Monday, January 29, 2024

Shelly Laurenston: Hot and Badgered

Shelly Laurenston starts a new series that Honey Badgers Do Care but only to those who are close to them:

Honey Badgers are known as vicious creatures that will never back down, even the king, The lion knows to fear them. When Honey Badgers are involved, it is better to just back away slowly. This is true for Hone badger shifters as well, and even more true for the MacKilligan Sisters; Charlie, Max and Stevie. When their father comes up with a scheme that backfires (like they always do), the sisters always seem to take the brunt of the whomever he has pissed off. Charlie has always protected her sisters and this latest bout against them is no different, but she is not about to turn down the help from giant Grizzley protection specialist especially when it seems like they can handle her crazy family and all the drama and fights that come along with it. Now Charlie needs to find her father, figure out who he pissed off this time, and make sure that they know to leave the MacKilligan sisters alone, forever.

I honestly did not know what I was getting in to when I started this book as it is the first one I have read by Laurenston but Wow did this book deliver. This book had everything that I like in urban fantasy books that feature shifters; different types of shifters, dark and gritty aspects, quite a bit of action scenes and not too heavy on the romance. There are moments in this book that are extremely crazy and insane as what is happening but it is an Urban Fantasy book so you just go with it, you wont be disappointed that you did.

The interaction between the sisters is hilarious and had me laughing out loud multiple times in this book. You have Charlie who tries to control everything as well as her sisters and bakes when she is stressed (which people do not complain about as she is amazing at it), Max who is well on her way to becoming a psychopath who loves knives and the youngest Stevie who is a legit  genius but also suffers from a severe panic disorder and I mean severe. But all this works together and they do not shy away from being honey badgers or from what makes each of them unique. They play with each others strengths and weaknesses and always have each others back. It is easy to say that each of them are badass in their own way

Each sister does get some POV, but Charlie is the main character in this book. There are also some side characters that have POV as well, and I liked this aspect as it gave a bit more depth to the plot to make it feel well rounded when it came to the plot, which often was left by the side at times when the sisters got under each other’s skin. It truly is amazing how much One Man can piss so many people off.

I like that there are hybrid shifters in this book to change things up. There are also shifters that you do not normally see, first of all honey badgers, but also polar bears and wolverines. There is also a full were society out there but somehow humans don't know about them. I mean I feel like this would be extremely hard to hide, but it’s a minor part of the story. I mean one is even marrying a Human and the Human has no idea that she is a shifter which will be a crazy thing to explain if the kids are born shifters.

I think there were two things that felt a bit off to me, it was a bit long winded, and the whole criminal organizations, yes more than one, was not something that played out really well and as the book already felt too long, adding in another layer just felt like overkill to me. This in turn made the mystery/plot aspect a bit off.

This was such a wild and crazy ride, that I don’t even know how to put into anything other than those words. I really enjoyed this book. Honestly the best part of this book is the sisters, and I look forward to reading the next book in the series to see what the sisters get up to next. I would recommend this book to those who like shifter books and are looking for something a bit different in the genre.


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Sunday, January 21, 2024

Catherine Ryan Howard: The Trap

Catherine Ryan Howard shows the lengths a woman will go to find her missing sister:

Lucy's sister Nicki left the pub she had been with her friends one night and was never seen again. Nicki is also not the only one who has gone missing, at least 3 women are missing and have been linked together and the agony of not knowing does not just haunt Lucy but the other families as well.It has now been one year and Lucy is trying everything she can in order to find who may have taken her sister. The more risks that Lucy is willing to take put her closer and closer to her own danger.

I slept on this book too long as I find that Howard can be hit or miss for me, but this one was totally a hit and this is no wonder as it hit on some key things that I enjoy in mystery/thriller books; Bad guy perspective, twists and turns along the way, multiple POV, small town fee to it (even though it is Dublin). 

What I really enjoy about Ryan Howard books is that we typically get the persepctive of the bad guy. Gives you insight as to why they do what they do. In this one we get a lot of detail from how he did things and how he got so successful in his practice in getting the women but also evading the police. This was my favourite POV in the book as i found it really intriquing and slightly different from when you read the killer's POV. We do get Lucy's and a civilian worker, Angela's POV as well (in order to get the police information perspective) and while those other two POV are interesting, i think the the killer POV is the most interesting. 

