Saturday, February 24, 2024

Ivy Asher: The Lost and the Chosen

In the first in a new series, Ivy Asher has a woman who finds out where she came from, one that is full of more danger than anyone could ever have guessed:

Vinna's life has been full of secrets and questions, especially when one night when she is 16 strange ruins show up all over her body. These ruins give Vinna amazing abilities and when her trainer Talon finds her on the street he starts to train her to fight. It is after one of her cage fighting matches that Vinna stumbles into a world that she knew nothing about, but one that has the answers to her magic and past plus possible a family she has been longing for, especially when she meets the Boys. The road to finding the answers Vinna wants is a dark and dangerous as there are those that want Vinna for their own purposes.

I knew nothing about tis book when I went in to is, I just liked the cover and the premise sounded like something I would enjoy. I'm a fan of Urban Fantasy so if something can pique my interest I'm going to try it. I will say I did not realize this book was going to be a reverse harem book, at least I think it is going to be, I mean I have been wrong before, but if it is one, it seems like it will be a slow burn one, so maybe I’ll be more into that, but no promises. I will also say that we get a really interesting beginning and ending to this book but nothing really seems to happen through the middle chapters. I mean it wasn’t slow per say but just nothing major happens in the middle.

What kept me engaged in this book was the main character Vinna, she is your kickass heroine who is both a regular fighter, due to her fighting in cage matches, and she has some really cool abilities with the ruins all over her body. She has the ability to pull magic weapons from the ruins on her body and not just swords, but staff, bow and arrows, mace, almost anything that you can think of. As this book starts with an awesome cage match and fight scene, I was kind of disappointed that it took so long for Vinna to return to the cage.

There is not a lot of world building in this book, even when you get to the town. There are some things that I still want to know, why shifters are looked down upon by the mages and more about how the council is formed things like that. I mean it didn’t take away from the story but I still have questions.

Pretty sure Asher needs to send me Vinna's workout playlist, i know i could Jam out to it. 

Although this book was slow in the middle, I really did like Vinna as a character as well as the cool powers that she has. The last 25% of this book are crazy and with action and completely heartbreaking. It ends with a cliffhanger, so I know that I will be picking up the next book in the series.


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Saturday, February 17, 2024

Kat Ailes: Expectant Detectives

In her debut novel Kat Ailes explores what happens when a death happens so close to a prenatal class in a small town.

Alice and her partner Joe have decided to move from London to the small sleepy town of Penton because they are expecting their first child together. The agree that the small town feels like the perfect place to raise a family. That is until a local shop keeper's body is found just a few feet from where Alice and Joe are attending their prenatal class. What Alice and Joe also don’t expect is that somehow everyone in the class is now a suspect. With that in mind, Alice and the other women in the class has a common goal, to prove that they did not murder the shop keeper and find out who did. Penton is far from the idyllic town that they thought it would be and between the shady commune in the woods to a mysterious death that occurred 10 years prior, moving to the country may not have been the best thing.

I really enjoy small town mysteries as I find that while the small town may look quant to those who are just visiting you have to know that there are probably secret galore in that town as well. Hard to keep secrets when everyone knows each other. What makes this one different from books that you have read in the past is the main two individuals who do the detecting are Pregnant, well along pregnant, like could pop at any moment. This add a unique perspective in what Alice decides to do, I mean when you're pregnant and already off work what better way to spend your time than to investigate a murder.

This is a cute cozy mystery that is not that high on suspense and more about a very pregnant women and one who just had a baby try to figure out who a murderer is. There are some different aspects with the hippie compound that seems to be the center of it all, as well as the death that occurred 10 years ago that seems suspicious. With all this i will say that Ailes did a good job of keeping things straight and not confusing. I was able to figure out one twist but not the other. We only get Alice's POV in this book so i feel like you get to know her quite well and her motivation to investigate the murder is really seeded in her need to find friends.

Helen is the best character and I will not be swayed from this. Really Helen is the hero here.

I like that Ailes highlights at the beginning of a book how hard it is to root up one's life when they are older and how much harder it is to make friends as an adult. It's like we all forgot how to make friends and are just overly concerned that we will say the wrong thing, that we do say the wrong thing. Alice i very conscious of this and often put her foot in her mouth.

The book did feel overly long by the end of it though and everything get tidied up in a neat bow. I think you can also tell with the writing style that this is Ailes debut novel but I have no issue with that.

This was a good easy read, with some fun and funny moments. If you want a break from more serious books, this is one to give a try. I mean they are pregnant, why not investigate a murder.


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Monday, February 12, 2024

Kelley Armstrong: The Boy Who Cried Bear

This is the second book in a spin off series called Haven's Rock. You will at the very least need to read the first book in this series Murder at Haven's Rock in order to understand what Haven's rock is about. However, if you have time I highly reccomend the series that this one is a spin off from, the Rockton series, first book is City of the Lost. Even just reading the first book in that series will set you up with a bit more understanding for this one.
Kelley Armstrong is back in the latest Haven’s Rock first and this time a boy’s life is at stake:

Detective Casey Duncan and Sheriff Eric Dalton already feel comfortable in their new town, hidden in the Yukon Forest but even they are still learning the new forest around them and the new residents in town are even more unprepared in the forest coming from "down south" which is why people are not allowed to wander in the forest alone. While on a planned hike, the youngest member of the town Max (10 years old) is started to see a bear chasing them, but this is no ordinary Bear, Max swears that it was running on two legs and had human eyes. Casey and Eric know the dangers a bear can present, and they set off to find the bear, but while they are gone Max disappears into the forest. Some say he has run off, some say he was taken. it is up to Casey and Eric to find him, but strange occurrences are happening all around them, in town and in the forest and they are not sure what they are up against.

