your family shows up and demands his very own war on your world. Plus, your thirteen month old son is beginning to express his potential magic. Such is the life of Kate and her soulmate Curran.
These two separate but equally deadly wars will take everything they have in their arsenal to keep their son alive and save the people they love, but the opposing armies are massive and Atlanta is going to have to come together if it wants to survive. Enemies must become allies or face certain annihilation.
It has been a long, exciting journey to this ending and I was so pleased that it finished on a great note. I don’t expect that it will be the very last we’ll see of Kate and Curran as their world is expanding to other series and for that I’m grateful. This has been some of the best world building I’ve seen in any urban fantasy universe. The characters were addicting and the magic system equally enticing. Ilona Andrews are a dynamite writing couple. They have yet to fail me and I suspect I’ll be running off to purchase their latest release that continues Julie’s narrative.
A surprising amount of reading happened in June. Granted, many of them were smaller books, they still count!
4 out of 5 stars – I actually finished this the very last day of May but I had already done my May books post. If there is a strong female lead in an urban fantasy series, you bet your sweet honey ass I’m going to give it a go. I read the first book in this series years ago and enjoyed it, but it wasn’t something I was dying to get the next book. After book two, I feel much the same. I enjoy it, I’ll pick it up when it’s on sale, but I’m not rushing to purchase the next installment.
5 out of 5 stars – I couldn’t decide what I felt like reading so Ignited Moth kindly decided for me. This book has been sitting on my TBR shelf for roughly 6 years. I am so glad that I finally made the time to read it because it was splendid. Have you ever heard me call a book ‘splendid’? Probably means you should read it ASAP.
3 out of 5 stars – During this pandemic, I decided to bring a book for lunch reading that just stays as work to lower any chance of someone putting their filthy virus hands on it. (I’ve decided on all selections being something I’m not in a rush to read.) This is an easy, peasy read that I have described as a “cozy Southern murder mystery.”
4 out of 5 stars – Not my favorite Alpha & Omega installment but I still thoroughly enjoyed myself and the drama of Bran’s disappearance was riveting, since he’s never bailed on the pack before.
Rants From the Hill (Pictured above)
4 out of 5 stars – An educational, fun essay collection from an environmentalist who lives out in the high desert of the United States. It’s a different world out there but the author manages to make it sound magical and just as important as all other ecosystems out there that have better reputations.
4 out of 5 stars – Dina is forced (kind of) to host an intergalactic summit at her inn. The inn requires guests to thrive and so she must accept a deal that no other inn on Earth would. She’s not sure she’s powerful enough to keep the peace between three warring factions from another planet, but her little dog Beast is there to help her try.
4 out of 5 stars – The inn’s latest guests are a race of aliens who have been hunted to near extinction by another close by planet. If there is one thing Dina can’t resist, it’s helping out the underdog. Not to mention, rescuing her sister and niece from a barren planet exiled from the rest of the galaxy. Just another week at the inn.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.