There are quite a few major twists throughout the book and while the majority of them come in latter half of the book the build up was well done. It was awesome not to be able to predict where Howard was going to take things in this book and I think she shed light on some of what happens in the police department of making things Fit when they need to as well as shining a light on the media as to how when the 17 year old is reporting missing the media is all up in arms but when "older" women in their 20s are reported nothing is really said. I found it extremely impressive that that Howard did not take the easy way out and you’ll either appreciate for what it is or not, but i thought it was not only a bold choice but one that I really liked. 

For some reason this book felt a little long, even at just over 350 pages in my kindle. I cant figure out or pinpoint why i felt this, maybe as there are multiple POV and some are go in very different directs but it just felt a bit long to me. 

If you have been considering reading this book i would say move it farther up your TBR list. I really enjoyed it and when the twists stop coming they do not stop. I know i'm going to be reading more by Howard.

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Monday, January 15, 2024

Darcy Coates: Where He Can't Find You

Darcy Coates takes readers to the town of Doubtful, where if you follow the rules the Stitcher Shouldn't be able to get you:

Rule number one, never walk alone, rule 2, never stay out late or the Stitcher is going to get you. The town od Doubtful is one that is haunted of disappearances and when they are found, they have been murdered, dismembered, and put back together in unspeakable ways. The thing that connects them all, is the use of Red Thread used to sew them back together. Abby Ward always follows the rules, the rules keep her and family and friends safe. When one of them is taken by the Stitcher Abby will stop at nothing to discover the truth and get them back, but not everyone is going to come out whole in this story.

Wow, this is the first book that I have read by Coates and it won’t be the last, you better believe I am going to check out her other books. This book grabs hold of you from the prologue and does not let down till you are finished. Within the book Coates is able to creates a novel/plot that is dark, gritty, mysterious, had me on the edge of my seat and was downright disturbing at times. I did not want to put this book down, I was just as invested as the characters in trying to find out Who or What the Stitcher was.

Is YA horror a genre? I don’t know if I would suggest a teen reading this book, it is downright disturbing at times with what the Stitcher does to his Victims, like disturbing. I mean just starting with the prologue would be something that could give anyone nightmares and the farther you read into the book it does not get any lighter.

This book has teen as the main characters and they are the ones investigating the disappearance and proving that the Stitcher is actually Vickers and normally I do not like this troupe or aspect as they keep the info to themselves and are smarter than the police force. However, other than the new police Detective who has transferred into town, Thompson (and he's too new to do anything really), the force is incompetent and has just accepted that people will go missing and turn up dead in "creative" ways. Hell, there is even talk in the book where they have a pool going of which missing person will turn up next. 

There are A Lot of POV in this book and it takes a bit to get them all straight but each does have a unique voice and unique perspective on the Stitcher and who/ what they think the Stitcher is. They also have different reasons for doing what they do, from wanting to protect their families to avenging deaths that occurred before the book started. What the multiple POV really highlighted in this book was the intense friendship in the group and what they are willing to do for each other. 

I love that Coates had me questioning for the majority of the book whether the Stitcher is a Man/Beast/Something else entirely. And let’s just say when you find out the answer it is truly horrifying.

I really loved this book. Coates was able to create such tension, suspense and thrills throughout the book that you feel the need to just keep reading to see what happens next. I highly recommend this book to those who like Thriller and Horror genre. I know I am not going to look at red threads the same again.


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Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Eva Chase: Captive of Wolves

In the first book in a series, Eva Chase explores when a Human has the ability to save Werewolves from Madness:

When Talia was 12 monster wolves killed her family and took her captive. She has now lived in a cage for 8 years, forever trying to find a way to escape. Once a month her captures come and take her blood, she has no idea why, but it is what keeps her alive. Until one evening when four men break into where she is being held captive and she trades one prison for another. Though this one has a bed and better food. Talia learns that her blood holds the cure to curse that has gripped the Fae realm. Talia has survived this long and nothing is going to stop her from trying to go toe to toe with the Fae now.

This was okay, at best......The book starts off really interesting and strong with Talia being held captive by but slows down around the 30% mark and it was very much about Talia getting better and improving both mentally and physically with a side of trying to figure out why and how Talia is the Tonic that prevents the wolves from taking over in the full moon. The storyline does improve a bit near the end, but not a lot happens throughout the book and it felt like a little bit too late.