What I really enjoy about Armstrong's writing is that she does not rely on dead body after dead body in order to keep readers attention, instead she relies on old fashion detective work, tracking and setting to create a tense atmosphere to keep it suspenseful and interesting 

In this book, we have a missing child which is the main focus for Casey and Dalton and it is about uncovering clues hidden within the forest and from the residents in town in order to piece together what happened and where Max could have gone and if someone had him. Are there additional interesting side plots where things will be taken further in additional books, absolutely but I found that they were done in a way that intertwined well with this story that it did not become confusing. It personally just made me want to read further in the series to see where Armstrong will take things.

As Haven's Rock is a new place for those who need a place to hide for a few year, it has new rules compared to Rockton. This is really seen with having kids and couples in town instead of just allowing singles to enter. This has created a new dynamic that Casey and Dalton must deal with, as well couples fight, children are curious and Casey and Dalton are still getting a feel for the place. Their authority get questioned a lot more here as well. I personally love the new dynamic and it adds something new from the previous series. And wow, the bomb that gets dropped in this book is just amazing.

I enjoy that Casey and Dalton spent a lot of time in the forest and that the forest is a big unknown here as Dalton did not grow up here and it is not as predictable of a place as it was in their previous home. I think that this unknown forest gives the book additional suspense as they look for Max, as they don’t know the woods like they did before. Their hands are more tied here and they must rely more on Storm and Dalton's tracking skills to try and find him. You can tell on more than one occasion that they are frustrated with their progress and you have to even wonder how much easier their job might have been if they were still in Rockton

One of my favorite additions to this book/setting is their mysterious neighbours, Casey and Dalton know that they cannot trust them, but cannot quite figure out what they are doing way out in the Yukon. There was a lot more interaction with them as well in this book and I can't wait to see that subplot unfold even further in future books. I feel like there is more to come to head with them sooner rather than later

I like Alice’s character growth. even though we don’t see a lot of her in this book, the scene with Kenny is super sweet.

Another solid book by Armstrong. I am a big fan of Dalton and Casey so anytime they are in a book you know i'm going to pick it up. I highly recommend this series, and reading it in order, to fully appreciate the characters, setting and storylines that Armstrong has set up.


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Monday, February 5, 2024

Rebecca Yarros: Iron Flame

As this is the second book in the series you will need to read the first book in the series, Fourth Wing, in order to understand and appreciate this book. Plus Fourth Wing is an amazing book and you will not be disappointed that you read it.

Rebecca Yarros is back, with the second book in her Empyrean series, and the stakes are even higher for violet

Violet has defies the odds when she survived the first year of training at the Basgiath War College, but now the real training begins as Violet especially with the introduction of a new Vice Commandant who makes it his own personal mission to not only break her but her bond with Xaden as well. What the Vice Commandant doesn’t realize is who Violet and if there are a few things that she learned in first year it was that dragon rider never give up and that they make their own rules. Violet will do anything in her power to not only protect those she loves but the whole world, but even that may not be enough.

I am really glad that I held off to read this book when I had time to actually read it as I did not want to put it down. I made sure to avoid any reviews or spoilers so I could go into the book without any additional information other than the premise. And I will say that this book shook me, especially with that ending that I did not see coming at all and how what occurs will shape everything within the world and story that Yarros has created. I really applaud Yarros for many of the choices she makes in this book and how far she is willing to push the characters (and readers).

Now this book is not Fourth Wing, and I mean that in a positive way as she does not just rehash what happened in Fourth Wing. This book does not have as many fighting or action scenes as fourth wing does, but that is due to the fact that Violet is not fighting for survival in every class that she has. What this book has more of is political intrigue and spying where you do not know who you can trust and who knows what about what is happening beyond the Shields. I also found that this book was darker than the first book and as there is more at stake than just having Violet survive. Does this make the book feel slower at times, sure, but that does not mean that the book lacks the ability to suck you in.

The Dragons once again are a start in this book and I think even those people who do not enjoy this series or book will all say that they love the Dragons. Andarna is the stand out here with her moody teenagerness and the strife it causes Tairn. I know I laughed more than once during their interactions. 

Now for the aspects of the book I was not the fan of, and I cannot be the only one here. But was anyone else get sick of Violet and Xaden bickering nonstop about the same thing. Communication was not their strong suit in this book and it showed time and time again when they were together. Violet wanted answers but according to Xaden she wasn’t asking the right questions and this led to more secrets and bickering that I wanted to read.

I also hope that we will get more Xaden POV in the next book, other than a tidbit here and there. I think having his POV more frequent will be important in time with the event of this book and well I just love Xaden as a character.

This was a great read but did not quite live up to the first book Fourth Wing, which is okay. I love the direction that Yarros is taking the plot and characters and I cannot wait to read the next book in this series.


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