Fae wolf Shifters, so think werewolf but they also have the ability to learn and do some Fae magic. One has the ability over things in the body, able to hear wounds and such another has an ability over trees, can shape them into homes or carriages things like that. I thought this aspect was pretty unique. I am bit confused about the world and caste system that is going on in this world, as it's never really explained. All we know is the 4 men who have "rescue" Talia are on the fringe of it as a punishment of something that happened long ago.

Whichever of Talia captures you read about in this book, both treated her more like a pet than anything else, just one treats her better than the other. This book completely has why choose/RH vibes that look like they are going to happen (but don’t in this book if that is what you are looking for).

Talia has been a prisoner for 8 years and I think that Chase did an okay job in showing not only the physical implications she would have with living in a cage but also mental ones as well. I think that Chase could have taken the mental aspect a bit farther as Talia was taken when she was 12, I think would have a lot more long with her. However, I cannot fault the strength and strangely compassion that Talia shows throughout the book.

This book has multiple POV. One for each main character, and it kind of muddles things a bit to begin with and i question the need for all of them. But the more you read in the book each one does have a distinct voice. Talia does have the most chapters by far.

This book had such a strong beginning that I did feel a bit let down the rest of the book. The Fae wolf shifter are interesting with their combination of Wolf and Magic but I'm not sure if I will continue on in the series. I just didn’t really get a feel for where the series is going to go, as not much happens in this book.


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Thursday, January 4, 2024

Stephanie Archer: The Fake Out

This is the second book in Stephanie Archer’s Vancouver Storm series and while you don’t need to read the first book, Behind the Net, to read this book I highly recommend reading it as it is a great book.

Stephanie Archer is back with the Vancouver Storm team and this time one woman will do everything in her power to avoid her Toxic Ex:

What is the best way to get back at a horrible Ex? Why fake date another guy on his team that he hates. Rory has sworn off all hockey players, but when her ex is traded to the team that she works for she convinces one of the other teammates, and a guy she used to go to school with, to pretend to be her boyfriend to try to keep her Ex away. But while fake dating Rory, Hazel sees another side of him and how much he cares and how much pressure has been put on him to succeed as a hockey player. As more time passes Hazel begins to wonder if something that started out as fake can actually be real.

After reading and loving Behind the Net by Archer late last year I was really excited to read The Fake Out, and while I enjoyed the book, I did not find myself invested in this one as I did the first. This one was much more of a slow burn that the first book and i found that there were big gaps in time when Rory was on the road and while they kept in touch on the road we don't get all the interactions in that time. So often we don’t really have their relationship moving forward as fast as maybe i wanted it too, as there are several chapter that start with, A few weeks later....

One of my favourite parts of the books was the on the road interactions while the team was playing away games. Not only were they funny but spicey too at times. I don’t think i have read a contemporary romance book that took this into consideration when people are away (though to be fair this is not a genre i read in often). It is much more than just phone sex now, with video chat straight from the phone. Plus the pictures and eventually videos they shared with each other, very now.

I love all the body positive that Archer made sure to have in this book, very much about loving oneself for who the are and what they look like and recognizing that everyone is on a journey and those journeys are not going to look the same. I found this aspect was weaved really well into the story with what Hazel is trying to achieve in both her personal and professional life.

This book kind of has a fake dating troupe to it, but you can tell that he has fallen for her right away and it is totally not fake to him at all. With all the gifts he buys her, the tiny little dragon is my favourite, and how he treats Hazel whether they are out in public or not, the fake dating troupe falls off fast. Rory is a pretty awesome book boyfriend. Hazel on the other hand, it was hard with her at times. She has just generalized all hockey players as assholes and fights and I mean fights hard at every turn for her growing feelings for Rory. There are times when you just want to tell her to give her head a shake and appreciate what is right in front of her.

I love that Archer doesn't so the third act breakup in the books i have read by her so far, she actually has her characters communicate like normal people would and not getting blown up over some small thing.

I know that Hazel's ex is an asshole, but i do wonder the reason behind it, and I actually would like to see him get his own story have someone take him out of his asshole ways, maybe the Blonde he was seen with during the community skate night. I am interested where she takes the next book in the series, which features another hockey player from the Storm team.

I did enjoy this book, especially Rory and getting tidbits of how Pippa and Jamie are doing. I also like how the book felt fresh in the dating scene and even the hockey romance scene. For sure one to check out.


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